Infomotions, Inc.Passages from the French and Italian Notebooks, Volume 2. / Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864



Author: Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864
Title: Passages from the French and Italian Notebooks, Volume 2.
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Title: Passages From the French and Italian Notebooks, Volume 2.

Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne

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PASSAGES FROM THE FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS

OF

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE


VOL.  II.





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




FLORENCE (Continued).


June 8th.--I went this morning to the Uffizi gallery.  The entrance is
from the great court of the palace, which communicates with Lung' Arno at
one end, and with the Grand Ducal Piazza at the other.  The gallery is in
the upper story of the palace, and in the vestibule are some busts of the
princes and cardinals of the Medici family,--none of them beautiful, one
or two so ugly as to be ludicrous, especially one who is all but buried
in his own wig.  I at first travelled slowly through the whole extent of
this long, long gallery, which occupies the entire length of the palace
on both sides of the court, and is full of sculpture and pictures.  The
latter, being opposite to the light, are not seen to the best advantage;
but it is the most perfect collection, in a chronological series, that I
have seen, comprehending specimens of all the masters since painting
began to be an art.  Here are Giotto, and Cimabue, and Botticelli, and
Fra Angelico, and Filippo Lippi, and a hundred others, who have haunted
me in churches and galleries ever since I have been in Italy, and who
ought to interest me a great deal more than they do.  Occasionally to-day
I was sensible of a certain degree of emotion in looking at an old
picture; as, for example, by a large, dark, ugly picture of Christ
hearing the cross and sinking beneath it, when, somehow or other, a sense
of his agony, and the fearful wrong that mankind did (and does) its
Redeemer, and the scorn of his enemies, and the sorrow of those who loved
him, came knocking at any heart and got entrance there.  Once more I deem
it a pity that Protestantism should have entirely laid aside this mode of
appealing to the religious sentiment.

I chiefly paid attention to the sculpture, and was interested in a long
series of busts of the emperors and the members of their families, and
some of the great men of Rome.  There is a bust of Pompey the Great,
bearing not the slightest resemblance to that vulgar and unintellectual
one in the gallery of the Capitol, altogether a different cast of
countenance.  I could not judge whether it resembled the face of the
statue, having seen the latter so imperfectly in the duskiness of the
hall of the Spada Palace.  These, I presume, are the busts which Mr.
Powers condemns, from internal evidence, as unreliable and conventional.
He may be right,--and is far more likely, of course, to be right than I
am,--yet there certainly seems to be character in these marble faces, and
they differ as much among themselves as the same number of living faces
might.  The bust of Caracalla, however, which Powers excepted from his
censure, certainly does give stronger assurance of its being an
individual and faithful portrait than any other in the series.  All the
busts of Caracalla--of which I have seen many--give the same evidence of
their truth; and I should like to know what it was in this abominable
emperor that made him insist upon having his actual likeness perpetuated,
with all the ugliness of its animal and moral character.  I rather
respect him for it, and still more the sculptor, whose hand, methinks,
must have trembled as he wrought the bust.  Generally these wicked old
fellows, and their wicked wives and daughters, are not so hideous as we
might expect.  Messalina, for instance, has small and pretty features,
though with rather a sensual development of the lower part of the face.
The busts, it seemed to me, are usually superior as works of art to those
in the Capitol, and either better preserved or more thoroughly restored.
The bust of Nero might almost be called handsome here, though bearing his
likeness unmistakably.

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

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

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

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

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

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

As we were at dinner to-day, at half past three, there was a ring at the
door, and a minute after our servant brought a card.  It was Mr. Robert
Browning's, and on it was written in pencil an invitation for us to go to
see them this evening.  He had left the card and gone away; but very soon
the bell rang again, and he had come back, having forgotten to give his
address.  This time he came in; and he shook hands with all of us,
children and grown people, and was very vivacious and agreeable.  He
looked younger and even handsomer than when I saw him in London, two
years ago, and his gray hairs seemed fewer than those that had then
strayed into his youthful head.  He talked a wonderful quantity in a
little time, and told us--among other things that we should never have
dreamed of--that Italian people will not cheat you, if you construe them
generously, and put them upon their honor.

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

The Venus de' Medici has a dimple in her chin.


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

The street is a narrow one; but on entering the palace, we found a
spacious staircase and ample accommodations of vestibule and hall, the
latter opening on a balcony, where we could hear the chanting of priests
in a church close by.  Browning told us that this was the first church
where an oratorio had ever been performed.  He came into the anteroom to
greet us, as did his little boy, Robert, whom they call Pennini for
fondness.  The latter cognomen is a diminutive of Apennino, which was
bestowed upon him at his first advent into the world because he was so
very small, there being a statue in Florence of colossal size called
Apennino.  I never saw such a boy as this before; so slender, fragile,
and spirit-like,--not as if he were actually in ill health, but as if he
had little or nothing to do with human flesh and blood.  His face is very
pretty and most intelligent, and exceedingly like his mother's.  He is
nine years old, and seems at once less childlike and less manly than
would befit that age.  I should not quite like to be the father of such a
boy, and should fear to stake so much interest and affection on him as he
cannot fail to inspire.  I wonder what is to become of him,--whether he
will ever grow to be a man,--whether it is desirable that he should.  His
parents ought to turn their whole attention to making him robust and
earthly, and to giving him a thicker scabbard to sheathe his spirit in.
He was born in Florence, and prides himself on being a Florentine, and is
indeed as un-English a production as if he were native of another planet.

Mrs. Browning met us at the door of the drawing-room, and greeted us most
kindly,--a pale, small person, scarcely embodied at all; at any rate,
only substantial enough to put forth her slender fingers to be grasped,
and to speak with a shrill, yet sweet, tenuity of voice.  Really, I do
not see how Mr. Browning can suppose that he has an earthly wife any more
than an earthly child; both are of the elfin race, and will flit away
from him some day when he least thinks of it.  She is a good and kind
fairy, however, and sweetly disposed towards the human race, although
only remotely akin to it.  It is wonderful to see how small she is, how
pale her cheek, how bright and dark her eyes.  There is not such another
figure in the world; and her black ringlets cluster down into her neck,
and make her face look the whiter by their sable profusion.  I could not
form any judgment about her age; it may range anywhere within the limits
of human life or elfin life.  When I met her in London at Lord Houghton's
breakfast-table, she did not impress me so singularly; for the morning
light is more prosaic than the dim illumination of their great tapestried
drawing-room; and besides, sitting next to her, she did not have occasion
to raise her voice in speaking, and I was not sensible what a slender
voice she has.  It is marvellous to me how so extraordinary, so acute, so
sensitive a creature can impress us, as she does, with the certainty of
her benevolence.  It seems to me there were a million chances to one that
she would have been a miracle of acidity and bitterness.

We were not the only guests.  Mr. and Mrs. E------, Americans, recently
from the East, and on intimate terms with the Brownings, arrived after
us; also Miss F. H------, an English literary lady, whom I have met
several times in Liverpool; and lastly came the white head and
palmer-like beard of Mr. ------ with his daughter.  Mr. Browning was very
efficient in keeping up conversation with everybody, and seemed to be in
all parts of the room and in every group at the same moment; a most vivid
and quick-thoughted person, logical and common-sensible, as, I presume,
poets generally are in their daily talk.

Mr. ------, as usual, was homely and plain of manner, with an
old-fashioned dignity, nevertheless, and a remarkable deference and
gentleness of tone in addressing Mrs. Browning.  I doubt, however,
whether he has any high appreciation either of her poetry or her
husband's, and it is my impression that they care as little about his.

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

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

Mrs. Browning's health does not permit late hours, so we began to take
heave at about ten o'clock.  I heard her ask Mr. ------ if he did not
mean to revisit Europe, and heard him answer, not uncheerfully, taking
hold of his white hair, "It is getting rather too late in the evening
now."  If any old age can be cheerful, I should think his might be; so
good a man, so cool, so calm, so bright, too, we may say.  His life has
been like the days that end in pleasant sunsets.  He has a great loss,
however, or what ought to be a great loss,--soon to be encountered in the
death of his wife, who, I think, can hardly live to reach America.  He is
not eminently an affectionate man.  I take him to be one who cannot get
closely home to his sorrow, nor feel it so sensibly as he gladly would;
and, in consequence of that deficiency, the world lacks substance to him.
It is partly the result, perhaps, of his not having sufficiently
cultivated his emotional nature.  His poetry shows it, and his personal
intercourse, though kindly, does not stir one's blood in the least.

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


June 10th.--My wife and I went to the Pitti Palace to-day; and first
entered a court where, yesterday, she had seen a carpet of flowers,
arranged for some great ceremony.  It must have been a most beautiful
sight, the pavement of the court being entirely covered by them, in a
regular pattern of brilliant lines, so as really to be a living mosaic.
This morning, however, the court had nothing but its usual stones, and
the show of yesterday seemed so much the more inestimable as having been
so evanescent.  Around the walls of the court there were still some
pieces of splendid tapestry which had made part of yesterday's
magnificence.  We went up the staircase, of regally broad and easy
ascent, and made application to be admitted to see the grand-ducal
apartments.  An attendant accordingly took the keys, and ushered us first
into a great hall with a vaulted ceiling, and then through a series of
noble rooms, with rich frescos above and mosaic floors, hung with damask,
adorned with gilded chandeliers, and glowing, in short, with more
gorgeousness than I could have imagined beforehand, or can now remember.
In many of the rooms were those superb antique cabinets which I admire
more than any other furniture ever invented; only these were of
unexampled art and glory, inlaid with precious stones, and with beautiful
Florentine mosaics, both of flowers and landscapes,--each cabinet worth a
lifetime's toil to make it, and the cost a whole palace to pay for it.
Many of the rooms were covered with arras, of landscapes, hunting-scenes,
mythological subjects, or historical scenes, equal to pictures in truth
of representation, and possessing an indescribable richness that makes
them preferable as a mere adornment of princely halls and chambers.  Some
of the rooms, as I have said, were laid in mosaic of stone and marble,
otherwise in lovely patterns of various woods; others were covered with
carpets, delightful to tread upon, and glowing like the living floor of
flowers which my wife saw yesterday.  There were tables, too, of
Florentine mosaic, the mere materials of which--lapis lazuli, malachite,
pearl, and a hundred other precious things--were worth a fortune, and
made a thousand times more valuable by the artistic skill of the
manufacturer.  I toss together brilliant words by the handful, and make a
rude sort of patchwork, but can record no adequate idea of what I saw in
this suite of rooms; and the taste, the subdued splendor, so that it did
not shine too high, but was all tempered into an effect at once grand and
soft,--this was quite as remarkable as the gorgeous material.  I have
seen a very dazzling effect produced in the principal cabin of an
American clipper-ship quite opposed to this in taste.

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

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

I saw the "Three Fates" of Michael Angelo, which were also being copied,
as were many other of the best pictures.  Miss Fanny Howorth, whom I met
in the gallery, told me that to copy the "Madonna della Seggiola,"
application must be made five years beforehand, so many are the artists
who aspire to copy it.  Michael Angelo's Fates are three very grim and
pitiless old women, who respectively spin, hold, and cut the thread of
human destiny, all in a mood of sombre gloom, but with no more sympathy
than if they had nothing to do with us.  I remember seeing an etching of
this when I was a child, and being struck, even then, with the terrible,
stern, passionless severity, neither loving us nor hating us, that
characterizes these ugly old women.  If they were angry, or had the least
spite against human kind, it would render them the more tolerable.  They
are a great work, containing and representing the very idea that makes a
belief in fate such a cold torture to the human soul.  God give me the
sure belief in his Providence!

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

From the gallery, I went into the Boboli Gardens, which are contiguous to
the palace; but found them too sunny for enjoyment.  They seem to consist
partly of a wilderness; but the portion into which I strayed was laid out
with straight walks, lined with high box-hedges, along which there was
only a narrow margin of shade.  I saw an amphitheatre, with a wide sweep
of marble seat around it, enclosing a grassy space, where, doubtless, the
Medici may have witnessed splendid spectacles.


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

One piece of sculpture Powers exhibited, however, which was very
exquisite, and such as I never saw before.  Opening a desk, he took out
something carefully enclosed between two layers of cotton-wool, on
removing which there appeared a little baby's hand most delicately
represented in the whitest marble; all the dimples where the knuckles
were to be, all the creases in the plump flesh, every infantine wrinkle
of the soft skin being lovingly recorded.  "The critics condemn minute
representation," said Powers; "but you may look at this through a
microscope and see if it injures the general effect."  Nature herself
never made a prettier or truer little hand.  It was the hand of his
daughter,--"Luly's hand," Powers called it,--the same that gave my own
such a frank and friendly grasp when I first met "Luly."  The sculptor
made it only for himself and his wife, but so many people, he said, had
insisted on having a copy, that there are now forty scattered about the
world.  At sixty years, Luly ought to have her hand sculptured again, and
give it to her grandchildren with the baby's hand of five months old.
The baby-hand that had done nothing, and felt only its mother's kiss;
the old lady's hand that had exchanged the love-pressure, worn the
marriage-ring, closed dead eyes,--done a lifetime's work, in short.  The
sentiment is rather obvious, but true nevertheless.

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

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

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

We now proceeded to the Pitti Palace, and spent several hours pleasantly
in its saloons of pictures.  I never enjoyed pictures anywhere else as I
do in Florence.  There is an admirable Judith in this gallery by Allori;
a face of great beauty and depth, and her hand clutches the head of
Holofernes by the hair in a way that startles the spectator.  There are
two peasant Madonnas by Murillo; simple women, yet with a thoughtful
sense of some high mystery connected with the baby in their arms.

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

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

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


June 15th.--Yesterday we went to the Uffizi gallery, and, of course, I
took the opportunity to look again at the Venus de' Medici after Powers's
attack upon her face.  Some of the defects he attributed to her I could
not see in the statue; for instance, the ear appeared to be in accordance
with his own rule, the lowest part of it being about in a straight line
with the upper lip.  The eyes must be given up, as not, when closely
viewed, having the shape, the curve outwards, the formation of the lids,
that eyes ought to have; but still, at a proper distance, they seemed to
have intelligence in them beneath the shadow cast by the brow.  I cannot
help thinking that the sculptor intentionally made every feature what it
is, and calculated them all with a view to the desired effect.  Whatever
rules may be transgressed, it is a noble and beautiful face,--more so,
perhaps, than if all rules had been obeyed.  I wish Powers would do his
best to fit the Venus's figure (which he does not deny to be admirable)
with a face which he would deem equally admirable and in accordance with
the sentiment of the form.

We looked pretty thoroughly through the gallery, and I saw many pictures
that impressed me; but among such a multitude, with only one poor mind to
take note of them, the stamp of each new impression helps to obliterate a
former one.  I am sensible, however, that a process is going on, and has
been ever since I came to Italy, that puts me in a state to see pictures
with less toil, and more pleasure, and makes me more fastidious, yet more
sensible of beauty where I saw none before.  It is the sign, I presume,
of a taste still very defective, that I take singular pleasure in the
elaborate imitations of Van Mieris, Gerard Douw, and other old Dutch
wizards, who painted such brass pots that you can see your face in them,
and such earthen pots that they will surely hold water; and who spent
weeks and months in turning a foot or two of canvas into a perfect
microscopic illusion of some homely scene.  For my part, I wish Raphael
had painted the "Transfiguration" in this style, at the same time
preserving his breadth and grandeur of design; nor do I believe that
there is any real impediment to the combination of the two styles, except
that no possible space of human life could suffice to cover a quarter
part of the canvas of the "Transfiguration" with such touches as Gerard
Douw's.  But one feels the vast scope of this wonderful art, when we
think of two excellences so far apart as that of this last painter and
Raphael.  I pause a good while, too, before the Dutch paintings of fruit
and flowers, where tulips and roses acquire an immortal bloom, and grapes
have kept the freshest juice in them for two or three hundred years.
Often, in these pictures, there is a bird's-nest, every straw perfectly
represented, and the stray feather, or the down that the mother-bird
plucked from her bosom, with the three or four small speckled eggs, that
seem as if they might be yet warm.  These pretty miracles have their use
in assuring us that painters really can do something that takes hold of
us in our most matter-of-fact moods; whereas, the merits of the grander
style of art may be beyond our ordinary appreciation, and leave us in
doubt whether we have not befooled ourselves with a false admiration.

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

It is another token of imperfect taste, no doubt, that queer pictures and
absurd pictures remain in my memory, when better ones pass away by the
score.  There is a picture of Venus, combing her son Cupid's head with a
small-tooth comb, and looking with maternal care among his curls; this I
shall not forget.  Likewise, a picture of a broad, rubicund Judith by
Bardone,--a widow of fifty, of an easy, lymphatic, cheerful temperament,
who has just killed Holofernes, and is as self-complacent as if she had
been carving a goose.  What could possibly have stirred up this pudding
of a woman (unless it were a pudding-stick) to do such a deed!  I looked
with much pleasure at an ugly, old, fat, jolly Bacchus, astride on a
barrel, by Rubens; the most natural and lifelike representation of a
tipsy rotundity of flesh that it is possible to imagine.  And sometimes,
amid these sensual images, I caught the divine pensiveness of a Madonna's
face, by Raphael, or the glory and majesty of the babe Jesus in her arm,
with his Father shining through him.  This is a sort of revelation,
whenever it comes.

This morning, immediately after breakfast, I walked into the city,
meaning to make myself better acquainted with its appearance, and to go
into its various churches; but it soon grew so hot, that I turned
homeward again.  The interior of the Duomo was deliciously cool, to be
sure,--cool and dim, after the white-hot sunshine; but an old woman began
to persecute me, so that I came away.  A male beggar drove me out of
another church; and I took refuge in the street, where the beggar and I
would have been two cinders together, if we had stood long enough on the
sunny sidewalk.  After my five summers' experience of England, I may have
forgotten what hot weather is; but it does appear to me that an American
summer is not so fervent as this.  Besides the direct rays, the white
pavement throws a furnace-heat up into one's face; the shady margin of
the street is barely tolerable; but it is like going through the ordeal
of fire to cross the broad bright glare of an open piazza.  The narrow
streets prove themselves a blessing at this season, except when the sun
looks directly into them; the broad eaves of the houses, too, make a
selvage of shade, almost always.  I do not know what becomes of the
street-merchants at the noontide of these hot days.  They form a numerous
class in Florence, displaying their wares--linen or cotton cloth,
threads, combs, and all manner of haberdashery--on movable counters that
are borne about on wheels.  In the shady morning, you see a whole side of
a street in a piazza occupied by them, all offering their merchandise at
full cry.  They dodge as they can from shade to shade; but at last the
sunshine floods the whole space, and they seem to have melted away,
leaving not a rag of themselves or what they dealt in.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

On reaching the Academy, the soldier or policeman at the entrance
directed us into the large hall, the walls of which were covered on both
sides with pictures, arranged as nearly as possible in a progressive
series, with reference to the date of the painters; so that here the
origin and procession of the art may be traced through the course of, at
least, two hundred years.  Giotto, Cimabue, and others of unfamiliar
names to me, are among the earliest; and, except as curiosities, I should
never desire to look once at them, nor think of looking twice.  They seem
to have been executed with great care and conscientiousness, and the
heads are often wrought out with minuteness and fidelity, and have so
much expression that they tell their own story clearly enough; but it
seems not to have been the painter's aim to effect a lifelike illusion,
the background and accessories being conventional.  The trees are no more
like real trees than the feather of a pen, and there is no perspective,
the figure of the picture being shadowed forth on a surface of burnished
gold.  The effect, when these pictures, some of them very large, were new
and freshly gilded, must have been exceedingly brilliant, and much
resembling, on an immensely larger scale, the rich illuminations in an
old monkish missal.  In fact, we have not now, in pictorial ornament,
anything at all comparable to what their splendor must have been.  I was
most struck with a picture, by Fabriana Gentile, of the Adoration of the
Magi, where the faces and figures have a great deal of life and action,
and even grace, and where the jewelled crowns, the rich embroidered
robes, and cloth of gold, and all the magnificence of the three kings,
are represented with the vividness of the real thing: a gold sword-hilt,
for instance, or a pair of gold spurs, being actually embossed on the
picture.  The effect is very powerful, and though produced in what modern
painters would pronounce an unjustifiable way, there is yet pictorial art
enough to reconcile it to the spectator's mind.  Certainly, the people of
the Middle Ages knew better than ourselves what is magnificence, and how
to produce it; and what a glorious work must that have been, both in its
mere sheen of burnished gold, and in its illuminating art, which shines
thus through the gloom of perhaps four centuries.

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

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

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


June 19th.--This forenoon we have been to the Church of St. Lorenzo,
which stands on the site of an ancient basilica, and was itself built
more than four centuries ago.  The facade is still an ugly height of
rough brickwork, as is the case with the Duomo, and, I think, some other
churches in Florence; the design of giving them an elaborate and
beautiful finish having been delayed from cycle to cycle, till at length
the day for spending mines of wealth on churches is gone by.  The
interior had a nave with a flat roof, divided from the side aisles by
Corinthian pillars, and, at the farther end, a raised space around the
high altar.  The pavement is a mosaic of squares of black and white
marble, the squares meeting one another cornerwise; the pillars,
pilasters, and other architectural material is dark brown or grayish
stone; and the general effect is very sombre, especially as the church is
somewhat dimly lighted, and as the shrines along the aisles, and the
statues, and the monuments of whatever kind, look dingy with time and
neglect.  The nave is thickly set with wooden seats, brown and worn.
What pictures there are, in the shrines and chapels, are dark and faded.
On the whole, the edifice has a shabby aspect.  On each side of the high
altar, elevated on four pillars of beautiful marble, is what looks like a
great sarcophagus of bronze.  They are, in fact, pulpits, and are
ornamented with mediaeval bas-reliefs, representing scenes in the life of
our Saviour.  Murray says that the resting-place of the first Cosmo de'
Medici, the old banker, who so managed his wealth as to get the
posthumous title of "father of his country," and to make his posterity
its reigning princes,--is in front of the high altar, marked by red and
green porphyry and marble, inlaid into the pavement.  We looked, but
could not see it there.

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

On the left hand of the choir is what is called the old sacristy, with
the peculiarities or notabilities of which I am not acquainted.  On the
right hand is the new sacristy, otherwise called the Capella dei
Depositi, or Chapel of the Buried, built by Michael Angelo, to contain
two monuments of the Medici family.  The interior is of somewhat severe
and classic architecture, the walls and pilasters being of dark stone,
and surmounted by a dome, beneath which is a row of windows, quite round
the building, throwing their light down far beneath, upon niches of white
marble.  These niches are ranged entirely around the chapel, and might
have sufficed to contain more than all the Medici monuments that the
world would ever care to have.  Only two of these niches are filled,
however.  In one of them sits Giuliano de' Medici, sculptured by Michael
Angelo,--a figure of dignity, which would perhaps be very striking in any
other presence than that of the statue which occupies the corresponding
niche.  At the feet of Giuliano recline two allegorical statues, Day and
Night, whose meaning there I do not know, and perhaps Michael Angelo knew
as little.  As the great sculptor's statues are apt to do, they fling
their limbs abroad with adventurous freedom.  Below the corresponding
niche, on the opposite side of the chapel, recline two similar statues,
representing Morning and Evening, sufficiently like Day and Night to be
their brother and sister; all, in truth, having sprung from the same
father. . . . .

But the statue that sits above these two latter allegories, Morning and
Evening, is like no other that ever came from a sculptor's hand.  It is
the one work worthy of Michael Angelo's reputation, and grand enough to
vindicate for him all the genius that the world gave him credit for.  And
yet it seems a simple thing enough to think of or to execute; merely a
sitting figure, the face partly overshadowed by a helmet, one hand
supporting the chin, the other resting on the thigh.  But after looking
at it a little while the spectator ceases to think of it as a marble
statue; it comes to life, and you see that the princely figure is
brooding over some great design, which, when he has arranged in his own
mind, the world will be fain to execute for him.  No such grandeur and
majesty has elsewhere been put into human shape.  It is all a miracle;
the deep repose, and the deep life within it.  It is as much a miracle to
have achieved this as to make a statue that would rise up and walk.  The
face, when one gazes earnestly into it, beneath the shadow of its helmet,
is seen to be calmly sombre; a mood which, I think, is generally that of
the rulers of mankind, except in moments of vivid action.  This statue is
one of the things which I look at with highest enjoyment, but also with
grief and impatience, because I feel that I do not come at all which it
involves, and that by and by I must go away and leave it forever.  How
wonderful!  To take a block of marble, and convert it wholly into
thought, and to do it through all the obstructions and impediments of
drapery; for there is nothing nude in this statue but the face and hands.
The vest is the costume of Michael Angelo's century.  This is what I
always thought a sculptor of true genius should be able to do,--to show
the man of whatever epoch, nobly and heroically, through the costume
which he might actually have worn.

The statue sits within a square niche of white marble, and completely
fills it.  It seems to me a pity that it should be thus confined.  At the
Crystal Palace, if I remember, the effect is improved by a free
surrounding space.  Its naturalness is as if it came out of the marble of
its own accord, with all its grandeur hanging heavily about it, and sat
down there beneath its weight.  I cannot describe it.  It is like trying
to stop the ghost of Hamlet's father, by crossing spears before it.

Communicating with the sacristy is the Medicean Chapel, which was built
more than two centuries ago, for the reception of the Holy Sepulchre;
arrangements having been made about that time to steal this most sacred
relic from the Turks.  The design failing, the chapel was converted by
Cosmo II. into a place of sepulture for the princes of his family.  It is
a very grand and solemn edifice, octagonal in shape, with a lofty dome,
within which is a series of brilliant frescos, painted not more than
thirty years ago.  These pictures are the only portion of the adornment
of the chapel which interferes with the sombre beauty of the general
effect; for though the walls are incrusted, from pavement to dome, with
marbles of inestimable cost, and it is a Florentine mosaic on a grander
scale than was ever executed elsewhere, the result is not gaudy, as in
many of the Roman chapels, but a dark and melancholy richness.  The
architecture strikes me as extremely fine; each alternate side of the
octagon being an arch, rising as high as the cornice of the lofty dome,
and forming the frame of a vast niche.  All the dead princes, no doubt,
according to the general design, were to have been honored with statues
within this stately mausoleum; but only two--those of Ferdinand I. and
Cosmo II.--seem to have been placed here.  They were a bad breed, and few
of them deserved any better monument than a dunghill; and yet they have
this grand chapel for the family at large, and yonder grand statue for
one of its most worthless members.  I am glad of it; and as for the
statue, Michael Angelo wrought it through the efficacy of a kingly idea,
which had no reference to the individual whose name it bears.

In the piazza adjoining the church is a statue of the first Cosmo, the
old banker, in Roman costume, seated, and looking like a man fit to hold
authority.  No, I mistake; the statue is of John de' Medici, the father
of Cosmo, and himself no banker, but a soldier.


