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Title: A Ride on Horseback to Florence Through France and Switzerland. Vol. 2 of 2 - Described in a Series of Letters by a Lady
Author: Holmes, Augusta Macgregor
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Ride on Horseback to Florence Through France and Switzerland. Vol. 2 of 2 - Described in a Series of Letters by a Lady" ***


                           RIDE ON HORSEBACK




                        FRANCE AND SWITZERLAND.



                                A LADY.

  “I will not change my horse for any that treads but on four pasterns:
he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn
of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes; he is the prince
of palfreys; his neigh is like the bidding of a monarch, and his
countenance enforces homage: nay, the man hath no wit that cannot from
the rising of the lark to the lodging of the lamb vary deserved praise
on my palfrey.”—SHAKSPEARE, _King Henry the Fifth_.

                           _IN TWO VOLUMES._
                                VOL. II.

                     JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.

                  Printed by WILLIAM CLOWES and SONS,
                            Stamford Street.

                    A ride on horseback to Florence

                              OF VOL. II.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                               CHAPTER I.

                                                                  Page 1

RIDE to Chillon—Castle of La Tour du
  Peil—Chastellar—Chillon—Attentive gendarmes—Oubliettes—Destiny
  of their inhabitants—Salle de Justice—Torture room—Eating hall
  with its fleurs-de-lis—The dungeons—The beam—The interment in the
  lake—Bonnivard—His misfortunes—His prison—The first pillar having
  its own story—Sketches on the wall made by a captive—His
  escape—Drowned in the attempt two months before Bonnivard’s
  deliverance—Alexander Dumas’ name above that of Byron—The English
  amateur’s painting—The fat gendarme—A bad Bonnivard—Our
  determination to inhabit Chillon—Changed by thoughts of
  powder—Fanny our conductress—Ludlow’s house and tomb—Contrast
  between Protestant and Catholic cantons—Bulle—The bony hand holding
  a crucifix—The Counts of Gruyères—Fines paid for crimes
  perpetrated—The banner of Berne—Laws of the Simmenthal—The Bernese
  attacking Gruyères—Count Pierre’s danger—Plague described by
  Boccaccio—The Flagellans—The murdered Jews—Last of the Counts of
  Gruyères—Leaving Bulle—Fribourg—Battle of Morat—The lime tree—A
  monument of the young messenger—Berthhold, founder of Fribourg—Line
  drawn between plebeian and noble—Bridge—Organ

                              CHAPTER II.


Canton of Berne—Village where the Swiss troops obtained a victory over
  the French force in ’98—Berne—Bears in all forms—Their revenues
  diminished—Their new baptism—Foundation of Berne—Rodolph of
  Erlach—Laupen—Rodolph chosen guardian of orphans of the Count of
  Nidau—Murdered by his own son-in-law—Cathedral—Monument to Duke
  Berthhold—His wife’s execution—Charles Louis of Erlach massacred by
  his own soldiers during French invasion—Treatment of Berne by the
  French—Thun—Privileges—Castle of Thun—The brothers—The
  banquet—The murder—The “pension”—An acquaintance—The sketcher in
  haste—A Marseilles story—Spietz—The golden manor—Adrian of
  Bubenberg—His saving Morat—His embassy—His return as a
  minstrel—Unterseen—Unspunnen once the property of the Eschenbach
  family—Walter of Eschenbach—Confidant of the parricide Duke
  John—Murder of the Emperor Albert—Vengeance of Queen
  Agnes—Walter’s son spared—Walter a shepherd—Lauterbrunnen—The
  cascade—Grindelwald—A buried chapel in the glacier—The Harder—The
  grave of an only son—Return to Thun

                              CHAPTER III.


Leave Thun—Zweizemmen—The wrong road—Château d’Œx—Gruyères—The
  Préfet’s ball—Anniversary of the Virgin’s leaving school—Vevay—The
  patient Griselda’s obstinacy—The exploit—Villeneuve—The Valley of
  the Rhone—St. Maurice—The Theban legion—The Valais—The village
  buried—The Rhone overflowed—Former inundation—The old villager
  saved—St. Bernard—Story of its founder—Martigny—Riddes—Sion—The
  prelate’s murder—The family of the Rarons—The Mazza—Raron
  persecuted—Demands the aid of Duke Amedée—His castle burned—His
  wife driven forth—His revenge—The cretins of Sierre

                              CHAPTER IV.


Rhone overflowed—Baths of Louëche—Tourtemagne—Visp—Ravages of the
  Rhone—Madonnas placed to stop its further rise—Glys—Brieg—Ascent
  of Simplon—Ganther—Gallery of Schalbet—The toll-gate—Hospice—The
  Barons of Stockalper—Village of the Simplon—Broken
  road—Algaby—Gorge of Gondo—Fanny too near the edge—Gap in the
  road—Part of gallery carried away—Opportune aid—Arrival at
  Gondo—Broken road near Isella—Accident during the storm—Remnant of
  a carriage—The douanier’s aid—An auberge—The military post—My
  consolation—An amiable hostess—Good company in a quiet kitchen—A
  French gentleman expecting murder—An Italian vetturino—The Juge de
  paix and his interested verdict—Torrent or bedchamber—Our hostess’s
  supper—Departure—First difficulty—Road completely swept
  away—Impossibility of advancing—A lady and her guide killed—Way
  over the Trasquiera—Fanny aiding her conductor—A painful path—A
  draught of water—Top of the mountain—Inhabitants—Milk and
  apples—Fanny’s leap—Danger of Grizzle—Descent—Bridge
  gone—Torrent forded—Gallery of Crevola—The broken
  column—Arrival—Our friend’s welcome—Domo d’Ossola

                               CHAPTER V.


Vogogna—Country overflowed—The ferry—Isola
  Madre—Baveno—Innkeeper—Isola Bella—Ground made in
  1670—Arona—Castle of St. Charles of Borromeo—Castle of
  Angera—Frescoes in its ruined halls—History of St. Charles of
  Borromeo—Early habits—Resides in his diocese at Milan—Strives to
  reform the church—Attempt to murder him—A miracle—His conduct
  during the plague—Life of St. Anthony—Who cured the young pig—St.
  Christopher, who was twelve feet high—The Ticino—Amusement on board
  the ferry—The commissary—Sesto Calende—A charge—Somma and Julius
  Cæsar’s cypress—Castle of the Visconti—Birthplace of
  Teobaldo—Elected Pope when in the Holy Land with Edward the First of
  England—Otho Visconti founder of his family’s grandeur—Gallerate—A
  threatened beating—The Lord’s Supper on the auberge wall—The
  robber’s seven towers—Battle between the Visconti—Unwarranted
  preference shown by a ghost—Murder in the castle at Milan—The
  murderer poisoned by his wife—Rhò—Milan

                              CHAPTER VI.


The Duomo—Our host’s advice—Joseph the Second—Tombs—That to the
  memory of Giovanni and Gabrielle de’ Medici, designed by Michael
  Angelo—Chapel of St. John—St. Bartholomew—Tomb of Otho, archbishop
  of Milan—Crucifix carried by St. Charles of Borromeo—Antique
  altar—Burial-place of St. Charles—La Scala—Opera ballet—The
  Brera, once monastery of the Umiliati—Paintings—The old
  castle—Arms of the Visconti—Prerogative preserved to himself by
  Giovanni—The parricide—Filippo Mario—His innocent wife
  executed—Carmagnuola Filippo’s general—Forced by his injustice to
  change of party—Suspicions of his new masters—His
  execution—Francis Sforza—His youth—His name’s origin—Jane of
  Naples—Imprisoned by her husband—Set free—King James a monk of St.
  Francis—Forte Braccio—Sforza’s death—Arena—Roman ruin

                              CHAPTER VII.


Leaving Milan—La Bicocca—Francis the First—Francis Sforza—Black
  Bands of Giovanni de’ Medici—Lautrec—An intrigue—Samblançay—The
  king prisoner—Samblançay falsely accused—Condemned to be hanged at
  Montfaucon—His death deferred till dark, in expectation of the
  king’s relenting—His last words resembling Wolsey’s—Lodi—The
  Austrians—Imprecations—The serenade—Doubts as to the
  road—Piacenza—A thirsty douanier—The cathedral—Alberoni—A
  bell-ringer—The Farnese—Pier Luigi’s murder—Statues on the
  piazza—Alessandro—His son Ranuccio—His danger in youth—His
  escape—His cruelty—His treatment of his son—Borgo St.
  Donnino—Maria Louisa—Castel Guelfo—Origin of names of Guelph and
  Gibelline—Parma—Madonna in the stable—A lamp serving two
  purposes—A procession seeking a criminal—Cambacérès—Ariosto—A
  robber’s love of poetry—Correggio—Modena—The countess Matilda—The
  Emperor Henry the Fourth—Canossa—Three days unsheltered in the

                             CHAPTER VIII.


Pic de la Mirandole—Castel Franco—Bologna—A bad inn left for La
  Pace—Its mistress—Statue of Pope Julius the Second—St.
  Petronio—Mistake of a learned man—Charles the Fifth—Here crowned
  King of Lombardy—King Enzio—His peasant-love—His twenty years’
  captivity—The origin of a name—The towers—Accademmia—St.
  Cecilia—The cathedral—Temple dedicated to Isis—Papal troops—A
  capitulation—Cholera—An Italian hospital—French soldiers—The
  procession barefoot—The well-attested miracle—The
  Appennines—Lojano—The Pellegrino—Filigare—Pietra Mala—Strange
  properties of its fire and cold spring—Fruit—Montecarelli—St.
  Antonio’s grapes—Palazzo Borghese—Hôtel du Nord—Jerome Bonaparte’s
  cook—Piazza della Santa Trinità—Spot occupied by the Palazzo degl’
  Uberti left vacant—Recording escutcheons—The Saviour, king of
  Florence—The Loggia—Galleria de’ Medici—Piazza del Duomo—The
  Baptistery—Work of Ghiberti at twenty years old—Chains of the gates
  of Pisa—A funeral

                              CHAPTER IX.


The Duomo—Its interior—Michael Angelo’s farewell—Vasari—Congress
  of artists convoked—A dome of pumice stone—Brunelleschi turned
  out as a madman—The egg—His colleague Ghiberti—His feigned
  illness—The difficulties divided—Height of the dome—Giotto—The
  Campanile—Pietro Farnese—His gilded mule—Dante—Condemned to be
  burned at the stake—Peter of Toledo-Conrad the traitor—The
  sacristy—The Pazzi—Julian murdered—Salviati hanged in his
  cardinal’s robes—Seventy executions—The artist nicknamed Andrea
  of the Hanged—The baptistery—The withered elm restored—The story
  of Joseph—John the Twenty-third from pirate become pope—Palazzo
  Riccardi—Gardens of Lorenzo—Michael Angelo—The Strada del
  Traditore—Lorenzino—The duke Alessandro—Made unpopular through
  his vices—The plot—Anecdote told by Benvenuto Cellini—The
  rendezvous—The murder—Lorenzino assassinated in turn—The
  Galleria—The Palazzo Pitti—Cosmo—His sons’ quarrel—The eldest
  killed by his brother—The father’s revenge—His wife
  poisoned—Duke Francesco and Bianca Capello—Her story and death

                               CHAPTER X.


Boboli Gardens—Buondelmonte—Ponte Vecchio—Santa Croce—Palazzo
  Borgo—Tombs—Michael Angelo’s monument—Died the year Galileo was
  born—Machiavelli—Alfieri—Galileo dying the year in which Newton
  was born—Chapel of the Pazzi—San Lorenzo—Monument of Cosmo, Pater
  Patriæ—Michael Angelo’s Day and Night—Contradictory
  employments—His reply to a verse addressed to his statue—Cappella
  dei Principi—Santa Maria Novella—Cimabue’s Virgin—Cappella de’
  Spagnuoli—Portraits of Petrarch and Laura—Turned out by a
  friar—Pietre Dure—Our guide again—Sarcophagus of the Gran
  Duchessa—Shut up in a private oratory—Let out by a
  priest—Cascine—Palazzo Vecchio—Small tower-chamber prison of
  Cosmo—Savonarola—His prediction of Lorenzo’s death—The
  confession—The anathema—Trial by fire—The heavy rain—Savonarola
  executed—The Appennines—Birthplace of the Maréchale d’Ancre—Tre
  Maschere—Fog—Rain—Lojano—Crosses—Bologna—Grizzle’s attack on
  the kitchen—Miss Kemble—Modena—The ducal stable—The stuffed
  charger—Parma—The five saints canonized in May—Their claims to

                              CHAPTER XI.


La Steccata—The Teatro Farnese—Its magnificence—Its ruins—Would
  contain 9000—St. Jeronimo—Sir Thomas Lawrence—Alti Relievi—The
  overflowed Po—The infant saved—Placentia again—Misery of
  Piedmontese—Voghera—Tortona—Plains of Marengo—The wrong
  road—The Tanaro overflowed—Asti—The Angelo and its
  reception—Moncaglieri—The vow, and the Virgin, who resembled a
  Duchess—The old Italian gentleman—Victor Amedée’s abdication—The
  old man’s arrest—His death at Moncaglieri—Susa—Its
  waterspouts—A chimney on fire—Mont Cenis—Fog and snow-storm—A
  postilion’s wonder—Danger of tourmente—Lanslebourg—A thick smoke
  and ill scent—Modane—Lesseillon—St. Michel

                              CHAPTER XII.


St. Jean de Maurienne—A tradition of two fingers—Story of a
  procession of bears at Henry the Second’s passage—Peculiar
  customs—Baptism—Funerals—Aiguebelle—La Carbonaria—Chambéry—Road
  by the Mont du Chat—A valley of the Rhone—Pierre Châtel once a
  monastery—Bellay—Murder committed by a notary—A peculiar
  race—Pont d’Ain—Cathedral of Brou—Its foundress and her
  motto—Bourg—Fair-time—An aubergiste—Montrevel—We are taken for
  part of Franconi’s troop—Tournus—Chalons—Arnay le
  Duc—Vermenton—Joigny—A poor traveller—The chapter of
  Sens—Montereau where Jean sans Peur was murdered—Melun—Paris—Fanny

                               CHAPTER I.

Ride to Chillon—Castle of La Tour du
  Peil—Chastellar—Chillon—Attentive gendarmes—Oubliettes—Destiny
  of their inhabitants—Salle de Justice—Torture room—Eating hall
  with its fleurs-de-lis—The dungeons—The beam—The interment in the
  lake—Bonnivard—His misfortunes—His prison—The first pillar having
  its own story—Sketches on the wall made by a captive—His
  escape—Drowned in the attempt two months before Bonnivard’s
  deliverance—Alexander Dumas’ name above that of Byron—The English
  amateur’s painting—The fat gendarme—A bad Bonnivard—Our
  determination to inhabit Chillon—Changed by thoughts of
  powder—Fanny our conductress—Ludlow’s house and tomb—Contrast
  between Protestant and Catholic cantons—Bulle—The bony hand holding
  a crucifix—The Counts of Gruyères—Fines paid for crimes
  perpetrated—The banner of Berne—Laws of the Simmenthal—The Bernese
  attacking Gruyères—Count Pierre’s danger—Plague described by
  Boccaccio—The Flagellans—The murdered Jews—Last of the Counts of
  Gruyères—Leaving Bulle—Fribourg—Battle of Morat—The lime tree—A
  monument of the young messenger—Berthhold, founder of Fribourg—Line
  drawn between plebeian and noble—Bridge—Organ.


We dined at one, in company of some gentlemanly Swiss and French
officers, and started at three for Chillon, passing on our way the
hamlet La Tour du Peil, and catching a glimpse as we rode by of its
ruined ancient castle, pillaged and burned by order of Berne, in
punishment for having allowed the passage of foreign soldiers to
Lausanne, where lay the camp of their foe, Charles, duke of Burgundy.
Vevay suffered for the like fault, being plundered also, and of the two
towns five hundred men were massacred.

There is nothing lovelier than this road, winding along the flank of
the mountains, here rich with wood. We passed Clarens, beautiful as
Byron’s description, hiding among its own trees, and straggling up the
hill side from the shore. The noble old castle of Chastellar on its
solitary mound, and the peaked stone spire of Montreux seeming to lean
against the forest, above which the Dent de Jaman stands, cold and
barren,—all the way the lake shining below, with the stern rocks of
Meillerie opposite, and the Alps closing the valley. The heat was
excessive; and the small vineyard flies so tormented our horses that
D——’s taste for the picturesque had well nigh vanished, when a bend
in the road brought us beneath a high bank, covered with old
walnut-trees, and opposite the rock on which Chillon stands, with its
towers and tall keep, the most picturesque of feudal castles. We
crossed the covered wooden bridge, where the gendarmes stand, smiling
welcome; and the horses consigned, each to the care of two, and left in
a dark stable to be dusted with walnut branches, we were sufficiently
tranquil as to their comfort to follow our guide, who was the wife of
the concierge. She led across two courts, and opened a heavy prison
door; it was “out of the sun and into a grave.” I obeyed her injunction
to hold fast her hand, when, having scrambled over rubbish, and through
partial darkness, she drew me to the brink of a square hole, and
pointed down a depth of eighty-six feet. It was one of the fearful
oubliettes, whose existence here was unknown till about fifteen months
since. Grown accustomed to the dim light, we could distinguish a coarse
woollen rug, now laid on the brink, but which was found below serving
as shroud to a skeleton. The victim died from the fall, or was left to
perish. In the same court-yard is the entrance to another, which was,
at pleasure, dungeon or place of execution. Its depth is sixty and some
feet; and from the top of the square opening descend three steps, the
commencement of a stair which goes no farther. The condemned was
lowered to the bottom, and his food administered in like manner. If
death was decided on, he was forgotten, as there was no other
communication with the living world.

A few steps lead to the salle de justice. The dryness of the air and
thickness of the walls has so preserved all within, that the curious
wooden ceiling, supported in the centre by pillars, which retain traces
of paint, remains; and the planks of the floor were only exchanged for
pavement, when, on the threats of France, the caissons of the Canton de
Vaud were assembled here. At one end of this hall is a small room with
a door, on a now closed staircase, near the wide chimney. At the other
is the salle de question. A pillar of wood, to which the prisoner was
bound, still stands,—as does a beam above it, pierced with holes for
pulleys, and a portion of the old ropes hanging from them. A second
beam, which supported a wheel on which the wretch was tortured, (tied
by the arms with weights to the feet,) crumbled down a few months ago.
The pillar is seared with the red-hot irons employed in the torture;
that by burning being continued during three-quarters of an hour, with
intervals of five minutes; if it induced confession, the private stair
from the small chamber conducted the condemned to the potence in the
dungeon below. The door has been walled up, on account of the vicinity
of the powder magazine. Our guide led to the eating-hall, which was the
kitchen also. The capitals of its pillars were ornamented with
fleurs-de-lis, she said, when a count of Savoy conducted hither his
bride, a daughter of France, perhaps Bonne de Bourbon, who married the
green count Amedée the Sixth, about 1355. The two carved oaken chests
with their curious locks, at the bottom of the room, are of the same
date. The view from these windows is beautiful beyond praise, and there
is “the little isle—the only one in view,” lying in the lake like a
floating basket of flowers. Our last visit was to the dungeons: the
first is the most modern, and least sad, as its loopholes are longer
and less narrow. On one of the sills they form in the thick wall sat a
Swiss girl, the light falling on her picturesque dress, touching her
smiling face and bare arms,—she animated the dim prison house. Between
this first dungeon and that of Bonnivard, there is one smaller and
darker, though light enough for its destination: for a few moments’
stay allows the eye to distinguish, crossing a space between its
pillars, a heavy beam, whose upper part is, in several places, deeply
worn by the ropes which, upholding heavy weights, were bound round it;
and a few paces behind, the steps of the narrow stair which conducts to
the fatal door of the justice hall. The opposite wall, against which
the lake ripples or foams in its various moods, has a square cavity,
now closed with stones; the bodies of those who died unheard and unseen
were cast forth there, and beneath the waves which told no tales. A
narrow portal opens on the dungeon where Bonnivard lay. I think I
reminded you before that he was prior of the abbey of St. Victor, a man
of pure life as well as courage, who exhorted the Genevese to reform,
and censuring the vices of the catholic clergy generally, as well as
their bishops in particular, was betrayed by false friends to the duke
of Savoy, whose anger he had above all excited, by urging an alliance
between Fribourg and Geneva. One of these friends received for reward
his rich priory. He was two years in prison, and set free and
reinstated in his benefice by Pierre de la Baume, bishop of Geneva. He
by force took possession of the property of which he had been deprived
in Savoy, which, notwithstanding his affection for Geneva, was his
country. The duke besieged him in his château of Cartigny, which,
unable to defend long, he was forced to fly from, and saw himself
almost wholly deprived of his revenues. The town of Geneva granted him
a pension, and sustained him in his adversity; and the irritated duke,
desirous only of obtaining possession of his person, granted him a
safe-conduct with a view to lure him on his territory. Bonnivard,
expecting no treachery, profited by the circumstance to visit his
mother, sick and old, at Seyssel; and intending to go thence to
Lausanne, he was seized on the Jura, and dragged to Chillon. The first
two years of his detention he passed in comparative liberty; but
Charles the Third visiting the castle, he was cast, by his order, into
the vault below the level of the lake, where are

                  “The seven pillars of Gothic mould.”

The first column has a story of its own, for a wall of separation, now
thrown down, divided it and a space of twelve feet square from the
prior’s prison, forming one which enclosed a young man, his companion.
On the walls are a few figures, in the costume of the time, rude but
spirited sketches, the work of his long leisure; they are fresh still.
Attached to the pillar is the portion of the broken ring which held his
chain, and an iron bar of his loophole was sawed through, to allow room
for the passage of a human body. Long toil, and the use of some
instrument left him inadvertently, severed the fetters and opened the
path; but he reckoned on his powers of swimming, forgetting they were
paralyzed by the space and air of a dungeon—he plunged into the lake,
and rose no more alive. Bonnivard was delivered two months later; it
was in March, 1536. Chillon remained the last possession of Savoy in
the Pays de Vaud. Confiding in its strength, her garrison’s boats
insulted all who were not subjects of Duke Charles, and haughtily
rejected the truce proposed to the Bernese by the emperor’s ambassador.
The Bernese army besieged it on the land side; the troops and artillery
of Geneva armed barks on the lake; the garrison was forced to
surrender, and Bonnivard set free. His pillar, retaining its iron ring,
is the second in order; the floor of rock round, worn by the uneasy
pacing of four years: on the column, among more perishing names, is
that of Byron. I noticed that of Alexander Dumas, so high above, that
to engrave its enormous letters he must have mounted a ladder. The
space on either side the range of columns which support the roof’s
groined arches, forms a sombre aisle, the inner wall left as nature
made it, irregular masses of living rock; that towards the lake
intersected with a few narrow loopholes high from the ground, which are
rather slits in the stone, so small that in the morning it is a dark
vault, and only when the beams shine low they come “creeping over the
floor.” At sunset, however, “the imprisoned ray” is not “dull:” for, as
if it acquired force from its concentration, it falls like a streak of
fire on the pillars and blocks of stone. As we saw it, the effect was
splendid, but partial, as at the extreme end an artist was sketching by
the light of candles, being otherwise in perfect obscurity. It is to
carry his materials that the young Swiss, whom we saw as we passed
again, comes daily. Last summer, an amateur, an English gentleman,
visited Chillon with the intention of painting not only the dungeon,
but Bonnivard! for this purpose he chose a gendarme of spare habit,
having a long beard and sallow face, chained him to the pillar, and
commenced his work, saying, “vous bon Bonnivard.” He could not, as you
may suppose from the specimen, explain himself in French; but Monsieur
Chéri (a strange name for a captive prior) understood his signs made
with money, and submitted with fortitude to lie robed and fettered on
the rocky floor. One day, unfortunately, a feeling of pity came over
his comrade in the court-yard above, and he descended to relieve him,
thinking to divide the duty, and that one might do as well as the
other, seeing both were gendarmes. The new comer was a healthy, very
young man, stout and beardless, unlike the studious prior, who had
eaten black bread in small quantities, and probably abstained from
shaving six years. The pallid gendarme feeling, like him he
represented, the blessing of freedom, sprang up in delight; and the
amateur, in despair, when the fat man assumed the chain, could only
hold his first prisoner fast, stamp his foot and shake his head at the
other, and repeat all the French he knew, “Lui, bon Bonnivard, rester;
vous aller, pas bon Bonnivard!” He grew at last so angry that my
conductress, who had, she said, almost expired with laughter,
interfered, and Chéri once more cast himself at the foot of his pillar.
As we went out, she mentioned the circumstance of having two English
ladies “en pension.”

D—— looked up in intense delight, the horses were in a good stable,
the gendarmes would make admirable grooms. Our best fare might be fresh
eggs, it was true, but what signified our dinner compared with the
advantages of a view of the lake, with the “Isle’s tall trees;” of
walking from the oubliettes to the torture chamber, and resting under
the potence, and in Bonnivard’s dungeon, a lodging of three chambers,
looking on the lake, which we should hear “ripple night and day.” We
told her we would come in the spring, when we should have repassed the
mountains, and she looked rather surprised and very much pleased at the
sudden wandering of our senses.

Arrived at the stable, we were confirmed in our resolve, by seeing the
gendarmes obeying orders; one holding a horse’s head, another shaking a
bough, in the places where we had left them, like the warriors in the
Belle au Bois dormant. As I mounted Fanny, the châtelaine asked
permission to touch my hand, and unaccustomed, I suppose, to see ladies
on horseback, said it would be “amusant” to have us there; so we rode

Arrived on the brow of the hill, we looked down on the romantic castle,
and my eye lighted on the chapel roof. “Dear me,” said I, looking at
D——, “the powder magazine!”

“Humph,” said D——, looking down in turn.

“Is there any danger?”

“There might be;” and thereupon we both commenced enumerating all our
memories held of powder mishaps; till at last I began to think I might
fear to order dinner, from dread of some mischance in the chimney, and
to ride Fanny, lest her shoes should strike fire against the stones of
the court-yard. We talked the _pour_ and the _contre_ the whole way,
and arrived at the most perfect indecision.

We had a splendid view of a stormy sunset, of golden lake and
blackening mountains, and when we reached Vevay, night had completely
closed, and we, who had never seen the road till that afternoon, were
puzzled. Fanny was not so; she assumed her wisest manner, wound through
the crooked streets, and stopped at the stable of the Trois Couronnes.


Rain all day, detaining us within doors; we hope to leave the 20th for
Berne and Fribourg.

We walked this evening up the steep road which leads to the church of
St. Martin, as its terrace has a view no one should fail to see before
quitting Vevay. The church is simple and pretty, of the thirteenth
century. Ludlow’s monument, raised by his widow, is within it, built
against the wall; Broughton’s tombstone forms part of the pavement
near. The former’s memoirs, in which he so prides himself on his crime
as regicide, were first published at Vevay, where he lived under the
protection of the magistrates of Berne.

When William the Third ascended the throne, he returned to England, and
to London, but finding it possible that he might still be held there in
the light of an assassin, he thought it more prudent to return to
Vevay. He was seventy-three when he died; his house is still shown, and
the inscription he engraved above its doorway,

                       “Omne solum forti patria,”

was effaced but a short time since.

                                                          18th August.

We left Vevay late, taking the road which passes through Bulle to
Fribourg, being counselled against that by Romont. Even this is far
from a good one for horses, being for a considerable distance a painful
succession of hills, paved and steep, but from which the views are
beautiful, back to Vevay and the lake, and down the precipices to the
valley, where the Vevayse flows between deep and wild banks.

Arrived at the Châtel St. Denis, with its old castle on the mound, we
could observe the contrast between the Protestant and Catholic cantons,
even between the habitations which lie on either side the frontier,
scarce a stone’s throw apart. This is the first village of the canton
Fribourg, and for the first time we saw heaps of manure piled before
the cottage doors, with the tame pig rooting in them. As it was a
holiday, the peasants who passed us were in their gayest costume, the
men with their full coloured waistcoat sleeves, the young girls with
their hair braided across their brows, and the black riband dividing it
from the enormous mass behind, for they wear their own tresses plaited
over a foundation of wool, which gives them an unnatural bulk; but as
they are commonly fresh and good-looking, not absolutely unbecoming. A
few ancient ladies, dressed after this fashion, looked far less well.
With all this attention to toilette, the poverty and dirt of the
dwellings whence they issued was melancholy. They have here a character
more entirely Swiss, as the lodging of the family and the cow stable
are under the same roof, and the warmth of the cattle being necessary
to the poor, to whom it often supplies the place of fuel, only the
richer proprietors run a partition between. It is seldom that even the
first few feet from the ground are built in stone. Fire, when it
occurs, is awfully destructive, their roofs, chimneys, and walls all
wood, and that intended for fuel piled against the planks outside,
probably for the sake of warmth, as the wind whistles through every

The plain which extends from the top of the long hill to Bulle is
covered with rich pasture, stretching thence up the mountains, and
dotted with chalets.

It is a most picturesque town; the old brick building, with its high
tower, and small turrets with pointed roofs, is the castle of Bulle,
now the prefet’s residence. The Cheval Blanc, where we stopped, is a
good inn, and the view from the windows lovely, even in Switzerland.
There was nearly opposite, a little to the left, the castle tower and
its heavy walls, gilded by the sunset,—the road below, which wound on
towards Gruyères; its cottages with their galleries and jutting roofs,
and outside stair, advancing or retreating on either side, and between
green trees, their background a mountain range, whose pine forests were
blue in the distance; beyond a copse in the plain, (shining in the sun
also,) the town and ancient castle of Gruyères crowned one hill to the
right; a second rose abruptly behind it, wooded and in shadow; and
stretching darkly and far away behind and beyond them, the mountains,
which peak above peak shut in the valley of the Simmenthal.

While D—— was employed in superintending the evening comforts of
Grizzle and Fanny, the good-natured fille d’auberge was my guide
through the streets to the chapel of the Capucin convent, which has a
strange altar, I think of gilt crockery, and a pulpit whose effect is
peculiarly horrid, as out from it projects a solitary arm, in a Capucin
sleeve, whose bony fingers hold a crucifix.

While our dinner was preparing, for nine o’clock to-night, (those who
ride a journey keeping irregular hours,) D—— and myself strolled
towards Gruyères, along the winding road as far as the wooden bridge
which crosses the torrent of Trême, near the tower which bears the same
name, and was an outpost of the lords of Gruyères. The castle is
interesting from its age and extraordinary preservation.

The precise origin of the Comtes de Gruyères is unknown; but Müller
says they were rich and powerful even in the eleventh century. The
mountain which rises behind the castle is called La Tine, and the
Saarine foams and roars among the dark pines of its defiles. Its early
possessors depended for their revenues on agriculture only; their wars
were with the wolves, and their proudest conquests the cultivation of a
desert. The younger branches of their house owned as their inheritance
the forest-castle of Mont Salvans, and a few mountain pastures: they
lived in company of their knights among their herdsmen, and with a
simplicity resembling theirs; and from the height on which their
château of Œx still stands watched over and protected their vassals.

After the battle of Laupen, and when peace had ensued, the counts,
impoverished by the wars, were constrained by their need to part with
various rights and privileges. In 1341 Count Pierre mortgaged for ten
years to the inhabitants of Gruyères the duties they were wont to pay
on each head of cattle, those on forage, cheese, and butter, and also
the receipt of the fines paid for crimes perpetrated in the forest.
Three times at this period did Berne revive the feud with Gruyères.

The Count Pierre above-mentioned, deceased, left the administration in
the hands of a namesake, whose connexions in the Simmenthal rendered
him sufficiently powerful there to manifest the old hatred of his house
to the seigneur of Weissenburg, citizen of Berne. The greater part of
the Simmenthal was under the count’s protection; but many of its farms
and châteaux belonged to the lords of Weissenburg and others, having
been built by their ancestry. Count Pierre of Gruyères marched against
Weissenburg; Banneret Peter Wendschaz commanded the Bernese against
him. At that spot of the Simmenthal there are heights which narrow the
passage, and the Bernese, who had strayed to plunder cattle, received a
sore punishment for their lack of foresight. The banneret himself,
fighting with the courage of despair, surrounded and overpowered,
collected his failing strength for a last effort, hurled the banner of
the republic above the heads of his assailants, and died consoled,
because it was unprofaned by the touch of a conqueror: the Bernese
mournfully bore it within their walls.

The peasants of the Simmenthal enacted laws for their own territory;
that on fines showing a chivalrous spirit which did them honour. As it
was presumed that the offended might defend himself against a blow, the
offender was fined one livre only; the man who uttered abuse was fined
four, and he who falsely gave the lie in a judge’s presence, ten
livres, since it was considered most difficult to guard against slander
and calumny.

Required by their allies of Fribourg to march with them against the
sire of Grumingen, vassal of Gruyères, the Bernese gladly answered to
the call, and seized on his castle, though he sued for peace. The count
and his knightly companions were wont to pursue their chivalrous sports
on the green meadows which stretch beneath the castle. The count’s
attendants had dispersed themselves in a wood not far distant, and in
the copses which surround the Tour de Trême, when the men of Berne and
Fribourg, with a force superior to his own, surprised the count himself
in the oak-tree meadow. Pierre fought with the heroism of his antique
race, but the numbers had well nigh overpowered him, when two of his
vassals, Clarembold and Ulric Bras de fer, resolved to save him at all
hazards, flung themselves before his person, favoured his retreat, and
guarding the narrow defile through which he had passed, kept his
enemies at bay, till the count, who had hastily sounded his war-note
and gathered his scattered troop, spurred back to the charge, put the
assailants to the rout, and many of them to the sword. To Clarembold
and Bras de fer, who covered with blood hailed his reappearance and
joined in his attack, he accorded privileges and franchises, which he
extended to their posterity. Their memories are still honoured in their
village of Villars sous Monts.

Soon after this, in 1349, ushered in by fearful earthquakes, broke out
the plague described by Boccaccio, which desolated Europe and Asia.
According to the general belief, a third of the population of
Switzerland died; the churchyards were filled to overflowing, and the
victims buried in unconsecrated ground, and without religious rites,
which priests were wanting to perform; whole regions were left desert,
and lordships abandoned and unclaimed by friend or foe. Struck with
terror, men strove to avert the scourge by the various and horrid means
prompted by fear and fanaticism. It was then that numerous travelling
societies, the Flagellans, wandered from canton to canton, inflicting
blows and torment on themselves, for the sins of the world. Where they
passed, the excited people devoted to death a number of Jews, innocent
of all crime; it is well known that at Kybourg, the more enlightened
Duke Albert was forced against his will to deliver three hundred to the
flames; that at Bâle they were all driven into a wooden house, and
burned with it; while at Constance and at Eslingen, in the synagogue,
the despairing people inflicted death on themselves.

The vassals of Gruyères, unflinching in battle, attached and faithful
to their lords, had obtained from them so many and important
privileges, either as reward for their services, or in barter for the
sums of money their necessities demanded, as to become almost as free
as the most democratic states of Switzerland. But for their insatiable
ambition, the counts of Gruyères might have been the happiest of
mortals; but they looked from their tall towers on the height, less to
rejoice in their possessions than to mourn that they saw their
boundary. Not being kings themselves, they strove to find consolation
in rendering themselves necessary to royalty; and they led their
vassals from their flocks, and mountain pastures, and calm homes, to
fight in foreign quarrels, and in climates so different from their own,
that those sunk victims to the change who had been spared by the sword.

Count Michel of Gruyères, who died in 1570, was the last of his line.
He was one of that brotherhood of La Cuiller, who quitted their own
lands to ravage those of Geneva. He had commanded their army, forced
many of his vassals to serve under their banner; and also sold yearly,
and for several years, five hundred men to the French armies in Italy.
They had rendered good service to the king of France, but Henry the
Second, under various pretences, refused to pay the immense sums he
owed to Gruyères; and Michel saw his country depopulated in vain, his
debts accumulating, though he had received a large loan from his
neighbours and sold his subjects a portion of his lordly privilege,
till at last, persecuted by his creditors, and notwithstanding his
carelessness of their welfare, mourned by his devoted vassals, he
abandoned the inheritance of his fathers, which he saw before his eyes
divided between the two cantons, and concealed his shame and sorrow in
the castle of a relative in Burgundy, where he died poor and without an

                                                          19th August.

So unwell this morning as to fear durance vile at the Cheval Blanc,
but, being determined to go if possible, set off at three. I had hoped
our road lay beneath Gruyères, but it led through the streets of the
town, and thence for a considerable distance across rich meadows, their
green pastures spotted with chalets; farther on they are divided by
pine forests, the road skirting or passing through them, the sunshine
reposing on their verdant glades, or playing among their old trunks, or
excluded where these have been felled and supplied by multitudes of
young stems crowded in nature’s extravagance. The hedges were gay with
wild pinks and woodbine, and on the sides of the road were strips of
green and rivulets for Fanny’s feet. We left on the right a gorge,
through which the Saarine flows, commanded by a noble looking ruin. The
peasantry here are almost German, and therefore perhaps a milder and
more amiable race than the French or Genevese. They issued from their
cottages and ran from their work in the fields to see us pass by, but
always took off their hats and wished good evening. The clouds had
threatened rain, but the wind, which whistled in the firs, blew it over
us and left only a fine stormy sky above the mountains, partly hiding
their white heads, while the sun was brilliant in the valley. As we
passed the meadows where the cows were grazing, and the little cowherd
lay almost hid in the clover, we thought of Lord Byron’s praise of the
bells; their tones, differing and harmonizing, tinkled sweet music.
Nearer Fribourg is a fair view into the gorge from the road, which
hangs over it where a sweep of the Saarine makes almost an island of a
tract of pine grove, and a suspension bridge has been flung from the
peninsula to the shore. An avenue of fine trees leads into Fribourg, of
which the first view with its dim mountains and most golden valley, is
more striking than that of any town I have seen as yet, from the
magnitude of the mighty chasm, over whose very edge the houses seem to
hang giddily high above the torrent, and the feudal watch-towers, which
guarded once, and are still ranged along the winding of its opposite
shore. The far famed bridge was not visible, but we could see that now
in progress, crossing the gorge of the Gotteron, which issues from the
Saarine. In its present and unfinished state it hangs in an awful curve
over the abyss, like a thread for a fairy rope-dancer.

The avenue passed, the road becomes precipitous, and scarcely, on a
dark night, safe we crossed a bridge, and rode beneath an ancient gate
to enter the old town. The houses which line the streets, narrow and
ill-paved, are curious and of great age, as are the quaint fountains;
at the summit of whose gilt and painted columns figure grotesque saints
and Virgins. After various windings we reached this hotel, the
Zahringerhof, which should be chosen for its situation and view, as it
is close to the bridge and built on the very edge of the chasm.

                                                          20th August.

Stayed at Fribourg, a cold day broken by hail-storms, and passed it in
walking over the town and along the narrow valley of the Gotteron. Not
far from the hôtel on the Place, and opposite the town hall, which is
built on the site of the palace of Duke Berthhold, is the venerable
lime-tree, planted, according to tradition, the 22nd June, 1476, the
day of the battle of Morat.

The young soldier who brought the tidings was a native of Fribourg; he
had been wounded in the conflict, and feeling he grew weaker as he
approached the town from fatigue and loss of blood, and that his shout
of victory waxed too feeble to be heard, he gathered a bough as he
passed, and waved it over his head in token of rejoicing. Arrived at
this place, where the townsmen were assembled, he faltered forth his
news and sunk down to die. They planted on the very spot his lime-tree
branch, and it lived and grew his monument, and is now so old, that the
decaying branches are rested on the four stone pillars and wooden
trellis-work which surround it; there is an express order to tie no
animal near, but it is dying of extreme age, and will hardly outlive
another winter.

Berthhold, duke of Zahringen, was imperial governor of Zurich,
landgrave of Burgundy, and lieutentant of Œchtland and Lausanne. By his
command ancient villages were surrounded by walls and free towns built,
behind whose fortifications the peasants of the empire, who united
themselves to the inhabitants, might rest in peace and security. The
love of change, the hope of gain, but above all of liberty, quiet, and
order, aided in peopling these towns. The duke, as hereditary governor,
and because the high roads and bridges were everywhere property of the
feudal lord, taxed each house, and levied a duty on all merchandise;
and also, when a subject died without heirs, inherited a third of his
possessions. The citizens were tried by twelve or twenty-four of their
own body, presided, over by an “avoyer” elected yearly, and sentence
pronounced in accordance with the facts proved by a sufficient number
of witnesses. Each townsman was, during his life, master of his own
property, and it fell to his widow in case of his demise. The whole
town took care of the orphans. The feudal lord could neither force a
man to become a citizen, nor prevent an inhabitant of his town from
departing if so pleased him; but freemen and serfs sought therefore the
more willingly within it a safeguard from the dangers consequent on
dispersion; and the serfs were considered free if during the first year
their master failed to claim them and prove their servitude by the
affirmation of seven relatives. When the lord of the city required
their presence, they were bound only to journey to a distance whence
they might return to sleep in their own homes.

In the year 1178, Berthhold the Fourth, whose father and uncle had set
the example of encouraging these establishments, chose the village
built along the precipices of the Saarine, and founded his town of
Fribourg partly on a territory belonging to the abbey of Payerne, but
mostly on his own land, and with the aid and counsel of various barons.
It became inhabited; boasting freedom, but certainly not equality, for
the nobles, as yet unused to citizenship, kept the line of demarcation
so strongly marked as even to fix on a separate place of burial, and,
in consequence of this, six hundred years passed without so confounding
distinctions, as to give one language to the town on the shore, and
that on the crags above it—German being the dialect most in use among
the inhabitants of the former, while their fellow-citizens spoke French
only. This is no longer the case, but in 1794, when Müller wrote, many
who lived in the one spot were unintelligible to the other.

Taking one of the steep streets, which is paved in steps as a stair, we
walked to the massy roofed wooden bridge, across which the diligence to
Berne travelled before the new one was built, the descent and ascent
occupying about an hour. From between its heavy wooden work you have a
good view of the suspension bridge, 174 feet above the bed of the
torrent, and which, though so much longer than the Menai, for its
length is 905 feet, appears of so much lighter construction; from this
spot the Zahringen hôtel seems a real castle in the air. We crossed the
Saarine, and turned to the left, and under an old archway of Duke
Berthhold’s time, which forms the entrance to the gorge of the
Gotteron. It is a lonely and beautiful glen, sunk deep between wooded
crags which barely allow room for a path way beside the stream, which
bounds brightly on, flashing in the sun, while it turns the heavy
wheels of rustic mills, as if glad of its own usefulness; and farther,
where the valley is less narrow, winding through the small green
meadow, and among the picturesque wooden cottages, as if seeking repose
near those it has toiled for. In the spring, the quiet river becomes at
times a destructive torrent, uprooting tree and dwelling. About
Fribourg cretinism exists, and among the elder peasantry the goitre is
common—we saw in the glen one poor idiot, who howled and gibbered as
we went by.

Dined in company of a French family—the elder hope just issued from
the Jesuits’ college, a disagreeable specimen of their training, with
large black hands and unpleasant habits. In the evening went to the
cathedral, which in itself is only gaudy, but whose organ and organ
player are most wonderful. Listening to the higher tones, it was
difficult to persuade myself that I did not hear a chorus of sweet
voices, and its “storm” did not resemble an earthly instrument touched
by a mortal hand; it was like “nothing but thunder,” and solemn and
awful, as it rolled along the aisle’s dusk in the evening.

                              CHAPTER II.

Canton of Berne—Village where the Swiss troops obtained a victory over
  the French force in ’98—Berne—Bears in all forms—Their revenues
  diminished—Their new baptism—Foundation of Berne—Rodolph of
  Erlach—Laupen—Rodolph chosen guardian of orphans of the Count of
  Nidau—Murdered by his own son-in-law—Cathedral—Monument to Duke
  Berthhold—His wife’s execution—Charles Louis of Erlach massacred by
  his own soldiers during French invasion—Treatment of Berne by the
  French—Thun—Privileges—Castle of Thun—The brothers—The
  banquet—The murder—The “pension”—An acquaintance—The sketcher in
  haste—A Marseilles story—Spietz—The golden manor—Adrian of
  Bubenberg—His saving Morat—His embassy—His return as a
  minstrel—Unterseen—Unspunnen once the property of the Eschenbach
  family—Walter of Eschenbach—Confidant of the parricide Duke
  John—Murder of the Emperor Albert—Vengeance of Queen
  Agnes—Walter’s son spared—Walter a shepherd—Lauterbrunnen—The
  cascade—Grindelwald—A buried chapel in the glacier—The Harder—The
  grave of an only son—Return to Thun.

                                                          21st August.

Left Fribourg for Berne, and was disappointed in the road, which
presents a long series of endless hills, and (as heavy clouds, which
brought us several hail-storms, hid the white mountains) less
interesting than those hitherto travelled.

At the limit of the cantons of Berne and Fribourg, where the river
Sense separates them, the country is wooded and beautiful, but of a
mild character and resembling England. The name of the village is
Neunneck; and here, on the 5th of March, 1798, the same day on which
Berne surrendered to another column of the French army, two thousand
Swiss, commanded by Colonel de Grafenried, defeated the French, drove
them across the Sense, killed or wounded fifteen hundred of their men,
and took eighteen pieces of cannon. They made no prisoners, but marched
up the mountain with fixed bayonets, and forced the enemy from all his
positions. They lost themselves 173 soldiers, and great numbers were

We exchanged here the seeming poverty of the canton Fribourg for the
air of happiness and riches peculiar to this. The peasantry appear a
civil and kindly race. The females wear dark dresses and black velvet
caps, whose broad wired lace worn far back from their sunburnt faces
looks like the outspread wings of a hornet. The entrance to Berne is
not on this side (that of the plain) striking. A long avenue leads to a
handsome gate flanked by two modern bears; for the bear is omnipresent.
Armed cap-a-pie on the column of one fountain, on another standing as
esquire beside the figure of Duke Berthhold, forming a procession on
the clock-tower, which in his time guarded the outer wall, marking in
effigy the butler at the inn, and in _propria persona_ inhabiting the
town ditch outside the Aarberg gate, where four of the fraternity live
on (alas!) diminished revenues, for the property bequeathed them
towards the close of the last century by a bear-loving old lady, and
which, it is said, had accumulated to 70 millions of francs, was seized
by the French in ’98, and with the remainder of the town-treasure, and
the bears themselves led away captives, were transported to Paris. In
insult to the conquered, the animals received fresh names, and the new
one of each was inscribed on his travelling caravan, being that of a
_magistrate_ of Berne!

It was in 1191, when the great barons of the Alps and the most powerful
lords of Burgundy leagued their forces against Berthhold the Fifth,
lieutenant of the empire, either, historians say, in hatred of his
equitable administration, or in jealousy of his still increasing sway,
that he inclosed as small towns various villages for his own and his
vassals’ security; and seeking out another spot under the protection of
the imperial franchise, equally distant from all his enemies, and
unsuspected by his partizans, he chose a hamlet called Berne, built on
a peninsula formed by the rapid Aar, when it rushes from the lake of
Thun; and, about a month after he had defeated the leagued lords in one
of the high valleys, surrounded it with a ditch and walls. Many knights
and nobles took up their residence there; among the rest, Rodolph of
Erlach, of an ancient Burgundian house, and whose descendants have
seven times given chiefs to the republic, and twice saved Berne from
ruin. The laws were similar to those of Fribourg.

In 1338, the year in which the emperor Louis of Bavaria convoked the
diet of Frankfort to discuss the affair of his excommunication, 147
years after the foundation of Berne, when she had no protector and few
allies, the counts and barons of Œchtland, Aargau, and Burgundy, urged
on by the emperor, projected her destruction. The lords of the house of
Neuchâtel, the counts of Kibourg, and Pierre of Gruyères and others,
assembled in the castle of Nidau, whither, notwithstanding her alliance
with Berne, came ambassadors from Fribourg, to say that the injuries
they all suffered had a common origin, that Berne strove to level the
nobles to the condition of the populace, and it being vain to essay by
partial attacks to set bounds to her audacity, it would be well that
united forces should raze her city to the ground.

Berne acted nobly and calmly—she besought no foreign protection, but
said, in a conference which took place between her delegates and the
feudal lords, that “to peace she would sacrifice all save justice.” She
summoned Fribourg to a diet held at Blamatt, reckoning on the memory of
their common founder and long friendship; but her deputies received no
token of peace or amity, and Berne felt she was abandoned. During this
time, 700 lords with the coronet on their casques, 1200 armed knights,
3000 horsemen, and more than 15,000 foot, were gathering against Berne.

Laupen, which is also on the Sense, four miles lower down than
Neunneck, besieged by the allies, had demanded and obtained succour
from Berne. The Bernese were themselves embarrassed in the choice of a
general; of the brave knights and citizens who surrounded the avoyer of
Bubenberg, none esteeming himself capable of a command on which
depended the fate and liberty of their descendants; and while they
still sate irresolute in council, Rodolph, knight and castellan of
Erlach, son of Ulrich, under whose command many still living had
conquered the leagued nobles at Donnerbuhel forty years before, rode
armed into Berne.

He was at the same time guardian of the young count of Nidau and
citizen of Berne. To conciliate his will with the fidelity he owed his
suzerain, he represented to his ward, that to serve the cause of the
nobles against his fellow-citizens would injure his interests beyond
reparation; and the young count, as in reply he scornfully bade him
join the ranks of his peers, said, “With two hundred coroneted casques,
and a hundred and forty knights devoted to my banner, it is indifferent
to me to lose a man.”

Erlach replied coldly, “You have called me a man, Sir Count; I will
prove to you that I am one.”

When he had dismounted and appeared before the senate, the sight of him
reviving the memory of Donnerbuhel and his father, he was named general
by acclamation, and the avoyer placed the banner of the republic in his

As he stood holding it, he addressed the citizens:

“I have fought with you,” he said, “in six battles, where our numbers
were always inferior, and always victorious. Discipline is a sure means
of conquest, and without it courage is of no avail. You, artisans, who
are freemen, and obey unwillingly, you can remain free only by learning
obedience to those to whom it is due; without absolute authority I will
not be your general. I do not fear the foe; with God’s aid and yours we
will drive him back, as when you were led by my father.”

The people of Underwald and of Soleure were the sole allies of Berne.
Alms were distributed, solemn vows and processions made, during the
brief time which intervened. One night, by the light of the moon, the
general gave the troops the signal to depart. They were in all about
six thousand. The women and children, who remained on the summit of the
walls to watch and to pray, followed them with their eyes till they
could distinguish them no longer, over the unequal ground and in the
doubtful light. Descending thence they sought, the poor the churches,
their superiors the private oratories of their mansions, and remained
the livelong day in prayer; while the avoyer of Bubenberg, and others
of the senate’s oldest members, remained sitting in council, to provide
at all events for the city’s safety.

Rodolph of Erlach led on his troops in the most perfect order, taking
up his position, about mid-day, at a short distance from Laupen on a
height, and flanked by a forest. Several of the knights of the opposing
army, which was encamped in sight, rode forth from the ranks to survey
the Bernese, and kept up a conversation of mingled raillery and bravado.

The young count of Nidau augured differently of the result: “I shall
lose land and life to-day,” he said, “but I will sell them dearly.” In
the attack, the rear guard of the Bernese, composed of inexperienced
troops, was seized with panic, and fled. Erlach, to whom the news came,
said gaily, “Victory is ours, friends; we have lost the clog of
cowards!” and dashing forward, heading the young men he had assembled
round his own person, the flower of Berne, he broke through the masses
of the enemy’s infantry. Thenceforth the fortune of the day was no
longer doubtful. The young count of Nidau fell one of the first, and
the Bernese army, returned from the pursuit, kneeled down to offer up
thanksgiving on the field where it had conquered, and according to
custom passed the night there; the following morning saw its triumphal
return to Berne.

Diebold Baselwind, the priest who had harangued them before the battle,
marched first; behind them were borne the banners and arms of the
fallen, and Rodolph of Erlach, contented with reviving his father’s
fame in his own, deposed his sovereign authority.

The count of Nidau had left two young children; and their relatives of
the house of Neuchâtel, too feeble themselves to defend the lordship,
feared with reason to confide it to a foreign prince. Their conduct
speaks the highest praise of the knight of Erlach. They employed the
mediation of the bishop of Basle to pray that he, “whose integrity was
as well known as his valour, would receive as his charge the orphan
boys and the lordship of Nidau.” He accepted the trust; a peace was
concluded between Nidau and Berne, and the dead count’s sons, Rodolph
and Jacques, enjoyed undisturbed the inheritance of their brave father.

Time had gone on, and the castellan of Erlach, grown an aged man, lived
at Reichenbach, a solitary spot on the shores of the Aar, which had
also been his father’s residence. He had two sons, and a daughter
married to the esquire of Rudenz.

One day of the year 1360, when he had employed, as was his wont, his
domestics in his fields and gardens, and sate in his halls with no
company save his dogs couched on the floor, and his sword of the battle
of Laupen suspended from the wall, his son-in-law came to seek him. He
was a dissipated and reckless man, and as they conversed together, high
words ensued on the subject of Margaret’s marriage portion. The knight
was white-headed and feeble; and as he reprimanded Rudenz with dignity
and gravity, his son-in-law started from his seat, seized the sword
which hung near him, and plunged it into the old man’s heart.

The howling dogs pursued him to the forest, whither he fled, and when
the news got wind, there was neither noble nor citizen who did not rise
in arms to pursue the parricide. He died shortly, but in what manner is
not known.

This is a long digression, but the ride through the sombre streets of
the old town calls to mind the man who was named its irreproachable
hero. The date of the most ancient mansions now standing is of 1405, as
in that year the entire city then existing was destroyed by fire,
saving, however, the three massive towers, that of Duke Berthhold, the
prison, and Christopher’s tower, in the principal street of Berne.

The town has a gloomy aspect, with its low arcades resting on heavy
masonry. The streets have a deep dangerous ruisseau flowing down their
centre, bound by stone. I feared that my starting Fanny might break a
leg, by slipping down. We rode to the Faucon, which has, I believe
deservedly, the reputation of being one of the best inns in
Switzerland; but we had left Fribourg late, and lingered on the way,
and consequently found it full. The Couronne was a bad substitute; the
house is three hundred years old, and has objections attendant on its
worm-eaten wood and dirty old age, which I advise you to avoid; the
more so as its master is the first Swiss I have seen who unites
incivility with high charges. We paid the strangers’ homage to the
citizen bears, who are comfortably lodged without the Aarberg gate. The
largest received our visit in his bath, a stone bason, into which he
waddled on our approach, and remained while we stayed, staring hungrily
at us, up to his neck in water.

From the bears we walked to the cathedral, which stands on the terrace
above the Aar, looking down on the range of aristocratic buildings
which skirt it, their possessors’ coats of arms sculptured over their
portals, and their gardens sloping to the water, and on the range of
Bernese Alps, rising grandly in the distance, but half hidden to-day by
the heavy clouds.

This shady platform is raised one hundred and eight feet above the Aar,
yet into its wall was inserted a marble slab, recalling a singular
accident on the 25th of July, 1654. A young student, amusing himself
with his companions, vaulted on a horse which was quietly feeding under
the trees, and being a spirited animal, started violently away, and,
terrified by the shouts of Weinzapfli’s comrades, sprang with him over
the low parapet. The horse was killed on the spot, but the student, who
fell in soft garden ground, and only broke his arms and legs,
recovered, and became a pastor.

The minster is a fine Gothic building, and was commenced, in 1420, by
the son of the architect who built the famous tower of Strasburg.

The monument, surrounded by gaudy armorial bearings, was raised by the
town to Duke Berthhold the Fifth, in 1600. He was the last of the line
of Zæringen, for he had been left a widower early, with two young sons,
and contracted a second marriage with a countess of Kibourg. Either to
ensure the inheritance to her own future offspring, or won by the
jealous nobles to be their accomplice, this fury in human shape
poisoned the two children of her husband. Her guilt once proved to him,
neither the tenderness he had once felt for her, nor the thought that
by accusing one so nearly allied he tarnished the glory of his house,
could arrest the outburst of his paternal agony. In the year 1217 she
perished by the hands of the executioner; and Duke Berthhold, unwilling
to form another alliance after one so fatal, felt it a consolation that
in his person would close the misfortunes of his house.

Occupying a place in the aisle opposite that which contains Duke
Berthhold’s monument, is a long catalogue of names inscribed on marble
tablets; those of the brave men who fell in 1798, vainly resisting
foreign invasion.

The saddest fate was that of Charles Louis of Erlach, a man who, like
his ancestors, had deserved the esteem and love of his fellow-citizens.
Before the revolution he had served France, and was named field-marshal
at the moment of the French invasion in 1798. He had hurried to his
native town, and, like his great predecessor, been named by acclamation
general of the forces; but the then existing government was timid and
irresolute. Accompanied by eighty of his officers, like himself members
of the council, he presented himself before it the 24th of February,
and, by his energy and arguments, revived its hopes and raised its
courage. He was endowed with full powers to act as he should see fit as
soon as the yet unconcluded truce should expire. He left the city to
decide on the measures to be taken, but, even as the moment for their
execution arrived, received the order to suspend hostilities. The
government had abdicated its powers. Marshal Brune’s policy had sown
division in the senate as well as among the troops. Berne yielded
almost without resistance; and Erlach’s soldiers, blinded by suspicions
artfully instilled, and maddened by despair, massacred him in the
village of Wichdorff.

The treasure of the republic, accumulated through so many generations,
was seized on by Marshal Brune without even the formality of an
inventory taken. The Directory, informed of the omission, and in a case
of this sort placing little confidence in its general, despatched a
courier extraordinary with positive orders that it should be repaired.

A kind of list was in consequence hastily made by the marshal s
command, and himself wrote to the Directory—

“Vous verrez par l’état, dont je vous envoie copie, que les sommes
trouvées dans le trésor cadrent _à peu près_ avec les régistres.”

The most moderate calculation, for into it private losses and
depredations cannot enter, computes the losses of Berne (city and
canton) at forty-two millions of francs. It was asserted that of this
Brune had appropriated to himself the golden medals of the Hôtel de
Ville, twenty-two carriages, and above three hundred thousand francs in
specie!! This treatment of Berne followed close on assurances of
support and amity, for while the marshal’s forces were yet unassembled,
and before Schaumbourg’s reinforcement had arrived, France, through her
commissary, declared that she desired her neighbour’s freedom and
happiness only, and that, as soon as a government sufficiently
democratic should be established, the independence of Berne would be
respected, and the French army withdrawn.

                                                    23rd August, Thun.

Left the Couronne with its discomfort and dirty stables. A steep
descent leads to the bridge, beyond which run at right angles the two
roads, one leading hither, the other to Zurich, beneath noble avenues.
We had a lovely day and ride through a happy looking country, wood,
pasture and mountain, and passed through a village, where the laugh of
all the lookers-on from the windows saluted me as I rode Fanny in and
through a clear pond, far deeper than I thought, but out of which we
got to our honour.

Approaching Thun, the country is romantic and most beautiful. It was a
warm fine evening, and the old dark castle, now a prison, on the
height, with its peaked roof and four towers flanking it, and the
church by its side, stood out from a bright sky.

The Aar, which issues from the lake about a mile further, winds below,
rapid and blue as the Rhone. We crossed it on a covered wooden bridge,
and skirted the town, passing ancient gates and massive towers, and the
once fortified wall, to arrive hither.

The Pension Baumgarten stands on higher ground than the Hôtel Bellevue,
backed by wooded heights, to the foot of which its park extends; and
the rooms opening on flower-gardens look on the Aar, winding through
rich meadows, with scattered houses, and a grey feudal tower on the
near shore; and the Stockhorn, with its strange sharp peak projecting
above; and the massive pyramid of the Neisen beyond; the wreaths of
vapour floating along the side of the first serving its forests for
pedestal or canopy. On the right rose the castle; and to the left, far
away in the opening, the Jungfrau and her attendants, looking with the
blush of that sweet evening on them, I thought even lovelier than Mont

The rights of “bourgeoisie” attached to Thun make poverty almost
impossible, and its inhabitants are therefore less laborious than in
other parts of Switzerland; each citizen possessing a right of pasture,
building timber, and firewood, besides a yearly sum of money drawn from
the surplus revenues of their flourishing and unexpensive country. By a
strangely egotistical rule of the law-makers, these advantages attach
exclusively to the males, so that a female orphan left unmarried, or a
widow without a son, might find herself suddenly destitute, and
dependent on strangers’ charity.

The service of the English church is performed every Sunday by an
English clergyman in the Swiss church. No prospect can be more
beautiful than that from the churchyard of Thun. The wall is built on
the very edge of the precipitous hill it half circles; round and along
it, from distance to distance, are what elsewhere I should call
summer-houses, open stone edifices, on whose benches the inhabitants of
Thun sit in the shade, enjoying the glorious and varied views over each
side of the valley. A winding road, passing beneath an ancient gateway
and a stair of irregular steps, leads up the height on which the church
stands. The castle is but a few paces from it, on the platform of the
same hill: among its annals is written a bloody tale of family feud.

When the last duke of Zæringen, who had refused to become an emperor,
was interred in 1218 at St. Pierre in the Black Forest, his large
possessions were divided. Ulric of Kibourg, his brother-in-law,
inherited those situated in Burgundy; Berne and Zurich solicited and
obtained from the Emperor Frederic the Second the title of free towns;
and when the news, so long desired, reached Lausanne of the failing of
the line of Zæringen, (the fall of the founder of Berne twenty-five
years after its foundation,) the Bishop Berthhold of Neuchâtel convoked
together the chapter, knights, and citizens in the court of the church
of Notre Dame, and, solemnly cursing the memory of the deceased duke,
who had once made war against him, he gave (solemnly also) the advowson
of the bishopric into the hands of the Mother of God for ever!!

In the year 1332, Hartmann, count of Kibourg, possessed, with the
lordship of Thun itself, that of various villages surrounding it, as
well on the mountains as on the green plains through which flows the
Aar. Among these were Berthoud, Landshut, and other property of
allodial tenure. Thun and Berthoud, governed according to the sage
customs of their territory, had extended their limits by reason of
their increasing population. The avoyers of the count pronounced
judgment in accordance with a municipal code which even himself
respected. The richest and most ancient of the nobility thronged his
court and were his brothers in arms. When Hartmann of Kibourg died, his
widow, the countess Elizabeth, allowed an overweening influence to Senn
of Münsigen, a nobleman whose domains lay in the neighbourhood, and who
through her favour had become director of her councils. Her sons,
Hartmann, heir of Kibourg, and Eberard, were youths, and the eldest,
who hated his brother, used every means to conciliate Münsigen’s favour
to himself, and to prejudice him against Eberard, at that period
studying at Bologna, the cradle of all science then existing, at an
expense of sixteen marks yearly. Owing to his brother’s influence, this
remained undefrayed; and, having vainly besought its payment, Eberard
returned to his paternal castle to claim the portion left him by his

His relatives treated his demands with derision, and himself as a young
man who might indeed possess rights but who knew not how to uphold
them. One night, after a hunting or hawking party, the brothers had
arrived at the castle of Landshut, which is some leagues from Berthoud,
and Eberard, fatigued with exertion, slept by Hartmann’s side too
soundly to be at first aware of his treason. Hartmann bound him as he
lay, and sent him, thus secured and half naked, under a strong guard,
to Rochefort in Neuchâtel, Comte Rodolph of Neuchâtel being his wife’s
father. Arrived at his destination, Eberard accepted, perforce, for
arbitrator between their differences Duke Leopold of Austria. Leopold
pronounced that Hartmann should remain sole lord of the entire
patrimony; that Eberard should inhabit the castle of Thun, and of the
two hundred marks he received from his benefices as canon of Strasburg
and Cologne yield three parts to his brother to defray the debts of
their house. To this sentence the prisoner was obliged to subscribe,
and all the nobility of the lordship of Kibourg assembled by invitation
in the castle of Thun to celebrate the reconciliation of the brothers.
As the defrauded young man sate with them at the banquet, Count
Hartmann and the favourite, Senn of Münsigen, applauded each other
unconstrainedly on the success of their schemes: “Belike,” said the
former, alluding to Eberard’s inexperience and easiness of belief, “my
brother may need a tutor to teach him to sign our peace.”

Eberard had many friends among the guests, and this and other sarcasms,
which reached their ears, raised their choler, long restrained,—and
some started from the banquet and drew their swords. A fearful tumult
arose instantly. The furious guests, dividing themselves into two
parties, rushed madly at each other, and Hartmann was killed by chance
and in the obscurity on the steps of the tower stair. It was unknown
whether the instrument of this involuntary murder was Eberard in
person; but at the moment when the citizens of Thun, who, attracted by
the extraordinary noise, had armed in haste, rushed up the hill to the
castle to know its cause, the body of Count Hartmann, flung by some
violent hand from a window of the castle, made them an awful reply. The
greater number at once turned and fled; the few who lingered were taken
prisoners as a measure of precaution; and Eberard, giving orders to
close the gates, sent ambassadors to Berne, offering to become, himself
and those of his house, citizens of her city for ever, and to cede to
her, with a portion of his remaining possessions, the fief of Thun. The
Bernese marched thither without loss of time, took possession with
little difficulty, and confirmed the count in the place of power
occupied by his ancestors, on condition of his paying them a
contribution of one mark yearly.


We have of late borne with some days of Swiss rain, unintermitting from
morning to night. A _pension_ has one disadvantage: for its inmates
depend not on their own resources, but on the forced companions of its
breakfast, early dinner, and long evening. We are fortunate in an
agreeable party, particularly so in the acquaintance of an English
clergyman and his charming young wife, who, with her rosy children
round her, forms the prettiest picture imaginable. The _vie de pension_
consists in breakfasting, in irregular order, between eight and twelve;
dining at three, which interferes sadly with excursions or occupations;
drinking tea at eight; talking till ten; and going to bed to
re-commence on the morrow. This is bearable during sunshine; but when
we are shut up in bad weather, and deprived of our home occupations,
with torrents falling all day, and the moon shining at night in the
valley on so dense and white a fog that I at first took it for the
lake, which is a mile off, as has been the case the last few days, we
form in groups, and have recourse to a _leetle_ scandal (as I once saw
it written), which commences in the kitchen among the scourges thither
imported by the victims, their masters, and steals by degrees among
ourselves, where it sometimes finds somebody

                  “To point a moral or adorn a tale.”

And should we all be good naturedly-minded and charitable to our
neighbours, we pounce upon the cookery, and wonder that Madame
Rufenacht should be so niggardly an old personage, and how long will
last her dynasties of hard ducks and bony pigeons. An addition to our
circle, and an improving one, arrived to-day, in the persons of a
gentleman and lady from Marseilles, and whose conversation induced us
to let the poultry die and be served up in peace. I was amused by his
account of their passage on board the steamer, from Geneva to Lausanne.
Of the party was a lady speaking French imperfectly, and sketching with
remarkable assiduity, as she went along, notwithstanding the velocity
of the boat’s motion. Monsieur R——, though not professionally so, is
really an artist; the lady was a sketcher,—like one who described to
me that he never made more than two perpendicular and three horizontal
lines for any view, filling up the vacuum after; or like another who,
having sketched the falls of the Rhine, showed them to a lady, who
exclaimed—“Oh! that is the beautiful field we just now walked through,
and the stile we jumped over.”

This lady had united to a very faint idea of their geographical
position a strong desire of bearing away in her album drawings of all
the mountains in Switzerland; and the young French gentleman could not
resist the opportunity for amusement: he had been her interpreter
already. Mont Blanc, she heard all voices echo, and used her pencil in
haste. The Buet, with its white round head, was in sight also, and the
lady said in an interrogatory tone, “Mont Cenis, Monsieur?”

“Oui, Madame,” said her deceiver gravely, and she hurried to mark down
the shape of the mountain, and write under it “Mont Cenis,”—extract
the leaf from her book, and with due care lay it in her portfolio. She
looked about again.

“Mont Pilatre, Monsieur?” said she, forgetting that Lucerne was not
there; and pointing to the Voiron,—

“Bien loin, Madame; bien haut,” said the artist, and a cloud above the
Voiron was again marked down, and inscribed Mont Pilatre. The steamer
was passing Coppet, and Monsieur R—— pointed out the château, giving
it its proper name.

“Ha!” said the lady, cutting her pencil, “Coppet château, Madame Staël.”

“Oui, Madame, voilà;” but alas! for the sketcher; below the château on
the lake shore is a square house, with a chimney at each end of its
ignoble roof, and three prosaic-looking windows. It was this she
believed to be Corinne’s cradle. The drawing was completed in a minute:
two upright lines for walls; two ears for chimneys; three blacker
strokes for windows; and under all, Château Coppet. You should have
heard him describe the complacency with which she drew a bit of the
Salève for Monterosa, and the gratitude with which she parted from him
who had shown her

                   “More things in heaven and earth,
                 Than are dreamt of in our philosophy.”

An anecdote Monsieur R—— repeated last evening, of a member of the
national guard of Marseilles, was too amusing to avoid telling you in
my turn:—

Just after the revolution of 1830, troops disembarked from Algiers,
bringing with them a large treasure, destined for Paris; it was to
leave Marseilles under an escort of the national guard, as the lower
orders were still in a state of excitement, which might render its
passage hazardous.

The person who commanded the escort had our acquaintance under his
orders, and Monsieur R—— was rather surprised, on entering the
suburbs, to hear himself and his comrades ordered to the rear, while
the waggon with its load of specie went, pioneer fashion, first. He
asked the reason:—

“You see,” said the commandant, (a stout peaceable man,) “that our
charge being at some distance from us, in case of its being attacked we
shall have notice of it before the offenders reach ourselves.”

“Therefore we had better ride to the front, and be ready to meet them.”

“Not at all; we should be deprived of discretionary power, being only
six; by remaining behind, we can best judge whether the attacking force
matches our own, or is too strong; and may, at our choice, advance or
retreat for reinforcement.”

The escort staid in the rear and the convoy travelled in safety.


Notwithstanding the assurances of the whole pension, that all cascades
are alike,—that wood, water, and mountain may grow familiar to
weariness; notwithstanding melancholy prognostics of misfortunes, which
may happen to the horses,—and fine weather, which may not last for our
journey to Italy, I have insisted on seeing the Staubbach; and to
Interlaken, or rather towards Interlaken, we rode last Wednesday, for
we were hardly a mile away when the mist closed around us, obscuring
the view from the higher ground over the lake and towards Thun, which
is so lovely in sunshine. D—— proposed turning back, but we were
averse to seeing the whole contents of Baumgarten shake their heads at
our discomfiture, as they had done when foretelling it ere we started.
We took refuge instead under a pear tree in an old woman’s garden, an
agreeable situation, in which we remained an hour, watching the
torrents which concealed everything else a dozen paces from us: and as
the bad weather did not set in as violently as it sometimes does in the
mountains, took advantage of each clearer half hour to proceed, and of
the shelter the road afforded when the rain returned.

In this manner we arrived, not very promptly, opposite Spietz, whose
old castle is romantically placed on a promontory, near the road and on
the lake shore. It belonged to the lords of Bubenberg, and went by the
name of the Golden Manor. One of its most noted possessors was Adrian
of Bubenberg. In the year 1470 he had been deputed to the court of Duke
Charles of Burgundy, and received by him with esteem and affection. On
his return he remained attached to the Burgundian party, inasmuch as he
believed a continued peace with Burgundy beneficial to Berne.
Hagenbach, however, had been seized and executed; and Charles’s fury
venting itself not merely in menaces against Switzerland, he named his
officer’s brother to fill his vacant place, with orders to cover the
county of Ferrette (the part of Alsace which joins Switzerland) with
flames and blood. This fresh violence restored to Nicholas Diesbach,
the zealous partizan of France, the credit he had lost with his
countrymen. He sought to renew the treaty of alliance with Louis the
Eleventh; but aware that Adrian of Bubenberg’s influence would be
exercised on the opposing side, found means to exclude him from the
council, and taught the people rather to take umbrage at his pride of
birth and dignity of bearing, than to remember the part he had acted.

Under various pretexts he was exiled to his Golden Manor of Spietz; but
when, in 1476, Charles of Burgundy advanced, determined to commence the
campaign by the conquest of Morat, at the head of sixty thousand men,
the Bernese recollected their banished avoyer, and, recalling him to
their councils, implored that he would take the command of the force
destined to garrison Morat. The senator, who had ever sought to avoid a
perilous war, did not hesitate to draw his sword in one become
inevitable. He demanded only implicit obedience, and seeing that the
greater portion of the inhabitants were ill disposed, he proclaimed
that the first who showed fear or irresolution would be punished with
death! He also adopted measures which had been already, on other
occasions, successful, separating friends and relations; placing some
within the town, and of others forming part of the force destined to
repulse the besiegers. Wise, active, and courageous, calm amidst
danger, Bubenberg’s conduct and skill saved Morat, to whose fate seemed
bound that of all Switzerland, and to him chiefly did Louis the
Eleventh of France attribute the victory. Twelve Swiss deputies, Adrian
of Bubenberg at their head, were despatched to the French court, and
received with royal magnificence. The following year the conqueror of
Morat returned on a mission connected with the succession to the throne
of Burgundy. The object of his embassy had altered gratitude to
coldness—esteem to hatred; faithful to his own high character, firm
and incorruptible, when Adrian of Bubenberg saw his colleagues won and
wavering, he disguised himself as a minstrel, and returned alone to
Berne; this was in 1478. He died there the following year.

The barony of Spietz afterwards belonged to the family of Erlach, which
counts among its members Rodolph, conqueror of Laupen, murdered by his
son-in-law, and Charles Louis, massacred by his misled soldiers when he
came to defend Berne.

From Spietz the road lately made skirts the lake almost the whole way,
and rather nervously, as there are neither barriers towards the water
nor retreat towards the rock, which has been blasted to leave a
passage, and round whose base it winds. As Fanny’s habit of starting
rendered the meeting of cart or carriage perilous, we cantered along
while the way was free, and to distract her attention from the rivulets
and small cascades dashing down to her feet. Arrived at the extremity
of the lake, the rain fell in earnest; despite our cloaks it threatened
drowning: the mists were sufficiently opaque for Ossian to rest his
heroes on; and the dim grey water which stretched below, melting into
and confounded with them, looked mysterious and beautiful, as a single
gleam of pale sunshine struggling through the vapour just touched the
Neisen and descended to rest on the surface. Unterseen was ten minutes
nearer than Interlaken, and, though we had heard the hôtel called a bad
one, the dripping manes and drooping tails of our horses prayed
movingly for the nearest shelter. We took the road along the bottom of
the lake, and arrived among the dark wooden houses, some of which bear
date of two hundred years ago. The accommodation at the inn was better
than I had expected; but, considering we had come thither for pleasure,
our object was not altogether accomplished, as we sat alone at supper,
faintly lighted by two candles at the end of the large gloomy room, the
storm beating against the windows and the wind whistling under the
doors. Our bed-room looked on the church, backed as it is by the steep
sides of the Harder, to which the clouds clung,—threatening an
inauspicious close to our explorings; and the most musical of German
watchmen woke us every hour during the night chanting them and an
appropriate rhyme in his fine deep voice. Called as we desired, and the
car ready, the state of the weather, as we breakfasted shivering in the
same large room, looked by no means promising, and the barometer had
continued sinking pertinaciously. Not choosing, however, to ride back
to Thun, as we had ridden from it, in rain and fog, and our object
unaccomplished, we preferred driving in their company to Lauterbrunnen;
and leaving our horses with strict charges to the stable servants, we
started rather silent and rather sad in that chill morning at seven,
over the four picturesque bridges, which, crossing the Aar, divide
Unterseen from Interlaken. From one of these there is visible between
the nearer mountains a view of the Jungfrau, splendid in fine weather.
She looked mournfully through the wreaths of heavy vapour like a
captive through her prison bars: by degrees the mist rolled away, and
we could admire Interlaken, where you know D—— was prevented passing
part of his summer by the unfavourable description given by ——. I
should prefer it even to Thun, for its green plain nestles more closely
under the hills. The pensions are built on the same line, but apart;
with a mountain back and mountain view, their gardens surrounding them,
and a noble avenue of old walnut-trees extending the whole length they
occupy. The road to Lauterbrunnen winds through shady lanes and crosses
meadows of Swiss verdure, and then lies beneath wooded hills, on the
summit of one of which rises Unspunnen, the castle of Byron’s Manfred;
a square and a round tower, from the top of one of which spring two
slight trees, being all remaining. The marriage of the baroness Ida of
Unspunnen with Eschenbach of Wadischwyl bare to the latter’s house her
father’s lands of Unspunnen, she being his only child, and Oberhofen
her maternal inheritance.

An illustrious ancestor of this Eschenbach, but more as poet than
warrior, though for his military exploits he was armed knight by Count
Poppo of Henneberg, was Wolfram; the year of whose birth is not known
with certainty, but who lived when the emperors of the house of Swabia
had roused in Germany a love for poetry, which had grown to passion:
and the verse of its votaries had a depth and brilliancy which in no
way foretold the coming barbarism of the fourteenth century. His life
passed in the wanderings of a troubadour from court to court, admired
and honoured, as he retired to the home of his forefathers but a brief
time ere he died. A zealous patron of letters and his friend was the
Landgrave Hermann of Thuringe, at whose court of Wartbourg (the most
romantic of mountain castles) congregated the wisest and wittiest of
their time. In the year 1207 six noble minnesingers entered the
poetical lists there; Hermann and his fair wife distributing the
prizes, while Nicholas Klingsor, famed for his love ditties, as well as
his knowledge of necromancy and astrology, presided as judge, summoned
for that purpose from Hungary. The general voice hailed Wolfram
conqueror; but Klingsor, whom he had unwittingly offended, in vengeance
adjudged the palm to his friend Henry of Ofterdingen. His superiority
was, however, fully acknowledged by the poets of Swabia, with all of
whom he was on terms of intimacy, and who styled him sage and master.
His genius was varied,—for he was called the Homer and the Ariosto of
his day. Among the works his astonishing fertility left to found his
fame on, is a species of drama, entitled the Combat of Wartbourg,
containing the six pieces recited by himself and his five troubadour
companions in 1207 at the court of Thuringe.

A hundred years later lived Walter of Eschenbach, comrade and confidant
of the parricide Duke John of Swabia.

When the latter’s father, Duke Rodolph, died, leaving him a boy, the
Emperor Albert sent for him to court, and held his patrimony in his own
hands as the orphan’s guardian. The minor, become of age, demanded his
birthright, which Albert, under various pretexts, refused; and the
young man, exasperated by each succeeding subterfuge, urged on by the
mockery of his partisans, who nicknamed him Duke sans duchy, and the
fear that his uncle might intend his utter spoliation, employed as
mediator the bishop of Strasburg.

He begged that the emperor would at least yield to his nephew some
castles with their domains, belonging to his paternal inheritance; but
Albert once more evaded a direct reply, speaking of giving Duke John a
command in his meditated expedition against Bohemia, and of
satisfaction when the wars were done.

The bishop returned from his embassy, the young man heard its issue in
silence, breaking it only to observe, “the hand which grasps my
birthright menaces my life.” Quitting his reverend adviser, he sought
without further delay the companions of his pleasures, who in more
serious moments were his counsellors also: these were Ulric of Palm,
Rodolph of Wart, and Walter of Eschenbach.

The 1st of May, 1308, there was held an imperial banquet at Stein, at
which Albert’s sons and Duke John sate. By the emperor’s command
wreaths of flowers were brought, with which the children and
disinherited prince were alike crowned. There was some allusion, some
remark made, as to these diadems being sufficiently weighty for the
brows which sustained them, to which John listened gloomily. The
banquet concluded, the emperor mounted on horseback to proceed to
Rhinsfeld, whither the empress had gone some days before. His suite was
composed of the unpopular favourites, Landenberg and Waldsee, his
cousin the count of Hohenberg, and others of his nobles and vassals.
Pretexting a fear of overloading the boat, arrived at the river Reuss,
John and his party found means to separate Albert from his followers.

He rode slowly and a little in advance across the broad ploughed lands
which stretch beneath the hill and castle of Habsburg, the territory of
his ancestors, conversing with the knight of Castelen.

Suddenly riding up to his side, Duke John exclaimed, “Receive the wages
of fraud,” and plunged his lance into his throat; at the same moment
Balm ran him through the body, and Walter of Eschenbach clove his skull
in twain with a back stroke of his sword.

Rodolph of Wart stood motionless, and Castelen fled. Duke John and his
friends, terrified as by some unexpected crime, gazed at each other for
the last time, and rushed in various directions from the scene of their
murder; Albert had fallen bathed in his blood, and insensible. His
suite, congregated on the opposite shore of the river, witnessed the
assassination, and fled in fear from their dying master. A poor young
woman passing by saw and ran to raise him from the ground; he breathed
the last sigh in her arms: twice he essayed to open his eyes, and at
the third effort to do so, died.

Duke John took refuge in the solitudes of the Alps, and wandered some
days in the forests which surround the abbey of Einsilden. Disguised as
a monk, he travelled thence to Italy, where he threw himself at the
pope’s feet, and as a favour obtained from him permission to hide
beneath the cowl his remorse and friendlessness. The remainder of his
days passed in obscurity as an unknown monk, it was believed in the
convent of the Augustines at Pisa; and the blind man who sat begging in
the market-place of Vienna, was, it is thought, as he asserted himself
to be, son of John the parricide.

Rodolph of Wart, accomplice but not actor in this tragedy, had sought
protection with a relative, the Comte de Blamont, who, for a sum of
money, betrayed him to Albert’s survivors. He was married to a noble
lady of the house of Balm, who was fondly attached to him. Having
implored his pardon vainly on her knees, before the Empress Elizabeth
and her daughter Queen Agnes, she determined on affording him the
consolation of her presence when condemned to be broken on the wheel:
his sentence was executed. His torments, ere they ended his existence,
lasted three days and three nights, during which his unhappy wife
remained kneeling near him in tears and prayer, taking neither food nor

It was said by some that he had been wholly innocent, and even unaware
of the meditated murder; he solemnly asserted it while his broken limbs
were stretched on the wheel. When he had expired, his widow rose,
travelled on foot to Bale, and died. Ere yet Rodolph was taken, Duke
Leopold had entered his domains in arms, put all his domestics to the
sword, and razed the castle of Wart to the level of the ground. Jaques
of Wart, his innocent brother, reduced to beggary, lived the remainder
of his days in a poor cabin of Neflenbach, a village founded by his

Farwangen, the chief among the castles of the lords of Balm,
capitulated; but Duke Leopold and his sister Agnes, queen of Hungary,
widow of King Andrew, caused sixty-three nobles and many other warriors
to be conducted to the forest, and beheaded there in her presence. It
was then that Agnes, as their blood streamed round her, said, “I am
bathing in the dews of a May morning.”

When the castle of the house of Eschenbach (whose name has induced me
to linger so long on this story) was taken, and all the vassals of
Walter had been massacred, the soldiers of Agnes, and herself also,
were attracted by the faint cries of an infant in its cradle, whom the
shouts and shrieks of the assailants and their victims had fearfully
roused. The boy was so beautiful as to interest even Agnes, hard and
cruel as she was, till she discovered he was Walter’s son, when she
commanded that he should be put to death also; and her officers had
much ado to shield this one life from the fury which had exterminated
before all those who protected it. Yielding at last, she commanded that
he should renounce the name of Eschenbach, and be called
Schwartzenberg. It is probable that the child did not grow to manhood,
for his father was last of his line.

Walter of Eschenbach sent to his wife the deeds of the property she had
brought him as her marriage portion, became a shepherd, and lived as
one, in the county of Würtemberg, thirty-five years. He made himself
known only when at the point of death, and was interred with the pomp
due to the dignity of the ancient family which in his person closed. On
the spot where the emperor was murdered, the Empress Elizabeth and
Queen Agnes founded the monastery of Kœnigsfelden the high altar being
built on the very place where he expired.

No one crime was ever succeeded by so many in pretended expiation. All
who bore the same name with any of the guilty; all who had ever had
connexion with them; all found within the prescribed domains, were
sacrificed without pity. The accomplices not taken were put to the ban
of the empire, their marriage vows dissolved, their friends commanded
to avoid their presence, their enemies permitted to free themselves of
their lives, their lands adjudged to the empire.

Agnes having founded the convent, ever averse to communion with the
world, hard, cold, and cruel, though only six-and-twenty, enclosed
herself within its walls, distributing alms, practising fast and
penance, and performing the most humble offices. It was in vain however
that she strove to attract to Kœnigsfelden the old brother Berthold of
Offtringen, who had been a knight and warrior, and lived as a hermit on
the mountain: “Woman,” he said, “you serve God ill while shedding
innocent blood, and founding monasteries with the fruit of your rapine;
only on goodness and mercy doth he look with favouring eye.”

The road having passed Unspunnen, skirts a wild stream in an enchanting
glen, the White Lutschine, which waters the valley of Lauterbrunnen. On
entering the village of Zweylustchinenr the mountains open to leave a
way to Grindelwald, and through the chasm rushes the sister torrent,
the Black Lutschine, a picturesque bridge crossing the place where meet
these troubled waters.

Our road lay straight before, made beautiful by the varied forms and
tints of the bold rocks which are the belt of the White Lutschine, and
the dark and vivid green of pines and beech, which rise among the
crevices, or from the strangely shattered summits of these crags,
stained brown and grey, like genius springing from and brightening

Somewhere hereabouts, where there is barely room left for the car
between rock and river, one of the former, projecting over the path
sombre and sternly, once shadowed a fratricide. Of the tradition I
heard only that the murderer was a powerful noble, who after his crime
left in remorse his castle to ruin, and his lands to the first invader,
and died in his wanderings.

The valley continued to narrow till we had surmounted the ascent to the
first houses of Lauterbrunnen. On the left was the rock of Hunenflue,
having the form and regularity of a bastion. Before us we saw the
Jungfrau, who had dropped her veil, demanding I suppose the sun’s
homage on her maiden brow, which he yielded soon after, but not until
we had seen the Staubbach,—alas! without its iris.

The fall is on the right hand, about a quarter of a mile from the
Capricorn, where we left our conveyance. The new hotel, which bears its
name, and is built closer to it, commands the best view, saving that
from the mound beneath it, which, in its deceitful neighbourhood,
appears a hillock, but whose steep side I climbed with difficulty, and
was puzzled to descend with sober step. We offered due reverence to the
cascade, arriving ancle deep in the rivulet, from the plank made
slippery by its spray; receiving a bath on the before-named mound,
where the voice of the water was so loud we could not hear our own; but
certainly not aware that in its spring of eight hundred feet it
sometimes brings down stones to break its admirers’ reveries. The late
rains had increased its volume and grandeur, and therefore perhaps
lessened its resemblance to the tail of a white horse in the wind. In
the winter it forms a colonnade of ice.

Along the wall of cliff which bounds this side of the valley, are other
falls of equal beauty, though less fame. The Jungfrau and Wetterhorn
close its extremity, and up the mountains, on the stream’s opposite
shore, the green pastures stretch nearly to the summit, dotted with
chalets to receive cattle and herdsmen, some seeming too high for human
foot to rest on. These and the poorer houses of the village, which is
scattered over the valley, are built of whole pine trunks, rudely
mortised at the corners, a hole left for door and window, and the heavy
stones laid on their roofs of bark, that the wind may not whirl them

The more aristocratic dwellings have the sawn planks which form their
walls carved and ornamented, the open balconies of elaborate
workmanship, and below the jutting roof inscriptions graven to recall
the name of the owner, and the year and day in which the work was done,
and generally some blessing, in quaint rhyme, on building and builder.

We had not intended a visit to the glaciers of Grindelwald, but the day
growing fine and the road thither tempting us as we approached the
bridge, our resolution altered. The narrow road winds along precipices,
high above the Black Lutschine, and till it brought us within sight of
the glaciers, with the domes and spires of snow which shoot up above
them, I thought less interesting than the way to Lauterbrunnen. The two
glaciers are well seen from the inn windows and its garden. The
Mettenberg separates them, the Wetterhorn forming the boundary of that
nearest Lauterbrunnen.

The places occupied by these seas of ice were once, according to
tradition, fertile valleys, for in one of them was discovered a buried
chapel and a bell, bearing the date 1044. From the arch of an ice
cavern in this upper glacier issues the Black Lutschine; green
pastures, with wild flowers and strawberries growing at their edge, are
here on a level with the masses of ice ever encroaching, like death
advancing to grasp childhood.

In 1790, the innkeeper of Grindelwald, crossing the glacier while
driving a few sheep home from the mountains, slipped down a crevice,
and found himself laid, with a broken arm only, beneath a vault of ice,
and beside the torrent. Guided by the dim light which crept through the
fissures, he followed along its edge, and issued through the arch into
the world; he was still living when Ebel wrote.

The clergyman who in 1821 explored the glacier between the Mettenberg
and Eigher, met with a similar accident, but which ended fatally. He
fell to a depth of seven hundred feet, and his body, recovered after
twelve days of vain attempts, lies buried in the cemetery of

We dined in company of a most hungry and silent young German, and
returned to Unterseen; the drive back lovelier than you can conceive,
for in the place of mist we had sun and shadow; the torrent sparkling,
and the distant snow blending gold with rose colour.

The horses were found in safety, Grizzle demanding oats with the
impatience and attitudes of a wild beast. It is mournful to shut
oneself within a lonely room in a strange inn. I walked, while the
light remained, up the flight of steps which, just opposite our hotel,
lead to the church, whose grey tower has the Harder for background. In
the churchyard was something sadder than solitude,—the tomb of an only
son, who perished, aged twenty-two, in the precipices of the Harder;
rose trees were cultivated on the turf, and a bench placed opposite,
where sits his mother, who, for the last ten years, has every summer
made a six weeks’ pilgrimage from her far home to his grave.

We drank tea at one table of the enormous room, while a noisy Parisian
party from the Rue St. Martin, or thereabouts, supped at the other, a
young man of the family throwing cakes in the air and catching them in
his mouth after the manner, he said himself, of the bears of Berne;
there are various modes of seeking instruction when travelling: and a
lady, large and red-faced, informed her companions, for our benefit,
“how the douaniers had complimented her on her black eyes, and how they
said they were a rarity in Switzerland!”

Rising early, we left Unterseen by the old road, which passes through
Interlaken and along the rocky bank of the river. In admiration of the
lake all the way, and having enjoyed a lovely ride, and seen, without a
cloud to shroud them, the whole range of snow peaks with romantic names
which surround the Blummis Alp and Jungfrau, we reached Baumgarten
early, and rejoiced in exchanging the solitude of the dark old inn for
the society of Mr. ——, his pretty wife, and her gay children.

                              CHAPTER III.

Leave Thun—Zweizemmen—The wrong road—Château d’Œx—Gruyères—The
  Préfet’s ball—Anniversary of the Virgin’s leaving school—Vevay—The
  patient Griselda’s obstinacy—The exploit—Villeneuve—The Valley of
  the Rhone—St. Maurice—The Theban legion—The Valais—The village
  buried—The Rhone overflowed—Former inundation—The old villager
  saved—St. Bernard—Story of its founder—Martigny—Riddes—Sion—The
  prelate’s murder—The family of the Rarons—The Mazza—Raron
  persecuted—Demands the aid of Duke Amedée—His castle burned—His
  wife driven forth—His revenge—The cretins of Sierre.

Left Thun the 9th, at eleven, as we waited till the morning fogs, which
have now grown dense and cold, rolled up from the valley. The last bad
weather, which to us brought rain, laid a light covering of snow on the
mountain summits, which the natives say is a favourable sign. Madame
Rufenacht remains a desolate widow. Madame R. and Mrs. H—— left
(wisely) some hours before us, as the mist no sooner rises than the
heat becomes intense. The road was for some distance that we had ridden
towards Interlaken; it turns off where the river Kander comes dashing
along its stony defile, and beneath its covered wooden bridge, to the
lake. Our route skirted its precipices, and is very lovely where, at
the entrance of the valley of the Simmenthal, the wooded base of the
Niesen and the Stockhorn’sr crags leave barely space for the road and
the torrent, which a one arched bridge spans. We found at Erlenbachr
Mr. ——, who was to be our companion on this day’s journey, and, to
our regret, this day’s only; as he is light-hearted and light-footed,
all annoyance, and most fatigue, finding him invulnerable. Near the
village was an extensive horse and cattle fair, through which, without
the assistance of his mountain pole and his hand on her rein, it would
have been difficult to guide Fanny unharmed, particularly as, when they
stood “betwixt the wind and her nobility,” she took a sly opportunity
of biting two four-footed plebeians. Weissenburg is picturesquely
situated beside the torrent. We crossed it a few steps further on a
wooden bridge, where horses pay a toll of a batz each, which the
receiver, in her fly cap, ran after us to levy. The path to the baths
winds up the hill on the right hand.

Further on, the river forms a pretty cascade, boiling and bounding over
its stones below the precipitous road. Stopped at Zweizemmen,
twenty-seven miles from Thun, a village of wooden houses with a wooden
inn, and nothing to eat. It was unfortunately too late to go further,
as the horses were the only individuals passably lodged and in any
degree fed. With the exception of a damp, limp loaf and a plate of
nuts, our supper presented an uneatable variety, and I was obliged to
confess that I had left comfort behind when I preferred the romantic
route of the Simmenthal to that by Berne and Fribourg. A quantity of
wearing apparel, very far from new, hung round my bed-room, which the
servant, with German phlegm, said “could not derange me as I lay in
bed,” and I had some trouble to get removed in consequence. These
wooden mansions are like a sounding board, for, while I was dressing
this morning, I heard distinctly, as if she had been in the room, a
lady in the next admonishing her daughter, and D—— and Mr. ——
conversing at breakfast below; forming a tower of Babel colloquy. We
had such coffee as the French call _eau trouble_, its few grounds
floating to the top; and dismissed the unborn chickens presented for
eggs. Our acquaintance parted from us here, hiring a car as far as
Château d’Œx, whence he was to take the footpath to Vevay across the
Dent de Jaman. We started after him, and on the wrong road, no one
belonging to the Wooden Crown attempting to set us right. Over blocks
of stone, and by a way which grew steep and narrow as a mule-path, we
toiled debating whether we had mistaken, or this was indeed what the
natives called a passable bridle-road. I asked a peasant at a cottage
window, “Is this the road to Saanen?” “Ya,” said the dame composedly,
pointing her hand with the stocking dangling from it to the sharp
ascent scattered over with lumps of crag large enough to break a
horse’s leg.

Looking down in despair, we could distinguish another road far away on
the other side of the torrent and the valley. “Is that the road to
Saanen?” I shrieked to a man who was driving a goat.

“Ya, ya.”

“And this we are going?”

“Ya.” So seeing no further information likely, we led the horses down
this stone ladder in search of the new road, returning to the village
which it skirts without entering; leaving me a hope that its completion
will in no way serve the abominable Wooden Crown of Zweizemmen. It is a
grand work, a broad splendid causeway for a long distance cut along the
face of the rock several hundred yards above the torrent, but without
the semblance of a parapet, a circumstance of which Fanny’s starts
often reminded me. It crosses the stream a dozen times over handsome
bridges built of stone. One of the principal of these is yet in
progress, and a young German at work on the road pointed to the steep
sheep-track which dips suddenly down to the torrent’s edge, and a
narrow path which followed its windings. Not much liking the itinerary,
we asked whether horses might not pass over, but the German, who spoke
a little English, saying, “Peoples, only peoples,” down obediently we
went, passing under the bridge, and pausing in the loveliest ravine in
the world, with its clear rushing water and mountain sides covered with
pines, those near us brilliant in light and black in shadow; and the
faint mist shedding a blue tinge over the further and higher forests;
the bold arch flung over at a considerable elevation, still surrounded
by its wooden framework, and all the workmen, variously and
picturesquely attired, crowding to the edge to look down on the
apparition of Fanny pawing in the water. Continuing to follow its
banks, there being neither guide nor finger-post, we crossed a wooden
bridge, without rails, broad enough for one horse at a time, and high
enough to break our necks perfectly. The glen and the path grew
narrower, till at last we came on a party of workmen, whose cart, laden
with stones, completely blocked our passage, and the horses, which we
tried to force into the water, refused to stir, inasmuch as they did
not know its depth, and the crags it foamed over were visible.

The cart, from which the horses had been taken, was immoveable, despite
the united efforts of the civil Germans—rather a fortunate
circumstance, as, on asking the question, we found we were not likely
to arrive that way at Saanen. One of the men left his work to conduct
us back to the bridge without parapets, and up a narrow, slippery, and
perpendicular road, ranging over the admired ravine, which happily
brought us to a level with the new bridge, and beyond it on the way to
Saanen, to which unpicturesque place we arrived by a short cut, for
once successful.

At the next village, we left the Canton Berne for the Canton Vaud.
Before entering the latter at Rougemont, from another stone bridge, we
saw a lovely assemblage of torrent and mountain—one range all snow,
the rest with a robe of green pastures and a crown of pine forests. Fed
the horses at Château d’Œx, a commanding feudal situation when it
belonged to the lords of Gruyères, perched on an eminence in the plain,
backed by wild crag and mountain.

The road crosses the Saane and enters a narrow pass called Latine.
Montbovon, the village which Lord Byron mentions, is here in the Canton
Fribourg, and from it ascends the mule-path to the Dent de Jaman. Our
own road was far from safe, and at present almost impassable for
post-carriages, as for a considerable distance between the rock and
precipice there would be no room to pass. We fortunately met only two
carts, and had some trouble in leading our horses by, as there is no
protection on the side of the precipice; the road rises and falls
continually, cut through the rock and the pines, and high over the
torrent. It continues thus for some miles, the stream and valley then
widen, and grow calmer in their beauty. No one along these new roads,
undivided by league-stones, has an idea of distance. We were told two
leagues for the last fifteen miles, and we were weary and the sun low
when we came in sight of Gruyères, and admired its old castle and town
high on the hill, below which we wound. On the authority of the
Baumgarten, having reckoned on twenty-five miles, we found we had
ridden forty-two. As the last faint light was disappearing, we crossed
the last stream with its border of pines, and near the watch-tower of
Trême, built on a rock, with an arch by its side and dirty habitations
round, and, to my extreme satisfaction, arrived at the Cheval Blanc;
and little Fanny, recollecting her bed of a month ago, walked straight
to the stable-door.

We had our old room opposite the castle, and the inn yclept hôtel de
_la Mort_, a most ill-omened name.

Three of the castle windows were feebly lighted, and I heard, on
inquiry, that the préfet gave a ball; but not choosing to pay the fine
levied here, as well as at Geneva, on entertainments during undue
hours, the six young ladies and fifteen gentlemen who formed the
company were invited to dance from five to ten!

It was fête at Bulle, and everybody tipsy in honour of it. I heard it
was the anniversary of the Virgin Mary’s quitting the convent in which
she had been educated, to marry St. Joseph.

                                              Wednesday, September 11.

Arrived at Vevay, the day having been as burning as that on which we
left it a month ago. The horses gave a strange proof of memory,
insisting on stopping at a fir wood, where we then rested them in the
shade. Persecuted by the small vineyard flies and musquitoes, of which
we were free in the mountains, wearied by the horses kicking the whole
length of the steep paved hills, we were glad to reach the Trois
Couronnes, where we found our Thun acquaintances and the letters we
expected, but must wait for the baggage.

                                                       16th September.

We intended leaving Vevay last Friday in company with Mr. and Mrs.
H——, but Griselda the patient having with great reluctance allowed
the putting on of three shoes, so positively insisted on kicking the
farrier and his assistant from the off hind leg, that having called her
_rosse_ and _démon_, and sworn considerably, they gave up the idea,
leaving her with three new shoes and a hoof with none. This was an
impediment to the journey quite unlooked for, and rather disturbed our
equanimity. Saturday, D—— bribed the farriers back, and after
breakfast and goûter they returned to look at her and to talk, and at
four o’clock the business seemed still far from completion, when one
bethought him of tweaking her nose. This operation, with the aid of two
pushing her side, one holding her leg, and the fifth shoeing, proved
successful. Little Fanny, seeing her comrade surrounded to be
sacrificed, shrieked a melancholy neigh, as she was tied in the corner.

The gold was drunk merrily, and the exploit of the five has been so
exaggerated by dint of telling it, that I should think the conquest of
the grey horse would remain, for all future travellers’ advantage,
inscribed among the “fastes” of Vevay.

The rain has fallen in torrents during three days; this morning was
fine, and the road enchanting; we passed again old Blonay, and
Chastellar on his hill, and Clarens with her foot in the water, and the
peak of Jaman above the spire of Montreux, the mountains not like those
of the Simmenthal, everywhere dark with evergreen pine, but their sides
feathered with summer leaves, and the spiral fir-forests, only far
above, pointing against the blue sky.

Arrived at the narrowed road, and the high grey crag opposite Chillon,
Fanny walked to the drawbridge, and but for the mist in the valley of
the Rhone rising gradually and threatening, we should have paid it one
visit more. The view of the castle is far grander from the shore than
lake, as its uniformity is broken by the three massive towers and the
keep which surmounts them, and it wears the sober grey which should be
the livery of a feudal castle. We suspect the wall towards the lake of
having been lately whitewashed, and the republicans have daubed thereon
an enormous device, inscribed Liberté and Patrie.

As we wound along the road towards Villeneuve, beneath the old walnut
trees, we turned to see it and the prisoners’ isle, till D——, who
accuses me of always admiring scenery backwards, cricked his neck. The
tiny habitation has no business on the island; the mountain breeze
should only blow over the three tall trees and the flowers of gentle

Villeneuve is an abominable hole: its inns of the Croix Blanche and
Lion d’Or looking equally uninviting. Bidding here good-bye to the
lake, we enter the valley of the Rhone, wild and muddy, with his
eighty-four tributary streams, already received in his passage through
the mountains. L’Aigle is a charming village, hid in the hills. Bex is
not, in my opinion, situated quite so prettily, but the inn has a
prepossessing appearance.

A peasant pointed out the way to the Salines, which lie in the mountain
behind, but of them you must ask descriptions elsewhere, for it just
then began to rain heavily, and we put on our cloaks, bound for
Martigny. St. Maurice stands, its castle on the crag, above the road
from Geneva, where a fine bridge crosses the wild Rhone, its one arch
flung from the Dent de Morcles on the further side, to the Dent du Midi
on ours. Before us was a little fort, thrown up by the Swiss in 1832,
to defend this already well closed pass. I thought it one of the most
striking spots I had seen in Switzerland. You know the legend, that
here in the year 302, the Theban legion was massacred by command of the
Emperor Maximilian, and the place called St. Maurice, from the name of
the chief of these martyrs, who refused to abjure Christianity. When we
had crossed the bridge, the grandeur and the beauty merged in the muddy
street of this most filthy town; the contrast between the Vaud we had
left and the Valais we had just entered, marvellous, considering that
the separation is a bridge seventy feet long. Manure heaps before the
doors, and pigs revelling in them once more; and the hideous goitre,
and more hideous cretin, telling at every step their tale of
unwholesome filth and misery. One passed us with the usual vacant grin
and dead eye, and uttered a yell which startled the horses; the
wretched object wore a petticoat, and we could not tell whether it were
male or female.

Leaving the Rhone to our right, and now again passing numerous crosses
and chapels, and votive offerings, which deprecate its fury, we came at
no great distance to a most desolate spot, where the road for a
considerable way crosses a tract covered only with gravel and crags, in
melancholy disorder. Among the rubbish is a roofless cottage, almost
buried. We were told that the bursting of a glacier in 1835 caused this
desolation; a torrent of mud descended from the Dent du Midi, floating
on its surface the blocks of stone which ruined the valley, sacrificing
no lives, as its progress was slow, but overwhelming fields, orchards,
and houses. It skirts the road for the length of nine hundred feet, and
is the saddest sight imaginable; we were glad to exchange it even for
the low barberry bushes which, with their pendent fruit, like coral
branches, cover a soil which seems to produce little beside.

Shortly before reaching the waterfall of the Sallenche, we found that
the Rhone had broken his usual bounds, and overflowed the narrow
valley, more muddy in his rapid course than ever. The rain had ceased
falling, but the mists lingered and deepened, and the clouds lay
ominously low on the dark bare mountains. The fall is the finest I have
seen, from the volume of its foaming water, and the violence with which
it leaps from crag to crag through the ravine it has hollowed till it
makes its last bound of one hundred and twenty feet, and from the basin
which receives it, the spray mounts like steam. As, excepting the
elevated causeway on which we stood, the whole expanse was here
inundated, the broad sheet of water under it, and blackness of the
crags surrounding, with a rare tuft of green here and there, but mostly
naked and shattered, added to the grand melancholy of the scene, the
vale of the Rhone might form a fit picture of the valley of the shadow
of death.

Farther on a covered bridge, we crossed the Trient, a narrow but wild
torrent, descending from the Tête Noire, and issuing from the black
mouth of the stony gorge which opens barely enough to vomit it forth.

The rain recommenced, and we saw through the mist the round tower of
the castle of La Batie, once a stronghold of the bishops of Sion, built
on the summit of a solitary rock, not far from Martigny; between it and
the town we crossed the Dranse, where it flows to swell the Rhone.

Arrived at the hotel de la Poste we were kept waiting a long time for
the worst of all meals, served up in a picturesque vaulted hall, where
fire and candles only made darkness visible. We cut up the doubtful
meat only in mercy to the next comers. I imagine this has been a
convent, from the open pillared galleries which run round the old
house, and the corridors and private stairs, and rooms like cells.

A black line drawn along the outer wall of several houses in Martigny
recalls the height to which the waters rose in the inundation of 1818,
when the masses fallen from the glaciers of Getroz into the valley
first formed an obstacle, behind which the waters of the Dranse,
stopped in their flow, accumulated to a lake, and at last yielding to
the mighty pressure, gave passage to the scourge, which in an hour and
a half had swept over the eight leagues which divided it from Martigny,
having borne away all that stood in its path; the bridge of Mauvoisin,
ninety feet above its ordinary course, three hundred habitations, and a

It is wonderful that its column rushed, without touching, past the
village of Bauvernier, emitting a vapour like the smoke of a
conflagration. It went on to tear from their foundations eighty houses
at Martigny; its surface covered with the bodies of drowned cattle, and
human beings, despite their warning, taken unawares.

One wondrous instance of preservation occurred in the person of an old
man, aged a hundred years: there was a high mound, formed of the wrecks
cast there by the former inundation of 1595. He would have been too
feeble to climb it for safety; he stood there by chance when the
roaring destroyer rushed by, circling round, without wetting the sole
of his foot, as if it respected the monument of its former power.

This morning, 17th of September, started early as we conveniently
could, the innkeeper having told us, for our comfort, that the overflow
of the Rhone has cut the road between Sion and Sierre, and stopped the
diligence. The monks of St. Bernard have a convent here, and when the
climate has undermined the health of their brothers on the mountain,
they are relieved from hence.

The monastery of the Great St. Bernard is distant but a ten hours’
journey; we intended going thither, but feared to over-fatigue our
horses, yet I wished it much, from admiration of these self-made
martyrs, and also from the romantic story of the founder. The castle of
Menthon, for I must tell you this story, is built on the height which
overlooks the lake of Annecy, in Savoy. An heir was born to its noble
possessors on the 15th of June, 923. From early boyhood his taste and
studies were unsuited to close intercourse with the world; and grown to
a man, he resisted gently but firmly, the will of his family, who had
chosen for his wife the heiress of the house of Dwingt.

As he was the only hope of their line, the sole seedling of their
falling tree, his parents entreated and pressed him earnestly, and the
youth consented at last, unable to deny them longer. The marriage
morning came, the fair young bride was adorned, and the guests
assembled, for there was to be feasting at the castle of Menthon. As
the hour for the ceremony drew nigh, it became matter of marvel that
the bridegroom should so long remain absent. His chamber, where he had
not slept, and the domains of Menthon, were searched vainly; Bernard
had fled. The wedding guests, one by one and whispering, departed, and
the maiden, ere yet she was a wife, was left a widow.

Years went by; the heiress was no longer at Menthon, she had probably
formed a more auspicious alliance, and the desolate father and mother
had no son seated beside them near the hearth of their hall. They had
called up hope till despair came in its place, and believing him dead
at last, they set forth on a pilgrimage, not to the shrine of a saint,
but the feet of a living man, whose self abnegation and holy life had
become the discourse of Christendom.

Travelling by slow journeys, they arrived through the snows at the
summit of the mountain, where the solitary lived in the hospital he had
founded, compassionating the dangers which awaited travellers from
France and Germany to Italy. They found a man old before age, worn with
fatigues and hardships, and knelt before him to ask his blessing, and
to beg he would say masses for the peace of their son’s soul. The monk
knew them, for their old age had altered less than his youth: and while
he blessed them tremulously, they knew his voice, and started from his
feet to fall on his neck and bless him also.

He had fled from the wedding feast to the city of Aosta, where he
received holy orders and became archdeacon of the cathedral. He had
preached at the peril of his life, in the heathen Alpine valleys, and
rooted out idolatry; thrown down the statue of Jupiter still worshipped
on the mount Jou, the little St. Bernard, and founded hospitals on each
of the mountains which now bear his name, instituting for each one a
congregation of monks. He told his past life and his vocation to the
parents who had found him; they wept together, and then they parted, as
was his will, they to return to their lone castle of Menthon, to pray
for its exiled heir; he to bury himself once more in the tomb he had
selected, and forget if he could that he had seen forms and re-awakened
affections which drew him back to the world.

St. Bernard preached in the Alpine valleys forty-two years, and
afterwards in Lombardy, whence he travelled to Rome; he died at Novara
and was canonized.

It is not surprising that the country about Martigny should be
unhealthy; the road from this to Riddes, two posts and a half, is
raised along the centre of a marsh, now overflowed by the Rhone; the
valley produces here only rushes and rank-grass, which feed the thin
cattle scantily, and stunted birch trees, and unprofitable barberry
bushes, and a kind of furze with a red berry. It seems a fitting
habitation only for the frogs, which croaked and jumped by myriads from
the wet bank to the muddy stream as we rode along. The unfortunate
peasants scarce look like human beings. I did not see two with throats
undeformed by enormous goitres. Cretins abound in the valley, and those
not belonging to the idiot tribe have an expression of abjectness and
misery not much higher in the scale. They are mostly of dwarfish
stature, and the women wear the small straw hat with turned-up brim,
ornamented with brilliant ribands of gold and silver tissue, which show
off in all their ugliness their unwholesome complexions and ill-formed
features. At Riddes the Indian corn is cultivated again, and near
Riddes to the right is a fine view of chasm and torrent, a castle above
and hamlet beside, breaking the sadness of the drear valley and barren
mountains. Farther on are pretty villages, surrounded by fine old
walnut-trees and pastures, green as those of the Simmenthal. In a field
we rode by were hay-makers busy; a woman called to desire I would
approach and show my strange figure. I answered, at a like pitch of
voice, that I had not time, and we left merriment behind us.

It would be difficult to fancy a finer grouping of crag, river, and
valley than approaching Sion. The Rhone to the right; the peaked
mountains rising before two crowned with castles; to the left, highest
and grandest, Tourbillon; on the right, Valerie. The first ruined, but
nobly; turret and tower and battlement standing as in the fine old age
which succeeds a strong manhood. Below, as we approached the fortified
wall, which, flanked by its look-out towers, surrounds the city, we saw
the third castle of Majorie, once the residence of the governors of the
Valais. Behind the town, on another and almost inaccessible crag, is
the ruin of the castle of Seyon, of which time, and siege, and fire
have left small remains.

In the year 1375, Wischard of Tawell was bishop of Sion, and had
governed the republic of the Upper Valais, under circumstances of
difficulty, during thirty-three years. This prelate had so well merited
the affection of the people, and the confidence of the neighbouring
districts, that he was named the Count of Savoy’s lieutenant-general in
the Lower Valais. He had attained extreme old age, when one day while
celebrating mass in his castle of Seyon, arrived with his suite his
nephew Baron Anthony of Thurn Gestelenbourg,—whom his high alliance
and extensive domains rendered one of the most important of the nobles.
He had some difference with his uncle respecting the hereditary fief of
the mayoralty of Sion, purchased by the bishop, and to whose rights and
revenues he put forth claims which the old man would not acknowledge.
The dispute grew warm and loud: whether the baron of Thurn was, in his
own person, guilty of what followed, is a fact disputed. Those who
excuse him assert that his furious vassals, uninstigated by his
example, laid violent hands upon the bishop: even while he held his
breviary, despite his feeble resistance and prayers for mercy, he was
thrust forth to the abyss from a window of his rock-founded castle. His
subjects, who loved, rose to avenge him at the news of his murder.

Peter, baron of Raron, his brother and other nobles, either did not
partake in the general opinion of Anthony’s guilt, or allowed party
spirit to deafen them to the claims of country and the cry of nature.
Brieg, Leuk, Sierre and Sion vowed to avenge their lost lord; and,
first taking several castles, met the assembled nobles near the bridge
of St. Leonard, and gained a signal victory. The baron of Thurn vainly
sold to Savoy his domain of Gestelenbourg. The Valaisans became its
masters. The baron of Brandis, a powerful noble of the Simmenthal,
through his mother, who was a Weissembourg, marched his vassals to aid
Anthony. His ill-placed friendship cost him his life, and his dispersed
troops sped homeward by the mountain passes. It was then that the
village of An der Leuk, in the upper Simmenthal, left without defence,
as its men had marched to battle, was entered by a detachment of the
Valaisans, who threatened pillage. The mountain women, bred to
hardships and danger, having their children and their children’s
property to guard, seized on what arms had been left behind, and with
the energy of roused lionesses rushed forth and drove back the enemy.

Anthony of Thurn, forced to quit the country, lived the remainder of
his days at the court of Savoy. About the year 1416, the Valaisans
complained that no account had been rendered of his male fiefs, (he
died without heirs in 1404), and expressed fears that these also would
fall into the hands of the all-grasping Rarons. These barons of Raron,
as the nobles of most ancient date and largest possessions, were the
sole persons whose power counterbalanced that of the bishops of Sion,
till the heir of the house was named to the bishopric at the time his
father held a post of importance, and the opposition ceased to exist as
soon as its cessation placed the whole authority in the hands of son
and father.

The jealousy thus excited was increased by Raron’s character and the
personal dislike it roused. By no means a hard or bad man, his chief
offence towards his country seems to have been his contempt for their
coarse habits and lack of culture, and a predilection for the house of
Savoy. What these habits were may be inferred from a list of laws
passed by the nobles, magistrates, and citizens in council, when his
power was at its zenith. They commanded “that men should be stationed
to enforce the cleansing of the sewers, to prevent their overflow; that
no foul linen should thenceforth be washed in water destined for the
town’s consumption, nor manure allowed to accumulate before the
habitations, and that the high street should be swept at least once a

The dislike to Raron increased from a report which spread, that, after
the invasion and conquest of the valley of Ossola by the Swiss troops,
the baron had been heard to say, that “had he been opposed to them
there, not one would have returned.”

Offended by this speech, they dispatched to Berne, of which city he was
burgess, the landamman of Unterwald, to demand full satisfaction for
words which, as they affected their honour, could not be passed by
unnoticed. Berne replied, that since she had vainly demanded the baron
of Baron’s aid in an expedition to Oltingen, she had abandoned him to
his own guidance.

The resentment of the Valais gave henceforth its own colouring to every
action of the Raron family, and in particular to its alliance with
Savoy. On a day when the inhabitants of Brieg had assembled, to give
loose to their ever-increasing discontent, a few Savoyard soldiers
arrived in the village from the Simplon pass. They seized their arms,
maltreated and drove them forth, exclaiming that their presence would
be no longer borne with in the Valais.

The authors of this outrage, for their own protection, raised the
country by means of an expedient derived perhaps from some gone-by
custom. Assembling friends and comrades, they bare at evening a large
log to a place where grew a young birch tree which they rooted up. They
carved the stump into the rude semblance of a human figure, and placed
it in the centre of the branches, entangling them with thorns and
brambles, to represent suffering justice encompassed by the trammels of
tyranny; and in proof of their determination to free her, each drove a
nail deep into the stem of the birch tree. They bound the figure, thus
encircled, to a tree on the high road (it was called La Mazza), and
lingered near the spot to mark what might follow. Those who came that
way at dawn stopped also, and there soon gathered a multitude, as yet
in expectant silence and passive. At last one advanced and unbound the
“Mazza,” and placed himself at its side in the centre of the crowd.
Several voices next apostrophized her, demanding what injuries brought
her thither, and treating her silence as the effect of fear caused by
an unjust power.

“If,” they said, “there be in this assembly one man who loves his
country sufficiently to be the Mazza’s questioner, let him advance!”

An instigator of the scene stepped forth:—

“Mazza,” he said, “they are sworn to aid thee: whom dost thou dread? Is
he of the race of Silinen; of the houses of Henn or Asperling?”

The figure, and the man who had stood beside her from the first,
remained motionless; and the speaker continued to enumerate the noble
names of the Valais with as little success as before.

“Is it,” he said at last, “the baron of Raron?”

The wooden figure was bent low to the ground in signal of assent.

“You mark her complaint,” rejoined the orator; “you who will succour
her raise the right hand.”

A large majority obeyed; a near day was appointed; and the news was
sent from village to village, “that the Mazza was about to visit the
captain-general, the bishop, and all the partizans of the Raron.”

The plot succeeded throughout; neither the lustre of their ancient
name, nor the favour of a foreign prince, nor the first dignities of
the land united on their heads, prevented the various districts of the
Valais from planting on the appointed day, and by unanimous consent,
the ill-omened Mazza before all the unfortified castles of Raron and
his partizans. The multitude forced a way, and pillaged from vault to
battlement. Had Raron remained in the country, he too, doubtless, would
have fallen sacrifice to the Mazza. He had gone to Berne, there to
renew his treaty of co-citizenship, and obtained, on the conditions of
resigning his place of captain-general, and leaving Bishop William to
his own resources, a promise from the Valaisans to persecute him no

He believed that (his foes appeased) time might restore to him the
power he had exercised in days past; but there was nothing which those
enemies so dreaded, and they worked on the passions of the
already-excited people, till rising again they marched on and destroyed
his castle at Sierre,—took a fortress, held by the bishop, at
Leuk,—and besieged Beauregard, which, built on a rock, had long seen
beneath its sway and protection the valley of Ennfisch, whose fertile
meadows stretch to the very foot of the Alps of Aosta.

Raron returned to Berne; but Berne was occupied wholly with the affairs
of Frederic of Austria, and feeling that to the bishop and himself
hesitation might be fatal, he demanded for both the aid of Savoy.
Amedée the Eighth, created duke by Sigismund, charmed to find a pretext
for interference, commanded Amedée of Challant, then in Chablais, to
leave it with sufficient force, and take under his own protection and
out of the bishop’s hands, the castles of Majorie and Tourbillon. On
his side the baron of Raron victualled his strong hold of Seyon,
conducted within its walls his wife and children, the Bishop William,
and all the aged and infant members of his house, charging with its
defence his most tried and brave vassals. A numerous and staunch
garrison held Beauregard, and the heat of that burning summer aided its
efforts by paralyzing those of the besiegers, till at last conquered by
famine and forced to open their gates, the soldiers as they marched
forth saw lighted behind them the flames, which, consuming the castle,
illuminated the entire valley. The insurrection became so serious, that
Amedée of Challant, fearing for Chablais, concluded a truce, which
peace soon followed; but although the baron of Raron had placed sole
confidence in the duke of Savoy, the latter, when renewing his ancient
treaties, made no stipulations in his favour, delivered to the bishop
neither Tourbillon nor Majorie, ceding both for a sum of money to the
chapter. The Valaisans pillaged and destroyed them: Seyon remained
alone; the riches of the Rarons were plundered; their power had
departed. His courage only remaining to support him, the baron again
entered Berne, and appeared in its assembly with none of the splendour,
but more than the dignity of past years: he was received as its citizen
once more. Meanwhile the forces of the Valais besieged Sion, determined
on the total ruin of Wischard of Raron. The negociations between Berne
and the Valais grew stormy: the latter insisting on the surrender of
the castle, but consenting to let all within it go free. The lady of
Raron, profiting by the permission, came trembling forth,—slowly
treading the steep way, followed by the Bishop William, her younger
children, and a long train of menials. It was then that Seyon fell. The
multitude thronged thither, bearing torches, and its noble halls were
sacked and fired.