June 21st.--Yesterday, after dinner, we went, with the two eldest
children, to the Boboli Gardens. . . . . We entered by a gate, nearer to
our house than that by the Pitti Palace, and found ourselves almost
immediately among embowered walks of box and shrubbery, and little
wildernesses of trees, with here and there a seat under an arbor, and a
marble statue, gray with ancient weather-stains.  The site of the garden
is a very uneven surface, and the paths go upward and downward, and
ascend, at their ultimate point, to a base of what appears to be a
fortress, commanding the city.  A good many of the Florentines were
rambling about the gardens, like ourselves: little parties of
school-boys; fathers and mothers, with their youthful progeny; young men
in couples, looking closely into every female face; lovers, with a maid
or two attendant on the young lady.  All appeared to enjoy themselves,
especially the children, dancing on the esplanades, or rolling down the
slopes of the hills; and the loving pairs, whom it was rather
embarrassing to come upon unexpectedly, sitting together on the stone
seat of an arbor, with clasped hands, a passionate solemnity in the young
man's face, and a downcast pleasure in the lady's.  Policemen, in cocked
hats and epaulets, cross-belts, and swords, were scattered about the
grounds, but interfered with nobody, though they seemed to keep an eye on
all.  A sentinel stood in the hot sunshine, looking down over the garden
from the ramparts of the fortress.

For my part, in this foreign country, I have no objection to policemen or
any other minister of authority; though I remember, in America, I had an
innate antipathy to constables, and always sided with the mob against
law.  This was very wrong and foolish, considering that I was one of
the sovereigns; but a sovereign, or any number of sovereigns, or the
twenty-millionth part of a sovereign, does not love to find himself, as
an American must, included within the delegated authority of his own
servants.

There is a sheet of water somewhere in the Boboli Gardens, inhabited by
swans; but this we did not see.  We found a smaller pond, however, set
in marble, and surrounded by a parapet, and alive with a multitude of
fish.  There were minnows by the thousand, and a good many gold-fish; and
J-----, who had brought some bread to feed the swans, threw in handfuls
of crumbs for the benefit of these finny people.  They seemed to be
accustomed to such courtesies on the part of visitors; and immediately
the surface of the water was blackened, at the spot where each crumb
fell, with shoals of minnows, thrusting one another even above the
surface in their eagerness to snatch it.  Within the depths of the pond,
the yellowish-green water--its hue being precisely that of the Arno--
would be reddened duskily with the larger bulk of two or three
gold-fishes, who finally poked their great snouts up among the minnows,
but generally missed the crumb.  Beneath the circular margin of the pond,
there are little arches, into the shelter of which the fish retire, when
the noonday sun burns straight down into their dark waters.  We went on
through the garden-paths, shadowed quite across by the high walls of box,
and reached an esplanade, whence we had a good view of Florence, with the
bare brown ridges on the northern side of the Arno, and glimpses of the
river itself, flowing like a street, between two rows of palaces.  A
great way off, too, we saw some of the cloud-like peaks of the Apennines,
and, above them, the clouds into which the sun was descending, looking
quite as substantial as the distant mountains.  The city did not present
a particularly splendid aspect, though its great Duomo was seen in the
middle distance, sitting in its circle of little domes, with the tall
campanile close by, and within one or two hundred yards of it, the high,
cumbrous bulk of the Palazzo Vecchio, with its lofty, machicolated, and
battlemented tower, very picturesque, yet looking exceedingly like a
martin-box, on a pole.  There were other domes and towers and spires, and
here and there the distinct shape of an edifice; but the general picture
was of a contiguity of red earthen roofs, filling a not very broad or
extensive valley, among dry and ridgy hills, with a river-gleam
lightening up the landscape a little.  U---- took out her pencil and
tablets, and began to sketch the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio; in doing
which, she immediately became an object of curiosity to some little boys
and larger people, who failed not, under such pretences as taking a
grasshopper off her dress, or no pretence at all, to come and look over
her shoulder.  There is a kind of familiarity among these Florentines,
which is not meant to be discourteous, and ought to be taken in good
part.

We continued to ramble through the gardens, in quest of a good spot from
which to see the sunset, and at length found a stone bench, on the slope
of a hill, whence the entire cloud and sun scenery was fully presented to
us.  At the foot of the hill were statues, and among them a Pegasus, with
wings outspread; and, a little beyond, the garden-front of the Pitti
Palace, which looks a little less like a state-prison here, than as it
fronts the street.  Girls and children, and young men and old, were
taking their pleasure in our neighborhood; and, just before us, a lady
stood talking with her maid.  By and by, we discovered her to be Miss
Howorth.  There was a misty light, streaming down on the hither side of
the ridge of hills, that was rather peculiar; but the most remarkable
thing was the shape into which the clouds gathered themselves, after the
disappearance of the sun.  It was like a tree, with a broad and heavy
mass of foliage, spreading high upward on the sky, and a dark and
well-defined trunk, which rooted itself on the verge of the horizon.

This morning we went to the Pitti Palace.  The air was very sultry, and
the pavements, already heated with the sun, made the space between the
buildings seem like a close room.  The earth, I think, is too much stoned
out of the streets of an Italian city,--paved, like those of Florence,
quite across, with broad flagstones, to the line where the stones of the
houses on each side are piled up.  Thunder rumbled over our heads,
however, and the clouds were so dark that we scarcely hoped to reach the
palace without feeling the first drops of the shower.  The air still
darkened and darkened, so that by the time we arrived at the suite of
picture-rooms the pictures seemed all to be changed to Rembrandts; the
shadows as black as midnight, with only some highly illuminated portions
gleaming out.  The obscurity of the atmosphere made us sensible how
splendid is the adornment of these saloons.  For the gilded cornices
shone out, as did the gilding of the arches and wreathed circles that
divide the ceiling into compartments, within which the frescos are
painted, and whence the figures looked dimly down, like gods out of a
mysterious sky.  The white marble sculptures also gleamed from their
height, where winged cupids or cherubs gambolled aloft in bas-reliefs; or
allegoric shapes reclined along the cornices, hardly noticed, when the
daylight comes brightly into the window.  On the walls, all the rich
picture-frames glimmered in gold, as did the framework of the chairs, and
the heavy gilded pedestals of the marble, alabaster, and mosaic tables.
These are very magnificent saloons; and since I have begun to speak of
their splendor, I may as well add that the doors are framed in polished,
richly veined marble, and the walls hung with scarlet damask.

It was useless to try to see the pictures.  All the artists engaged in
copying laid aside their brushes; and we looked out into the square
before the palace, where a mighty wind sprang up, and quickly raised a
prodigious cloud of dust.  It hid the opposite side of the street, and
was carried, in a great dusky whirl, higher than the roofs of the houses,
higher than the top of the Pitti Palace itself.  The thunder muttered and
grumbled, the lightning now and then flashed, and a few rain-drops
pattered against the windows; but, for a long time, the shower held off.
At last it came down in a stream, and lightened the air to such a degree
that we could see some of the pictures, especially those of Rubens, and
the illuminated parts of Salvator Rosa's, and, best of all, Titian's
"Magdalen," the one with golden hair clustering round her naked body.
The golden hair, indeed, seemed to throw out a glory of its own.  This
Magdalen is very coarse and sensual, with only an impudent assumption of
penitence and religious sentiment, scarcely so deep as the eyelids; but
it is a splendid picture, nevertheless, with those naked, lifelike arms,
and the hands that press the rich locks about her, and so carefully
permit those voluptuous breasts to be seen.  She a penitent!  She would
shake off all pretence to it as easily as she would shake aside that
clustering hair. . . . . Titian must have been a very good-for-nothing
old man.

I looked again at Michael Angelo's Fates to-day; but cannot
satisfactorily make out what he meant by them.  One of them--she who
holds the distaff--has her mouth open, as if uttering a cry, and might be
fancied to look somewhat irate.  The second, who holds the thread, has a
pensive air, but is still, I think, pitiless at heart.  The third sister
looks closely and coldly into the eyes of the second, meanwhile cutting
the thread with a pair of shears.  Michael Angelo, if I may presume to
say so, wished to vary the expression of these three sisters, and give
each a different one, but did not see precisely how, inasmuch as all the
fatal Three are united, heart and soul, in one purpose.  It is a very
impressive group.  But, as regards the interpretation of this, or of any
other profound picture, there are likely to be as many interpretations as
there are spectators.  It is very curious to read criticisms upon
pictures, and upon the same face in a picture, and by men of taste and
feeling, and to find what different conclusions they arrive at.  Each man
interprets the hieroglyphic in his own way; and the painter, perhaps, had
a meaning which none of them have reached; or possibly he put forth a
riddle, without himself knowing the solution.  There is such a necessity,
at all events, of helping the painter out with the spectator's own
resources of feeling and imagination, that you can never be sure how much
of the picture you have yourself made.  There is no doubt that the public
is, to a certain extent, right and sure of its ground, when it declares,
through a series of ages, that a certain picture is a great work.  It is
so; a great symbol, proceeding out of a great mind; but if it means one
thing, it seems to mean a thousand, and, often, opposite things.


June 27th.--I have had a heavy cold and fever almost throughout the past
week, and have thereby lost the great Florentine festivity, the Feast of
St. John, which took place on Thursday last, with the fireworks and
illuminations the evening before, and the races and court ceremonies on
the day itself.  However, unless it were more characteristic and peculiar
than the Carnival, I have not missed anything very valuable.

Mr. Powers called to see me one evening, and poured out, as usual, a
stream of talk, both racy and oracular in its character.  Speaking of
human eyes, he observed that they did not depend for their expression
upon color, nor upon any light of the soul beaming through them, nor any
glow of the eyeball, nor upon anything but the form and action of the
surrounding muscles.  He illustrates it by saying, that if the eye of a
wolf, or of whatever fiercest animal, could be placed in another setting,
it would be found capable of the utmost gentleness of expression.  "You
yourself," said he, "have a very bright and sharp look sometimes; but it
is not in the eye itself."  His own eyes, as I could have sworn, were
glowing all the time he spoke; and, remembering how many times I have
seemed to see eyes glow, and blaze, and flash, and sparkle, and melt, and
soften; and how all poetry is illuminated with the light of ladies' eyes;
and how many people have been smitten by the lightning of an eye, whether
in love or anger, it was difficult to allow that all this subtlest and
keenest fire is illusive, not even phosphorescent, and that any other
jelly in the same socket would serve as well as the brightest eye.
Nevertheless, he must be right; of course he must, and I am rather
ashamed ever to have thought otherwise.  Where should the light come
from?  Has a man a flame inside of his head?  Does his spirit manifest
itself in the semblance of flame?  The moment we think of it, the
absurdity becomes evident.  I am not quite sure, however, that the outer
surface of the eye may not reflect more light in some states of feeling
than in others; the state of the health, certainly, has an influence of
this kind.

I asked Powers what he thought of Michael Angelo's statue of Lorenzo de'
Medici.  He allowed that its effect was very grand and mysterious; but
added that it owed this to a trick,--the effect being produced by the
arrangement of the hood, as he called it, or helmet, which throws the
upper part of the face into shadow.  The niche in which it sits has, I
suppose, its part to perform in throwing a still deeper shadow.  It is
very possible that Michael Angelo may have calculated upon this effect of
sombre shadow, and legitimately, I think; but it really is not worthy of
Mr. Powers to say that the whole effect of this mighty statue depends,
not on the positive efforts of Michael Angelo's chisel, but on the
absence of light in a space of a few inches.  He wrought the whole statue
in harmony with that small part of it which he leaves to the spectator's
imagination, and if he had erred at any point, the miracle would have
been a failure; so that, working in marble, he has positively reached a
degree of excellence above the capability of marble, sculpturing his
highest touches upon air and duskiness.

Mr. Powers gave some amusing anecdotes of his early life, when he was a
clerk in a store in Cincinnati.  There was a museum opposite, the
proprietor of which had a peculiar physiognomy that struck Powers,
insomuch that he felt impelled to make continual caricatures of it.  He
used to draw them upon the door of the museum, and became so familiar
with the face, that he could draw them in the dark; so that, every
morning, here was this absurd profile of himself, greeting the museum-man
when he came to open his establishment.  Often, too, it would reappear
within an hour after it was rubbed out.  The man was infinitely annoyed,
and made all possible efforts to discover the unknown artist, but in
vain; and finally concluded, I suppose, that the likeness broke out upon
the door of its own accord, like the nettle-rash.  Some years afterwards,
the proprietor of the museum engaged Powers himself as an assistant; and
one day Powers asked him if he remembered this mysterious profile.
"Yes," said he, "did you know who drew them?"  Powers took a piece of
chalk, and touched off the very profile again, before the man's eyes.
"Ah," said he, "if I had known it at the time, I would have broken every
bone in your body!"

Before he began to work in marble, Powers had greater practice and
success in making wax figures, and he produced a work of this kind called
"The Infernal Regions," which he seemed to imply had been very famous.
He said he once wrought a face in wax which was life itself, having made
the eyes on purpose for it, and put in every hair in the eyebrows
individually, and finished the whole with similar minuteness; so that,
within the distance of a foot or two, it was impossible to tell that the
face did not live.

I have hardly ever before felt an impulse to write down a man's
conversation as I do that of Mr. Powers.  The chief reason is, probably,
that it is so possible to do it, his ideas being square, solid, and
tangible, and therefore readily grasped and retained.  He is a very
instructive man, and sweeps one's empty and dead notions out of the way
with exceeding vigor; but when you have his ultimate thought and
perception, you feel inclined to think and see a little further for
yourself.  He sees too clearly what is within his range to be aware of
any region of mystery beyond.  Probably, however, this latter remark does
him injustice.  I like the man, and am always glad to encounter the
mill-stream of his talk. . . . . Yesterday he met me in the street
(dressed in his linen blouse and slippers, with a little bit of a
sculptor's cap on the side of his head), and gave utterance to a theory
of colds, and a dissertation on the bad effects of draughts, whether of
cold air or hot, and the dangers of transfusing blood from the veins of
one living subject to those of another.  On the last topic, he remarked
that, if a single particle of air found its way into the veins, along
with the transfused blood, it caused convulsions and inevitable death;
otherwise the process might be of excellent effect.

Last evening, we went to pass the evening with Miss Blagden, who inhabits
a villa at Bellosguardo, about a mile outside of the walls.  The
situation is very lofty, and there are good views from every window of
the house, and an especially fine one of Florence and the hills beyond,
from the balcony of the drawing-room.  By and by came Mr. Browning, Mr.
Trollope, Mr. Boott and his young daughter, and two or three other
gentlemen. . . . .

Browning was very genial and full of life, as usual, but his conversation
has the effervescent aroma which you cannot catch, even if you get the
very words that seem to be imbued with it.  He spoke most rapturously of
a portrait of Mrs. Browning, which an Italian artist is painting for the
wife of an American gentleman, as a present from her husband.  The
success was already perfect, although there had been only two sittings as
yet, and both on the same day; and in this relation, Mr. Browning
remarked that P------, the American artist, had had no less than
seventy-three sittings of him for a portrait.  In the result, every hair
and speck of him was represented; yet, as I inferred from what he did not
say, this accumulation of minute truths did not, after all, amount to the
true whole.

I do not remember much else that Browning said, except a playful abuse of
a little King Charles spaniel, named Frolic, Miss Blagden's lap-dog,
whose venerable age (he is eleven years old) ought to have pleaded in his
behalf.  Browning's nonsense is of very genuine and excellent quality,
the true babble and effervescence of a bright and powerful mind; and he
lets it play among his friends with the faith and simplicity of a child.
He must be an amiable man.  I should like him much, and should make him
like me, if opportunities were favorable.

I conversed principally with Mr. Trollope, the son, I believe, of the
Mrs. Trollope to whom America owes more for her shrewd criticisms than we
are ever likely to repay.  Mr. Trollope is a very sensible and cultivated
man, and, I suspect, an author: at least, there is a literary man of
repute of this name, though I have never read his works.  He has resided
in Italy eighteen years.  It seems a pity to do this.  It needs the
native air to give life a reality; a truth which I do not fail to take
home regretfully to myself, though without feeling much inclination to go
back to the realities of my own.

We had a pleasant cup of tea, and took a moonlight view of Florence from
the balcony. . . . .


June 28th.--Yesterday afternoon, J----- and I went to a horse-race, which
took place in the Corso and contiguous line of streets, in further
celebration of the Feast of St. John.  A crowd of people was already
collected, all along the line of the proposed race, as early as six
o'clock; and there were a great many carriages driving amid the throng,
open barouches mostly, in which the beauty and gentility of Florence were
freely displayed.  It was a repetition of the scene in the Corso at Rome,
at Carnival time, without the masks, the fun, and the confetti.  The
Grand Duke and Duchess and the Court likewise made their appearance in as
many as seven or eight coaches-and-six, each with a coachman, three
footmen, and a postilion in the royal livery, and attended by a troop of
horsemen in scarlet coats and cocked hats.  I did not particularly notice
the Grand Duke himself; but, in the carriage behind him, there sat only a
lady, who favored the people along the street with a constant succession
of bows, repeated at such short intervals, and so quickly, as to be
little more than nods; therefore not particularly graceful or majestic.
Having the good fortune, to be favored with one of these nods, I lifted
my hat in response, and may therefore claim a bowing acquaintance with
the Grand Duchess.  She is a Bourbon of the Naples family, and was a
pale, handsome woman, of princely aspect enough.  The crowd evinced no
enthusiasm, nor the slightest feeling of any kind, in acknowledgment of
the presence of their rulers; and, indeed, I think I never saw a crowd so
well behaved; that is, with so few salient points, so little ebullition,
so absolutely tame, as the Florentine one.  After all, and much contrary
to my expectations, an American crowd has incomparably more life than any
other; and, meeting on any casual occasion, it will talk, laugh, roar,
and be diversified with a thousand characteristic incidents and gleams
and shadows, that you see nothing of here.  The people seems to have no
part even in its own gatherings.  It comes together merely as a mass of
spectators, and must not so much as amuse itself by any activity of mind.

The race, which was the attraction that drew us all together, turned out
a very pitiful affair.  When we had waited till nearly dusk, the street
being thronged quite across, insomuch that it seemed impossible that it
should be cleared as a race-course, there came suddenly from every throat
a quick, sharp exclamation, combining into a general shout.  Immediately
the crowd pressed back on each side of the street; a moment afterwards,
there was a rapid pattering of hoofs over the earth with which the
pavement was strewn, and I saw the head and back of a horse rushing past.
A few seconds more, and another horse followed; and at another little
interval, a third.  This was all that we had waited for; all that I saw,
or anybody else, except those who stood on the utmost verge of the
course, at the risk of being trampled down and killed.  Two men were
killed in this way on Thursday, and certainly human life was never spent
for a poorer object.  The spectators at the windows, to be sure, having
the horses in sight for a longer time, might get a little more enjoyment
out of the affair.  By the by, the most picturesque aspect of the scene
was the life given to it by the many faces, some of them fair ones, that
looked out from window and balcony, all along the curving line of lofty
palaces and edifices, between which the race-course lay; and from nearly
every window, and over every balcony, was flung a silken texture, or
cloth of brilliant line, or piece of tapestry or carpet, or whatever
adornment of the kind could be had, so as to dress up the street in gala
attire.  But, the Feast of St. John, like the Carnival, is but a meagre
semblance of festivity, kept alive factitiously, and dying a lingering
death of centuries.  It takes the exuberant mind and heart of a people to
keep its holidays alive.

I do not know whether there be any populace in Florence, but I saw none
that I recognized as such, on this occasion.  All the people were
respectably dressed and perfectly well behaved; and soldiers and priests
were scattered abundantly among the throng.  On my way home, I saw the
Teatro Goldoni, which is in our own street, lighted up for a
representation this Sunday evening.  It shocked my New England prejudices
a little.

Thus forenoon, my wife and I went to the Church of Santa Croce, the great
monumental deposit of Florentine worthies.  The piazza before it is a
wide, gravelled square, where the liberty of Florence, if it really ever
had any genuine liberty, came into existence some hundreds of years ago,
by the people's taking its own rights into its hands, and putting its own
immediate will in execution.  The piazza has not much appearance of
antiquity, except that the facade of one of the houses is quite covered
with ancient frescos, a good deal faded and obliterated, yet with traces
enough of old glory to show that the colors must have been well laid on.

The front of the church, the foundation of which was laid six centuries
ago, is still waiting for its casing of marbles, and I suppose will wait
forever, though a carpenter's staging is now erected before it, as if
with the purpose of doing something.

The interior is spacious, the length of the church being between four and
five hundred feet.  There is a nave, roofed with wooden cross-beams,
lighted by a clere-story and supported on each side by seven great
pointed arches, which rest upon octagonal pillars.  The octagon seems to
be a favorite shape in Florence.  These pillars were clad in yellow and
scarlet damask, in honor of the Feast of St. John.  The aisles, on each
side of the nave, are lighted with high and somewhat narrow windows of
painted glass, the effect of which, however, is much diminished by the
flood of common daylight that comes in through the windows of the
clere-story.  It is like admitting too much of the light of reason and
worldly intelligence into the mind, instead of illuminating it wholly
through a religious medium.  The many-hued saints and angels lose their
mysterious effulgence, when we get white light enough, and find we see
all the better without their help.

The main pavement of the church is brickwork; but it is inlaid with many
sepulchral slabs of marble, on some of which knightly or priestly figures
are sculptured in bas-relief.  In both of the side aisles there are
saintly shrines, alternating with mural monuments, some of which record
names as illustrious as any in the world.  As you enter, the first
monument, on your right is that of Michael Angelo, occupying the ancient
burial-site of his family.  The general design is a heavy sarcophagus of
colored marble, with the figures of Sculpture, Painting, and Architecture
as mourners, and Michael Angelo's bust above, the whole assuming a
pyramidal form.  You pass a shrine, within its framework of marble
pillars and a pediment, and come next to Dante's monument, a modern work,
with likewise its sarcophagus, and some huge, cold images weeping and
sprawling over it, and an unimpressive statue of Dante sitting above.

Another shrine intervenes, and next you see the tomb of Alfieri, erected
to his memory by the Countess of Albany, who pays, out of a woman's love,
the honor which his country owed him.  Her own monument is in one of the
chapels of the transept.

Passing the next shrine you see the tomb of Macchiavelli, which, I think,
was constructed not many years after his death.  The rest of the
monuments, on this side of the church, commemorate people of less than
world-wide fame; and though the opposite side has likewise a monument
alternating with each shrine, I remember only the names of Raphael
Morghen and of Galileo.  The tomb of the latter is over against that of
Michael Angelo, being the first large tomb on the left-hand wall as you
enter the church.  It has the usual heavy sarcophagus, surmounted by a
bust of Galileo, in the habit of his time, and is, of course, duly
provided with mourners in the shape of Science or Astronomy, or some such
cold-hearted people.  I wish every sculptor might be at once imprisoned
for life who shall hereafter chisel an allegoric figure; and as for those
who have sculptured them heretofore, let them be kept in purgatory till
the marble shall have crumbled away.  It is especially absurd to assign
to this frozen sisterhood of the allegoric family the office of weeping
for the dead, inasmuch as they have incomparably less feeling than a lump
of ice, which might contrive to shed a tear if the sun shone on it.  But
they seem to let themselves out, like the hired mourners of an English
funeral, for the very reason that, having no interest in the dead person,
nor any affections or emotions whatever, it costs them no wear and tear
of heart.

All round both transepts of the church there is a series of chapels, into
most of which we went, and generally found an inscrutably dark picture
over the altar, and often a marble bust or two, or perhaps a mediaeval
statue of a saint or a modern monumental bas-relief in marble, as white
as new-fallen snow.  A chapel of the Bonapartes is here, containing
memorials of two female members of the family.  In several chapels,
moreover, there were some of those distressing frescos, by Giotto,
Cimabue, or their compeers, which, whenever I see them,--poor, faded
relics, looking as if the Devil had been rubbing and scrubbing them for
centuries, in spite against the saints,--my heart sinks and my stomach
sickens.  There is no other despondency like this; it is a new shade of
human misery, akin to the physical disease that comes from dryrot in a
wall.  These frescos are to a church what dreary, old remembrances are to
a mind; the drearier because they were once bright: Hope fading into
Disappointment, Joy into Grief, and festal splendor passing into funereal
duskiness, and saddening you all the more by the grim identity that you
find to exist between gay things and sorrowful ones.  Only wait long
enough, and they turn out to be the very same.

All the time we were in the church some great religious ceremony had been
going forward; the organ playing and the white-robed priests bowing,
gesticulating, and making Latin prayers at the high altar, where at least
a hundred wax tapers were burning in constellations.  Everybody knelt,
except ourselves, yet seemed not to be troubled by the echoes of our
passing footsteps, nor to require that we should pray along with them.
They consider us already lost irrevocably, no doubt, and therefore right
enough in taking no heed of their devotions; not but what we took so much
heed, however, as to give the smallest possible disturbance.  By and by
we sat down in the nave of the church till the ceremony should be
concluded; and then my wife left me to go in quest of yet another chapel,
where either Cimabue or Giotto, or both, have left some of their now
ghastly decorations.  While she was gone I threw my eyes about the
church, and came to the conclusion that, in spite of its antiquity, its
size, its architecture, its painted windows, its tombs of great men, and
all the reverence and interest that broods over them, it is not an
impressive edifice.  Any little Norman church in England would impress me
as much, and more.  There is something, I do not know what, but it is in
the region of the heart, rather than in the intellect, that Italian
architecture, of whatever age or style, never seems to reach.

Leaving the Santa Croce, we went next in quest of the Riccardi Palace.
On our way, in the rear of the Grand Ducal Piazza, we passed by the
Bargello, formerly the palace of the Podesta of Florence, and now
converted into a prison.  It is an immense square edifice of dark stone,
with a tall, lank tower rising high above it at one corner.  Two stone
lions, symbols of the city, lash their tails and glare at the passers-by;
and all over the front of the building windows are scattered irregularly,
and grated with rusty iron bars; also there are many square holes, which
probably admit a little light and a breath or two of air into prisoners'
cells.  It is a very ugly edifice, but looks antique, and as if a vast
deal of history might have been transacted within it, or have beaten,
like fierce blasts, against its dark, massive walls, since the thirteenth
century.  When I first saw the city it struck me that there were few
marks of antiquity in Florence; but I am now inclined to think otherwise,
although the bright Italian atmosphere, and the general squareness and
monotony of the Italian architecture, have their effect in apparently
modernizing everything.  But everywhere we see the ponderous Tuscan
basements that never can decay, and which will look, five hundred years
hence, as they look now; and one often passes beneath an abbreviated
remnant of what was once a lofty tower, perhaps three hundred feet high,
such as used to be numerous in Florence when each noble of the city had
his own warfare to wage; and there are patches of sculpture that look old
on houses, the modern stucco of which causes them to look almost new.
Here and there an unmistakable antiquity stands in its own impressive
shadow; the Church of Or San Michele, for instance, once a market, but
which grew to be a church by some inherent fitness and inevitable
consecration.  It has not the least the aspect of a church, being high
and square, like a mediaeval palace; but deep and high niches are let
into its walls, within which stand great statues of saints, masterpieces
of Donatello, and other sculptors of that age, before sculpture began to
be congealed by the influence of Greek art.