Sion had abjured all respect towards this illustrious family, and the
unhappy lady, who, born in luxury, had long been the spouse of these
countries’ most powerful lord, descending the heights of the Valais,
and traversing the Pays de Vaud in the haste of fear with her
melancholy train, repaired to Berne. Her husband, listening to his
angry passions only, while the debate concerning his cause was still
pending, sought the Oberland, and gathering round his banner all the
brave youth of Frutigen, the Simmenthal, and Saanen, marched at
nightfall from the latter village, and along a narrow valley, which
bears the name of Gsteig. The dawn was hardly red on the mountains when
they climbed the steep paths of the Sanetsch, near the great cataracts;
and appearing before Sion at the dinner hour of its inhabitants,
mastered their resistance easily. In the course of some hours Sion was
reduced to a few streets, the remaining space it had occupied a mass of
smoke and flame, and the troop, when it had ravaged the surrounding
lands three days, returned by the way it came, having hardly lost a man.

The negociations between Berne and the Valais were succeeded by war; to
put a stop to which, the neutral cantons interfered, and at last,
through the mediation of the duke of Savoy, it was decided that
Wischard of Raron should be reinstated in his lordships, and receive as
indemnity for his losses the sum of 10,000 florins. Yet,
notwithstanding this, Wischard of Raron died far from his own land; his
opulence, his noble name, his chivalrous virtues availed nothing to one
who had neglected to conciliate the affection of his countrymen, and
their caprice cast down an authority which rose no more.

Entering the town, a dirty street leads to an inn of unprepossessing
appearance. We passed on to the left, winding half round the base of
the crag on which stands Tourbillon. We passed a picturesque monk in
his robe of brown serge, with a fine face and shaven crown; and a
squinting specimen of the same species, who, I think, chose the cowl
that it might serve for veil at need, he drew it so closely over his
face when I asked him a question.

As we slowly descended the road which skirts the Rhone, we could long
look back on this romantic castle, dark on its shadowed crag, while the
sun made a sheet of silver of the swollen river, which spread beyond
its natural shores, forming islets and peninsulas innumerable, circling
round the peaked mounds, which, varying in height from fifty to two
hundred feet, their crags gay with vegetation, crowd the valley,—first
created, Ebel says, by the violent Rhone cutting a deep passage among
the rubbish and ruins cast in his bed by the earth—avalanches of the
mountains; and increased by that driven along at each succeeding flood.
They look as if a portion of chaos had been left when the rest was
softened into a world.

Riding without shade under the craggy hill and over the river, we
followed vineyards for some distance, and as the branches hang within
reach, and we were hot and thirsty, I did not keep my hands from
picking and stealing, and we went on, refreshed by roguery, till we had
nearly met with merited retribution: for at a place whence the Rhone
had just retired, his slime left on the road made such perilous footing
for some hundred yards, that our horses had several times almost
brought us down with themselves, which there would have been
unpleasant, as we should infallibly have rolled into the river. At the
entrance of Sierre we passed the ruin of its demolished castle, one of
those belonging to the ill-fated Raron. Found the Soleil infinitely
better than the Poste at Martigny, and cleaner than report describes
the inn at Sion. The number of cretins at this place is fearful, and
you must see them to feel their degradation, and ours, that beings, so
below brutes, should indeed belong to our species—large heads and old
faces on the frail bodies of children, and with the weak limbs of a
cripple,—goitres, of an enormous size, swelling the throat and hanging
over the strangely-formed chests, and sometimes all the faculties
wanting—the ear deaf; the tongue dumb; the eye having no “speculation”
in its glare; and the enjoyment to lie rolling in filth, or basking in
the sun, like some unclean animal. As I stood at the inn window, three
of these wretched creatures appeared in the place below; they were
attracted by a part of my dress, and staid grinning at me, demanding
it, after their manner, with signs and inarticulate sounds. I could
have ascribed to their colourless and withered countenances neither sex
nor age. The peasants treat and speak to them kindly; but I doubt their
considering now, as in darker times, the presence of one of them in
their families a blessing; and such as are free from the curse ascribe
it to the extreme dirt, if not of the present, of past generations. The
water of Sierre is unwholesome, and drunk cold produces instant

The diet of the Upper Valais is sitting here; the diet of the Lower
Valais at Sion: it is curious that the two districts divide the
possession of the latter town.

                              CHAPTER IV.

Rhone overflowed—Baths of Louëche—Tourtemagne—Visp—Ravages of the
  Rhone—Madonnas placed to stop its further rise—Glys—Brieg—Ascent
  of Simplon—Ganther—Gallery of Schalbet—The toll-gate—Hospice—The
  Barons of Stockalper—Village of the Simplon-Broken
  road—Algaby—Gorge of Gondo—Fanny too near the edge—Gap in the
  road—Part of gallery carried away—Opportune aid—Arrival at
  Gondo—Broken road near Isella—Accident during the storm—Remnant of
  a carriage—The douanier’s aid—An auberge—The military post—My
  consolation—An amiable hostess—Good company in a quiet kitchen—A
  French gentleman expecting murder—An Italian vetturino—The Juge de
  paix and his interested verdict—Torrent or bedchamber—Our hostess’s
  supper—Departure—First difficulty—Road completely swept
  away—Impossibility of advancing—A lady and her guide killed—Way
  over the Trasquiera—Fanny aiding her conductor—A painful path—A
  draught of water—Top of the mountain—Inhabitants—Milk and
  apples—Fanny’s leap—Danger of Grizzle—Descent—Bridge
  gone—Torrent forded—Gallery of Crevola—The broken
  column—Arrival—Our friend’s welcome—Domo d’Ossola.

                                                       18th September.

Left Sierre early, and found, when but a short distance on our way,
that the damage done by the Rhone had not been exaggerated. We crossed
it on a bridge, and beyond, in lieu of the road which had been there,
found a broad and deep deposit of the river, which had broken and swept
it away. Three hundred workmen are employed since the overflow, and, as
none of our party could swim, we stopped to inquire at which part it
might be fordable. One of the men came good-naturedly forward to lead
Fanny, and in and to her shoulder in water we went, Grizzle following,
and arrived safe at the opposite shore. Rode fast up the hill to dry
ourselves, leaving our friend grinning at his fee, and shaking himself
like a gay poodle. The route here turns through a pine forest, a wild
and beautiful way, St. Bernard and the range of brother Alps behind.
The Gemmi, to the left, topped with snow, and the Rhone at its foot,
and, on our right, cliff above cliff,—not cold, white, or grey, but
rich with tints warm and beautiful; and fir woods below them and around
us, covering the peculiar and conical mounds. A tract of forest on one
of these had been burned, probably by lightning or inadvertence, and
the scathed and blackened trunks stood like the plague-stricken among
their green fellows. The road skirted the river, still on our left, and
we saw opposite, on the mountain, a romantic village with an old
turreted castle, to which conduct a wooden bridge, sinking ominously in
its centre, and a steep winding road. It commands the noble gorge in
the grey rock, through which rushes the Dala river, and the Gemmi
surmounts it in turn. This is the village of Louëche, and its famous
baths are about nine miles higher in the mountain. I might give you an
account of these hot springs, which flow at five thousand feet above
the level of the sea, but that I think I might weary you. They must be
of extraordinary efficacy, as the cold of morning and evening at
Louëche does not impede the cure, though snow sometimes falls there in
July; and crowds frequent them notwithstanding their inconvenient
position and the total want of comfort, often of necessaries, in the
dilapidated wooden dwellings which receive the sick. It is strange that
the water which at its source will harden an egg and scald a fowl, and
in which one cannot, from its extreme heat, plunge the hand, so soon
loses this quality, that it may be received in a glass and immediately
swallowed without annoyance.

Near Tourtemagnen, where there is a strange looking inn, but I hear
comfortable notwithstanding, the beauty of the country wholly
disappeared, for the road ran among pools and marshes—the melancholy
cows standing to their knees in water to eat the high coarse grass
which half grows, half floats, around—the few trees which have
attained any size bent and blasted by the searching wind; the wretched
stunted women, who would be prodigies of ugliness even without the
goitre, were digging in the mud for the unwholesome potatoes which grew

The day had grown cold and foggy, and lighted sadly the late ravages of
the Rhone—painfully visible; as its widened bed now dry once more
swept over meadows and fields of Indian corn, and left, on its retreat,
desolating heaps of stones and sand. We passed here and there a
shattered mill and a ruined habitation—the owners mostly standing idly
and hopelessly on the bank—a few striving to combat with misfortune,
and reap the rotting harvest; or at least collect the logs flung to
their feet on the shore—relics of bridges broken and scattered in the
contempt of the waters they had spanned for a time. We compared it to a
land visited by a curse;—the struggle seemed so unequal between
earth’s frailest race and her heaviest disasters.

I think it is after passing a village of some miserable huts called St.
Pierre, that it improves for a space—green pastures once more
ascending to the pine forests, and neater wooden houses covered, for
the first time, with trained vines. The peasants seemed miserable as
ever, ragged, and famished, but a spice of coquetry remaining through
it all, for the outwork of broad riband with a tinsel border eternally
trimmed the low crown of the felt hat.

With the exception of this and one other portion of better land, the
marshes stretch to Visp, and the thick air is impregnated with miasmas.
Visp is built where the valley parts itself in two distinct branches.
The one, down which rushes the torrent which gives its name to the
village, leading to Monterosa; but it is the Haneck and not Monterosa
whose white mass, seen from this spot, terminates the defile of the
Moro. The Visp is here broad and rapid as the Rhone, yet this place,
situated near their junction, is filthy as all villages in the catholic
cantons,—their united streams cannot wash the blackamoor white.

After traversing the streets, our road wound grandly and perilously
round the base of rocks blasted for its formation; but this portion
passed, we were again amidst the marshes, and between Visp and Glys the
overflow of the Rhone has done most damage, as it is hereabouts swollen
by numberless tributary streams—most turbulent vassals. Our horses
sank above the fetlock in soft mud, which covered the whole face of the
valley: Indian corn and pumpkins floating on its surface. The ground
floors of the deserted cabins were flooded, for through this desolate
tract wound a stream whose deposits made pools deep and broad; and
planted in the mud, or half drowned in the water, were several small
wooden crucifixes and Madonnas, placed there to deprecate its further

We passed through Glys, in whose church lie buried Georges of Flue and
his twenty-three children. At the entrance-gate stands the Virgin Mary,
the iron glory round her head resembling the snakes of Medusa; and over
the portico is a painting of the heavenly Father, extending his mantle
over multitudes of the faithful, who look like deformed children,—the
native artist drew, alas! his inspiration from the goitre-afflicted and
the cretin. The last bridge which we crossed over the Saltine leads
directly to Brieg, and at the window of the hôtel de la Poste we saw
the pretty face of Mrs. —— looking out to greet our coming. The pine
log fire blazing in the wide hearth was agreeable this chill evening,
and her voice and laugh aided to dispel the impressions left by the
dull air of that desolate valley. There are rumours of the
impossibility of crossing the Simplon, of roads injured and bridges
broken by some recent storm—the postmaster’s son has been sent hence
to verify their truth, and we wait his fiat.

                                                       September 19th.

It is decided that we are to go, the courier from Sierre having passed
through Brieg at daybreak with news that the road is open.

                                       September 21st., Domo d’Ossola.

After two days’ silence, I write again to give you a recital of
adventures which have befallen us wayfarers. Our friends and ourselves,
with the rest of the party assembled at Brieg, left after breakfast,
and we hardly said good-bye to Mr. and Mrs. H——, in whose company we
were to dine at Domo d’Ossola. The morning was cloudy and cool,
changing to the loveliest of days. Half a mile above Brieg we passed
the covered bridge which crosses the Saltine, and is the first of the
works of the mountain, for it is on the direct road, which begins from
Glys, but is seldom taken, as there is no inn there. At this spot they
join, and the ascent grows steeper, turning away from the Glytzhorn,
which bounds the valley on the right, towards its comrade the
Breithorn. Our horses, at a walk, soon left behind the posters and
heavy carriages, and we passed beneath a hill, at whose summit is a
Calvary, the stations conducting thither peeping whitely out among the
thick dark firs. The valley of the Rhone looked beautiful below, Brieg
in the plain, the tin globes which surmount her minaret-like steeples
shining in the sun as if his rays had kindled so many stars; behind the
town and the high bridge which spans the Saltine, dashing towards the
Rhone, arose the mountains—parted by the deep and narrow cleft whence
the river issues; and again above these were the glaciers, their forms
half concealed by the vapours which, as we ascended, partially veiled
the range of Bernese Alps also, but made our road the lovelier;—where,
skirting the precipice from the depths of the gorge through which the
Saltine foams, they rose curling thin and delicate as the smoke from a
cottage chimney, or, lying at our feet for a few moments, impenetrable
as a floor, slowly opened to show the torrent, glittering among its
black crags, and the green forests, all dew and sunshine. At several of
the windings of the road, now steep but always smooth and broad, and
almost always protected, we again hung over what seemed a miniature of
Brieg and the valley as far as Tourtemagnen, till arrived at a certain
height, it runs nearly on a level along the edge of the ravine of the
Ganther to the bold bridge at its extremity. Beneath its arch, from the
rocks which back it, rushes the torrent, forming a cascade in its leap,
where in winter roll the avalanches. Crossing this bridge, we returned
on a parallel line with that we had already gone on the opposite side
of the valley: we could distinguish the carriages some miles behind.
The route ascends thence in steep zigzags to Berisol, a post-house and
poor inn.

Fanny sometimes started at a pine trunk fallen on her path, or a cow
feeding above us with its tinkling bell, or obstinately refused to pass
some unfamiliar object, such as the poor priest who, book in hand, was
summoning a dozen white goats from the pinnacles on which they were
perched feeding, and who came bounding from crag to crag at his call.
At such times, to distract her attention, we cantered along through the
sunshine and sweet air, acknowledging its influence, for on the broad
road there was little danger; it is certain the mind has less energy,
and the body feels more fatigue, on the plain. Somewhere hereabouts we
crossed a bridge of planks without parapets, not dangerous however.
Here also a stream gushes from the rock, and passes under to foam and
lose itself among the pine trees,—some standing to fringe its shores,
others, broken by its force, lying at its feet to do it homage. It is
one of the sweetest glimpses on the Valais side of Berisol. The last
named place consists of two houses, connected by a roof which crosses
the road; and here we passed more carriages, ourselves proud and
rejoicing in the lesser weight which enabled us to desert them all.
Continuing to mount higher, our way became more wild till we had passed
the pine region, and the crags were clothed with rhododendron only,
whose blossoms lent beautiful tints to the far mountain side. Here and
there we saw a solitary tree broken by some avalanche, or raising
boughs withered and whitened by the ungenial climate. But the sterility
is almost total near the Gallery of Schalbet, the first which we
traversed: it is hollowed through a rock which obstructed the passage
of the road, here cut along the verge of the precipice and edge of the
bare mountain, narrower and without barriers.

From the fifth refuge, which immediately follows this cavern of
ninety-five feet long, to the summit, is the place of peril in the time
of tourmentes and avalanches. I looked with some attention to the snow,
which, lately fallen, had accumulated thick and far above our heads,
and to the track of the avalanches, now marked by stream and torrent,
which rush down the chasms uttering their ominous roar, repeated and
prolonged by all the mocking echoes of the mountain. We were beneath
the glaciers of the Kalt Wasser, and, to afford adequate protection to
the road they threaten, two houses of refuge, three galleries, and an
hospital, have been erected within a brief distance. The second of
these galleries passes beneath one of the mighty falls, and our horses
started to find themselves wet with its spray, as, carried over the
roof, it dashes down before one of the apertures which light it.

The longest of these glacier galleries has been blasted through the
living rock, within which it turns, and damp and cold it is as a
dungeon—the water distilling through the fissures in its roof, forming
in winter long needles of crystal, but now dropping mercilessly on our
heads, changing the soil to a sea of mud; and the draught of air
striking a chill so penetrating, that to save the horses from harm, we
trotted them the one hundred and thirty feet which form the length of
this gloomy cavern.

A little further, we passed the sixth refuge, which is the toll-gate
also. The receiver, who came running out, found time to tell that he
had served in the Hanoverian guard, and fought at Waterloo, and also to
cheat us of two francs per horse, the toll amounting to four for the
two. It was twelve o’clock, he said, so that we had ascended in three
hours, for here is the cross which marks the highest point of the road.
It continues bare and wild; but down in the meadow, which seems rather
to produce a kind of moss than grass, there are scattered a few
wretched cottages; heaven knows what the inhabitants exist on. The
hospice founded by Napoleon, and at present occupied by a few Augustine
monks, is a fine-looking building without, but desolate and unfinished
within. We were saluted as we rode by two of the lonely brothers, who
were wandering on the irregular hillocks which surround it, bare of
bush or verdure, surmounted by the unchanging snows. In the broad
valley below our road, shut in by rocks naked as itself, rises on a
mound the square six-storied building, or rather tower, which served
for hospice ere this was instituted. A few cows were standing before
it, chewing the cud—“of sweet and bitter fancies” it must have
been,—for there appeared nothing to swallow bodily. It is said that
the old barons of Stockalper were in the habit of sending hither their
children to preserve them from the baleful influence of the air of the
plain: it still belongs to a proprietor of the same name.

From this place the road commences and continues to descend. We were
among green and living things once more, and the milder temperature
restored to activity that worst of all species of crawling fly which
had already so persecuted our horses in the ascent, and,
notwithstanding my long apprenticeship in fly murder, consequent on our
ride, resisted all efforts to kill, being cased in armour, till I
adopted suffocation, and therefore, for the benefit of future horse
travellers, recommend that they be pressed between finger and thumb
until death shall ensue.

Crossing a torrent on a bridge, at last, about two leagues from the
summit, we entered the most dirty village of the Simplon, where we had
decided to stop only to feed the horses, who were well able to end
their day’s journey at Domo d’Ossola: it is built on a knoll above the
rapid stream, commanding an unproductive valley. The houses, built in
stone, take mellow and picturesque tints from the moss and lichens
which clothe them, and winter lasting here during two-thirds of the
year, the small garden, which each possesses, is cultivated almost in
vain. The clearing of the snows and the transport of merchandise (for
it has been calculated that at least two hundred horses pass weekly in
the severe season) supply to its hardy inhabitants, the profit more
easily won in other regions, preserving from the misery which would
seem their doom. Traversing courageously heaps of manure and pools of
abomination, D—— accompanied the horses to the stables, while I
walked into the inn opposite, before which stood a collection of
English and other carriages, and on the steps, in discussion or
dispute, discomfited gentlemen and villanous-looking Italians. The
house was crowded to overflow, a circumstance which appeared to improve
neither its attendance nor the politeness of its landlady: for when I
asked the last-mentioned fat personage for some refreshment, she handed
me to her sharp-faced, thin daughter, who left me on the stairs, saying
the salle was at the top, and disappeared, promising to ask the cook if
he had anything to eat, which she said she believed he had not, owing
to the immense influx of guests who had come thus far, unapprized of
the road’s real state, and stayed from the impossibility of proceeding.
As she did not come back, I found my way through corridors innumerable
to the kitchen, and stood opposite the cook and his company of
marmitons. Perhaps he felt mortified that the uninitiated should
perceive the nakedness of the land, devoid of both food and fire;
certainly he received me unamiably, proffering only a foot of raw beef
sausage, and being sulky when I declined it; informing me that it had
been five times the length, and all the remainder of the guests had
been very glad to eat it raw. When I assured him, that although it
might serve his house to spare fuel, it by no means suited me, he
produced two shining slices of ham and a piece of bread, the last in
the house; he said he had sent to Domo d’Ossola for more, and I
returned in triumph to the eating-room, a little marmiton carrying the
hot ham and dry crust behind me. I found there several disconsolate
groups, and as companions in misfortune we were in five minutes
acquainted: there were two American gentlemen, who from their accent I
thought Irish, and from their kind politeness afterwards made me feel
that Mrs. Trollope’s recital was not always fair; and an amiable
English family, about to turn back, the extortion of the Italians who
in the morning had asked 500f. for transporting their carriage, now
raising it to 1000. The Americans had determined on going on, though
every one assured them it was wholly impossible, and D—— said we
might follow where they went: so, having given our horses proper
repose, we mounted them again,—our new acquaintances having the start
of us by about half an hour. For some distance the road was good and
smooth, the first awkward-looking portion we approached being where it
bends backward like the coil of a snake, beyond the village. The light
carriage had passed; for close to the edge of the precipice were the
marks left by its wheels, and as we led our horses over we agreed that
the damage had been probably exaggerated, and we should want no guide.
The gallery of Algaby, 115 feet long, conducted us from the more open
space to the gorge of Gondo. In 1814 it was converted to a military
post, and its entrance is half closed by a wall, pierced with loopholes
to defend the pass. It is the most savage of stony glens: no sunshine
in its recesses, for the cliffs rise to a height of more than 2200
feet; no vegetation, except you can call such the broken line of firs
here and there seen on the tops of the bare black crags, so nearly met
overhead, that

                  “The wanderer’s eye may barely view
                  The summer heaven’s delicious blue”—

their fragments lying in the stream, which frets against and over them
with a roar so deafening, that we could not hear each other’s voices;
as sometimes (I speak for myself), awed by the silence of all saving
nature, we rode along a narrower road, guarded only by far severed
granite posts, unconnected by pine trunks, advancing like a cornice on
the edge of the rock and over the abyss,—proving, it is true, that the
work of man has been mighty; but also showing, by the masses of crags
scattered like chaff, and the rush of unnumbered waterfalls, which
might bring destruction with them from the mountain top, how easily his
skill may be baffled. Fanny’s sudden fright at one of these had very
nearly closed my journal: while, in consequence of her starts, Grizzle
placed outside as a bulwark, we were walking our horses, a sharp turn
brought us suddenly on one of these cascades, bounding down a cleft in
the rock and crossing the road, she swerved violently behind Grizzle
and towards the edge, which of course she did not see, as her bright
eye was fixed on the waterfall. The curb-stone was slippery with the
spray, and we were within a foot of it; so close that I said, “We are
going over;” but at the same time, from instinct, struck poor Fanny
with all my force, and the pain made her bound forward, and pass the
peril. D—— looked pale and frightened, it being one of the cases in
which aid was impossible: I had not time to be afraid. The Ponte Alto,
a superb bridge, which, with two enormous crags for support, spans the
Doveria, conducts the road to its opposite shore. The still narrowing
gorge is at every step more deep sunken and wild, almost resembling a
cavern. We had passed a break on the road of small consequence, and had
again commenced remarking on Italian exaggeration, when we arrived at a
gap, some forty feet wide, cut by the rise of the Doveria. Hid in it
were a few men, rather examining than repairing what would have
required fifty. To our surprise we saw the marks of the carriage-wheels
on the soft earth,—it had been dragged in and out again. We led our
horses down the steep, the men significantly pointing to some holes
through which we might have sunk too far,—and Fanny, whose rein I
held, pulled me gallantly up on the other side. At the wooden bridge
which, some steps farther, again traversed the torrent, we found our
American acquaintances, tying up their pole which had broken there. We
exchanged a few words: on their side promises of help, if help were
needed, and thanks on ours, and a portion of undamaged road led us to
the gallery of Gondo, 683 feet long, (according to guide-books),
blasted through the rock, whose mass stood forth to bar the way: the
two vast apertures, made towards the torrent, formerly lighted it but
feebly, but this was not the case to-day,—for a part of its rocky roof
and wall had been carried away also. Issuing at its mouth, we came, to
my surprise, and not, considering my late adventure, to my pleasure, on
the bridge, which immediately after crosses the superb waterfall of
Frascinodi thundering down its immense volume from the high glacier,
and along the hollow of the cliff below the arch with a spray which
blinds and a roar which deafens, falling into the deep gulf, where,
struggling among the crags, groans, as if in pain, the Doveria.

Having ridden down the abrupt descent which immediately follows, ere
the bending of the road concealed this view, we turned to look at it
once more. It is that of which we have so often seen drawings, the
noblest in the Simplon: the graceful stone arch—the tall rocks and the
chasm—the fall and the torrent,—and where the foam was not, the water
in the basin it has hollowed in the crag, of that pale clear green seen
in the crevices of a glacier.

Before reaching the village of Gondo we again passed the carriage, but
were soon stopped ourselves by a ruined piece of road which, though
dangerous to horses’ knees only, was exceedingly embarrassing, as D——
could not lead two; and I found that, even without the care of Fanny, I
was fully employed in keeping my footing while scrambling up and down
the mounds of crag and loose stones, and through the stream which,
shrunk and quiet now, had done this damage. I tried my skill
notwithstanding, and arrived at the top of the first heap, whence Fanny
refused either to slide or jump into the water; and we were very much
in the situation of statues on a pedestal, when our kind
fellow-travellers arrived to my aid, altering Fanny’s determination,
and in consequence Grizzle’s, who will not stir a step unless she leads
the way.

The carriage was dragged over with a difficulty which several times
made me fear that our acquaintances and those with them would have been
forced along with it into the Doveria: for it required the united
strength of all to preserve its equilibrium along the narrowed way, now
barely the width of its wheels. It tottered several times on the
slopes, and it made me dizzy to see the men on the verge opposing to
its weight their own, where a false step would have cast them below to
be mangled among the stones of the rapid torrent. Another and worse
obstacle waited us at the entrance of Gondo: for here the stream, which
descended from the mountains, was still three feet deep, and its
violence made the crossing it a work of danger; though with the aid of
our friends we accomplished it, scrambling over piles of smooth rock
and rolling stones, and through the water. The carriage was taken off
its wheels, as no vehicle made with human fingers could have passed
here; and the poor post-horses, who, no care bestowed on them, had
hitherto picked their own way, could go no farther. We therefore
proceeded alone to Gondo, a melancholy village of a few cabins and a
chapel, and a strange building of eight stories, with barred windows,
which I certainly should rather have supposed a prison than an inn
belonging to the family of Stockalper. Could we have imagined that it
boasted common accommodation, as Artaria assures it does, we should
have remained there to pass the night, being wet and weary; but
deceived as to its destination, we applied at an inn some steps
farther, and after screaming at the entrance of the dark corridor till
we had roused every cur in the neighbourhood, a solitary woman
appeared, to say that this was not, as we had fancied, Isella; that she
had neither bed for ourselves, nor food for our horses, and we must go
on, and should do well to make haste as the evening was closing and
there was a “cattivo passo.” Fortunately for us (our friends being no
longer within call) at the frontier of the Valais and Italy, where on
the left to mark it there is a humble chapel on the crag, and on the
right poised above the torrent a colossal fragment of fallen rock, we
found some good-natured douaniers, who assured us of the impossibility
of passing Isella, and the difficulty of even arriving there, and
offered to accompany us, a proposal we gladly accepted as the evening
was growing dusk, and my hand was almost useless in leading Fanny over
such ground as we had been treading.

At this place, between the frontier and Isella, on the 15th, the day of
the storm, a carriage was passing under the torrents of rain, and the
postilion, who, fortunately, was of the mountains and on his guard,
walking at the heads of his horses, saw above, symptoms of the coming
earth avalanche. He had time to shout to the travellers to descend and
to cut the traces, when it came rushing down, the carriage was swept
into the Doveria with its luggage, and instantly shattered to atoms:
for the largest remnant rescued, a portion of the coach-box, was placed
as a memento on a rock by the road-side, and is hardly longer or
broader than a man’s hand.

Our difficulties had now seriously begun. Isella was in sight, but
between it and us a space of the road for about two hundred yards had
been swept away, leaving in its room piled rocks and masses of stone,
which had been its foundation; a torrent, not very deep but furious in
its rapidity, was boiling down, crossing these, and had already
hollowed a bed athwart the ruin. The douaniers came up to assist as we
stopped in dismay and discouragement. How the horses got over, and
without fall or stumble, is to me a matter of wonder; they scrambled
over the rocks and jumped down descents, and struggled through the
water, and up the high mound of loose stones, which yielded beneath
their hoofs, doing honour to their blood and race.

I had been so completely wet before that, but that the force of the
stream was well nigh enough to lift me off my feet, I should have
preferred it to the plank thrown over by some Samaritan.

At Isella, however, we were, passing the custom-house, which I had
hoped might be the inn, being a building of decent exterior, to arrive
at the most miserable auberge ever owned by even Italian masters: a
wretched shed on one side for stable, the sharp air blowing in on our
wet horses, no groom to dry them, and filth for a bed; straw so rare,
that it was sold by the pound, at an inconceivable price. A poste of
“carabinieri reali” joined the inn on the other side, and this was my
consolation, for while D—— was watching our poor four-footed
companions eat such hay and oats as this place afforded, with apparent
satisfaction, I made my entry, mounting a ladder-like stair which
several Italians were descending, one of whom held his candle in my
face, as I passed him on my way to the kitchen, where I found (a red
handkerchief tied above an assassination-looking face) a most furious
Italian woman, distributing spirits, by the light of one tallow candle,
to a band of lawless looking personages, who were shouting and swearing.

As nobody made way for me, I asked mine hostess for a room, to which
she said, “Patienza;” and having assuaged the thirst of all her
dark-faced customers, she set herself to stirring a caldron full of
some ill-scented mixture on her hearth.

On my applying for attention once more, she said, with a toss of her
head and spoon, that I must wait, as she had not time to mind me; and
as I was really afraid of offending her, I took a seat, which a
douanier who was smoking by the fire offered me by his side, and sate
close to him, placing my confidence in his presence, and the vicinity
of the carabinieri.

The turbulent party round my landlady continued to drink and to smoke
till I could hardly see them through the cloud. As my courage rose and
the atmosphere grew stifling, besides that I was weary of the Swiss
Italian of my companion, I got up to see if, till D—— should have
left his horses, I had, by passing through the open door, a chance of
more humanized society, or at least of none. To my extreme pleasure, on
the balcony I found an old French gentleman, with his son and grandson,
who had arrived some hours before ourselves. They hailed the addition
which we and the Americans, who were on their way, would make to their
party, for the old man said they had stopped only because they could
get no further, as he in his own person had doubts of his hostess, and
thought it would be as well that we each should know the other’s
sleeping apartment, to afford help reciprocally, “dans le cas,” he
added, “que nous soyons assassinés!”

His son was complaining bitterly of an Italian vetturino, who, when on
starting he agreed for a certain sum to conduct his passengers to
Milan, already knew the state of the road, as the 13th and 14th the
storm had been raging on the Italian side, though its greatest fury was
on the 15th. Under the Kaltwasser glaciers a sudden gust of wind had
overturned his carriage, absolutely on the verge of the tremendous
precipice. The poor pale boy had shown great courage, and even the
horses and carriage received no injury.

Arrived at the first impediment beyond the Simplon inn, the voiturier
very truly asserted he could go no farther, but also insisted on his
fare as far as Milan. The point had been referred for arbitration to a
juge de paix, whose interference the French gentleman demanded, and the
Italian consented to abide by; but when the former arrived in his
presence, he found him washing dishes! He was an aubergiste, and
unusually busy from the influx of travellers, brought by untrue
accounts of the road, given as far as Vevay by postilions and
innkeepers; of course he gave his verdict in favour of the vetturino.

D—— and the American gentlemen arrived together, the carriage of the
latter left till morning at the other side of the broken road, between
it and Isella, where it had been benighted, so that its imperials and
portmanteaus were carried over in the dark to undergo the inspection of
the douane. The landlady signified to me that it was now her pleasure
to conduct me to my chamber, therefore with due docility I followed
through the kitchen, where the troop drinking at the long table had
been increased by those who aided in the transport of Mr. C——’s
carriage, and up another break-neck flight, at the top of which was a
closet with two beds, over a part of the before-named kitchen,
therefore reaping the full benefit of its merriment, and disputes, and
tobaccoed air.

She first informed me, that one bed only could be placed at my
disposal, as other travellers might arrive; and when I objected to this
arrangement, named with great coolness the price she, as monarch of the
mountain, had assigned to it, it being her best apartment, chosen _per
respetto per me_. I said very politely, being in awe of her, that I
thought her terms high, adding in the most amiable tone I could assume,
that I had seen turn back all the travellers now at the Simplon, and it
was likely the inns would be ruined along the road, as its reparation
would not be commenced till spring.

In reply to this, she said she had no time to listen to my
conversation, and I had better make my mind up; adding, I suppose by
way of aiding me in the effort, “E là il torrento; si prende o si
lascia,”—“Take it or leave it, there is the torrent;” and as this was
very true, I resigned myself, for there indeed was the torrent, roaring
below like a wild beast before his fatal bound, and not only the
torrent, but no bridge, it had been swept away, and there was none,
barring a plank, as an Irishman would say, which had been flung
slopingly across from rock to rock, high above the Doveria, as a
communication between the inn and custom-house and the few hovels on
the opposite shore, which formed the rest of the village of Isella.

There were no stars, and the faint lights which glimmered in a few of
these cottages were all I could distinguish through the darkness, and
the sound of the angry stream almost covered the noise of the company
below. I asked my amiable companion for some hot water, wishing to
neutralize the effect of the cold baths I had undergone to the ancle in
the course of my day’s travel, to which she said, “A chè serve?” and
that she could not attend to whims; and when my patience, long on the
wane, deserted me, sent me some by her squinting brother, in a broken
coffee cup, so that seeing the remedy I had meditated was not
attainable, I drank it.

Our next suffering was supper, and here again we excited our hostess’s
ire by ordering eggs in the shell, as the only incorruptible kind of
food, instead of sharing the greasy liquid and nameless ragouts which
it pleased her to serve up before our companions. Her ill-favoured
brother waited on us, the old French gentleman asserting he looked like
a wretch quite ready to murder when his sister should have robbed; an
opinion which must have flattered him if he understood French, but it
was decided he did not, though I thought he grew a shade more hideous
during the physiognomical study. After regretting that all travelled
without arms, and determining to try any pass in the morning rather
than stay there, we retired to our apartments. To obviate the bad
effects produced by the stifling size and dirt of ours, I tried to
admit the air, but the casement was merely fixed in its place, and had
no hinges, so that having deranged its economy, I had some trouble in
restoring it and keeping it fast by help of the broken chair. To speak
the truth, I had intended to lie awake till day, a design which I
thought the noise and the bad bed rendered easy to accomplish, but
fatigue was stronger than the resolution, and after a few moments I
forgot that the door would not shut, lost the impression of resting my
feet on ground which gave way under them, which had pursued me like the
motion of a ship after a voyage, and slept far more soundly than I
should have done in my own bed and home. The Princess Bacciochi
occupied this same chamber two days before me—I pitied her.

We were on our uncleaned horses at seven, our kind hostess, with “a
laughing devil in her sneer,” asserting she should see us again, and
one or two of the carabiniers smiling confirmation of her hope of
plunder. It was a cold misty morning, and we started without breakfast,
there being nothing at the inn. I believe the beauty of the scenery was
almost lost on us, yet Isella is beautifully situated, and the
uniformity of crag and pine forest is broken by the brighter green of
fruit trees as well as by masses of beech, which here clothe the
mountain. The gallery of Isella, a few paces below the village, is
picturesque in form as in situation, for it is rather a deep archway,
and the jutting rock it traverses is supported by a gigantic and
naturally formed column. Looking back, we could see Isella and our
place of durance through the frame the dark rock made. A bend in the
road the next moment concealed both, exhibiting an obstacle at our feet
which seemed fatal to further progress. It was evident the Americans
had passed, but they had no horses with them, and one of the thousand
streams in which the melted glacier had descended to swell the Doveria
had here brought down an avalanche of stones, and piled them to form
its banks. The broken road before Isella, though of greater extent, was
far less difficult of passage. D—— with his grey got first over, and
one of the men, roused to good nature, advanced to hold her while he
returned for Fanny; but I had half slipped, half jumped the descent in
search of the best mode of bringing her without danger, and the little
creature sprang lightly down after me as if she had been on her native
turf. Grizzle was far less intelligent, and difficult to lead through
the foaming water, but neither even stumbled. I got my first footpath,
increasing the sensation of shivering, perhaps produced by starting in
a mountain fog with fast unbroken.

We proceeded perhaps a hundred yards without obstacle, followed by
several cantonniers, telling us we went in vain, and a sudden turn we
again made proved it was indeed hopeless, showing not now the remnant
of a road, but the place it had occupied, for not a vestige
remained—it was difficult to believe it had been there. The length of
this gap was about half a mile. The Doveria had partly changed her
course, and left some distance from her opposite bank dry; and dashing
against this with doubled violence, had formed a wild bay inclosed,
opposite us, by a far advancing promontory, round whose foot the road
had circled, but which now rose perpendicularly from the water; on this
side, by the same road, broken like a branch, and between both swept
angrily over the ruins, unwilling its trophy should prove its barrier.

Our American friends, whose carriage waited here, about to be carried
over piece-meal, came up to consult with D——, and leaving the horses
in my charge, they set forth together to inspect what might be done;
for the cantonnier en chef offered to take his men there, and construct
a path three feet wide, along which horses might be led before night:
it was now near nine o’clock, we had already lost two hours.

I watched D—— (having taken his first plunge from the high ground we
stood on to the water) scramble through the foam and rocks, clinging
to, or climbing over them, here ten to twelve feet high, and keeping
near as possible to shore on account of the depth and strong current,
crawl up the precipice to a cottage which had been left unharmed, when
the earth cracked and fell from around and under it. This, my companion
the cantonnier said, was easy to accomplish; the difficulties were
beyond, and, the path having traversed the jutting point, they were
henceforth invisible. I sate on my horse employed in fancying their
nature, till I again saw D—— returning by his inconvenient footway,
poising himself on the slippery rocks, and arriving to my surprise
without limbs broken. Some of the men had already gone to cut this
path, which was to be widened ere nightfall, but D—— said it would be
impossible to travel; even supposing there should be a space of three
feet between the upright wall of earth and the precipice, which goes
down to the Doveria, inasmuch as there was a rapid descent, and where
it ceased, a sharp turn, so that a horse hurried down could scarcely
fail to be precipitated into the torrent.

One of the ruined spaces we had already traversed, a German gentleman
with his lady, and a guide leading her mule, had attempted to pass on
the 18th, a day before ourselves. The animal slipped on the verge, and
the guide, in his effort to save the lady, was dragged over also. Her
body, for she was killed on the spot, was recovered and carried to
Isella, that of the unfortunate man was swept away. This was a warning;
we proposed to ford the torrent, thus circling round the base of the
mountain where it was shallow, but the men, whose aid we demanded,
treated the idea as madness, and refused positively, we therefore paid
the cantonnier en chef for his trouble, and turned our horses’ heads
towards the Simplon inn; for, discouraging as it was to seek again
obstacles once surmounted, to do so seemed the one thing possible. As
we turned, disconsolately thinking of the wearisome valley of the
Rhone, and the long detour we must make by Geneva, a young officer of
carabinieri, with whom we had been in conversation before, and a
priest, came up to accost us. There was a way, he said, which might be
just passable, over the Trasquiera, he had gone it once in search of
deserters; but a guide to lead Fanny was indispensable, and none was to
be had. Chance served us well, for as we were looking about with but
faint hope of seeing one, (all the cantonniers being gone to their work
a mile away, and no one walking there for pleasure,) came up a young
man, to whom the kind priest immediately applied, asking him for what
recompense he would accompany us across the mountain, and to Domo
d’Ossola: he said seven francs, but that he did not know the way; and
our embarrassments would have recommenced, but that the Paroco summoned
his young brother, a pretty slight boy of twelve, who knew all the
paths and precipices within five miles round. The Trasquiera almost
hangs over Isella, and the zigzag path up its side commences from the
broken road we had crossed after leaving the village that morning. Over
this our poor horses were led again, and bidding good bye to the priest
and officer, we commenced our ascent, the boy leading the way, Fanny
climbing like a goat and pulling up the guide, who, having never
touched a horse’s rein before, rather hung by it than was of service;
D—— supporting Grizzle, who was very frightened and awkward, and I
bringing up the rear, and though they were obliged to pause every ten
steps for breath, often at a distance; as the weight of my habit
encumbered me, and this path is not even used by mules, and by the
country people rarely to drive their cattle to the pastures, as there
is a better on the other side the mountain. For the first five minutes
we went on trusting it would improve; after the first quarter of hour,
because to turn became almost impossible, the track being at no part
more than two feet broad, and winding in zigzags along the extreme
verge above a torrent, which, though neither so broad nor deep as the
Doveria, would, as Mercutio said, “serve,” and besides formed like an
irregular stair of steps of stone two and three feet high, small and
pointed, broad and smooth. I often used hands as well as feet, catching
at rocks and roots. Poor Grizzle went sorely against her will; only the
boy and Fanny, who were far a-head, seemed to enjoy it.

As the road grew steeper and I found I must have both hands free, I
took off the skirt of my habit and laid it over the latter’s saddle,
thinking at the time I never saw a prettier object than her little
thorough bred form in the guise of a packhorse, but stepping on with a
demeanour as dignified as if she had been at a review in the Champ de
Mars. The path now became absolutely vertical, and the more difficult
from its being over smooth loose ground. As we had dined lightly the
day before and not breakfasted this, even on a cup of water, I have
perhaps an excuse for the giddiness and fear produced by exhaustion,
which took momentary possession of me, and certainly brought with them
my only real danger, for worn out by the scorching heat and harassing
walk, I felt unable to climb higher, too giddy to look back, and unable
to sit down, as the ground from its excessive slope afforded no
support, and I was afraid of slipping in a minute from the height I had
passed three hours in attaining. I believe I was going to scream, but I
thought better of it, and seized a pine branch and arrived at the
stones and safer ground before D——, who had therefore left Grizzle to
her fate, could arrive to help me. Here was the first chalet, but it
was locked, left by its owners, who were gone to the high pastures, and
we were disappointed in our hoped for draught of water. There was a
spring, the boy said, half an hour’s walk farther, so we rested a few
minutes and then went on patiently, though it was twelve o’clock and we
were parched with thirst, and mountain air, renovating as it is, will
not supply the place of all things. We were now in a tract of pine
forest, and at its steepest part found our way barred by half a-dozen
Italian woodcutters, who were felling the trees, one of which lay
across our path. D—— said afterwards he expected a worse adventure
here, for we had a large sum in gold about us, and the odds were in
their favour, besides that the ground was of such nature, that a push
would have been sufficient to settle matters without trouble. The
Italians were, however, better than their countenances; they opened
their dark eyes wider in wonder at the apparition of English horses
there, but dragged aside the pine; and when I, who had struck my foot
against some roots and could get no farther, called to them to give me
“la mano,” good naturedly pulled me up, each consigning me to the broad
black hand of his comrade, so that I arrived at the summit of the mound
with more ease than accompanied my climbings heretofore. After this
followed a few steps of what the guide denominated plain. The direction
of our road had changed, and now too high above the unseen Doveria to
hear its roar, we looked through vistas of pines to those of the
mountains on its opposite bank, seeming a continuation of these forests
without a symptom of the abyss between. We toiled on some time longer,
D—— casting back at me looks of pity, and I trying to smile, though I
should have been puzzled to say for what. We found too juniper berries
and hips and haws, and shared them after the manner of the babes in the
wood, but the delight was the spring, at which we arrived at last,
trickling from a rock. D—— bent the top of his hat into a hollow, and
out of this cup we drank, I do not know how many draughts, but
certainly the best in our lives; for my own part the relief it afforded
seemed to dispel all fatigue, and we went on merrily, though our path
lay across the bed of a torrent, which, though hardly flowing, had
still sufficient water to make slippery its smooth shelving stones,
polished like marble by its passage.

The ascent continued, but it was no longer rapid, and half an hour
brought us on the mountain pastures at the summit, and among the
chalets. We saw nobody; the priest’s brother said it was not the hour
for finding milk, so there was nothing to be done but to lie down on
the short fine grass, irrigated by a hundred rills, and let the horses
drink from them, and drink ourselves out of the palm of our hands. The
guide murmured for the fiftieth time “paese del Diavolo,” and the boy
laughed at me. Though he had knocked at one of these habitations and
found no one, he was fortunately wrong as to the absence of all, and
the wondrous sight we indeed constituted there, attracted some of the
half wild mountain women, good looking and picturesquely attired with
bright kerchiefs on their heads, and cloth leggings instead of
stockings on their feet, coarse brown jackets and blue cloth petticoats
with a deep crimson border.

The first who issued from the dwelling seeing the perseverance with
which I drank out of my hand from the mountain stream, came smiling to
offer a long ladle, which was an admirable substitute. An old woman
seeing, I suppose, that I looked pale and faint, plunged her hand into
a long pocket and drew forth two apples. We accepted them with great
gratitude, and asked if we could get some milk; it really was not the
hour, but several of the good natured creatures set forth different
ways in search, and our first benefactress, who had left us for a
moment, returned, this time her apron quite full of the small sweet
apples, and with her half a dozen companions came close to watch us eat
them, and say “povero” and “poverina” every minute. They asked the
guide and the boy fifty questions without obtaining satisfactory
answers, for they spoke a patois, which neither clearly comprehended.
For my own part, Giuseppe’s Swiss Italian was bad enough; the boy spoke
purely, for he was from the shores of the Lago Maggiore, but of this
not a word in ten was intelligible to me. I understood, however, that
the horses were even more than ourselves the objects of their
curiosity. Their admiration was unwearied; they walked round them and
clapped their hands, and laughed to see them eat and drink, repeating
some of the few Italian words they knew, “Oh la bella bestia, la bella
bestia,” and that they had never seen a horse before. How far this is
possible to people, who, though on a mountain, are but three hours
removed from the most frequented road in Europe, I leave you to decide.
The guide confirmed it; the women, he said, were employed all the
summer on the pastures and in making cheese, which the men carried for
sale below, and in the season when the snows fell, which at this height
happens early, they spun their own wool and lived inclosed in their
mountain village. Certainly the men were less primitive in their
manners than the women, and also less prepossessing in appearance.
Several, when the females gone in search of milk returned, came in
their company inspecting us with less merriment but more attention. We
began to think it would be unwise to be benighted on the mountain, and
paying the good women for our breakfast in a way they thought splendid,
I mounted Fanny for the five minutes during which the plain lasted, and
was hardly on her back, when she thought proper to leap a stream,
through which I should have preferred her walking quietly. Whether or
no the mountain women had ever seen a horse before, I doubt they will
ever see one leap that rivulet again. At the next we reached, for they
are innumerable, Grizzle, whom D—— was still leading, following her
comrade’s example, but as usual in the wrong place, jumped it with
great energy, knocking her master down.

A bad path and steep ascent led hence to another meadow, where Grizzle
was in jeopardy, for her saddle, valise, and all, turning, she was so
frightened as to start away from D——, who had quitted her bridle to
arrange them, and towards the bushes on the verge, where she would have
rolled over, for the meadow was a mere platform, with precipices all
round it. We saved her by an appeal to her greediness: she stopped
short to eat the clover I gathered for the purpose. Met here an old
man, who asked the guide whence we came, and said, in reply, “Non
scenderanno mai,” which was encouraging. Continuing to ascend, we were
on the summit in half an hour more, in presence of the miserable
village and desert inn. No one is there save on fête days, the boy
said. We sate under the shed which is its appurtenance, on the stone
seat which surrounds the stone table. A few steps further, on the
mountain’s very verge, is the small church, painted and ornamented, and
here the priest’s brother left us, delighted with his fee, as the
descent began at this spot, whence the mule-path winds to the valley.
For a few minutes it appeared more promising, but for a few minutes
only, for though cut in broader zigzags and its precipices less
appalling, it was still but four feet wide, and its steep steps of
loose stone made Grizzle groan with fear as she slipped down them, her
head in the air, and her feet thrown forward most helplessly. It would
have been impossible to lead her, but that Fanny was first, hurrying
gaily forward, and picking her steps like a mule,—the guide said, “Va
d’incanto.” The rain had commenced falling as we passed the church, a
circumstance we were too busy to notice: it was at all events
preferable to the overpowering sun, whose heat we had suffered. Arrived
at the bottom, under the shelter of some noble chestnut trees, an
improvement after brushwood and barrenness, there is a hamlet under the
wall of rock, and before it and us, the Querasca, which joined the
Doveria a stone’s throw further. Our guide had sought this spot for the
sake of its wooden bridge, left unharmed when the storm swept away that
of stone.

Arrived at the torrent’s edge, and looking about in vain, he asked a
peasant girl to conduct him thither, but it had disappeared also,
carried down the current the day after its comrade. Giuseppe never
despaired—we had done so during this expedition twenty times
over,—but all he said was “Adesso vedremo;” and now, the wooden bridge
being wholly invisible, we went on to the high road opposite the ruin
of the other and the avalanche of stones occupying the place of a farm
which had been carried away, and stood under the pouring rain on the
brink of the torrent, which this time had changed its course in its
fury, leaving the one arch which remained standing an island. Giuseppe
said the same thing. With the calm blue eye of a northern, he was in
all things a contrast to the Italians we had met hitherto; for his
courage was always quiet and ready, and he never tried to enhance his
services, and in the most difficult moments looked round with an
encouraging smile on his good-natured face. If ever I pass through
Crevola again, I will look for Giuseppe Sala. On our side the gulf, and
on the commencement of the vanished bridge, were standing about a dozen
Italians, not at work, but in contemplation; and Giuseppe, brave fellow
as he was, after looking a moment at the turbid water, intimated his
intention of fording it. We desired him to employ one or two of these
to assist him in crossing. The ill-looking idlers came crowding round
in consequence, talking fast and loud; “they did increase the storm,”
but insisted on it, that if one were hired all must be, and Giuseppe
gently said, “Io solo,” and walked into the water with Fanny. The
torrent was broad, and, though not more than four feet deep, fearfully
rapid, and only by clinging to her he got safe over, though not without
extremely alarming us, for in its very centre, where it rushed most
furiously among the masses of stone, she stopped to drink, and we
almost expected to see both swept away. As they turned the opposite
point of land, we lost sight of them, but were soon reassured by
Fanny’s violent screamings for her comrade, and the sight of Giuseppe,
very wet and triumphant, running back to us along the pine trunk flung
from the high ground to the shore. He had less trouble with Grizzle,
for it had become impossible to hold her, and in her impatience to join
her comrade, she rushed through rocks and water, dragging him along
without any effort of his own. Our turn was now come, and we were to
cross the pine trunk, which, considered an easy comfortable bridge in
the mountains, made me giddy to look at. I believe we both would have
preferred the water, but necessity makes the head steady, and shame
prevented our hesitation, for an old woman crossed it before us,
composedly, as if it had been a meadow, with a pile of faggots on her
back for ballast, and her bare feet clinging to the asperities of the
bark, wherein she had an advantage over us. I called to her from the
other side to hold out her hand, but the poor soul returned the whole
length and then walked it backwards, leading and nodding to me, with
the stream flowing ten feet below, and when I wanted to pay her, ran
away and over it once more. D—— arrived, marshalled by a boy, and we
found the horses waiting: Fanny held by a youth, who complained of
having lost in the water, which he had not entered, shoes never made
for him. The rain had fallen during two hours without interruption, and
now gave place to scorching sun once more. Ere we rode on, we looked up
at the little church on the summit of the Trasquiera, in wonder that
our horses had been there, but our hour of tranquillity was not yet
come, and a very short distance brought us to an obstacle impassable as
at Isella, and resembling it closely, for there was picturesque
confusion in place of the road, of which no vestige remained, and a
tongue of high land, round which foamed the Doveria. Here, however,
Giuseppe knew his road, and led among vineyards, by ways we should have
thought steep and bad at other times, to a picturesque village—it must
have been Dovedro—and thence across the dry bed of a stream, and under
long arcades of the trellised vine. Giuseppe gathered grapes for us,
for which (in poetical justice) we paid a woman carrying a sickly
child, to whom they did not belong.

Further on our way, for we made a round of a mile, Giuseppe and the
horses fording another tributary torrent, and ourselves passing it
partly on a plank, partly by wading through, we arrived at and kept the
high road, crossing breaks innumerable—none so important as to force
us aside, though elsewhere I would have ridden twenty miles to avoid
one of them.

The last gallery was that of Crevola, cut for the length of one hundred
and seventy feet, in a straight line, through the solid rock. The
scenery had lost its naked horror, and grown beautiful as well as
grand; trees fringing, far below the road, the banks of the deep
torrent; and, as we ascended the hill, we passed on our right hand,
prostrate on our way, and expressive in its silence, a broken column,
once on its road to be a monument of Napoleon’s glory. From the summit
of this hill we had a noble view of the high bridge of Crevola, over
which we were to pass, and to which the road descends gradually; its
two arches rest on a pillar one hundred feet high, and beneath them the
Doveria utters its dying roar, and spends its last fury in its
encounter with the Tosa.

Having crossed this bridge, we were out of the Val Doveria and in that
of the Tosa, trellised vineyards covering the slopes to the right, the
broad river flowing along its centre, and on the left, gentler
mountains, with green woods dotted with villas, and the high white
campanile rising each above its village. Still, after the descriptions
I have read of this valley, its aspect disappointed me. It was a relief
from contrast certainly, to ride along a level, and unaccompanied by
the roar of the torrent, and our previous fatigue might perhaps
indispose us to admire what beauty it really possesses, or it might be
saddened by the mists of that dull evening. To me it had a look of
desolation, for the Tosa, which had swollen and now shrunk again, had
left a broad track of sand and stone through the ravaged meadows; and a
short distance from Domo we found a sign and token of its power, for
the fine stone bridge was carried away, and, for the convenience of
foot-passengers, a plank, sloping considerably, had been laid from the
high remnant, on the one side, to the ground, where there was no
vestige, on the other. On the right of this ci-devant bridge, the
ravaged space extended wide and far, the river still flowing in its
centre. Giuseppe said, “Adesso vedremo,” and ran down to seek a fitting
place for crossing with the horses, for it seemed, to the left of the
bridge, so deep and broad as to give little hope of finding a ford. An
Italian lady and gentleman had, however, driven from Crevola before us,
I suppose to see the state of the route, and good-naturedly recalled
our guide, saying, the only possible place was there. The sun had long
been set, and the brief twilight was fading also, so that we had no
time to lose. Giuseppe went in without hesitation, this time above the
waist. I watched him in fear, for though there were now no rocks in his
way, the strength of the current was such as, but for clinging to the
horses, he could not have mastered. This was our last impediment, and
we arrived at dark at Domo d’Ossola; it was well for our vanity that we
made our entry then, D——’s hat, which had served, as I told you, for
tea-cup, and my tattered boots and muddy habit, looking unlike the garb
of conquerors such as we considered ourselves to be. Giuseppe took
leave of us in the yard of la Posta. I had asked him to conduct us to
the best hotel, to which he said, “Son tutti ladri, ma è questo un buon
ladro.” He had not thought of increasing his demand, and looked
surprised at receiving gold and a supper. The horses had a good stable
and wondrous appetite, Fanny rolling ever and anon, and recommencing
with fresh energy.

A knock at the door of our apartment announced our amiable American
friends (whose carriage had been carried over), come to congratulate us
on our safety. Our dinner was served about ten, and very acceptable as
the first meal during the day. We shall remain a day or two, for the
inn is comfortable and, as the hand-book observes, clean as Italian
hotels usually are. I should prefer bright rubbed floors to the matting
which covers these, and seems seldom or never swept, but the cabin at
Isella is a good foil for all that may follow.

                                                       21st September.

Rain from dawn to sunset, and now a terrific thunder-storm, more
disconsolate travellers arrived on foot or in _chaises à porteurs_;
carriages left perforce at the Simplon.


Prince William of Prussia, the king’s second son, just now driven into
the yard with his princess, and in a cart; they slept last night at
Isella. They have been in an amusing dilemma; for by some mistake he
had no passport, and was in consequence about to be detained, as he is
travelling _incognito_, when being a remarkable looking soldier-like
man, he was recognized by one of the authorities. We were agreeably
surprised by the apparition of our comrade of the Simmenthal, who has
just been to Bex, hoping to find a battle there, and as the Valaisans
are more talkative than terrible, and he heard the Simplon road was
broken, came on to see its damages, and good naturedly to look for us
here. Our friend Mr. H—— and his family are at the Simplon waiting
till the road shall be so far repaired as to render the carrying over
of their heavy carriages possible; we hope to meet them at Florence.

Mr. D—— went to visit Fanny, and after an hour’s stay, started to
walk back to the inn on the Simplon.

                               CHAPTER V.

Vogogna—Country overflowed—The ferry—Isola
  Madre—Baveno—Innkeeper—Isola Bella—Ground made in
  1670—Arona—Castle of St. Charles of Borromeo—Castle of
  Angera—Frescoes in its ruined halls—History of St. Charles of
  Borromeo—Early habits—Resides in his diocese at Milan—Strives to
  reform the church—Attempt to murder him—A miracle—His conduct
  during the plague—Life of St. Anthony—Who cured the young pig—St.
  Christopher, who was twelve feet high—The Ticino—Amusement on board
  the ferry—The commissary—Sesto Calende—A charge—Somma and Julius
  Cæsar’s cypress—Castle of the Visconti—Birthplace of
  Teobaldo—Elected Pope when in the Holy Land with Edward the First of
  England—Otho Visconti founder of his family’s grandeur—Gallerate—A
  threatened beating—The Lord’s Supper on the auberge wall—The
  robber’s seven towers—Battle between the Visconti—Unwarranted
  preference shown by a ghost—Murder in the castle at Milan—The
  murderer poisoned by his wife—Rhò—Milan.

                                                Milan, 25th September.

Once more not “upon the waters” but on the road, though indeed I need
not have changed the quotation, since at Vogogna there is no bridge.
Leaving Domo, the road runs in a straight and even line along the
valley and between the wooded mountains, the Simplon and its snow
closing the glen behind us. The vine, so unsightly in France, here
confers great beauty, rising from the road in terraces of shady
arbours, or winding its flexible branches round cherry-tree and thorn,
the long untrained tendrils waving gracefully, and the rich bunches
hung heavily down. We passed, ere we reached Vogogna, which is six
miles from Domo d’Ossola, several tracts of land ruined by the late
overflow; meadows covered with mud, and Indian corn decaying on the
stalk. “Ha tutto rovinato,” said a poor woman, who was mournfully
gazing at her field of rotting corn. Arrived at Vogogna, the ferry-boat
was on the opposite side, and on ours, waiting to be transported
thither, were troops of horned cattle lying on the sand, and an English
carriage. Seeing there was small chance of speedy removal, as we could
distinguish on the other side a most obstinate cow, who was first to be
deposited on ours, we dismounted to sit patiently on the crags
scattered about us, left probably by the Anza, which joins the Tosa,
here rushing down through the valley of Anzasca, whose opening lay
behind us, and from its source in the glaciers of Monte Rosa. The
stonework, whence sprung the bridge which once transported travellers
to Vogogna, remains on each side the river, but the bridge carried away
in 1834, Italian indolence leaves unreplaced; substituting the worst of
ferry-boats, small and without barriers. The English gentleman, the
inhabitant of the carriage, had got out with his daughter, and come
near to admire Fanny and kindly yield his turn to us. Our horses
started at their unusual conveyance when led on board, particularly
mine, who we feared would spring into the water, but our good natured
countryman insisting on lending his assistance, the difficulty seemed
surmounted, till we found that the two boatmen, who had contentedly
ferried across one cow, were now preparing to drive six oxen on board,
an addition which, from the size of the boat, if it did not frighten,
was likely to force our horses over. We fortunately comprehended that
there was an alternative, and having before paid the fare, gave three
times the sum for _buona mano_, and were allowed to cross without them.

This had been a long delay, and to redeem lost time we cantered along,
leaving behind vines and wood and much of the road’s beauty,
substituting marsh and bare mountain. Arrived at Fariolo we found
compensation, for it is the first village on the lake border, and the
lake, blue and glassy, soothing in its calm and silence, was beautiful
beyond description. There is here an inn which appears a good one, and
had been recommended to us by the master of that of Domo, but the stage
would have been too short.

The first visible of the Borromean islands is the green and lovely
Isola Madre, backed by bold mountains, opening and receding to admit
the lake which stretches between them, completing its length of
fifty-four miles, for the portion along which we were riding forms its
west arm only; broken crags and wooded promontories, crowned by church,
convent, and castle, bounded the shore opposite and parallel to our
broad road carried under cliffs and green hills, their abrupt sides
covered with graceful vineyards, and their summit shaded by luxuriant
oak and sweet chestnut. We were disturbed in our admiration only by
swarms of flies, which made our horses kick violently; I personally, by
a half fear of the bright water, along whose edge this noble causeway
has been made, sometimes rising many feet above its level, and here, as
at the Simplon, the only obstacle between it and my starting little
steed, low granite posts unconnected and far apart. We passed the
quarries of pink granite which take so high a polish, and arrived at
Baveno, but it was early still, and the innkeeper has at present a
character for being both dear and insolent, while his house has one for
dirt; it is a pity, for it is well situated, with only the road and
some fine trees between it and the lake. This is the person, who,
having fleeced unmercifully an English party we met at Vevay, said in
reply to a remonstrance, “What the prices of Milan, or of any other
place may be, I never inquire; these are mine!” so having walked our
horses towards the inn whence this dignitary had issued at our approach
with a self-satisfied air and two waiters, we cantered by, though the
Monte Monterone rises behind the village, commanding from its summit a
view of the Lago de Orta on one side, and of the Lago Maggiore on the
other; we were yet too fresh from a mountain pass to desire a second. I
more regretted wanting time to visit the Isola Bella, distant but a
twenty-five minutes’ row from this spot, but it looks perhaps to more
advantage seen from the shore, its ten amphitheatrical terraces rising
green and glowing with its orange and citron forests from the bosom of
the blue water; and the lake supporting it gently, and smiling to
reflect it, as if it were proud of its presence, and bare its exotic
carefully. On the northern side of the island, that nearest Baveno, the
still unfinished palace rises abruptly from the lake, as do the inn and
a few poor dwellings almost by its side. Beyond them is a grove of
laurel and myrtle and the hardier shrubs, this exposition not being
favourable to all, for the terraced gardens have a southerly aspect,
and it is there that the aloes and camphor tree and cactus grow, with
the Alps looking down on them, as if in their own tropical soil. This
was a barren slate rock. Here, as well as on the other islands, naked
crags also, was the now fruitful earth transported by human labour in
1670, by order of Count Vitaliano Borromeo, whose descendant still
makes the palace his summer residence. Perhaps the hand of art is too
visible, and the Isola Bella less striking from its individual beauty
than its glorious position; but if not deserving the exaggerated praise
of some, it still less merits the contempt of others. I prefer indeed
the Isola Madre; for its forest of laurel, cypress and gigantic pine,
though planted on a made soil also, grows in the wild beauty of nature,
sheltering exotic birds, which live and multiply in freedom, and the
plants of southern climes flourishing in the open air.

We could distinguish the Isolino, the smallest of these islands,
nestling under the promontory of Pallanza. The Isola Pescatore lies
near the Isola Bella, like the beggar at the rich man’s gate, covered
with the dirty hovels of the fishermen, and without a green leaf to
enliven it. We rode on, viewing them only from the shore, though on the
Isola Bella is the bay-tree bearing the word Battaglia, carved by
Napoleon’s knife shortly before the battle of Marengo. The road
continued to skirt the lake, raised high above its waters, crossing a
fine bridge over a torrent, and passing through Stresa, where boats may
be hired to visit the islands, and Belgirate with its villas and
terraces of flowers. The sun set as we rode through the last, and
though the cool evening air was a relief, and the Swiss lakes sink into
mediocrity beside the beauty of this, the loneliness of the road caused
by the broken Simplon made me anxious to arrive ere nightfall; but the
distance at which we saw Arona, built at the promontory’s foot, and the
long curve of the road to arrive there, soon proved that this was
impossible, though, at the first glimpse, the extreme clearness of the
atmosphere deceives as to space. I was glad, as the sky darkened, to
meet custom-house officers on the look out for smugglers.
Pleasure-boats and fishing-smacks were silently moving along the water,
wanting the neatness and gaiety of those of Geneva, but manned by most
picturesque forms. My first impression of Italian beauty was a
favourable one, for from Domo d’Ossola to Arona I hardly saw one
peasant not handsome. Arona is picturesquely situated, the spire of its
church towering high above the old houses which descend to the water’s
edge, and the whitening remains of the ruined castle in which St.
Charles of Borromeo was born covering the tall crag which commands the
town. On the summit of the hill, ere arriving at Arona, we could
distinguish St. Charles’s statue looking black against the glowing sky,
but having little effect at that distance, though it is sixty-six feet
in height, and its pedestal forty-four; neither did I think the
attitude good; one hand holds a breviary, the other is extended to
bless the place of his birth, but the arm seems cramped. It had become
quite dark, and the road rather unsafe, for it is narrower and higher
above the lake. The full moon was rising slowly from behind the hill of
Angera opposite us, showing herself above the ruined castle which
surmounts it, and resting on its towers like a glory. The castle and
village once belonged to the dukes of Milan, and in the deserted halls
are still some fresco paintings, commemorating events of the life of
Archbishop Otho Visconti. There was just sufficient cloud in the sky to
make its blue seem more bright and pure, and the reflection of the moon
which crossed the lake to our feet danced so dazzlingly that the eye
pained to watch it. We had some trouble in forcing the horses past a
lime-kiln. The strong light flung across the road mingling with the
moonbeam, and falling on the fine dark faces of the Italians who stood
near; the ruin and that sky and water, made a picture for Vernet. I
dare say we shall never forget the moon rising over the Lago Maggiore.
We found our way to the inn with difficulty, through narrow streets of
lofty houses, into which the moonlight could not penetrate; and as
Arona boasts no lamps, would have been wholly dark but for the lights
glimmering from the windows to make their crookedness visible.

La Posta is clean, its owners civil, and dinners good, but the
nakedness of Italian rooms is melancholy. In France, even in an humble
inn, you will find the mirror over the chimney, with the clock and
vases of gaudy flowers to decorate it, and a comfortable chair, and
curtains to bed and window; but here the iron bedstead has none, the
chimney has no looking-glass, one or two upright straw chairs and a
deal table only on the dirty brick floor; and looking from the
furniture to the plastered walls, it is difficult not to fancy oneself
either in the cell of a prison or the ward of an hospital. I must say
in La Posta’s favour, that all the apartments to the lake, which are
the best, were already occupied when we arrived, so that having dined
and passed half an hour at the window of the corridor behind our rooms,
looking out on its beauty, I proceeded to my deal table and the
contemplation of the Life of San Carlo Borromeo. Pursuing my old habit
of borrowing a book to summon sleep, I am likely to read through a
strange library. The colossal statue is but half an hour’s walk from
the inn: the head, hands, and feet only, are of bronze, the drapery
composed of sheets of beaten copper, supported within by a species of
stone pyramid, crossed by bars of iron, which defend it from the
violence of the winds. It is possible to clamber up in the dark, making
these serve for ladder, first entering by an aperture between the folds
of the robe; but as the promenade would be impossible for a lady, and
the temptation to sit in the saint’s nose was not strong enough to
attract D——, we neither made a pilgrimage to his shrine, contenting
ourselves with his history.

Know then that he was born in 1538, in that ruined castle on the crag,
the mild child of pious parents, enthusiastic from his infancy, passing
his hours of recreation in the castle chapel, alone and in prayer—when
taken from a life of contemplation, which might have weakened his
intellects, studying with none of the relaxations of his age at Pavia
and Milan—at twelve years old provided with a rich abbey, whose
possession was hereditary in his family; and soon after, the Cardinal
De’ Medici, his uncle, becoming Pope Pius the Fourth, he ceded to him a
second and a priory. His elder brother dying in 1562, and his family in
consequence beseeching him to abandon the profession to which he was
yet unbound, and marry for the sake of his ancient line, to extinguish
at once their hopes of his doing so, he entered into holy orders and
was ordained bishop. It is strange that, before this and his brother’s
death, he wore the purple as cardinal at the age of three-and-twenty;
occupied divers posts of importance; taking part in the temporal
government of the pope’s states as well as in the affairs of the
church, protecting letters, and establishing an academy at the Vatican.
His biographer says he communicated to Pius the Fourth, infirm and
feeble, the energy so needful to him; gave the impulse wanting to the
deliberation of the Council of Trent, and prosecuted the reform of the
catholic church, so necessary in his time. At the Roman court he had
lived in splendour, but obtaining in 1565 the papal permission to
reside in his diocese, he practised in his own house a reform and
austerity unlikely to find imitators. He condemned himself to perpetual
abstinence and long fasts; gave up his other benefices, and resigned
his inheritance to his family; divided the revenues of his
archbishopric into three portions—the first for the poor, the second
for the wants of the church, the third for his own, and of the
employment of this last rendered up a strict account in his provincial

Having found the diocese of Milan in a most deplorable state from the
negligence, ignorance, and scandalous conduct of the clergy, he so
toiled to produce a better state of things that, despite his patience
and charity, his enemies among the religious orders, which had shaken
off all subordination, were virulent; and many and foremost of these,
as it had hitherto been most shameless and irregular, was that of the
“Umiliati.” One day, during mass, while the prelate prayed with his
whole household in his archiepiscopal chapel, and at the moment that
the anthem “Non turbetur cor,” &c., was commenced, a brother of the
order, named Farina, who had taken his post, seemingly in prayer also,
at the entrance of the chapel, but five or six paces distant from St.
Charles, who was kneeling before the altar, fired his harquebuss at
him. The chant ceased, the consternation was general, but the saint,
notwithstanding that he believed himself mortally wounded, made a sign
that the service should continue. Rising up when the prayer was done,
the ball, which had deposited itself in his robe, fell at his feet!!!
The assassin, and three monks, his accomplices, were punished with
death, though against St. Charles’s will; and their order, which had
existed from the eleventh century, was abolished by a bull of Pope Pius
the Fifth, and the archbishop employed its confiscated revenues in
founding colleges and hospitals. The event which best proves him worthy
of his reputation was the breaking out of the plague at Milan. He had
been on a visit to a distant part of his diocese, and on the receipt of
the fatal news, notwithstanding the advice of his council, he hurried
back, and during the six months through which it lasted, sought
fearlessly contagion where it existed in greatest violence,
administered the sacraments in person, kneeled by the bedside of the
dying, weeping over their sufferings; and to provide at least for their
temporal wants, parted with all the relics of his former splendour. He
did not fall a victim, but his strength insensibly gave way, and when
the scourge had passed by, and the archbishop had resumed his pastoral
visits, a low fever, which undermined his worn-out constitution,
obliged him to return to Milan, where he died, aged forty-six years. He
had chosen for sepulchre a vault near the choir in the cathedral of
Milan, and here his modern biographer observes that the numberless
miracles performed by his remains forced Pope Paul the Fifth, in 1610,
to verify his title to canonization, and authorize the prayers long
before addressed to him by the faithful.

With the life of San Carlo our host had lent another volume from his
stores, perhaps from our curiosity concerning his native saint,
thinking us on the road to conversion, and that it was right to light
our way by a few miracles more. The volume proved one of the renowned
“Golden Legends of Saints,” compiled by the Dominican Voragine,
archbishop of Genoa in the year 1298. Between asleep and awake, I read
the lives of saints Anthony and Christopher, and found that St.
Anthony, having been tempted on the seven mortal sins, and beaten by
the demons angry at their failure, tamed a lion about to devour his
monks, and obliged him to take service in the convent as lay brother!
that he then went to the court of Barcelona, where a sow brought to him
in her mouth one of her litter, born without feet or eyes, and, laying
it down before the saint, pulled him by the robe imploringly,—as much
as to say, “Pray bless it and cure it,” which St. Anthony did, and is
therefore represented in company of a young pig, as this one for the
remainder of his life never left him.

Saint Christopher had a hideous countenance, and was twelve feet high.
Being strong and brave he was calculated to serve some great prince,
and resolved on selecting for master the most powerful. He offered
himself to a mighty king, fought and conquered for him; but Christopher
had a bad habit of swearing, and he noticed that his majesty made at
every oath the sign of the cross, and asked him why he did so. The
monarch replied, he was afraid of the devil. “If that be the case,”
thought Christopher, “the devil must be a more powerful master,
therefore I will serve the devil.” Having formed this determination, he
set forth to a desert, and there found a knightly company, one of whom,
most terrible of aspect, asked him what he wanted. “I am looking,” said
Christopher, “for my lord the devil.” “I am he,” answered the knight;
and Christopher, very joyous, became his servant. But one day, passing
before a cross, he observed that the devil trembled, and he asked him
why. The devil confessed it was because the Saviour was more mighty
than him.

Christopher, in consequence, left his service, but this time was
embarrassed as to that he was henceforth to perform. He applied for
advice to a hermit, who desired him to fast; but Christopher, being
twelve feet high, did not approve of the counsel, and the hermit
desired him to take up his abode on the shores of a very rapid river,
and carry over for charity those who had business on the other side.
This Christopher, now on the way to be a saint, performed for some
time; and one day, sleeping in his hut, he was wakened by a child’s
voice, which said, “Christopher, come forth and bear me over;” and
going as he was called, he found a young child on the shore, who begged
he would lift him on his shoulders. St. Christopher took his staff and
entered the river, and the river rose by degrees more and more, and the
weight of the child increased till it became insupportable, and yet
Christopher, though about to drown, did not let go, and by dint of
struggling arrived on the beach, and said, “Child, that art so weighty,
who art thou?” and the child answered, “Do not marvel, for you have
carried the whole world and him who created it.”

Christopher understood that he had borne the Lord on his shoulders, and
became a great saint. At last, desiring martyrdom, he allowed himself
to be bound and carried before a pagan monarch, and when the latter
insulted him, he said he was bound because it was his will to be so,
and that if he chose, he could ravage his city still. His majesty
defying him to do so, he broke his bonds, destroyed all the pagan
temples, then allowed himself to be bound once more, and his head cut
off,—predicting that his blood would be a sovereign balm for all
maladies, which it proved; for the king and executioners were struck
with blindness, and bathing their eyes in his blood, saw and were well

                                                       September 26th.

Left Arona for Milan, a beautiful morning. We followed the lake, though
no longer near its edge, but the road winding through a grove of fine
chestnut-trees, and the blue water seen through the vistas made by
their branches. Arrived at its extremity, at the turn of the road we
quitted its shore, crossing the plain which here bounds it; with the
view of its bright expanse, (Arona with its ruin, and Angera opposite,)
now on our left, and behind us the splendid ridge of Monterosa. We rode
along the flat till we entered a stunted oak wood, and issuing from it,
were about to leave the Piedmontese frontier, and cross the Ticino
(which at this spot issues from the lake), to Sesto Calende. The
douaniers came to demand the passport, and retiring withal, spent half
an hour in its examination, during which time we sate on our horses,
looking at the lake, and the ferry, improperly called Pont Volant,
approaching most leisurely—stared at ourselves by a dozen women, who
pressed round us, some veiled by the elegant mantilla, and the poorer
wearing the silver or pewter ornaments, ranged round the back of the
head, which, being hollow and of the exact shape, look like a crown of
spoons; all with the handsome faces and most undaunted dark eyes
peculiar to their nation, and here I think also to their sex; for the
men have an expression of effeminacy and the females of hardihood.

The passport returned and the flying bridge arrived, we led our horses
on board, during which operation Fanny in gratitude pulled me off the
plank into a foot and a half of water. The ferry-boat, unlike the last,
was a barge, and had barriers; and during the crossing, which occupied
three quarters of an hour, a stone-deaf man beat the flies off, and a
blind one played the violin, and sang far from badly. They are friends,
and find companionship convenient, each supplying to the other the
sense wanting. They divided most amicably the money we gave them, and
having paid our fare, and the buona mano, and then something more,
under what pretext I forget, we landed through the water again, and now
in Austria’s dominions. A soldier desired me to follow to the
commissary, while D—— remained with the horses: so, obeying the
mandate, I found him lodged at the end of a dirty street and top of a
dark stair. He asked me fifty questions quite irrelevant, fidgeted
exceedingly, because D——’s description was not down in the passport,
and at last, Oh, Wisdom! desired me to dictate one, which he wrote
down, and being “Middle height, grey eyes,” and otherwise as explicit,
would suit four-fifths of her majesty’s subjects. He then made me a
polite bow, said there was nothing to pay, and we went on again.

Sesto Calende and its environs enjoy a very indifferent reputation. I
can say nothing of the honesty of its inhabitants, but a great deal of
their incivility. Walking our horses through the town, the boys hooted
us as usual, but arrived at the outskirts, they were joined and
augmented by youths and men, till there were about thirty of these last
following at a few paces behind us, and shouting with the whole force
of their lungs. We bore it till it became insupportable, and at last
turned the horses, who were excited by the noise, and fretting at being
insulted, and I think perfectly understood they were to scatter the
enemy, for they darted on them at full speed; Fanny, in particular,
very warlike, with her small ears laid back, and her heels thrown up to
make way. The road was clear in a second, and when our charge was
executed and we quietly walked on, I suppose they returned to the town,
as no one followed us farther. Between Sesto and Somma we crossed wild
tracts of melancholy moor, and here and there a stunted copse. At Somma
is the ancient and superb cypress tree, averred to have been a sapling
in Julius Cæsar’s time, and certainly measuring twenty feet round its
stem, and a hundred and twenty in height. For the sake of its green old
age the road diverged from the straight line by Napoleon’s order. We
passed on our right, and within the village, a castle belonging to the
Visconti family, in which was born Teobaldo, who was archdeacon of
Liege, and elected pope in 1271, when absent in the Holy Land in
company of Edward the First of England, then Prince of Wales. When the
news of his promotion reached him, he ascended the pulpit and
pronounced a brilliant discourse, taking for text the two verses of the
137th Psalm:—

“If I forget thee, O Jerusalem! may my right hand forget her cunning.”

“If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my
mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.”

Arrived in Italy, Teobaldo, become Gregory the Tenth, exerted himself
to promote a crusade, and to accomplish his end commenced by striving
to reconcile Guelphs with Ghibellines, and to pacify Italy. It was he
who first made the law, after his death revoked, and then again put in
force, inclosing the cardinals in conclave after the decease of a pope,
till they should have elected his successor, to prevent the papal chair
from again remaining vacant through their tardiness, as it had done
before his accession, two years and nine months. The founder of his
family’s grandeur was Otho Visconti, born in 1208, created archbishop
of Milan by Pope Urban the Fourth, in opposition to the La Torre, then
chief of the Republic; but after long wars and various fortune,
presented with the perpetual lordship of the Milanese territory by the
people, weary of the cruelty and exertions of his descendant Napoleon,
and profiting by his defeat to free themselves from the yoke of his
family, substituting in its place that of the Visconti, whose
sovereignty (with one brief interval) was destined to flourish during
nearly two hundred years.

At Somma and Gallerate, which is the next town on our way, have been
found many Roman antiquities, inscriptions, and medals, and also arms:
for near Somma was fought the first great battle between Hannibal and
Scipio, in which the latter was defeated; and previously that of
Marcellus against the Insubrians. Gallerate takes its name, say the
antiquarians, from the legion Gallerata, encamped there under the
command of the consuls Marcellus and Cornelius. Beyond these we were in
the vine and corn country; for the first is trained to climb the trees,
oak or elm, planted in avenues for the purpose, dropping from one to
the other in deep festoons,—a mode of cultivation which seems wise as
well as ornamental, as it leaves a much larger portion of ground free
for other produce. The plain is here bounded by no mountains, and the
country interesting only as the vintage had begun; and the peasantry,
proceeding to or returning from it, reproducing at every step the
beautiful picture in the Louvre by Robert, who died so early and
unhappily: the oxen drawing slowly along the heavy car, with its barrel
laden with grapes; the men with red handkerchiefs tied round their
black hair, and male and female with legs bare and bronzed by the
climate, but with heads of surpassing beauty. I particularly noticed
one girl who had the fair hair and dark eyes, so seldom united, and the
very perfection of Grecian form: that French artists should reap
benefit in studying such features beneath such skies is not
extraordinary. We found little or no shade, for the road was bordered
only by low hedges of acacia, now in flower, and our horses missed the
bright streams and stone reservoirs by the road-side in Switzerland,
and impatiently sought muddy water in ditches not yet dried since the
rains. Suffering from thirst ourselves, D—— hailed some of the
vintagers, and they brought us a quantity of grapes, to which those of
France bear no comparison. Fanny turned her head to ask and receive her
share, and in gratitude walked on with unusual gentleness, though with
the reins on her neck, as I feared to drop any part of my burden. We
passed henceforth through a succession of villages, boasting most
savage inhabitants, exciting the wrath of D——, lately accustomed to
the more civilized Swiss of the German cantons. Before one auberge
stood a half drunken crowd, one of whom, as we went slowly by, seized a
long pole to rush on me withal, and was with difficulty held back by
two of his comrades; the rest laughed; and I, who had no expectation of
an attack, (not thinking a lady’s habit would wake such animosity,) as
mine enemy struggled hard, and I did not know how the contest might
end, thought proper not to wait to see, and we rode away. I dislike
their country churches,—begun with overweening pomp and left
unfinished when the funds have failed—their domes and pillared façades
unsuited to their situation among trees and cabins, and far less
picturesque than those of Switzerland built on their green or craggy
mounds, with pointed windows and spires of grey stone. We passed
crosses innumerable, many bearing, in lieu of the Saviour’s figure, the
sponge, nails, and spear, carved in wood; and small cemeteries, the
recesses of the low walls which inclose them, gaudily painted in fresco
with saints and martyrs. On a wall of a miserable inn near Milan, the
village artist has depicted a Lord’s supper! We rode through the
Cascina delle corde; or, as it is called, the Cascina del buon Jesu! a
little to the right of which is seen the town of Busto, whose church
was designed by Bramante. Of the seven old towers, formerly the refuge
of a famous robber-band, there remains but one standing. Near
Legnarello, on the shore of the little river Olona, is Parabiago,
celebrated as the site of a battle fought in February, 1339, by
Luchino, third son of Maffeo Visconti, against his cousin Lodvisio and
a rebel army. His horse had been killed under him, and his casque
broken, and himself bound to an oak tree, the blood gushing from his
wounds; till, the tide of fortune changing, he was delivered by a party
of Savoyards, and Lodvisio in his place taken captive. A wondrous
apparition startled, it was said, both armies, and put a stop to the
carnage. Saint Ambrose, who in the fourth century was archbishop of
Milan, suddenly arose between the rebels and allies. That he should
have left his grave to protect Luchino, would at least prove he
interested himself in an unworthy subject: for Luchino’s only merit
seems to have been courage. He advised and directed the murder of his
brother Marco (the bravest and perhaps the best of this stirring
family), when Azzo, the nephew of both, as the son of their elder
brother, was lord of Milan. Marco had distinguished himself in the
service of the Ghibelline party, and choosing that no political
consideration should interfere with its welfare, he saw indignantly
that his brother Galeazzo negotiated with the pope, and denounced his
proceedings to Louis of Bavaria. Galeazzo, his son Azzo, and his
brother, were in consequence arrested; but Marco was no sooner aware of
what his imprudence had caused, than he repented of it, solicited their
liberty of the emperor, with an earnestness not to be silenced; himself
aided in supplying their ransom, and, unable to furnish the entire sum,
consented to remain hostage till its completion.

Galeazzo died, and Azzo was in no haste to deliver his uncle; but
Marco, confided to a portion of the emperor’s army, so won the hearts
of the soldiers placed to guard him, that they named him their general.
Heading them, he surprised and took possession of Lucca, sold it to
Spinola to satisfy his soldiers with its price, and returned to Milan
in July, the citizens who had rejoiced in his triumphs—the soldiers
whom he preceded in danger—the peasants whose fields he had
guarded—flocking forth to meet him.

His nephew Azzo, and his brother Luchino, invited him to a festival in
their castle of Milan, and when the feasting was over and the night far
advanced, and Marco was about to retire, Azzo requested his private
hearing of a few words, and led him to an apartment, whose windows
looked on the public square. As the door closed on them, hired
assassins rushed on and strangled Marco, flinging his dishonoured
remains forth where the people, impotent to avenge, might see it and
shudder as they passed at the dark end of their warrior. Azzo died in
his bed; and Luchino, having inherited his authority, persecuted all
who had held place or power during his reign. His severity causing a
conspiracy to deprive him of his lordship, and elevate in his stead his
nephews, sons of his brother Stefano, he discovered the plot. The
conspirators died by the gibbet, by torture and famine; his nephews
were banished; but from that time the sombre disposition of Luchino
grew still more severe, and his pale and menacing brow never unbent
thenceforward. He had married twice; his second wife was Isabella of
Fiesco, a lady of rare beauty but shameless conduct, on whose account
he had exiled his nephew Galeazzo. Reconciled to her husband, Isabella,
under pretext of devotion, craved permission to make a pilgrimage to
Venice. A splendid flotilla was got ready on the river Po, and the
fairest dames of Milan accompanied their liege lady. Ugolino of
Gonzagua, son of the lord of Mantua, now found favour in her eyes. He
detained her some time in his father’s states, and accompanied her to
Venice, whither she repaired for the festival of the Ascension. On her
return to Milan the details of this journey became whispered abroad,
and the mutual accusations of the ladies of the court at last brought
the tale to Luchino’s ear. He listened in silence, for he meditated a
fearful revenge, and Isabella, ere she heard she was betrayed, read his
knowledge and her own fate in his dark features; and resolving to
forestall him in crime, mixed poison in his drink, and he died in the
castle wherein he had murdered Marco.

We passed through Rhò, a village of some importance; beyond are
rice-grounds and extensive and unhealthy marshes. The entrance to Milan
is fine: an avenue a mile in length of tulipiferas, now about to
blossom, with a grove on either side, conducting to Napoleon’s
memorial, the Arco del Sempione. Our passports examined, we crossed, as
the sun set, the extensive exercising ground, and the courts of the
building now serving for barracks, once the fortified castle of the
dukes of Milan, but still retaining its ancient aspect; built of dark
brick with heavy battlements and covered walls; that towards the town
flanked by two massive round towers, on which cannon are now pointed,
ready at need to awe the town.

We summoned an idler to be our guide, and without him should have
failed in arriving ere midnight, for Milan boasts an incomprehensible
collection of crooked streets, and an insolent population, who would
have lent no aid in the labyrinth. Young and old crowded about us,
almost preventing our horses from moving forward, and hooted manfully.
Yet I am told the governor’s daughter and officer’s wives ride
constantly in the Corso, but not daring to offer insult to the Austrian
masters, who I heard with satisfaction make no difficulty of correcting
with the blow of a cane or the flat of the sword, a word from a
refractory vassal, they compensate for the privation when an
opportunity offers, as now. We rode by the beautiful cathedral, and
through more winding alleys, some so narrow that two carriages cannot
pass, made dangerous for horses by the bands of flat pavement laid down
to facilitate the roll of the wheels, and arrived at dusk at San Marco.
I do not think it a good inn: its rooms are large, but dirty; its
servants numerous, but inattentive; and its cookery greasy beyond

                              CHAPTER VI.

The Duomo—Our host’s advice—Joseph the Second—Tombs—That to the
  memory of Giovanni and Gabrielle de’ Medici, designed by Michael
  Angelo—Chapel of St. John—St. Bartholomew—Tomb of Otho, archbishop
  of Milan—Crucifix carried by St. Charles of Borromeo—Antique
  altar—Burial-place of St. Charles—La Scala—Opera ballet—The
  Brera, once monastery of the Umiliati—Paintings—The old
  castle—Arms of the Visconti—Prerogative preserved to himself by
  Giovanni—The parricide—Filippo Mario—His innocent wife
  executed—Carmagnuola Filippo’s general—Forced by his injustice to
  change of party—Suspicions of his new masters—His
  execution—Francis Sforza—His youth—His name’s origin—Jane of
  Naples—Imprisoned by her husband—Set free—King James a monk of St.
  Francis—Forte Braccio—Sforza’s death—Arena—Roman ruin.


Passed the morning in the ramblings which travellers are heir to, first
proceeding to the Duomo. As I wished to see there the holy mummy of St.
Charles, which lies in its crystal case and subterranean chapel, I
asked our host for directions: “You must knock,” said he, “at the door
of the sacristy, and there you will find a priest.” “A priest; a
gentleman?” “Yes, you had better ask his charge beforehand, as he may
be extravagant; and there are about a dozen steps to descend, and
should his demand be exorbitant, you can give him two-thirds or the
half, which will satisfy him.”

Passing the post-office and finding no letters, we arrived at the
cathedral in five minutes. It occupies one extremity of a most
irregular place, and if its façade wants taste, or at least
consistency, having some doors and windows of Roman architecture,
mingled with the Gothic, and its form is that of a heavy pyramid,—yet
seen in the bright sunshine, its mass of white marble, with all its
pinnacles surmounted by statues, standing shining forth from the purest
of blue skies as if they were carved in snow, its effect is far more
striking than the engravings would lead to expect, and the grandeur of
its size and delicacy of its execution justify the exclamation of
Joseph the Second: “It is a golden mountain, chiselled by fairies, and
metamorphosed to marble.” The statues which adorn the edifice are in
number about four thousand five hundred, of which two hundred and fifty
decorate the façade. Each of the twelve needles supports a colossal
figure; that of the Virgin having for base the tallest of all, of
Moorish architecture. Her statue is in gilt copper, and from the
pavement to the glory round her head the elevation is a hundred and
eight metres, eighty-six centimetres. To describe these and the bassi
relievi which encrust the façade of this noble church would be endless,
and indeed the intense heat prevented my examining the half of them;
but I particularly remarked for their beauty the two figures which
represent the Old and New Testament at either end of the great balcony
above the chief portal. The two interior columns of this central
entrance, for there are five, are of enormous height and size,
considering that each is carved of a single block of the pink granite
of Baveno. Within, the cathedral is divided into five aisles (the nave
being of double width), separated by fifty-two massive pillars of
octagon form; four others of far heavier dimensions, raised in the
centre of the church, support the cupola, and their strange capitals
each exhibit eight statues. On the right near the entrance is the tomb
of Eribert, archibishop of Milan, who died in 1035, and farther against
the wall a monument, which is a Gothic gem, decorated with small
statues, each in its niche; while on the top lies in marble effigy one
Marco Carelli, who gave 35,000 golden ducats towards the expenses of
the building. Of the chapels, that best worthy notice is beside the
small door which opens on the stair, whose 512 steps conduct to the
dome erected to the memory of Giovanni and Gabriello de’ Medici, by
Pope Pius the Fourth their brother. The real name was Medechino though
Giovanni, become one of the great captains of his day, took advantage
of its similitude with that of the Florentine house, and adopted their
armorial bearings. He had obtained distinction early. Presented when a
young officer to Francis Sforza, who having married Blanche of
Visconti, and lost his father-in-law, after their long dissensions,
became, in the latter’s place, lord of Milan; he gained his entire
confidence. Astorio Visconti might, it was feared, assert his right to
the Milanese sovereignty, and Medechino, with another named Pozzino,
were chosen for his assassins. Astorio dead, Sforza’s anxiety to rid
himself of his accomplices, induced him to command the death of
Pozzino, while Giovanni Giacomo received an order to repair to the
castle of Muzzo, on the shores of the lake of Como, charged with a
letter for the governor. On his way thither, though they had parted on
the best terms, he suspected the intentions of Sforza, and opened his
despatches. Finding there his doubts confirmed, he fabricated others,
commanding the governor to yield him present possession of the
fortress, and once installed therein, he held it against all the
efforts of the duke of Milan. He afterwards took Chiavenna; and,
lastly, offered himself to Charles the Fifth, the emperor, who created
him duke of Marignano, and to whom his courage and conduct rendered
signal service in the wars of Germany. Having incurred the emperor’s
displeasure, by unnecessarily prolonging the siege of Sienna, at the
head of the army which Charles placed at the disposal of the Grand Duke
Cosmo to subdue the revolted inhabitants, and also by his pillage and
cruelties exercised towards the peasantry of the country which
surrounds the town during the eight months the siege lasted, he fell
ill from grief at losing his master’s favour, and died at
Milan,—where, four years after, his brother, elected pope, raised this
mausoleum to his memory, designed by Michael Angelo. The six beautiful
columns are in Roman marble, the remainder of marble of Carrara,
excepting the statues which are of bronze; those of the brothers, of
colossal size, occupying the centre, between two weeping figures of
Peace and Heroism.

The large chapel, dedicated to San Giovanni Buono, which terminates the
transept, is next in order: it contains some fine bassi relievi and
statues; among the latter a group, near the altar, of a guardian angel,
who carefully leads a child, while his foot holds down, without an
effort, a prostrate demon. At the entrance of this chapel stand two
colossal figures of saints, bad, and in plaster,—though not perhaps
injurious to the effect of the whole, and to judge of it, this spot is
the best which can be chosen. We gazed at all its details, the hollow
of the high dome rich with countless statues; the chapel opposite, with
its rich stained window, seen athwart a forest of columns; the light
through the coloured glass crossing with a red ray pillar and floor,
and touching the forms of bishop and cardinal in their niches; on the
capitals the square grated aperture, before the steps of the choir,
which gives light and air to the burial place of St. Charles; the
semi-circular pulpits of carved and gilded bronze, supported by bronze
figures, leaned each against its massive column; the sculptured stalls
of the canons,—the altar with its curious temple and red canopy, and
the tall painted windows seen behind it, and the golden star shining on
the roof above, within which lies the relic of the St. Cloud which,
with multifarious ceremonies, is once a year let down by pulleys to
meet the eyes of the faithful, and with like pomp mounted to its place
again:—the rich lamps suspended by gilded chains, and the priests
officiating in their robes of black, green, and crimson,—and the view
seen dimly through and along the pillared arches where they turn round
choir and high altar. The white marble has no glare; it is stained with
a succession of softer greys than mellow stone. Near the same chapel of
San Giovanni, and the entrance to the subterranean passage which,
imagined by Pellegrini, leads to the Archevêché, hangs, suspended from
a pillar, a much-prized picture by Procaccini, effaced almost wholly.

As we passed on beside the choir, we looked through the gratings which,
surmounted by most delicate sculpture, light the subterranean chapel
beneath, also having marble columns, balustrades, and altars. Opposite
is a fine monument in black, supporting a figure in white marble, which
reclines upon it,—the head resting on the hand, executed by Augustin
Busti, to the memory of the Cardinal Marini Caracciolo; and near it and
the door, which opens into the southern sacristy, and which I beg you
to notice for its lovely and elaborate carvings, hangs an effigy of Our
Lady of Succour. Italian taste has glazed this picture, which is an
ancient one, and represents the Virgin giving the breast to the
Saviour, who stands on her knee,—and stuck, outside the glass, above
the heads and across the throats, tin crowns and bead necklaces. Above,
its pedestal jutting from the wall, is the statue of Pope Martin the
Fifth, raised by the command of Filippo Mario Visconti, last duke of
Milan of the name. The flayed St. Bartholomew, who carries his skin on
his shoulders, is a fine specimen of anatomy, and a most disagreeable
production of art. Past the three stained windows and the long lists of
relics contained in the Duomo, is a strange tomb, which resembles a red
marble chest, supported aloft by two columns, and containing the ashes
of Otho, archbishop of Milan. The seated statue above is that of Pope
Pius the Fourth; next comes the door of the northern sacristy, even
more beauteous in its sculpture than its companion, and the tomb of the
three brothers, Arcimboldi. We had arrived at the first chapel in the
transept, dedicated to St. Thecla, who is there among the lions, all
carved in white marble,—a red riband and silver heart hung round her
neck by some devotee.

The large chapel, which corresponding to that of San Giovanni Buono,
terminates this cross aisle, is dedicated to the Virgin; and beautiful,
in spite of masses of artificial flowers in the hands and tinsel on the
heads, is the group of the Virgin and Child. On either side of the
entrance is a colossal plaster statue, even worse executed than those
in San Giovanni’s chapel, and the floor in front is paved with the
tombs of six cardinals. Farther on, descending the aisle, there is over
an altar a wooden crucifix inclosed in a glass frame, interesting
because the same which was carried by St. Charles Borromeo when he
walked barefoot in the processions he instituted during the plague of
1576. There existed here formerly an antique altar, remarkable for its
age only, surmounted by a figure of the Virgin in wood, rudely carved
and heavily framed. When removed some time since, there were discovered
behind it two inscriptions by one Alexio of Albania, an officer of Duke
Francis Sforza, who, in gratitude to Our Lady for his successes, raised
this altar in the year 1480. Near the entrance stands the baptismal
font, (a large vase of porphyry, brought, it is believed, from the
baths of Maximilian,) beneath a tabernacle, whose pillars are of
antique marble, and their capitals of carved bronze.

The pavement, with its arabesque ornaments and various coloured
marbles, is worn by the feet of curious or faithful, and from the dirty
habits of the numbers who frequent the church, forces one to tread it
with the same precaution as the streets themselves.

Having made the tour, we returned to rest ourselves on one of the
benches opposite the choir, allowable, where people walk and talk
unscrupulously during mass, for I noticed even priests doing so with
the unconcern of two boys, who kneeled before San Giovanni Buono,
praying a little and talking a little by turns. Opposite the doors of
the two sacristies are steps conducting to the subterranean chapels,
the roof of the first supported by eight massive marble columns. The
sunbeams from above entered faintly, touching with their gold a part of
the quaint carving, and leaving the rest in obscurity, hardly lessened
by the light which burned feebly in the elegantly formed lamp before
the marble balustrade of the altar. The guide leads the way to the
inner chapel, which is St. Charles’s sepulchre. From the grated opening
in the floor above, it receives but a pale and imperfect day; and as
the torch which the priest bears flashes on the riches it contains, its
precious metals and marble floor, to the worth of four millions, it
resembles Aladdin’s cave rather than a burial place. The vault is of
octagon form, the roof encrusted with silver bassi relievi, recalling
the principal events of the saint’s life; the panels of cloth of gold
divided by silver Caryatides, representing the Virtues, one at each
angle; and the saint’s embalmed body attired in pontifical robes laid
at its extremity in a shrine of rock crystal mounted in silver and
ornamented with the arms of Philip the Fourth of Spain, (by whom it was
presented to the cathedral,) wrought in massive gold; the dead face and
hands are bare, the latter covered with jewels, which sparkle as in

Having spent the day in the Duomo, the curiosity next in order was La
Scala. You know that it retains this name because erected on the site
of a church founded by Beatrice of La Scala, wife of Bernabo Visconti.
We went thither in the evening, the opera being Roberto Devereux, and
the ballet the last Visconti and first Sforza. The house, which yields
in size only to San Carlo of Naples, is freshly and brilliantly
decorated; its six rows of boxes which each with its drapery are
carried up the whole height, its pit seventy-five feet long and
sixty-six broad, are capable of containing three thousand six hundred
spectators. Its demerits are, that its fine lustre lights its immense
space imperfectly; that the effect of the royal box which fronts the
stage and is handsome, is injured by the crown above it, out of all
proportion ponderous; that its singers are scarce above mediocrity, and
its scenery below criticism. Whether from these causes or the season,
there were not a dozen people in the boxes, and the parterre was but
half filled. The governor’s box is within two of the stage, but he did
not occupy it. La Scala once boasted a first-rate scene-painter, but
dying, he failed to drop his mantle on his successor, and, saving a few
of his faded scenes, you can fancy nothing so pitiable. The prima
donna, who performs Queen Elizabeth of England and possesses a voice
just passable, is unhappily plain, and Roberto Devereux, Earl of Essex,
chanted a base most awful. The costumes were of any and no period, and
yet the audience in the pit determined to be pleased, and compensating
for its small numbers by applauding manfully, demanded the performers
at the close of the first act, when Roberto and his beloved, who,
fearing the queen’s ire, had just parted for ever, came forward to bow
and curtsey hand in hand. Of the undelivered ring we heard nothing, but
a great deal of a dirty blue scarf which belonged to the damsel, and by
mistake was sent as a token to the queen. Quitting the opera at the end
of the second act, an Italian custom which would destroy all illusion,
if such existed, we summoned patience to see the ballet, more fatiguing
to the eyes and incomprehensible to the understanding than anything I
could have imagined, the heads, arms and hands of the actors moving in
unison with every note of the music, and forming a ludicrous contrast
to the expressive French pantomime and magical decorations of the grand
Opera. The dancers were ungraceful, but all, even to the fat
figurantes, were applauded noisily, and they have, I observe, the habit
of concluding each pas seul with a grateful curtsey to the pit. The
palace of Visconti was a chaos of tin, coloured paper and sheets of
foil, and the ballet ended with a seafight, (rockets sent across the
stage representing cannon,) and the entrance of a party of pasteboard
deities who came in on wheels. We did not wait for the last act of the
opera, preferring to stroll home by the light of a young moon.


Torrents of rain. We passed a part of the day at the Brera, which was,
in times of yore, the monastery of the Umiliati; the order which
produced St. Charles’s assassin, and on its suppression was yielded to
that of the Jesuits, who have left in its noble courts and spacious
halls the mark of their wealth and power. A double tier of pillared
arcades surrounds the court, while opposite the entrance is the fine
staircase, designed by the architect Piermarini; a monument to whose
memory, with others sacred to native poets and painters, occupy places
beneath these porticoes, for the Brera unites within its walls the
picture gallery, the cabinet of medals, the observatory, and the
schools of painting, sculpture, architecture and anatomy, besides a
gymnasium and a botanical garden on the spot where the monks cultivated
theirs. In the fine rooms which contain the paintings are some of the
most splendid I have seen of Paul Veronese, particularly the Adoration
of the Saviour by the Wise Men of the East, whose subject might puzzle
a novice, for the wise men are dressed in the costume of Paul’s time,
one of them accompanied by his dwarf, and the baby Christ wears a pearl
diadem on his brow. I noticed also a superb Vandyck, St. Ambrose in
Prayer to the Virgin, and a Last Supper by Rubens, whose composition it
would be difficult not to prefer to that on the same subject by Paul
Veronese. Guercino’s Abraham and Agar, which several students were
employed in copying badly, is very beautiful; the weeping face of Agar
about to go forth to the desert contrasts finely with the proud and
half averted one of Sara. In one of the rooms are several heads of the
famed fresco of Leonardo da Vinci, carefully raised from the walls of
what was the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and is now a
barrack-room. We had gone thither hoping to see its remains, but the
convent, converted to military uses, is not now shown. We could enter
the church only, which, an ill-formed mass of red brick without, is
curious within, and has a side chapel filled with monuments, decorated
with ultra Catholic care, but many of them ancient and interesting. The
head of the Saviour, which is at the Brera, is mild and beautiful in
expression, but its colouring wholly faded.

The library is rich in curious manuscripts, and occupies five spacious
apartments; in the first are two bad portraits of the emperor and his
consort. All the modern productions we saw, for there is a smaller
chamber dedicated to them, were strangely wretched in their execution.

This part of Milan contains the widest streets and finest palazzi; the
latter awoke my admiration, with their double gates and arcaded courts,
surrounded by orange and pomegranate trees.

The most interesting spot in Milan, recalling as it does names famous
in its story, is the old castle, which held in turn the Visconti and
the Sforza. Originally built in 1358 by Galeazzo, lord of Milan, it was
demolished at his death through the jealous fears of the citizens, but
rebuilt by his son Giovanni Galeazzo. It stood unmolested till the
decease of Filippo Mario, last duke of the Visconti family, when the
Milanese, determined on adopting a republican form of government, razed
it to the ground once more. Francis Sforza, married to Blanche,
daughter of Filippo Mario, and become duke of Milan, raised it from its
ruins with strength and extent greater than before. It is this, of the
date of 1450, which exists even now, for only its fortifications were
destroyed in 1801 by Napoleon’s order, substituting a vast open space
and avenues, which form shady promenades. Towards the town are the two
massive round towers, and entering on this side you cross five inner
courts, in the last of which (that fronting the place d’armes and Arco
del Sempione) are the ancient state apartments. On the capitals of the
columns which support the vestibule of the grand staircase are carved
the arms of Sforza and Visconti; the latter bare the serpent on their
escutcheon on account of the exploit of an ancestor who, ere yet his
family ruled Milan, marched to the first crusade with Godfrey of
Bouillon, and there, in single combat, killed a Saracen general, and
despoiled him of his arms and the shield on which was emblazoned a
snake swallowing a child.

Giovanni Galeazzo Visconti, born in 1347, whose daughter Valentine
espoused the duke of Orleans, the murdered son of Charles the Fifth of
France, purchased of the Emperor Wenceslas the rank of duke, which he
bore first of his family. He was a believer in astrology, and when
already attacked with plague, a comet becoming visible in the heavens,
he made no doubt that it appeared to summon him.

His son Giovanni Mario commenced his reign by a parricide. The duchess,
his mother, favoured the Guelph party. That of the Ghibellines, under
the name and by the authority of the duke, then fifteen years of age,
forced her to fly to Monza. Surprising her there, they dragged her back
to the castle of Milan, and soon after murdered her within its walls.
Giovanni Mario, by turns the instrument of Guelph and Ghibelline, lost
his large possessions one by one, till only the town of Milan obeyed
his sway, and even within the ducal city the sole prerogative he
reserved to himself was the command of its executions.

From his childhood surrounded by crime, and inured to the sight of
blood, he at last found pleasure only in witnessing a fellow creature’s
agony as the sole excitement strong enough to rouse him. The slow forms
of justice slurred over or put aside, the condemned were delivered to
his power to be hunted to death by bull-dogs, whom his huntsman Gevanco
had taught the taste of human flesh to accustom them to their fearful
office. At last, when the measure of his crimes was overflowing, he was
massacred by the Milanese nobles as he was about to enter the church of
St. Gothard, the 16th of May, 1412, aged only twenty-two years. His
brother Filippo Mario, on the news of his death, obliged the widow of
Facino Cave, Giovanni’s trusted general, who had died of malady the
same day as the duke by violence, to marry him ere she had laid her
husband in his grave, and although she was twenty years his senior; she
held at her disposal a brilliant army, the garrisons of various towns,
and a fortune of four hundred thousand golden florins.

Taking instant possession of her riches, he purchased with their
distribution the fidelity of Facino’s soldiers, and marched to Milan,
of which they made him master. He undertook to reduce Lombardy to the
obedience she had sworn to his father, but being cruel and crafty, and
not brave, and seldom daring to leave the shelter of his fortified
walls, he seemed little fitted to accomplish such an enterprise. It
happened, however, on almost the only occasion in which Filippo Mario
had been present in battle, that he distinguished among his soldiers
one named Carmagnuola, who, born in the lowest grade of society, had
been an officer’s servant, and now first enrolled himself in the ranks
of the army. Apt to discern the military merit he could not imitate, he
made Carmagnuola his officer, and the latter, rewarding his
quicksightedness, and himself recompensed with the titles of count and
the rank of general, reconquered all Lombardy. But Filippo Mario, in
the caprice of tyranny, flung down the foundations of his fortune.
Falsely accusing his wife Beatrice of being untrue to him, he sent her
to perish on the scaffold; and suddenly taking umbrage at the power and
distinction of Carmagnuola, he dismissed him from the command of his
troops, denied him an interview, flung into prison his wife and
daughters, and forced his general to fly for safety to Venice, whither
he was followed by an assassin, who failed to accomplish his errand.

Treachery obliging Carmagnuola to treason against the state he had
first served, he took the command of the armies of the two republics of
Venice and Florence, and the duke of Milan found him a victorious
enemy, though opposed to his son-in-law Francis Sforza. After a signal
defeat of the Milanese the peace which ensued restored his wife and
children to liberty, but Carmagnuola had roused Venetian suspicion by
generously sending back all the prisoners he had made in battle, and
when on the renewal of the war he met with unusual reverses, they
called his ill fortune perfidy. The Council of Ten, in consequence,
summoned him to Venice, there to advise the republic daring the
negotiations for peace, received him with extraordinary pomp, the doge
honouring him with a seat by his side, and expressing to him affection
and gratitude as the voice of the republic; but hardly had his soldiers
retired, leaving him unguarded in the senate, than Carmagnuola,
destined to be the mark of ingratitude, was seized and heavily ironed,
flung into a dungeon, and given to the torture. Twenty days after his
arrest he was brought forth—gagged lest he should assert his
innocence,—and beheaded. Of all his immense wealth which it
confiscated, the republic only allowing a poor annuity to his daughters.

His death, in 1432, delivered Duke Filippo Mario from his most
formidable foe, but ever pursuing the same wavering policy during his
whole reign, he troubled and devastated Italy with an inconstancy of
motive and action not to be comprehended. His natural daughter Blanche
long promised and at last married to Francis Sforza, he by turns united
his generals against his son-in-law, or sought his protection against
them. He had once again had recourse to him, and peace between them was
hardly ratified, when, as Francis and Blanche were on their way to join
him at Milan, he was seized with fever, and died almost suddenly.

This Francis Sforza, who succeeded to the last Visconti, despite the
right of the duke of Orleans, whose mother was Valentine of Milan, was
the son of a brave man, himself the founder of his family. His name was
Giaco Attendolo, and his father a labourer; and the young man, though,
from feelings of duty to his family, he pursued the like toil, was
often distracted from his occupation by a feeling which might be a
presentiment of future fortunes, that his place of exertion was
elsewhere. One day, while employed in cutting copsewood, he heard the
sound of military music proceeding from a troop of soldiers advancing
along the high road which bounded his father’s field, and his old
longings and hesitation returned upon him. With something of the
superstition of his time, he resolved that a presage should decide on
his destiny, and turning his face towards an oak tree, which grew at no
inconsiderable distance, and towered among the bushes old and mighty,
he flung his hatchet against its trunk: “If it falls harmless,” he
said, “my arm shall be that of a peasant still; if it pierces to the
core, I am a soldier!” Hurled with his whole force, the axe cut through
the bark, and sank deep into the tree, and Attendolo, casting one
glance where it lay buried in the stem of the old oak, sprang from the
place where he stood, and among the ranks of the soldiers: “My strength
has decided my fate,” he exclaimed, “you may call me Sforza.”

Received as one of their band, his impetuosity and courage, which
suffered no counsel, and was stopped by no resistance, soon confirmed a
name which became that of his family. It was an epoch for military
talent, and Sforza in a short time was of the chief of the condottieri
who sold their service to those states whose gold was most plenty, and
commanded a thousand horsemen.

In the year 1414, he conducted his army to Naples, and obtained honours
and employment from Jane the Second, queen of Naples, but when James of
Bourbon, comte de la Marche, her husband, less patient than she had
expected, seized on her low-born lover Alopo, and condemned him to die
in torments, Sforza was flung into a dungeon, where he remained a year,
during which period the queen was captive also, and watched unceasingly
by an old French knight, who was her gaoler.

A popular disturbance, occasioned by Neapolitan indignation, at length
freed the sovereign. James, whose day of power was over, as he
supported impatiently the influence of the queen’s new favourite
Caraccioli, was arrested in turn, and though at the pope’s intercession
he recovered his liberty, he thought fit to make his escape from the
palace, and fly to Tarento, with the intent of stirring to insurrection
the southern provinces. Besieged there, and losing all hopes of
reigning at Naples, he returned to France and exchanged his kingly
robes for the habit of St. Francis in the convent of Ste. Claire of
Besançon, where he died.

Towns, fortresses, and fiefs of importance, rewarded Sforza’s fidelity;
his soldiers were more devoted to him than ever before adventurers had
been to a condottiere. He had summoned his relatives around him, men,
like himself, reared in fatigues and hardships, and who made a ring of
gallant and devoted followers about his person. His rival in the same
career, one whose glory and genius equalled his own, was the
condottiere Forte Braccio, and in almost every occasion in which their
forces took different sides, Sforza’s had the disadvantage. When, after
having long served Queen Jane, he was won over by Pope Martin the Fifth
to quit her defence for that of Louis of Anjou, opposed to Braccio he
lost almost the whole of his army. Throwing himself on his generosity,
he rode to the camp with fifteen unarmed horsemen, and asked his
interest with Queen Jane, whose soldier he was determined to be once
more. Forgetting their long rivalry, the two captains repaired to her
court, where Jane received Sforza and named him lord high constable.
Soon after, she commanded him to oppose his forces to those of her
adopted son, Alfonso of Arragon, to whose party Braccio had remained
attached. Thus, though unwillingly, they became foes again; and Sforza,
having forced Alfonso to abandon Naples, marched to deliver the town of
Aquila, besieged by Braccio. The 4th of January, 1424, he arrived on
the shores of the river Pescara. Braccio’s troops, which occupied the
town of the same name, had defended its banks with palisades.

Determined to ford it, though at the very mouth, armed, and wearing his
helmet, Sforza first spurred his horse into the water, traversed it at
the head of four hundred men at arms, and dislodged the enemy; but the
remainder of his forces having failed to follow, he swam his charger
back to seek them.

Crossing for the third time, on his return to the attack, when about
half way over, he saw one of his young pages, whom the strength of the
current was about to bear away, and stooping suddenly over his horse to
seize and save him, himself lost his balance, and sank; the weight of
his armour preventing him from swimming, and even rendering it
impossible to recover his drowned body. He was the ablest and most
intrepid of Italian warriors. Of his posterity all lived and died
obscurely, saving the illegitimate son, who was duke of Milan, Francis

We have lingered perhaps too long for your patience in the Castello;
and the Arena, which, entering Milan by the Arco del Sempione, or Della
Pace, as it is now called, is on the left hand, is worth a visit. We
walked there last evening: the principal entrance also gives access to
the Pulvinare, a fine building, which contains a spacious hall and
commodious chambers, arranged for the reception of the court on the
occasion of a gala. A broad stair conducts to the former, whose columns
of red granite face the amphitheatre to which descend its granite
steps, the place assigned to the viceroy and dignitaries of Milan, and
covered with cushions and draperies when so honoured. The seats which
surround this amphitheatre, capable of containing thirty thousand
persons, are covered with green turf, and rise, range above range, up
the sloping sides to the level, which forms a pleasant walk under
orange and taller trees. There is a rivulet which fills the space with
water, when, instead of the races usually held here, the exhibition is
to be nautical. A grand fête will take place in a few days with a show
of fireworks, our host says unparalleled! but the rain, which to-day
has fallen in torrents, seems disinclined to give place to them, and
will prepare unpleasantly the green sofas of the audience.
Notwithstanding the weather, we visited the sixteen Corinthian columns,
which in this ancient city are the sole vestige of Roman grandeur;
thirty-three Paris inches in diameter, they are ten diameters in
height, and are believed to have stood in the exterior vestibule of
baths dedicated to Hercules, and restored by the Emperor Maximilian.
From their proximity to the church of San Lorenzo, they are called by
its name; they stand majestic and isolated, and spite the care bestowed
on their preservation, gradually crumbling to decay. The rain continues
as I have seldom seen it fall elsewhere, and as it falls here sometimes
for a fortnight uninterruptedly, so says our host in consolation; I did
not expect to dine at Milan, and at two in the afternoon, by
candlelight; yet this has happened to us twice, (when we chose that
hour, hoping the fog would yield to a fine evening, which it did not,)
in the large room, with its three high windows looking on the opposite
wall, which resembles the deserted refectory of a convent. To-morrow,
1st of October, we hope to leave on our way to Lodi.

                              CHAPTER VII.

Leaving Milan—La Bicocca—Francis the First—Francis Sforza—Black
  Bands of Giovanni de’ Medici—Lautrec—An intrigue—Samblançay—The
  king prisoner—Samblançay falsely accused—Condemned to be hanged at
  Montfaucon—His death deferred till dark, in expectation of the
  king’s relenting—His last words resembling Wolsey’s—Lodi—The
  Austrians—Imprecations—The serenade—Doubts as to the
  road—Piacenza—A thirsty douanier—The cathedral—Alberoni—A
  bell-ringer—The Farnese—Pier Luigi’s murder—Statues on the
  piazza—Alessandro—His son Ranuccio—His danger in youth—His
  escape—His cruelty—His treatment of his son—Borgo St.
  Donnino—Maria Louisa—Castel Guelfo—Origin of names of Guelph and
  Gibelline—Parma—Madonna in the stable—A lamp serving two
  purposes—A procession seeking a criminal—Cambacérès—Ariosto—A
  robber’s love of poetry—Correggio—Modena—The countess Matilda—The
  Emperor Henry the Fourth—Canossa—Three days unsheltered in the

                                                          1st October.

Having watched torrents falling till eleven they subsided to a mild
rain, under which we started in weariness of San Marco; and about three
leagues from Milan, passed the village of La Bicocca, in whose château
Prospero Colonna had taken up his position when Lautrec, the French
general, was obliged by his Swiss troops to give battle. Francis the
First, who had lately lost Milan, had been obliged to negotiate with
each canton separately,—to distribute bribes and promise pensions,
and, to obtain their aid, to bear with their arrogance. Ten thousand
Swiss passed, in consequence, the Mount St. Bernard in the year 1522,
and with the French and Venetian troops encamped at about two miles
from Milan. The city was ably defended, though Francis Sforza had yet
been unable to re-enter his capital,—and by his chancellor’s order, an
eloquent monk, to arouse the zeal of the Milanese, preached against the
barbarians. The Milan army swelled its ranks with German mercenaries;
that of France obtained an unexpected reinforcement in the person of
Giovanni de’ Medici, who, rendered free by the death of Leo the Tenth,
arrived to profit by the higher pay and greater advantages the service
of France offered him, conducting three thousand foot and two hundred
horse beneath the mourning banners, adopted in memory of the deceased
Pope, giving them the name of Black Bands, which their prowess made so
celebrated. Lautrec had attacked and been obliged to raise the siege of
Pavia. The Swiss troops, in the belief that money, destined for their
pay, was arrived at Arona, implored their general to allow them to
force a passage thither; but Lautrec, aware that the distress of the
imperial army surpassed his own, and having already received entire
companies of deserters from the banner of Prospero Colonna, felt that
delays would best dissipate his army; but the Swiss replied, through
Albert de Stein: “To-morrow pay, or battle; or, after to-morrow,
dismissal: choose between.”

Forced to allow their departure, wanting funds to satisfy them, Lautrec
chose first to give battle. La Bicocca was surrounded by deep ditches,
to the right and left were canals, and behind it a stone bridge.
Defended by artillery and the Spanish harquebuss men, the position was
almost impregnable; yet the eight thousand Swiss insisted on attacking
it in front, while the Marshal of Foix turned the left flank, and
Lautrec the right of the Imperial army. The Swiss, notwithstanding
their bravery, forced back with great carnage, though protected in
their attack by Giovanni de’ Medici and his black bands, made their
retreat in good order. There were yet no uniforms worn, and the troops
were distinguished by the red cross of the Imperials, and the white
cross of France; and Lautrec, to penetrate more easily into Colonna’s
camp, obliged his soldiers to change, for the Italian, their national
colour. The Marshal of Foix, arrived at the bridge, defeated the
Milanese of Francis Sforza, and, supported, might have gained the
battle; but the impatient Swiss retreated in discomfiture ere yet he
had time to arrive, and Prospero Colonna, informed of Lautrec’s
stratagem, easily recognised the spurious red crosses from those of his
own soldiers, who wore, by his order, each a green branch as plume to
his helmet. The Swiss infantry, still unpaid, and having lost in this
unfortunate affair three thousand men, retired across the frontier.
Lautrec, anxious to justify himself in the eyes of Francis the First,
to tell him, with his own mouth, that to hold the Milanese territory
with men-at-arms left eighteen months without pay, and unsatisfied and
mutinous Swiss, was impossible, yielded the command, for a time, to the
Marshal of Foix, his brother, and hastened to the royal presence,
accompanied by two domestics only. The king refused him an audience;
but protected by the constable of Bourbon, he obtained one ere long,
and to the demand of Francis—“How can you justify my losses and your
conduct?” he made the simple reply: “Sire, by the lack of sums to pay
your armies.” It became evident, that of the three hundred thousand
crowns promised by the Surintendant des Finances, Samblançay, none had
reached him.