The Riccardi Palace is at the corner of the Via Larga.  It was built by
the first Cosmo de' Medici, the old banker, more than four centuries ago,
and was long the home of the ignoble race of princes which he left behind
him.  It looks fit to be still the home of a princely race, being nowise
dilapidated nor decayed externally, nor likely to be so, its high Tuscan
basement being as solid as a ledge of rock, and its upper portion not
much less so, though smoothed into another order of stately architecture.
Entering its court from the Via Larga, we found ourselves beneath a
pillared arcade, passing round the court like a cloister; and on the
walls of the palace, under this succession of arches, were statues,
bas-reliefs, and sarcophagi, in which, first, dead Pagans had slept, and
then dead Christians, before the sculptured coffins were brought hither
to adorn the palace of the Medici.  In the most prominent place was a
Latin inscription of great length and breadth, chiefly in praise of old
Cosino and his deeds and wisdom.  This mansion gives the visitor a
stately notion of the life of a commercial man in the days when merchants
were princes; not that it seems to be so wonderfully extensive, nor so
very grand, for I suppose there are a dozen Roman palaces that excel it
in both these particulars.  Still, we cannot but be conscious that it
must have been, in some sense, a great man who thought of founding a
homestead like this, and was capable of filling it with his personality,
as the hand fills a glove.  It has been found spacious enough, since
Cosmo's time, for an emperor and a pope and a king, all of whom have been
guests in this house.  After being the family mansion of the Medici for
nearly two centuries, it was sold to the Riccardis, but was subsequently
bought of then by the government, and it is now occupied by public
offices and societies.

After sufficiently examining the court and its antiquities, we ascended a
noble staircase that passes, by broad flights and square turns, to the
region above the basement.  Here the palace is cut up and portioned off
into little rooms and passages, and everywhere there were desks,
inkstands, and men, with pens in their fingers or behind their ears.  We
were shown into a little antique chapel, quite covered with frescos in
the Giotto style, but painted by a certain Gozzoli.  They were in pretty
good preservation, and, in fact, I am wrong in comparing them to Giotto's
works, inasmuch as there must have been nearly two hundred years between
the two artists.  The chapel was furnished with curiously carved old
chairs, and looked surprisingly venerable within its little precinct.

We were next guided into the grand gallery, a hall of respectable size,
with a frescoed ceiling, on which is represented the blue sky, and
various members of the Medici family ascending through it by the help of
angelic personages, who seem only to have waited for their society to be
perfectly happy.  At least, this was the meaning, so far as I could
make it out.  Along one side of the gallery were oil-pictures on
looking-glasses, rather good than otherwise; but Rome, with her palaces
and villas, takes the splendor out of all this sort of thing elsewhere.

On our way home, and on our own side of the Ponte Vecchio, we passed the
Palazzo Guicciardini, the ancient residence of the historian of Italy,
who was a politic statesman of his day, and probably as cruel and
unprincipled as any of those whose deeds he has recorded.  Opposite,
across the narrow way, stands the house of Macchiavelli, who was his
friend, and, I should judge, an honester man than he.  The house is
distinguished by a marble tablet, let into the wall, commemorative of
Macchiavelli, but has nothing antique or picturesque about it, being in a
continuous line with other smooth-faced and stuccoed edifices.


June 30th.--Yesterday, at three o'clock P. M., I went to see the final
horse-race of the Feast of St. John, or rather to see the concourse of
people and grandees whom it brought together.  I took my stand in the
vicinity of the spot whence the Grand Duke and his courtiers view the
race, and from this point the scene was rather better worth looking at
than from the street-corners whence I saw it before.  The vista of the
street, stretching far adown between two rows of lofty edifices, was
really gay and gorgeous with the silks, damasks, and tapestries of all
bright hues, that flaunted from windows and balconies, whence ladies
looked forth and looked down, themselves making the liveliest part of the
show.  The whole capacity of the street swarmed with moving heads,
leaving scarce room enough for the carriages, which, as on Sunday, passed
up and down, until the signal for the race was given.  Equipages, too,
were constantly arriving at the door of the building which communicates
with the open loggia, where the Grand Ducal party sit to see and to be
seen.  Two sentinels were standing at the door, and presented arms as
each courtier or ambassador, or whatever dignity it might be, alighted.
Most of them had on gold-embroidered court-dresses; some of them had
military uniforms, and medals in abundance at the breast; and ladies also
came, looking like heaps of lace and gauze in the carriages, but lightly
shaking themselves into shape as they went up the steps.  By and by a
trumpet sounded, a drum beat, and again appeared a succession of half a
dozen royal equipages, each with its six horses, its postilion, coachman,
and three footmen, grand with cocked hats and embroidery; and the
gray-headed, bowing Grand Duke and his nodding Grand Duchess as before.
The Noble Guard ranged themselves on horseback opposite the loggia; but
there was no irksome and impertinent show of ceremony and restraint upon
the people.  The play-guard of volunteer soldiers, who escort the
President of the United States in his Northern progresses, keep back
their fellow-citizens much more sternly and immitigably than the
Florentine guard kept back the populace from its despotic sovereign.

This morning J----- and I have been to the Uffizi gallery.  It was his
first visit there, and he passed a sweeping condemnation upon everything
he saw, except a fly, a snail-shell, a caterpillar, a lemon, a piece of
bread, and a wineglass, in some of the Dutch pictures.  The Venus de'
Medici met with no sort of favor.  His feeling of utter distaste reacted
upon me, and I was sensible of the same weary lack of appreciation that
used to chill me through, in my earlier visits to picture-galleries; the
same doubt, moreover, whether we do not bamboozle ourselves in the
greater part of the admiration which we learn to bestow.  I looked with
some pleasure at one of Correggio's Madonnas in the Tribune,--no divine
and deep-thoughted mother of the Saviour, but a young woman playing with
her first child, as gay and thoughtless as itself.  I looked at Michael
Angelo's Madonna, in which William Ware saw such prophetic depth of
feeling; but I suspect it was one of the many instances in which the
spectator sees more than the painter ever dreamed of.

Straying through the city, after leaving the gallery, we went into the
Church of Or San Michele, and saw in its architecture the traces of its
transformation from a market into a church.  In its pristine state it
consisted of a double row of three great open arches, with the wind
blowing through them, and the sunshine falling aslantwise into them,
while the bustle of the market, the sale of fish, flesh, or fruit went on
within, or brimmed over into the streets that enclosed them on every
side.  But, four or five hundred years ago, the broad arches were built
up with stone-work; windows were pierced through and filled with painted
glass; a high altar, in a rich style of pointed Gothic, was raised;
shrines and confessionals were set up; and here it is, a solemn and
antique church, where a man may buy his salvation instead of his dinner.
At any rate, the Catholic priests will insure it to him, and take the
price.  The sculpture within the beautifully decorated niches, on the
outside of the church, is very curious and interesting.  The statues of
those old saints seem to have that charm of earnestness which so attracts
the admirers of the Pre-Raphaelite painters.

It appears that a picture of the Virgin used to hang against one of the
pillars of the market-place while it was still a market, and in the year
1291 several miracles were wrought by it, insomuch that a chapel was
consecrated for it.  So many worshippers came to the shrine that the
business of the market was impeded, and ultimately the Virgin and St.
Michael won the whole space for themselves.  The upper part of the
edifice was at that time a granary, and is still used for other than
religious purposes.  This church was one spot to which the inhabitants
betook themselves much for refuge and divine assistance during the great
plague described by Boccaccio.


July 2d.--We set out yesterday morning to visit the Palazzo Buonarotti,
Michael Angelo's ancestral home. . . . . It is in the Via Ghibellina, an
ordinary-looking, three-story house, with broad-brimmed eaves, a stuccoed
front, and two or three windows painted in fresco, besides the real ones.
Adown the street, there is a glimpse of the hills outside of Florence.
The sun shining heavily directly upon the front, we rang the door-bell,
and then drew back into the shadow that fell from the opposite side of
the street.  After we had waited some time a man looked out from an upper
window, and a woman from a lower one, and informed us that we could not
be admitted now, nor for two or three months to come, the house being
under repairs.  It is a pity, for I wished to see Michael Angelo's sword
and walking-stick and old slippers, and whatever other of his closest
personalities are to be shown. . . . .

We passed into the Piazza of the Grand Duke, and looked into the court of
the Palazzo Vecchio, with its beautifully embossed pillars; and, seeing
just beyond the court a staircase of broad and easy steps, we ascended it
at a venture.  Upward and upward we went, flight after flight of stairs,
and through passages, till at last we found an official who ushered us
into a large saloon.  It was the Hall of Audience.  Its heavily embossed
ceiling, rich with tarnished gold, was a feature of antique magnificence,
and the only one that it retained, the floor being paved with tiles and
the furniture scanty or none.  There were, however, three cabinets
standing against the walls, two of which contained very curious and
exquisite carvings and cuttings in ivory; some of them in the Chinese
style of hollow, concentric balls; others, really beautiful works of art:
little crucifixes, statues, saintly and knightly, and cups enriched with
delicate bas-reliefs.  The custode pointed to a small figure of St.
Sebastian, and also to a vase around which the reliefs seemed to assume
life.  Both these specimens, he said, were by Benvenuto Cellini, and
there were many others that might well have been wrought by his famous
hand.  The third cabinet contained a great number and variety of
crucifixes, chalices, and whatever other vessels are needed in altar
service, exquisitely carved out of amber.  They belong to the chapel of
the palace, and into this holy closet we were now conducted.  It is large
enough to accommodate comfortably perhaps thirty worshippers, and is
quite covered with frescos by Ghirlandaio in good preservation, and with
remnants enough of gilding and bright color to show how splendid the
chapel must have been when the Medicean Grand Dukes used to pray here.
The altar is still ready for service, and I am not sure that some of the
wax tapers were not burning; but Lorenzo the Magnificent was nowhere to
be seen.

The custode now led us back through the Hall of Audience into a smaller
room, hung with pictures chiefly of the Medici and their connections,
among whom was one Carolina, an intelligent and pretty child, and Bianca
Capella.

There was nothing else to show us, except a very noble and most spacious
saloon, lighted by two large windows at each end, coming down level with
the floor, and by a row of windows on one side just beneath the cornice.
A gilded framework divides the ceiling into squares, circles, and
octagons, the compartments of which are filled with pictures in oil; and
the walls are covered with immense frescos, representing various battles
and triumphs of the Florentines.  Statues by Michael Angelo, John of
Bologna, and Bandinello, as well historic as ideal, stand round the hall,
and it is really a fit theatre for the historic scenes of a country to be
acted in.  It was built, moreover, with the idea of its being the
council-hall of a free people; but our own little Faneuil, which was
meant, in all simplicity, to be merely a spot where the townspeople
should meet to choose their selectmen, has served the world better in
that respect.  I wish I had more room to speak of this vast, dusky,
historic hall.  [This volume of journal closes here.]


July 4th 1858.--Yesterday forenoon we went to see the Church of Santa
Maria Novella.  We found the piazza, on one side of which the church
stands, encumbered with the amphitheatrical ranges of wooden seats that
had been erected to accommodate the spectators of the chariot-races, at
the recent Feast of St. John.  The front of the church is composed of
black and white marble, which, in the course of the five centuries that
it has been built, has turned brown and yellow.  On the right hand, as
you approach, is a long colonnade of arches, extending on a line with the
facade, and having a tomb beneath every arch.  This colonnade forms one
of the enclosing walls of a cloister.  We found none of the front
entrances open, but on our left, in a wall at right angles with the
church, there was an open gateway, approaching which, we saw, within the
four-sided colonnade, an enclosed green space of a cloister.  This is
what is called the Chiostro Verde, so named from the prevailing color of
the frescos with which the walls beneath the arches are adorned.

This cloister is the reality of what I used to imagine when I saw the
half-ruinous colonnades connected with English cathedrals, or endeavored
to trace out the lines along the broken wall of some old abbey.  Not that
this extant cloister, still perfect and in daily use for its original
purposes, is nearly so beautiful as the crumbling ruin which has ceased
to be trodden by monkish feet for more than three centuries.  The
cloister of Santa Maria has not the seclusion that is desirable, being
open, by its gateway, to the public square; and several of the neighbors,
women as well as men, were loitering within its precincts.  The convent,
however, has another and larger cloister, which I suppose is kept free
from interlopers.  The Chiostro Verde is a walk round the four sides of a
square, beneath an arched and groined roof.  One side of the walk looks
upon an enclosed green space with a fountain or a tomb (I forget which)
in the centre; the other side is ornamented all along with a succession
of ancient frescos, representing subjects of Scripture history.  In the
days when the designs were more distinct than now, it must have been a
very effective way for a monk to read Bible history, to see its
personages and events thus passing visibly beside him in his morning and
evening walks.  Beneath the frescos on one side of the cloistered walk,
and along the low stone parapet that separates it from the grass-plat on
the other, are inscriptions to the memory of the dead who are buried
underneath the pavement.  The most of these were modern, and recorded the
names of persons of no particular note.  Other monumental slabs were
inlaid with the pavement itself.  Two or three Dominican monks, belonging
to the convent, passed in and out, while we were there, in their white
habits.

After going round three sides, we came to the fourth, formed by the wall
of the church, and heard the voice of a priest behind a curtain that fell
down before a door.  Lifting it aside, we went in, and found ourselves in
the ancient chapter-house, a large interior formed by two great pointed
arches crossing one another in a groined roof.  The broad spaces of the
walls were entirely covered with frescos that are rich even now, and must
have glowed with an inexpressible splendor, when fresh from the artists'
hands, five hundred years ago.  There is a long period, during which
frescos illuminate a church or a hall in a way that no other adornment
can; when this epoch of brightness is past, they become the dreariest
ghosts of perished magnificence. . . . . This chapter-house is the only
part of the church that is now used for the purposes of public worship.
There are several confessionals, and two chapels or shrines, each with
its lighted tapers.  A priest performed mass while we were there, and
several persons, as usual, stepped in to do a little devotion, either
praying on their own account, or uniting with the ceremony that was going
forward.  One man was followed by two little dogs, and in the midst of
his prayers, as one of the dogs was inclined to stray about the church,
he kept snapping his fingers to call him back.  The cool, dusky
refreshment of these holy places, affording such a refuge from the hot
noon of the streets and piazzas, probably suggests devotional ideas to
the people, and it may be, when they are praying, they feel a breath of
Paradise fanning them.  If we could only see any good effects in their
daily life, we might deem it an excellent thing to be able to find
incense and a prayer always ascending, to which every individual may join
his own.  I really wonder that the Catholics are not better men and
women.

When we had looked at the old frescos, . . . . we emerged into the
cloister again, and thence ventured into a passage which would have led
us to the Chiostro Grande, where strangers, and especially ladies,
have no right to go.  It was a secluded corridor, very neatly kept,
bordered with sepulchral monuments, and at the end appeared a vista of
cypress-trees, which indeed were but an illusory perspective, being
painted in fresco.  While we loitered along the sacristan appeared and
offered to show us the church, and led us into the transept on the right
of the high altar, and ushered us into the sacristy, where we found two
artists copying some of Fra Angelico's pictures.  These were painted on
the three wooden leaves of a triptych, and, as usual, were glorified with
a great deal of gilding, so that they seemed to float in the brightness
of a heavenly element.  Solomon speaks of "apples of gold in pictures of
silver."  The pictures of Fra Angelico, and other artists of that age,
are really pictures of gold; and it is wonderful to see how rich the
effect, and how much delicate beauty is attained (by Fra Angelico at
least) along with it.  His miniature-heads appear to me much more
successful than his larger ones.  In a monkish point of view, however,
the chief value of the triptych of which I am speaking does not lie in
the pictures, for they merely serve as the framework of some relics,
which are set all round the edges of the three leaves.  They consist of
little bits and fragments of bones, and of packages carefully tied up in
silk, the contents of which are signified in Gothic letters appended to
each parcel.  The sacred vessels of the church are likewise kept in the
sacristy. . . . .

Re-entering the transept, our guide showed us the chapel of the Strozzi
family, which is accessible by a flight of steps from the floor of the
church.  The walls of this chapel are covered with frescos by Orcagna,
representing around the altar the Last Judgment, and on one of the walls
heaven and the assembly of the blessed, and on the other, of course,
hell.  I cannot speak as to the truth of the representation; but, at all
events, it was purgatory to look at it. . . . .

We next passed into the choir, which occupies the extreme end of the
church behind the great square mass of the high altar, and is surrounded
with a double row of ancient oaken seats of venerable shape and carving.
The choir is illuminated by a threefold Gothic window, full of richly
painted glass, worth all the frescos that ever stained a wall or ceiling;
but these walls, nevertheless, are adorned with frescos by Ghirlandaio,
and it is easy to see must once have made a magnificent appearance.  I
really was sensible of a sad and ghostly beauty in many of the figures;
but all the bloom, the magic of the painter's touch, his topmost art,
have long ago been rubbed off, the white plaster showing through the
colors in spots, and even in large spaces.  Any other sort of ruin
acquires a beauty proper to its decay, and often superior to that of its
pristine state; but the ruin of a picture, especially of a fresco, is
wholly unredeemed; and, moreover, it dies so slowly that many generations
are likely to be saddened by it.

We next saw the famous picture of the Virgin by Cimabue, which was deemed
a miracle in its day, . . . . and still brightens the sombre walls with
the lustre of its gold ground.  As to its artistic merits, it seems to me
that the babe Jesus has a certain air of state and dignity; but I could
see no charm whatever in the broad-faced Virgin, and it would relieve my
mind and rejoice my spirit if the picture were borne out of the church in
another triumphal procession (like the one which brought it there), and
reverently burnt.  This should be the final honor paid to all human works
that have served a good office in their day, for when their day is
over, if still galvanized into false life, they do harm instead of good.
. . . . The interior of Santa Maria Novella is spacious and in the Gothic
style, though differing from English churches of that order of
architecture.  It is not now kept open to the public, nor were any of the
shrines and chapels, nor even the high altar itself, adorned and lighted
for worship.  The pictures that decorated the shrines along the side
aisles have been removed, leaving bare, blank spaces of brickwork, very
dreary and desolate to behold.  This is almost worse than a black
oil-painting or a faded fresco.  The church was much injured by the
French, and afterwards by the Austrians, both powers having quartered
their troops within the holy precincts.  Its old walls, however, are yet
stalwart enough to outlast another set of frescos, and to see the
beginning and the end of a new school of painting as long-lived as
Cimabue's.  I should be sorry to have the church go to decay, because it
was here that Boccaccio's dames and cavaliers encountered one another,
and formed their plan of retreating into the country during the
plague. . . . .

At the door we bought a string of beads, with a small crucifix appended,
in memory of the place.  The beads seem to be of a grayish, pear-shaped
seed, and the seller assured us that they were the tears of St. Job.
They were cheap, probably because Job shed so many tears in his lifetime.

It being still early in the day, we went to the Uffizi gallery, and after
loitering a good while among the pictures, were so fortunate as to find
the room of the bronzes open.  The first object that attracted us was
John of Bologna's Mercury, poising himself on tiptoe, and looking not
merely buoyant enough to float, but as if he possessed more than the
eagle's power of lofty flight.  It seems a wonder that he did not
absolutely fling himself into the air when the artist gave him the last
touch.  No bolder work was ever achieved; nothing so full of life has
been done since.  I was much interested, too, in the original little wax
model, two feet high, of Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus.  The wax seems to
be laid over a wooden framework, and is but roughly finished off. . . . .

In an adjoining room are innumerable specimens of Roman and Etruscan
bronzes, great and small.  A bronze Chimera did not strike me as very
ingeniously conceived, the goat's head being merely an adjunct, growing
out of the back of the monster, without possessing any original and
substantive share in its nature.  The snake's head is at the end of the
tail.  The object most really interesting was a Roman eagle, the standard
of the Twenty-fourth Legion, about the size of a blackbird.


July 8th.--On the 6th we went to the Church of the Annunziata, which
stands in the piazza of the same name.  On the corner of the Via dei
Servi is the palace which I suppose to be the one that Browning makes the
scene of his poem, "The Statue and the Bust," and the statue of Duke
Ferdinand sits stately on horseback, with his face turned towards the
window, where the lady ought to appear.  Neither she nor the bust,
however, was visible, at least not to my eyes.  The church occupies one
side of the piazza, and in front of it, as likewise on the two adjoining
sides of the square, there are pillared arcades, constructed by
Brunelleschi or his scholars.  After passing through these arches, and
still before entering the church itself, you come to an ancient cloister,
which is now quite enclosed in glass as a means of preserving some
frescos of Andrea del Sarto and others, which are considered valuable.

Passing the threshold of the church, we were quite dazzled by the
splendor that shone upon us from the ceiling of the nave, the great
parallelograms of which, viewed from one end, look as if richly
embossed all over with gold.  The whole interior, indeed, has an effect
of brightness and magnificence, the walls being covered mostly with
light-colored marble, into which are inlaid compartments of rarer and
richer marbles.  The pillars and pilasters, too, are of variegated
marbles, with Corinthian capitals, that shine just as brightly as if they
were of solid gold, so faithfully have they been gilded and burnished.
The pavement is formed of squares of black and white marble.  There are
no side aisles, but ranges of chapels, with communication from one to
another, stand round the whole extent of the nave and choir; all of
marble, all decorated with pictures, statues, busts, and mural monuments;
all worth, separately, a day's inspection.  The high altar is of great
beauty and richness, . . . . and also the tomb of John of Bologna in a
chapel at the remotest extremity of the church.  In this chapel there are
some bas-reliefs by him, and also a large crucifix, with a marble Christ
upon it.  I think there has been no better sculptor since the days of
Phidias. . . . .

The church was founded by seven gentlemen of Florence, who formed
themselves into a religious order called "Servants of Mary."  Many
miraculous cures were wrought here; and the church, in consequence, was
so thickly hung with votive offerings of legs, arms, and other things in
wax, that they used to tumble upon people's heads, so that finally they
were all cleared out as rubbish.  The church is still, I should imagine,
looked upon as a place of peculiar sanctity; for while we were there it
had an unusual number of kneeling worshippers, and persons were passing
from shrine to shrine all round the nave and choir, praying awhile at
each, and thus performing a pilgrimage at little cost of time and labor.
One old gentleman, I observed, carried a cushion or pad, just big enough
for one knee, on which he carefully adjusted his genuflexions before each
altar.  An old woman in the choir prayed alternately to us and to the
saints, with most success, I hope, in her petitions to the latter, though
certainly her prayers to ourselves seemed the more fervent of the two.

When we had gone entirely round the church, we came at last to the chapel
of the Annunziata, which stands on the floor of the nave, on the left
hand as we enter.  It is a very beautiful piece of architecture,--a sort
of canopy of marble, supported upon pillars; and its magnificence within,
in marble and silver, and all manner of holy decoration, is quite
indescribable.  It was built four hundred years ago, by Pietro de'
Medici, and has probably been growing richer ever since.  The altar is
entirely of silver, richly embossed.  As many people were kneeling on the
steps before it as could find room, and most of them, when they finished
their prayers, ascended the steps, kissed over and over again the margin
of the silver altar, laid their foreheads upon it, and then deposited an
offering in a box placed upon the altar's top.  From the dulness of the
chink in the only case when I heard it, I judged it to be a small copper
coin.

In the inner part of this chapel is preserved a miraculous picture of the
"Santissima Annunziata," painted by angels, and held in such holy repute
that forty thousand dollars have lately been expended in providing a new
crown for the sacred personage represented.  The picture is now veiled
behind a curtain; and as it is a fresco, and is not considered to do much
credit to the angelic artists, I was well contented not to see it.

We found a side door of the church admitting us into the great cloister,
which has a walk of intersecting arches round its four sides, paved with
flat tombstones, and broad enough for six people to walk abreast.  On the
walls, in the semicircles of each successive arch, are frescos
representing incidents in the lives of the seven founders of the church,
and all the lower part of the wall is incrusted with marble inscriptions
to the memory of the dead, and mostly of persons who have died not very
long ago.  The space enclosed by the cloistered walk, usually made
cheerful by green grass, has a pavement of tombstones laid in regular
ranges.  In the centre is a stone octagonal structure, which at first I
supposed to be the tomb of some deceased mediaeval personage; but, on
approaching, I found it a well, with its bucket hanging within the curb,
and looking as if it were in constant use.  The surface of the water lay
deep beneath the deepest dust of the dead people, and thence threw up its
picture of the sky; but I think it would not be a moderate thirst that
would induce me to drink of that well.

On leaving the church we bought a little gilt crucifix. . . . .

On Sunday evening I paid a short visit to Mr. Powers, and, as usual, was
entertained and instructed with his conversation.  It did not, indeed,
turn upon artistical subjects; but the artistic is only one side of his
character, and, I think, not the principal side.  He might have achieved
valuable success as an engineer and mechanician.  He gave a dissertation
on flying-machines, evidently from his own experience, and came to the
conclusion that it is impossible to fly by means of steam or any other
motive-power now known to man.  No force hitherto attained would suffice
to lift the engine which generated it.  He appeared to anticipate that
flying will be a future mode of locomotion, but not till the moral
condition of mankind is so improved as to obviate the bad uses to which
the power might be applied.  Another topic discussed was a cure for
complaints of the chest by the inhalation of nitric acid; and he produced
his own apparatus for that purpose, being merely a tube inserted into a
bottle containing a small quantity of the acid, just enough to produce
the gas for inhalation.  He told me, too, a remedy for burns accidentally
discovered by himself; viz., to wear wash-leather, or something
equivalent, over the burn, and keep it constantly wet.  It prevents all
pain, and cures by the exclusion of the air.  He evidently has a great
tendency to empirical remedies, and would have made a natural doctor of
mighty potency, possessing the shrewd sense, inventive faculty, and
self-reliance that such persons require.  It is very singular that there
should be an ideal vein in a man of this character.

This morning he called to see me, with intelligence of the failure of the
new attempt to lay the electric cable between England and America; and
here, too, it appears the misfortune might have been avoided if a plan of
his own for laying the cable had been adopted.  He explained his process,
and made it seem as practicable as to put up a bell-wire.  I do not
remember how or why (but appositely) he repeated some verses, from a
pretty little ballad about fairies, that had struck his fancy, and he
wound up his talk with some acute observations on the characters of
General Jackson and other public men.  He told an anecdote, illustrating
the old general's small acquaintance with astronomical science, and his
force of will in compelling a whole dinner-party of better instructed
people than himself to succumb to him in an argument about eclipses and
the planetary system generally.  Powers witnessed the scene himself.  He
thinks that General Jackson was a man of the keenest and surest
intuitions, in respect to men and measures, but with no power of
reasoning out his own conclusions, or of imparting them intellectually to
other persons.  Men who have known Jackson intimately, and in great
affairs, would not agree as to this intellectual and argumentative
deficiency, though they would fully allow the intuitive faculty.  I have
heard General Pierce tell a striking instance of Jackson's power of
presenting his own view of a subject with irresistible force to the mind
of the auditor.  President Buchanan has likewise expressed to me as high
admiration of Jackson as I ever heard one man award to another.  Surely
he was a great man, and his native strength, as well of intellect as
character, compelled every man to be his tool that came within his reach;
and the more cunning the individual might be, it served only to make him
the sharper tool.

Speaking of Jackson, and remembering Raphael's picture of Pope Julius
II., the best portrait in the whole world, and excellent in all its
repetitions, I wish it had been possible for Raphael to paint General
Jackson!

Referring again to General Jackson's intuitions, and to Powers's idea
that he was unable to render a reason to himself or others for what he
chose to do, I should have thought that this very probably might have
been the case, were there not such strong evidence to the contrary.  The
highest, or perhaps any high administrative ability is intuitive, and
precedes argument, and rises above it.  It is a revelation of the very
thing to be done, and its propriety and necessity are felt so strongly
that very likely it cannot be talked about; if the doer can likewise
talk, it is an additional and gratuitous faculty, as little to be
expected as that a poet should be able to write an explanatory criticism
on his own poem.  The English overlook this in their scheme of
government, which requires that the members of the national executive
should be orators, and the readiest and most fluent orators that can be
found.  The very fact (on which they are selected) that they are men of
words makes it improbable that they are likewise men of deeds.  And it is
only tradition and old custom, founded on an obsolete state of things,
that assigns any value to parliamentary oratory.  The world has done with
it, except as an intellectual pastime.  The speeches have no effect till
they are converted into newspaper paragraphs; and they had better be
composed as such, in the first place, and oratory reserved for churches,
courts of law, and public dinner-tables.