The king, surprised, summoned his minister, who acknowledged that the
sums, which were in truth destined for the troops in Italy, had been
demanded by, and remitted to the king’s mother, Louisa, duchess of
Angoulême. In his anger Francis reproached the duchess bitterly with
the loss of Milan, but the princess replied, that the monies received
from Samblançay were but a debt he owed her, as she had placed in his
hands funds proceeding from her revenues, and the fruit of her economy.
The Surintendant’s assurances to the contrary, his known character for
probity, and his habits of life, which kept him apart from all court
intrigues or passions, convinced the king, who was so attached to him
as to have contracted the habit of calling him “Father.” He
distinguished the innocent from the guilty; he said, “While we betray
ourselves, Fortune favours us in vain.” Samblançay remained in place,
but his fall was decided on by his enemy, the Chancellor Duprat, and
the Duchess Louisa of Angoulême, whom either avarice or her known
hatred to Lautrec, or these feelings united, had moved to such base

In 1525, when Francis was about to quit France to reconquer his duchy
of Milan, Samblançay was required and dared refuse to advance the sums
needful, alleging that three hundred thousand crowns were already due
to him. He gave in his accounts, proved the truth of his assertions,
and lost place and favour. Francis departed; Louisa of Angoulême, once
more regent of the kingdom, made use of her power to crush Samblançay.
It was said that her receipt, signed by her hand, was abstracted by her
agent from among his papers, while one of his own clerks was brought
forward to accuse, of fraud and peculation, the most honest man of his
time. The king, who in the interval had, in February, 1525, lost the
battle of Pavia, and, conducted prisoner to Spain, been detained there
prisoner till January, 1526, at the close of the latter year, with
sorrow consented to his minister’s seclusion in the Bastille. His
vindictive mother craved that he should be brought to trial, and the
Chancellor Duprat presented, for the king’s signature, a list he held
ready of judges, who, chosen from the various parliaments of the
kingdom, were either placed by himself or devoted to him as having
shared in the profits of confiscations pronounced according to his
desire. The accused was interrogated, and Duprat, aware that by delay
and chicanery he could best blind the multitude, under various
pretexts, so lengthened the proceedings, that they filled four years.
On the 9th of August, 1527, he was condemned to be hanged at
Montfaucon, and on the 12th of the same month, conducted on foot from
the Bastille thither, passing through the Rue St. Denis, where, in
conformity to an ancient ceremony, criminals on their way to execution
were made stop at a monastery, and swallow there a glass of wine and
three crusts of bread, and kiss an old wooden crucifix preserved within
it. Samblançay submitted to this odious custom without a murmur; but,
arrived at the foot of the gibbet on which he was to die, he begged
that the hour of his death might be deferred, still clinging to the
belief that a pardon would arrive, and that the king, who had so loved
him, could not allow his suffering ignominiously in his old age.
Maillard, the lieutenant criminel, deferred the execution till darkness
succeeded the long summer day, and, not till all hope of the king’s
pity had departed, bade his prisoner make his last prayer. Samblançay
was calm and courageous. “It seemed,” said his contemporary, Marot,
“that himself was the judge and Maillard the condemned.” He exclaimed
only as he ascended the fatal ladder, “Would I had served God as I have
served the king!”

The road from Milan to Lodi would be melancholy even without the
recollection, that to the defeat of La Bicocca is bound the fate of
poor Samblançay,—the long straight road traversing a marshy flat with
a wet ditch on either side, dignified by the Milanese with the name of
rivers. Approaching Lodi, the face of the country is made gay by rich
pastures, for the meadows which surround it produce all the cheese
called Parmesan, only because the inhabitants of Parma first made a
trade of its exportation. Our passport examined again, as carefully as
on leaving Milan, we rode to La Posta through a town cleaner and
prettier than usual: the old innkeeper, at first exorbitant in his
demands, accepting the less startling prices we offered, but reminding
me of Shylock as he left the room, repeating, “what was in the
bond,”—dinner, tea, breakfast,—and adding, “Poco, poco, pochissimo,”
till we lost the sound of his step and voice in the corridor. We were
hardly installed, when there arrived an Austrian officer with an
orderly to take possession of the stables for an early hour to-morrow
morning, as a regiment will pass through, coming from Bresciano to join
the camp.

I was amused by the expression of hatred to the Germans in the faces of
their subjects, and the contrast between the fair, quiet, but
determined-looking officer issuing his peremptory command, and the
supple Italian, with his dark eyes and ferocious features, who received
it, and the moment his back was turned, raised his clenched hand to
invoke imprecations on the _Tedeschi_. “Accidenti in fiume, accidenti
per viaggio, accidenti ad ogni cavallo che stia in questa scuderia,”
till his master came out to soothe his ire by threatening to turn him
away, and then he gave it vent by beating a poor white goat, the pet of
the sick child.

As we had left behind rain and fog, we walked during the lovely evening
to the Pont de Lodi over the Adda, here broad and rapid. The same
wooden bridge exists which the Austrians (repulsed and driven back by
Bonaparte) crossed to Lodi, whither the latter followed in haste to
prevent its being broken by their pioneers.

Our guide mentioned with satisfaction the number of Tedeschi drowned in
the Adda. It flows between flat shores, and derived beauty when we saw
it only from a cloudless sunset, and the trees which fringe its banks,
and were reflected in its clear water. At night, sleeping with windows
open, as the heat was extreme, we were wakened by the first serenade
which had greeted us in Italy; the performers had splendid voices, and
sang in parts. The words of each stanza I could not distinguish, but
the burthen of each was—

           “Son venuti, son venuti, cavalcando, cavalcando;”

and, whether the compliment was in burlesque or earnest, I have never
heard street music which so pleased me before. An hour or two after,
the two Austrian officers, who had preceded their comrades, and
occupied a room near ours, were serenaded also by a fine military band,
so that our rest was disturbed by sweet sounds almost through the whole
night, and we set off early to make room for the Tedeschi.

                                        2nd October. Lodi to Piacenza.

A prettier and more shaded road through a country, almost entirely
pasture-land, and resembling the mildest parts of England. The little
wine they produce is much valued, but the chief supply comes from
Piedmont. We passed at Casal Pusterlengo the route which turns off to
Cremona, but, unfortunately, no one being in sight just then, we were
uncertain as to whether our instincts led right or wrong, and the
distance to the frontier seeming longer than it had been described, we
began to fear the necessity of turning back, beneath a sun whose heat
was intense to painfulness. A few carters passed us with their horses,
but I have learned to ask questions with discrimination, for the brutal
incivility of the common Italians I have never seen equalled. They
shout their disapprobation of our mode of travelling, their energy
seeming to expend itself in “sound and fury, signifying nothing;” drive
on us their cart-horses or oxen, or at least act like a waggoner we
came up with yesterday, and whom I requested to allow me room to pass
on the side where Fanny, who, to his amusement, was starting violently,
would be in no danger of arriving with me at the bottom of a twenty
feet deep ditch. He told me to manage as well as I could, as he did not
intend to move an inch. At last, fearing we might ride to Cremona, we
stopped at a cabin door in one of the dirty villages on our way. My
question was not very politely answered, and the whole family exclaimed
in chorus that we were wrong, and must turn back; perhaps in ignorance,
though I think in mischief, and, as I thought so then, we hesitated,
and a post-boy coming up with his horses, (a person always civil to
strangers, who may employ him,) desired us to ride on, as a few minutes
would bring us to the frontier.

This proving true, our passport was examined at the Cà Rossa, and we
were on the territory of the Archduchess Maria Louisa. The heat was
intense, and they detained us some time under the sun; the oxen,
dragging their waggon-loads of grapes, passed us by; and before the
village doors the men with their soiled and sunburned feet were
treading the wine-press as we had seen them doing in the fields also.
At last, Piacenza was in sight; the dark red city rising on the broad
plain beyond the broad Pô, with the one stone arch, the relic of a
Roman bridge, standing in its centre, on the deposit of sand and
stones; and the two bridges of boats which we were to cross, and which
should be a relic also, being extremely unsafe, the boats small, and
the decaying planks they sustain a succession of hill and dale, over
which our horses feared to advance. The toll is five sous per steed,
which, considering its state, is sufficient.

Having ridden in safety, but some dread, across this uneven and
trembling bridge, we left our passport at the gate, and the douaniers
came smilingly forward. “What is in this valise?” “Linen.” “And in
this?” “Linen also; will you look at it?”

The douanier smiled, and shook his head, but made an almost
imperceptible sign of thirst, and D—— gave a silver coin to satisfy
it. There is a frankness about this conduct which is exceedingly
agreeable. One is sure of giving in the right place, and without
offence, and also of saving trouble at small cost, for it happened that
the only change we possessed was an Austrian lira, which, translated,
means seventeen sous, three centimes; and though we were almost ashamed
to offer it, it seemed to content the custom-house officer perfectly.

The sombre streets of this saddest of towns led us to San Marco, an inn
neither good nor bad, though certainly better than its Milan namesake,
and having fine rooms and broad staircase, which common cleanliness
would make objects of admiration. Our sleeping chamber with its dome is
of such elegant form that I should like to transport it afar, but
spoiled with gaudy frescoes on wall and ceiling, by dirty floor, and
ragged furniture. The eating room, a noble hall, with a range of
pillars down its centre, and hung round with paintings for sale—some
few good, several curious; luxury and poverty, dirt and elegance,
everywhere blended—even in the yard, which is an abomination, yet
where a coved trellis-work forms a roof which a splendid vine covers
with its thick leaves, making the loveliest of ceilings.

We walked to the cathedral—a dark red heavy building, built almost
entirely of brick, with one high tower; an open gallery surmounting its
façade, which exhibits, one above the other, three ranges of porticoes,
the pillars of the lowest and central one springing from the loins of
guardian lions. Within, above the principal entrance, is some curious
carving. The church is large without being handsome; two thirds of the
roof, glaring with fresh whitewash, contrast with the dark grey
columns. The choir has its frescoes still; and there is a subterranean
church which we admired—sombre and solemn, its arched roof sustained
by numerous pillars, as light and elegant as those above are massive.
We were driven from the cathedral by two or three guides, who, next to
beggars, persecute strangers in Italy, following with a pertinacity
which defies repulse, forcing on you a new version of history, and
concluding each sentence by saying, with extended hand, “Le sue buone

In the cathedral, the famous Cardinal Alberoni (born at the village of
Firenzuola, which we shall pass through on our way, and a gardener’s
son) was clerk and bell-ringer. An open piazza surrounds the square,
which we left in search of the citadel, once the palace and stronghold
of Pier Luigi Farnese, who, invested with the duchy in the year 1545,
by his father Pope Paul the Third, built for his defence what proved
his tomb. Notwithstanding Paul’s affection for him, he was a man
stained with all vices, and capable of all crimes. The nobility of his
new states, who under the ecclesiastical sway had enjoyed great
independence, were bowed to the rank of vassals; and, making his laws
retrospective in their severity, (while he deprived them of arms,
limited their privileges, and forced them to reside within his city and
power,) he commanded a strict investigation of their past conduct, and
punished its derelictions with heavy fines or confiscation of property,
exercising the same tyranny of which he had given proof when five years
before he had been sent by the pope to subdue his revolted province of
Perugino, the birthplace of Raphael’s master; for having reduced it to
obedience, he devastated its territory, and put its chief citizens to
the most cruel deaths. The nobles of Placentia, roused to desperation,
at last conspired against him, demanding and obtaining the aid of
Ferdinand of Gonzagua, who detested Farnese also. It is said that a man
celebrated for divination of the future presented himself before Pier
Luigi to warn him of his fate, desiring him to examine one of his own
coins struck at Parma, as thereupon, and contained in the same word, he
would find the initials of the conspirators’ names and the destined
place of his assassination. The prophecy was little attended to at the
time, but it was afterwards observed, that as Plac—— signified
Placentia, it also contained the initials of Pallavicini, Landi,
Anguissola, and Confalonieri. On the 10th of September, 1547, between
thirty and forty conspirators, in peaceful garb, but with concealed
arms, arrived at the palace as if to pay their court to Farnese, who,
an old man before his time, lay in his sick chamber, incapable of
defence or exertion. While they guarded the approaches, and prevented
succour, Anguissola sought it and stabbed him. Apprized of his death by
the firing of two cannon, agreed on as a signal, Ferdinand of Gonzagua
despatched to Placentia a reinforcement of troops, and followed himself
to take possession in the emperor’s name.

It is said that they flung the corpse from the balcony into the piazza,
and guide-books aver the balcony is still shown; but of the windows of
the still unfinished exterior, which bears the ciphers of Pier Luigi
and his successor, and look on the square, not one opens on a balcony.
The inner courts are invisible to strangers, the citadel being
converted to a barrack, and the other side of the edifice looks on
gardens. A washerwoman, whose door stood open, allowed me to obtain a
view of it by entering her dirty territory, after we had made a long
and vain tour, for the purpose, among hot stone walls and ill-scented

The old municipal palace, built in the thirteenth century, with its
quaint architecture, dark and imposing, forms one side of the place
which contains the two equestrian statues in bronze, and of colossal
size, of Alessandro and Ranuccio Farnese.

Opposite is the Palazzo del Governo, where, forming part of an effaced
inscription, I could distinguish the word Napoleone. Beneath the
arcades of the first fortress-looking palace, and around the pedestals
of the duke’s statues, were grouped the market-women, with their heaps
of fruit and baskets of flowers, as if they were offerings to
propitiate the stern warriors who frown above on their battle-steeds.
Engraved on each pedestal is an inscription, equally flattering, though
deserved differently.

Alessandro, brought up at the court of Philip the Second of Spain, soon
distinguished by his brilliant courage and military talent, became,
after the decease of Duke John of Austria, governor of the Netherlands,
and profiting by the religious dissensions there, won over to Spain
almost all the resident catholics. The United Provinces had called to
defend them the Duke of Anjou, brother of Henry the Third of France.
Alessandro, whose triumphs had continued almost uninterruptedly,
receiving news of the loss of his father Octavio, and become by this
event Duke of Parma and Placentia, solicited of the Spanish court
permission to return and take possession of his sovereignty. Philip
refusing the leave he asked, he prosecuted, with unabated success, the
war in Flanders, till that in France came to create a diversion. At the
sieges of Paris and Rouen the prince of Parma was opposed to Henry the
Fourth, and returning from the latter, he was wounded in the arm before
Caudebec, and died at Arras of the consequences of this neglected
injury, having never seen again the province of which he had become

His son Ranuccio was his lieutenant in Flanders when he expired: though
he had shown courage in battle, he inherited none of his father’s
heroic qualities. In his early youth in Rome his life had been in
danger of closing violently. Pope Sixtus the Fifth, informed, that,
despite his severe order against concealed arms, young Ranuccio
secretly carried pistols, commanded his arrest, and it took place as he
entered the halls of the pontifical palace to seek an audience. The
Cardinal Farnese, his uncle, craved his liberation on the instant, but
in vain. Returning at nightfall to the presence of his holiness, he
renewed his solicitations even more earnestly. At ten o’clock the
inflexible pope sent to the castle of St. Angelo his mandate for the
young man’s execution. Unacquainted with the subject of the message,
the cardinal continued to implore, and at eleven obtained from the hand
of Sixtus a second order,—bearing that, on its receipt, Ranuccio
Farnese should be set free. Provided with this last, the cardinal
arrived breathless at the castle of St. Angelo, where, to his
astonishment and terror, he found his young relative kneeling before
his confessor, and heard that the execution had been deferred only on
his instant prayer for more time to reconcile himself with God. Whether
the pope had intended merely to terrify his prisoner to future
obedience, or whether he thought, in the hour which had elapsed, his
first command must have been fulfilled, the cardinal did not wait to
inquire, and the governor yielding up Ranuccio in the belief that
Sixtus had been softened, he forced him to depart from the papal states
without delay. Reigning as duke in Parma, Ranuccio strove to inspire
his subjects with fear of him, and aroused, instead, their hatred. When
apprised of the discontent of the nobles, he feigned belief in a
wide-spreading conspiracy, seized on the representatives of the first
families of his duchy, and rid himself of their future opposition by
secret trials and the block, while he dragged to the gibbet their
adherents and vassals.

An even darker trait in Ranuccio’s life is his capricious cruelty
towards an illegitimate son, named Octavio, whose noble and brilliant
qualities had won for him the love of all ranks in his father’s duchy.
The duke of Parma had espoused the niece of Pope Clement the Eighth,
Margaret Aldobrandini. His unfounded hatred to a wife who, on her side,
could not love one whose severe and sombre exterior fitly accompanied a
distrustful and avaricious disposition, long kept them separated, and
Ranuccio during this time named Octavio his heir. As the youth grew up,
he became daily and deservedly more popular, changing his father’s
favour to fear and hatred, till, having heirs by his wife Margaret, he
pretended a fear that the disappointed prince might interfere to put
his brothers aside; seized on his person, and commanded that he should
be immured in the fearful prison of La Rochetta at Parma, where he
dragged through a few wretched years, and died mysteriously. His
father, unjust and ferocious as he was, yet came to a peaceful end,
leaving the dukedom to the second of Margaret’s sons, as the eldest
proved deaf and dumb.

On our return from the Palazzo Pubblico, we passed the church of San
Pietro, with its monastery attached to itself, and its convent on the
opposite side of the street; the blank wall of the first facing the
latter’s windows, barred, grated, and wired, like a prison or a
mad-house, with precaution which seems excessive where the entrance is
voluntary. On the whole, though we made the tour of all the other
churches we found open, and wandered till we were weary among the
desolate streets, the day we passed at Placentia seemed a long one.
When night closed in, the silent town awoke, and parties walked up and
down, singing with most enchanting voices: it is a pleasure peculiar to

                                                          4th October.

Left Placentia for Borgo San Donnino, issuing by the old gate and
ruined fortifications. Piacenza received her name, in days of yore,
from her pleasant environs,—now so changed that she requires new
baptism: for the country, rich and flat, through which our broad,
straight road passes, is interesting only where the vintagers are
employed, and would be bare of trees but for those planted to receive
the vines. Here and there we found shade from the sun under a pollarded
oak, growing by the road-side, with the fruit and the festoons of light
green hanging among its dark branches; far away we could distinguish
the Apennines, but too distant to give boldness or beauty. At the
entrance of Borgo St. Donnino is its quaint old church, guarded without
by a strange assemblage of saints, beasts, and nondescript figures; and
before arriving at the Angelo, which is at the extremity of the little
town, we passed two fine establishments for mendicity, male and female,
once a jesuits’ monastery. The Angelo is the cleanest inn, and kept by
the most honest people we have had the fortune to find since crossing
the frontier, the good woman, who lost her husband a year since, and
the head waiter, who has lost an eye, vying with each other in
civility, and proud of their beds and cookery: still as it rained
pitilessly from our coming till night, we were reminded that travelling
is a melancholy pleasure as we looked round the large desert rooms,
examined over and over their vile frescoes, and were glad to talk to
the waiter, and to hear his comments on Maria Louisa, and how with the
higher classes of her subjects she is no longer popular since the
movement which followed 1830, rousing their desire to be French rather
than Austrians; but adored by the poor, to whom she is the kindest of
sovereigns, and who feel her charity. The hospitals, good roads, and
fine bridges of her small states, give proof of her care, and, saving
three months spent yearly at Vienna, her whole time is passed in her

The violence of the rain prevented our visiting the ancient church and
its curious tomb of the town’s patron, Saint Donnino, who was an
officer of the Emperor Maximilian, and, having offended his lord by
becoming Christian, fled hither, and was here beheaded in the year 304.

Alberoni’s first step to fortune was the place of chaplain to the
bishop of St. Donnino.

The rain ceased, and we left the quiet inn, taking the long, straight,
muddy road to Parma, passing, ere reaching the latter, the fine old
castle of Guelfo, a part of which is a complete ruin, and the remainder
with its ivied walls and square battlemented towers half concealed
among old trees, though close to the road, forms a fine residence for
the grand chambellan of Maria Louisa, whose family resides there
throughout the year. You know that it was built by the Guelfo faction,
in opposition to Castel Gibello, which lies between Parma and
Placentia, though not on the road we have travelled. These fatal
rallying words were first employed in 1140, at the battle of Winsburg,
between Conrad the Third, the emperor, and Guelph the Sixth of Bavaria.
A castle, which had been the nursery of the dukes of Swabia, was called
Gibellin, and the Christian name of Guelph had long been one of
predilection in the house of Bavaria. The latter sought the pope’s
alliance. Even when the political animosity between them had died away,
old affections and old hatreds continued to spring up in gratitude or
in vengeance for benefits and injuries received by either’s ancestors.
From Guelph the First, of Bavaria, sprang the house which gave monarchs
to England.

Beyond Castel Guelfo, we crossed the fine bridge, which seems of
endless length, commenced by Napoleon, and finished by Maria Louisa,
across the desolate and desolating Taro, which, now shrunken and still,
winds through its winter-bed, like a rivulet in a desert, and, shortly
after, arrived at Parma, built on the river of the same name, which we
traversed two or three times as we rode to the Paone, whither we had
been recommended, and which, though a bad inn, we bear with patiently,
as its owners are civil, and stabling excellent: for, under present
circumstances, our own lodging is not that held first in importance. A
portrait of the Santa Madonna hangs against the wall at the lower end
of the stable,—the lamp, which burns before it, serving the double
purpose of doing her honour and lighting the mangers.

The rain returned in torrents, not to be braved; and the windows of our
dirty rooms command a view of only a small portion of the square. As I
leaned out, looking at a dirty café just opposite, and in our own
alley, and a yawning Italian woman, with her dark neck bare, as usual,
enjoying, with her two elbows on a cushion, the “dolce far niente,”
which so chafed ourselves, there passed beneath a long procession,
headed by a few priests, and composed of men, who wore, over their
usual dress, a species of friar’s cloak and cape of oilskin, with a
silver badge, resembling a coffin plate, hung to the left side. They
went silently along under the pouring rain, a bareheaded Capucin
walking beside the last, and a crowd following. I asked a servant who
they might be. They belonged, he said, some being clerical, some
laymen, to the brotherhood of La Buona Morte, and were on their way to
visit a criminal condemned the next morning to die. He was guilty, the
waiter said, of a “brutto delitto,” and the story was, indeed, one
exhibiting the unrestrained passions which are the heritage and curse
of Italy.

He was a peasant thirty years of age, married to a wife of five and
twenty, to whom he had been long attached, and father of an infant but
a few weeks old. In the course of this summer he unhappily became
acquainted with another and a depraved woman, but whom he determined to
marry, and his resolution irrevocably formed, he returned home and from
her presence one evening, deliberately sawed his wife’s head from her
body with a pruning-knife; took measures for her burial which he
believed would prevent discovery, and went from her corpse to her old
father to mourn with him for her early death.

We shall leave at daybreak, and probably make no stay at Modena, as we
return by the same road, when I will satisfy my own curiosity, and any
you may feel likewise.

You know the anecdote of Cambacérès, told by Montgaillard. “On the 11th
of April, 1814, he put down his liveries and imperial representation,
and in a spirit of legitimacy, justice and humility, which cannot be
sufficiently praised, signed a deed of renunciation to the title of
Prince of Parma in presence of a notary! and remitted this deed to the
Austrian cabinet, so that the Empress Maria Louisa and the court of
Vienna will, on this head, have nothing to fear!!”

At the village of St. Ilario, at which we arrived after crossing a long
narrow bridge over the Enza, is the frontier. We were detained some
time, but the duke’s doganieri are the first and only who have a touch
of modesty about them, for they do not stretch forth the hand for coin.
Fed our horses at dirty Reggio, Ariosto’s birthplace; the poor noble,
the unsuccessful lawyer; the great but ill-recompensed poet, to whose
Orlando Furioso the Cardinal Ippolito d’Este said, “Master Louis,
whence gathered you together such fooleries?” but better appreciated by
the wild robber chief Pacchione, when Ariosto (sent by Duke Alfonso to
purge the mountainous district of Garfagnana of the lawless bands who
infested it, and having so legislated as to succeed, and in a brief
space of time to bow or soothe the turbulent to submission) was passing
on horseback, and with six or seven domestics only, along a narrow
pass, when at a sudden turn, and grouped in the shadow, he perceived a
number of men of suspicious appearance, and hurried by, knowing his
party’s inability to cope with theirs. The chief of the band, however,
who watched him go past, arrested his last follower by the bridle, and
inquired the name of the nobleman. The domestic replying “Ariosto,”
armed as he was, he joined the charger at a bound, and the poet checked
him suddenly, uncertain as to the motive of his haste and the action
which might follow.

The robber doffed his cap and bowed respectfully, asking pardon for
having failed to salute him on his passage as being then unacquainted
with the person of one whose fame was familiar to him, and having made
him the most polite offers, took his leave.

It was Ariosto, who, endowed with genius, not with fortune, engraved
over his small house the inscription:—


and who replied to the question, why he who, in his Orlando, could so
well describe splendid palaces with porticoed courts and marble halls,
had built a dwelling so humble? “It is easier to gather together words
than stones.”

On our left hand (the road conducting thither following the course of
the torrent Crossolo, which washes one side of the town) is the village
of Correggio, the birthplace and the home of Allegri, to whom it has
given a name which is not to die—the man who it is said had no master:
who studied nature in her grandeur and her grace; of whom a modern
writer has observed that his love of childhood, his study of its anger,
its joys and tears, so exact that he was wont to stop to sketch in his
walks the groups he met at play, gave him in its representation such
purity of conception, such brilliancy and delicacy of touch, that he
seemed to paint with the breath, while over his female forms there is
diffused a divinity, a celestial grace, belonging to beings of a higher
order, as if he had painted in prophecy. Never rich, ill paid for his
mighty works, having received but about £20 and his food during the six
months his labour lasted for the chef d’œuvre of his life, the St.
Jeronimo, he proceeded one day of 1534 to Parma to solicit that the
remainder of a sum due for the frescoes of the cupola of the cathedral
might be paid him, and received there £8 in copper money. Impatient to
bear it to his family at Correggio, he started on foot to carry it
thither, arrived heated and exhausted by the enormous weight, was
seized with acute fever and died at forty.

The appearance of the little city of Modena is most prepossessing,
regularly built and clean, with wide streets and handsome buildings, a
pleasant impression increased by the magnificent rooms and extreme
civility of our inn San Marco.

With Modena is connected much historical interest. The famous Countess
Matilda, the church’s most pious benefactress, and the pope’s most
attached adherent, was its sovereign in 1054, and in her strong castle
of Canossa near Reggio, she received Pope Gregory the Seventh, yielding
to him her powerful protection on the news that Henry the Fourth of
Germany, the excommunicated emperor, was on his way to seek a personal
interview with the pontiff, preferring so to do to awaiting the
decision of his holiness the following year at the diet-general of the
empire to be invoked at Augsburg for the purpose of his ban or
absolution. There exists a village of the same name, where the
impregnable fortress of Matilda arose at that time. The princes of the
empire had obliged the unfortunate Henry to consent to abjure the marks
of his rank as well as its power; to enter into no church, which, as a
man condemned by the church, his presence might sully; and to travel
without suite or dignity till such time as his fate should be decided.

Feeling that in the assembly of Augsburg that decision would be fatal,
notwithstanding the danger of traversing the Alps at that season
(Christmas), Henry the Fourth departed for Italy, accompanied by his
empress, and by Prince Conrad, then a boy, and who, in after days, was
to raise the standard of revolt against the father, whom Henry, his
second and best beloved son, was also, when most trusted, to betray,
usurp his empire, and imprison his person, and finally refuse to it the
rites of burial. The emperor arrived at Canossa, and presented himself
at the first gate, for the fortress was surrounded by a triple wall,
and the ground then covered with snow. He was allowed to wait a long
time and alone; the few who attended him being forbidden to approach;
and the gate being at last opened to him, he was wholly at the mercy of
his enemies, a consideration which did not subdue his courage or change
his purpose, for it is said of him, that in the sixty-six battles he
had fought, he had always, save when betrayed, come off victorious.
Admitted within the second court-yard of Canossa, he was bidden to put
off his shoes and the royal robes which he wore, assuming in their
stead a plain woollen tunic; and the monarch having obeyed, he was
allowed to remain in this court three days, though in the month of
January and in the Appennines, exposed to the severity of the weather,
and receiving food only late at night, as if forgotten by the proud
pontiff. The fourth morning Matilda interceded, and Gregory the Seventh
allowed himself to be softened, admitted the emperor to kiss his holy
foot, and gave him absolution on such humiliating terms, that they were
shortly after broken through, and Henry excommunicated once more.

Nicholas of Este, duke of Modena and Ferrara about 1400, was the
injured husband who beheaded Parisina; and Alfonso of Este, whose reign
commenced in 1505, was married to Lucretia Borgia, of infamous memory.
It was his brother the Cardinal Ippolito who was Ariosto’s unworthy
patron. Rival in a love-affair of his natural brother Don Giulio,
Ippolito heard its object, who was a lady of Ferrara, praise the beauty
of Don Giulio’s eyes, having preferred him for her lover. As his
brother returned from a hunting party, he was surrounded by assassins
guided to meet him by this unnatural relative, and the eyes, whose
lustre the fair lady of Ferrara had praised, torn from their sockets in
his presence.

Before arriving at Modena, and on the river Secchia, we rode through
the wretched town, and beneath the strong stern towers of the fortress
of Rubiera, within whose walls died Ottobon Terzi, who, from a
condottiere, striving to rise to be an independent sovereign, seized
successively on Parma, Reggio, and Modena, pillaged Placentia, beheaded
sixty-five citizens of Parma, but at last, desirous of peace, as the
Marquis of Este opposed to him the brave Attendolo Sforza, consented to
a conference at Rubiera. The chief and the noble arrived, each followed
by a few chosen knights, and among those of the latter was Attendolo.
Excited by sudden passion, or perhaps obeying a command unworthy of
him, in the midst of the peaceful discourse Sforza sprang forward and
stabbed Ottobon Terzi. Those who accompanied him fled, and the corpse
(transported thither and mutilated by the people’s fury) was dragged
through the streets of Modena.

So much for the striking traits of her history, we shall know her
features better on our return; for here, as at Parma, it has rained the
livelong day, and we leave early to-morrow. It is the first time since
I arrived on Italian ground, that the comfort of an inn has made me
wish to stop for repose.

                             CHAPTER VIII.

Pic de la Mirandole—Castel Franco—Bologna—A bad inn left for La
  Pace—Its mistress—Statue of Pope Julius the Second—St.
  Petronio—Mistake of a learned man—Charles the Fifth—Here crowned
  King of Lombardy—King Enzio—His peasant-love—His twenty years’
  captivity—The origin of a name—The towers—Accademmia—St.
  Cecilia—The cathedral—Temple dedicated to Isis—Papal troops—A
  capitulation—Cholera—An Italian hospital—French soldiers—The
  procession barefoot—The well-attested miracle—The
  Appennines—Lojano—The Pellegrino—Filigare—Pietra Mala—Strange
  properties of its fire and cold spring—Fruit—Montecarelli—St.
  Antonio’s grapes—Palazzo Borghese—Hôtel du Nord—Jerome Bonaparte’s
  cook—Piazza della Santa Trinità—Spot occupied by the Palazzo degl’
  Uberti left vacant—Recording escutcheons—The Saviour, king of
  Florence—The Loggia—Galleria de’ Medici—Piazza del Duomo—The
  Baptistery—Work of Ghiberti at twenty years old—Chains of the gates
  of Pisa—A funeral.

                                                          6th October.

Mirandola is not on our road although at no great distance, on the
Secchia, and forming part of the duchy of Modena; near it are two other
villages, called Concordia and Quarantola. It is said that Euridice,
grand-daughter of the Emperor Constantine, and wife of Mainfroy the
Saxon baron, in the first of the three became mother at a birth of
three noble boys, from which strange fact it was named Miranda. Growing
up in perfect harmony, the place which they inhabited was called
Concordia; and years after, when their descendants, increased in
number, in a neighbouring town mustered forty knights, it took from
them the name of Quarantola. This legend you may doubt or believe in;
but the family of Pio and Pic, sprung from Euridice, produced in 1463
the phœnix, Pic de la Mirandole, who, at ten years of age, held the
first place among the poets and orators of his day; and in 1486, at
Rome, published a list of nine hundred propositions on “all that is or
can be known,” offering to argue their truth with any such learned
personages as could be induced to meet him there, proposing to defray
the expenses of their journey and their sojourn. The envy of these
denouncing him as dangerous and a heretic, he endured persecution for a
time and fled to France, but justifying himself, returned to Florence
and died there the day that Charles the Eighth made his entry, and
having known him in France, sent his physicians, who strove vainly to
save his life. He left large legacies to his domestics, and the
remainder of his possessions to the poor, and was not thirty-two when
he died.

This is the fête of the Virgin. Before leaving Modena, the landlady
took some trouble to convince me that the barber opposite, occupied in
shaving several black faces, was a Jew, as a good catholic would on no
account so labour to-day. Outside the town, we met numbers of peasants
carrying the tall cierges intended as offerings at her altars,
ornamented with flowers and ribands. The toilette of the women, who
wore their best clothes, had an elegance about it, the lace or
embroidered handkerchief covering, in guise of mantilla, the head and
shoulders, and the clear worked muslin apron tied on over the bright
petticoat. On the chapter of beauty, however, their “glory has
departed.” Since leaving Milan, we have seen but few females not plain
to ugliness, and but seldom among the men one of those dark faces so
peculiarly handsome, notwithstanding its doubtful expression. The dirt
of the lower classes is so excessive and indescribable, that, as they
make their toilette before their cabin doors, the entire breadth of the
road seemed scarce sufficient to save from contamination.

Having passed through St. Ambrogio, and over a fine bridge which
crosses the Tanaro, we entered on the papal territory. At the barrier
we paid two pauls per horse, the same at each of the two bridges, but
on carriages the tax falls heavily; and at Castel Franco are the pope’s
custom-house and passport office. Truly the subjects of his holiness
lack conscience. One touched our baggage; “What have you here?” and to
the usual reply, “Linen; will you see it?” rejoined, “On no account,
but we will drink your health.” Then came up another to whisper “they
were not _insieme_,” and that the first was a narrow-minded man, who
shared nothing with a comrade; and thirdly, a soldier bringing the
passport murmured as he delivered it, “Le sue buone grazie.”

Arrived at Bologna as the sun set, passing on the right hand the long
brick arcade, which, three miles in length, is carried up the hill to
the church containing the Virgin’s most precious picture, painted by
St. Luke; and riding beneath an archway which bears an inscription in
Napoleon’s honour, whitewashed for the sake of effacing it, but
restored by the late heavy rains. We went, as recommended, to the
Pellegrino, but it was full and has no stables, and to the Aquila,
which had accommodation for our horses, but none for ourselves, a
circumstance it did not think proper to communicate till the latter
were on the road to their quarters.

A voice in the crowd said “La Pace,” but it was overruled by another
answering, “San Marco;” and as the latter was nearest, we went thither,
and found it full also. The inn opposite, a branch of this, as
belonging to the same master, and called the Tre Mori, had still a
disposable room, so said the innkeeper, and, weary of wandering, we
agreed to take it if possible. He retreated with a bow within his own
premises, and we were consigned to the care of his _direttore_, the
great man’s great man at the Tre Mori. The room, which was small and
stifling, and exactly opposite a hall in which domestics were noisily
dining, had been occupied, I think, by servants also, and left
unarranged at their departure. The only answer to the bell was
“Patienza,” a virtue I should have summoned to mine aid till morning,
despite the inn’s dirt and incivility, but that D—— came in dismay to
say that our poor comrades were lodged in a crowded stable, without
space to lie down, and next kicking horses, one of whom had lamed his
neighbour the night before. To run the risk of a like accident to ours
was not to be thought of—the warlike Fanny, with open mouth and ears
laid back, and Grizzle, with her heels, were prepared to resent any
insult from the tall carriage horses, or even to take the initiative if
necessary; and Italy being a place where even bribes are vain to induce
an attendant to practise care, D—— remained standing beside the surly
groom, while I sallied forth on a voyage of discovery, having changed
my dress, and summoned to conduct me a poor facchino, who had carried
our baggage into the inn—a dwarfish wretched being we noticed for his
civility, and who had since remained leaning against the wall in the
hope of further employment. I desired him to be my guide to La Pace,
and we threaded the winding and porticoed streets at a rapid step, as I
feared it might grow dark ere our return, and San Marco being at one
end of the town, La Pace is at the other, in a broader street, and
better air, near the gate we shall pass through going to Florence.
Arrived at the hotel, I found with satisfaction that its mistress was a
Frenchwoman; and seeing that not only our horses could have a private
stable, but that the house in accommodation, as well as in civility,
wholly differed from the Tre Mori, we hurried back; the little guide
telling his history, and how he had been left an orphan, and with three
sisters, he “povero ragazzo” (for the ragazzo is, like the Irish boy,
named for life) and they had struggled, and nearly starved for a time,
and then established a good character, and got on in the world, till
now (in his Sunday attire) he was another man.

We asked for our bill of an hour, and, though explaining the motive of
our departure, endured insolence in return, paying with Christian
meekness the moor’s exactions, which, for our horses and ourselves,
charged such items as might have been fair the next morning. As we
walked out, we passed an English gentleman, who stood on the inn steps
holding a bill of interminable length, the innkeeper of San Marco and
the direttore of the Tre Mori, one on each side, like Scylla and
Charybdis, and the Englishman, foaming with the powerless fury of the
sea in like situation, for the worthies were uncivil and positive.
Escaped from their fangs, our horses led by the ragazzo, we arrived at
La Pace at dusk, crossing on our way the fine Piazza Maggiore, most
striking in that imperfect light, with the Palazzo Pubblico, and the
Palazzo del Podestà, and the unfinished façade of San Petronio,
occupying three of its sides, and the giant’s fountain, with its statue
of Neptune by John of Bologna, built, not in the centre of the square,
but in its angle, or rather on a “place” of its own, a kind of
supplement to the Piazza Maggiore, facing the buildings of the Palazzo
Pubblico, where they extend beyond it.

I have heard Bologna criticized for its unending arcades, which give it
in my opinion a claim to admiration; a studious and solemn character,
making it resemble some mighty cathedral and its cloisters. La Pace
retains the name it bore when a resting-place for pilgrims on their way
to Rome; the large vaulted kitchen was then the refectory, and the
upper stories of the building have still the same distribution as in
those days. Our hostess has known some of life’s vicissitudes. Her
father had a place in, I think, the financial department, whose
revenues sufficed for the comforts of his family, but, wishing to
retire, he exerted what interest he possessed to get a friend, who
promised compensation, named in his stead. Having succeeded, this man
not only refused to fulfill his part of the agreement, but having
borrowed and given no security for all the ready money the old man
possessed, he finally turned into the streets, from the shelter which
had been their own, the father and young daughter. The latter wandered
over Paris during the day, vainly seeking employment, which, owing to
her youth and disbelief in her story, was everywhere refused her. At
last, night coming on, and those who passed examining the forlorn girl
with curiosity or contempt, in despair, and ashamed to beg, as she
crossed the Pont Royal on her way back to the spot where she had left
her father, she suddenly resolved on suicide, and was about to throw
herself into the river, when her arm was caught by an old officer, who
forcibly held her back, gravely remonstrated with her, and passed on.
Softened, and her purpose changed, she knocked meekly at several doors,
and at last found shelter with a poor portress, who received herself
and her father for charity. She next took service with a lady resident
in the hotel, and accompanied her to Italy. There, after some years,
she married the head-waiter of the inn of San Marco, and they embarked
their savings in La Pace. Her father followed when she quitted France,
but he had grown childish from misfortune, and died shortly after the
change in his daughter’s prospects. He used to wander miles away from
the inn, saying he would go back to France. The fat black terrier, who
sits so petted and caressed on a chair in the kitchen, was his follower
and guardian. One day, after a vain search for the old man, he was
found sleeping on a mattress in a peasant’s cabin, with the dog sitting
at his head: he had walked farther, thinking to pass the frontier, and
fatigued, and unable to speak the language, he sank down at last before
the cottage which gave him its hospitality. I think she said it was his
last excursion.

The Neptune of John of Bologna holds a place once occupied by a statue,
by Raphael, of Pope Julius the Second, and raised by his command
shortly after his first conquest of Bologna, in 1406, but the pope was
represented with so haughty an aspect, and in so menacing an attitude,
that the original of the statue had hardly quitted them, when the
indignant Bolognese struck it down. The church of St. Petronio, though
unfinished, and likely to remain so, has an imposing aspect, and is of
ancient date, as commenced in 1590. It possesses its patron saint’s
entire body, the head, which only was wanting, having been bestowed by
Pope Benoit the Fourteenth. The presence of this relic caused a strange
mistake on the part of the learned German Meibomius, who, believing all
the works of the satirical writer Petronius preserved at Bologna, made
a long journey thither to behold his manuscripts, and was greatly
disappointed when led to the shrine.

In this church was Charles the Fifth, the emperor, crowned king of
Lombardy by Clement the Seventh;—kissing the same papal foot he had
before held captive, and creating, after the ceremony, two hundred
knights, in the list of whom are included the names of several noble
families still existing in Bologna.

The palace of King Enzio opposite still bears the same name as when the
prison of the unfortunate young man, illegitimate son of the Emperor
Frederic the Second, and dethroned king of Sardinia. The Bolognese took
him captive, and would never restore his freedom more, for he pined
within these walls twenty years, and died in the year 1262. There is a
legend which would make the family of Bentivoglio of royal origin: it
recites that there was a fair young peasant enamoured of Enzio, and
who, by bribes or stratagem, found means to see him in his confinement.
She loved, and was faithful to him, and brought forth a son, who, by
favour likewise was sometimes allowed to be carried to his father’s
arms. The sad prisoner was wont to hold him on his knee, and murmur to
the boy while he caressed him, “Ben ti voglio, O ben ti voglio.”

When he died, he left him all his disposable property, and the youth
adopted as a family name the words he had so often heard repeated by
his father.

The towers of Asinelli and Garisenda, which serve us for landmarks in
our perambulations, are at the gate of Ravignana, and at no great
distance from the Piazza Maggiore. They are remarkable for their
bending position: the first, towards the west, is but five feet out of
the perpendicular; it was built in 1109, and is three hundred and seven
feet high. The last is in height but one hundred and forty-four feet
from the ground, but its inclination towards the east is far more
considerable. It was built about a hundred years later, and its
threatening and most awful position has remained unchanged since the
sinking of the foundation first caused it.

We went to San Ignace, which was formerly the convent of the Jesuits’
Noviciate, now the Accademmia delle Belli Arti, and I saw in its
handsome salles many fine pictures, the most celebrated being Raphael’s
St. Cecilia, and in which, though beautiful, I was disappointed. I
believe it suffered repair when it came to Paris, then was repainted
the sky, which now starts from the canvass, before the heads of which
it is the back ground. You would have smiled to see the man who came
when we rang for admittance, these halls being open to the public
except on festivals. We asked if entrance were possible to view the St.
Cecilia. “Possibile, si!” he answered; “ma sa ella che questa sia
festa?” and held the door close, fearing we should pass him without
agreement made; but I said, “Capisco.” And he then threw it wide, and
when he came out again, stood bowing with hands outspread.

We had been employed in making a few purchases: for, notwithstanding
that in every town, Milan included, I have visited and questioned the
speditori, of our baggage we have heard nothing since the day it
quitted Vevay to precede us in Italy. Whether it has crossed the
Simplon, or is domiciliated in its torrents, remains unknown to me, and
the linen contained in our valises at present constitutes our wardrobe.

We made the tour of most of the churches, the cathedral among the rest,
which is modern and glaring, but owns the last fresco of Louis
Carracci. The church of the Dominicans contains the tomb of King Enzio,
or Hensius; and the old church of San Stefano, the only antiquity whose
existence is certain in Bologna, and thought to have been a temple
dedicated to Isis. Though this is the 7th of October, the heat
continues excessive, and the arcades, which exclude the sun by day,
also prevent the free circulation of air at night. The stifling and
ill-scented streets make bad promenades; and the dirt of the population
of Bologna passes description. We walked into San Petronio this
evening: it was decorated for the festival, and the altar, a blaze of
wax-lights, contrasted with the gloom of the spacious aisles. The
priests, in their rich robes, moving before, and the multitude kneeling
on the pavement, had a fine and solemn effect; but the infected
atmosphere made it impossible to stay more than a few moments within
the curtain which falls before the entrance. On our return to La Pace,
and as I walked along the broad and dimly-lighted corridor on which the
apartments open, I saw it was occupied by a party, and forth from it
issued our poor dwarf facchinoo in the best coat of which he had
spoken, and a new capacity: for he said this was his own band, and its
music, he being one of the performers, was certainly delightful.

We expected letters to-day, but were disappointed, and the kind-hearted
landlady, fancying my anxiety proceeded from some mistake in the
forwarding of our funds, begged very earnestly that her bill might
remain unpaid till our return from Florence. She regrets her own
country, though she has stayed here long enough to lose its accent. Her
Italian rivals strive to ruin her, a laudable purpose in which they
generally succeed, against the French interloper who comes within their
circle with civility and better accommodation.

They are a strange compound of ferocity and cowardice, these papal
vassals. They bring to my mind an anecdote told me of their brethren at
Ancona, by our friend Capt. de V——l, whose conduct at Lyons I
mentioned to you, and I write it here, as a story of the pope’s troops
will not be misplaced at Bologna. I give it you in almost his own
words, as he was present there at the time:—

The Conte P——i commanded a battalion of infantry quartered in the
lazzeretto of Ancona, which is a building of considerable size, and
easy to defend, as the sea surrounds it. When the 66th took during the
night possession of the town, the lazzeretto, the pontifical battalion,
and the quiet commandant, were all three forgotten. In the morning,
enraged at the neglect, he angrily inquired whether the French general
was aware of the presence of a battalion in the lazzeretto. “Very
probably,” was the reply. “Allora,” said the Conte P——, “si vuole una
capitulazione; perchè nella circostanza è cosa necessaria e _militare_!
Sono comandante; la capitulazione la voglio, vado dunque a visitare il
general Francese e la capitulazione si farà.”

Such being the Conte P——’s warlike views, he was escorted to the
presence of Colonel Combes, who then commanded the 66th, and laughing
heartily, willingly satisfied the military scruple of the gallant

An anecdote of a different time, but of the papal troops also, animated
by the same spirit, I must mention here:—After the revolution of —22
or —23, the Neapolitans, failing to prove their allegiance to their
new government, yielded difficult passes it would have been easy to
defend, retreating before the Austrian army, and continually defeated
till their king was replaced on his throne. Asked why they had allowed
themselves to be so easily conquered, they replied that their cannon
had been taken. “Più non abbiamo canoni; e senza canoni che si può

It was shortly after the arrival of the French at Ancona, and in
November, 1836, that the cholera broke out there, and believing it
infectious as well as epidemic, the Italians had the barbarity to wall
up the doors of the houses in which the first sufferers lay,
introducing through the windows, and at the extremity of a pole, the
food or medicine thought necessary. Our friend’s lodgings looked on the
hospital, wherein, when the panic had in some measure subsided, the
sick were admitted—to die—either from the virulence of the malady, or
the measures adopted for its cure: for abstinence was so strictly
practised, that many perished from starvation. Monsieur de V——l
certifies, what would otherwise seem incredible, that of all carried
within its walls one only issued forth alive. This was a strong,
powerful man, who attacked with cholera, but to a slight degree, was
borne to the hospital, and, laid in one of the beds, fell asleep,—and
waking in the morning, refreshed and hungry, asked for food.

“Come!” said the Italian nurse; “quì non si mangià; sarebbe darsi la

Feeling the weakness of convalescence, the patient, though he insisted,
lay quiet and soon slept again, and through almost the entire day and
night which followed; but the second morning his hunger was no longer
to be borne with. He implored food, and received the former answer: “No
food is given in the hospital.”

Watching his time, therefore, the unfortunate man slipped from his bed,
seized the first garments within his reach, rushed through doors
happily for him unfastened, and into the street and Grande Place, where
he saw a friend standing, and flung himself into his arms, demanding
bread, as he was starving. He was fed and cured,—a solitary exception;
yet the cruel and ignorant populace incurred more danger by an hour of
fanaticism than they could have done in a month of charity. The French
soldiers had soon constituted themselves nurses, performing frictions
and other offices the Italians feared, and saving many. So great was
the cowardice, that a consecrated wafer was presented to a dying man by
his priest at the extremity of a pair of pincers. The only active means
they adopted was the ordering a procession in honour of Our Lady of
Ancona, attired for the occasion in a white robe, spangled with golden
stars. Capt. de V——l and his company formed part of the procession,
it always happening, he assured me, that he was on duty as the
Madonna’s guard whenever she came forth. This Madonna is the same of
whom Napoleon, when playing his part on this stage, asked an interview,
and who, after a conference of some length, was observed to drop a
tear!! Though it was the month of November, and the operation a
dangerous one in times of cholera, by the clerical command all
constituting the procession, saving our friend and his men, marched
barefoot. Arrived at the Grande Place, on a kind of scaffolding raised
there, appeared a priest to address the multitude; who vociferated with
the whole power of his lungs, commanding that they should prostrate
themselves on the cold pavement, and telling them that this scourge had
come upon them because they observed fasts less strictly, and because
their faith and confidence in their clergy had declined.

“Each of you,” he exclaimed in conclusion, “ask pardon of heaven with
meekness and penitence; say frankly, I am a sinner, a thief, an
assassin; therefore pardon me.” It would seem he knew his congregation.
Of the poor wretches who assembled that day, swarms had perished ere
the close of the next; but there is, not far from Ancona, a small town
or village, whose name I forget, which escaped the pestilence by reason
of a miracle performed by its patron saint, the details of which Capt.
de V——l saw on a printed affiche. When disposed to avert evil from
his native place, the saint pushes up the lid of his heavy tomb, and
agitates above it his hands streaming with blood. The adjutant of the
66th, talking with a man of this town, asked if any one really believed
it had happened.

“Giacchè,” answered the Italian, “le dico che ho veduto, veduto cogli
occhi miei.”

We are to start to-morrow, and I sent on a bandbox, and a man who came
the length of the street to fetch it, grumbling when I had paid him
well, I took from the table, which was in a corner of the half-lighted
room, what I thought a few more baiocchi, and among them bestowed, most
unworthily, a Napoleon.

                                                          9th October.

Left Bologna a little after sunrise, our good-natured hostess having
got up early to prepare our coffee, à la Française, with her own hands;
the horses pleased as ourselves to escape from their hot captivity. We
rode for some distance still over the plain along the brink of the
torrent Savena, but from Pianoro, the first post, the route ascends
undulating in a succession of steep rises and falls, far more wearisome
to horses than the broad way which, sweeping across the Alps, forced
aside or pierced through every obstacle. The hills, some bare as those
of Burgundy, clothed with chestnut, as we advanced, not having the bold
character of the Alps’ mighty and lonely masses, but swelling like wave
beyond wave, and in their details losing grandeur. On the whole, though
admiring and enjoying the pure mountain air, and passing some spots of
romantic beauty, (particularly one where the road was carried under a
wall formed by the high cliff, while before us, on a tall crag, stood a
lone church, and on the right hand far below, lay the valley, with its
green hills close crowded and dotted with pleasant habitations,) our
first day’s journey over the Appennine almost disappointed me in its
tranquil beauty, as compared with the wild and grand Swiss passes. The
heavy oxen toiling on their way, as they preceded the post-horses of
travelling carriages, or the mules of waggons, added to the picturesque
aspect of the country. Its breed of cattle is peculiarly beautiful,
having the dun hide and black legs of the deer. We were to sleep at
Lojano, a village under a hill with a fine gorge stretching below. I
recommend the Pellegrino, the new inn on the Bologna side, clean and
comfortable and having civil masters, and not the Posta, known to me
only as bearing a bad character, and being immured in the dirty town.
Our horses had a separate and good stable, enjoying the thick bed of
fern, here substituted for that of Indian corn leaves, which made so
bad a one at Bologna.


A lovely morning, and beauteous ride from Lojano through chestnut
woods, which cover these hills, laden with the fruit now ripe and
dropping, which, as it forms the chief food of the poor, the pretty
peasant girls were busily employed collecting in their baskets. Those
we saw were mostly fair and light-haired, and if they wanted the bold
dark eyes of the Bolognese dames, their more delicate features would
have served the sculptor for model. The heat became excessive as we
approached Scaricalasino; the view thence is superb, we could
distinguish the chain of the Alps and the plains of Lombardy, but not,
as I hear is sometimes possible, the Adriatic. Past the town the road
grew wilder and the ascents more rapid, and we shortly arrived at
Filigare, the frontier, where the grand duke has built a new and
handsome edifice for police station and custom-house. Pietra Mala is at
no great distance, with its dirty town and church on a crag, and inn to
which is linked a robber story. About half a mile to the right, a
peasant pointed out the place occupied by the flame, which is so
brilliant at night, as to light the neighbouring mountain. It covers a
space of fourteen feet square, on a stony but fertile soil, as the
vegetation almost touches the fire, which emits blue and red flames,
and the earth beneath has neither crack nor hollow; it is believed by
some naturalists to be the forerunner of a fearful volcano. At a short
distance from Pietra Mala there is also a cold spring called by the
natives “Acqua Buja,” which takes fire when approached by a lighted

The day was oppressively warm, but we came up with a poor man driving
his mule laden with pears and figs, the most delicious, and dismounted
to rest under the shade of some of the bare crags which hereabouts
rise, divested of plant or tree, broken into seeming pinnacles and
towers, till we found we excited attention, and thought it unwise to do
so any longer, as the Appennines have been of late in their loneliest
parts scarcely safe for travellers. Hereabouts there is an inn, good
apparently, but which I should hardly choose from its utter solitude,
and we soon arrived at the summit of this mountain, the highest on our
route; formerly dangerous, as the wind, which rushes down the gorge in
sudden gusts, often swept off carriages. It is now, at the places of
peril, protected by high walls, of the necessity of which we were
aware, even to-day, as it blew freshly there, though the temperature
below was burning and breathless. A long winding descent, commanding
lovely views into wooded defiles, succeeded, and we passed the spot
where the old road crosses ours; it was abandoned because impossible to
protect it in the snow season.

Arrived at Montecarelli, a lone inn in a pretty situation; the village
itself is some hundred yards farther. I cannot say that we dined or
rested well, though the beds were clean and the people civil, and
certainly honest, for neither here nor at Lojano could door or window
be fastened or even closed. We were kept waking by carts and roulage
waggons arriving late and starting early, aided by the poor patient
oxen, labouring on with their meek heads bound to the yoke, and the
lantern tied between them. As they took their short snatches of rest in
the stable which held our travellers, and accidents were not
impossible, and the pump beneath our bedroom was all night in motion,
we gladly went on at dawn to escape the heat, at least in part. Our
last day’s journey was the most interesting. Montecarelli left behind,
we wound through groves of old oak up and down abrupt hills, catching
glimpses through the trees into valleys on either side; to the west the
sky was blue and pure, but eastward, as the sun rose, it shone on the
surface of the mist which lay like a broad lake in the hollow, the
green tops of the hills surmounting it like its islands. The clouds are
more agreeable as well as picturesque far than near; for, riding
through them, the country was completely veiled, and the chill
unpleasant and penetrating. About four miles from Montecarelli, we
passed Le Maschere, which appears a good inn; and near it the charming
villa of some Florentine, its garden walls covered with roses,
adjoining a ruined arch and grey tower, whence, following the slope of
the hill, descends a noble cypress avenue. The views, as we issued from
fog and into a burning atmosphere, grew at each step more Italian in
their character, with villas on the wooded eminences, and here and
there the umbrella pine rising above its fellow trees. Having left
behind Cafaggiolo, where on the right hand there is a turreted castle,
which belongs to the duke and resembles a fortress, our road descended
to a valley, skirting a bright and narrow river, enclosed between hills
where we journeyed beneath a sun it was difficult to believe that of

Here again by the road-side we found vineyards and their refreshment,
and figures or pictures of saint and Virgin perched on poles among the
vines to protect them from blight or storm; those I ate had been under
the care of St. Antonio, and he had proved a good husbandman. Our
horses suffered again from the small fly, and we were glad to ascend
the mountain and exchange their presence and the extreme heat for its
fresher air. Climbing slowly, as the way was steep, suddenly from
behind a cabin at the angle issued forth to meet us an ill-dressed
suspicious looking party; the eight or ten foremost carrying guns, the
stragglers who followed, thick sticks; and as one must needs be
imaginative in the Appennines, we began to think that robbers we had
heard of were indeed abroad, and (having no arms) to speculate on the
speed of our horses, and the necessity of galloping through the group,
as we had no intention of riding back again. Having mustered courage to
run away, we were prevented making any undue exertion by the banditti
turning peaceably down a bye-path; we asked a little girl, who stood at
the lone cabin door, who they were, and she said _Cacciatori_,

At last the steep succession of sunny hills ascended, refreshed by no
shade, and riding under heat such as I never yet felt, we saw Florence
below with her domes and towers rising out of the mist the heat made,
backed by mountain above mountain, broken and numerous as the billows
of a troubled ocean. On either side, as we rode down this last hill,
the country was covered with vine and olive, sounding prettier in
description than they look in reality; and the terraced gardens of the
villas we passed were gay with a profusion of summer flowers, and the
laurier-rose with its double and beautiful blossom, growing in the open
ground and shooting up against the blue sky. In compensation, the heat
was scarcely to be borne; the horses devoured with flies, ourselves
blinded with sunshine, and (having left two miles from the city the
Campo Santo with its cluster of sombre pines on the right hand, and
entered, one after the other, several villages) persecuted by beggars
and by a succession of vile odours, which all the winds of the
Appennines cannot waft away.

On the left hand, before entering Florence, to which it is the nearest
villa of importance, the avenue, whose grass grown road is lined with
broken statues, leads to the deserted Palazzo Borghese. Riding beneath
the triumphal arch, raised in 1739 (in honour of the Emperor Francis
the First when he came hither, yet only grand duke of Tuscany, and in
imitation of the Arch of Constantine), we passed through the ancient
Porta San Gallo, whose date is 1284, and into the city. A boy guided us
over the flat and dangerous pavement to the Palazzo Bertolini, now the
hôtel du Nord, and opened about a week since by the ci-devant cook of
Jerome Bonaparte, having moderate terms and fine apartments, only too
comfortable, as this weather we would gladly dispense with their thick
carpets. Our dresses changed and dinner ended, and the horses, for
which there was no room here, lodged at Huband’s livery stables, I was
too impatient to remain enclosed in the hôtel till morning, and,
notwithstanding fatigue and the unusual heat which keeps Italians
within doors, went out to receive my first impression of Florence; and
though to me, as it does to many, it brought disappointment, with its
streets crooked and narrow, its quays so inferior to those of Paris,
and its Arno now shrunk in its bed to little better than a ditch, its
ancient buildings and irregular squares have historical interest and
picturesque combination, which make full atonement.

The Piazza della Santa Trinità, on which our inn is situated, is near
the Palazzo Vecchio and far famed Duomo. On our way to the last, we
crossed the Place, at an angle of which the former stands, not in the
centre, as a decree ordained that the spot once covered by the razed
palace of the Uberti should remain vacant for ever, in memory of the
traitor’s infamy. Built in the year 1298, it frowns unshaken by time, a
square fortress with embattled walls of jutting stones, surmounted by
one high tower, and the nine escutcheons which bear the coats of arms
of the city’s various possessors ranged below the battlement. Crouching
on the steps is the lion of Florence, holding its place in the city’s
armorial bearings, from as early a period as the lily which blooms on
the two first of these recording escutcheons. The arms of Napoleon and
the grand dukes are last in order, and among those which mark the
factions of Guelph and Gibelline, those of Charles of Anjou and King
Robert of Naples; of the wool-carders and the Medici, the merchant
monarchs. There is one bearing the monogram of the Saviour, for
Nicholas Capponi, in the year 1527, and at a period of excitement when
no temporal sovereign seemed strong enough to sway the disobedient
Florentines, proclaimed Jesus Christ their _king_, in a grand council
composed of a thousand voters, of whom twenty, opposing the election,
formed a minority!! The colossal statues which guard the entrance, the
fine fountain with its Neptune and marine horses, beside its steps to
the left, and beyond on the Place the royal statue of Cosmo mounted on
his war-horse, to the right, as we stood opposite the citadel, the
Loggia d’Orgagna with its three arches, light and yet solid, which once
served for tribune to the orators of the republic, and now shelters the
beautiful Sabine group of John of Bologna—the Judith beheading
Holophernes, and the proud Perseus of Benvenuto Cellini, with the stern
palace and the ancient prison tower, which rises above the roofs of the
irregular houses opposite—and the two parallel lines of colonnaded
buildings, which extend from the Palazzo and the Loggia to the quay,
and contain in their attics the Galleria de’ Medici, make this the most
striking portion of Florence. We saw it to advantage beneath the bluest
of skies, and a sun which shone red and intense on the burning
pavement, as if it had been August, calling up, alas! the succession of
ill scents which betray an Italian town.