July 10th.--My wife and I went yesterday forenoon to see the Church of
San Marco, with which is connected a convent of Dominicans. . . . . The
interior is not less than three or four hundred years old, and is in the
classic style, with a flat ceiling, gilded, and a lofty arch, supported
by pillars, between the nave and choir.  There are no side aisles, but
ranges of shrines on both sides of the nave, each beneath its own pair of
pillars and pediments.  The pavement is of brick, with here and there a
marble tombstone inlaid.  It is not a magnificent church; but looks dingy
with time and apparent neglect, though rendered sufficiently interesting
by statues of mediaeval date by John of Bologna and other old sculptors,
and by monumental busts and bas-reliefs: also, there is a wooden crucifix
by Giotto, with ancient gilding on it; and a painting of Christ, which
was considered a wonderful work in its day.  Each shrine, or most of
them, at any rate, had its dark old picture, and there is a very old and
hideous mosaic of the Virgin and two saints, which I looked at very
slightly, with the purpose of immediately forgetting it.  Savonarola, the
reforming monk, was a brother of this convent, and was torn from its
shelter, to be subsequently hanged and burnt in the Grand Ducal Piazza.
A large chapel in the left transept is of the Salviati family, dedicated
to St. Anthony, and decorated with several statues of saints, and with
some old frescos.  When we had more than sufficiently examined these, the
custode proposed to show us some frescos of Fra Angelico, and conducted
us into a large cloister, under the arches of which, and beneath a
covering of glass, he pointed to a picture of St. Dominic kneeling at the
Cross.  There are two or three others by the angelic friar in different
parts of the cloister, and a regular series, filling up all the arches,
by various artists.  Its four-sided, cloistered walk surrounds a square,
open to the sky as usual, and paved with gray stones that have no
inscriptions, but probably are laid over graves.  Its walls, however, are
incrusted, and the walk itself is paved with monumental inscriptions on
marble, none of which, so far as I observed, were of ancient date.
Either the fashion of thus commemorating the dead is not ancient in
Florence, or the old tombstones have been removed to make room for new
ones.  I do not know where the monks themselves have their burial-place;
perhaps in an inner cloister, which we did not see.  All the inscriptions
here, I believe, were in memory of persons not connected with the
convent.

A door in the wall of the cloister admitted us into the chapter-house,
its interior moderately spacious, with a roof formed by intersecting
arches.  Three sides of the walls were covered with blessed whitewash;
but on the fourth side, opposite to the entrance, was a great fresco of
the Crucifixion, by Fra Angelico, surrounded with a border or pictured
framework, in which are represented the heads of saints, prophets, and
sibyls, as large as life.  The cross of the Saviour and those of the
thieves were painted against a dark red sky; the figures upon them were
lean and attenuated, evidently the vague conceptions of a man who had
never seen a naked figure.  Beneath, was a multitude of people, most of
whom were saints who had lived and been martyred long after the
Crucifixion; and some of these had wounds from which gilded rays shone
forth, as if the inner glory and blessedness of the holy men blazed
through them.  It is a very ugly picture, and its ugliness is not that of
strength and vigor, but of weakness and incompetency.  Fra Angelico
should have confined himself to miniature heads, in which his delicacy of
touch and minute labor often produce an excellent effect.  The custode
informed us that there were more frescos of this pious artist in the
interior of the convent, into which I might be allowed admittance, but
not my wife.  I declined seeing them, and heartily thanked heaven for my
escape.

Returning through the church, we stopped to look at a shrine on the right
of the entrance, where several wax candles were lighted, and the steps of
which were crowded with worshippers.  It was evidently a spot of special
sanctity, and, approaching the steps, we saw, behind a gilded framework
of stars and protected by glass, a wooden image of the Saviour, naked,
covered with spots of blood, crowned with thorns, and expressing all the
human wretchedness that the carver's skill could represent.  The whole
shrine, within the glass, was hung with offerings, as well of silver and
gold as of tinsel and trumpery, and the body of Christ glistened with
gold chains and ornaments, and with watches of silver and gold, some of
which appeared to be of very old manufacture, and others might be new.
Amid all this glitter the face of pain and grief looked forth, not a whit
comforted.  While we stood there, a woman, who had been praying, arose
from her knees and laid an offering of a single flower upon the shrine.

The corresponding arch, on the opposite side of the entrance, contained a
wax-work within a large glass case, representing the Nativity.  I do not
remember how the Blessed Infant looked, but the Virgin was gorgeously
dressed in silks, satins, and gauzes, with spangles and ornaments of all
kinds, and, I believe, brooches of real diamonds on her bosom.  Her
attire, judging from its freshness and newness of glitter, might have
been put on that very morning.


July 13th.--We went for the second time, this morning, to the Academy of
Fine Arts, and I looked pretty thoroughly at the Pre-Raphaelite pictures,
few of which are really worth looking at nowadays.  Cimabue and Giotto
might certainly be dismissed, henceforth and forever, without any
detriment to the cause of good art.  There is what seems to me a better
picture than either of these has produced, by Bonamico Buffalmacco, an
artist of about their date or not long after.  The first real picture in
the series is the "Adoration of the Magi," by Gentile da Fabriano, a
really splendid work in all senses, with noble and beautiful figures in
it, and a crowd of personages, managed with great skill.  Three pictures
by Perugino are the only other ones I cared to look at.  In one of these,
the face of the Virgin who holds the dead Christ on her knees has a
deeper expression of woe than can ever have been painted since.  After
Perugino the pictures cease to be interesting; the art came forward with
rapid strides, but the painters and their productions do not take nearly
so much hold of the spectator as before.  They all paint better than
Giotto and Cimabue,--in some respects better than Perugino; but they
paint in vain, probably because they were not nearly so much in earnest,
and meant far less, though possessing the dexterity to express far more.
Andrea del Sarto appears to have been a good painter, yet I always turn
away readily from his pictures.  I looked again, and for a good while, at
Carlo Dolce's portrait of the Eternal Father, for it is a miracle and
masterpiece of absurdity, and almost equally a miracle of pictorial art.
It is the All-powerless, a fair-haired, soft, consumptive deity, with a
mouth that has fallen open through very weakness.  He holds one hand on
his stomach, as if the wickedness and wretchedness of mankind made him
qualmish; and he is looking down out of Heaven with an expression of
pitiable appeal, or as if seeking somewhere for assistance in his heavy
task of ruling the universe.  You might fancy such a being falling on his
knees before a strong-willed man, and beseeching him to take the reins of
omnipotence out of his hands.  No wonder that wrong gets the better of
right, and that good and ill are confounded, if the Supreme Head were as
here depicted; for I never saw, and nobody else ever saw, so perfect a
representation of a person burdened with a task infinitely above his
strength.  If Carlo Dolce had been wicked enough to know what he was
doing, the picture would have been most blasphemous,--a satire, in the
very person of the Almighty, against all incompetent rulers, and against
the rickety machine and crazy action of the universe.  Heaven forgive me
for such thoughts as this picture has suggested!  It must be added that
the great original defect in the character as here represented is an easy
good-nature.  I wonder what Michael Angelo would have said to this
painting.

In the large, enclosed court connected with the Academy there are a
number of statues, bas-reliefs, and casts, and what was especially
interesting, the vague and rude commencement of a statue of St. Matthew
by Michael Angelo.  The conceptions of this great sculptor were so
godlike that he seems to have been discontented at not likewise
possessing the godlike attribute of creating and embodying them with an
instantaneous thought, and therefore we often find sculptures from his
hand left at the critical point of their struggle to get out of the
marble.  The statue of St. Matthew looks like the antediluvian fossil of
a human being of an epoch when humanity was mightier and more majestic
than now, long ago imprisoned in stone, and half uncovered again.


July 16th.--We went yesterday forenoon to see the Bargello.  I do not
know anything more picturesque in Florence than the great interior court
of this ancient Palace of the Podesta, with the lofty height of the
edifice looking down into the enclosed space, dark and stern, and the
armorial bearings of a long succession of magistrates carved in stone
upon the walls, a garland, as it were, of these Gothic devices extending
quite round the court.  The best feature of the whole is the broad stone
staircase, with its heavy balustrade, ascending externally from the court
to the iron-grated door in the second story.  We passed the sentinels
under the lofty archway that communicates with the street, and went up
the stairs without being questioned or impeded.  At the iron-grated door,
however, we were met by two officials in uniform, who courteously
informed us that there was nothing to be exhibited in the Bargello except
an old chapel containing some frescos by Giotto, and that these could
only be seen by making a previous appointment with the custode, he not
being constantly on hand.  I was not sorry to escape the frescos, though
one of them is a portrait of Dante.

We next went to the Church of the Badia, which is built in the form of a
Greek cross, with a flat roof embossed and once splendid with now
tarnished gold.  The pavement is of brick, and the walls of dark stone,
similar to that of the interior of the cathedral (pietra serena), and
there being, according to Florentine custom, but little light, the effect
was sombre, though the cool gloomy dusk was refreshing after the hot
turmoil and dazzle of the adjacent street.  Here we found three or four
Gothic tombs, with figures of the deceased persons stretched in marble
slumber upon them.  There were likewise a picture or two, which it was
impossible to see; indeed, I have hardly ever met with a picture in a
church that was not utterly wasted and thrown away in the deep shadows of
the chapel it was meant to adorn.  If there is the remotest chance of its
being seen, the sacristan hangs a curtain before it for the sake of his
fee for withdrawing it.  In the chapel of the Bianco family we saw (if it
could be called seeing) what is considered the finest oil-painting of Fra
Filippo Lippi.  It was evidently hung with reference to a lofty window on
the other side of the church, whence sufficient light might fall upon it
to show a picture so vividly painted as this is, and as most of Fra
Filippo Lippi's are.  The window was curtained, however, and the chapel
so dusky that I could make out nothing.

Several persons came in to say their prayers during the little time that
we remained in the church, and as we came out we passed a good woman who
sat knitting in the coolness of the vestibule, which was lined with mural
tombstones.  Probably she spends the day thus, keeping up the little
industry of her fingers, slipping into the church to pray whenever a
devotional impulse swells into her heart, and asking an alms as often as
she sees a person of charitable aspect.

From the church we went to the Uffizi gallery, and reinspected the
greater part of it pretty faithfully.  We had the good fortune, too,
again to get admittance into the cabinet of bronzes, where we admired
anew the wonderful airiness of John of Bologna's Mercury, which, as I now
observed, rests on nothing substantial, but on the breath of a zephyr
beneath him.  We also saw a bronze bust of one of the Medici by Benvenuto
Cellini, and a thousand other things the curiosity of which is overlaid
by their multitude.  The Roman eagle, which I have recorded to be about
the size of a blackbird, I now saw to be as large as a pigeon.

On our way towards the door of the gallery, at our departure, we saw the
cabinet of gems open, and again feasted our eyes with its concentrated
brilliancies and magnificences.  Among them were two crystal cups, with
engraved devices, and covers of enamelled gold, wrought by Benvenuto
Cellini, and wonderfully beautiful.  But it is idle to mention one or two
things, when all are so beautiful and curious; idle, too, because
language is not burnished gold, with here and there a brighter word
flashing like a diamond; and therefore no amount of talk will give the
slightest idea of one of these elaborate handiworks.


July 27th.--I seldom go out nowadays, having already seen Florence
tolerably well, and the streets being very hot, and myself having been
engaged in sketching out a romance [The Marble Faun.--ED.], which whether
it will ever come to anything is a point yet to be decided.  At any rate,
it leaves me little heart for journalizing and describing new things; and
six months of uninterrupted monotony would be more valuable to me just
now, than the most brilliant succession of novelties.

Yesterday I spent a good deal of time in watching the setting out of a
wedding party from our door; the bride being the daughter of an English
lady, the Countess of ------.  After all, there was nothing very
characteristic.  The bridegroom is a young man of English birth, son of
the Countess of St. G------, who inhabits the third piano of this Casa
del Bello.  The very curious part of the spectacle was the swarm of
beggars who haunted the street all day; the most wretched mob
conceivable, chiefly women, with a few blind people, and some old men and
boys.  Among these the bridal party distributed their beneficence in the
shape of some handfuls of copper, with here and there a half-paul
intermixed; whereupon the whole wretched mob flung themselves in a heap
upon the pavement, struggling, lighting, tumbling one over another, and
then looking up to the windows with petitionary gestures for more and
more, and still for more.  Doubtless, they had need enough, for they
looked thin, sickly, ill-fed, and the women ugly to the last degree.  The
wedding party had a breakfast above stairs, which lasted till four
o'clock, and then the bridegroom took his bride in a barouche and pair,
which was already crammed with his own luggage and hers. . . . . He was a
well-looking young man enough, in a uniform of French gray with silver
epaulets; more agreeable in aspect than his bride, who, I think, will
have the upper hand in their domestic life.  I observed that, on getting
into the barouche, he sat down on her dress, as he could not well help
doing, and received a slight reprimand in consequence.  After their
departure, the wedding guests took their leave; the most noteworthy
person being the Pope's Nuncio (the young man being son of the Pope's
Chamberlain, and one of the Grand Duke's Noble Guard), an ecclesiastical
personage in purple stockings, attended by two priests, all of whom got
into a coach, the driver and footmen of which wore gold-laced cocked hats
and other splendors.

To-day I paid a short visit to the gallery of the Pitti Palace.  I looked
long at a Madonna of Raphael's, the one which is usually kept in the
Grand Duke's private apartments, only brought into the public gallery for
the purpose of being copied.  It is the holiest of all Raphael's
Madonnas, with a great reserve in the expression, a sense of being apart,
and yet with the utmost tenderness and sweetness; although she drops her
eyelids before her like a veil, as it were, and has a primness of eternal
virginity about the mouth.  It is one of Raphael's earlier works, when he
mixed more religious sentiment with his paint than afterwards.
Perugino's pictures give the impression of greater sincerity and
earnestness than Raphael's, though the genius of Raphael often gave him
miraculous vision.


July 28th.--Last evening we went to the Powers's, and sat with them on
the terrace, at the top of the house, till nearly ten o'clock.  It was a
delightful, calm, summer evening, and we were elevated far above all the
adjacent roofs, and had a prospect of the greater part of Florence and
its towers, and the surrounding hills, while directly beneath us rose the
trees of a garden, and they hardly sent their summits higher than we sat.
At a little distance, with only a house or two between, was a theatre in
full action, the Teatro Goldoni, which is an open amphitheatre, in the
ancient fashion, without any roof.  We could see the upper part of the
proscenium, and, had we been a little nearer, might have seen the whole
performance, as did several boys who crept along the tops of the
surrounding houses.  As it was, we heard the music and the applause, and
now and then an actor's stentorian tones, when we chose to listen.  Mrs.
P------ and my wife, U---- and Master Bob, sat in a group together, and
chatted in one corner of our aerial drawing-room, while Mr. Powers and
myself leaned against the parapet, and talked of innumerable things.
When the clocks struck the hour, or the bells rang from the steeples, as
they are continually doing, I spoke of the sweetness of the Florence
bells, the tones of some of them being as if the bell were full of liquid
melody, and shed it through the air on being upturned.  I had supposed,
in my lack of musical ear, that the bells of the Campanile were the
sweetest; but Mr. Powers says that there is a defect in their tone, and
that the bell of the Palazzo Vecchio is the most melodious he ever heard.
Then he spoke of his having been a manufacturer of organs, or, at least,
of reeds for organs, at one period of his life.  I wonder what he has not
been!  He told me of an invention of his in the musical line, a jewsharp
with two tongues; and by and by he produced it for my inspection.  It was
carefully kept in a little wooden case, and was very neatly and
elaborately constructed, with screws to tighten it, and a silver
centre-piece between the two tongues.  Evidently a great deal of thought
had been bestowed on this little harp; but Mr. Powers told me that it was
an utter failure, because the tongues were apt to interfere and jar with
one another, although the strain of music was very sweet and melodious--
as he proved, by playing on it a little--when everything went right.  It
was a youthful production, and he said that its failure had been a great
disappointment to him at the time; whereupon I congratulated him that his
failures had been in small matters, and his successes in great ones.

We talked, furthermore, about instinct and reason, and whether the brute
creation have souls, and, if they have none, how justice is to be done
them for their sufferings here; and Mr. Powers came finally to the
conclusion that brutes suffer only in appearance, and that God enjoys for
them all that they seem to enjoy, and that man is the only intelligent
and sentient being.  We reasoned high about other states of being; and I
suggested the possibility that there might be beings inhabiting this
earth, contemporaneously with us, and close beside us, but of whose
existence and whereabout we could have no perception, nor they of ours,
because we are endowed with different sets of senses; for certainly it
was in God's power to create beings who should communicate with nature by
innumerable other senses than those few which we possess.  Mr. Powers
gave hospitable reception to this idea, and said that it had occurred to
himself; and he has evidently thought much and earnestly about such
matters; but is apt to let his idea crystallize into a theory, before he
can have sufficient data for it.  He is a Swedenborgian in faith.

The moon had risen behind the trees, while we were talking, and Powers
intimated his idea that beings analogous to men--men in everything except
the modifications necessary to adapt them to their physical
circumstances--inhabited the planets, and peopled them with beautiful
shapes.  Each planet, however, must have its own standard of the
beautiful, I suppose; and probably his sculptor's eye would not see much
to admire in the proportions of an inhabitant of Saturn.

The atmosphere of Florence, at least when we ascend a little way into it,
suggests planetary speculations.  Galileo found it so, and Mr. Powers and
I pervaded the whole universe; but finally crept down his garret-stairs,
and parted, with a friendly pressure of the hand.



VILLA MONTANTO.  MONTE BENI.


August 2d.--We had grown weary of the heat of Florence within the walls,
. . . . there being little opportunity for air and exercise except within
the precincts of our little garden, which, also, we feared might breed
malaria, or something akin to it.  We have therefore taken this suburban
villa for the two next months, and, yesterday morning, we all came out
hither.  J-----  had preceded us with B. P------.  The villa is on a hill
called Bellosguardo, about a mile beyond the Porta Romana.  Less than
half an hour's walk brought us, who were on foot, to the iron gate of our
villa, which we found shut and locked.  We shouted to be let in, and
while waiting for somebody to appear, there was a good opportunity to
contemplate the external aspect of the villa.  After we had waited a few
minutes, J----- came racing down to the gate, laughing heartily, and said
that Bob and he had been in the house, but had come out, shutting the
door behind them; and as the door closed with a springlock, they could
not get in again.  Now as the key of the outer gate as well as that of
the house itself was in the pocket of J-----'s coat, left inside, we were
shut out of our own castle, and compelled to carry on a siege against it,
without much likelihood of taking it, although the garrison was willing
to surrender.  But B. P------ called in the assistance of the contadini
who cultivate the ground, and live in the farm-house close by; and one of
them got into a window by means of a ladder, so that the keys were got,
the gates opened, and we finally admitted.  Before examining any other
part of the house, we climbed to the top of the tower, which, indeed, is
not very high, in proportion to its massive square.  Very probably,
its original height was abbreviated, in compliance with the law that
lowered so many of the fortified towers of noblemen within the walls of
Florence. . . . . The stairs were not of stone, built in with the
original mass of the tower, as in English castles, but of now decayed
wood, which shook beneath us, and grew more and more crazy as we
ascended.  It will not be many years before the height of the tower
becomes unattainable. . . . . Near at hand, in the vicinity of the city,
we saw the convent of Monte Olivetto, and other structures that looked
like convents, being built round an enclosed square; also numerous white
villas, many of which had towers, like that we were standing upon, square
and massive, some of them battlemented on the summit, and others
apparently modernized for domestic purposes.  Among them U---- pointed
out Galileo's tower, whither she made an excursion the other day.  It
looked lower than our own, but seemed to stand on a higher elevation.  We
also saw the duke's villa, the Poggio, with a long avenue of cypresses
leading from it, as if a funeral were going forth.  And having wasted
thus much of description on the landscape, I will finish with saying that
it lacked only water to be a very fine one.  It is strange what a
difference the gleam of water makes, and how a scene awakens and comes to
life wherever it is visible.  The landscape, moreover, gives the beholder
(at least, this beholder) a sense of oppressive sunshine and scanty
shade, and does not incite a longing to wander through it on foot, as a
really delightful landscape should.  The vine, too, being cultivated in
so trim a manner, does not suggest that idea of luxuriant fertility,
which is the poetical notion of a vineyard.  The olive-orchards have a
pale and unlovely hue.  An English view would have been incomparably
richer in its never-fading green; and in my own country, the wooded hills
would have been more delightful than these peaks and ridges of dreary and
barren sunshine; and there would have been the bright eyes of half a
dozen little lakes, looking heavenward, within an extent like that of the
Val d' Arno.

By and by mamma's carriage came along the dusty road, and passed through
the iron gateway, which we had left open for her reception.  We shouted
down to her and R-----, and they waved their handkerchiefs upward to us;
and, on my way down, I met R----- and the servant coming up through the
ghostly rooms.

The rest of the day we spent mostly in exploring the premises.  The house
itself is of almost bewildering extent, insomuch that we might each of us
have a suite of rooms individually.  I have established myself on the
ground-floor, where I have a dressing-room, a large vaulted saloon, hung
with yellow damask, and a square writing-study, the walls and ceilings of
the two latter apartments being ornamented with angels and cherubs aloft
in fresco, and with temples, statues, vases, broken columns, peacocks,
parrots, vines, and sunflowers below.  I know not how many more saloons,
anterooms, and sleeping-chambers there are on this same basement story,
besides an equal number over them, and a great subterranean
establishment.  I saw some immense jars there, which I suppose were
intended to hold oil; and iron kettles, for what purpose I cannot tell.
There is also a chapel in the house, but it is locked up, and we cannot
yet with certainty find the door of it, nor even, in this great
wilderness of a house, decide absolutely what space the holy precincts
occupy.  Adjoining U----'s chamber, which is in the tower, there is a
little oratory, hung round with sacred prints of very ancient date, and
with crucifixes, holy-water vases, and other consecrated things; and
here, within a glass case, there is the representation of an undraped
little boy in wax, very prettily modelled, and holding up a heart that
looks like a bit of red sealing-wax.  If I had found him anywhere else I
should have taken him for Cupid; but, being in an oratory, I presume him
to have some religious signification.  In the servants' room a crucifix
hung on one side of the bed, and a little vase for holy water, now
overgrown with a cobweb, on the other; and, no doubt, all the other
sleeping-apartments would have been equally well provided, only that
their occupants were to be heretics.

The lower floor of the house is tolerably furnished, and looks cheerful
with its frescos, although the bare pavements in every room give an
impression of discomfort.  But carpets are universally taken up in Italy
during summer-time.  It must have been an immense family that could have
ever filled such a house with life.  We go on voyages of discovery, and
when in quest of any particular point, are likely enough to fetch up at
some other.  This morning I had difficulty in finding my way again to the
top of the tower.  One of the most peculiar rooms is constructed close to
the tower, under the roof of the main building, but with no external
walls on two sides!  It is thus left open to the air, I presume for the
sake of coolness.  A parapet runs round the exposed sides for the sake of
security.  Some of the palaces in Florence have such open loggias in
their upper stories, and I saw others on our journey hither, after
arriving in Tuscany.

The grounds immediately around the house are laid out in gravel-walks,
and ornamented with shrubbery, and with what ought to be a grassy lawn;
but the Italian sun is quite as little favorable to beauty of that kind
as our own.  I have enjoyed the luxury, however, almost for the first
time since I left my hill-top at the Wayside, of flinging myself at full
length on the ground without any fear of catching cold.  Moist England
would punish a man soundly for taking such liberties with her greensward.
A podere, or cultivated tract, comprising several acres, belongs to the
villa, and seems to be fertile, like all the surrounding country.  The
possessions of different proprietors are not separated by fences, but
only marked out by ditches; and it seems possible to walk miles and
miles, along the intersecting paths, without obstruction.  The rural
laborers, so far as I have observed, go about in their shirt-sleeves, and
look very much like tanned and sunburnt Yankees.

Last night it was really a work of time and toil to go about making our
defensive preparations for the night; first closing the iron gate, then
the ponderous and complicated fastenings of the house door, then the
separate barricadoes of each iron-barred window on the lower floor, with
a somewhat slighter arrangement above.  There are bolts and shutters,
however, for every window in the house, and I suppose it would not be
amiss to put them all in use.  Our garrison is so small that we must
depend more upon the strength of our fortifications than upon our own
active efforts in case of an attack.  In England, in an insulated country
house, we should need all these bolts and bars, and Italy is not thought
to be the safer country of the two.

It deserves to be recorded that the Count Montanto, a nobleman, and
seemingly a man of property, should deem it worth while to let his
country seat, and reside during the hot months in his palace in the city,
for the consideration of a comparatively small sum a month.  He seems to
contemplate returning hither for the autumn and winter, when the
situation must be very windy and bleak, and the cold death-like in these
great halls; and then, it is to be supposed, he will let his palace in
town.  The Count, through the agency of his son, bargained very stiffly
for, and finally obtained, three dollars in addition to the sum which we
at first offered him.  This indicates that even a little money is still a
matter of great moment in Italy.  Signor del Bello, who, I believe, is
also a nobleman, haggled with us about some cracked crockery at our late
residence, and finally demanded and received fifty cents in compensation.
But this poor gentleman has been a spendthrift, and now acts as the agent
of another.


August 3d.--Yesterday afternoon William Story called on me, he being on a
day or two's excursion from Siena, where he is spending the summer with
his family.  He was very entertaining and conversative, as usual, and
said, in reply to my question whether he were not anxious to return to
Cleopatra, that he had already sketched out another subject for
sculpture, which would employ him during next winter.  He told me, what I
was glad to hear, that his sketches of Italian life, intended for the
"Atlantic Monthly," and supposed to be lost, have been recovered.
Speaking of the superstitiousness of the Italians, he said that they
universally believe in the influence of the evil eye.  The evil influence
is supposed not to be dependent on the will of the possessor of the evil
eye; on the contrary, the persons to whom he wishes well are the very
ones to suffer by it.  It is oftener found in monks than in any other
class of people; and on meeting a monk, and encountering his eye, an
Italian usually makes a defensive sign by putting both hands behind him,
with the forefingers and little fingers extended, although it is a
controverted point whether it be not more efficacious to extend the hand
with its outspread fingers towards the suspected person.  It is
considered an evil omen to meet a monk on first going out for the day.
The evil eye may be classified with the phenomena of mesmerism.  The
Italians, especially the Neapolitans, very generally wear amulets.  Pio
Nono, perhaps as being the chief of all monks and other religious people,
is supposed to have an evil eye of tenfold malignancy; and its effect has
been seen in the ruin of all schemes for the public good so soon as they
are favored by him.  When the pillar in the Piazza de' Spagna,
commemorative of his dogma of the Immaculate Conception, was to be
erected, the people of Rome refused to be present, or to have anything to
do with it, unless the pope promised to abstain from interference.  His
Holiness did promise, but so far broke his word as to be present one day
while it was being erected, and on that day a man was killed.  A little
while ago there was a Lord Clifford, an English Catholic nobleman,
residing in Italy, and, happening to come to Rome, he sent his
compliments to Pio Nono, and requested the favor of an interview.  The
pope, as it happened, was indisposed, or for some reason could not see
his lordship, but very kindly sent him his blessing.  Those who knew of
it shook their heads, and intimated that it would go ill with his
lordship now that he had been blessed by Pio Nono, and the very next day
poor Lord Clifford was dead!  His Holiness had better construe the
scriptural injunction literally, and take to blessing his enemies.