Passing the post-office, and turning down the Via de’ Calzajoli, we
arrived shortly on the Piazza del Duomo. The cathedral and its elegant
bell-tower, beside it, but detached, and St. John the Baptistery,
opposite the unfinished façade of the cathedral, which has been painted
in fresco, now washed away by rain, occupy the centre of a fine open
space, which shows to advantage their beauties or peculiarities. Is it
sacrilege to think that its monstrous dome seems to weigh down the
remainder of the building; that its mass of black and white marble
wants relief, or what the French call _mouvement_, to give it light and
shadow; that the octagon temple, with its pointed roof, once pagan,
cased in marble, and become that of St. John, is heavy and ungraceful?
St. John possesses the bronze doors, so beautiful in their workmanship:
that facing St. Maria del Fiore executed, when but twenty years old, by
Ghiberti, whose model was preferred to those of Donatelli and
Brunelleschi, and of which Michael Angelo said, that it was worthy to
be the portal of paradise. On either side of this door hang, as a
trophy, chains once belonging to the gates of Pisa, and suspended here
in memorial of the victory gained over Pisa by the Florentines in the
year 1362.

Entering this square from the Piazza del Gran Duca, there is on the
left hand a small church, its exterior not distinguished from the
houses which adjoin it. It was growing dusk, and at the door stood
attendants with torches, I fancied for some festival within, but, while
we lingered, there issued thence a funereal procession, the most solemn
I have seen; the mourners in their long sable robes, and hoods forming
masks, with openings for the eyes only, two and two, bearing torches in
their hands, following the priests, carrying banners, and the coffin,
with its velvet draperies, and followed in turn by the clerical
attendants, in white robes and crimson capes, slowly sweeping round the
Duomo on their way to the Campo Santo; all burials being performed at
night and without the town.

                              CHAPTER IX.

The Duomo—Its interior—Michael Angelo’s farewell—Vasari—Congress
  of artists convoked—A dome of pumice stone—Brunelleschi turned
  out as a madman—The egg—His colleague Ghiberti—His feigned
  illness—The difficulties divided—Height of the dome—Giotto—The
  Campanile—Pietro Farnese—His gilded mule—Dante—Condemned to be
  burned at the stake—Peter of Toledo—Conrad the traitor—The
  sacristy—The Pazzi—Julian murdered—Salviati hanged in his
  cardinal’s robes—Seventy executions—The artist nicknamed Andrea
  of the Hanged—The Baptistery—The withered elm restored—The story
  of Joseph—John the Twenty-third from pirate become pope—Palazzo
  Riccardi—Gardens of Lorenzo—Michael Angelo—The Strada del
  Traditore—Lorenzino—The Duke Alessandro—Made unpopular through
  his vices—The plot—Anecdote told by Benvenuto Cellini—The
  rendezvous—The murder—Lorenzino assassinated in turn—The
  Galleria—The Palazzo Pitti—Cosmo—His sons’ quarrel—The eldest
  killed by his brother—The father’s revenge—His wife
  poisoned—Duke Francesco and Bianca Capello—Her story and death.

                                                         October 13th.

Went to the Duomo to hear the celebration of high mass, which was not
performed at the principal altar, now under repair, but in one of the
side chapels. The effect of the cathedral is grand from its immensity.
Divided into three aisles, the octagon choir, surrounded by its marble
balustrade, is placed beneath the dome, with which it corresponds, and
the spaces, octagon also, on either side, form the cross, each
containing, as well as that behind the choir, five chapels. Though
richly ornamented with paintings and stained glass, and the marble
statues of prophet and apostle; though the unfinished figure of Pity,
behind the high altar, is the work of Michael Angelo; the pavement
round the choir laid after his designs; the frescoes of its cupola by
Vasari; it yet disappointed me, seen after the Duomo of Milan. The
construction of this church, named Santa Maria del Fiore from the lily,
the arms of Florence, occupied a space of one hundred and sixty-nine
years; it had been commenced in 1298, and the year 1417 arrived before
any of its successive architects had raised a stone of that cupola, to
which Michael Angelo said, when, before quitting Florence to build that
of St. Peter’s at Rome, he paid it a farewell visit: “Adieu, I am going
to build your likeness, not your equal!”

In Vasari’s Life of Filippo Brunelleschi, he gives interesting details
of the struggles to persuade, and the success when permitted to act, of
this extraordinary man. He was a Florentine, but residing in Rome, and
appreciated there at the time of which I speak; and the members of the
“Opera del Duomo,” weary of their architect’s indecision, agreed to
summon him; and the syndics of the woollen trade, who supplied the
funds, offered to his consideration all the difficulties of execution
which had been presented to themselves. Brunelleschi answered vaguely:
he said, “That as the temple was dedicated to God and to the Virgin,
there was little doubt of their conferring on him who was destined to
conclude this great work the science and invention necessary;” and
added, he doubted not if himself were concerned, that he might find
resources and master obstacles. He advised that they should convoke at
Florence a congress of the most skilful artists of Italy, France, and
Germany, and confide the direction to the ablest when all should have
given counsel. He forbore, however, to bestow his own, evaded making
the models demanded of him, and returned to Rome, where he passed the
next three years in the most arduous studies, all tending to the
solving of this problem. In 1420 there met, as he had advised, a
company of foreign and Tuscan artists at Florence, and Brunelleschi
left Rome to join them. The meeting was held in the church, the members
of the “Opera,” the syndics of the woollen trade, and the principal
citizens being present; and it was amusing to hear the strange
propositions made. Some spoke of constructing the dome of pumice-stone,
for the sake of its lightness; a number adopted the idea of supporting
its centre by a pillar like the pole of a tent. Several advised the
first raising within the church a mountain of earth, mingled with coins
of small value, so that when the dome should be built over it, the
multitude would gladly free the church of its presence on account of
that of the money. Brunelleschi alone condemned all plans proposed,
asserting the necessity of a double roof; and following up his own
idea, without explaining the manner of its execution, entering into
minute details, and not comprehended by the assembly; till at last,
after having been several times prayed to retire, and refusing to
depart, the consul’s pages laid hands on him, and pushed him forth as a
madman. Still undiscouraged, he resolved on persuading separately the
consul, and some of the members and more enlightened citizens, and
persevering till he succeeded, it was decided that the choice to be
made should lie between himself and the foreign architects; and another
meeting was convoked for the purpose of hearing their arguments for the
last time.

It was then that took place the famous dispute, which had an egg for
subject. The rivals of Brunelleschi desired that he, as they had done,
should exhibit plans and models. The Florentine refused, but he dared
them to stand an egg upright on the marble table, saying, that he who
should succeed in so doing could certainly raise the cupola also. Each
attempted the feat vainly, and Brunelleschi, his turn come, quietly
striking one end of the egg against the table, it stood erect on its
cracked shell. Those present exclaimed, “We could all have done as
much;” and Brunelleschi answered, “Very true, and you could raise the
dome if you had my model!”

The syndics were henceforth decided, but the annoyance of the artist
was not yet over. It was agreed that his work should proceed to a
certain height, with a promise only of continuing if it so far
satisfied. When this first condition was fulfilled, Lorenzo Ghiberti,
who had attained celebrity by the bronze doors of the Baptistery, was
named his colleague—having powerful protectors in Florence; and
Brunelleschi, in vexation and fury, had almost abandoned an enterprise
whose difficulties were thus to remain, while its glory would vanish.
Determined on ridding himself of his coadjutor, he, after a time,
pretended illness, and, instead of arriving to superintend as usual,
remained in his bed, complaining of pains in his side—submitting to
frictions and remedies. The master workmen applied for directions to
Ghiberti, who answered that they must wait his colleague’s recovery, as
he could issue no order singly, and evaded confessing that he neither
knew Brunelleschi’s plans, nor had seen his model.

The latter’s malady proving obstinate, the workmen repaired to his
bedside, but obtained neither orders nor satisfaction; for he turned to
the wall, saying, “Have you not Ghiberti, and can he not work a little
in turn?” As it was vain to urge him farther, they departed, as he
desired, to seek his fellow architect, but as time went on, and a stop
was decidedly put to the building, the workmen began, as he had hoped,
to murmur, and to doubt Ghiberti’s capacity, and at last resolved on
going in a body to Brunelleschi’s lodgings, to make known to him the
cessation of the work, the disorder ensuing on Ghiberti’s ignorance,
and the unhappy consequences to them who were poor, and dependent on
their exertions for the support of themselves and their families.

“Wherefore is Ghiberti idle?” asked the mock patient; “have you not him
to issue all needful directions?”

“He can do nought without you,” said the workmen.

“Ah,” rejoined Brunelleschi, “without his co-operation _I_ could
proceed very well.”

At last, weary of idleness, urged by his friends, who had whispered
abroad the cause of his malady, and represented that he would more
easily free himself of Ghiberti by recommencing his labours, and
proving his colleague’s ignorance of architecture, he returned to his
post of director, but seeing that his patron’s support retained
Ghiberti in office, notwithstanding what had past, he resolved on
forcing his retreat through his humiliation. “I might have died in my
late illness,” he said, “and had I done so, you have still Ghiberti,
whom heaven preserve to you; but as our salary is shared equally, may
it please you that our labours be divided also, in order that each of
us may prove his anxiety for the republic’s glory. There are now two
difficulties to overcome—the construction of scaffoldings, solid and
convenient, and adapted for the labours to be prosecuted within and
without the dome, and the establishing the chain of masonry which is to
bind together the eight sides of the cupola; let him choose one of
these, leaving the other to me.”

Not daring to refuse, Ghiberti decided on the latter as most easy of
performance, and relying on the cupola of St. John as a pattern, and
the master masons for advisers. The scaffoldings of Brunelleschi,
entirely different from any used before, were so happily invented, and
ably executed, that their models were preserved in the cathedral
stores. Ghiberti had established the stonework on one of the eight
sides; but his colleague, visiting it in company of the members of the
Opera del Duomo, on his return analyzed its construction,—pointed out
its defects,—proved its want of solidity,—and said, in conclusion,
that Ghiberti’s building and salary should be alike put a stop to.

The latter was, however, not discontinued; but Brunelleschi,
thenceforward, was sole director of the works. Observing that the
higher they rose, the more time his masons lost, he imagined the
constructing of small houses of refreshment on the dome itself, and
thus prevented their long absences. The height of the dome, from the
cathedral floor to the ball, is three hundred and twenty-seven feet,
and the whole was terminated twenty years after Brunelleschi’s death,
and in conformity with his designs.

I saw with regret that some of the best statues, those of Florentine
saints which ornament the lateral aisles, are in _carta pesta_; the San
Giovanni Gualberto, who holds a cross, and whose expression and
execution are alike beautiful, is crumbling away.

On the right hand, entering the church, is the portrait in marble of
Brunelleschi, sculptured by his scholar; and near it that of Giotto,
the painter and sculptor, the architect of the Campanile, and the
labourer’s son, whose genius was first guessed by the artist Cimabue,
when crossing the fields on foot he found him, then a shepherd boy,
occupied in tracing on a stone the figure of one of his lambs. He took
him to Florence, where he became his pupil, soon leaving far behind
both his master and all the artists who had, till then, enjoyed
celebrity,—studying nature, which they had neglected, and grace, which
they had misunderstood. He was celebrated in the verse of his
contemporary and friend Dante, whose tomb he afterwards decorated when
the poet died in exile. The Campanile was commenced in 1334, and the
bas reliefs and the statues which ornament the interior of the edifice
are in greater part the work of Giotto’s own chisel, and the remainder
executed after his designs.

Beyond his and Brunelleschi’s portrait, and the mausoleum of a
Florentine bishop, there is placed, above a side portal of the edifice,
a monument in honour of Pietro Farnese, captain of the Florentines,
which has, at first sight, a ludicrous effect, the equestrian statue
being highly gilded; but the animal, which the warrior bestrides,
meek-faced and long-eared. Chosen by the Florentines for their general
against the forces of Pisa, the 11th of May, 1363, he led an army
against theirs; and his horse killed under him, the sole charger found
disposable was an ignoble mule, mounted on which he gained the victory,
took prisoner the Pisan general, and the greater part of his army. The
19th of June following, seized by plague, which then desolated Tuscany,
he died the same night, deeply regretted by the Florentines.

Near the transept, but on the left hand, is the portrait of Dante by
Orcagna, with a sketch of his triple kingdom, and a view of Florence:
it is curious as painted in 1430, at the suggestion of a Franciscan
monk, who in the church gave lectures on the Divina Commedia. This
strange old painting recalls an eventful story; his fame predicted at
his birth, in 1265, by the astrologer Brunetto Latini; his love
awakened at nine years of age for the Beatrice, who was his dream
through life; his bravery as a soldier and ability as an ambassador,
and his banishment,—for Charles of Anjou, entering Florence, finding
Dante of the Bianchi party, (which he had espoused, says his
biographer, principally because the wife, whom he had married and
parted from, belonged to that of the Neri,) he issued against him two
sentences, which still exist,—the first condemning to spoliation and
exile, the last to be burned at the stake with his friends and
adherents; a wanderer over a world whose admiration could not
compensate for absence from his country; in 1304, in company of his
fellow exiles, striving and failing to force a way thither; everywhere
received kindly, but wearying his hosts by the proud temper which
misfortune soured, or by the very fact of being unfortunate,—for in
the company of women he was gay and gentle, though bitterness of retort
has been reproached to him by those who provoked it: misunderstood
through life, his history is concluded in the verse of Byron:—

               “Ungrateful Florence! Dante sleeps afar.”

Above a side door of this lateral aisle is the monument of Peter of
Toledo, vice-king of Naples, and father of Eleonora of Toledo, the
broken-hearted or the murdered wife of the first duke Cosmo; and nearer
the principal entrance, still on the left hand as we face the altar,
there is a marble mausoleum, distinguished by a cross, from whose
extremities spring lilies, and placed between two eagles. It is
believed to contain the ashes of Conrad, the traitor-son of that
Emperor Henry the Fourth, who at Canossa was the penitent and victim of
Pope Gregory the Seventh, and the Countess Matilda; urged to treason
against his father by Urban the Second, Gregory’s successor, and after
eight years of civil war, dying despised for the revolt which the court
of Rome had instigated, and for the calumnies which he had promulgated
against his father as excuse for his unnatural rebellion.

In the octagon space, to the left of the choir, is the Sagrestia de’
Canonici, that which once sheltered Lorenzo de’ Medici from the fury of
his foemen, the Pazzi. They had determined on crushing a power which
the Pitti had attempted, but vainly, to extinguish in the person of his
father Pietro.

Sixtus the Fourth was personally his enemy, and with his assent was
obtained the co-operation of the archbishop of Florence, Francesco
Salviati. Two fêtes were given by the conspirators: the first at
Fiesole, the second at Florence,—to which the Medici were invited; but
Julian each time failed to come. The day and place at last appointed
were the 26th of April, 1478, in the cathedral; and the moment that of
the elevation of the host, as the brothers never failed to attend high
mass on Sundays, and it was difficult to be certain of their presence
together, and off their guard, elsewhere. The condottiere Montesicco
was charged with the murder of Lorenzo; Bandini and Francesco Pazzi
with that of young Julian, and no circumstance of the plot having
transpired, its success seemed certain. When, however, the mercenary
soldier had been informed of the time chosen, in horror excited by the
sacrilege, not the murder, he refused the part assigned him, and
yielded its performance to two priests less scrupulous. Francesco
Salviati was to remain near the old palace, to take instant possession
on receiving news of the brothers’ death. Giacopo Pazzi, drawn into the
conspiracy against his will, was commissioned to call the citizens to
arms, and proclaim their freedom. Mass had begun, and Lorenzo was
present; but Julian had not appeared, and Francis Pazzi and Bandini
went to seek him, and accompanied him to the cathedral, conversing with
him gaily as they went along, and, arrived there, Francis Pazzi
embraced the young man with seeming amity, but to assure himself that
he wore beneath his peaceful attire no cuirass which would interrupt
the passage of steel. The moment arrived, Bandini, who stood ready,
plunged his dagger into young Julian’s breast, who staggered a few
steps and fell; but Francis Pazzi, rushing upon him also, inflicted so
deep a wound on his own thigh, as incapacitated him for further effort.
The priests attacked Lorenzo, but Maffei only succeeded in slightly
wounding him in the throat; and drawing his sword and defending himself
gallantly, he fought retreating, till succour came, and the assassins
fled, and took refuge with his friends in the sagrestia, where Bandini,
who, having murdered Francis Neri, as well as Julian, advanced to try
his firmer hand against Lorenzo’s life, could not reach him. Meanwhile
the Archbishop Salviati, proceeding to take possession of the palace
with his thirty followers, and Giacopo Pazzi, arriving on the public
square with a hundred men-at-arms, found the Medici party too strong,
were taken or fled. The former, in his cardinal’s robes, with Francis
Poggio, the historian’s son, was hanged from the windows of the palace;
and Francis, who had dragged himself home, and striven to mount his
horse, but, weak from pain and loss of blood, had sunk down on his bed,
was brought thither, half clothed as he was, and suspended by the
archbishop’s side. His doom inflicted with haste and carelessness,
death did not immediately follow, and in his prolonged agonies he
gnawed the breast of his neighbour.

Torn in pieces by the infuriated populace, or flung from the
castle-battlement; or by the hand of the executioner, there perished
seventy persons. Giacopo Pazzi, who had escaped, was taken in the
mountains, brought back to Florence, and hanged also. Only the pope’s
nephew, the Cardinal Riario, who, too young to be made privy to the
plot, had been conducted to the city and the cathedral to lure the
Medici more surely thither, was spared to appease the pontiff, having
first suffered insult and injury; but Paul the Fourth, nevertheless,
placed Florence under interdict for the violent death of her
archbishop, Salviati. Vasari mentions that the artist, Andrea del
Castagno was selected to fulfill the decree issued,—bearing, that all
who had taken part in the conspiracy should be represented, with the
ignominy they merited, on the façade of the old palace. Andrea, being
under obligation to the Medici, executed this painting with so much
energy and truth, representing all the personages hanged by the feet,
but in varied and admirable attitudes, that his work awakened the
curiosity of the town and the enthusiasm of connoisseurs, while it
bestowed on him the nickname of “Andrew of the Hanged.”

From the Duomo we went to the Baptistery, entering by the northern
door, which, as well as that facing the cathedral, is the work of
Ghiberti, and opposite which is the little pillar of St. Zanobi,
recalling a miracle his ashes performed when they were transported to
Santa Maria del Fiore:—The bier touched by accident a withered elm,
which then occupied the place since yielded to the column, and its dead
branches were instantly covered with leaves!! Above these celebrated
doors are bronze statues of remarkable workmanship. It was in the year
1293 that the edifice was encrusted with marble, at the expense of the
shopkeepers of Florence, who were its patrons; and young Arnolfo di
Lapo, entrusted with the restoration, also agreed to preserve and
employ all ornaments and sacred fragments he should find at his
disposal: and this may account for the irregularities within, for the
mingling of Composite with Corinthian architecture, and the difference
existing in the sixteen granite columns which, ranged within the
circle, support the terrace carried round the temple. Between these
pillars are the figures of the twelve apostles, and two statues
representing Natural and Revealed Religion, the former very beautiful,
in carta pesta. The mosaics of the dome were chiefly executed by
Giotto’s pupils, and are admired for their execution. I think I never
saw anything more horrid than the Last Judgment, a representation of
which fills a large circle in the part of the dome immediately above
the high altar, and its fine group in white marble of St. John
supported by angels, and ascending to heaven. The Saviour (so the
artist has named an ignoble figure of gigantic size) is placed between
the elect and the damned, which last a devil of extraordinary shape is
employed in thrusting down his large throat whole, with an eagerness
which threatens indigestion.

The story of Joseph occupies another compartment; the creation of the
world and the deluge, and the life of John the Baptist, fill the
remainder, making sad burlesque of serious things. The tomb, which,
entering at the northern door, is on the right hand (its statue of
gilded bronze representing the buried pontiff, and the basso relievo
bearing the three Cardinal Virtues), is that of John the Twenty-third;
his name was Balthazar Cossa, a Neapolitan of noble family, but scanty
fortune, and in his youth a pirate. Abandoning the sea, and the trade
it offered him, ambitious, clever, and bold, he became an ecclesiastic,
found means to introduce himself to Boniface the Ninth, and, obtaining
his favour, was by him made cardinal and his legate at Bologna.

His conduct was scandalous and tyrannical, and discontented the
successor of Boniface; yet the imperious legate resisted, and with
success, the papal power; and Alexander the Fifth, to whom, when
opposed to Ladislas, king of Naples, he rendered great services,
received him into favour and intimacy. The ci-devant corsair was
nevertheless suspected of poisoning his benefactor in his impatience to
take his seat. He was crowned at Bologna, as John the Twenty-third, in
1410; but Ladislas first menaced Rome, next, in perfidy, recognised
John as pope; but when the latter, believing in his sincerity, had
allowed his best troops to depart thence, made his entry during the
night; and John, laying aside his sacred character, found barely time
left him to mount his horse and escape towards Florence.

Though Ladislas was shortly after poisoned by his mistress, the tiara
remained ill secured on the brow of the pope. A council-general was
assembled at Constance; a list of important accusations presented
against him; and finally, having fled in disguise from Constance, been
delivered up by the duke of Austria, (forced to the act by the Emperor
Sigismund,) he found himself obliged to ratify the sentence which
declared him to have caused scandal to the church, and deposed him from
his dignity, forbidding the faithful to obey him.

Martin the Fifth being elected in his place, John sought him at
Florence, and, on his knees, both implored pardon and fully ratified
the act of abdication. Martin received him kindly, and created him dean
of the Sacred College. The short time which intervened between this
circumstance and his death, he spent in retirement and literary
pursuits, for he wrote verses of some elegance, referring to his
gone-by greatness and solitary close. He died in 1419, about six months
after, and from his friend Cosmo de’ Medici received a splendid burial.

Continuing our walk, we passed before the Palazzo Riccardi, now the
Public Library, built, in 1430, on the designs of Michelozzo, by Cosmo,
father of his country, and sold to the Riccardi family by the Grand
Duke Ferdinand the Second. Nearly opposite the Baptistery, on the
northern side, in the time of Lorenzo the Magnificent, its gardens were
filled with the fine antiques which have since formed the Florentine
Gallery, and then drew within the sphere of the owner’s liberality the
young sculptors of Florence. The most famous among these was Michael
Angelo, whose noble name, for he was a descendant of the family of
Canossa, is well nigh forgotten in that his genius ennobled more. Born
in 1474, in the territory of Arezzo, his father, Buonarotti Simoni,
opposed his taste for the arts, till he recognized that the natural
bent of his son’s mind was too decided to be thwarted, and Michael
Angelo, who, fearing his father’s severity, had worked assiduously, but
in secret, was placed as a pupil with the Ghirlandai, the most
celebrated painters of the time.

In the year 1489, Michael Angelo, then about fifteen, wandering over
Florence with his friend Granacci, was by him introduced into the
gardens of the Medici. To study the rich antiques it contained, he
abandoned the workshop of Ghirlandaio, and it was here that, at that
early age, he executed, from a mutilated antique, the head of the Fawn,
now admired in the galleria, supplying in his copy, which surpassed the
original, the parts wanting, and adding details whose truth belonged to
himself only.

It was this juvenile work which awakened Lorenzo’s wonder. He said
jestingly to the boy, “You have made your fawn old, and yet his teeth
are perfect; do you not know, that to old people some are always

The duke had hardly departed, when he broke away a tooth with his
chisel, and hollowed the gum so that it appeared to have dropped from

On Lorenzo’s return, noticing the alteration, and admiring the youth’s
intelligence, he assigned him apartments in his palace, treated him as
his own son, and continued to protect him till he died. During this
time, four years, he had profited by the society of learned men and
artists, who frequented the Medici palace, and by the instructions of
Angelo Poliziano, then entrusted with the education of Lorenzo’s son,
Pietro, who, profiting by them less than his young comrade, was the
puerile successor of a great father.

Michael Angelo was eighteen years of age when his friend died. Feeling
his loss deeply, he quitted the Medici palace, and returned to his own
home, where he shut himself up, alone and inactive, during several
days, and then, finding by chance a block of marble, which had long
lain exposed to wind and rain, he produced from it a Hercules. During
the severe winter which ensued, he yielded to the childish wish of
Pietro, and lost his time by making statues of snow, not through the
complaisance of a flatterer, but such feeling of love to the dead as
excuses the failings of the living representative. He was again lodged
in the Palazzo, now Riccardi; but the Medici family, in consequence of
Pietro’s conduct, was driven from Florence, and the artist thought it
wise for a time to depart also, and did not again inhabit the palace,
which had been the home of his boyhood.

In the year 1715, Francisco Riccardi enlarged the palace considerably,
without altering its architecture—enclosing within its walls the
Strada del Traditore, so named from Lorenzino de’ Medici, the murderer
of Duke Alessandro. On the site his house had occupied were constructed
the stables. The close of Alessandro’s life forms one of the darkest
portions of Florentine history.

An instrument in the hands of Charles the Fifth, the emperor; by him
chosen to rule Florence, to prepare its possession by Austria; a
bastard of the Medici, as being son of Lorenzo, duke of Urbino, and an
African woman, whom it is said he poisoned that she might no longer
witness to his base birth; he was one-and-twenty when, accompanied by
the emperor’s delegate and the imperial decree, which named him chief
of the state, he entered Florence.

Gay and clever, popular for a time with the people on account of these
qualities, and losing their favour through a depravity of conduct which
did not even respect the barrier of their convent walls, he excited the
indignation of the republican party, as well by his vices as by his
tyranny and system of espionage, which in their houses, as well as in
the streets, made it dangerous for the citizens to hold communication
by word or sign.

Louisa Strozzi, the young daughter of Filippo, chief of this powerful
family, had not escaped insult from Alessandro’s companions: he
himself, it was thought, had singled out, as another victim, this noble
lady, who shortly after died poisoned. It was in the father’s palace
that the discontented assembled nightly.

Lorenzo, named, from his slight figure and delicate features,
Lorenzino, belonged to the legitimate branch of the Medici and the
republican party of Florence. He was a poet, and had written works
which ranked among the best of his time,—but still more a politician;
and devoted to the study of antiquity, his admiration centered on those
who had freed their country from a tyrant; and resolved to imitate them
he confided his intentions to none, resting on the strength of his
single arm.

To become more surely the intimate and friend of Alessandro, he plunged
into all kinds of dissipation with more ardour than himself. The young
student, with his pale features and melancholy habits, became the
minister of the duke’s pleasures, and day and night his companion; till
Alessandro, the most suspicious of princes, placed in the traitor who
dogged his steps a confidence so boundless, that he replied to one who,
noticing the strange change in his flatterer’s character, bade him
beware: “If I were obliged to leave Florence, I would confide the care
of mine interests to Lorenzino.”

Near the houses of the duke and his confidant, lived a fair lady, the
wife of Leonardo Ginori, who as yet had evaded stratagems and resisted
bribes. Alessandro confided his love to Lorenzino, and said that his
last hope rested on him; and Lorenzino promised to serve him, and
assured him of success.

Some time before, Benvenuto Cellini, who himself tells the
circumstance, had asked an audience of the duke, to show the coin on
which, by his order, he had engraved his portrait, and ask leave to
finish his work in Rome.

The reverse of the medal was yet undesigned, and the duke, unwilling
his artist should depart, desired Lorenzino (present as usual) would
advise him to stay. The young man obeyed; and Benvenuto, having argued
for the necessity of his repairing to Rome, where his workshop was,
suddenly turning to the favourite, added, “And you, my lord, who are
both learned and witty, will you not supply a reverse for this coin?”

“I was at that moment,” said Lorenzino gravely, “thinking of such a one
as might be worthy of his excellency.”

The duke said, smiling, “Give it him, Lorenzo, and he will remain.”

“I will,” replied the favourite, with a sarcastic expression of
countenance; “as soon as to do so lies in my power, and I hope it will
astonish the world.”

Alessandro laughed, and Benvenuto departed.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The 6th of January, 1537, Lorenzino informed the duke, that Caterina
Ginori had promised to meet him that night, but not at the palace. She
had chosen for greater secresy the favourite’s house, to which a
private passage, constructed by Alessandro’s command, led from the
ducal residence. Masked, and holding his sword in his hand, but not
having beneath his cloak the cuirass which he constantly wore by day to
protect him from his suspected Florentines, the duke arrived at the
place of rendezvous; and Lorenzino quitting him to seek the lady, he
stretched himself on a couch to await his return—his weapon laid on
his pillow, but the sword knot so twisted by Lorenzino’s hand, that to
draw it forth was impossible. The assassin lingered some time: he had
placed as watch on the duke a man in whom he could confide, named
Scoroucoucolo; and he staid to prepare him for a murder without
revealing who was to be the victim. Returning softly to the chamber,
they saw that the duke slept, and Lorenzino, profiting by the
opportunity, plunged his sword in his body. The duke sprang up
notwithstanding, and, seizing a footstool for shield against his enemy,
rushed towards the door, but Scoroucoucolo struck him with his knife on
the cheek, and Alessandro, dropping the footstool, sprang furiously not
on him, but on Lorenzino. “Traitor,” he shouted, and these were the
sole words he spoke, “traitor, I did not expect this from thee.”
Lorenzino, weak of body, inferior in strength to his antagonist, even
though wounded, by a violent effort forced him back upon the couch, and
held his hand on his mouth to stifle his cries, but he felt the
impossibility of ending his fearful work alone; and while Alessandro in
his struggles bit his thumb so violently as almost to sever it from his
hand, he called to Scoroucoucolo for aid, and the bravo cut the duke’s
throat, while Lorenzino exerted his last strength in holding him down;
but, recognising him when the deed was done, he had well nigh fallen
from fear. He followed Lorenzino, who fled first to Bologna, and then
to Venice, to join Filippo Strozzi: forgetting his interest in the
republic in his private fears; proving himself throughout a coward; and
having wandered long, evading the snares laid for him, died at last the
death he merited by the swords of two Florentine soldiers of
Alessandro’s guard, assassins also.

To-day and every day we have visited the Galleria with its collection
of statues and paintings, which would alone make a pilgrimage to
Florence an enjoyment not to be forgotten; but though even the
enthusiasm of guide-books could not here succeed in cooling mine,
though we offered, like the rest, our quota of homage to the “Venus of
the tribune,” acknowledging that no copy conveyed an idea of her
perfection, and no praise could exaggerate it; though we have lingered
before the marks of the immortality of those who have long been dust,
and brought away recollections which summon back as the loadstone iron,
you will not expect a description of all which has been so often
criticised before both ill and well, and in either case can convey no
definite ideas on the subject. On the splendid collection of the
Palazzo> Pitti the same reasons make me silent also, for one must write
either a mere catalogue of names or a volume, and both would weary;
though it contains the battles of Salvator Rosa and his conspiracy of
Catiline, and Guido’s Cleopatra and the Madonna della Seggiola of
Raphael, and the Fates of Michael Angelo with their purity of outline
and coldness of colouring, perhaps resembling the painter’s disposition
and life, and the productions of Titian and Vandyck and Paul Veronese
and others, not unworthy of being companions of these, forming a mass
of precious things, among which there is not one counterfeit. I found
the fine suites of rooms occupied by them, always full of students, to
whom the grand duke’s liberal feelings afford every facility for
improvement in their art. Yesterday afternoon we passed in the Boboli
gardens, which fine old trees and irregularity of ground render, if
less majestic, far more beautiful than those of Versailles, which took
them for model. It was in the year 1418, that Luca Pitti purchased for
about £230 sterling of that time, the ground on which the palace was
constructed; destined, at the ruin of that rich and proud family, to be
sold to the Medici, but to retain its original name, rather in token of
the downfall of the first possessors than of the modesty of the last.
Its purchaser was Cosmo de’ Medici, son of John of the black bands,
elected duke after the murder of Alexander, and husband of the
unfortunate Eleonora of Toledo, who died of grief for the loss of her
slaughtered sons, or, as some records assert, by the duke’s hand also.
Cosmo united in his person qualities the most opposite, patient as a
botanist in the Boboli gardens which himself had planted; a laborious
chemist, methodical even to minutiæ in the sciences which were his
amusement; calm as persevering, yet a man of terrible and uncontrolled
passions, who assassinated a nobleman in his own halls and with his own
hand, and, in the four first years of his reign, condemned to death by
default four hundred and thirty emigrants, placing a price on the heads
of five and thirty. In 1562, during the hunting season, he had gone to
enjoy this amusement, which, notwithstanding his severe and sombre
disposition, he preferred, to the castle of Rosignano in the Maremma,
an unhealthy part of the state of Sienna. While there, the two youths,
one aged nineteen, the other but fifteen years, died suddenly, and
their mother a day or two after. An attempt was made to persuade the
Florentines that the pestilential air of the country, marshy and
unwholesome, had produced the short and fatal illness which carried off
three persons in so brief a time, but it became known that, on their
return from a hunting party, a dispute had arisen between the brothers,
at the close of which the eldest, Cardinal John, had received a mortal
blow from the boy Don Garcia. The enraged duke sprang upon his second
son and laid him dead at his feet; their mother was a spectator of this
scene; she might well have died of sorrow as was averred, but many
whispered that a witness of his conduct so nearly interested, was not
to be borne by Duke Cosmo.

On the death of Eleonora of Toledo, Cosmo had attached himself to a
fair young lady of the house of Albizzi, named Eleonora also, and with
a love so excessive, that it was feared he might marry. A person of his
household thought it well to communicate these fears to his son, and
Francesco had the temerity to speak on the subject to his father. The
old duke’s violent temper roused, his heir had almost fallen its
sacrifice; the presence of the informer only saved him, for Cosmo, like
a wild animal baffled in his first spring, rushed on this easier prey
and plunged his sword into his bosom. It was Cosmo, who having been
crowned grand duke in St. Peter’s at Rome, returned to his Palazzo
Pitti, to marry there the poor and beautiful Camilla Martelli, who
replaced in his affections the second Eleonora, and Francis, in whose
favour he had abdicated, dared make no further observation, since he
himself, though husband of the austere and pious arch-duchess Jane, was
the lover of Bianca Capello. Well known as is the latter’s romantic
story, its place is here recalled by the walls in which she was the
light love and the regal mistress; and the palace court where was held
the joust in her honour, in which Duke Francis broke a lance.

Two years before his marriage with Jane of Austria, a fugitive pair
arrived in Florence; Bianca, daughter of the noble house of Capello,
and Pietro Bonaventuri, clerk in the bank of Salviati at Venice.
Proximity of residence caused their meeting frequently, and they loved
“not wisely, but too well,” both too young to feel difference of
fortunes an obstacle. Their affection was favoured by a menial of
Bianca’s, who procured a false key for a private entrance of the
palazzo: and while its inmates slept, the young girl nightly left the
protection of her father’s roof to visit her lover, and returned before
dawn. There occurred at last some mistake on the part of the attendant:
the door had been barred or the key left within, or an uninterested
passenger passing along had shut it in precaution, and Bianca, who
could not enter unobserved, or remain to confess her fault, since she
knew what vengeance must follow, tottered back to Bonaventuri’s
presence, and they fled together.

Apprised of their flight and of their marriage, her infuriated father
obtained from the Council of Ten its sentence, condemning Bonaventuri;
and casting his uncle Baptista, innocent of any fault, into an
unwholesome prison, where the old man was seized with fever and died.
At Florence, Bianca implored the duke’s protection. Made curious by the
fame of her beauty, he sought an interview; she first refused, then
consented to one,—to several,—then looked for his coming,—then
changed by degrees. Her husband was named to a place in the household,
which he accepted; and when the marriage of Francis was concluded, for
till then the intrigue was kept secret through policy, the most
pleasant apartment of his palace was assigned to Bianca, and in their
gratified ambition and flattered vanity, the husband and the wife were
content to forget their early love with its fondness and its
sacrifices. The arch-duchess was amiable but grave and proud, and while
her beauty was unnoticed by Francis, of whose life hers was a continued
criticism, passed as it was in exercises of piety, Bianca’s favour
increased daily. Her wit and gaiety became more necessary to unbend the
sombre temper and warm the sterile imagination of Francis, and as a
relaxation from his fatigues and calculations, as banker, trader,
diamond merchant and sovereign. On the first coming of Bonaventuri,
when the Venetian senate had offered two thousand ducats for his life,
and the family of Capello dispatched assassins on his track, Francis
protected him for love of Bianca; but he had grown insolent in his
dishonour, and become the admirer of a young widow of high rank, he
boasted of it so openly, that her relations in turn complained to the
duke both of his conduct and its publicity. Francis desired Bianca to
send for and remonstrate with him; and anxious to hear their private
conversation, placed himself where, unseen, he might witness the
interview. It fell not out as he expected: for when the two were once
more in presence, each betraying and betrayed, and Bianca faltered
forth her message, Pietro, whose love was not wholly extinguished,
yielding to a sudden burst of jealousy, loaded her with invective,
threatened her with death; and while Francis, hid and observing
silently, decided that the life of the violent man he had supplanted
henceforth might endanger his own, Bianca softened, in sorrow not in
anger, wept her reply to his words of contempt and passion; and when he
had flung from her, sought the duke to plead her husband’s cause.

As Bonaventuri left the Palazzo Pitti, he met one of those relations of
the fair widow whose remonstrances had caused his late interview with
Bianca. He held a pistol to his throat, and said, “I know not wherefore
I do not kill thee,” cast him from his path, and passed on. The
insulted nobleman asked an audience of the duke that very day. They
took several turns in the presence-chamber together, in view but not in
hearing of the court, as they conversed in a very low tone. That
evening Francis left Florence for his villa, and remained absent but
two days. On their return, Bianca was told that, waylaid by ten persons
of the widow’s family, Bonaventuri had been murdered. If she gave a few
tears to his memory, it was the only tribute offered it: for no search
was made for the assassins, and no punishment awarded. This was in
1572, and in —74 Cosmo died; and the first act of Francis, having
taken the title of Grand Duke, was to enclose in a cloister, where she
ended her days, his father’s widow, Camilla Martelli. The new grand
duke, of inexorable temper, though needing himself indulgence, by the
rigour of his laws and the scandal of his life, by trading on his own
account, ruining the state while he tripled his private revenues, drew
on him his subjects’ hatred. His archduchess, Jane, died 1578, her
pride and affection alike trampled on, the last stroke she received
being the reception, like a triumph, which greeted Bianca’s brother.
Weary of hearing her praises, he quitted Florence and Bianca for a
time. Even before the murder of the latter’s husband, he had made her a
promise of marriage, and, fearing the power of absence, she wrote
eloquent letters, in some reminding him of his word passed to her, in
others apparently resigned, but saying, that to reconcile herself to
his loss she was determined to die. The softened duke returned and
repeated his promise. A priest, employed by the Venetian, commanded him
to marry her on pain of the church’s anger; and on the 5th of June,
“not two months” after the death of the archduchess Jane, so that “the
funeral baked meats might have furnished forth the marriage table,” he
espoused Bianca, their nuptials being solemnized in the palazzo, but so
secretly as to remain unknown even to the grand duke’s family. The
Cardinal Ferdinand, his attached brother, who, having saved him from a
conspiracy got up against him some time before, in grief at his conduct
had quitted Florence, now returned, hoping it had changed. The grand
duke was indisposed, and tending him at his bedside sate Bianca. The
former was constrained to confess their marriage,—a piece of news
which the cardinal received in silence, and soon quitted the apartment.
As he departed, which he did immediately, he was observed to brush away
a tear. The term of mourning for the archduchess passed, and the
approbation of Philip the Second obtained, the duke made public his
ties with Bianca, and celebrated them with tournament and festival at
the Palazzo Pitti. The Venetian senate proclaimed her “Daughter of the
Republic;” the cannon thundered, and the bells of St. Mark rang; the
palaces were illuminated; and the father and brother of the dame, who,
more pure but less fortunate, had quitted their city beneath their ban
as the fugitive love of the low-born Bonaventuri, were created knights,
and styled “_most illustrious_,” and took precedence of the nobles of
Venice, whose names were more ancient as well as brighter. Bianca was
crowned Grand Duchess in the cathedral of Florence,—embassies from her
native town, and from others of Italy, arriving to do her honour. The
Cardinal Ferdinand was a solitary contrast to the vile flatterers who
crowded thither. He remained at Rome; but his sister-in-law had
resolved that their family differences should at least be no longer
apparent to the world.

Since the rupture of their friendship, Francis, with little delicacy,
had refused to pay the revenues due to his brother, who, being generous
and prodigal, was necessarily in extreme embarrassment. Of this Bianca
was aware, and using all her influence with Francis, she determined him
to pay not only the sums due yearly to Ferdinand, but likewise the
accumulated arrears.

Her seeming generosity won over the cardinal, and he returned to
Florence; where, as he was a man of honour and probity, the
reconciliation was on his part sincere. The duke, whose love had
suffered no change, earnestly desired a son by Bianca, who expressed
hopes of maternity, but so as to awaken the suspicion of Ferdinand,
who, as heir presumptive, kept close watch on his sister-in-law’s
conduct. It is told of him, that the hour being arrived, and he waiting
in her ante-chamber, there entered from without an attendant, bearing a
lute with apparent care, who passed towards the grand duchess’s
apartment. The cardinal seized her arm, took from her hands the case,
and opening it, found within a new-born infant. Thenceforward sworn,
though secret foes, they yet met as before, and Ferdinand was invited
to accompany his brother and the duchess to Poggio, their villa at
Caiano. There was served at the repast which awaited them, a favourite
dish of the cardinal, but of which Bianca pressed him to taste so
earnestly and strangely, that he pleaded indisposition, and ate
nothing. The grand duke, on the contrary, ignorant of the plot, and
tempted by the meat so praised, insisted on eating of it,
notwithstanding her entreaties. In despair she did likewise, and both
died of the poison. The cardinal, for whom it had been prepared,
returned unharmed to preside at their funerals; the bodies were carried
for interment to San Lorenzo, but with his command that Bianca’s corpse
should be so disposed of, that no trace might remain; while, in the
meantime, by his order also, the insignia of power, worn by her, were
trodden under foot, and annihilated.

                               CHAPTER X.

Boboli Gardens—Buondelmonte—Ponte Vecchio—Santa Croce—Palazzo
  Borgo—Tombs—Michael Angelo’s monument—Died the year Galileo was
  born—Machiavelli—Alfieri—Galileo dying the year in which Newton
  was born—Chapel of the Pazzi—San Lorenzo—Monument of Cosmo, Pater
  Patriæ—Michael Angelo’s Day and Night—Contradictory
  employments—His reply to a verse addressed to his statue—Cappella
  de’ Principi—Santa Maria Novella—Cimabue’s Virgin—Cappella de’
  Spagnuoli—Portraits of Petrarch and Laura—Turned out by a
  friar—Pietre Dure—Our guide again—Sarcophagus of the Gran
  Duchessa—Shut up in a private oratory—Let out by a
  priest—Cascine—Palazzo Vecchio—Small tower-chamber prison of
  Cosmo—Savonarola—His prediction of Lorenzo’s death—The
  confession—The anathema—Trial by fire—The heavy rain—Savonarola
  executed—The Appennines—Birthplace of the Maréchale d’Ancre—Tre
  Maschere—Fog—Rain—Lojano—Crosses—Bologna—Grizzle’s attack on
  the kitchen—Miss Kemble—Modena—The ducal stable—The stuffed
  charger—Parma—The five saints canonized in May—Their claims to

Spent the afternoon again in the delightful Boboli garden: its surface
is extremely irregular, and its eminences command fine views; the hill,
on which is built the Casino, looks down on Florence, bounded by her
Appennines, and seen hence with her domes and old towers to best
advantage. We sat a long time admiring on the stone steps which lead to
the garden below; burning and cloudless, the day and the sky were
Italian, and being a festival, the bells of the numerous churches were
in motion, and their music came mellowed up the height, note below
note, most enchantingly, bringing with it a feeling of calm and
soothing more than belongs to silence.

On our way to the hotel, we crossed the Ponte Vecchio, still covered
with the old shops, in one of which worked Benvenuto Cellini. To this
bridge attaches a romantic story:—In the year 1215, the dispute
between pope and emperor (each finding partizans among the Florentine
nobility) had scattered a powder-train, which waited but a spark to
ignite and desolate the city. The adventure I am about to tell served
as torch to spring the mine. The heir of the noble house of
Buondelmonte had affianced himself to a daughter of the Amidei, noble
also. He was young and very handsome. Riding through the streets some
days after his promise made, he passed under the windows of the Donati
mansion, at one of which stood its lady with her youthful heiress by
her side, who was surpassingly lovely. The mother spoke to Buondelmonte
reproachfully: “You have made an unworthy election,” she said; “the
hand of this maiden was destined for you.” Whether his first choice had
been merely one of interest, or proceeded from an attachment rather
fancied than felt, I cannot say; but this Juliet driving forth the
memory of the Rosalind, falling in love at first sight, Buondelmonte
breathed the most passionate vows, and, disclaiming all other ties,
swore that she only should be his bride. As this was an offence not to
be pardoned, the Amidei family held council as to its punishment; other
nobles, friendly to them, and indignant at their injury, being present
also. “Shall we merely dishonour him by a blow, or shall we wound him?”
was the question; but Mosca of Lamberti said, gloomily, “Neither, for
he must die!”

The morning of Easter-day, Lamberto degli Amidei, this Mosca de’
Lamberti and others, informed that Buondelmonte was to make an
excursion on the opposite shore of the Arno, waited his passage at the
head of the Ponte Vecchio, where at that time stood a statue of Mars.
The young man soon appeared, attired in white robes, and mounted on a
superb courser caparisoned with white also. As he arrived near the
statue’s pedestal, they rushed upon him, and dragged him from his
horse. Mosca Lamberti and Amidei forced him down into the dust and
slaughtered him. This was the rallying word: for the murder was hardly
perpetrated, when the whole city rose in arms, and divided in two
factions: those of Buondelmonte’s party bearing the Guelph banner;
those of the Uberti and Amidei fighting beneath the Ghibelline.

Thus the first demonstration of their differences of opinion rose from
a private quarrel, as through their bloody feuds in after times,
private interests and private vengeance found a mask under the names of
pope and emperor.

To Santa Croce this morning. The unfinished façade of the church,
destined to be cased in marble, (a work which was begun and abandoned,)
closes at its extremity the Piazza where in republican days were
spectacles given and rejoicings made. On the right of this melancholy
square is the Palazzo Borgo, with its exterior still exhibiting the
faded frescoes, which, executed by the best artists of the time, among
the rest Giovanni di San Giovanni, were completed in twenty-seven days.
The good drawing may be distinguished still; the colours will soon have
wholly disappeared. The church is remarkable as containing, besides
some fine paintings, the tombs or cenotaphs of some of the greatest of
Florence. On the right hand entering, (opposite the inscription on the
column to the memory of Francesco Neri, murdered in the cathedral the
day young Julian perished,) is the monument to Michael Angelo, whose
remains the citizens of Rome, where he died, were anxious to keep
possession of after his death, as they had been proud of his presence
during his life; but which Florence, loth to yield, seized by
stratagem, for the corpse of her glorious child was transported to his
birthplace in a case destined for merchandise. He died in 1564, the
year in which Galileo was born; the sarcophagus raised over his ashes
is surmounted by his bust, and round it weep the figures of Sculpture,
Painting and Architecture. The monument which follows this is by Ricci,
and dedicated to Dante’s memory, though not raised above his corpse,
which Ravenna refused to the ungrateful city. It is a stiff assemblage
of colossal figures, the best being that of Poetry, leaning her head on
the arm which rests on the cenotaph and dropping the wreath from her
hand. Italy stands bolt upright folded in a blanket, and with a tower
on her head, one arm stretched upward, the other holding a sceptre,
resembling the pole of a French bed. Dante’s figure surmounts the
monument heavily and ungracefully, and seated in an arm-chair, looking
down on the personages who weep for his loss. A contrast to this is the
noble tomb of Victor Alfieri, the work of Canova. The medallion
containing his likeness is placed on the sarcophagus, and over it
stoops and weeps Italy with the grace of a goddess, and the sorrow of
his love; it was erected at the expense of the Countess of Albany.
Opposite is the white marble pulpit, whose compartments exhibit the
sculptured story of St. Francis, by Benedetto da Maiano; the small
figures below are those of Faith, Hope, Charity, Force and Justice, and
it is difficult to see anything more beautiful. The next mausoleum is
that to the memory of Nicholas Machiavelli, with its fine and perhaps
unmerited epitaph, “Tantonomini nullum par eulogium, Machiavelli”—the
extraordinary man of whom it remains undecided, whether he wrote to
corrupt or warn; who poor, and having a family to provide for, retired
in an insignificant village, passed his mornings in superintending his
labourers, in taking birds by the net, or in the study of Petrarch and
Dante, and his evenings in the composition of the works which remain to
his shame or his honour. Near the entrance door on the left hand is the
tomb of Galileo, his bust surmounting the funereal urn, the figures of
Geometry and Astronomy standing at either side: all honour paid to the
memory of the man whose life was calumniated, and whose person
persecuted; who, destined when young to the study of medicine, followed
alone, and despite his father’s will, that of mathematics, till arrived
at the sixth book of Euclid, transported with the utility of his
beloved science, he sought his parent, confessed his progress, and
implored him to oppose it no farther; whose success conducted him
before the tribunal of the Inquisition to abjure there, and on his
knees, when aged seventy, the “error of his doctrine, which affirmed
the motion of the earth, and the heresy of which he had been guilty;”
who murmured, as he arose from a position more humiliating to his
ignorant judges than to himself, “E pur si muove;” and who died blind
eight years after, in 1642, the year in which Newton was born.

A door beside the church, and on the Place, opens on a corridor, paved
and lined with tombstones, forming one side of the cloister, to which,
at the extremity of this open funereal gallery, a flight of steps leads
down under the monument elevated against the wall, the ancient marble
sarcophagus, on which lies the figure of a bishop in his robes, while
on the side is carved the Resurrection: it is the tomb of Gaston della
Torre, head of the Guelph faction, son of Conrad lord of Milan. The
elegant chapel with its cupola and Corinthian columns was raised by
command of the Pazzi family, on the design of Brunelleschi. Crossing
this cloister, with its well and cabbage garden in the centre, I pushed
open the door of a second like itself, similar even to the cabbage
crop, but consecrated to the sole use of the friars; for above another
door, which shuts in a staircase leading within the convent, was
inscribed in large letters, “Silenzium;” so that fearing to disturb the
invisible brethren, we went away, and to the church of San Lorenzo,
less remarkable for its own beauty than the tombs of its sagrestia by
Michael Angelo, and its Cappella de’ Principi separated from it by an
iron grating only; a rich homage offered to corruption. We had already
gone thither at an undue hour, and to-day also mass was being
performed, and the crowd of Florentine poor, whose pious filthiness one
fears to approach, kneeling over the floor. We determined on waiting
patiently, and stood, fearing to disturb the service, quietly examining
the pavement stone, which between the high altar and the Chapel of the
Princes is the monument of Cosmo, Pater Patriæ: it bears a simple
inscription, indicating that he was so named by a public decree, lived
75 years, and lies below.

A good natured priest, who just then crossed the church with some
Italian ladies, seeing we were strangers, made us a sign to follow,
which we obeyed; and notwithstanding the just commenced ceremonial, he
took the office of cicerone, and led the way into the new sacristy, so
is called that built during Clement the Seventh’s pontificate, and
after Michael Angelo’s designs. On the right hand on entering is the
tomb of Julian of Medicis, duke of Nemours, the warrior above seated in
a niche, the celebrated figures of Day and Night couched on the
monument. Opposite is the mausoleum of Lorenzo, duke of Urbino, himself
in his niche likewise; a similar tomb below bearing the figures of
Twilight and Aurora. The face of Twilight is unfinished. They were the
nightly task of the sculptor, when employed by day on the
fortifications of San Miniato; by a strange contradiction in the
character of an honourable man, the first destined to retard the
success of the Medici, the last to establish their fame. It was he who,
in reply to a verse addressed to his statue of Night, wrote the four
lines of melancholy beauty, which prove his feeling for his country:—

             Grateful to me, to sleep, to be of stone.
             Ever while sorrow and while shame shall last,
             The lack of sight and sense is happiness,
             Therefore awake me not! I pray speak low.

The Madonna and Child are also the work of Michael Angelo. In this
sacristy were laid the mortal remains of the Medicean family—in 1791
transported hence to the subterranean church. Our new friend, the old
priest, led the way to the Cappella, which is built above, of octagon
shape, with walls and pilasters of precious marbles, ornamented with
the arms of the chief cities of the state, executed in “Pietre Dure,”
and with the perfection which belongs to the Florentine art; lapis
lazuli, verd antique, porphyry, and mother of pearl, and oriental
alabaster, with the jaspers of Cyprus and Sicily, for materials. Of the
six sarcophagi, constructed in Egyptian granite and green jasper of
Corsica, some bear pillows of red jasper, which the weight of the
jewelled crowns they carry seems to have pressed down; while in the
niches over others are the gilded bronze statues of those who lie
below; that of Cosmo by John of Bologna. The painting of the dome is
now in progress, and seems rather gaudy than good. The priest led us
thence to the old sacristy, built before the church itself; its
architect was Brunelleschi, and in its centre is a mausoleum, by
Donatello, to the memory of two Medici.

We took leave of our kind guide here, going, as he had advised, to
Santa Maria Novella—famous, as its architecture was so prized by
Michael Angelo. Hollowed in the wall, which joins its façade, are
niches, which the Italians call sepulchres, and which served for
pillories to expose the condemned prisoners of the Inquisition, when
the members of its tribunal were Dominican friars. The church is
divided into three aisles, whose arches diminish as they recede, giving
it an appearance of extent it does not possess in reality. In one of
its chapels is an ancient picture of the Virgin and Child, surrounded
with Angels, by Cimabue, so prized at the period of its execution,
that, having been exhibited like a treasure to Charles of Anjou, it was
borne in procession to the place it now occupies.

Having examined the monuments and pictures, some deserving of far more
attention than is yielded in a flying visit like ours, we passed out
from the church by a door of the left hand aisle, into a cloister once
a cemetery; for round the walls, still covered with faded frescoes, and
under our feet, were old inscriptions and gravestones, and in the
centre, among cabbages and high grass, which partly conceal it, an
ancient tomb. The windows of the fine chapel, which, in 1566, received
the name of Cappella degli Spagnuoli, look beneath the arches of the
cloister on this desolate view. It was ceded to the Spaniards, then
filling places at court, and occupied in commerce. The workmen,
employed in placing ornaments for some festival, good-naturedly desired
we would enter to view the frescoes of its walls. Some are by Memmi,
who was the friend of Petrarch, and among the figures of his
composition has placed him beside a knight of Rhodes; and his fair
Laura, conversing with some seated females, and representing “The
Will”—(la Volontà)—is distinguished by a small flame which burns on
her breast, and a green vest scattered over with violets.

Near the portal, by which we had issued from the church, there is an
arched corridor, leading to another cloister, now encumbered with
rubbish. Following down it a few steps, we passed before several low
portals, apparently of underground prisons, and a curious little
chapel, hollowed in the wall, and going to ruin; for on this side,
lumber, and accumulated filth, and a company of oxen, who were tied to
the pillars, eating hay, stopped our further progress; and my curiosity
being yet unsatisfied, and in search of the second cloister described
by guide-books, we returned to and quitted the church once more, and
from its entrance on the Place passed into a court, where a comfortable
looking friar in white was watching the arrival of some casks. As his
occupation was sufficiently worldly, I thought his presence no
hindrance, and was about to penetrate on forbidden ground, when he
called me back with “Non è permesso, signora,” not uttered, however,
with the due horror of a Dominican, but laughing with all his heart.

We had still some time for sight seeing, and therefore proceeded
towards the manufacture of “Pietre Dure” at the Belli Arti, having
carried away from the Cappella an admiration of their beauty, which
made us desire to see the work in progress. As we walked along the
street in which it stands, a gentleman accosted us, and, looking up, we
saw the good-natured old priest again. “In all the years he had lived
in Florence,” he said, “he had never visited the manufactory, and as
our questions concerning it had excited his curiosity, he was going
thither now;” and he offered us his aid and company, which we gladly
accepted, and found him even more efficient as a guide than before, and
more agreeable as a companion also, for this second meeting placed us
on the footing of old acquaintances.

A workman conducted us to the laboratories, the stores of precious
stones and marbles, and through the various rooms containing specimens
of the art, proving its progress and present perfection; for the
wreaths of fruit and flowers imitate the cunning hand of nature so
well, with their brilliant tints and delicate shadows, as to outdo
painting. The composition and grouping are due to the best artists of
Florence, and the stones so chosen as to simulate lights and shadows.
There are some fine productions of the manufactory at the Palazzo
Pitti, but none to be compared to a table I saw here, whose execution
occupied, to the best of my recollection, seven years. A very small
one, which I should have wished to possess, was to be sold for five
thousand crowns—its wreath of fruit and flowers inserted in a slab of
porphyry. The grapes were each one an amethyst; the currants cornelian;
the corn flowers lapis lazuli. The workmen employed in filing the
stones to the necessary size and form looked pale and weary over their
work. At sixty years old they retire pensioned. The work which, though
not the most beautiful, our friend the abbé considered most curious
from its difficulty of execution, is the sarcophagus in porphyry,
(destined for the Cappella dei Principi, and to be placed over the
remains of the Gran Duchessa,) inasmuch as the hard substance has been
wrought to as extraordinary perfection as if it were soft alabaster.
Thirty men worked at this twelve hours a-day during five years. We
parted with regret from the abbé: as we are to leave Florence so soon,
to attempt to cultivate his acquaintance now would be useless. I think
I told you D—— has found here letters which recall us to Paris with
as little delay as possible. We mentioned this to the priest, and also
our intention of returning next winter; and he desired us to seek him
then at San Lorenzo, which he inhabited, and where we should easily
find him out by asking for Padre Francesco. We had still several hours
to dispose of, and we set forward to our daily haunt, the Galleria, but
passed on our way the old prison, and turned into its picturesque
court, with its walls covered with carved blazonries, and its heavy,
uncovered stair leading to the upper stories. Fronting the street, and
from the dark wall of this gloomy building, hangs the ponderous gallows

Unfortunately for our visit to the museum, there stands, on a Place
near, a large church and convent, comparatively of modern date, as it
appears to have been built in Louis the Fourteenth’s time. Possessed
with the passion of sight-seeing, though there seemed to be nothing
curious about this, I proposed going in for five minutes, and doing so
by the central door, we found our way to an oratory, wherein we had
certainly no right to enter. It was clean and modern, and having walked
round it and discovered that to do so had been time lost, I turned to
leave it by the same door, to the discontent of D——, who was tired
and had seated himself on a bench, but, arrived at it, I found that we
were destined to a repose longer than might be desirable, for we were
certainly in the private chapel of the monastery, and the monks
(unconscious of company) had barred and double locked, silently, but
securely, all manner of egress—this and the half dozen other doors
which we tried in vain; succeeding only so far as to arrive in a closed
corridor, and at a grating through whose bars we could contemplate a
little desolate yard of the convent, into which nobody came. The
churches of Florence are usually closed from one to three, but how long
our imprisonment here was to last was uncertain, and when an hour had
passed we began to think it would prove an unpleasant sleeping chamber.
Luckily for us, however, a young pale priest came gently in from the
convent, and kneeled down to pray before the altar, so absorbed in his
devotion as not to observe our presence during his prayer, and very
nearly to escape us when it was ended; for as he was gliding away with
downcast eyes, I had barely time to accost him, and say, like the
starling, “I can’t get out,” whereupon he delivered us by unlocking
door after door with his master-key, and stood watching our retreat, in
wonder as to how we got in.

This evening to the Cascine—the promenade to which the Florentines are
constant as the Parisians to the Bois de Boulogne. It has long alleys
of finer trees, and better ground for riding than the latter, and a
prospect of the hills which rise round Florence.

We crossed the light suspended bridge to return by the opposite shore.
The view back to the city is, saving that from the Boboli gardens, the
best of Florence; and that down the river the most picturesque of the

As we passed Huband’s stables on our road to the hôtel, I paid a visit
to Fanny. The horses are well taken care of, but the stables confined
and crowded. Fanny, who had been left alone longer than she approved
of, had gnawed her cord asunder, and eaten up all the oats destined for
the day’s provender of both.

Our table d’hôte party is an agreeable one. Among the rest, I found the
first day a lady and her family whom I met at the Simplon Inn, and who
told me there a story, not at all encouraging to lonely travellers like
ourselves, of a journey which a few years back she had made hither with
her father, and during which their carriage had been stopped by robbers
who rifled it, held loaded muskets to their breasts, and tore from her
neck the gold chain she wore. To-day, by a strange chance, there was
seated next me a lady who, some years ago, before we either were
married, I had often met in Paris ball-rooms, and now the widow of an
officer who was taken prisoner and absolutely torn in pieces at
Algiers. She is here alone with a pale child, whose extreme cleverness
and delicacy would make me tremble, as it does her. His soul seems too
near the surface, and his hollow cough predicts that his mother will
not change her mourning.

One more tale of Florentine history ere we depart from Florence, and I
tell it without remorse, having spared you the tourist’s usual
criticism of her statues and paintings, and description of churches. I
have even passed over that of the Palazzo Vecchio, and our wanderings
therein one day, when in search of a guide, and bidden to go whither we
pleased by the sentinel below, we mounted stair after stair, and roamed
through long suites of apartments till chance brought us to a corridor
whose tribunes look down on the noble council chamber, ornamented by
Cosmo the First’s order when, in 1540, he came to inhabit the palace,
and painted in oils and fresco by Vasari and other artists. It is a
pity that this fine hall should be crooked, which it is so excessively
as to injure its effect to the most careless eyes. Round it are fine
groups and statues by John of Bologna and Bandinelli; among the former
that by Michael Angelo, destined for the mausoleum of Pope Julius the
Second, and left unfinished when the artist died; and among the last
the statue of John of the Black Bands, the invincible father of Duke
Cosmo, the same whose pedestal still remains in an angle of the place
of San Lorenzo, which it was destined to occupy. I spare you a
lengthened account of this and of the saloons of Cosmo the Ancient—of
Lorenzo the Magnificent—of John the Invincible—of the Pontiffs Leo
the Tenth and Clement the Seventh, on whose walls are painted by Vasari
the principal events of the reigns or lives of each. I even pass over
the small chamber in the Torre della Vacca, which was the prison of
Cosmo, Pater Patriæ, when Rinaldo of Albizzi, his rival, conspired
against him, but could not obtain his condemnation, and whence he
departed to pass a year in exile at Venice—a short reverse, forerunner
of a constant prosperity, lasting even as it was deserved, till he
died, aged seventy-five years.

The extraordinary man whose story I would recall to you is Savonarola,
who was born at Ferrara in 1452, and who Nicolo ended his life on the
gibbet in the old piazza at Florence. When very young he was remarkable
for his austere habits and singular character. The theological works of
St. Thomas of Acquin were his habitual study, and one which he seldom
quitted, save for poetical composition, a pastime of which he was
passionately fond. A vision seen or fancied by him decided his vocation
when two and twenty, though he had before refused to take orders, not
choosing, he said, to clothe himself with ecclesiastical dignities, and
belong to the world when he had affected to quit it. He took the habit
of Dominican and repaired to Bologna, where his talents were soon

By the advice of Pic de la Mirandole he was recalled to Florence by
Lorenzo de’ Medici, and arrived there he preached publicly against the
scandalous conduct of layman and ecclesiastic, for Alexander the Sixth
at this time occupied the papal chair, and his example had been but too
accurately followed. A republican in principles, inflexible in his
proud independence, he gave a proof of it in 1490, when he was named
prior of San Marco. It was the custom that one so promoted should
present himself before Lorenzo, recognizing him as chief of the
republic, and asking favour and protection. Though the Dominicans
implored, and Lorenzo demanded, Savonarola refused this mark of
condescension; he said that God, not Lorenzo, had elected him prior. At
another period Lorenzo requested him, through the medium of some
Florentine citizens, to forbear the announcement of coming misfortune
to Florence, where such prediction ever created troubles and aroused
the disaffected; but Savonarola, far from obeying, foretold on the
contrary, that Lorenzo himself would shortly die. This prophecy was
verified the 9th of April, 1492; and it is said that Lorenzo, feeling
himself dying, chose the prior for confessor, notwithstanding the
slight respect he had shown him hitherto, and Savonarola, having heard
his penitent, on three conditions promised him absolution: first, that
he should make oath that he was a true believer, which Lorenzo did;
secondly, that he should restitute all which he might have acquired
unfairly; he answered he would consider of it; and lastly, that he
should restore to Florence her liberty, and to the Florentine
government its popular form; and to this third condition Lorenzo the
Magnificent made no reply, but turned in his bed with his back to

After the death of Lorenzo and the exile of Pietro his son, the prior,
more and more violent in his attacks on the church, and particularly on
its chief, the infamous Borgia, drew down on himself the latter’s
excommunication, which however his nuncio, fearful of entering the
town, posted without the walls at San Miniato. Savonarola despised his
censure, declared its non-validity, and published his famous work
entitled the “Triumph of Faith,” which conduct, acting on the
inflammable city, divided it into two factions, the one for democracy
and Savonarola, the other devoted to the house and policy of the Medici.

Of the two monks who defended his opinions, and who perished beside
him, the most ardent was Domenico of Pescia, who at one period took his
place as preacher during the days which preceded the carnival, and
those which ushered in Lent. Though less eloquent than his master, he
yet, by his energetic preaching, persuaded his hearers to seek and
sacrifice among their possessions such as to these ascetics seemed too
worldly, and calculated to withdraw them from a severe and religious
life. Domenico formed into regiments the little boys of the several
districts, ordering that they should march from house to house to make
a collection for the poor, at the same time with that for the Anathema,
so he styled the objects of luxury, or works of art, which, according
to him, lay under the curse of God. During three days the young boys
gathered their harvest of faded gala dresses and female ornaments, of
cards, dice and musical instruments, and on the first day of the
carnival, formed of them a pile in the shape of a pyramid before the
Palazzo Vecchio. This ceremony completed, there being among the devoted
objects many precious manuscripts and the works of Boccaccio, the
children were conducted to the cathedral where they heard mass, and
after their meal, being attired in white garments and crowned with
olive, and bearing small red crosses in their hands, they sought the
church once more, deposed there the money collected for the poor, and
again forming in procession, arrived on the Piazza del Palazzo Vecchio,
lisping Italian hymns; and when the chant was ended, the four children
who headed the four troops advanced with lighted torches and solemnly
fired the pyramid, whose flame ascended to the sound of trumpets. The
next year (1498) Savonarola in person headed the procession, and this
time the pile was composed of objects so valuable, marble statues and
precious paintings, and illuminated manuscripts, among the latter one
of Petrarch, that a military guard was posted round to keep off
robbers. These unusual ceremonies exasperated the Florentine clergy; a
Franciscan at Santa Croce preached to prove the prior’s excommunication
valid; Domenico from his pulpit loudly contradicted him, asserting the
necessity of reform in the church, and offering himself (by submitting
to trial by fire) to prove the truth against their adversary.

The Franciscan accepted the challenge: the 7th of April, 1498, was the
day appointed, and the burning pile was raised opposite the old palace.
Domenico arrived wearing priestly robes and ornaments and carrying the
cross, preceded and followed by long files of Dominicans chanting
psalms as they advanced, Savonarola marching before them. The
Franciscans, on the contrary, approached without pomp and in silence,
headed by the lay brother, whom Domenico’s adversary, losing courage
when the day of judgment came, had substituted to go (in his place)
through the trial of fire. The parties in presence, a dispute arose;
the Franciscans not choosing that Domenico should enter the flames
wearing his priestly habit, or carrying the holy sacrament, as was the
will of Savonarola. The contest growing angry, an hour passed without
ending it, and evening closing there fell a heavy rain, which put to
flight the two champions and disappointed the multitude assembled there
to be amused by their torture. The next day, however, Savonarola’s
enemies, who felt themselves protected by the Florentine government,
took up arms and attacked the convent of San Marco, in which Savonarola
and his two disciples were. The monks defended themselves stoutly, for
the attack commenced during vespers, and not till dark did the
assailants get possession of their persons and drag them to the public
prisons. The government now took the affair into its own hands; and
Savonarola, accused of uttering prophecies not inspired, but founded on
private opinions and interpretations of the Scriptures, and with a view
to force the convocation of a council general, which should reform the
church, was tortured and tried by delegates of the monster Pope
Alexander, and condemned with the two brethren to be hanged on the
Piazza del Palazzo Vecchio, now del Gran Duca, their bodies burned and
their ashes scattered. The gibbet was planted opposite the palace, in
the precise place where some months before they had held their strange
carnival. Brought thither, their firmness did not for a moment forsake
them; they looked on, while the preparations were made, in silence;
when their bodies were consumed, their remains were collected in a cart
and flung into the Arno.


Left Florence this morning to come hither. The weather has been cold
since our passage, and last night the snow fell heavily. The air is a
contrast to that of the city, whose burning sun and biting musquitoes I
am however glad to turn my back on. The Appennines appear to less
advantage beneath the grey sky than when we crossed them in sunshine,
and the Villa Borghese more sad in its desolate grandeur, and saddest
of all looked the public cemetery, where the grave-diggers were
occupied in opening the deep fosses to which each night brings inmates:
it is a large open space, without tomb or tree, saving the few cypress,
which outside the wall shade the priests’ melancholy dwelling.

We paused to take a last look of Florence and also of Fiesole, which on
our right, as we ascended, crowns its hill, more ancient than Florence,
and most interesting as the birthplace of the parvenue Leonora Galigai
Maréchale d’Ancre, whose fate and fortunes have been celebrated by the
first writer of France, the radiance of whose fancy has shone over
history without falsifying its colours.

We saw and passed the Tre Maschere, having received unfavourable
accounts of its hosts, and returned here to our former inn with the
evergoing pump beneath our bedroom, and the stable with fern for
litter, and horned cattle for inmates. Notwithstanding bribes, which,
like other instigators to action, fail in Italy, our horses were
neglected so long, that in my quality of interpreter, I proceeded to
scold the inattentive groom, and so found favour in the eyes of the
master, the two personages being comprehended in one, and his
attachment to his own, which inhabited another stable, having made him
postpone the care of ours. Among his favourites he showed me a horse
from whose long white tail one lock had been severed, the Italian said
in malice, by some person who had thus chosen to annoy him, and whom,
could he have discovered, he would have punished with his knife. I
assure you his look and gesture were sufficiently expressive to guard
the hair of his horse’s head henceforward. Having looked in on ours in
their uneasy sleeping chamber, in and out of which the oxen seemed to
be all night driven, and from whose roof swung, above the dry fern, the
lamp at which all the carters our fellow travellers came to light their
pipes, proving their reliance on the care of Providence, as they take
none themselves, the safety of these places being a miracle, I passed
an hour walking up and down before the door, under a moon which sailed
in skies whose blue certainly does not belong to our climates, lighting
the lone inn and chestnut trees surrounding it, till she predicted bad
weather by taking to herself a halo.

Up at candlelight and off by daybreak, with the cold tramontana for
companion, growing so violent by degrees, that I did not feel quite
tranquil at its increase as we approached the duke’s guardian wall, and
the dense fog came sweeping by and over us. Fanny dislikes wind, and
sometimes hesitated to advance, and we went on silent and shivering,
with hardly energy to look back on the view, from this place so
beautiful, of hills and plains behind, over which rain and mist were
disputing empire. As we advanced, the mist thickened and the rain fell,
and the waterproofs did not deserve the name they bore, and we passed
Pietra Mala, hardly knowing it again in its changed aspect, and seeing
nothing but the peaks of the crags rising coldly out of the fog, and
ragged herdsmen, with their drenched cattle, and a few of the large
birds of prey with grey backs and black wings, peculiar to this region.

As I was riding a few yards before D——, a woman, who saw me pass,
came rushing out of a decent cottage, having first caught from its
cradle her baby. Not seeing the manœuvre as D—— did, I gave her some
silver, thinking her a poor traveller with a crying infant. They are
the most clever of all beggars.

At last we arrived at Filigare, and paid four pauls for the horses, and
to the satellites of custom-house and passport office _buone mani_
innumerable. The smallest donations are, however, thankfully received;
they pocket half pauls. Till within a short distance of Lojano the rain
continued to fall mercilessly. The rude wooden crosses, which we had
before noticed here and there, hid in wild nooks or on the brow of the
precipice, and which, with the sun shining on them, looked like emblems
of Quiet and Consolation, seemed now only memorials and warnings. “Pray
do those denote the death of any one on the spot where they stand?” I
asked an Italian, thinking, as I did so, his face and appearance
perfectly suited to a bandit. “Sicuro,” said the man. “And did they die
violently? were they murdered?” “Possibile,” said my friend with
perfect indifference, as he walked away. The weather cleared just so
long, ere we reached our resting-place, as left time for our horses to
dry. Drenched ourselves, we gladly took refuge in the clean quiet
apartment of the Pellegrino, under which there is, thank heaven! no
pump. I had remained up and writing a letter to Paris, when I was
roused by a crack and loud exclamation from D——, who had gone to
rest, but whose place of repose had sunk suddenly under him, there
being not a single screw in the bedstead. While he once more rose and
dressed himself, I set forth along corridors, and up one steep stair
and down two: for as the new house has been tacked on to the old, the
way is sufficiently intricate. At last, guided by a noise like the
witches’ sabbath, I arrived at the kitchen door, and, opening it, found
myself in a place and company which called to memory the cave in Gil
Blas, there being about thirty present,—drinking, screaming, singing,
half hid in the fumes of tobacco, with their wild-looking, handsome
figures, grouped round the dirty tables or blazing hearth. As I opened
the door, the shouts and songs ceased, and, with Italian civility, all
got up and closed round to know what I wanted; so, having desired the
padrone to follow, I made my retreat as soon as possible, followed by
our host, who was, it seemed, aware that his bedstead lacked all
apparatus to hold it together, but had imagined it might last till

                                                            Oct. 20th.

Left Lojano in a fog, dense and yellow, which concealed all objects ten
yards off,—hearing, not seeing, the approach of travellers and
waggons, and D—— hailing them for our safety and theirs. Fanny was
frightened and vicious; the road melancholy, as oxen and pedestrians,
and now and then an English carriage, issued from the mist close at our
side, and were swallowed in it the next moment. It was not till we had
descended some miles that the fog diminished, and then, after exciting
many delusive hopes, showing through it the sun like a paler moon,
yielding between its discoloured waves, peeps into the valley, and
again floating like smoke before our faces, we fairly left it behind,
issuing into blue sky and sunshine, knowing their value from privation
of them. The horses knew the pilgrims’ house, but Grizzle made a
violent effort to enter the kitchen instead of the stable. Our amiable
hostess had chosen her most pleasant apartment, and exerted all her
French talent in cookery in the dishes she had noticed to please us

A moonlight night at Bologna, such as this, is impressive in its
beauty, with the light streaming down its monastic streets, and the
deep shadow of its pillared arcades. Miss Adelaide Kemble, who is also
lodged at La Pace with her father, sang in her apartments till a crowd,
collected beneath her windows, silenced her with its bravas. The
Italians will not believe her to be English, and her appearance
justifies their opinion, as she has the dark eyes of their country,
with features in the style of those of Mrs. Siddons.


To Modena: a burning day. Arrived there and my dress changed, I
requested the landlady’s pretty daughter to be my guide, as it was
advisable to strive to obtain some news of our baggage, so long
missing, that we begin to be resigned to its loss and to travelling
with little beside the linen our horses carry. Having discovered, with
some difficulty, the spedizioniere, who is the correspondent of our
Commissionnaire de Roulage, I found that our trunks, having followed
ourselves across the broken Simplon on mules’ backs, have now been
stopped by torrents likely to impede our passage also. Modena is a
miniature of a fine city, with a handsome ducal palace and pretty
gardens, an Accademmia delle Belle Arti, and other public buildings.
The palace is large and handsome; the favourite apartments of the
duchess, who is very pious, communicating with the convent, and opening
on a private corridor, by which she can reach the adjacent church
unobserved. The tribune she occupies is so arranged as almost to
conceal her presence, glazed and heavily barred like a convent grate.
The duke’s theatre (for he is extremely fond of theatricals) joins
another part of the Palazzo, and his splendid stables are opposite and
on the garden side. My guide said it was one of the sights of Modena,
and as she insisted on entering, and the sentinel made room to let us
pass, in we went. It is a fine building, with arched and groined roof,
the horses ranged down either side, all of the duke’s own breed, and
some of them superb animals. The roan charger of the last duke stands
stuffed and under a glass case at the extremity. There stood near us a
personage, a head groom I imagine, who, I am sure, will preserve for a
day or two a high opinion of my sagacity.

“I suppose you have a hundred horses here,” I said to him. To which he
replied, “Cent uno!” with a look of admiring wonder which would better
have suited the word Miracolo!

The cathedral is near the inn; we could see from our windows part of
its curious façade and its high old tower. The former somewhat
resembles that of the cathedral at Placentia, having portico on
portico, and strange beasts for supporters. Its interior is more
striking: flights of steps lead up to the elevated choir, others
conduct to the half subterranean church below, where, among numberless
light pillars with strange capitals, is the tomb of St. Geminiano, the
patron saint of Modena. The monument of the last duke is on the left
hand of the choir, and handsome; and in the body of the church are
various altar-pieces of carved wood and marble, covered with saints and
madonnas, deserving more attention than I had time to pay.


To Parma; oppressively warm. Bought some grapes of a boy, who, when we
had paid him what he asked, four times their value, demanded buona
mano. Suffered much from the heat, though we started early: for, having
given orders that our horses should not, according to custom, be driven
to drink in the cold yard at daybreak, the hostler disobeyed, and Fanny
informed us of their delinquency by screaming her shrill neigh till she
woke us, and D—— proceeded to restore her to her stall, and I to
prepare for our journey. Passed again the dark old fortress of Rubiera,
and fed our horses before reaching Reggio. We would gladly have found
refreshment for ourselves, but it was out of the question, the stable
being the cleanest part of the premises. Bad as was La Paone at Parma,
we returned there on account of our horses; but Parma being intricate
in its wanderings, we were puzzled to find it. Fanny’s sagacity did not
fail even here; she led the way to the alley in which it stands, and
walked straight into the inn yard.

We went out this beautiful evening to buy whips at the shop of the most
civil of all saddlers, nearly opposite the Posta, now the best inn. As
I passed a bookseller’s shop, I saw in the window a pamphlet,
containing the lives of the five saints canonized in the month of May
of this year, 1839, and the ceremonies which took place at Rome. As
they were often the subject of conversation during our stay at
Florence, I stopped and bought it, and spent an hour in its study, in
this most desolate of all uncurtained chambers.

The five saints were named—

Sant’ Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori,

Francesco di Gironimo Giovanni,

Giuseppe della Croce,

Pacifico da San Severino, and

Veronica Giuliani Cappucina.

Alfonso Maria was born in 1696, presented by his mother to San
Francesco di Girolamo, who predicted that her son deserved more than
common care, being destined to become a bishop, to perform for the good
of the church great and marvellous things, and to live to the age of
ninety years. It seems he was a wondrous child; and when he grew to
man’s estate, considering studies and fatigues, and maladies, to which
he was subject, insufficient to mortify the flesh, he added thereto
flagellation, wounds, chains, and hunger: “So that,” the pamphlet says,
“the Lord God, being pleased with this self-devoted victim, who offered
himself up an incessant sacrifice to divine glory, chose to render him
illustrious by gratuitous gifts of prophecy, of insight into the human
heart, of being present in _two places at a time_, and of the working
of frequent miracles.”

Francesco di Gironimo was born in 1642, and of him and his impressive
preaching his chronicler says, “To all this greater credit was given,
on account of the appearance of St. Francis, bodily, in divers places
at the same time; of the power he had of curing the sick; of his
multiplying victuals miraculously, and (last and greatest) on account
of the speech of an infamous woman, whose soul having been, suddenly
and still impenitent, borne to the divine presence, was interrogated by
the saint, who said ‘Where art thou?’ to which she replied, ‘I am in

San Giovanni Giuseppe was, like the other two, of noble blood, born in
1654. It is said, that eminent in the practice of all virtues, but most
particularly of that of humility, during sixty-four years he wore on
his bare skin a single tunic, so joined and pieced, that from it he
received the nickname of Father Hundred Patches, Padre Cento Pezze. He
wore beneath it an iron cross, garnished with sharp nails. At last,
having suffered from a stroke of apoplexy, he passed five days in quiet
contemplation before he died, at the close of which, fixing his eyes on
the image so dear to him of the holy Virgin, and remembering, to his
great comfort, how that very Mary had many times spoken to him, and, on
one anniversary of the Saviour’s birthday, had placed him in his arms
that he might caress him, he died; commencing his triumph in paradise
in the year 1734.

Santo Pacifico da San Severino, when but four years old, was accustomed
to mix ashes with the bread of his breakfast, and to say, with a taste
of paradise (gusto di Paradiso), that it was good. Grown up, he passed,
safe and sound and dry-footed, over the swollen river Menacchia. The
brute creatures were submissive to him as to Adam, yet innocent; and
the gift of working miracles was accorded to him. He died 1790.

Veronica Cappucina was born in 1660. When a baby at the breast, though
habitually requiring much nourishment, three days of the week she
refrained from swallowing more than a few mouthsfull of milk. When
hardly six months old, one Trinity Sunday, she sprang from her mother’s
arms to the ground, on which she walked with a firm step; but very
little older, she admonished with grave words a man in the
market-place, being herself in her nurse’s arms, and prevented an
injustice of which he was about to be guilty; and at this time she
enjoyed the familiarity of the child Jesus and of the Virgin, and
several times it happened that the Holy Child visited to console her
when she wept, and days there were in which the sainted mother
consigned the blessed Jesus to her innocent arms, predicting her
spiritual union with him. When she grew up, she was now inclosed in
prison, now suffered under accusation of practising magic arts; but the
only sorrow which cast her down was the feeling abandoned by her
celestial Spouse when he failed to comfort her, as was his wont, and
this tormented her more bitterly than the worst adversity, and forced
her to utter _loving complaints_. She died 1727. The pamphlet is
entitled, “Descrizione del Ceremoniale e Cenni sulla Vita de cinque
Beati canonizzati dal Sommo Pontefice Gregorio XVI, l’anno 1839;” and I
have literally translated the above passages, though belief in them
would seem impossible in our time.

                              CHAPTER XI.

La Steccata—The Teatro Farnese—Its magnificence—Its ruin—Would
  contain 9000—St. Jeronimo—Sir Thomas Lawrence—Alti Relievi—The
  overflowed Po—The infant saved—Placentia again—Misery of
  Piedmontese—Voghera—Tortona—Plains of Marengo—The wrong
  road—The Tanaro overflowed—Asti—The Angelo and its
  reception—Moncaglieri—The vow, and the Virgin, who resembled a
  Duchess—The old Italian gentleman—Victor Amedée’s abdication—The
  old man’s arrest—His death at Moncaglieri—Susa—Its
  waterspouts—A chimney on fire—Mont Cenis—Fog and snow-storm—A
  postilion’s wonder—Danger of tourmente—Lanslebourg—A thick smoke
  and ill scent—Modane—Lesseillon—St. Michel.

                                                            Oct. 23rd.

Our morning perambulations commenced inauspiciously, for the
spedizioniere, to whom here also it was necessary to apply, to order
back our luggage, was in bed, and we went thence to La Steccata. Its
choir is now under repair. Curtained from curious eyes, there are here
paintings from the hand of Correggio and Carracci; the frescoes of the
fine dome so faded as to renew a regret for the wasting of genius on an
art so perishable. I noticed two vessels for holy water, remarkable for
their execution; in the centre of each stands a small and beautiful
figure, like the Bénitier itself, in white marble; one being that of
the Redeemer, the other, I think, of John the Baptist.

A priest conducted us to the subterranean chapel below, which contains
the tombs of the Farnese. He raised his torch to show that on the most
ancient of these (I think that of Alessandro) lay, harmless and
rusting, the sword which had been grasped by the mouldering hand below.

We went thence to visit the ancient Teatro Farnese, which joins the
Accademmia delle Belli Arti, and entered it, having ascended two
flights of the wide stair. In the time of Alessandro Farnese, it was an
armoury, and by him, or by Ranuccio, his son, on the occasion of a
daughter’s marriage, transformed into a theatre, of which it is the
very beau idéal. The centre, lined with lead, which the French, when
they came hither, took up for shot, was changed at will to a lake, the
pit, which in amphitheatre surrounds it, and the boxes above, would
contain nine thousand spectators: the stage, to which steps ascend,
being far smaller in its opening than the width of the building, the
whole audience could see perfectly. On either side of the proscenium,
placed high on their chargers, are the statues of the two Farnese,
originally only plaster, covering a wooden framework, and now crumbling
away. The front of each box being a high open arch, shut in by a gilded
chain only, the effect must have been brilliant when they were crowded
with gorgeously dressed courtiers and ladies. Some of these chains are
still suspended from arch to arch, dark and rusty. The ceiling was
painted wood, representing historical subjects, and of this but a
portion remains here and there, hanging ominously over the heads of the
curious. Napoleon, when at Parma, unfortunately did not see this
theatre, (so said our guide,) and it was left to decay during eighteen
years—a fault which, as it was built wholly of wood, could not
afterwards be repaired.

There are doors on either side of that opening into this theatre; on
the right conducting to the ducal library, on the left to the picture
gallery, which was a theatre likewise, and transformed to a museum by
the Arch-duchess Maria Louisa, whose splendid bust by Canova occupies
the further end, which a visitor, with but an hour to spare, should
seek at once; for there, on the right hand, is the St. Jeronimo,
Correggio’s masterpiece, of which Sir Thomas Lawrence said, it might be
studied, never copied. Three times, during the day he spent at Parma,
he returned to the contemplation of this picture; and truly painting
never produced its superior, scarcely its rival. The Holy Child sits in
his mother’s lap, with an angel beside him, who smiles as he exhibits
to the Magdalen the page on which her sins were inscribed, now white as
snow, and the Magdalen kisses the Saviour’s foot, and looks still
repentant but consoled. St. Jeronimo occupies the foreground, a noble
old figure, the limbs in such relief that he seems to stand forth from
the canvass, yet still with the softness of flesh, and the “modesty of

The picture opposite this, of the Madonna alla Scodella, is a
beautiful, though less perfect, picture, by Correggio also, as is the
Descent from the Cross by its side, which was painted when he was but
nineteen. The face of the Saviour appears small, and wants expression,
as the attitude lacks dignity; but the Virgin, fainting from her excess
of agony, is perfect. There are other good paintings by various
masters, though all inferior to the St. Jeronimo. You will notice also
two alti relievi of the thirteenth century, found in a convent some
miles off. They are in pure white marble, the small figures exquisitely
carved. The subject of the last and most remarkable is the Birth of
Christ. He sits below on his mother’s knee, surrounded by figures in
adoration, their heads off, alas! for the French were lodged one night
in the convent. Above this group, and supposed to be between earth and
heaven, is a cluster of flying angels, who mark the middle region. In
heaven sits the Almighty, receiving from a kneeling female the infant
she offers; and up to him are riding by a zigzag road, which commences
at the bottom of the composition, the happy souls of the elect, on
horseback, and in the costume of the thirteenth century!

We rode on, the short stage to Borgo, where the hostess and one-eyed
waiter came running to meet us, wondering at the prompt return, which
we so little expected when we passed. They tell us the Po has done
awful damage, having swept away during the night the crazy bridge of
boats, over which, as I told you, we rode doubtfully, sweeping from the
meadows it rushed over, cottages, men, and cattle, of whom it is
unknown how many perished. The bodies of a young soldier and old priest
were picked up not far from the city; and floating on the surface of
the wild water was discovered, the morning after the disaster, one of
the wooden cradles of the country, and, being taken up by a boatman,
there was found within an infant of a month old, asleep. Where might be
its parents—or what was its name—there was none to tell; it was
conjectured that it belonged to one of those wretched dwellings, or
rather inhabited recesses serving for such, which we noticed when we
passed the bridge, and that the same torrent which burst its father’s
door, and stifled its mother’s cry, floated it forth in its tiny ark
unharmed. They tell me the rain has fallen ever since we quitted Borgo,
and it falls now with a violence which I trust may cease ere morning.


Left Borgo early. The rain had become mist, and the mist cleared by
degrees, and we have sun and flies, though the air is not stifling as
heretofore. The passport receiver at the gate remembered our riding
through before, and asked many questions as to our movements, in a fit
of curiosity which I gratified; and he wished me good-bye, saying, “A
rivederla, signora, fra qualche anno.” Again at St. Marco.


Started late from Piacenza, taking our host’s word for the stage’s
being a short one. We crossed, at no great distance from the city,
Maria Louisa’s splendid bridge of twenty-two arches over the Trebbia,
which at this moment is a narrow stream in the midst of a wide stony
desert. The receiver of the twenty-four centesimi said we had but
thirty miles to ride, but this is little consolation in a country where
to teach the meaning of distance seems impossible; each person we met
giving a different account thereof, and after the first hour increasing
instead of diminishing the number.

At a most dirty country inn we stopped to feed the horses. No oats were
to be had, and we paid for bran as if it had been some scarce known
rarity. We gave the hostler the sum demanded, desiring him to pay his
master the fair price, and take the remainder for buona mano; an order
to which he grinned assent, and I had the satisfaction to see the
dispute commenced as we rode away. A large building at which we arrived
soon after, was the Sardinian douane, and the frontier passed, the
country grows interesting, and is backed by wooded hills, an
improvement on Maria Louisa’s treeless plains; but the roads and broken
pavement of the wretched villages through which we passed are a
disgrace to his majesty. The latter, with their mud cabins, and
casements not glazed but papered, and their inhabitants squalid and
half clothed, reminded us of their prototypes in Ireland. Though the
morning had been cold and foggy, the sunshine, which succeeded, was
painfully burning, as in August. We had lingered on the way, believing
the distance inconsiderable, but the sun set in a heavy bank of clouds,
predicting bad weather for to-morrow, and the twilight yielded to
darkness, so total, and unrelieved even by a star, that D——
dismounted and led his horse before Fanny, as the road was bad beyond
description, and we were glad to keep to the path by its side. I do not
like riding in the dark in Italy. The character of the country is, in
the first place, hardly so good as to render it desirable, and its
waggoners all travel without light, and straggling from one side to the
other of roads which have a ditch on each. With all our precautions we
had nearly made unpleasant blunders, for not far from our destination,
a new portion of road, lately made to improve the approach to the town,
but not yet completed, is closed by a high bank of loose stones on
which we had almost ridden. Saved from this mistake, we failed to see
the Po till arrived on the very edge of the high bank which hangs over
its water; and the horses, rather than our eyesight, guided us to the
long, narrow and crooked bridge which crosses it, and on which we
fortunately met neither cart nor traveller. This passed, Fanny
quickened her step, for we saw the lights of Voghera through the trees,
and soon arrived at its entrance, but rode the whole length of the
nasty town to arrive at the Moro. The horses found a quiet stable after
their forty mile journey, for the mile of Piedmont reckons as two of
Italy. We ourselves were weary, and glad to see our dinner served in
the enormous hall, which, but for the frescoes daubed on its walls,
resembled a barn in dirt and desolation, and to lie down in the
sleeping chamber which was, they said, the only one remaining
unoccupied, and in which the iron bedsteads, a deal table, and wicker
chair, were the sole articles of furniture.


Pouring rain all this day—one of the longest I have passed, for we
staid at the Moro to rest the horses.


Left early. The morning cold as December, but the sun, when it appeared
at last, burning once more. To the left and behind us, the broad plains
were bounded by the distant Appennines; and away on the right, beyond
nearer and picturesque hills, we could distinguish a snow mountain once
more. A peasant said it was Mont Cenis; it was at least one of the
range, and we were glad to see it on our horizon.

The road skirts Tortona, having passed a half dried river, a shrunken
stream creeping along the centre of its wide winter bed. A high crag
commands the town, having on its summit the ruins of the fortress
constructed by Amedée the Third, and which the French blew up in
1796—the eminence, like the plain it stands on, bare of wood, and
devoid of beauty. An idler, as we rode by, told us we might, without
much increasing the distance, traverse the “città,” and seemed
surprised that we should choose to avoid its broken pavement and bad
air. Arrived on the plain of St. Giuliano, the village of Marengo was
on our right, interesting from its situation as well as its history,
for, excepting the two or three houses built by the road side, the
habitations straggle back over the rich meadows where they stand
picturesquely grouped with green trees and a grey tower, between and
above which rises a wooded hill, with a white church shining on it. To
the left stretched the plain; before us were a few fine sycomores and a
bridge, traversing a brighter and narrower river which winds between
fringed shores. From one of these houses is hung for sign a
cannon-ball, reminding us of Desaix, the gallant young general who
returned hither from Egypt to die, having first, with his four thousand
infantry, altered the fate of the battle almost lost by Lannes and
Victor, and after his fall destined to become desperate once more, and
be wondrously won by Kellerman’s charge with five hundred horse; for
this handful of men was during an entire hour master of the field of
battle, the infantry of both armies being scattered and flying, and the
French not rallied till the expiration of that time. Alessandria is
close to Marengo, its trees and fortifications looking to advantage as
they rise from the perfect flat of the plain. Went to the Albergo
d’Italia, a really good inn, with a most civil master.

                                                         28th October.

Up by candlelight to start with dawn, which shines not till seven: for,
though the mornings have become painfully cold, the mid-day sun is
scarcely bearable. Leaving the hotel and asking the way of several
people, who all said “Straight on,” we proceeded straight, as desired,
and issued from the town on a high road, which we found in the dreadful
state of all which traverse Piedmont; but having proceeded some way, we
thought proper (the direction being wholly different from that we have
lately followed) to ask whither it led, and were answered “Savona;” so
turned back, the equanimity of our tempers disturbed. Perhaps from this
cause I thought more brutal than he was in reality, a driver of calves,
who was before me with his charge on the side of the road which I had
chosen as least heavy for Fanny, the mud in the centre being three feet
thick, and who desired me to proceed thither and get out of his way,
swearing in no gentle guise. Approving of the order neither in matter
nor manner, we passed by, scattering his herd, and left him uttering
still direr oaths, and floundering about in the deep pools to collect
the stragglers. Travelling back over bad pavement and through the town,
we had lost an hour ere we arrived at the fine citadel, round which the
road winds, crossing an ancient covered bridge, through whose open
arches the wind blew almost strongly enough to lift me from my saddle.
A company of convicts, chained together, were busy sweeping; they
looked hardened and wretched. An hour after we met a fresh detachment,
tied with cords in carts, and strongly guarded. We had a cold fog for
comrade, and the Tanaro has overflowed the country, saddening its whole
face, ruining crops and meadows. Near Asti it improves, as it swells in
hillocks and sinks in dells: the former covered by the vine which
produces the famed Asti wine, but not trained, as in Lombardy, over
tall trees; and wearing a wintry aspect ere winter has come, from the
custom of plucking its leaves to feed the cattle. Met Capt. K—— with
his family; the pretty white Arab led behind the carriage. They crossed
the mountain a few days since in beautiful weather, and this good news
hurried us onward. The people of the Albergo Reale had treated them
ill; yet outside it makes fairer show than the Leon d’Oro, whither, at
their recommendation, we went. Here, as at Alessandria, the doors and
windows of our apartments open on the cold gallery which runs round the
inner court: bad dinner and bad attendance, and an unpleasant landlord.
This morning, when we wished to leave early, the stableman had lost
Grizzle’s bridle, and two hours were wasted in its search, the fairest
of the day: for, when we had ridden down the avenue just outside the
town, the drizzling mist changed to torrents, which continued to fall
without cessation till we arrived. We were to stop at the Angelo, but
had forgotten the name of the bourg he protected, twelve Piedmontese
miles (about four-and-twenty English) from Asti; and the questions we
made remained almost always unanswered, the Piedmontese dialect solely
being spoken by the peasantry. At last, in the pouring rain, up came a
waggoner, and told us Poirino and the Angelo were about three miles
farther. We would willingly have hastened our horses, but it was
impossible: for the roads are either two feet deep in mud or newly
repaired with beds of loose stones, into which they sank to the
fetlock. Here and there the path by their side was in better order, and
we adopted it; and D—— justly observed, that but for his Sardinian
majesty’s footpaths, horse-travelling in his dominions would be
impossible. When it seemed the three weary miles must have been long
passed over, and still nothing was to be seen in the most desolate
plain, save the broad wet road stretching before, and behind us, a few
trees and a spire, we again accosted a peasant and inquired for
Poirino. “It is a good bit farther,” said the man, “and the inn is not
in the town, which you must traverse, and turn first to the right and
next to the left, and then ride straight on, as it stands in the
country.” I presume this intelligence, which at the time made us
despair, was given in a mischievous spirit, though the weather and our
plight should have excited compassion: for we shortly arrived at
Poirino, and inquiring for the Angelo, some replying “Straight on,” and
some not at all, we made our way through the filthy town to the
filthier yard. Our poor horses under cover, D——, who followed them
into the warm stable, was better off than I. I made my way to the
kitchen door, which I found full of vetturini, this being their dinner
hour, and the place where they dine. Received with more curiosity than
civility, I called to mine hostess, who was busy cooking, and desired
she would conduct me to a room. Without turning her head, she begged me
to walk up stairs, which I did, and found myself in the
before-mentioned open gallery, and, from the voices which proceeded
from the various chambers, knew they were all occupied. Having stood
there some minutes, dripping and shivering, looking down into the yard
at the rain plashing on the stones and the half-dozen vetturini
carriages, of whose departure there seemed to be no chance, my gift of
patience was not so strong as to lead to further contemplation, and I
descended once more, not this time to the door, but to the kitchen
fire, where I disturbed the lady’s culinary pursuits, by telling her I
was going to the inn I had noticed next to hers, as I found my presence
was an inconvenience. This appeal softened her heart: for she put down
her fryingpan and took up a key and marched before me to open what was,
in reality, her only room unoccupied. It had a broken window and no
fireplace; but she brought me a half cold chauffrette, and begged I
would be patient, as I should be _benissimo_ when the carriages went
on, which they would do in a quarter of an hour; so that on my side I
called up the patience required, changed my wet clothes, and sat (not
the quarter) but a whole hour in such shivering misery as makes one
expect an inflammation of the chest next morning. The vetturini were
then in motion, and I made my way to a fireplace just as D—— appeared
from the stables where he had seen our poor companions provided for.

After all we were served less ill than I expected, and the dinner and
beds were good. Our hostess demanded prices which lacked justice and
modesty; but, remonstrance made, grew reasonable. All night the rain
poured, but they told us it had done so for a month, so that to wait
might serve us nothing—the road little better than hitherto, and the
country uninteresting till near Moncaglieri, to which place rain
accompanied us less heavily than yesterday, but without pause.

The high hill on which it is built formed a commanding object long
before we reached it; the route sweeps round its foot between it and
the broad Po, whose shores are here wooded and beautiful. A person of
whom we asked the way to Turin sent us through Moncaglieri up the paved
hill and across the town, doubling the fatigue to our horses. We were
recompensed by passing before the old castle where Victor Amedée, the
abdicated king, was arrested, and where he died; and also by the fine
view we obtained as we rode down the avenue and steep hill on the other
side of the valley and the river. Heavy clouds hid the Alps, and the
snow, lying on the hills close to us, looked an ominous presage of what
was to succeed on the mountain.

Notwithstanding the unfavourable atmosphere through which we saw it, I
prefer Turin as a town to any I have seen in Italy. Its situation is
finer than the vaunted one of Florence, with a broader river and more
beautiful valley, and hills more wooded surrounding it. One of these
the Superga crowns, built in consequence of the vow made by Victor
Amedée the Second (when the troops of Louis the Fourteenth besieged his
capital) to consecrate a temple to Our Lady, should her aid enable him
to force their troops to raise the siege. It was whispered that the
duchess of Burgundy, whose influence was all-powerful at the French
court, had used it for her father’s protection, and to lengthen the
operations of the French General, Duc de la Feuillade. Prince Eugene
having had time to come up, and Turin being relieved on the day of the
nativity of the Virgin, the king accomplished his vow. The principal
basso relievo of the high altar represents the deliverance of Turin by
the intercession of the Virgin; it was observed of this Madonna that
she bare a strange resemblance to the duchess of Burgundy. A fine
bridge led us across the river to the Piazza del Pò. The arcaded
streets are broad, and the houses handsome, but mostly unfinished, to
that degree that the holes made in their walls, for the placing of
scaffoldings, remain unfilled.

We went to the hotel Fœder, kept, like all good inns in Italy, by
French masters. Its cleanliness and comfort were to us, for some time
unused to them, a very luxury.

Though it continued to rain, as I had purchases to make and a letter to
put in the post for Paris, I changed my dress and we went out for the
purpose, crossing in our wanderings the Piazza, on whose centre stands
the old palace, built by Amedée the Eighth in 1416, flanked by its four
massive towers, but in my opinion injured by the addition of an
ornamented façade of 1720. Its interior was decorated, and its splendid
staircase built, by command of Christina, daughter of France and
duchess of Savoy. Before her time it was said of this palace that it
was a house without a staircase, as now that it is a staircase without
a house, the former being far too grand for the apartments to which it

The stables for our horses are less delightful than the inn for
ourselves, being dark, ill-kept, and crowded. D—— bribed away a horse
of kicking reputation, whose vice Fanny the more excited by running at
him open-mouthed, there seeming to be in her small body no room for
fear. In his visits to see them fed he nearly stumbled over a poor
fellow who lay in one of the stalls. His wife now and then brought him
drink; he was very ill of fever his fellow hostlers said unconcernedly,
and to lie with clothes on and with damp litter for bed seemed a
strange remedy.

Next me at the table d’hôte sat an old man with long white hair, who I
found on inquiry to be the Conte F——. We entered into conversation:
he was just arrived from Chambéry, and had crossed Mont Cenis in snow
and mist, and exclaimed when I told my intention of doing so on
horseback to-morrow. The kind old gentleman offered me his carriage,
and when I pertinaciously refused, implored me to accept additional
cloaks; and was affectionate and anxious as if he had been my father.

We certainly start in the morning: for that snows, having once fallen,
will diminish this season, there is little chance. The journey to Susa
would be too long a one, and we are told we may be decently lodged at

Though it be a long story, yet from the interest it casts on Turin, I
will, for your sake, insert here that of the abdication of Victor
Amedée the Second; the same king who erected the Superga, and lies
buried within its walls. About a month previous to his renunciation of
his crown, he espoused secretly the widow of the count of St.
Sebastian, the object of his early love, then fifty years of age.
Victor declared to his son his intention of abdicating; and as he had
proposed to himself for model the Emperor Charles the Fifth, he chose
that a like ceremonial should be observed, and his court and ministers
were summoned to the castle of Rivoli, which lies on the road to Susa
and near Turin: of the cause which assembled them none were informed
except the prince of Piedmont and the Marquis del Borgo. In the
presence of all, the latter read the act of abdication, the king
preserving throughout the proud and solemn demeanour which was natural
to him. He led, when it was ended, the countess of St. Sebastian to the
princess, become queen. “My daughter,” he said, “I present to you a
lady who is about to sacrifice herself for me; I pray you show respect
to her and her family.”

Reserving to himself no more than a nobleman’s fortune, with the
countess, now marchioness of Spino, he retired to Chambéry. For a time
indeed, but of brief duration, the new monarch asked his father’s
counsel in all affairs of moment, and sent his ministers to seek it
across the mountains; but he grew weary of divided power, as did Victor
Amedée of the idleness he had chosen, and the marchioness of Spino
urged him to resume the reins he had dropped unadvisedly. He arrived at
Rivoli suddenly; but Charles Emmanuel, who had been absent also,
informed of his movements, at the same time re-entered the capital, and
the old king heard with extreme annoyance the cannon which pealed to
welcome him. The two monarchs had an interview, embarrassed on both
sides. The father spoke of the air of Savoy as injurious to his health,
and the son commanded that the castle of Moncaglieri should be prepared
for his reception, whither (also by his command) the court went,
apparently to do him homage; but in reality to watch and report his
actions. It was noticed that the manners of the marchioness had
altered; that when she visited the queen she occupied an arm-chair,
similar to hers; and at last, the moment for action come, Victor Amedée
demanded of the Marquis del Borgo the act of his abdication, desiring
him to make known his intention of wearing again the crown he had laid
aside. The minister hesitated to reply; the old king insisted on his
obedience within twelve hours, and this, fearing to excite Victor’s
fury, he promised and departed. The king remained in agitation of mind,
half repenting his confidence in del Borgo; till, when the clocks had
tolled midnight, taking a sudden resolution, he mounted his horse and
followed but by one servant, sought the citadel and summoned the
governor to open the gates to him. He was refused, and returned in
disappointment to Moncaglieri. Meanwhile the council assembled on the
information of the minister, and the arrest of the father was signed by
the son, whose hand, it is said, shook so violently, that the secretary
of state was obliged to support it. The marquis of Ormea, preceded by a
company of grenadiers, arrived at Moncaglieri, whose walls other troops
had already surrounded, conducted thither without knowing whither they
were going or wherefore. The king slept profoundly in the chamber with
the marchioness, and the noise made as they ascended the grand
staircase, seizing on the person of an attendant, who lay in the
ante-chamber, and bursting open the doors, did not wake him. The
marchioness, startled from her slumbers, sprang from her bed and
towards a private door, hoping to escape. She was arrested and placed
in a carriage, which, escorted by fifty dragoons, took at a gallop the
road to the fortress of Ceva in Piedmont. Not even her cries, as she
was forced away, could wake the king, who was of apoplectic habit, and
whose sleep was like a lethargy. One seized his sword which lay on the
table, and the Comte de la Perouse, drawing his curtains back, at last
roused him, and showed the order of which he was “bearer from the
king.” “What mean you by _the king_?” exclaimed Victor; “dare you to
recognise another than me, who am your sovereign and your master?”

“You were so, sire,” replied La Perouse, “till yourself commanded that
our obedience should be transferred to King Charles; we, therefore,
pray you to give us the example of obedience now.”

The old man, furious, refused to rise, and gave a blow to the chevalier
of Salace, who approached too near his bed. He was lifted perforce from
it, and, partly dressed and enveloped in blankets, carried rather than
led to the carriage, which waited in the court. As he crossed the
ante-chamber he seemed surprised to see there his grenadiers; and the
men and their officers, astonished in turn, murmured, “It is the king;
why should he be a prisoner? what has our old master done?”

The Count of La Perouse, fearing mutiny, exclaimed, “In the king’s name
and on pain of death, silence!” and hurried the old monarch on.

In the court-yard stood ranged a regiment of dragoons, which had
distinguished itself under his own eye, and which he had always
favoured. Their presence affected him, and he stepped forward to speak;
but a sign was made to the drummers, who covered his voice, and those
who stood round forced him to enter the carriage. On leaving
Moncaglieri he had made three demands—for his wife, his papers, and
his snuff-box; but only the last was granted. The day after his arrival
at Rivoli, iron bars and double frames were placed to the windows of
his apartments.

“What are you doing?” he asked the glazier.

“I am putting up double window-frames,” said the man, “lest you should
be cold this winter.”

“Why, how now, fellow,” said the king, “do you think I shall be here
this winter?”

“Ay, indeed,” rejoined the glazier; “this one and many more.”

After this he was, however, transferred to the castle of La Venerie,
three leagues from Turin. The fits of fury to which he had at first
yielded, and in which it was feared he might commit suicide, had
gradually subsided into sadness. He was, at his own demand, reconducted
to Moncaglieri, whither the marchioness was allowed to come. He was
permitted to have books; but neither newspapers nor anything which
might satisfy his curiosity as to events passing in the world. He never
saw his son more. He died in 1732, and his widow sought a retreat for
life in a convent at Carignano.

                                                         31st October.

We were up at light this morning, for the weather had a more favourable
aspect; crossed the Piazza with its old palace, and issued from the
town on the noble avenue which makes so fine an approach to Turin. From
the plain it crosses, the view of the Alps, covered with snow,
appearing and disappearing through masses of clouds, was beautiful
beyond most prospects. For some time favoured with sunshine and blue
sky, we might have reached San Ambrogio free of rain, but that Grizzle
broke a fore-shoe, and we were obliged to get another put on at the Tre
Ré at Rivoli, looking on in almost as much fear as when Fanny dropped
one at Montecarelli, on her way to Florence. The palace which received
Victor Amedée is on the height commanding the town. Grizzle being shod,
we thought it better to feed both, and thus lost time; for we were not
long suffered to enjoy the country, which grows very beautiful after
Rivoli, as rain and hail, which we had hoped were left behind, came
down in full fury on horse and rider. The Dora, whose course we
followed, had overflowed its banks, and desolation was here also.

The valley has the character of that of Domo d’Ossola, but it is more
confined, and has less grandeur. The rain ceased as we drew near St.
Ambrogio, and the vapours were floating up the high cliff which hangs
over it, and on whose very pinnacle stands a ruined church, or castle,
or both, a high slight tower, which formed a most striking object as
the mist floated upwards, hiding and revealing it by turns. As we
approached the Tre Corone, its broken windows and yard choked with
manure looked so hopelessly wretched, that, being wet through, we
preferred riding on in the expectation of getting dry, as the weather
favoured us once more. Crossing a bridge, the straight road follows the
other bank of the river now on the left, and through a defile of
surpassing beauty. On a hill of its own, of which it seems to be the
monarch, rising from the flat before the mountains, and beside the
river, stands a remarkable ruin. We had passed many proud remains of
baronial castles, but this the noblest, with its turreted walls and
hollow watch-towers standing and defying. The rain returned more
violently than ever, almost hiding Susa, which is beautifully situated,
and I fain would have seen in sunshine, and have paid a visit to its
antiquities. Woe unto its waterspouts; they advanced over our heads
from either side of the narrow street, irregular in their lengths, so
that to strive to avoid their contents was vain; and drowned like
mountain torrents washing what little the rain had spared. We crossed
the bridge over the wild river, and found the Posta on the Place. I can
say little in praise of its comfort; there remained but three rooms
vacant, certainly, but I suspect those already occupied were no better
than our own. The window shut badly, and the door, on the open
corridor, not at all, admitting the rush of the wind and the roar of
the torrent; so that the fire scorched our faces, while the back of our
heads grew rheumatic. The waiter was determined to do his best, for he
piled the logs till they set the chimney on fire. He was gone when I
discovered it, and looked for a bell, but as none was there, and I was
little inclined to receive another shower by issuing forth on the open
gallery in search of him, I watched it till it burned itself out, which
it did very safely before D—— had come up from our travellers.

                                                             Nov. 1st.

Up at light. A sweet mild morning, and no rain, and our horses fresh as
after a ride in the Bois de Boulogne; and we decided on going the whole
way to Lanslebourg, abandoning our first intention of sleeping on the
mountain, as the inn is ill provided, and to get straw impossible.

The Roman arch raised in honour of Tiberius is still to be seen in the
governor’s garden, built of white marble, and the Corinthian order, and
rising among broken remnants of columns and capitals, which probably
belonged to edifices by which it was once surrounded. In the days of
Charlemagne, the famous Roland, from whom the first Marquises of Susa
boast their descent, defended the town, signalizing himself by most
marvellous exploits; in proof whereof there was shown some years ago a
rock, which a stroke of his sword cleft in twain!

The early part of our journey was delightful, for the day was balmy
though not bright, and the mist shrouded the snows of the summits
before us without approaching ourselves; and the vine, cultivated at
the foot of the mountain, stretched up its sides to the roots of the
chestnut trees, on whose green leaves there rested but just so much
snow as bowed their branches slightly and gracefully. As the road wound
upwards we looked back to the Piedmontese valleys, bounded by the
mountains, with their dark blue base and white coronets; and this
beauty increased as we ascended higher and could distinguish the hill
with its ruins, and the high crag far away above St. Ambrogio. So far
the thaw had been rapid, for no snow lay in the road here, nor till we
had passed the little inn of Mont Cenis. At Molaret, where the church
bells were tinkling sweetly in the quiet air, the route, turning
suddenly, no longer hangs over Piedmont, but looks on a home view,
which has its charm likewise, and the village built in the glen
directly below, among the trees of the rich meadow. The first refuge is
a little further, and by the time we had arrived there the half-melted
snow began to ball in our horses’ feet so as to impede our progress;
and D—— having several times dismounted to pick them, with the loss
of a quarter of an hour at each operation, we ascertained that in this
manner we should not arrive ere dark, and began to think haste might be
necessary, as the mists, which had hitherto held aloof, seemed
thickening gradually. To prevent an accumulation of snow, our only
resource was to trot our horses, and the mountain being henceforth
steep, it was an unkind antidote; but Fanny shook her head, and
breasted the hill gallantly, and the grey followed wheresoever she led.

We had pursued this plan about half an hour, when the snow suddenly
fell, and its friend the fog so closed round us that we could see
nothing but the road, and I feared that would be invisible ere long, as
I strained my eyes to discover the precipices which might be there, and
the track which the last travellers had left, and which the flakes
effaced as they fell. From this spot the aspect of Mont Cenis is
unknown to me, almost as if I had not traversed it; only as we crossed
the Plain of St. Nicholas, over which, but for the hooftrack of a horse
which immediately preceded us we should have failed to find the way,
appeared for a moment the palisades of the ascending route, seeming
built on the cloud, and a waterfall which sprang forth from the mist to
be swallowed in it again a few yards lower. From the cliffs which skirt
the road (here rising abruptly from the level) hung icicles from fifty
to a hundred feet long, which the mist just opened to show. I almost
thought we might be left on the mountain as a reinforcement, for I
certainly never before knew the entire meaning of the word cold.

We went on, however, patiently, and rapidly as we could with mercy to
the poor horses, who seemed anxious to advance as ourselves. The wind
had risen, and the broad flakes of snow in this higher region changed
to small particles of ice which drifted in our faces cold and cutting.
We passed the barrier of Piedmont, whereon was written that a toll was
to be paid there; but we, having called and nobody answered, went on
till we reached the Grande Croix, before whose humble inn stood several
waggons, and one waggoner who lifted his hands in amazement, and said,
“Povera, poverina,” with an accent of pity not at that moment
misplaced, for the ice adhered to our hats and cloaks, making them look
like an old wall from which hangs half detached plaster; even D——’s
weather whisker was an iceberg, as were the horses’ manes and tails.
Grizzle had rubbed hers last night, and the icicled hairs stuck forth
ludicrously like “quills from the fretful porcupine.”

To stop to complain would certainly have been to be frozen to death,
and we rode fast over the plain of Mont Cenis, stopping to breathe our
comrades before each refuge, as places where we could find aid, should
aid become necessary. The lake was invisible through the mist, and we
could distinguish only the mountain rivulet which for some way
accompanied us, flowing along like a black line through the dull white
of the snow. As we approached the Hospice, opposite which is Napoleon’s
fortification, the dark lake became visible through the sleet, but only
like a heavier cloud lying on the edge of the plain and recognized by
its more defined outline. Half the Hospice is occupied by monks, whose
voices reached us through the roar of the wind, singing psalms, the
other half by the rcarabinieri, one of whom opened the door just
sufficiently to take the passport, while a second peeped at us through
a closed and barred window. I thought, considering their situation and
ours, they kept it a merciless time, during which we walked our horses
backwards and forwards, receiving the blast on all sides. From this
level, the road ascends again, its highest point, being I believe at
the refuge No. 20. The cantonnier, who was at work there spade in hand,
desired us to be careful and proceed at a foot’s pace, as we had a bad
portion of road before us; and we found he was right, our horses
floundering about in deep snow a moment after. Met here a carriage (the
first); the postilion expressed his astonishment by an oath loud and
deep. The snow-drift passed, the ground became worse still, for it
changed to smooth ice, the wind, which every moment increased, sweeping
the loose snow from its surface. Grizzle, who could not keep her
footing, slipped and groaned, which meant, “Get off and lead me!” a
prayer which D—— granted, but Fanny fortunately did not make to me,
as, having felt the pain produced by cold, the numbness now stiffened
me to my saddle, and had I been lifted from it, I should certainly have
found walking impossible. At No. 17 is the Savoy barrier, which having
passed we were called back. The good-natured Savoyard detained us as
short a time as possible, called me “pauvre femme!” not thinking we
were travelling for pleasure; and having written down as Heaven pleased
the English names we told him, bade us speed on our way, which we did
slowly and painfully.

The wind increased and threatened tourmente. The cantonnier had said
that, notwithstanding the quantity of snow lately fallen, there was too
little to occasion a dread of avalanches which sometimes fall between
the refuges Nos. 23 and 24. A man walking down the mountain four days
since was frozen to death at this spot; and at the sharp turns of the
zigzags, the blasts sweeping down the gorge and crossing the road were
so strong, that Grizzle swayed to them, and Fanny planted her fore-feet
firmly and put down her head to resist.

Though we forbore to say so, we neither were quite tranquil, as these
gusts of wind roared down the hollow, threatening to carry us over the
road side on the snow-drifts below, certainly deep enough to swallow
far larger masses than ourselves and our quadrupeds.

At last came a happy change from snow to rain and from ice to mud, and
we saw Lanslebourg among fir-trees beneath, with its pretty bridge
flung over the Arc, and the inn on the opposite side, built by Napoleon
for his staff. It was three o’clock when we arrived, and we had left
Susa at eight, and Fanny, not waiting for orders, trotted into the
stable-yard. With some trouble from the numbness which paralyzed me, I
arrived in the kitchen, where the landlady, intent on household affairs
and also on scolding a child, having given me a seat, and desired her
servant to make me a fire above, departed to her labours, and this was
a signal for persecution, for the spirit of curiosity was stronger than
the spirit of obedience, and she touched my hat, and felt my habit, and
walked round me, asking questions till I was weary, and told her that
if she would first light a fire and allow me to change my wet clothes,
I would be at her service the rest of the day.

It required a great deal of smoke to drive me from the hearth, but when
she had kindled the wood and departed, the wind which rushed down the
chimney drove the very fire into the centre of the floor; and my eyes
so streamed from the columns which filled the room, that I had some
difficulty in finding the way out to summon her back. She only
remarked, that it was always the case with that chimney when it rained;
and we proceeded to another chamber on the opposite side of the
corridor, the Abigail with her flaming pine-logs first. When installed
therein, I found the air abominable: she said, “it was always so when
it blew,” so that I have passed the afternoon burning vinegar.

The snow, hail and wind have as yet known no intermission; the bad air
arrives under the door and the icy wind in at the window. On account of
the horses, whom eight posts like those we have travelled to-day must
necessarily have fatigued, we shall remain to-morrow. Were the weather
fair the situation of the inn would be lovely; but when the torrents of
rain dash as now against windows which will not close, and the wind
waves the thin muslin to and fro, and the cold of these lantern-like
rooms resists even such fires as I have made, the inn at Lanslebourg is
the very perfection of wretchedness.

                                                         2nd November.

Still rain and wind, but with glimpses of pale sunshine which predict
finer weather. The bad air prevented sleep, and the blast which sung
round my head, whirling away the flimsy curtains, bestowed a cold on my
chest, which shall not however detain me. The horses have passed the
day in the luxury of rolling, and enjoyment of the mountain hay, of
which the pastures near this produce the sweetest in the world.

                                                         3rd November.