I walked into town with J------ this morning, and, meeting a monk in the
Via Furnace, I thought it no more than reasonable, as the good father
fixed his eyes on me, to provide against the worst by putting both hands
behind me, with the forefingers and little fingers stuck out.

In speaking of the little oratory connected with U----'s chamber, I
forgot to mention the most remarkable object in it.  It is a skull, the
size of life (or death). . . . . This part of the house must be very old,
probably coeval with the tower.  The ceiling of U----'s apartment is
vaulted with intersecting arches; and adjoining it is a very large
saloon, likewise with a vaulted and groined ceiling, and having a
cushioned divan running all round the walls.  The windows of these rooms
look out on the Val d' Arno.

The apartment above this saloon is of the same size, and hung with
engraved portraits, printed on large sheets by the score and hundred
together, and enclosed in wooden frames.  They comprise the whole series
of Roman emperors, the succession of popes, the kings of Europe, the
doges of Venice, and the sultans of Turkey.  The engravings bear
different dates between 1685 and thirty years later, and were executed at
Rome.


August 4th.--We ascended our tower yesterday afternoon to see the sunset.
In my first sketch of the Val d' Arno I said that the Arno seemed to hold
its course near the bases of the hills.  I now observe that the line of
trees which marks its current divides the valley into two pretty equal
parts, and the river runs nearly east and west. . . . . At last, when it
was growing dark, we went down, groping our way over the shaky
staircases, and peeping into each dark chamber as we passed.  I gratified
J----- exceedingly by hitting my nose against the wall.  Reaching the
bottom, I went into the great saloon, and stood at a window watching the
lights twinkle forth, near and far, in the valley, and listening to the
convent bells that sounded from Monte Olivetto, and more remotely still.
The stars came out, and the constellation of the Dipper hung exactly over
the Val d' Arno, pointing to the North Star above the hills on my right.


August 12th.--We drove into town yesterday afternoon, with Miss Blagden,
to call on Mr. Kirkup, an old Englishman who has resided a great many
years in Florence.  He is noted as an antiquarian, and has the reputation
of being a necromancer, not undeservedly, as he is deeply interested in
spirit-rappings, and holds converse, through a medium, with dead poets
and emperors.  He lives in an old house, formerly a residence of the
Knights Templars, hanging over the Arno, just as you come upon the Ponte
Vecchio; and, going up a dark staircase and knocking at a door on one
side of the landing-place, we were received by Mr. Kirkup.  He had had
notice of our visit, and was prepared for it, being dressed in a blue
frock-coat of rather an old fashion, with a velvet collar, and in a thin
waistcoat and pantaloons fresh from the drawer; looking very sprucely, in
short, and unlike his customary guise, for Miss Blagden hinted to us that
the poor gentleman is generally so untidy that it is not quite pleasant
to take him by the hand.  He is rather low of stature, with a pale,
shrivelled face, and hair and beard perfectly white, and the hair of a
particularly soft and silken texture.  He has a high, thin nose, of the
English aristocratic type; his eyes have a queer, rather wild look, and
the eyebrows are arched above them, so that he seems all the time to be
seeing something that strikes him with surprise.  I judged him to be a
little crack-brained, chiefly on the strength of this expression.  His
whole make is delicate, his hands white and small, and his appearance and
manners those of a gentleman, with rather more embroidery of courtesy
than belongs to an Englishman.  He appeared to be very nervous,
tremulous, indeed, to his fingers' ends, without being in any degree
disturbed or embarrassed by our presence.  Finally, he is very deaf; an
infirmity that quite took away my pleasure in the interview, because it
is impossible to say anything worth while when one is compelled to raise
one's voice above its ordinary level.

He ushered us through two or three large rooms, dark, dusty, hung with
antique-looking pictures, and lined with bookcases containing, I doubt
not, a very curious library.  Indeed, he directed my attention to one
case, and said that he had collected those works, in former days, merely
for the sake of laughing at them.  They were books of magic and occult
sciences.  What he seemed really to value, however, were some manuscript
copies of Dante, of which he showed us two: one, a folio on parchment,
beautifully written in German text, the letters as clear and accurately
cut as printed type; the other a small volume, fit, as Mr. Kirkup said,
to be carried in a capacious mediaeval sleeve.  This also was on vellum,
and as elegantly executed as the larger one; but the larger had beautiful
illuminations, the vermilion and gold of which looked as brilliant now as
they did five centuries ago.  Both of these books were written early in
the fourteenth century.  Mr. Kirkup has also a plaster cast of Dante's
face, which he believes to be the original one taken from his face after
death; and he has likewise his own accurate tracing from Giotto's fresco
of Dante in the chapel of the Bargello.  This fresco was discovered
through Mr. Kirkup's means, and the tracing is particularly valuable,
because the original has been almost destroyed by rough usage in drawing
out a nail that had been driven into the eye.  It represents the profile
of a youthful but melancholy face, and has the general outline of Dante's
features in other portraits.

Dante has held frequent communications with Mr. Kirkup through a medium,
the poet being described by the medium as wearing the same dress seen in
the youthful portrait, but as hearing more resemblance to the cast taken
from his dead face than to the picture from his youthful one.

There was a very good picture of Savonarola in one of the rooms, and many
other portraits, paintings, and drawings, some of them ancient, and
others the work of Mr. Kirkup himself.  He has the torn fragment of an
exquisite drawing of a nude figure by Rubens, and a portfolio of other
curious drawings.  And besides books and works of art, he has no end of
antique knick-knackeries, none of which we had any time to look at; among
others some instruments with which nuns used to torture themselves in
their convents by way of penance.  But the greatest curiosity of all, and
no antiquity, was a pale, large-eyed little girl, about four years old,
who followed the conjurer's footsteps wherever he went.  She was the
brightest and merriest little thing in the world, and frisked through
those shadowy old chambers, among the dead people's trumpery, as gayly as
a butterfly flits among flowers and sunshine.

The child's mother was a beautiful girl named Regina, whose portrait Mr.
Kirkup showed us on the wall.  I never saw a more beautiful and striking
face claiming to be a real one.  She was a Florentine, of low birth, and
she lived with the old necromancer as his spiritual medium.  He showed us
a journal, kept during her lifetime, and read from it his notes of an
interview with the Czar Alexander, when that potentate communicated to
Mr. Kirkup that he had been poisoned.  The necromancer set a great value
upon Regina, . . . . and when she died he received her poor baby into his
heart, and now considers it absolutely his own.  At any rate, it is a
happy belief for him, since he has nothing else in the world to love, and
loves the child entirely, and enjoys all the bliss of fatherhood, though
he must have lived as much as seventy years before he began to taste it.

The child inherits her mother's gift of communication with the spiritual
world, so that the conjurer can still talk with Regina through the baby
which she left, and not only with her, but with Dante, and any other
great spirit that may choose to visit him.  It is a very strange story,
and this child might be put at once into a romance, with all her history
and environment; the ancient Knight Templar palace, with the Arno flowing
under the iron-barred windows, and the Ponte Vecchio, covered with its
jewellers' shops, close at hand; the dark, lofty chambers with faded
frescos on the ceilings, black pictures hanging on the walls, old books
on the shelves, and hundreds of musty antiquities, emitting an odor of
past centuries; the shrivelled, white-bearded old man, thinking all the
time of ghosts, and looking into the child's eyes to seek them; and the
child herself, springing so freshly out of the soil, so pretty, so
intelligent, so playful, with never a playmate save the conjurer and a
kitten.  It is a Persian kitten, and lay asleep in a window; but when I
touched it, it started up at once in as gamesome a mood as the child
herself.

The child looks pale, and no wonder, seldom or never stirring out of that
old palace, or away from the river atmosphere.  Miss Blagden advised Mr.
Kirkup to go with her to the seaside or into the country, and he did not
deny that it might do her good, but seemed to be hampered by an old man's
sluggishness and dislike of change.  I think he will not live a great
while, for he seems very frail.  When he dies the little girl will
inherit what property he may leave.  A lady, Catharine Fleeting, an
Englishwoman, and a friend of Mr. Kirkup, has engaged to take her in
charge.  She followed us merrily to the door, and so did the Persian
kitten, and Mr. Kirkup shook hands with us, over and over again, with
vivacious courtesy, his manner having been characterized by a great deal
of briskness throughout the interview.  He expressed himself delighted to
have met one (whose books he had read), and said that the day would be a
memorable one to him,--which I did not in the least believe.

Mr. Kirkup is an intimate friend of Trelawny, author of "Adventures of a
Younger Son," and, long ago, the latter promised him that, if he ever
came into possession of the family estate, he would divide it with him.
Trelawny did really succeed to the estate, and lost no time in forwarding
to his friend the legal documents, entitling him to half of the property.
But Mr. Kirkup declined the gift, as he himself was not destitute, and
Trelawny had a brother.  There were two pictures of Trelawny in the
saloons, one a slight sketch on the wall, the other a half-length
portrait in a Turkish dress; both handsome, but indicating no very
amiable character.  It is not easy to forgive Trelawny for uncovering
dead Byron's limbs, and telling that terrible story about them,--equally
disgraceful to himself, be it truth or a lie.

It seems that Regina had a lover, and a sister who was very disreputable
It rather adds than otherwise to the romance of the affair,--the idea
that this pretty little elf has no right whatever to the asylum which she
has found.  Her name is Imogen.

The small manuscript copy of Dante which he showed me was written by a
Florentine gentleman of the fourteenth century, one of whose ancestors
the poet had met and talked with in Paradise.


August 19th.--Here is a good Italian incident, which I find in Valery.
Andrea del Castagno was a painter in Florence in the fifteenth century;
and he had a friend, likewise a painter, Domenico of Venice.  The latter
had the secret of painting in oils, and yielded to Castagno's entreaties
to impart it to him.  Desirous of being the sole possessor of this great
secret, Castagno waited only the night to assassinate Domenico, who so
little suspected his treachery, that he besought those who found him
bleeding and dying to take him to his friend Castagno, that he might die
in his arms.  The murderer lived to be seventy-four years old, and his
crime was never suspected till he himself revealed it on his death-bed.
Domenico did actually die in Castagno's arms.  The death scene would have
been a good one for the latter to paint in oils.


September 1st.--Few things journalizable have happened during the last
month, because Florence and the neighborhood have lost their novelty; and
furthermore, I usually spend the whole day at home, having been engaged
in planning and sketching out a romance.  I have now done with this for
the present, and mean to employ the rest of the time we stay here chiefly
in revisiting the galleries, and seeing what remains to be seen in
Florence.

Last Saturday, August 28th, we went to take tea at Miss Blagden's, who
has a weekly reception on that evening.  We found Mr. Powers there, and
by and by Mr. Boott and Mr. Trollope came in.  Miss ------ has lately
been exercising her faculties as a spiritual writing-medium; and, the
conversation turning on that subject, Mr. Powers related some things that
he had witnessed through the agency of Mr. Home, who had held a session
or two at his house.  He described the apparition of two mysterious hands
from beneath a table round which the party were seated.  These hands
purported to belong to the aunt of the Countess Cotterel, who was
present, and were a pair of thin, delicate, aged, lady-like hands and
arms, appearing at the edge of the table, and terminating at the elbow in
a sort of white mist.  One of the hands took up a fan and began to use
it.  The countess then said, "Fan yourself as you used to do, dear aunt";
and forthwith the hands waved the fan back and forth in a peculiar
manner, which the countess recognized as the manner of her dead aunt.
The spirit was then requested to fan each member of the party; and
accordingly, each separate individual round the table was fanned in turn,
and felt the breeze sensibly upon his face.  Finally, the hands sank
beneath the table, I believe Mr. Powers said; but I am not quite sure
that they did not melt into the air.  During this apparition, Mr. Home
sat at the table, but not in such a position or within such distance that
he could have put out or managed the spectral hands; and of this Mr.
Powers satisfied himself by taking precisely the same position after the
party had retired.  Mr. Powers did not feel the hands at this time, but
he afterwards felt the touch of infant hands, which were at the time
invisible.  He told of many of the wonders, which seem to have as much
right to be set down as facts as anything else that depends on human
testimony.  For example, Mr. K------, one of the party, gave a sudden
start and exclamation.  He had felt on his knee a certain token, which
could have been given him only by a friend, long ago in his grave.  Mr.
Powers inquired what was the last thing that had been given as a present
to a deceased child; and suddenly both he and his wife felt a prick as of
some sharp instrument, on their knees.  The present had been a penknife.
I have forgotten other incidents quite as striking as these; but, with
the exception of the spirit-hands, they seemed to be akin to those that
have been produced by mesmerism, returning the inquirer's thoughts and
veiled recollections to himself, as answers to his queries.  The hands
are certainly an inexplicable phenomenon.  Of course, they are not
portions of a dead body, nor any other kind of substance; they are
impressions on the two senses, sight and touch, but how produced I cannot
tell.  Even admitting their appearance,--and certainly I do admit it as
freely and fully as if I had seen them myself,--there is no need of
supposing them to come from the world of departed spirits.

Powers seems to put entire faith in the verity of spiritual
communications, while acknowledging the difficulty of identifying spirits
as being what they pretend to be.  He is a Swedenborgian, and so far
prepared to put faith in many of these phenomena.  As for Home, Powers
gives a decided opinion that he is a knave, but thinks him so organized,
nevertheless, as to be a particularly good medium for spiritual
communications.  Spirits, I suppose, like earthly people, are obliged to
use such instruments as will answer their purposes; but rather than
receive a message from a dead friend through the organism of a rogue or
charlatan, methinks I would choose to wait till we meet.  But what most
astonishes me is the indifference with which I listen to these marvels.
They throw old ghost stories quite into the shade; they bring the whole
world of spirits down amongst us, visibly and audibly; they are
absolutely proved to be sober facts by evidence that would satisfy us of
any other alleged realities; and yet I cannot force my mind to interest
myself in them.  They are facts to my understanding, which, it might have
been anticipated, would have been the last to acknowledge them; but they
seem not to be facts to my intuitions and deeper perceptions.  My inner
soul does not in the least admit them; there is a mistake somewhere.  So
idle and empty do I feel these stories to be, that I hesitated long
whether or no to give up a few pages of this not very important journal
to the record of them.

We have had written communications through Miss ------ with several
spirits; my wife's father, mother, two brothers, and a sister, who died
long ago, in infancy; a certain Mary Hall, who announces herself as the
guardian spirit of Miss ------; and, queerest of all, a Mary Runnel, who
seems to be a wandering spirit, having relations with nobody, but thrusts
her finger into everybody's affairs.  My wife's mother is the principal
communicant; she expresses strong affection, and rejoices at the
opportunity of conversing with her daughter.  She often says very pretty
things; for instance, in a dissertation upon heavenly music; but there is
a lack of substance in her talk, a want of gripe, a delusive show, a
sentimental surface, with no bottom beneath it.  The same sort of thing
has struck me in all the poetry and prose that I have read from spiritual
sources.  I should judge that these effusions emanated from earthly
minds, but had undergone some process that had deprived them of solidity
and warmth.  In the communications between my wife and her mother, I
cannot help thinking that (Miss ------ being unconsciously in a mesmeric
state) all the responses are conveyed to her fingers from my wife's
mind. . . . .

We have tried the spirits by various test questions, on every one of
which they have failed egregiously.  Here, however, the aforesaid Mary
Runnel comes into play.  The other spirits have told us that the veracity
of this spirit is not to be depended upon; and so, whenever it is
possible, poor Mary Runnel is thrust forward to bear the odium of every
mistake or falsehood.  They have avowed themselves responsible for all
statements signed by themselves, and have thereby brought themselves into
more than one inextricable dilemma; but it is very funny, where a
response or a matter of fact has not been thus certified, how invariably
Mary Runnel is made to assume the discredit of it, on its turning out to
be false.  It is the most ingenious arrangement that could possibly have
been contrived; and somehow or other, the pranks of this lying spirit
give a reality to the conversations which the more respectable ghosts
quite fail in imparting.

The whole matter seems to me a sort of dreaming awake.  It resembles a
dream, in that the whole material is, from the first, in the dreamer's
mind, though concealed at various depths below the surface; the dead
appear alive, as they always do in dreams; unexpected combinations occur,
as continually in dreams; the mind speaks through the various persons of
the drama, and sometimes astonishes itself with its own wit, wisdom, and
eloquence, as often in dreams; but, in both cases, the intellectual
manifestations are really of a very flimsy texture.  Mary Runnel is the
only personage who does not come evidently from dream-land; and she, I
think, represents that lurking scepticism, that sense of unreality, of
which we are often conscious, amid the most vivid phantasmagoria of a
dream.  I should be glad to believe in the genuineness of these spirits,
if I could; but the above is the conclusion to which my soberest thoughts
tend.  There remains, of course, a great deal for which I cannot account,
and I cannot sufficiently wonder at the pigheadedness both of
metaphysicians and physiologists, in not accepting the phenomena, so far
as to make them the subject of investigation.

In writing the communications, Miss ------ holds the pencil rather
loosely between her fingers; it moves rapidly, and with equal facility
whether she fixes her eyes on the paper or not.  The handwriting has far
more freedom than her own.  At the conclusion of a sentence, the pencil
lays itself down.  She sometimes has a perception of each word before it
is written; at other times, she is quite unconscious what is to come
next.  Her integrity is absolutely indubitable, and she herself totally
disbelieves in the spiritual authenticity of what is communicated through
her medium.


September 3d.--We walked into Florence yesterday, betimes after
breakfast, it being comfortably cool, and a gray, English sky; though,
indeed, the clouds had a tendency to mass themselves more than they do on
an overcast English day.  We found it warmer in Florence, but, not
inconveniently so, even in the sunniest streets and squares.

We went to the Uffizi gallery, the whole of which with its contents is
now familiar to us, except the room containing drawings; and our to-day's
visit was especially to them.  The door giving admittance to them is the
very last in the gallery; and the rooms, three in number, are, I should
judge, over the Loggia de' Lanzi, looking on the Grand Ducal Piazza.  The
drawings hang on the walls, framed and glazed; and number, perhaps, from
one to two hundred in each room; but this is only a small portion of the
collection, which amounts, it is said, to twenty thousand, and is
reposited in portfolios.  The sketches on the walls are changed, from
time to time, so as to exhibit all the most interesting ones in turn.
Their whole charm is artistic, imaginative, and intellectual, and in no
degree of the upholstery kind; their outward presentment being, in
general, a design hastily shadowed out, by means of colored crayons, on
tinted paper, or perhaps scratched rudely in pen and ink; or drawn in
pencil or charcoal, and half rubbed out; very rough things, indeed, in
many instances, and the more interesting on that account, because it
seems as if the artist had bestirred himself to catch the first glimpse
of an image that did but reveal itself and vanish.  The sheets, or
sometimes scraps of paper, on which they are drawn, are discolored with
age, creased, soiled; but yet you are magnetized by the hand of Raphael,
Michael Angelo, Leonardo, or whoever may have jotted down those
rough-looking master-touches.  They certainly possess a charm that is
lost in the finished picture; and I was more sensible of forecasting
thought, skill, and prophetic design, in these sketches than in the most
consummate works that have been elaborated from them.  There is something
more divine in these; for I suppose the first idea of a picture is real
inspiration, and all the subsequent elaboration of the master serves but
to cover up the celestial germ with something that belongs to himself.
At any rate, the first sketch is the more suggestive, and sets the
spectator's imagination at work; whereas the picture, if a good one,
leaves him nothing to do; if bad, it confuses, stupefies, disenchants,
and disheartens him.  First thoughts have an aroma and fragrance in them,
that they do not lose in three hundred years; for so old, and a good deal
more, are some of these sketches.

None interested me more than some drawings, on separate pieces of paper,
by Perugino, for his picture of the mother and friends of Jesus round his
dead body, now at the Pitti Palace.  The attendant figures are distinctly
made out, as if the Virgin, and John, and Mary Magdalen had each favored
the painter with a sitting; but the body of Jesus lies in the midst,
dimly hinted with a few pencil-marks.

There were several designs by Michael Angelo, none of which made much
impression on me; the most striking was a very ugly demon, afterwards
painted in the Sistine Chapel.  Raphael shows several sketches of
Madonnas,--one of which has flowered into the Grand Duke's especial
Madonna at the Pitti Palace, but with a different face.  His sketches
were mostly very rough in execution; but there were two or three designs
for frescos, I think, in the Vatican, very carefully executed; perhaps
because these works were mainly to be done by other hands than his own.
It seems to one that the Pre-Raphaelite artists made more careful
drawings than the later ones; and it rather surprised me to see how much
science they possessed.

We looked at few other things in the gallery; and, indeed, it was not one
of the days when works of art find me impressible.  We stopped a little
while in the Tribune, but the Venus de' Medici seemed to me to-day little
more than any other piece of yellowish white marble.  How strange that a
goddess should stand before us absolutely unrecognized, even when we know
by previous revelations that she is nothing short of divine!  It is also
strange that, unless when one feels the ideal charm of a statue, it
becomes one of the most tedious and irksome things in the world.  Either
it must be a celestial thing or an old lump of stone, dusty and
time-soiled, and tiring out your patience with eternally looking just the
same.  Once in a while you penetrate through the crust of the old
sameness, and see the statue forever new and immortally young.

Leaving the gallery we walked towards the Duomo, and on our way stopped
to look at the beautiful Gothic niches hollowed into the exterior walls
of the Church of San Michele.  They are now in the process of being
cleaned, and each niche is elaborately inlaid with precious marbles, and
some of them magnificently gilded; and they are all surmounted with
marble canopies as light and graceful as frost-work.  Within stand
statues, St. George, and many other saints, by Donatello and others, and
all taking a hold upon one's sympathies, even if they be not beautiful.
Classic statues escape you with their slippery beauty, as if they were
made of ice.  Rough and ugly things can be clutched.  This is nonsense,
and yet it means something. . . . . The streets were thronged and
vociferative with more life and outcry than usual.  It must have been
market-day in Florence, for the commerce of the streets was in great
vigor, narrow tables being set out in them, and in the squares, burdened
with all kinds of small merchandise, such as cheap jewelry, glistening as
brightly as what we had just seen in the gem-room of the Uffizi; crockery
ware; toys, books, Italian and French; silks; slippers; old iron; all
advertised by the dealers with terribly loud and high voices, that
reverberated harshly from side to side of the narrow streets.  Italian
street-cries go through the head; not that they are so very sharp, but
exceedingly hard, like a blunt iron bar.

We stood at the base of the Campanile, and looked at the bas-reliefs
which wreathe it round; and, above them, a row of statues; and from
bottom to top a marvellous minuteness of inlaid marbles, filling up the
vast and beautiful design of this heaven-aspiring tower.  Looking upward
to its lofty summit,--where angels might alight, lapsing downward from
heaven, and gaze curiously at the bustle of men below,--I could not but
feel that there is a moral charm in this faithful minuteness of Gothic
architecture, filling up its outline with a million of beauties that
perhaps may never be studied out by a single spectator.  It is the very
process of nature, and no doubt produces an effect that we know not of.
Classic architecture is nothing but an outline, and affords no little
points, no interstices where human feelings may cling and overgrow it
like ivy.  The charm, as I said, seems to be moral rather than
intellectual; for in the gem-room of the Uffizi you may see fifty
designs, elaborated on a small scale, that have just as much merit as the
design of the Campanile.  If it were only five inches long, it might be a
case for some article of toilet; being two hundred feet high, its
prettiness develops into grandeur as well as beauty, and it becomes
really one of the wonders of the world.  The design of the Pantheon, on
the contrary, would retain its sublimity on whatever scale it might be
represented.

Returning homewards, we crossed the Ponte Vecchio, and went to the Museum
of Natural History, where we gained admittance into the rooms dedicated
to Galileo.  They consist of a vestibule, a saloon, and a semicircular
tribune, covered with a frescoed dome, beneath which stands a colossal
statue of Galileo, long-bearded, and clad in a student's gown, or some
voluminous garb of that kind.  Around the tribune, beside and behind the
statue, are six niches,--in one of which is preserved a forefinger of
Galileo, fixed on a little gilt pedestal, and pointing upward, under a
glass cover.  It is very much shrivelled and mummy-like, of the color of
parchment, and is little more than a finger-bone, with the dry skin or
flesh flaking away from it; on the whole, not a very delightful relic;
but Galileo used to point heavenward with this finger, and I hope has
gone whither he pointed.

Another niche contains two telescopes, wherewith he made some of his
discoveries; they are perhaps a yard long, and of very small calibre.
Other astronomical instruments are displayed in the glass cases that line
the rooms; but I did not understand their use any better than the monks,
who wished to burn Galileo for his heterodoxy about the planetary
system. . . . .

After dinner I climbed the tower. . . . . Florence lay in the sunshine,
level, compact, and small of compass.  Above the tiled roofs rose the
tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, the loftiest and the most picturesque,
though built, I suppose, with no idea of making it so.  But it attains,
in a singular degree, the end of causing the imagination to fly upward
and alight on its airy battlements.  Near it I beheld the square mass of
Or San Michele, and farther to the left the bulky Duomo and the Campanile
close beside it, like a slender bride or daughter; the dome of San
Lorenzo too.  The Arno is nowhere visible.  Beyond, and on all sides of
the city, the hills pile themselves lazily upward in ridges, here and
there developing into a peak; towards their bases white villas were
strewn numerously, but the upper region was lonely and bare.

As we passed under the arch of the Porta Romana this morning, on our way
into the city, we saw a queer object.  It was what we at first took for a
living man, in a garb of light reddish or yellowish red color, of antique
or priestly fashion, and with a cowl falling behind.  His face was of the
same hue, and seemed to have been powdered, as the faces of maskers
sometimes are.  He sat in a cart, which he seemed to be driving into the
Deity with a load of earthen jars and pipkins, the color of which was
precisely like his own.  On closer inspection, this priestly figure
proved to be likewise an image of earthenware, but his lifelikeness had a
very strange and rather ghastly effect.  Adam, perhaps, was made of just
such red earth, and had the complexion of this figure.


September 7th.--I walked into town yesterday morning, by way of the Porta
San Frediano.  The gate of a city might be a good locality for a chapter
in a novel, or for a little sketch by itself, whether by painter or
writer.  The great arch of the gateway, piercing through the depth and
height of the massive masonry beneath the battlemented summit; the shadow
brooding below, in the immense thickness of the wall and beyond it, the
vista of the street, sunny and swarming with life; outside of the gate, a
throng of carts, laden with fruits, vegetables, small flat barrels of
wine, waiting to be examined by the custom-house officers; carriages too,
and foot-passengers entering, and others swarming outward.  Under the
shadowy arch are the offices of the police and customs, and probably the
guard-room of the soldiers, all hollowed out in the mass of the gateway.
Civil officers loll on chairs in the shade, perhaps with an awning over
their heads.  Where the sun falls aslantwise under the arch a sentinel,
with musket and bayonet, paces to and fro in the entrance, and other
soldiers lounge close by.  The life of the city seems to be compressed
and made more intense by this barrier; and on passing within it you do
not breathe quite so freely, yet are sensible of an enjoyment in the
close elbowing throng, the clamor of high voices from side to side of the
street, and the million of petty sights, actions, traffics, and
personalities, all so squeezed together as to become a great whole.