Left early, for the clouds, though they threatened, dropped no rain,
and took the road to Modane, the descent as far as Formignone being
rapid, skirting the Arc and its pine-forests, the cold head of Mont
Cenis towering behind. The weather grew milder and the scenery more
lovely; larch and other trees not evergreen appearing beneath the
masses of dark fir, and red and yellow with the tints of autumn, have a
richness in their hues I never saw equalled elsewhere.

Verney, where Walpole’s dog perished, is a beautifully situated
village. The pine-forests, which the wolves inhabited of yore, have
retreated since that time, and now clothe only the mountain on the
left, before which the little church whose bell was tolling for mass,
and whither the country people were hastening in their holiday clothes,
stands on its green mound alone.

Ere arriving at Modane, we passed the superb fort of Lesseillon, which
tier above tier crowns crag above crag, with its batteries ready to
sweep road and valley. The range of cliffs to the right among which it
rises are wild and bare. In the depths of the gorge under it, the Arc,
narrowed to a streamlet, cuts its passage between walls of rock; the
stone arch of the Pont du Diable spanning the chasm, and nearer the
fort a frailer wooden bridge flung with yet more hardihood. The
mountain to the left, at whose base was our road, hanging over the
savage defile, was clothed with a forest, and dashing down, or
trickling to our feet, cascade and torrent wound among the roots of fir
and larch, or bounded over their branches. The only neighbour of the
fortress is a wretched village; it must be a melancholy garrison: for
some time it made a fine object in the background with the snows of
Mont Cenis and his companions.

As we continued to descend, the clear green stream of the Arc,
sometimes wild and angry, foams and roars among her masses of black
stone, sometimes flows mildly and brightly, retreating from the road in
coquettish curves, half hiding itself in a fringe of birch and larch
and fir, and issuing again to smile at her admirers and receive their
homage. Nothing can surpass in loveliness the valley of the Maurienne.
Modane is a wretched hole, beautifully placed, a blot in Paradise; the
noble road takes alternately both sides of the narrow valley. At a spot
which most claimed admiration, we met a post carriage, its inmate this
warm day ensconced in great coat and cap, fast asleep. We have once
more the hardy peasantry, a contrast to that of Italy, the women with
their fresh faces and thick ankles, ascending the mountain paths
followed by their cows and goats tinkling their gay bells; and we have
also the pretty country churches with their spires of grey stone
peeping over rocks and through pines instead of the staring dome and
unfinished Roman front of those of Italian hamlets, which wanted money
as well as modesty. Avalanches of earth have hereabouts injured the
road, not yet wholly repaired, and farther on the valley narrowed and
became bare and less beautiful, and the rain fell heavily. At the next
turn, however, we saw St. Michel close by, beneath and upon his noble
crag, and galloped towards the shelter the horses, who went lightly on
as if they had not been ridden three and thirty miles.

The landlord, who is an approved rogue, asked prices which made us
threaten him with going to the other inn. He excused himself by saying
all his provisions were brought over the mountain from Turin, so, as
you may be curious to hear what St. Michel imports from Italy, our
dinner consisted of two weary-looking larks, a chicken who seemed
pinched with the cold of the snow-storm, a hard hearted old
cauliflower, one fish and three apples.

                              CHAPTER XII.

St. Jean de Maurienne—A tradition of two fingers—Story of a
  procession of bears at Henry the Second’s passage—Peculiar
  Carbonaria—Chambéry—-Road by the Mont du Chat—A valley of the
  Rhone—Pierre Châtel once a monastery—Bellay—Murder committed by a
  notary—A peculiar race—Pont d’Ain—Cathedral of Brou—Its foundress
  and her motto—Bourg—Fair-time—An aubergiste—Montrevel—We are
  taken for part of Franconi’s troop—Tournus—Chalons—Arnay le
  Duc—Vermenton—Joigny—A poor traveller—The chapter of
  Sens—Montereau where Jean sans Peur was

                                                         4th November.

Left St. Michel early as possible, (the mountains before us, along
whose edge a passage from the road has been blasted, seeming to shut in
the valley,) skirting the bright river, which widens and winds, forming
birch and fir islets, its small waves all golden, not from the sun,
which does not look down on them so early, but the reflection of the
autumnal foliage on the hill side. St. Jean de Maurienne, two posts
farther, has a good inn; looking back to it from the turn of the road,
the view was smiling and lovely. In the vestibule of the cathedral are
the tomb of Humbert of the white hands, and others of the first counts
of La Maurienne, and in its treasury are preserved the two fingers of
John the Baptist, with which it is said he baptized Jesus Christ.
According to the traditions of the country, a young girl born in the
environs went to Egypt, whence she brought them back in a golden box.
Gontran, king of Burgundy and Orleans, built, in the year 561, the
church which was destined to contain these precious relics, and the
town, tendering to them the respect due, added two fingers to its arms!!

The country surrounding St. Jean produces bears, and the Maréchal de
Vielleville tells an amusing anecdote relating to the passage of Henry
the Second of France in 1548:—

“He was prayed by the bishop and the inhabitants to honour them by
making his entry into their town with some pomp, promising him some new
diversion which would gratify and was unknown to him. The king
consequently presented himself at the gates of Maurienne, accompanied
by a train suited to royalty, but having entered and moved forward
about two hundred paces, he was suddenly met by a company of men in
bearskins, but their heads, hands and feet as well as their bodies so
masked and accoutred, that they might be taken for real bears, and
issuing from a street to the beat of drum, banners earned before them,
and each bearing a pole on his shoulder, placed themselves between the
king and his Swiss guards, marching four and four, to the wonder of the
court, and the people conducted the king, who was marvellously
delighted at seeing bears so well counterfeited, to the portal of the
church, where, according to custom, Henry dismounted, and where the
bishop and clergy waited his coming, forming a station with cross and
relics, in their ornaments and richest attire, and with sacred music to
welcome him.”

“The service over, the above named bears brought the king back to his
lodging, and executed before it a thousand bearish gambols, such as
wrestling and climbing along the houses and up the pillars of the
market, and, admirable to relate, they imitated with such truth to
nature, the howling of bears, that one might have fancied oneself in
the mountains; and seeing that his majesty from his apartments took
great pleasure in watching them, the whole hundred assembled beneath
and howled simultaneously a manner of salvo, so fearful, that a great
number of horses, mounted by valets and lackeys, and in waiting before
the king’s lodging, broke violently girths and reins, flung their
riders, and dashed in their terror over the bodies of all who stood on
their passage. The king confessed he had never been so gratified by
rural device and drollery, and bestowed two thousand crowns.”

St. Jean de Maurienne retains peculiar customs and ceremonies on the
occasion of baptism, marriage and funeral. The cradle of a male child,
in honour of its sex, is carried on the right shoulder, and the bells
are rung to welcome its birth; they are silent for a female, and the
left shoulder is the less dignified place on which rests her cradle.

The young man who aspires to the hand of a maiden seeks her cottage at
night, accompanied by one comrade. If she places upright in the chimney
one of the logs burning in the hearth, it is a token of his being
rejected. Should this fatal sign remain unmade, preliminaries are
entered upon, and the future bridegroom invites his father-in-law to
the public-house, where all is arranged, and the young man, reconducted
to the cottage, gives earnest-money to his intended wife. They are then
affianced without ceremony. The night before the marriage the relations
of both are invited to the maiden’s house, who hides herself, and is
sought by her lover and his comrades, and welcomed when found with
rustic music. The wedding morning, the friends and guests, covered with
cockades and laurel branches, conduct the couple to church. The
mother-in-law of the maiden waits her return and receives her with
various and symbolical ceremonies. A broom is laid on her path; if she
forgets to take it up it is a mournful omen, and a sign that she will
prove a bad housewife. Her mother-in-law throws a handful of corn at
her head in token of the plenty which is to form the happiness of her

She next finds placed before her a loaf, which she is to cut and
distribute to the poor, and a kettle of broth wherewith to serve the
guests, in token of charity and hospitality. Then follows the meal: a
cake is brought in, ornamented with laurel branches, and a child
carries round the table a plate, on which each person lays his
offering, which is presented to the bride, and by her given to the poor.

When a man dies in these countries, two of his neighbours dig his
grave, others carry him thither, and the ceremony ends by a repast,
during which the guests drink to the memory of the departed, and the
health of those who have “_made the ground_.” There are parishes in
which it is the custom to lay every Sunday, during a year, a loaf and a
pint of wine on the dead man’s grave. If the decease takes place on a
Friday, it is a sign of new misfortune to his family. The new-born
child and the person carrying it, who meet a funeral, are destined to
follow within a year.

We passed La Grande Maison, a low inn by the road-side, and a little
further, arrived at one of those sweet spots which make landmarks in
one’s memory—the entrance of a village, beyond which the mountains
meet again; where a one-arched bridge spans the river before a mass of
black rock, and the remains of one which former storms swept away, and
is now scarce visible through the vegetation which covers it; and
cottages on the shore, with trellised vines and gay flower gardens
sloping to the water.

We had lingered on the way, and it was late and the fog rising, when we
entered the marshy valley in which stands Aiguebelle, at whose entrance
among the trees which cover its summit may still be traced the ruins of
Carbonaria, or, as the Savoyards call it, the Castle of La
Charbonnière, which was the birthplace and the residence of the first
counts of Savoy, but, taken by Henry the Fourth, was razed to the
ground. At no great distance from Aiguebelle, is, or rather was, the
village of Randans, on which a mass of rock, detached from that of
Combes, slipped suddenly down in June, 1750. The soil is now on a level
with the steeple of the church, through whose windows it is possible to
enter the buried edifice. The inn of Aiguebelle (la Posta) good and

                                                         5th November.

A morning of clouds and vapour floating over the hills, and hardly
favourable to the cold on my chest, which causes me some suffering; a
road all rises and falls, mud and stones, but looking down on a fair
valley, whose wooded hillocks are again crowned with ruined castles.
Maltaverne, or Chateauneuf, as it is called, may possess a good inn,
but it looks unpromising; I should be more inclined to try the Balance
at St. Ambrose, a little farther. At last, from this narrow road which
winds between green hedges, descending abruptly, we come on the rock of
Montmeillan, (of whose importance you can only on this side be aware,)
the high cliff commanding it, and the broad bed of the Isère below.
From the bridge which crosses the latter Mont Blanc was not to-day
visible, hid in clouds called up by the north-easter. The road skirts
the dirty town, and is carried across the lower portion of the rock,
(D—— said a surly No! to the innkeeper who summoned us to his bad
inn,) and we rode on to Chambéry, through scenery changed and saddened
in the four months which have elapsed since we left it, amongst
leafless walnut-trees and fading yellow poplars. Found on the muddy
road the white-haired and half blind beggar, who was our pensioner. He
thanked me for my return gift, with “Merci, mon garçon,” and entering
by the Faubourg Montmeillan, Fanny made no mistake, but passing
scornfully the Europe and Petit Paris, entered her own inn-yard.

                                                        11th November.

Though really ill when I arrived, the comfortable bed I found ready,
and the care of these kind people, who made tisanes innumerable, has
already worked a cure. So having found no letters, and having three
days borne with the anxiety the want of them occasioned, I decided on
leaving for Geneva, where I had also desired they might be sent on. As
we were about to start this morning, an employé of the post-office
appeared bearer of three, whose arrival took place before our own, and
my mind being at ease, we are to take the road over the Mont du Chat,
eleven posts shorter than that by Geneva.

To Bourget, the first post, we crossed the plain, commencing only to
ascend when we had passed its village and ruined castle on the lake
shore. To us who expected a quiet promenade on a hill-side, the Mont du
Chat was a surprise; its bold zigzags, often without parapets, leading
to the very summit, the eye looking perpendicularly down to the blue
water, and the autumnal foliage of the chestnut trees which cover a
portion of its base, and among which hides Hautecombe.

Beyond the abbey the foot of the Mont du Chat is barren and wild, a
mass of grey rock descending to the lake without relief or verdure.
Aix, and the range of mountains at its back, the Mont d’Azi, and the
Dent de Nivolet, lie on the opposite shore, Chambéry and his snowy
mountains behind, faintly outlined to-day through mists called up by
the hottest sun which ever shone in November. Each bend of the zigzags
of this splendid road is supported by a rounded wall from beneath,
resembling towers, and the first of which deceived me, then on the look
out for a Roman ruin, and so determined on its discovery, as to believe
that this might be a part of the temple raised to Mercury, whose
foundations may really be traced still on the little plain at the
summit of the pass. Not far beyond this level of a few yards we rode by
a ruin of another date, being the remnant of a Gothic portal.
Descending once more, though the view had lost its chief charm with the
bright glory of the lake of Bourget, it yet possessed boldness and
grandeur, looking over broken hills topped by towns, strangely grouped,
and barren, and terminated by the mountain of Tarare, recalling Scott’s
descriptions of border country. On our path, beneath the jagged line of
white cliff on the left, were green pastures, hiding in nooks, belted
with rocks and patches of woodland through which peeped cottage
chimneys, and streams fringed with trees, the trunks of prostrate elms
serving for bridge over them, and fair fresh children watching the
cattle which browsed on the strips of turf along their banks. Arrived
at the foot of the Mont du Chat, we soon after reached Yenne, a
prettily-situated but most ill-favoured town, beyond which the road
continued level till it suddenly crossed the bed of a torrent, one of
the Rhone’s tributaries. This being the diligence route, they talk of
building a bridge, but the width of the winter bed would render it a
work of difficulty, though to-day the stream was but about forty feet
wide, and barely reached our horses’ knees. A few steps further brought
us to the brink of the Rhone, and within a most stern and solitary
glen, a valley of stone. On our left, where its wall rose, its cold
grey only varied by stains the weather has made, bare of leaf or living
thing; on the right, and the river’s opposite shore, greenly feathered
to the summit, and a mere line of crag, showing white among the
brushwood, like an embattled wall. A sudden bend of the river parts it
from the road, which, scarcely broad enough for one carriage, winds
under and among tall crags, scattered over turf like velvet, till it
enters a gallery formed by two of these, which might serve for portal
to Dante’s Inferno. The sides are so high, and the aperture they leave
so narrow, that no sunshine penetrates to dissipate its chill or
darkness; and down the face of its upper portion, and through the more
opaque mass which projects below, a winter torrent, which now only
trickles, has worn itself a deep groove and circular passage.

Emerging from the few yards of obscurity, we were again on the bank of
the rapid Rhone, the frontier fortress of Pierre Châtel crowning the
high grand cliff opposite, and before us the light suspension bridge
gracefully crossing the river, uniting Savoy to France. Half way up the
cliff side and imbedded in it, a picturesque object among trees and
briars which spring round, is a loopholed wall flanked by two low
towers, the private entrance to the fort, to which conducts a stair cut
in the living rock. Arrived at the bridge, two stupid Savoy douaniers
detained us twenty minutes ere they could understand our non-possession
of receipts for horse-duty, taken from us when the money was returned.
On the French shore, the men said, that being a festival, they could
not tell whether Monsieur would or would not descend from his pavilion
to give the acquit à caution. We observed that, if that were the case,
he would do well to build an inn. The old gentleman appeared on his
terrace shrugging his shoulders in sign of impatience, but at last
thought proper to come down, and the horses being measured and the
fifty-five francs paid, we were allowed to ride on, having lost an hour.

Pierre Châtel, now a fortress, was once a fortified monastery, raised
by Amedée the Sixth, in the fourteenth century, who founded the order
of the collar of Savoy, now named of the Annonciade, the Chartreuse of
Pierre Châtel serving as chapel and place of assembly for the knights
of the order. It was only when Bresse and Bugey had been ceded by
Charles Emmanuel to Henry the Fourth of France, that the meetings of
the knights of the order were transferred to Montmeillan, and not very
long since the armorial bearings of those received during the fifteenth
and sixteenth centuries were still hung in one of the vast halls.

The road passing from the bridge beneath the crag on which the fortress
stands, though quitting the Rhone here, continues very beautiful as far
as Bellay, bold in the distance and wooded near,—but the hills are
frequent and fatiguing, and the last the worst, as the town is perched
on a pinnacle. The miserable inn is on the Place, and the window of our
bedroom looked on the closed office of the notary Peytel. You may
remember that the 31st of October twelvemonth, driving home in his
cabriolet from Bourg, to obtain sole command of her fortune, he
murdered his young wife, having first shot the servant, (a man of
irreproachable character,) as on him was to lie the weight of the
crime. The story Peytel told was at first believed, but his
forgetfulness had left his servant’s still loaded pistols on his
person, and his guilt came strangely to light. His fellow notaries, not
liking the stain of an execution on their brotherhood, drew up a
petition in his favour. It appears that notwithstanding his double
murder, he excited sympathy, and himself believed in the possibility of
pardon; and bearing out the assertion “that all the world is a stage
and the men merely players,” to obtain a last dramatic effect he
embraced the gaoler’s wife ere he went to execution, and bade her mark
that his countenance had undergone no change. The servant, while
lighting my fire, said his sister had gone to Paris to petition the
king, but had done so in vain, because it was said that Peytel was not
a _brave homme_, as this was not his _première fois_. So that,
according to Fanchette’s code of morality, a man may be a _brave homme_
who commits murder only a _première fois_. Bad dinner and bad beds.

The hostler asked D—— if I did not belong to a peculiar race called
Amazons, always attired thus.

                                            Pont d’Ain, 12th November.

Rose early to leave Bellay ditto, and were detained by seeing the rain
pouring down on the melancholy Place, and the red umbrellas of people
who crossed it in sabots, and the dripping diligence just arrived,
wrinkling the widened gutter where half a dozen ducks were dipping
their heads in the water and seemed triumphing in their superior powers
of enjoyment. As the inn was not tempting, we left it as soon as the
shower in some degree subsided, and a short distance and gentle ascent
brought us to the identical bridge, the scene of the murder. It crosses
a sluggish stream which creeps on either side of it and of the road
over low and marshy meadows. The spot has a melancholy aspect, partly
perhaps from its associations and the weather on which we saw it. A few
fine oaks grow here and there, near one of which the man was murdered,
and within hearing are several cottages, one so close that its
inhabitants might almost, had the moon been bright (for it was eleven
o’clock), have seen what was passing. The marsh, to which she fled in
her terror, was on the right hand as we approached the bridge, and
having pursued and shot her there, he feared she was not quite dead,
and ere he feigned to seek assistance, laid her, face downwards, in the
water, and preserving his coolness when he returned, placed her corpse
in the cabriolet and drove beside his victim into Bellay.

Our road entered a desolate glen, where the deposits formed by the
heavy rains have made small lakes or rather large pools under the bare
hills. This melancholy valley is succeeded by one of surpassing beauty,
for there are crags still grey and shattered but peeping above wooded
hills on which stand the proud ruins of convent and castle, or with
vineyards growing up their sides, the clear water of the rapid stream
at their foot flashing as it turns watermills, and in the hollow where
it flows so busily, oak and chestnut, and walnut, and ash-trees,
forming groves rich and varied, interspersed with clumps of dark box
and portions of fallen rock bright with the delicate greens of the
mosses which cover them.

We passed St. Rambert, beautifully placed on the river’s edge, with its
ancient fortress above and the ruin of another stronghold like itself
on an eminence which rises from the flat surface of the valley. Two
leagues before arriving at Pont d’Ain, we bade a final adieu to this
lovely country, and issued on the plains of France. As it was growing
dusk, we less regretted the change, and Fanny, finding a strip of turf
by the road-side, shook her small head and cantered on merrily. There
is a fine bridge at Pont d’Ain, and the inn is good, though dear.

                                                        13th November.

A lovely morning; Bourg is prettily placed, for the plain has
undulations and patches of copse wood, and you look back to the
mountains of Savoy. Left the cathedral of Brou on the right hand just
before entering the town, a large building of not perhaps the purest
Gothic, but picturesque notwithstanding, and within of remarkable
beauty. Early in the year 1120, there stood on this spot a monastery,
whither Ulric, Lord of Bresse, returned from the Holy Land to end his
days. The Duchess of Savoy, wife of Philip the Second, made a vow to
build here a splendid church and convent should her husband escape the
consequences of a dangerous fall. Commenced by the latter, they were
left unfinished, for he died in 1497. His son Philibert succeeded him;
he had espoused Margaret of Austria, daughter of the Emperor Maximilian
and of Mary of Burgundy. Twice affianced, to Charles the Eighth of
France, and John, heir to the Spanish throne, she married Philibert,
surnamed the Handsome in 1501, and in 1504 was left a widow and
childless. She had Bresse for dowry, and the government of Burgundy
from her father, so that seeing herself rich and uncontrolled, she
undertook to accomplish her mother-in-law’s vow, and raised the
cathedral as it now stands between the years 1511 and 1530. The tombs
of the old duchess, its first founder, and that of Philip, are there,
as are those of Philibert the Handsome and Margaret herself. On her
monument is inscribed the singular motto—

                     Fortune, Infortune, fors une.

Unluckily for our progress it was fair time at Bourg, and the crowd of
peasants in their short boddices and flat hats, which, surmounted by a
black lace turret and ornamented by black lace streamers, are placed at
the top of their ugly heads, literally stopped the way. One pretty girl
(the only one) looked well under it. The boddice and short sleeves are
ornamented with fringe, black lace, and rags innumerable, and the arms
are bare, saving in those who, exhibiting great luxury, have worsted
gloves confined above the elbow by elastic garters. Passing towards the
centre of the fair, where the thickest crowd stood gaping round the
tent which contained Franconi’s troop, a fat man came rushing forth
from a café, and with one hand on my rein and the other on my arm,
inquired whether I would take any thing, and whether the horses had
been fed, so affectionately, that I had great trouble in getting rid of

My heart sank when I saw Montrevel, where the landlady of Pont d’Ain
had said we should be “pas mal,” and the poor woman, with fear in her
face, told me she had never lodged travellers before. However, when I
had groped after her up the dark ladder-staircase, and passed the room
in which slept the whole family, three dogs included, we found one
better than I expected, as it was large as a barn, and clean, though
damp, as never used save for festivals, wedding, or christening. We
made a good fire on the one lonely dog, and got supper, whose best dish
was one of roasted chestnuts, and dry sheets over hard, moist
mattresses, the beds being there for ornament. To the stable, while
D—— stood there to see the horses fed, came a peasant in blue frock
and striped night-cap, who watched, in respect and some awe, Fanny’s
demeanour, never of the quietest when she is curried, and at last said,
“Those animals have far more sense than we have.” D—— thought from
his face that might easily be, and said, “Very true;” but with another
look of admiration he returned to the charge, and said, “Vous venez de
travailler à Bourg,” which D——, not quite comprehending, explanations
followed; and it came out that he thought we belonged to Franconi’s
troop (as did I suppose the fat man at the café) and were all four

Left Montrevel for Tournus, the greater part of the way a desolate
flat, beneath the cold fog, broken by a few hills, long as
uninteresting. The peasants of La Bresse are a quiet though uncouth set
of people; their miserable habitations cleaner than those of the more
northern provinces of France. Met no one save a group of gipsies, on
whom we came as I walked to warm myself down one of these quasi
mountains, Fanny following like a spaniel. They were gathered beneath
an ancient oak, the older people cooking, a handsome youth touching a
guitar, and a girl, with the dark fine features of her race, gazing at
him as did the large dog, whose head rested on her knee. Outside the
bridge of Tournus, found at a café the stout old gentleman, Madame
Lalouet’s pensionnaire, who, on our former visit, provided us with a
château and private theatre. We shook hands, and he told us we should
be welcome at the inn, as indeed we found on our arrival, for it is one
of the very best on the road.

                                                        14th November.

Left Tournus for Chalons the 14th November, in cold fog and drizzling
rain; the view of the town and its towers, and the windings of the
Saône, which I thought pretty when we rode here on a sunny morning,
having lost its charm now, seen through the mist which lay heavily on
the few leafless trees, and the waves of mud of the straight road
before us. Before reaching Chalons we came again on the broken, bad
pavé; the sides of the road impassable, as our horses slipped or sunk
into the heavy ground almost to the knee. Arrived at the Hôtel du Parc;
uncomfortable as before.

                                                        15th November.

A lovely morning, though the fog overtook us, and the last of our rides
which possessed any interest; for, after Chagny’s plain and pavé, we
entered the valley, and passed the ruins of La Rochepot; they had less
beauty in the gleam of November sunshine, and clouds and mist hid the
plains of Bresse, and the line of snowy mountains which terminated the
view. The moor beyond, soaked by autumnal rains, was too heavy to
canter over; and the oak wood, beyond Givry, exhibits now but a few
brown leaves, clinging mournfully to twigs almost bare. Recognized by
postilions who met us on the road in April, and arrived at Arnay le Duc
by moonlight.

                                                        16th November.

As it rains now every other day, it rained this morning, and our
hostess as we left her shrugged her shoulders at our insanity. We hoped
to pass Rouvray and reach Avallon, but when two leagues and a half from
Roche en Breuil, Grizzy dropped a hind shoe, and we were retarded by
the necessity of leading her thither, for in the two wretched villages
we rode through, there was no farrier. Entering Rouvray, Fanny dropped
one of hers put on at Florence, and we went to and were well received
at the Ancienne Poste, our old quarters.

                                                        17th November.

Wished to get on to Auxerre, for the day was warm and lovely, but to do
so took unwisely our host’s advice, and a short cut by an abandoned
route, where we sank into mud, and scrambled over stones and rode
through a deep stream, till at the first village we reached we were
very happy to inquire the way to join the high road again, and thus
doubling instead of saving distance, and climbing the long hills of
Burgundy, it was already dark when we reached St. Bris. We reckoned on
the moon, but she was hid in heavy clouds till we reached Vermenton,
where, her light no longer needed, she shone forth splendidly.

The inn is the last house in the dirty town, and though frequented by
rouliers only, whose waggons, with their dogs guarding them, were
ranged before the door in the moonlight, we found there, with a good
humoured fat landlady, good dinner, beds and fire, and our horses a
private stable, but the waggoners sing at supper and get up at two to
prepare for starting at four, so that our rest was of the shortest.
Beyond Vermenton there is another long hill, steeper than any we have
travelled since those of the Appennines. The heavy fog froze on our
cloaks, hiding the view of the bare hills beyond our marl road, the
only good one between Paris and Bourg, till we drew near Auxerre, where
we fed our horses, and the weather changed during our short stay, as
the sun shone out with oppressive splendour. For some miles ere we
reached Joigny, the badness of the road retarded us, and the sun had
set when we stopped at the hôtel de Bourgogne, one of the good inns on
our passage.

                                                        19th November.

When half a league out of Joigny, D—— discovered that he had left the
small valise in the manger, and commissioned to return for it a young
man who for some time, walking lightly along, had kept pace with our
horses, and had just laughed heartily at an old marketwoman, who,
riding her donkey in masculine guise, treated with some contempt me and
my saddle. He said it was a happy chance for him, as he was on his way
from Bordeaux to Paris, and had spent his last halfpenny, having paid
four sous for his night’s lodging, and eaten neither supper nor
breakfast. He ran to Joigny and back, and when he came up with us once
more, we noticed that his shoe was cut, and praised his diligence. He
said he had been a far better walker before the beam of a house, which
was taking down, had fallen on his foot and crushed it. As he took from
D—— the money which was to convey him the remainder of his way, he
drew his left hand a moment from his waistcoat pocket, and I saw it was
crippled. So here was a poor fellow, with no breakfast, and no money,
and no hope of either, walking to Paris miles away, with a useless hand
and injured foot, neither desponding nor trying to excite compassion,
nor asking charity, nor servile when it was bestowed—proving again
what I have observed so often, that the French bear privation and
misfortune better than any people in the world. He said he should be
well provided for as soon as he arrived in Paris, as he wrote a fair
hand, and his brother established there had a place of clerk awaiting
him. At the first village we came to, he stopped for his morning meal,
and we saw no more of him.

At Villeneuve le Roy we fed and rested our horses, and again lingered
too long. Passed through Sens, the prettiest of French towns, and
before its cathedral, without stopping. The chapter of Sens is
unfortunately poor, and has lately sold ancient tapestries and curious
relics to pay the expenses of its repairs. A part of this money has
been expended in raising statues outside the building, and the sculptor
has so executed his mission, that several are most remarkable as being
very crooked; and one, in particular, whose arms are folded, leans to
one side, perilously for those below, as he is ninety feet from the
ground. Night closed in as we reached Pont-sur-Yonne, for we had again
counted on a faithless moon; and as the trees, which bordered the bad
road, had been lately felled and lay across it, we proceeded slowly and
all rather wearily, till the moon shone out from behind a cloud, and
Fanny knew her way and trotted on first and stopped at the inn gate.
The landlady received us gratefully, as since our passage she has
lodged several families who went to her on my recommendation, and we
have enjoyed the best supper by the blazing fire in her best room, hung
round with Don Quixote’s adventures.

                                                        20th November.

Left Villeneuve le Guiard for Melun in threatening weather, following
the Fontainebleau road as far as Fossard, but the skies compensated for
their yesterday’s kindness, and the cold north-easter blew in our faces
the coldest of all possible rains. The horses hung their heads, and so
did we: for there was neither bank nor bush to shelter us. Where the
road turns off at Fossard, there appears to be a good inn, which we
passed crest-fallen, crossing the bridge of Montereau, where Jean sans
Peur, duke of Burgundy, was murdered.

Not stopping to see his sword, which hangs in the church, we travelled
with more discontent than curiosity up the long hill which rises from
the dirty Yonne. My hat, lately purchased in a country town, proving
only felt, and softened by rain till it clung to my throat like a black
silk handkerchief: rain almost the whole weary day, and the road
crossing a wood, thin, stunted and leafless, so affording no shelter.
Ere entering Melun, the shoe of Grizzle’s obstinate hind foot, and the
two fore shoes of Fanny, were discovered to be loose, and must be put
on ere we leave to-morrow. This inn, the Hôtel de France, is a contrast
and a foil to its Fontainebleau namesake, being as bad as its masters
are uncivil. Poisoned at dinner by some chicorée, dressed in a dirty
copper saucepan.

                                                 Paris, 21st November.

Very unwell all night, but up with dawn, as the shoeing of our horses
by a country farrier is an operation long and perilous. If I had seen
yesterday before dinner the aides de cuisine I watched this morning
preparing vegetables in the yard, the sight of them would have cured
hunger and spared illness. The rain held off till we got on horseback,
and then came down and continued in torrents till we reached Charenton,
accompanied by wind and fog; so that the deluge joined to the extreme
fatigue which I felt at last, and the sick faintness consequent on
eating verdigrease, I suffered more than any day of our journey, and,
being last, it seemed the longest. At Charenton the rain abating, the
horses dried, and we cheered up, and as it grew dark arrived at the
Place de la Bastille. When we reached the quays, Fanny, though far from
home, still knew her way, pricked her ears and hurried her pace, and,
when on the Place Louis Quinze, took unbidden the way to the Champs
Elysées, and cantered up them towards her old habitation.

There are always moments of anxiety preceding the meeting with friends
after months of absence, and the heart beats painfully as one stops
before the door, uncertain of the well-being of those within. My
father’s voice from the window reassured me, and we entered, hopeless
looking figures, wet to the skin, and muddy to the knee. “Sure such a
pair were never seen!”

It was luxury to close round the fire, talking all at once; to feel we
did not care whether it snowed or shone on the morrow, as our long
march was at an end at last, and our comrades consigned to the care of
their old attendant, whom they recognized and caressed, after their
manner, and who walked triumphantly away with his travelled Fanny.

                  *       *       *       *       *

   We have travelled many a mile.
     And your courage mine inspired;
   Your playfulness awoke our smile,
     Your eager step seemed never tired;
   Suspended o’er the torrent’s wrath,
   When you trod the zigzag path,
   Where your small foot scarce found place;
   With the spirit of your race,
   Climbed the steps of slippery stone
   Where horse’s hoof had never gone,
   While the Alpine women wondered;
   Where the wild stream foamed and thundered,
   Firm and fearless stemmed the ford,
   And calmly drank where worst it roared,
   And seemed as in contempt to tread
     O’er the easier Appennine,
   Till you toss’d your tiny head,
     Disdainful of the Florentine.

   When the summer day we bore
     Air which burned and earth which glowed,
   On the broad lake’s glorious shore;
     Droopingly your comrade trode;
   Where from the oak-boughs o’er us flung,
   The clasping vine’s rich clusters hung,
   And the dark Italian laughed
   While the full grape’s juice we quaffed,
     The gladness he had given to see;
     Save you, we came so wearily;
   Still your portion you received,
   And thanked me for your thirst relieved
     By treading yet more cheerily.

   Riding o’er a land unknown,
     When day had died in twilight’s bed,
   And darkness on the world sank down.
     And it was long since you had fed,
   And yet we had not reached the town;
   The village inn you lingered nigh,
   And turned to me your asking eye:
   It said, “The long day’s night is near,
   Mistress, may I rest me here?”
   Needed but to raise the rein,
   Merrily you trode again.
     All strange places made your home,
   You ne’er demeaned you as a stranger,
     Wont in confidence to come,
   Pawing joy to rack and manger.
   Plebeian horses shrank aloof
   From my small steed’s indignant hoof.
   Where’er we went, affection grew
   In the coldest hearts, for you.
   They knew you by your hurried tread;
   They watched you from afar—they said,
   O’er hill, o’er hold your small form shoot,
     Like a meteor of the sky,
   Fanny of the flying foot,
     Fanny of the shining eye!

   Bright Italia woo’d in vain,
   Fields of France we sought again;
   While to the Arno’s narrow valley
     The summer would not say adieu,
   The autumn’s forces failed to rally
     Upon the mountain too;
   Lay in the hollow of the hill
   The sealike mist, inert and still;
   And warring sunbeams shone between,
   Where taller trees made islets green;
   And on the higher peaks enthroned,
   The wind’s contending currents moaned,
   Disputing mastery o’er each other,
   For the north called the snow, his brother;
   And the south, scattering clouds afar,
   Made vistas for the evening star.
   And it was beautiful to view
     The unveiled moon smile all her love
   Unto a sky so purely blue:
   And by her trembling light you knew
     The humble inn and chestnut grove,
   Which scarce had shelter suiting you.
   Beside, upon the couch of fern,
   The tired ox lay down in turn;
   The poster’s bells chimed thro’ the night,
     The mountain wind sang through the cranny,
   And yet of all who rose with light,
     The promptest was my joyous Fanny.

   The plains of Piedmont we passed o’er,
   The swollen river’s ravaged shore;
   And Savoy’s sentinel was nigh,
   With his white forehead in the sky.
   And from the road the conqueror made,
   We looked back o’er the land he swayed;
   Land deemed an empire’s dearest gem,
   Till sank into her wearer’s soul
     The iron of her diadem;
   Once could she heroes’ names unroll,
     And now she yields all saving them!
   Seeming near tho’ far away,
   Stretched at our feet Italia lay,
   As we the fathom line might throw,
   Where the coiled river gleamed below;
     Where shattered peak and abbey hoar
   Darkly rose in heaven as based
   On the white vapour which embraced,
   And tremblingly one sunbeam found,
   A path unto the nearer mound
   Nobly tho’ ruinously crowned,
     By some old ruler of the Dore.
   Hollow tower and crumbling wall,
   Sole historians to recall,
   Power and pride, and force, and fall.
   Rising in that fragrant air,
   Breathing life and joy and rest,
   (Such as should blow o’er the blest,)
   Gently the matin chime it bare,
   As if the voice of praise and prayer
   Its holy pinion wafted best.
   The vine crept up the mountain side,
   Paying homage to its pride;
   The monarch forest o’er us reared
   Arms unshorn and crown unseared;
   On its branches, poised or hid
   By the green leaves’ pyramid,
   Snow-flakes, delicate and faint,
     Lay like blossoms pure and pale,
   Such as would perish in the taint
     Of the hot breezes of the vale.
   Gaily went my lively steed,
     Cast no lingering glance below,
   Browzing on the mountain weed,
     Slaking thirst on mountain snow.
   Suddenly when change arose,
   Unseen winds brought unfelt foes
   Heaven to hide and earth to bound,
   While the thickening fog closed round,
   Impalpable but mighty wall;
   Where sprang a moment from the gloom,
   Engulphed again as in a tomb,
   In mid air hung the waterfall.
   And on the border of its shroud,
   The lake but seemed a denser cloud.
   We knew that shelter must be won
   Ere setting of that shadowed sun,
   Or we might find at evening’s close
   Too cold a couch, too still repose.
   The Guardian screen’d him from the blast,
   In each closed refuge we rode past.
   The strings of pearl the frost had strung
   To your dark mane’s tresses clung,
   Against the tempest and the hill,
   Strained gallantly my palfrey still.
   When all things shook in Nature’s spasm,
   And the wind roared down the cleft
   Where barriers former storms have left,
   Bend like rushes o’er the chasm,
   Firmly placed to meet its course,
   Fearlessly you faced its force;
   When its rude hand rending wide
   The curtain of the mountain side,
   Showed the village at its foot,
   Where the pine first strikes its root,
   On the loud Arc’s savage shore;
   Well you guessed your labour o’er,
   And rightly chose the stable door;
   With eye undimm’d, and limbs unworn,
     You rolled your weariness away.
   Your hunger scarce appeased at morn,
     For still you struck your foot to say,
   What sweetness has the lowland corn,
     What fragrance has the mountain hay!
   Sun and summer left behind,
   Pelting rain and biting wind
   Marshalled back our joyless way,
   Thro’ the brief and wintry day;
   By the long untrodden road,
   Straight you sought your old abode;
   Neighing welcome at the door,
   To the menial yours before.
   Strong until the goal was won,
   Failing when your task was done,
     We watched you prostrate in the stall,
   Your head upon the old man’s knee,
   And your dim eye turned to me;
   Anxiously your state he scanned;
     You, untameable with all,
   Faintly licked his iron hand;
   Now sorrow o’er and sickness cured,
   Prized for every pang endured,
   Your playful toil what sweetens rest,
     Your task to bear me forth at morn,
   Lighter step and loftier crest,
     Seem proud of hardships braved and borne.
   And when age shall come at length,
   And the swift foot learns to tire,
   And the dark glance lacks its fire,
   None to urge your failing strength,
     Service harsh nor duties vile,
     Peasant hand shall ne’er defile;
     The green fields of your native isle
   Home of your sinking years shall be;
   Ranging far and dying free.
   Flowers shall shine and laurels nod
     O’er the gay, the bold, the canny;
   Larks upsoaring from the sod,
     Swell their songs in praise of Fanny.


The crime of Cinq Mars consisted in his treating all means as
allowable, provided they had for end the favourite’s downfall; his
treason to Louis; his appeal to Spain. The fault of De Thou lay in his
preference to an individual over his country, in private affections too
strong for public virtues. An extract from Montresor’s Memoirs,
detailing the last days of their lives, must find a place here. By
translating closely, I have tried as much as possible to preserve the
manner of the quaint original—“Journal of all which took place in
Lyons during the Proceedings instituted for the Trial of Messrs. de
Cinq Mars and de Thou.”

‘Monsieur de Cinq Mars arrived at Lyons the 4th of September of the
present year 1642, about two hours after noon, in a coach drawn by four
horses, in which were four gardes du corps carrying their muskets, and
surrounded by foot guards, belonging to the Cardinal Duke’s household,
to the number of one hundred. Before the carriage marched two hundred
horsemen, for the most part Catalonians, and three hundred more well
mounted followed. Monsieur le Grand[1] was attired in musk coloured
cloth of Holland covered over with gold embroidery, having a scarlet
cloak with large silver buttons. Being arrived on the bridge which
crosses the Rhone before entering the town, he asked Monsieur de
Ceton,[2] lieutenant of the Scotch guards, if he permitted that the
coach should be closed. This was refused him, and he was conducted to
the bridge of St. Jean, thence to the Exchange and by the Rue de
Flandres to the foot of the castle of Pierre Encise. As he passed along
the streets, continually showing himself at the carriage door, he
saluted the crowd with a smiling countenance, leaning half out of the
coach, and even recognized many to whom he bowed, calling them by name.
Arrived beneath Pierre Encise, he was surprised when told he must
descend, and mount on horseback to arrive at the castle by a road which
skirted the town: “This then,” he said, “will be the last time.” He had
imagined that orders were given to conduct him to Vincennes, and had
several times asked the guards if would be permitted hunting when
arrived there.

‘His prison was situated at the foot of the great tower, having for
only view that from the two narrow windows which looked on a small
garden, beneath which were stationed guards, as well as in his chamber,
where Monsieur Ceton with four soldiers lay, in that adjoining and
without all the doors.

‘The next day, fifth of the month, the Cardinal Bichy went to visit
him, and asked if it were his pleasure to see some one in his prison
with whom he might converse. He said he should be glad of such favour,
but that he did not deserve that for him any should be troubled.

‘Whereupon the Cardinal of Lyons summoned the Jesuit Malavette,
desiring that, since such was Monsieur de Cinq Mars’ will, he should go
thither; and he went on the 6th at five in the morning, remaining until
eight. He found him laid in a bed of scarlet damask, incommoded by a
stomach disorder which had annoyed him throughout his journey and of
which he was not rid till his death, and therefore very feeble and
pale. The priest’s converse so solaced him, that again that night he
prayed his company, and afterwards during the days his imprisonment
lasted continued to see him eve and morning. When all was over, the
above named father rendered an account to the Cardinal Duke
(Richelieu), and the Cardinal of Lyons, and the chancellor, of all
which he had said to him, and remained a long while in conference with
his Ducal Eminence, although at that time he allowed himself to be seen
by no one.

‘The 7th day of the month, the chancellor visited Monsieur de Cinq
Mars, and treated him courteously, saying he had no reasons for fear,
but all for hope; that he knew he had an upright judge, mindful of
favours received from his benefactor, since through his goodness, and
his power only, the king had not dispossessed him from his office, and
this great kindness deserved not only an eternal remembrance, but to be
repaid with infinite gratitude. The pretended occasion of this
compliment was that Monsieur le Grand had once heretofore appeased the
king’s anger greatly excited against the chancellor, but the true
reason of his civility was a fear of being refused by him for judge and
also of his appealing to the parliament of Paris, and being delivered
by the people, by whom he was loved passionately. Monsieur le Grand
replied, that he thanked him for a courtesy whose excess confused him,
but “nevertheless,” he said, “I note well from the mode in which this
affair proceeds that my life is the mark aimed at. Sir, my fate is
sealed, the king forsakes me; I look on myself henceforth but as a
victim about to be sacrificed to mine enemies’ passion and the king’s
easy temper.” To this the chancellor answered, “that such opinions were
erroneous, and by nothing warranted, and that his own experience
brought with it a contrary conviction.” “Heaven grant it,” replied
Monsieur le Grand; “but I believe it not.” The 8th day of the month,
the chancellor went to hear him, accompanied by six maîtres de
requêtes, two presidents, and six counsellors from Grenoble; but,
having interrogated him from seven in the morning till two hours after
noon, they could extract no replies.

‘The 10th, they departed altogether for Vivey, a mansion belonging to
the Abbé of Aisnay, Monsieur de Villeroy’s brother, two leagues distant
from Lyons, whither Monsieur, the king’s brother, repaired from
Villefranche, and where all proofs and papers were compared and

‘The 12th, all the judges sitting in Lyons, Monsieur le Grand was
brought thither in a coach from the castle at about eight o’clock in
the forenoon, conducted by the “chevalier du guet,” and his company,
and being introduced and placed in the accused’s seat, he answered and
confessed all which he had already made known to the chancellor in that
conference which, on the 7th of the month, they had held together, and
with gentleness and tranquillity of mind so great withal, that his
judges gazed one at the other in wonder and admiration, constrained to
acknowledge that never before had they seen or heard of constancy so
unshaken, or a mind so strong and clear. After this he was bid retire
to a chamber, whither, soon as the chancellor had collected the votes,
and his condemnation was written, they entered to read to him his
sentence; and also that before its execution, the question, both
ordinary and extraordinary, should be administered, in order to obtain
from him more fully, the declaration of who were his accomplices.

‘During the performance of this mournful office, which drew tears from
the eyes of his judges and his guards, he neither changed colour nor
countenance, losing nothing of his accustomed cheerfulness and that air
of majesty which accompanied all his actions; but towards its close, at
the mention of torture, he said to his judges, though with unaltered
mildness, “Sirs, this seems harsh to me; a person of my age and my
condition should scarce be subjected to these formalities. I know what
the forms of justice demand, but I know mine own rank also. I have
told, and will again tell all; I receive death with willingness and
unflinchingly, and therefore is the torture needless. I confess my
weakness, and that this prospect hath power to disturb me.”

‘He continued his speech yet some time farther, with so much grace and
gentleness, that his judges’ compassion prevented their reply, in
contradiction, or refusal of that indulgence he hoped to obtain from

‘Father Malavette at this time arriving inquired of him what might be
the subject of his demand, saying that these were gentlemen well
nurtured, and that from them he might expect as much favour as from the

‘“It is of small moment, father,” he replied; “I do but confess a
weakness and that it paineth me to submit to the torture; disturbing my
spirit not from apprehension of pain, for I shall go unto death with
joy and firmness, but because, having told all I know, it were vain to
use torture.”

‘The father, embracing him, answered, “Sir, be not uneasy; you have no
concern with merciless judges, since already they give your ill fortune
tears;” and taking aside two of the “maîtres de requêtes,” the priest
told them that they mistook this master spirit; that he saw well the
extreme constraint he imposed upon himself, and that they did ill so to
shake his fortitude as to risk the casting it down. The while he spoke
came thither two judges more, who said in secret to the priest, that
the question would not be administered to Monsieur le Grand, but that,
for the sake of justice and in obedience to its forms, they must
conduct him to the torture chamber. Whereupon the reverend father
accosted Cinq Mars, and drawing him aside from his guards, he said,
“Are you capable of keeping an important secret?” He said, “Father, I
pray you to believe I have been wanting in faith to none save God.”
“Well then,” he returned, “you will not suffer, nor will you be
presented to the torture; you come only to the chamber, whither I will
accompany you in guarantee of the word I pledge you.”

‘They went together, and Monsieur le Grand merely saw the cords and
other fearful instruments of torture. Meanwhile about ten o’clock,
Monsieur de Thou was conducted from the castle of Pierre Encise to the
palace, and presented to the judges to be interrogated there; and after
the usual demands, the chancellor asked whether Monsieur d’Effiat (de
Cinq Mars) had not revealed to him the conspiracy? To which he made
answer: “Gentlemen, I might deny, and absolutely, that I knew aught of
this, nor could you convict me of falsehood, for by Monsieur de Cinq
Mars only you can be apprised of my knowledge, since to no man
breathing have I spoken or written on the subject. An accused man
cannot validly accuse another, and a man cannot be condemned to death
save by the testimony of two irreproachable witnesses. Thus you see
that my life, my death, my condemnation or absolution rest on mine own
tongue; nevertheless, gentlemen, I confess that I knew of this matter.
I avow it frankly for two reasons. First, because the three months of
my imprisonment I have so passed in contemplation of life and death, as
to know undoubtingly, that however long the life I may enjoy, it can
only be unhappy. And that death is an advantage to me, seeing I hold it
as the most certain proof of my election; such as renders me ready to
die, for which I can never be better disposed than now. Wherefore I
would not let pass this opportunity of salvation. My second reason is,
that, notwithstanding this my crime be punishable with death,
nevertheless, gentlemen, you observe that it is neither extraordinary,
nor of great magnitude, nor of deep dye. I do confess I knew the plot;
I did all that in me lay to dissuade him from its accomplishment. He
believed me his only and devoted friend, and I would not betray him;
therefore I deserve death and I condemn myself by the law, Quisquis....”

‘This speech, which he spoke with a wondrous spirit and vivacity, so
favourably impressed his judges, that with difficulty they roused
themselves from the feelings it excited, nor was there one there
present who felt not a passionate inclination to save him and preserve
to France the brightest hope of her court, for so was he called even by
his foes.

He was thereupon sentenced to death, as well as Monsieur le Grand; and
as he quitted the hall he met there the reverend father Mambrun the
Jesuit, who in Pierre Encise had confessed him, and he exclaimed in a
religious transport, “Come, on my father, let us go to death and to
heaven; let us forward to true glory. What through life have I done for
my God to obtain from him this favour he now grants me, to die
ignominiously that I may sooner arrive at true life?” and expressing
the same thought unceasingly, he was conducted to the chamber where was
Monsieur de Cinq Mars. Soon as the latter perceived him, he ran towards
him exclaiming, “Oh! friend, friend, how I mourn thy doom!” but
Monsieur de Thou embracing him, said, “Ah how happy we are to die
thus!” The one asked pardon of the other; they embraced five or six
times successively with claspings of a most unmatched love; bidding
their very guards burst into tears, for this was such a spectacle as
might soften rocks.

‘While these embracings lasted, three or four of their judges came;
which obliged them to retire to the extremity of the chamber, where
they conversed yet half an hour with most entire affection, of which
they gave proof by exclamation and gesture, the while the Father
Malavette prayed the judges who were there to promise him that they
should not be bound, neither see the executioner till arrived on the
scaffold, which was granted after some slight difficulty. And still
while this lasted, Monsieur le Grand embraced Monsieur de Thou, ending
his discourse thus: “Dear friend, let us go to think on God, and employ
the remainder of our lives in working out our salvation.”

‘“It is well said,” replied Monsieur de Thou, and taking his confessor
by the hand, he led him to a corner of the chamber and made his
confession there. Monsieur de Cinq Mars begged of the guards that they
would give him another chamber, which they refused, saying that one was
spacious enough, and that if so pleased him to go to the other corner,
he might confess himself with all convenience. But still urging his
request with grace and mildness, he at last obtained that he asked for.
Being entered into another chamber, he made a general confession of his
whole life, which lasted a long hour; then wrote three letters, the one
to his mother the Maréchale d’Effiat, wherein he prayed her to make
payment to two creditors, to whom he wrote two other letters. After
which he said to the priest that he could bear up no longer, having
swallowed nothing during twenty-four hours.

‘The father prayed his comrade to go in search of wine and eggs, and
the guards having brought both, he begged them to place all on the
table. When they had gone forth, the said father offered him wine, but
he rinsed his mouth only and swallowed nothing. Meanwhile Monsieur de
Thou had confessed himself, and with marvellous promptitude indited two
letters, and this done, paced the chamber reciting aloud the psalm,
“Miserere mei, Deus,” with enthusiasm of mind so shown in the movements
of his body, that it seemed he were about to take flight from earth. He
repeated the same verses ofttimes, exclaiming aloud and with
ejaculations, mingling in his oration passages from St. Paul and the
Holy Scripture, then taking up the “Miserere” once more, and reciting
nine times after it, “Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.”

‘During these devotions came several gentlemen to pay their respects to
him, but he waved them aside, “My thoughts are with God, I pray you
disturb me not, I am no longer of this world.” Notwithstanding this
ecstacy, there approached him one gentleman sent by his sister the
Présidente Pontac, who had come to Lyons to intercede for her brother.
He asked him from her if he wanted aught, and he replied, “I need
nothing, sir, saving her prayers and yours; nothing but death to
conduct me to life and glory.” And as he commenced reciting the psalm,
“Credidi propter quod locutus sum,” the guardian of the convent des
Observantins of Tarascon, who had confessed him in prison there, came
near and inquired what inscription he chose on the chapel founded by
himself in their convent. He replied, “What you will, my father;” but
the latter urging his request, he asked for a pen, and with such
wondrous promptitude as showed more than human facility and presence of
mind, he wrote, “Christo liberatori votum in carcere pro libertate
conceptum Franciscus Augustus Thuanus è carcere vita jam liberandus,
merito solvit.”

‘Having laid down the pen, he recommenced his prayers, reciting the
psalm “Confitebor tibi, Domine, in toto corde meo,” yielding to such
enthusiasm as at times almost overcame him. The guards looked on
trembling themselves with respect and awe. One of their judges arrived
in the meantime, demanding what they waited for, and where was Monsieur
le Grand. One knocked at his chamber door where he still was with his
confessor, and Monsieur de Cinq Mars replied with his admirable
gentleness, that it would be finished soon, and once more drawing the
priest aside, he spake to him of his conscience with such feeling of
his own offences, and of the goodness of God, that the priest perforce
embraced him, adoring in his person the might of God’s grace and that
of the mind of man; and then they prepared themselves to go forth.
Monsieur le Grand and Monsieur de Thou being met on the steps, and
having exchanged salutes, they encouraged one another with zeal and
joy, such as proved that the Holy Spirit of a truth had filled their
souls and bodies. At the foot of the steps they found their judges, and
each made to them a fair speech with thanks for the mild treatment
granted them.

‘Being on the steps without the hall, they gazed attentively at the
great crowd assembled before the palace, and bowed on all sides low and
gracefully. Monsieur de Thou, seeing how they were to be conducted in a
coach to the place of execution, said aloud to the people, “Gentlemen,
this is indeed goodness to carry thus two criminals to their death, we
who merit to be drawn thither in a cart and dragged on hurdles—the Son
of God, the symbol of innocence, having been for us so done to death
with shame and scandal.”

‘After this they entered the coach which had been prepared for them.
Messieurs de Cinq Mars and de Thou placed themselves in the back seat,
the two priests’ companions opposite the confessors themselves, one at
either door, the guards who accompanied them being about a hundred,
belonging to the chevalier du guet, with three hundred cuirassiers, the
officers of justice and the provost marshal. They began this sad
journey reciting the litanies of the Holy Virgin, after which Monsieur
de Thou embraced Monsieur de Cinq Mars four separate times with the
ardour of an angel, saying, “Dear friend, what during our lives have we
done so pleasing to God as to induce him to do us the favour to die
together? with a little infamy to wipe away our crimes, by a slight
shame to conquer heaven and its glory? Alas! is it not true that we
have not deserved it? let us mortify our hearts and spend our strength
in thankfulness, and receive death with all the affection of our souls.”

‘To this Monsieur le Grand replied by such words of virtue, faith,
charity and resignation, as exalted their confessors above themselves.
The people so thronged in the streets that the coach could hardly move
forward, and the despair was such as for like cause has seldom been
seen depicted on human countenances. Arrived at the slope of the bridge
of the Saône, Monsieur de Thou said to Monsieur de Cinq Mars, “Well,
dear friend, who shall first die?” “Your choice shall decide,” he
answered. Father Malavette, now speaking, said to Monsieur de Thou,
“You are the oldest.” “True,” replied Monsieur de Thou; but turning to
Cinq Mars, “You are the most generous, you will show me the road to
heaven and glory.” “Alas,” said Cinq Mars, “I opened before you the
path to the precipice, but let us fling ourselves there bravely, and we
shall rise to the brightness and happiness of God.”

‘During the remainder of the way, Monsieur de Cinq Mars, continuing his
acts of piety, recommended himself to the people’s prayers, putting his
head forth from the carriage windows. A group of young girls moved
withal uttered a great cry, and Father Malavette, affected by their
sorrow, could not restrain his own and wept: but Monsieur le Grand,
observing him, said, “How, father, are you more interested for me than
I for myself? I pray you shed no tears, we need your firmness to
fortify our own.”

‘As to the Jesuit Mambrun, he was so affected by the sorrow of the
people, the guards and judges, that neither in the palace nor on the
way could he utter a word, his speech stifled by his sobs.

‘Monsieur de Thou continued his journey, repeating an hundred times,
“Credidi propter quod locutus sum,” making the priest promise that he
should be allowed to recite the whole on the scaffold ere he died.

‘Arrived on the Place des Terreaux, Father Malavette first descended,
taking Monsieur le Grand and Monsieur de Thou by the hand, and saying
these words, “Go, sir; a moment will part us now, but soon shall we be
united before God and to all eternity. Do not regret that which you
lose; you have been great on earth, you will be greater in heaven, and
your grandeur will have no fall.” And having embraced once again with
last tokens of friendship, Monsieur le Grand descended from the coach,
and some insolent soldiers attempting to tear his cloak from him, he
turned to the provost marshal and asked to whom it should be given. He
bade him dispose of it as he chose, and he gave it to the priest’s
companion, desiring that its price might be bestowed on the poor.
Another soldier having taken his hat, he asked him for it civilly, and
it was returned, and he ascended the scaffold, having his head covered,
with graceful agility and gaiety kissing his hand ere he gave it to
Malavette to assist him to reach the summit. He took a turn on the
scaffold, still wearing his hat, and bowing round to the crowd with his
fine and majestic countenance. Then he flung his hat from him, and
knelt down, raising his eyes to heaven in adoration. Next approaching
the block, he made trial of it, asking how he should place himself and
whether he did well. He took the crucifix from the priest’s hand
himself on his knees, and kissed it with a tenderness inconceivable.
And as he repeated the action a thousand times, the father called aloud
to the people to pray for him; and Monsieur le Grand, stretching forth
his arms and then clasping the hands which still held the crucifix,
repeated a like prayer.

‘The executioner now approached, but the father bade him retire, and
turning Cinq Mars from him, his companion aided to undo the doublet,
and then Monsieur le Grand embraced them both, and kneeling they
recited together “Ave Maria, stella,” and at its close he received
absolution, and casting himself in the priest’s arms remained there
while one might say a Miserere.

‘The executioner again advancing to cut the hair, Monsieur de Cinq Mars
asked for scissors. The father took them from his hand and gave them to
Monsieur le Grand, who called the priest’s companion, desiring he would
cut it, and this he did, and he laid his head on the block to try it
again, and the father gave a medal into his hand and he received
indulgence and kissed the cross. He then kneeled down with wondrous
tranquillity, begging of the priest’s companion that he would continue
to hold the crucifix before his eyes which he refused to have bound, in
order that he might see it till he died. Embracing the block, he placed
himself thereon and received the mortal blow from a large butcher’s
knife, made after the fashion of the antique axes or rather like those
of England, and the one blow ended him, though the head still held to
the trunk by the skin of the throat not quite severed. The executioner
was an old needy wretch. Unnerved by the necessity of cutting through
this skin which remained, and letting the head roll on the scaffold, it
fell unto the ground.

‘The people, densely crowded on the square, at the windows and on the
towers, broke through the breathless silence which had lasted
throughout, and when the axe was raised, uttered a wild cry. The sobs
and groans recommenced with a noise and tumult altogether startling.

‘After this, Monsieur de Thou, who had remained within the coach which
had been closed, came forth from it boldly, and ascended the scaffold
with such alertness that one might have thought he flew, and arrived at
its summit he took two turns hat in hand, bowing to the multitude; then
flung in a corner his hat and the cloak, and the executioner
approaching embraced him and called him brother, and stripped his
doublet without a moment’s delay.

‘Father Mambrun who accompanied him was so profoundly affected as to be
unable to utter a word. He begged Father Malavette, who had descended
while the assistants stripped the body of Cinq Mars, to return and he
did so. They recited the psalm “Credidi” together and aloud, and after
ejaculations uttered in a firm and loud voice, in a transport and
fervour like that of a seraphim, and gestures which seemed as if his
body yielded to his soul flying to heaven, he received absolution and
gained the indulgence.

‘And having performed all Christian duties, he adored the cross ere yet
he lay his head on the block, then kissed the blood of Cinq Mars which
stained it, and bound his eyes himself with his kerchief. Having taken
his post, he received a blow on the bones of the skull which grazed it
only and he passed his hand on the wound falling backwards. The
executioner repeated the blow, grazing the skull once more, this time
above the ear, casting his victim down who kicked violently in his
agony. The executioner dealt yet a third blow on the throat which
finished him, and he received yet two more ere he could cut the head
completely off—so embarrassed was this wretched executioner. His body
was then stripped instantly, and the two bodies being placed in a coach
were borne to the church of the Feuillans.

‘The next morning the corpse of Monsieur de Thou was embalmed by order
of his sister and carried thence; and that of Monsieur le Grand was
interred under the balustrade of the said church, through the goodness
and authority of Monsieur de Gay, treasurer of France.

‘Thus died these two great men, expiating by religion and constancy the
enormity of their crime.’


Footnote 1:

  He was so styled, being grand écuyer.

Footnote 2:

  I suppose Seyton.

                                THE END.

London: Printed by W. CLOWES and SONS, Stamford Street.


                          Transcriber’s notes

1. Silently corrected typographical errors and inconsistencies;
   retained non-standard spelling.

2. Correctly accented some French words for improved software

3. Italic text in the original is delimited by _underscores_.

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