The street by which I entered led me to the Carraja Bridge; crossing
which, I kept straight onward till I came to the Church of Santa Maria
Novella.  Doubtless, it looks just the same as when Boccaccio's party
stood in a cluster on its broad steps arranging their excursion to the
villa.  Thence I went to the Church of St. Lorenzo, which I entered by
the side door, and found the organ sounding and a religious ceremony
going forward.  It is a church of sombre aspect, with its gray walls and
pillars, but was decked out for some festivity with hangings of scarlet
damask and gold.  I sat awhile to rest myself, and then pursued my way to
the Duomo.  I entered, and looked at Sir John Hawkwood's painted effigy,
and at several busts and statues, and at the windows of the chapel
surrounding the dome, through which the sunshine glowed, white in the
outer air, but a hundred-hued splendor within.  I tried to bring up the
scene of Lorenzo de' Medici's attempted assassination, but with no great
success; and after listening a little while to the chanting of the
priests and acolytes, I went to the Bank.  It is in a palace of which
Raphael was the architect, in the Piazza Gran Duca.

I next went, as a matter of course, to the Uffizi gallery, and, in the
first place, to the Tribune, where the Venus de' Medici deigned to reveal
herself rather more satisfactorily than at my last visit. . . . . I
looked into all the rooms, bronzes, drawings, and gem-room; a volume
might easily be written upon either subject.  The contents of the
gem-room especially require to be looked at separately in order to
convince one's self of their minute magnificences; for, among so many,
the eye slips from one to another with only a vague outward sense that
here are whole shelves full of little miracles, both of nature's material
and man's workmanship.  Greater [larger] things can be reasonably well
appreciated with a less scrupulous though broader attention; but in order
to estimate the brilliancy of the diamond eyes of a little agate bust,
for instance, you have to screw your mind down to them and nothing else.
You must sharpen your faculties of observation to a point, and touch the
object exactly on the right spot, or you do not appreciate it at all.  It
is a troublesome process when there are a thousand such objects to be
seen.

I stood at an open window in the transverse corridor, and looked down
upon the Arno, and across at the range of edifices that impend over it on
the opposite side.  The river, I should judge, may be a hundred or a
hundred and fifty yards wide in its course between the Ponte alle Grazie
and the Ponte Vecchio; that is, the width between strand and strand is at
least so much.  The river, however, leaves a broad margin of mud and
gravel on its right bank, on which water-weeds grow pretty abundantly,
and creep even into the stream.  On my first arrival in Florence I
thought the goose-pond green of the water rather agreeable than
otherwise; but its hue is now that of unadulterated mud, as yellow as the
Tiber itself, yet not impressing me as being enriched with city sewerage
like that other famous river.  From the Ponte alle Grazie downward,
half-way towards the Ponte Vecchio, there is an island of gravel, and the
channel on each side is so shallow as to allow the passage of men and
horses wading not overleg.  I have seen fishermen wading the main channel
from side to side, their feet sinking into the dark mud, and thus
discoloring the yellow water with a black track visible, step by step,
through its shallowness.  But still the Arno is a mountain stream, and
liable to be tetchy and turbulent like all its kindred, and no doubt it
often finds its borders of hewn stone not too far apart for its
convenience.

Along the right shore, beneath the Uffizi and the adjacent buildings,
there is a broad paved way, with a parapet; on the opposite shore the
edifices are built directly upon the river's edge, and impend over the
water, supported upon arches and machicolations, as I think that peculiar
arrangement of buttressing arcades is called.  The houses are
picturesquely various in height, from two or three stories to seven;
picturesque in hue likewise,--pea-green, yellow, white, and of aged
discoloration,--but all with green blinds; picturesque also in the courts
and galleries that look upon the river, and in the wide arches that open
beneath, intended perhaps to afford a haven for the household boat.  Nets
were suspended before one or two of the houses, as if the inhabitants
were in the habit of fishing out of window.  As a general effect, the
houses, though often palatial in size and height, have a shabby,
neglected aspect, and are jumbled too closely together.  Behind their
range the city swells upward in a hillside, which rises to a great height
above, forming, I believe, a part of the Boboli Gardens.

I returned homewards over the Ponte Vecchio, which is a continuous street
of ancient houses, except over the central arch, so that a stranger might
easily cross the river without knowing it.  In these small, old houses
there is a community of goldsmiths, who set out their glass cases, and
hang their windows with rings, bracelets, necklaces, strings of pearl,
ornaments of malachite and coral, and especially with Florentine mosaics;
watches, too, and snuff-boxes of old fashion or new; offerings for
shrines also, such as silver hearts pierced with swords; an infinity of
pretty things, the manufacture of which is continually going on in the
little back-room of each little shop.  This gewgaw business has been
established on the Ponte Vecchio for centuries, although, long since, it
was an art of far higher pretensions than now.  Benvenuto Cellini had his
workshop here, probably in one of these selfsame little nooks.  It would
have been a ticklish affair to be Benvenuto's fellow-workman within such
narrow limits.

Going out of the Porta Romana, I walked for some distance along the city
wall, and then, turning to the left, toiled up the hill of Bellosguardo,
through narrow zigzag lanes between high walls of stone or plastered
brick, where the sun had the fairest chance to frizzle me.  There were
scattered villas and houses, here and there concentrating into a little
bit of a street, paved with flag-stones from side to side, as in the
city, and shadowed quite across its narrowness by the height of the
houses.  Mostly, however, the way was inhospitably sunny, and shut out by
the high wall from every glimpse of a view, except in one spot, where
Florence spread itself before my eyes, with every tower, dome, and spire
which it contains.  A little way farther on my own gray tower rose before
me, the most welcome object that I had seen in the course of the day.


September 10th.--I went into town again yesterday, by way of the Porta
San Frediano, and observed that this gate (like the other gates of
Florence, as far as I have observed) is a tall, square structure of stone
or brick, or both, rising high above the adjacent wall, and having a
range of open loggie in the upper story.  The arch externally is about
half the height of the structure.  Inside, towards the town, it rises
nearly to the roof.  On each side of the arch there is much room for
offices, apartments, storehouses, or whatever else.  On the outside of
the gate, along the base, are those iron rings and sockets for torches,
which are said to be the distinguishing symbol of illustrious houses.  As
contrasted with the vista of the narrow, swarming street through the arch
from without, the view from the inside might be presented with a glimpse
of the free blue sky.

I strolled a little about Florence, and went into two or three churches;
into that of the Annunziata for one.  I have already described this
church, with its general magnificence, and it was more magnificent than
ever to-day, being hung with scarlet silk and gold-embroidery.  A great
many people were at their devotions, thronging principally around the
Virgin's shrine.  I was struck now with the many bas-reliefs and busts in
the costume of their respective ages, and seemingly with great accuracy
of portraiture, in the passage leading from the front of the church
into the cloisters.  The marble was not at all abashed nor degraded by
being made to assume the guise of the mediaeval furred robe, or the
close-fitting tunic with elaborate ruff, or the breastplate and gorget,
or the flowing wig, or whatever the actual costume might be; and one is
sensible of a rectitude and reality in the affair, and respects the dead
people for not putting themselves into an eternal masquerade.  The dress
of the present day will look equally respectable in one or two hundred
years.

The Fair is still going on, and one of its principal centres is before
this church, in the Piazza of the Annunziata.  Cloth is the chief
commodity offered for sale, and none of the finest; coarse, unbleached
linen and cotton prints for country-people's wear, together with yarn,
stockings, and here and there an assortment of bright-colored ribbons.
Playthings, of a very rude fashion, were also displayed; likewise books
in Italian and French; and a great deal of iron-work.  Both here and in
Rome they have this odd custom of offering rusty iron implements for
sale, spread out on the pavements.  There was a good deal of tinware,
too, glittering in the sunshine, especially around the pedestal of the
bronze statue of Duke Ferdinand, who curbs his horse and looks down upon
the bustling piazza in a very stately way. . . . . The people attending
the fair had mostly a rustic appearance; sunburnt faces, thin frames; no
beauty, no bloom, no joyousness of young or old; an anxious aspect, as if
life were no easy or holiday matter with them; but I should take them to
be of a kindly nature, and reasonably honest.  Except the broad-brimmed
Tuscan hats of the women, there was no peculiarity of costume.  At a
careless glance I could very well have mistaken most of the men for
Yankees; as for the women, there is very little resemblance between them
and ours,--the old being absolutely hideous, and the young ones very
seldom pretty.  It was a very dull crowd.  They do not generate any
warmth among themselves by contiguity; they have no pervading sentiment,
such as is continually breaking out in rough merriment from an American
crowd; they have nothing to do with one another; they are not a crowd,
considered as one mass, but a collection of individuals.  A despotic
government has perhaps destroyed their principle of cohesion, and
crumbled them to atoms.  Italian crowds are noted for their civility;
possibly they deserve credit for native courtesy and gentleness;
possibly, on the other hand, the crowd has not spirit and
self-consciousness enough to be rampant.  I wonder whether they will ever
hold another parliament in the Piazza of Santa Croce!

I paid a visit to the gallery of the Pitti Palace.  There is too large an
intermixture of Andrea del Sarto's pictures in this gallery; everywhere
you see them, cold, proper, and uncriticisable, looking so much like
first-rate excellence, that you inevitably quarrel with your own taste
for not admiring them. . . . .

It was one of the days when my mind misgives me whether the pictorial art
be not a humbug, and when the minute accuracy of a fly in a Dutch picture
of fruit and flowers seems to me something more reliable than the
master-touches of Raphael.  The gallery was considerably thronged, and
many of the visitors appeared to be from the country, and of a class
intermediate between gentility and labor.  Is there such a rural class in
Italy?  I saw a respectable-looking man feeling awkward and uncomfortable
in a new and glossy pair of pantaloons not yet bent and creased to his
natural movement.

Nothing pleased me better to-day than some amber cups, in one of the
cabinets of curiosities.  They are richly wrought, and the material is as
if the artist had compressed a great deal of sunshine together, and when
sufficiently solidified had moulded these cups out of it and let them
harden.  This simile was suggested by ------.

Leaving the palace, I entered the Boboli Gardens, and wandered up and
down a good deal of its uneven surface, through broad, well-kept edges of
box, sprouting loftily, trimmed smoothly, and strewn between with cleanly
gravel; skirting along plantations of aged trees, throwing a deep shadow
within their precincts; passing many statues, not of the finest art, yet
approaching so near it, as to serve just as good a purpose for garden
ornament; coming now and then to the borders of a fishpool, or a pond,
where stately swans circumnavigated an island of flowers;--all very fine
and very wearisome.  I have never enjoyed this garden; perhaps because it
suggests dress-coats, and such elegant formalities.


September 11th.--We have heard a good deal of spirit matters of late,
especially of wonderful incidents that attended Mr. Home's visit to
Florence, two or three years ago.  Mrs. Powers told a very marvellous
thing; how that when Mr. Home was holding a seance in her house, and
several persons present, a great scratching was heard in a neighboring
closet.  She addressed the spirit, and requested it not to disturb the
company then, as they were busy with other affairs, promising to converse
with it on a future occasion.  On a subsequent night, accordingly, the
scratching was renewed, with the utmost violence; and in reply to Mrs.
Powers's questions, the spirit assured her that it was not one, but
legion, being the ghosts of twenty-seven monks, who were miserable and
without hope!  The house now occupied by Powers was formerly a convent,
and I suppose these were the spirits of all the wicked monks that had
ever inhabited it; at least, I hope that there were not such a number of
damnable sinners extant at any one time.  These ghostly fathers must have
been very improper persons in their lifetime, judging by the
indecorousness of their behavior even after death, and in such dreadful
circumstances; for they pulled Mrs. Powers's skirts so hard as to break
the gathers. . . . . It was not ascertained that they desired to have
anything done for their eternal welfare, or that their situation was
capable of amendment anyhow; but, being exhorted to refrain from further
disturbance, they took their departure, after making the sign of the
cross on the breast of each person present.  This was very singular in
such reprobates, who, by their own confession, had forfeited all claim to
be benefited by that holy symbol: it curiously suggests that the forms of
religion may still be kept up in purgatory and hell itself.  The sign was
made in a way that conveyed the sense of something devilish and spiteful;
the perpendicular line of the cross being drawn gently enough, but the
transverse one sharply and violently, so as to leave a painful
impression.  Perhaps the monks meant this to express their contempt and
hatred for heretics; and how queer, that this antipathy should survive
their own damnation!  But I cannot help hoping that the case of these
poor devils may not be so desperate as they think.  They cannot be wholly
lost, because their desire for communication with mortals shows that they
need sympathy, therefore are not altogether hardened, therefore, with
loving treatment, may be restored.

A great many other wonders took place within the knowledge and experience
of Mrs. P------.  She saw, not one pair of hands only, but many.  The
head of one of her dead children, a little boy, was laid in her lap, not
in ghastly fashion, as a head out of the coffin and the grave, but just
as the living child might have laid it on his mother's knees.  It was
invisible, by the by, and she recognized it by the features and the
character of the hair, through the sense of touch.  Little hands grasped
hers.  In short, these soberly attested incredibilities are so numerous
that I forget nine tenths of them, and judge the others too cheap to be
written down.  Christ spoke the truth surely, in saying that men would
not believe, "though one rose from the dead."  In my own case, the fact
makes absolutely no impression.  I regret such confirmation of truth as
this.

Within a mile of our villa stands the Villa Columbaria, a large house,
built round a square court.  Like Mr. Powers's residence, it was formerly
a convent.  It is inhabited by Major Gregorie, an old soldier of Waterloo
and various other fights, and his family consists of Mrs. ------, the
widow of one of the Major's friends, and her two daughters.  We have
become acquainted with the family, and Mrs. ------, the married daughter,
has lent us a written statement of her experiences with a ghost, who has
haunted the Villa Columbaria for many years back.

He had made Mrs. ------ aware of his presence in her room by a sensation
of extreme cold, as if a wintry breeze were blowing over her; also by a
rustling of the bed-curtains; and, at such times, she had a certain
consciousness, as she says, that she was not ALONE.  Through Mr.
Home's agency, the ghost was enabled to explain himself, and declared
that he was a monk, named Giannane, who died a very long time ago in
Mrs. ------'s present bedchamber.  He was a murderer, and had been in a
restless and miserable state ever since his death, wandering up and down
the house, but especially haunting his own death-chamber and a staircase
that communicated with the chapel of the villa.  All the interviews with
this lost spirit were attended with a sensation of severe cold, which was
felt by every one present.  He made his communications by means of
table-rapping, and by the movements of chairs and other articles, which
often assumed an angry character.  The poor old fellow does not seem to
have known exactly what he wanted with Mrs. ------, but promised to
refrain from disturbing her any more, on condition that she would pray
that he might find some repose.  He had previously declined having any
masses said for his soul.  Rest, rest, rest, appears to be the continual
craving of unhappy spirits; they do not venture to ask for positive
bliss: perhaps, in their utter weariness, would rather forego the trouble
of active enjoyment, but pray only for rest.  The cold atmosphere around
this monk suggests new ideas as to the climate of Hades.  If all the
afore-mentioned twenty-seven monks had a similar one, the combined
temperature must have been that of a polar winter.

Mrs. ------ saw, at one time, the fingers of her monk, long, yellow, and
skinny; these fingers grasped the hands of individuals of the party, with
a cold, clammy, and horrible touch.

After the departure of this ghost other seances were held in her
bedchamber, at which good and holy spirits manifested themselves, and
behaved in a very comfortable and encouraging way.  It was their
benevolent purpose, apparently, to purify her apartments from all traces
of the evil spirit, and to reconcile her to what had been so long the
haunt of this miserable monk, by filling it with happy and sacred
associations, in which, as Mrs. ------ intimates, they entirely
succeeded.

These stories remind me of an incident that took place at the old manse,
in the first summer of our marriage. . . . .


September 17th.--We walked yesterday to Florence, and visited the church
of St. Lorenzo, where we saw, for the second time, the famous Medici
statues of Michael Angelo.  I found myself not in a very appreciative
state, and, being a stone myself, the statue of Lorenzo was at first
little more to me than another stone; but it was beginning to assume
life, and would have impressed me as it did before if I had gazed long
enough.  There was a better light upon the face, under the helmet, than
at my former visit, although still the features were enough overshadowed
to produce that mystery on which, according to Mr. Powers, the effect of
the statue depends.  I observe that the costume of the figure, instead of
being mediaeval, as I believe I have stated, is Roman; but, be it what it
may, the grand and simple character of the figure imbues the robes with
its individual propriety.  I still think it the greatest miracle ever
wrought in marble.

We crossed the church and entered a cloister on the opposite side, in
quest of the Laurentian Library.  Ascending a staircase we found an old
man blowing the bellows of the organ, which was in full blast in the
church; nevertheless he found time to direct us to the library door.  We
entered a lofty vestibule, of ancient aspect and stately architecture,
and thence were admitted into the library itself; a long and wide gallery
or hall, lighted by a row of windows on which were painted the arms of
the Medici.  The ceiling was inlaid with dark wood, in an elaborate
pattern, which was exactly repeated in terra-cotta on the pavement
beneath our feet.  Long desks, much like the old-fashioned ones in
schools, were ranged on each side of the mid aisle, in a series from end
to end, with seats for the convenience of students; and on these desks
were rare manuscripts, carefully preserved under glass; and books,
fastened to the desks by iron chains, as the custom of studious antiquity
used to be.  Along the centre of the hall, between the two ranges of
desks, were tables and chairs, at which two or three scholarly persons
were seated, diligently consulting volumes in manuscript or old type.  It
was a very quiet place, imbued with a cloistered sanctity, and remote
from all street-cries and rumble of the city,--odorous of old
literature,--a spot where the commonest ideas ought not to be expressed
in less than Latin.

The librarian--or custode he ought rather to be termed, for he was a man
not above the fee of a paul--now presented himself, and showed us some of
the literary curiosities; a vellum manuscript of the Bible, with a
splendid illumination by Ghirlandaio, covering two folio pages, and just
as brilliant in its color as if finished yesterday.  Other illuminated
manuscripts--or at least separate pages of them, for the volumes were
kept under glass, and not to be turned over--were shown us, very
magnificent, but not to be compared with this of Ghirlandaio.  Looking at
such treasures I could almost say that we have left behind us more
splendor than we have kept alive to our own age.  We publish beautiful
editions of books, to be sure, and thousands of people enjoy them; but in
ancient times the expense that we spread thinly over a thousand volumes
was all compressed into one, and it became a great jewel of a book, a
heavy folio, worth its weight in gold.  Then, what a spiritual charm it
gives to a book to feel that every letter has been individually wrought,
and the pictures glow for that individual page alone!  Certainly the
ancient reader had a luxury which the modern one lacks.  I was surprised,
moreover, to see the clearness and accuracy of the chirography.  Print
does not surpass it in these respects.

The custode showed us an ancient manuscript of the Decameron; likewise, a
volume containing the portraits of Petrarch and of Laura, each covering
the whole of a vellum page, and very finely done.  They are authentic
portraits, no doubt, and Laura is depicted as a fair-haired beauty, with
a very satisfactory amount of loveliness.  We saw some choice old
editions of books in a small separate room; but as these were all ranged
in shut bookcases, and as each volume, moreover, was in a separate cover
or modern binding, this exhibition did us very little good.  By the by,
there is a conceit struggling blindly in my mind about Petrarch and
Laura, suggested by those two lifelike portraits, which have been
sleeping cheek to cheek through all these centuries.  But I cannot lay
hold of it.


September 21st.--Yesterday morning the Val d' Arno was entirely filled
with a thick fog, which extended even up to our windows, and concealed
objects within a very short distance.  It began to dissipate itself
betimes, however, and was the forerunner of an unusually bright and warm
day.  We set out after breakfast and walked into town, where we looked at
mosaic brooches.  These are very pretty little bits of manufacture; but
there seems to have been no infusion of fresh fancy into the work, and
the specimens present little variety.  It is the characteristic commodity
of the place; the central mart and manufacturing locality being on the
Ponte Vecchio, from end to end of which they are displayed in cases; but
there are other mosaic shops scattered about the town.  The principal
devices are roses,--pink, yellow, or white,--jasmines, lilies of the
valley, forget-me-nots, orange blossoms, and others, single or in sprigs,
or twined into wreaths; parrots, too, and other birds of gay plumage,--
often exquisitely done, and sometimes with precious materials, such as
lapis lazuli, malachite, and still rarer gems.  Bracelets, with several
different, yet relative designs, are often very beautiful.  We find, at
different shops, a great inequality of prices for mosaics that seemed to
be of much the same quality.

We went to the Uffizi gallery, and found it much thronged with the middle
and lower classes of Italians; and the English, too, seemed more numerous
than I have lately seen them.  Perhaps the tourists have just arrived
here, starting at the close of the London season.  We were amused with a
pair of Englishmen who went through the gallery; one of them criticising
the pictures and statues audibly, for the benefit of his companion.  The
critic I should take to be a country squire, and wholly untravelled; a
tall, well-built, rather rough, but gentlemanly man enough; his friend, a
small personage, exquisitely neat in dress, and of artificial deportment,
every attitude and gesture appearing to have been practised before a
glass.  Being but a small pattern of a man, physically and
intellectually, he had thought it worth while to finish himself off with
the elaborateness of a Florentine mosaic; and the result was something
like a dancing-master, though without the exuberant embroidery of such
persons.  Indeed, he was a very quiet little man, and, though so
thoroughly made up, there was something particularly green, fresh, and
simple in him.  Both these Englishmen were elderly, and the smaller one
had perfectly white hair, glossy and silken.  It did not make him in the
least venerable, however, but took his own character of neatness and
prettiness.  He carried his well-brushed and glossy hat in his hand in
such a way as not to ruffle its surface; and I wish I could put into one
word or one sentence the pettiness, the minikinfinical effect of this
little man; his self-consciousness so lifelong, that, in some sort, he
forgot himself even in the midst of it; his propriety, his cleanliness
and unruffledness; his prettiness and nicety of manifestation, like a
bird hopping daintily about.

His companion, as I said, was of a completely different type; a tall,
gray-haired man, with the rough English face, a little tinted with port
wine; careless, natural manner, betokening a man of position in his own
neighborhood; a loud voice, not vulgar, nor outraging the rules of
society, but betraying a character incapable of much refinement.  He
talked continually in his progress through the gallery, and audibly
enough for us to catch almost everything he said, at many yards'
distance.  His remarks and criticisms, addressed to his small friend,
were so entertaining, that we strolled behind him for the sake of being
benefited by them; and I think he soon became aware of this, and
addressed himself to us as well as to his more immediate friend.  Nobody
but an Englishman, it seems to me, has just this kind of vanity,--a
feeling mixed up with scorn and good-nature; self-complacency on his own
merits, and as an Englishman; pride at being in foreign parts; contempt
for everybody around him; a rough kindliness towards people in general.
I liked the man, and should be glad to know him better.  As for his
criticism, I am sorry to remember only one.  It was upon the picture of
the Nativity, by Correggio, in the Tribune, where the mother is kneeling
before the Child, and adoring it in an awful rapture, because she sees
the eternal God in its baby face and figure.  The Englishman was highly
delighted with this picture, and began to gesticulate, as if dandling a
baby, and to make a chirruping sound.  It was to him merely a
representation of a mother fondling her infant.  He then said, "If I
could have my choice of the pictures and statues in the Tribune, I would
take this picture, and that one yonder" (it was a good enough
Enthronement of the Virgin by Andrea del Sarto) "and the Dancing Faun,
and let the rest go."  A delightful man; I love that wholesome coarseness
of mind and heart, which no education nor opportunity can polish out of
the genuine Englishman; a coarseness without vulgarity.  When a Yankee is
coarse, he is pretty sure to be vulgar too.

The two critics seemed to be considering whether it were practicable to
go from the Uffizi to the Pitti gallery; but "it confuses one," remarked
the little man, "to see more than one gallery in a day."  (I should think
so,--the Pitti Palace tumbling into his small receptacle on the top of
the Uffizi.) "It does so," responded the big man, with heavy emphasis.


September 23d.--The vintage has been going on in our podere for about a
week, and I saw a part of the process of making wine, under one of our
back windows.  It was on a very small scale, the grapes being thrown into
a barrel, and crushed with a sort of pestle; and as each estate seems to
make its own wine, there are probably no very extensive and elaborate
appliances in general use for the manufacture.  The cider-making of New
England is far more picturesque; the great heap of golden or rosy apples
under the trees, and the cider-mill worked by a circumgyratory horse,
and all agush with sweet juice.  Indeed, nothing connected with the
grape-culture and the vintage here has been picturesque, except the large
inverted pyramids in which the clusters hang; those great bunches, white
or purple, really satisfy my idea both as to aspect and taste.  We can
buy a large basketful for less than a paul; and they are the only things
that one can never devour too much of--and there is no enough short of a
little too much without subsequent repentance.  It is a shame to turn
such delicious juice into such sour wine as they make in Tuscany.  I
tasted a sip or two of a flask which the contadini sent us for trial,--
the rich result of the process I had witnessed in the barrel.  It took me
altogether by surprise; for I remembered the nectareousness of the new
cider which I used to sip through a straw in my boyhood, and I never
doubted that this would be as dulcet, but finer and more ethereal; as
much more delectable, in short, as these grapes are better than puckery
cider apples.  Positively, I never tasted anything so detestable, such a
sour and bitter juice, still lukewarm with fermentation; it was a wail of
woe, squeezed out of the wine-press of tribulation, and the more a man
drinks of such, the sorrier he will be.

Besides grapes, we have had figs, and I have now learned to be very fond
of them.  When they first began to appear, two months ago, they had
scarcely any sweetness, and tasted very like a decaying squash: this was
an early variety, with purple skins.  There are many kinds of figs, the
best being green-skinned, growing yellower as they ripen; and the riper
they are, the more the sweetness within them intensifies, till they
resemble dried figs in everything, except that they retain the fresh
fruit-flavor; rich, luscious, yet not palling.  We have had pears, too,
some of them very tolerable; and peaches, which look magnificently, as
regards size and downy blush, but, have seldom much more taste than a
cucumber.  A succession of fruits has followed us, ever since our arrival
in Florence:--first, and for a long time, abundance of cherries; then
apricots, which lasted many weeks, till we were weary of them; then
plums, pears, and finally figs, peaches, and grapes.  Except the figs and
grapes, a New England summer and autumn would give us better fruit than
any we have found in Italy.

Italy beats us I think in mosquitoes; they are horribly pungent little
satanic particles.  They possess strange intelligence, and exquisite
acuteness of sight and smell,--prodigious audacity and courage to match
it, insomuch that they venture on the most hazardous attacks, and get
safe off.  One of them flew into my mouth, the other night, and sting me
far down in my throat; but luckily I coughed him up in halves.  They are
bigger than American mosquitoes; and if you crush them, after one of
their feasts, it makes a terrific bloodspot.  It is a sort of suicide--at
least, a shedding of one's own blood--to kill them; but it gratifies the
old Adam to do it.  It shocks me to feel how revengeful I am; but it is
impossible not to impute a certain malice and intellectual venom to these
diabolical insects.  I wonder whether our health, at this season of the
year, requires that we should be kept in a state of irritation, and so
the mosquitoes are Nature's prophetic remedy for some disease; or whether
we are made for the mosquitoes, not they for us.  It is possible, just
possible, that the infinitesimal doses of poison which they infuse into
us are a homoeopathic safeguard against pestilence; but medicine never
was administered in a more disagreeable way.

The moist atmosphere about the Arno, I suppose, produces these insects,
and fills the broad, ten-mile valley with them; and as we are just on the
brim of the basin, they overflow into our windows.


September 25th.--U---- and I walked to town yesterday morning, and went
to the Uffizi gallery.  It is not a pleasant thought that we are so soon
to give up this gallery, with little prospect (none, or hardly any, on my
part) of ever seeing it again.  It interests me and all of us far more
than the gallery of the Pitti Palace, wherefore I know not, for the
latter is the richer of the two in admirable pictures.  Perhaps it is the
picturesque variety of the Uffizi--the combination of painting,
sculpture, gems, and bronzes--that makes the charm.  The Tribune, too, is
the richest room in all the world; a heart that draws all hearts to it.
The Dutch pictures, moreover, give a homely, human interest to the
Uffizi; and I really think that the frequency of Andrea del Santo's
productions at the Pitti Palace--looking so very like masterpieces, yet
lacking the soul of art and nature--have much to do with the weariness
that comes from better acquaintance with the latter gallery.  The
splendor of the gilded and frescoed saloons is perhaps another bore; but,
after all, my memory will often tread there as long as I live.  What
shall we do in America?

Speaking of Dutch pictures, I was much struck yesterday, as frequently
before, with a small picture by Teniers the elder.  It seems to be a
pawnbroker in the midst of his pledges; old earthen jugs, flasks, a brass
kettle, old books, and a huge pile of worn-out and broken rubbish, which
he is examining.  These things are represented with vast fidelity, yet
with bold and free touches, unlike the minute, microscopic work of other
Dutch masters; and a wonderful picturesqueness is wrought out of these
humble materials, and even the figure and head of the pawnbroker have a
strange grandeur.

We spent no very long time at the Uffizi, and afterwards crossed the
Ponte alle Grazie, and went to the convent of San Miniato, which stands
on a hill outside of the Porta San Gallo.  A paved pathway, along which
stand crosses marking stations at which pilgrims are to kneel and pray,
goes steeply to the hill-top, where, in the first place, is a smaller
church and convent than those of San Miniato.  The latter are seen at a
short distance to the right, the convent being a large, square
battlemented mass, adjoining which is the church, showing a front of aged
white marble, streaked with black, and having an old stone tower behind.
I have seen no other convent or monastery that so well corresponds with
my idea of what such structures were.  The sacred precincts are enclosed
by a high wall, gray, ancient, and luxuriously ivy-grown, and lofty and
strong enough for the rampart of a fortress.  We went through the gateway
and entered the church, which we found in much disarray, and masons at
work upon the pavement.  The tribune is elevated considerably above the
nave, and accessible by marble staircases; there are great arches and a
chapel, with curious monuments in the Gothic style, and ancient carvings
and mosaic works, and, in short, a dim, dusty, and venerable interior,
well worth studying in detail. . . . . The view of Florence from the
church door is very fine, and seems to include every tower, dome, or
whatever object emerges out of the general mass.


September 28th.--I went to the Pitti Palace yesterday, and to the Uffizi
to-day, paying them probably my last visit, yet cherishing an
unreasonable doubt whether I may not see them again.  At all events, I
have seen them enough for the present, even what is best of them; and, at
the same time, with a sad reluctance to bid them farewell forever, I
experience an utter weariness of Raphael's old canvas, and of the
time-yellowed marble of the Venus de' Medici.  When the material
embodiment presents itself outermost, and we perceive them only by the
grosser sense, missing their ethereal spirit, there is nothing so heavily
burdensome as masterpieces of painting and sculpture.  I threw my
farewell glance at the Venus de' Medici to-day with strange
insensibility.

The nights are wonderfully beautiful now.  When the moon was at the full,
a few nights ago, its light was an absolute glory, such as I seem only to
have dreamed of heretofore, and that only in my younger days.  At its
rising I have fancied that the orb of the moon has a kind of purple
brightness, and that this tinge is communicated to its radiance until it
has climbed high aloft and sheds a flood of white over hill and valley.
Now that the moon is on the wane, there is a gentler lustre, but still
bright; and it makes the Val d' Arno with its surrounding hills, and its
soft mist in the distance, as beautiful a scene as exists anywhere out of
heaven.  And the morning is quite as beautiful in its own way.  This
mist, of which I have so often spoken, sets it beyond the limits of
actual sense and makes it ideal; it is as if you were dreaming about the
valley,--as if the valley itself were dreaming, and met you half-way in
your own dream.  If the mist were to be withdrawn, I believe the whole
beauty of the valley would go with it.

Until pretty late in the morning, we have the comet streaming through the
sky, and dragging its interminable tail among the stars.  It keeps
brightening from night to night, and I should think must blaze fiercely
enough to cast a shadow by and by.  I know not whether it be in the
vicinity of Galileo's tower, and in the influence of his spirit, but I
have hardly ever watched the stars with such interest as now.


September 29th.--Last evening I met Mr. Powers at Miss Blagden's, and he
talked about his treatment, by our government in reference, to an
appropriation of twenty-five thousand dollars made by Congress for a
statue by him.  Its payment and the purchase of the statue were left at
the option of the President, and he conceived himself wronged because the
affair was never concluded. . . . . As for the President, he knows
nothing of art, and probably acted in the matter by the advice of the
director of public works.  No doubt a sculptor gets commissions as
everybody gets public employment and emolument of whatever kind from our
government, not by merit or fitness, but by political influence skilfully
applied.  As Powers himself observed, the ruins of our Capitol are not
likely to afford sculptures equal to those which Lord Elgin took from the
Parthenon, if this be the system under which they are produced. . . . . I
wish our great Republic had the spirit to do as much, according to its
vast means, as Florence did for sculpture and architecture when it was a
republic; but we have the meanest government and the shabbiest, and--if
truly represented by it--we are the meanest and shabbiest people known in
history.  And yet the less we attempt to do for art the better, if our
future attempts are to have no better result than such brazen troopers as
the equestrian statue of General Jackson, or even such naked
respectabilities as Greenough's Washington.  There is something false and
affected in our highest taste for art; and I suppose, furthermore, we are
the only people who seek to decorate their public institutions, not by
the highest taste among them, but by the average at best.

There was also at Miss Blagden's, among other company, Mr. ------, an
artist in Florence, and a sensible man.  I talked with him about Home,
the medium, whom he had many opportunities of observing when the latter
was in these parts.  Mr. ------ says that Home is unquestionably a knave,
but that he himself is as much perplexed at his own preternatural
performances as any other person; he is startled and affrighted at the
phenomena which he produces.  Nevertheless, when his spiritual powers
fall short, he does his best to eke them out with imposture.  This moral
infirmity is a part of his nature, and I suggested that perhaps if he
were of a firmer and healthier moral make, if his character were
sufficiently sound and dense to be capable of steadfast principle, he
would not have possessed the impressibility that fits him for the
so-called spiritual influences.  Mr. ------ says that Louis Napoleon is
literally one of the most skilful jugglers in the world, and that
probably the interest he has taken in Mr. Home was caused partly by a
wish to acquire his art.

This morning Mr. Powers invited me to go with him to the Grand Duke's new
foundry, to see the bronze statue of Webster which has just been cast
from his model.  It is the second cast of the statue, the first having
been shipped some months ago on board of a vessel which was lost; and, as
Powers observed, the statue now lies at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean
somewhere in the vicinity of the telegraphic cable.

We were received with much courtesy and emphasis by the director of the
foundry, and conducted into a large room walled with bare, new brick,
where the statue was standing in front of the extinct furnace: a majestic
Webster indeed, eight feet high, and looking even more colossal than
that.  The likeness seemed to me perfect, and, like a sensible man,
Powers' has dressed him in his natural costume, such as I have seen
Webster have on while making a speech in the open air at a mass meeting
in Concord,--dress-coat buttoned pretty closely across the breast,
pantaloons and boots,--everything finished even to a seam and a stitch.
Not an inch of the statue but is Webster; even his coat-tails are imbued
with the man, and this true artist has succeeded in showing him through
the broadcloth as nature showed him.  He has felt that a man's actual
clothes are as much a part of him as his flesh, and I respect him for
disdaining to shirk the difficulty by throwing the meanness of a cloak
over it, and for recognizing the folly of masquerading our Yankee
statesman in a Roman toga, and the indecorousness of presenting him as a
brassy nudity.  It would have been quite as unjustifiable to strip him to
his skeleton as to his flesh.  Webster is represented as holding in his
right hand the written roll of the Constitution, with which he points to
a bundle of fasces, which he keeps from falling by the grasp of his left,
thus symbolizing him as the preserver of the Union.  There is an
expression of quiet, solid, massive strength in the whole figure; a deep,
pervading energy, in which any exaggeration of gesture would lessen and
lower the effect.  He looks really like a pillar of the state.  The face
is very grand, very Webster stern and awful, because he is in the act of
meeting a great crisis, and yet with the warmth of a great heart glowing
through it.  Happy is Webster to have been so truly and adequately
sculptured; happy the sculptor in such a subject, which no idealization
of a demigod could have supplied him with.  Perhaps the statue at the
bottom of the sea will be cast up in some future age, when the present
race of man is forgotten, and if so, that far posterity will look up to
us as a grander race than we find ourselves to be.  Neither was Webster
altogether the man he looked.  His physique helped him out, even when he
fell somewhat short of its promise; and if his eyes had not been in such
deep caverns their fire would not have looked so bright.

Powers made me observe how the surface of the statue was wrought to a
sort of roughness instead of being smoothed, as is the practice of other
artists.  He said that this had cost him great pains, and certainly it
has an excellent effect.  The statue is to go to Boston, and I hope will
be placed in the open air, for it is too mighty to be kept under any roof
that now exists in America. . . . .

After seeing this, the director showed us some very curious and exquisite
specimens of castings, such as baskets of flowers, in which the most
delicate and fragile blossoms, the curl of a petal, the finest veins in a
leaf, the lightest flower-spray that ever quivered in a breeze, were
perfectly preserved; and the basket contained an abundant heap of such
sprays.  There were likewise a pair of hands, taken actually from life,
clasped together as they were, and they looked like parts of a man who
had been changed suddenly from flesh to brass.  They were worn and rough
and unhandsome hands, and so very real, with all their veins and the
pores of the skin, that it was shocking to look at them.  A bronze leaf,
cast also from the life, was as curious and more beautiful.

Taking leave of Powers, I went hither and thither about Florence, seeing
for the last time things that I have seen many times before: the market,
for instance, blocking up a line of narrow streets with fruit-stalls, and
obstreperous dealers crying their peaches, their green lemons, their
figs, their delicious grapes, their mushrooms, their pomegranates, their
radishes, their lettuces.  They use one vegetable here which I have not
known so used elsewhere; that is, very young pumpkins or squashes, of the
size of apples, and to be cooked by boiling.  They are not to my taste,
but the people here like unripe things,--unripe fruit, unripe chickens,
unripe lamb.  This market is the noisiest and swarmiest centre of noisy
and swarming Florence, and I always like to pass through it on that
account.

I went also to Santa Croce, and it seemed to me to present a longer vista
and broader space than almost any other church, perhaps because the
pillars between the nave and aisles are not so massive as to obstruct the
view.  I looked into the Duomo, too, and was pretty well content to leave
it.  Then I came homeward, and lost my way, and wandered far off through
the white sunshine, and the scanty shade of the vineyard walls, and the
olive-trees that here and there branched over them.  At last I saw our
own gray battlements at a distance, on one side, quite out of the
direction in which I was travelling, so was compelled to the grievous
mortification of retracing a great many of my weary footsteps.  It was a
very hot day.  This evening I have been on the towertop star-gazing, and
looking at the comet, which waves along the sky like an immense feather
of flame.  Over Florence there was an illuminated atmosphere, caused by
the lights of the city gleaming upward into the mists which sleep and
dream above that portion of the valley, as well as the rest of it.  I saw
dimly, or fancied I saw, the hill of Fiesole on the other side of
Florence, and remembered how ghostly lights were seen passing thence to
the Duomo on the night when Lorenzo the Magnificent died.  From time to
time the sweet bells of Florence rang out, and I was loath to come down
into the lower world, knowing that I shall never again look heavenward
from an old tower-top in such a soft calm evening as this.  Yet I am not
loath to go away; impatient rather; for, taking no root, I soon weary of
any soil in which I may be temporarily deposited.  The same impatience I
sometimes feel or conceive of as regards this earthly life. . . . .

I forgot to mention that Powers showed me, in his studio, the model of
the statue of America, which he wished the government to buy.  It has
great merit, and embodies the ideal of youth, freedom, progress, and
whatever we consider as distinctive of our country's character and
destiny.  It is a female figure, vigorous, beautiful, planting its foot
lightly on a broken chain, and pointing upward.  The face has a high look
of intelligence and lofty feeling; the form, nude to the middle, has all
the charms of womanhood, and is thus warmed and redeemed out of the cold
allegoric sisterhood who have generally no merit in chastity, being
really without sex.  I somewhat question whether it is quite the thing,
however, to make a genuine woman out of an allegory we ask, Who is to wed
this lovely virgin? and we are not satisfied to banish her into the realm
of chilly thought.  But I liked the statue, and all the better for what I
criticise, and was sorry to see the huge package in which the finished
marble lies bundled up, ready to be sent to our country,--which does not
call for it.

Mr. Powers and his two daughters called to take leave of us, and at
parting I expressed a hope of seeing him in America.  He said that it
would make him very unhappy to believe that he should never return
thither; but it seems to me that he has no such definite purpose of
return as would be certain to bring itself to pass.  It makes a very
unsatisfactory life, thus to spend the greater part of it in exile.  In
such a case we are always deferring the reality of life till a future
moment, and, by and by, we have deferred it till there are no future
moments; or, if we do go back, we find that life has shifted whatever of
reality it had to the country where we deemed ourselves only living
temporarily; and so between two stools we come to the ground, and make
ourselves a part of one or the other country only by laying our bones in
its soil.  It is particularly a pity in Powers's case, because he is so
very American in character, and the only convenience for him of his
Italian residence is, that here he can supply himself with marble, and
with workmen to chisel it according to his designs.



SIENA.


October 2d.--Yesterday morning, at six o'clock, we left our ancient
tower, and threw a parting glance--and a rather sad one--over the misty
Val d' Arno.  This summer will look like a happy one in our children's
retrospect, and also, no doubt, in the years that remain to ourselves;
and, in truth, I have found it a peaceful and not uncheerful one.

It was not a pleasant morning, and Monte Morello, looking down on
Florence, had on its cap, betokening foul weather, according to the
proverb.  Crossing the suspension-bridge, we reached the Leopoldo railway
without entering the city.  By some mistake,--or perhaps because nobody
ever travels by first-class carriages in Tuscany,--we found we had
received second-class tickets, and were put into a long, crowded
carriage, full of priests, military men, commercial travellers, and other
respectable people, facing one another lengthwise along the carriage, and
many of them smoking cigars.  They were all perfectly civil, and I think
I must own that the manners of this second-class would compare favorably
with those of an American first-class one.

At Empoli, about an hour after we started, we had to change carriages,
the main train proceeding to Leghorn. . . . . My observations along the
road were very scanty: a hilly country, with several old towns seated on
the most elevated hill-tops, as is common throughout Tuscany, or
sometimes a fortress with a town on the plain at its base; or, once or
twice, the towers and battlements of a mediaeval castle, commanding the
pass below it.  Near Florence the country was fertile in the vine and
olive, and looked as unpicturesque as that sort of fertility usually
makes it; not but what I have come to think better of the tint of the
olive-leaf than when I first saw it.  In the latter part of our journey I
remember a wild stream, of a greenish hue, but transparent, rushing along
over a rough bed, and before reaching Siena we rumbled into a long
tunnel, and emerged from it near the city. . . . .

We drove up hill and down (for the surface of Siena seems to be nothing
but an irregularity) through narrow old streets, and were set down at
the Aquila Nera, a grim-looking albergo near the centre of the town.
Mrs. S------ had already taken rooms for us there, and to these we were
now ushered up the highway of a dingy stone staircase, and into a small,
brick-paved parlor.  The house seemed endlessly old, and all the glimpses
that we caught of Siena out of window seemed more ancient still.  Almost
within arm's reach, across a narrow street, a tall palace of gray,
time-worn stone clambered skyward, with arched windows, and square
windows, and large windows and small, scattered up and down its side.  It
is the Palazzo Tolomei, and looks immensely venerable.  From the windows
of our bedrooms we looked into a broader street, though still not very
wide, and into a small piazza, the most conspicuous object in which was a
column, hearing on its top a bronze wolf suckling Romulus and Remus.
This symbol is repeated in other parts of the city, and scours to
indicate that the Sienese people pride themselves in a Roman origin.  In
another direction, over the tops of the houses, we saw a very high tower,
with battlements projecting around its summit, so that it was a fortress
in the air; and this I have since found to be the Palazzo Publico.  It
was pleasant, looking downward into the little old piazza and narrow
streets, to see the swarm of life on the pavement, the life of to-day
just as new as if it had never been lived before; the citizens, the
priests, the soldiers, the mules and asses with their panniers, the
diligence lumbering along, with a postilion in a faded crimson coat
bobbing up and down on the off-horse.  Such a bustling scene, vociferous,
too, with various street-cries, is wonderfully set off by the gray
antiquity of the town, and makes the town look older than if it were a
solitude.

Soon Mr. and Mrs. Story came, and accompanied us to look for lodgings.
They also drove us about the city in their carriage, and showed us the
outside of the Palazzo Publico, and of the cathedral and other remarkable
edifices.  The aspect of Siena is far more picturesque than that of any
other town in Italy, so far as I know Italian towns; and yet, now that I
have written it, I remember Perugia, and feel that the observation is a
mistake.  But at any rate Siena is remarkably picturesque, standing on
such a site, on the verge and within the crater of an extinct volcano,
and therefore being as uneven as the sea in a tempest; the streets so
narrow, ascending between tall, ancient palaces, while the side streets
rush headlong down, only to be threaded by sure-footed mules, such as
climb Alpine heights; old stone balconies on the palace fronts; old
arched doorways, and windows set in frames of Gothic architecture;
arcades, resembling canopies of stone, with quaintly sculptured statues
in the richly wrought Gothic niches of each pillar;--everything massive
and lofty, yet minutely interesting when you look at it stone by stone.
The Florentines, and the Romans too, have obliterated, as far as they
could, all the interest of their mediaeval structures by covering them
with stucco, so that they have quite lost their character, and affect the
spectator with no reverential idea of age.  Here the city is all
overwritten with black-letter, and the glad Italian sun makes the effect
so much the stronger.

We took a lodging, and afterwards J----- and I rambled about, and went
into the cathedral for a moment, and strayed also into the Piazza del
Campo, the great public square of Siena.  I am not in the mood for
further description of public places now, so shall say a word or two
about the old palace in which we have established ourselves.  We have the
second piano, and dwell amid faded grandeur, having for our saloon what
seems to have been a ball-room.  It is ornamented with a great fresco in
the centre of the vaulted ceiling, and others covering the sides of the
apartment, and surrounded with arabesque frameworks, where Cupids gambol
and chase one another.  The subjects of the frescos I cannot make out,
not that they are faded like Giotto's, for they are as fresh as roses,
and are done in an exceedingly workmanlike style; but they are allegories
of Fame and Plenty and other matters, such as I could never understand.
Our whole accommodation is in similar style,--spacious, magnificent, and
mouldy.

In the evening Miss S------ and I drove to the railway, and on the
arrival of the train from Florence we watched with much eagerness the
unlading of the luggage-van.  At last the whole of our ten trunks and tin
bandbox were produced, and finally my leather bag, in which was my
journal and a manuscript book containing my sketch of a romance.  It
gladdened my very heart to see it, and I shall think the better of Tuscan
promptitude and accuracy for so quickly bringing it back to me.  (It was
left behind, under one of the rail-carriage seats.)  We find all the
public officials, whether of railway, police, or custom-house, extremely
courteous and pleasant to encounter; they seem willing to take trouble
and reluctant to give it, and it is really a gratification to find that
such civil people will sometimes oblige you by taking a paul or two
aside.


October 3d.--I took several strolls about the city yesterday, and find it
scarcely extensive enough to get lost in; and if we go far from the
centre we soon come to silent streets, with only here and there an
individual; and the inhabitants stare from their doors and windows at the
stranger, and turn round to look at him after he has passed.  The
interest of the old town would soon be exhausted for the traveller, but I
can conceive that a thoughtful and shy man might settle down here with
the view of making the place a home, and spend many years in a sombre
kind of happiness.  I should prefer it to Florence as a residence, but it
would be terrible without an independent life in one's own mind.

U---- and I walked out in the afternoon, and went into the Piazza del
Campo, the principal place of the city, and a very noble and peculiar
one.  It is much in the form of an amphitheatre, and the surface of the
ground seems to be slightly scooped out, so that it resembles the shallow
basin of a shell.  It is thus a much better site for an assemblage of the
populace than if it were a perfect level.  A semicircle or truncated
ellipse of stately and ancient edifices surround the piazza, with arches
opening beneath them, through which streets converge hitherward.  One
side of the piazza is a straight line, and is occupied by the Palazzo
Publico, which is a most noble and impressive Gothic structure.  It has
not the mass of the Palazzo Vecchio at Florence, but is more striking.
It has a long battlemented front, the central part of which rises eminent
above the rest, in a great square bulk, which is likewise crowned with
battlements.  This is much more picturesque than the one great block of
stone into which the Palazzo Vecchio is consolidated.  At one extremity
of this long front of the Palazzo Publico rises a tower, shooting up its
shaft high, high into the air, and bulging out there into a battlemented
fortress, within which the tower, slenderer than before, climbs to a
still higher region.  I do not know whether the summit of the tower is
higher or so high as that of the Palazzo Vecchio; but the length of the
shaft, free of the edifice, is much greater, and so produces the more
elevating effect.  The whole front of the Palazzo Publico is exceedingly
venerable, with arched windows, Gothic carvings, and all the old-time
ornaments that betoken it to have stood a great while, and the gray
strength that will hold it up at least as much longer.  At one end of the
facade, beneath the shadow of the tower, is a grand and beautiful porch,
supported on square pillars, within each of which is a niche containing a
statue of mediaeval sculpture.

The great Piazza del Campo is the market-place of Siena.  In the morning
it was thronged with booths and stalls, especially of fruit and vegetable
dealers; but as in Florence, they melted away in the sunshine, gradually
withdrawing themselves into the shadow thrown from the Palazzo Publico.

On the side opposite the palace is an antique fountain of marble,
ornamented with two statues and a series of bas-reliefs; and it was so
much admired in its day that its sculptor received the name "Del Fonte."
I am loath to leave the piazza and palace without finding some word or
two to suggest their antique majesty, in the sunshine and the shadow; and
how fit it seemed, notwithstanding their venerableness, that there should
be a busy crowd filling up the great, hollow amphitheatre, and crying
their fruit and little merchandises, so that all the curved line of
stately old edifices helped to reverberate the noise.  The life of
to-day, within the shell of a time past, is wonderfully fascinating.

Another point to which a stranger's footsteps are drawn by a kind of
magnetism, so that he will be apt to find himself there as often as he
strolls out of his hotel, is the cathedral.  It stands in the highest
part of the city, and almost every street runs into some other street
which meanders hitherward.  On our way thither, U---- and I came to a
beautiful front of black and white marble, in somewhat the same style as
the cathedral; in fact, it was the baptistery, and should have made a
part of it, according to the original design, which contemplated a
structure of vastly greater extent than this actual one.  We entered the
baptistery, and found the interior small, but very rich in its clustered
columns and intersecting arches, and its frescos, pictures, statues, and
ornaments.  Moreover, a father and mother had brought their baby to be
baptized, and the poor little thing, in its gay swaddling-clothes, looked
just like what I have seen in old pictures, and a good deal like an
Indian pappoose.  It gave one little slender squeak when the priest put
the water on its forehead, and then was quiet again.

We now went round to the facade of the cathedral. . . . . It is of black
and white marble, with, I believe, an intermixture of red and other
colors; but time has toned them down, so that white, black, and red do
not contrast so strongly with one another as they may have done five
hundred years ago.  The architecture is generally of the pointed Gothic
style, but there are likewise carved arches over the doors and windows,
and a variety which does not produce the effect of confusion,--a
magnificent eccentricity, an exuberant imagination flowering out in
stone.  On high, in the great peak of the front, and throwing its colored
radiance into the nave within, there is a round window of immense
circumference, the painted figures in which we can see dimly from the
outside.  But what I wish to express, and never can, is the multitudinous
richness of the ornamentation of the front: the arches within arches,
sculptured inch by inch, of the deep doorways; the statues of saints,
some making a hermitage of a niche, others standing forth; the scores of
busts, that look like faces of ancient people gazing down out of the
cathedral; the projecting shapes of stone lions,--the thousand forms of
Gothic fancy, which seemed to soften the marble and express whatever it
liked, and allow it to harden again to last forever.  But my description
seems like knocking off the noses of some of the busts, the fingers and
toes of the statues, the projecting points of the architecture, jumbling
them all up together, and flinging them down upon the page.  This gives
no idea of the truth, nor, least of all, can it shadow forth that solemn
whole, mightily combined out of all these minute particulars, and
sanctifying the entire space of ground over which this cathedral-front
flings its shadow, or on which it reflects the sun.  A majesty and a
minuteness, neither interfering with the other, each assisting the
other; this is what I love in Gothic architecture.  We went in and walked
about; but I mean to go again before sketching the interior in my poor
water-colors.


October 4th.--On looking again at the Palazzo Publico, I see that the
pillared portal which I have spoken of does not cover an entrance to the
palace, but is a chapel, with an altar, and frescos above it.  Bouquets
of fresh flowers are on the altar, and a lamp burns, in all the daylight,
before the crucifix.  The chapel is quite unenclosed, except by an
openwork balustrade of marble, on which the carving looks very ancient.
Nothing could be more convenient for the devotions of the crowd in the
piazza, and no doubt the daily prayers offered at the shrine might be
numbered by the thousand,--brief, but I hope earnest,--like those
glimpses I used to catch at the blue sky, revealing so much in an
instant, while I was toiling at Brook Farm.  Another picturesque thing
about the Palazzo Publico is a great stone balcony quaintly wrought,
about midway in the front and high aloft, with two arched windows opening
into it.

After another glimpse at the cathedral, too, I realize how utterly I have
failed in conveying the idea of its elaborate ornament, its twisted and
clustered pillars, and numberless devices of sculpture; nor did I mention
the venerable statues that stand all round the summit of the edifice,
relieved against the sky,--the highest of all being one of the Saviour,
on the topmost peak of the front; nor the tall tower that ascends from
one side of the building, and is built of layers of black and white
marble piled one upon another in regular succession; nor the dome that
swells upward close beside this tower.

Had the cathedral been constructed on the plan and dimensions at first
contemplated, it would have been incomparably majestic; the finished
portion, grand as it is, being only what was intended for a transept.
One of the walls of what was to have been the nave is still standing, and
looks like a ruin, though, I believe, it has been turned to account as
the wall of a palace, the space of the never-completed nave being now a
court or street.

The whole family of us were kindly taken out yesterday, to dine and spend
the day at the Villa Belvedere with our friends Mr. and Mrs. Story.  The
vicinity of Siena is much more agreeable than that of Florence, being
cooler, breezier, with more foliage and shrubbery both near at hand and
in the distance; and the prospect, Mr. Story told us, embraces a diameter
of about a hundred miles between hills north and south.  The Villa
Belvedere was built and owned by an Englishman now deceased, who has left
it to his butler, and its lawns and shrubbery have something English in
their character, and there was almost a dampness in the grass, which
really pleased me in this parched Italy.  Within the house the walls are
hung with fine old-fashioned engravings from the pictures of
Gainsborough, West, and other English painters.  The Englishman, though
he had chosen to live and die in Italy, had evidently brought his native
tastes and peculiarities along with him.  Mr. Story thinks of buying this
villa: I do not know but I might be tempted to buy it myself if Siena
were a practicable residence for the entire year; but the winter here,
with the bleak mountain-winds of a hundred miles round about blustering
against it, must be terribly disagreeable.

We spent a very pleasant day, turning over books or talking on the lawn,
whence we could behold scenes picturesque afar, and rich vineyard
glimpses near at hand.  Mr. Story is the most variously accomplished and
brilliant person, the fullest of social life and fire, whom I ever met;
and without seeming to make an effort, he kept us amused and entertained
the whole day long; not wearisomely entertained neither, as we should
have been if he had not let his fountain play naturally.  Still, though
he bubbled and brimmed over with fun, he left the impression on me
that . . . . there is a pain and care, bred, it may be, out of the very
richness of his gifts and abundance of his outward prosperity.  Rich, in
the prime of life, . . . . and children budding and blossoming around him
as fairly as his heart could wish, with sparkling talents,--so many, that
if he choose to neglect or fling away one, or two, or three, he would
still have enough left to shine with,--who should be happy if not
he? . . . .

Towards sunset we all walked out into the podere, pausing a little while
to look down into a well that stands on the verge of the lawn.  Within
the spacious circle of its stone curb was an abundant growth of
maidenhair, forming a perfect wreath of thickly clustering leaves quite
round, and trailing its tendrils downward to the water which gleamed
beneath.  It was a very pretty sight.  Mr. Story bent over the well and
uttered deep, musical tones, which were reverberated from the hollow
depths with wonderful effect, as if a spirit dwelt within there, and
(unlike the spirits that speak through mediums) sent him back responses
even profounder and more melodious than the tones that awakened them.
Such a responsive well as this might have been taken for an oracle in old
days.

We went along paths that led from one vineyard to another, and which
might have led us for miles across the country.  The grapes had been
partly gathered, but still there were many purple or white clusters
hanging heavily on the vines.  We passed cottage doors, and saw groups of
contadini and contadine in their festal attire, and they saluted us
graciously; but it was observable that one of the men generally lingered
on our track to see that no grapes were stolen, for there were a good
many young people and children in our train, not only our own, but some
from a neighboring villa.  These Italian peasants are a kindly race, but,
I doubt, not very hospitable of grape or fig.

There was a beautiful sunset, and by the time we reached the house again
the comet was already visible amid the unextinguished glow of daylight.
A Mr. and Mrs. B------, Scotch people from the next villa, had come to
see the Storys, and we sat till tea-time reading, talking, William Story
drawing caricatures for his children's amusement and ours, and all of us
sometimes getting up to look at the comet, which blazed brighter and
brighter till it went down into the mists of the horizon.  Among the
caricatures was one of a Presidential candidate, evidently a man of very
malleable principles, and likely to succeed.

Late in the evening (too late for little Rosebud) we drove homeward.  The
streets of old Siena looked very grim at night, and it seemed like gazing
into caverns to glimpse down some of the side streets as we passed, with
a light burning dimly at the end of them.  It was after ten when we
reached home, and climbed up our gloomy staircase, lighted by the glimmer
of some wax moccoli which I had in my pocket.


October 5th.--I have been two or three times into the cathedral; . . . .
the whole interior is of marble, in alternate lines of black and white,
each layer being about eight inches in width and extending horizontally.
It looks very curiously, and might remind the spectator of a stuff with
horizontal stripes.  Nevertheless, the effect is exceedingly rich, these
alternate lines stretching away along the walls and round the clustered
pillars, seen aloft, and through the arches; everywhere, this inlay of
black and white.  Every sort of ornament that could be thought of seems
to have been crammed into the cathedral in one place or another: gilding,
frescos, pictures; a roof of blue, spangled with golden stars; a
magnificent wheel-window of old painted glass over the entrance, and
another at the opposite end of the cathedral; statues, some of marble,
others of gilded bronze; pulpits of carved marble; a gilded organ; a
cornice of marble busts of the popes, extending round the entire church;
a pavement, covered all over with a strange kind of mosaic work in
various marbles, wrought into marble pictures of sacred subjects; immense
clustered pillars supporting the round arches that divide the nave from
the side aisles; a clere-story of windows within pointed arches;--it
seemed as if the spectator were reading an antique volume written in
black-letter of a small character, but conveying a high and solemn
meaning.  I can find no way of expressing its effect on me, so quaint and
venerable as I feel this cathedral to be in its immensity of striped
waistcoat, now dingy with five centuries of wear.  I ought not to say
anything that might detract from the grandeur and sanctity of the blessed
edifice, for these attributes are really uninjured by any of the Gothic
oddities which I have hinted at.

We went this morning to the Institute of the Fine Arts, which is
interesting as containing a series of the works of the Sienese painters
from a date earlier than that of Cimabue.  There is a dispute, I believe,
between Florence and Siena as to which city may claim the credit of
having originated the modern art of painting.  The Florentines put
forward Cimabue as the first artist, but as the Sienese produce a
picture, by Guido da Siena, dated before the birth of Cimabue, the
victory is decidedly with them.  As to pictorial merit, to my taste there
is none in either of these old painters, nor in any of their successors
for a long time afterwards.  At the Institute there are several rooms
hung with early productions of the Sienese school, painted before the
invention of oil-colors, on wood shaped into Gothic altar-pieces.  The
backgrounds still retain a bedimmed splendor of gilding.  There is a
plentiful use of red, and I can conceive that the pictures must have shed
an illumination through the churches where they were displayed.  There is
often, too, a minute care bestowed on the faces in the pictures, and
sometimes a very strong expression, stronger than modern artists get, and
it is very strange how they attained this merit while they were so
inconceivably rude in other respects.  It is remarkable that all the
early faces of the Madonna are especially stupid, and all of the same
type, a sort of face such as one might carve on a pumpkin, representing a
heavy, sulky, phlegmatic woman, with a long and low arch of the nose.
This same dull face continues to be assigned to the Madonna, even when
the countenances of the surrounding saints and angels are characterized
with power and beauty, so that I think there must have been some portrait
of this sacred personage reckoned authentic, which the early painters
followed and religiously repeated.

At last we came to a picture by Sodoma, the most illustrious
representative of the Sienese school.  It was a fresco; Christ bound to
the pillar, after having been scourged.  I do believe that painting has
never done anything better, so far as expression is concerned, than this
figure.  In all these generations since it was painted it must have
softened thousands of hearts, drawn down rivers of tears, been more
effectual than a million of sermons.  Really, it is a thing to stand and
weep at.  No other painter has done anything that can deserve to be
compared to this.

There are some other pictures by Sodoma, among them a Judith, very noble
and admirable, and full of a profound sorrow for the deed which she has
felt it her mission to do.


Aquila Nera, October 7th.--Our lodgings in Siena had been taken only for
five days, as they were already engaged after that period; so yesterday
we returned to our old quarters at the Black Eagle.

In the forenoon J----- and I went out of one of the gates (the road from
it leads to Florence) and had a pleasant country walk.  Our way wound
downward, round the hill on which Siena stands, and gave us views of the
Duomo and its campanile, seemingly pretty near, after we had walked long
enough to be quite remote from them.  Sitting awhile on the parapet of a
bridge, I saw a laborer chopping the branches off a poplar-tree which he
had felled; and, when it was trimmed, he took up the large trunk on one
of his shoulders and carried it off, seemingly with ease.  He did not
look like a particularly robust man; but I have never seen such an
herculean feat attempted by an Englishman or American.  It has frequently
struck me that the Italians are able to put forth a great deal of
strength in such insulated efforts as this; but I have been told that
they are less capable of continued endurance and hardship than our own
race.  I do not know why it should be so, except that I presume their
food is less strong than ours.  There was no other remarkable incident in
our walk, which lay chiefly through gorges of the hills, winding beneath
high cliffs of the brown Siena earth, with many pretty scenes of rural
landscape; vineyards everywhere, and olive-trees; a mill on its little
stream, over which there was an old stone bridge, with a graceful arch;
farm-houses; a villa or two; subterranean passages, passing from the
roadside through the high banks into the vineyards.  At last we turned
aside into a road which led us pretty directly to another gate of the
city, and climbed steeply upward among tanneries, where the young men
went about with their well-shaped legs bare, their trousers being tucked
up till they were strictly breeches and nothing else.  The campanile
stood high above us; and by and by, and very soon, indeed, the steep
ascent of the street brought us into the neighborhood of the Piazza del
Campo, and of our own hotel. . . . . From about twelve o'clock till one,
I sat at my chamber window watching the specimens of human life as
displayed in the Piazza Tolomei.  [Here follow several pages of moving
objects.] . . . . Of course, a multitude of other people passed by, but
the curiousness of the catalogue is the prevalence of the martial and
religious elements.  The general costume of the inhabitants is frocks or
sacks, loosely made, and rather shabby; often, shirt-sleeves; or the coat
hung over one shoulder.  They wear felt hats and straw.  People of
respectability seem to prefer cylinder hats, either black or drab, and
broadcloth frock-coats in the French fashion; but, like the rest, they
look a little shabby.  Almost all the women wear shawls.  Ladies in
swelling petticoats, and with fans, some of which are highly gilded,
appear.  The people generally are not tall, but have a sufficient breadth
of shoulder; in complexion, similar to Americans; bearded, universally.
The vehicle used for driving is a little gig without a top; but these are
seldom seen, and still less frequently a cab or other carriages.  The
gait of the people has not the energy of business or decided purpose.
Everybody appears to lounge, and to have time for a moment's chat, and a
disposition to rest, reason or none.

After dinner I walked out of another gate of the city, and wandered among
some pleasant country lanes, bordered with hedges, and wearing an English
aspect; at least, I could fancy so.  The vicinity of Siena is delightful
to walk about in; there being a verdant outlook, a wide prospect of
purple mountains, though no such level valley as the Val d' Arno; and the
city stands so high that its towers and domes are seen more picturesquely
from many points than those of Florence can be.  Neither is the
pedestrian so cruelly shut into narrow lanes, between high stone-walls,
over which he cannot get a glimpse of landscape.  As I walked by the
hedges yesterday I could have fancied that the olive-trunks were those of
apple-trees, and that I was in one or other of the two lands that I love
better than Italy.  But the great white villas and the farm-houses were
unlike anything I have seen elsewhere, or that I should wish to see
again, though proper enough to Italy.


October 9th.--Thursday forenoon, 8th, we went to see the Palazzo Publico.
There are some fine old halls and chapels, adorned with ancient frescos
and pictures, of which I remember a picture of the Virgin by Sodoma, very
beautiful, and other fine pictures by the same master.  The architecture
of these old rooms is grand, the roofs being supported by ponderous
arches, which are covered with frescos, still magnificent, though faded,
darkened, and defaced.  We likewise saw an antique casket of wood,
enriched with gilding, which had once contained an arm of John the
Baptist,--so the custode told us.  One of the halls was hung with the
portraits of eight popes and nearly forty cardinals, who were natives of
Siena.  I have done hardly any other sight-seeing except a daily visit to
the cathedral, which I admire and love the more the oftener I go thither.
Its striped peculiarity ceases entirely to interfere with the grandeur
and venerable beauty of its impression; and I am never weary of gazing
through the vista of its arches, and noting continually something that I
had not seen before in its exuberant adornment.  The pavement alone is
inexhaustible, being covered all over with figures of life-size or
larger, which look like immense engravings of Gothic or Scriptural
scenes.  There is Absalom hanging by his hair, and Joab slaying him with
a spear.  There is Samson belaboring the Philistines with the jawbone of
an ass.  There are armed knights in the tumult of battle, all wrought
with wonderful expression.  The figures are in white marble, inlaid with
darker stone, and the shading is effected by means of engraved lines in
the marble, filled in with black.  It would be possible, perhaps, to
print impressions from some of these vast plates, for the process of
cutting the lines was an exact anticipation of the modern art of
engraving.  However, the same thing was done--and I suppose at about the
same period--on monumental brasses, and I have seen impressions or
rubbings from those for sale in the old English churches.

Yesterday morning, in the cathedral, I watched a woman at confession,
being curious to see how long it would take her to tell her sins, the
growth of a week perhaps.  I know not how long she had been confessing
when I first observed her, but nearly an hour passed before the priest
came suddenly from the confessional, looking weary and moist with
perspiration, and took his way out of the cathedral.  The woman was left
on her knees.  This morning I watched another woman, and she too was very
long about it, and I could see the face of the priest behind the curtain
of the confessional, scarcely inclining his ear to the perforated tin
through which the penitent communicated her outpourings.  It must be very
tedious to listen, day after day, to the minute and commonplace
iniquities of the multitude of penitents, and it cannot be often that
these are redeemed by the treasure-trove of a great sin.  When her
confession was over the woman came and sat down on the same bench with
me, where her broad-brimmed straw hat was lying.  She seemed to be a
country woman, with a simple, matronly face, which was solemnized and
softened with the comfort that she had obtained by disburdening herself
of the soil of worldly frailties and receiving absolution.  An old woman,
who haunts the cathedral, whispered to her, and she went and knelt down
where a procession of priests were to pass, and then the old lady begged
a cruzia of me, and got a half-paul.  It almost invariably happens, in
church or cathedral, that beggars address their prayers to the heretic
visitor, and probably with more unction than to the Virgin or saints.
However, I have nothing to say against the sincerity of this people's
devotion.  They give all the proof of it that a mere spectator can
estimate.

Last evening we all went out to see the comet, which then reached its
climax of lustre.  It was like a lofty plume of fire, and grew very
brilliant as the night darkened.


October 10th.--This morning, too, we went to the cathedral, and sat long
listening to the music of the organ and voices, and witnessing rites and
ceremonies which are far older than even the ancient edifice where they
were exhibited.  A good many people were present, sitting, kneeling, or
walking about,--a freedom that contrasts very agreeably with the grim
formalities of English churches and our own meeting-houses.  Many persons
were in their best attire; but others came in, with unabashed simplicity,
in their old garments of labor, sunburnt women from their toil among the
vines and olives.  One old peasant I noticed with his withered shanks in
breeches and blue yarn stockings.  The people of whatever class are
wonderfully tolerant of heretics, never manifesting any displeasure or
annoyance, though they must see that we are drawn thither by curiosity
alone, and merely pry while they pray.  I heartily wish the priests were
better men, and that human nature, divinely influenced, could be depended
upon for a constant supply and succession of good and pure ministers,
their religion has so many admirable points.  And then it is a sad pity
that this noble and beautiful cathedral should be a mere fossil shell,
out of which the life has died long ago.  But for many a year yet to come
the tapers will burn before the high altar, the Host will be elevated,
the incense diffuse its fragrance, the confessionals be open to receive
the penitents.  I saw a father entering with two little bits of boys,
just big enough to toddle along, holding his hand on either side.  The
father dipped his fingers into the marble font of holy water,--which, on
its pedestals, was two or three times as high as those small Christians,
--and wetted a hand of each, and taught them how to cross themselves.
When they come to be men it will be impossible to convince those children
that there is no efficacy in holy water, without plucking up all
religious faith and sentiment by the roots.  Generally, I suspect, when
people throw off the faith they were born in, the best soil of their
hearts is apt to cling to its roots.

Raised several feet above the pavement, against every clustered pillar
along the nave of the cathedral, is placed a statue of Gothic sculpture.
In various places are sitting statues of popes of Sienese nativity, all
of whom, I believe, have a hand raised in the act of blessing.  Shrines
and chapels, set in grand, heavy frames of pillared architecture, stand
all along the aisles and transepts, and these seem in many instances to
have been built and enriched by noble families, whose arms are sculptured
on the pedestals of the pillars, sometimes with a cardinal's hat above to
denote the rank of one of its members.  How much pride, love, and
reverence in the lapse of ages must have clung to the sharp points of all
this sculpture and architecture!  The cathedral is a religion in itself,
--something worth dying for to those who have an hereditary interest in
it.  In the pavement, yesterday, I noticed the gravestone of a person who
fell six centuries ago in the battle of Monte Aperto, and was buried here
by public decree as a meed of valor.

This afternoon I took a walk out of one of the city gates, and found the
country about Siena as beautiful in this direction as in all others.  I
came to a little stream flowing over into a pebbly bed, and collecting
itself into pools, with a scanty rivulet between.  Its glen was deep, and
was crossed by a bridge of several lofty and narrow arches like those of
a Roman aqueduct.  It is a modern structure, however.  Farther on, as I
wound round along the base of a hill which fell down upon the road by
precipitous cliffs of brown earth, I saw a gray, ruined wall on the
summit, surrounded with cypress-trees.  This tree is very frequent about
Siena, and the scenery is made soft and beautiful by a variety of other
trees and shrubbery, without which these hills and gorges would have
scarcely a charm.  The road was thronged with country people, mostly
women and children, who had been spending the feast-day in Siena; and
parties of boys were chasing one another through the fields, pretty much
as boys do in New England of a Sunday, but the Sienese lads had not the
sense of Sabbath-breaking like our boys.  Sunday with these people is
like any other feast-day, and consecrated cheerful enjoyment.  So much
religious observance, as regards outward forms, is diffused through the
whole week that they have no need to intensify the Sabbath except by
making it gladden the other days.

Returning through the same gate by which I had come out, I ascended into
the city by a long and steep street, which was paved with bricks set
edgewise.  This pavement is common in many of the streets, which, being
too steep for horses and carriages, are meant only to sustain the lighter
tread of mules and asses.  The more level streets are paved with broad,
smooth flag-stones, like those of Florence,--a fashion which I heartily
regret to change for the little penitential blocks of Rome.  The walls of
Siena in their present state, and so far as I have seen them, are chiefly
brick; but there are intermingled fragments of ancient stone-work, and I
wonder why the latter does not prevail more largely.  The Romans,
however,--and Siena had Roman characteristics,--always liked to build of
brick, a taste that has made their ruins (now that the marble slabs are
torn off) much less grand than they ought to have been.  I am grateful to
the old Sienese for having used stone so largely in their domestic
architecture, and thereby rendered their city so grimly picturesque, with
its black palaces frowning upon one another from arched windows, across
narrow streets, to the height of six stories, like opposite ranks of tall
men looking sternly into one another's eyes.


October 11th.--Again I went to the cathedral this morning, and spent an
hour listening to the music and looking through the orderly intricacies
of the arches, where many vistas open away among the columns of the
choir.  There are five clustered columns on each side of the nave; then
under the dome there are two more arches, not in a straight line, but
forming the segment of a circle; and beyond the circle of the dome there
are four more arches, extending to the extremity of the chancel.  I
should have said, instead of "clustered columns" as above, that there are
five arches along the nave supported by columns.  This cathedral has
certainly bewitched me, to write about it so much, effecting nothing with
my pains.  I should judge the width of each arch to be about twenty feet,
and the thickness of each clustered pillar is eight; or ten more, and the
length of the entire building may be between two and three hundred feet;
not very large, certainly, but it makes an impression of grandeur
independent of size. . . . .

I never shall succeed even in reminding myself of the venerable
magnificence of this minster, with its arches, its columns, its cornice
of popes' heads, its great wheel windows, its manifold ornament, all
combining in one vast effect, though many men have labored individually,
and through a long course of time, to produce this multifarious handiwork
and headwork.

I now took a walk out of the city.  A road turned immediately to the left
as I emerged from the city, and soon proved to be a rustic lane leading
past several villas and farm-houses.  It was a very pleasant walk, with
vineyards and olive-orchards on each side, and now and then glimpses of
the towers and sombre heaped-up palaces of Siena, and now a rural
seclusion again; for the hills rise and the valleys fall like the swell
and subsidence of the sea after a gale, so that Siena may be quite hidden
within a quarter of a mile of its wall, or may be visible, I doubt not,
twenty miles away.  It is a fine old town, with every promise of health
and vigor in its atmosphere, and really, if I could take root anywhere, I
know not but it could as well be here as in another place.  It would only
be a kind of despair, however, that would ever make me dream of finding a
home in Italy; a sense that I had lost my country through absence or
incongruity, and that earth is not an abiding-place.  I wonder that we
Americans love our country at all, it having no limits and no oneness;
and when you try to make it a matter of the heart, everything falls away
except one's native State; neither can you seize hold of that unless you
tear it out of the Union, bleeding and quivering.  Yet unquestionably, we
do stand by our national flag as stoutly as any people in the world, and
I myself have felt the heart throb at sight of it as sensibly as other
men.  I think the singularity of our form of government contributes to
give us a kind of patriotism, by separating us from other nations more
entirely.  If other nations had similar institutions,--if England,
especially, were a democracy,--we should as readily make ourselves at
home in another country as now in a new State.


October 12th.--And again we went to the cathedral this forenoon, and the
whole family, except myself, sketched portions of it.  Even Rosebud stood
gravely sketching some of the inlaid figures of the pavement.  As for me,
I can but try to preserve some memorial of this beautiful edifice in
ill-fitting words that never hit the mark.  This morning visit was not my
final one, for I went again after dinner and walked quite round the whole
interior.  I think I have not yet mentioned the rich carvings of the old
oaken seats round the choir, and the curious mosaic of lighter and darker
woods, by which figures and landscapes are skilfully represented on the
backs of some of the stalls.  The process seems to be the same as the
inlaying and engraving of the pavement, the material in one case being
marble, in the other wood.  The only other thing that I particularly
noticed was, that in the fonts of holy water at the front entrance,
marble fish are sculptured in the depths of the basin, and eels and
shellfish crawling round the brim.  Have I spoken of the sumptuous
carving of the capitals of the columns?  At any rate I have left a
thousand beauties without a word.  Here I drop the subject.  As I took my
parting glance the cathedral had a gleam of golden sunshine in its far
depths, and it seemed to widen and deepen itself, as if to convince me of
my error in saying, yesterday, that it is not very large.  I wonder how I
could say it.

After taking leave of the cathedral, I found my way out of another of the
city gates, and soon turned aside into a green lane. . . . . Soon the
lane passed through a hamlet consisting of a few farm-houses, the
shabbiest and dreariest that can be conceived, ancient, and ugly, and
dilapidated, with iron-grated windows below, and heavy wooden shutters on
the windows above,--high, ruinous walls shutting in the courts, and
ponderous gates, one of which was off its hinges.  The farm-yards were
perfect pictures of disarray and slovenly administration of home affairs.
Only one of these houses had a door opening on the road, and that was the
meanest in the hamlet.  A flight of narrow stone stairs ascended from the
threshold to the second story.  All these houses were specimens of a rude
antiquity, built of brick and stone, with the marks of arched doors and
windows where a subsequent generation had shut up the lights, or the
accesses which the original builders had opened.  Humble as these
dwellings are,--though large and high compared with rural residences in
other countries,--they may very probably date back to the times when
Siena was a warlike republic, and when every house in its neighborhood
had need to be a fortress.  I suppose, however, prowling banditti were
the only enemies against whom a defence would be attempted.  What lives
must now be lived there,--in beastly ignorance, mental sluggishness, hard
toil for little profit, filth, and a horrible discomfort of fleas; for if
the palaces of Italy are overrun with these pests, what must the country
hovels be! . . . .

We are now all ready for a start to-morrow.



RADICOFANI.


October 13th.--We arranged to begin our journey at six. . . . . It was a
chill, lowering morning, and the rain blew a little in our faces before
we had gone far, but did not continue long.  The country soon lost the
pleasant aspect which it wears immediately about Siena, and grew very
barren and dreary.  Then it changed again for the better, the road
leading us through a fertility of vines and olives, after which the
dreary and barren hills came back again, and formed our prospect
throughout most of the day.  We stopped for our dejeuner a la fourchette
at a little old town called San Quirico, which we entered through a
ruined gateway, the town being entirely surrounded by its ancient wall.
This wall is far more picturesque than that of Siena, being lofty and
built of stone, with a machicolation of arches running quite round its
top, like a cornice.  It has little more than a single street, perhaps a
quarter of a mile long, narrow, paved with flag-stones in the Florentine
fashion, and lined with two rows of tall, rusty stone houses, without a
gap between them from end to end.  The cafes were numerous in relation to
the size of the town, and there were two taverns,--our own, the Eagle,
being doubtless the best, and having three arched entrances in its front.
Of these, the middle one led to the guests' apartments, the one on the
right to the barn, and that on the left to the stable, so that, as is
usual in Italian inns, the whole establishment was under one roof.  We
were shown into a brick-paved room on the first floor, adorned with a
funny fresco of Aurora on the ceiling, and with some colored prints, both
religious and profane. . . . .

As we drove into the town we noticed a Gothic church with two doors of
peculiar architecture, and while our dejeuner was being prepared we went
to see it.  The interior had little that was remarkable, for it had been
repaired early in the last century, and spoilt of course; but an old
triptych is still hanging in a chapel beside the high altar.  It is
painted on wood, and dates back beyond the invention of oil-painting, and
represents the Virgin and some saints and angels.  Neither is the
exterior of the church particularly interesting, with the exception of
the carving and ornaments of two of the doors.  Both of them have round
arches, deep and curiously wrought, and the pillars of one of the two are
formed of a peculiar knot or twine in stone-work, such as I cannot well
describe, but it is both ingenious and simple.  These pillars rest on two
nondescript animals, which look as much like walruses as anything else.
The pillars of the other door consist of two figures supporting the
capitals, and themselves standing on two handsomely carved lions.  The
work is curious, and evidently very ancient, and the material a red
freestone.

After lunch, J----- and I took a walk out of the gate of the town
opposite to that of our entrance.  There were no soldiers on guard, as at
city gates of more importance; nor do I think that there is really any
gate to shut, but the massive stone gateway still stands entire over the
empty arch.  Looking back after we had passed through, I observed that
the lofty upper story is converted into a dove-cot, and that pumpkins
were put to ripen in some open chambers at one side.  We passed near the
base of a tall, square tower, which is said to be of Roman origin.  The
little town is in the midst of a barren region, but its immediate
neighborhood is fertile, and an olive-orchard, venerable of aspect, lay
on the other side of the pleasant lane with its English hedges, and
olive-trees grew likewise along the base of the city wall.  The arched
machicolations, which I have before mentioned, were here and there
interrupted by a house which was built upon the old wall or incorporated
into it; and from the windows of one of then I saw ears of Indian corn
hung out to ripen in the sun, and somebody was winnowing grain at a
little door that opened through the wall.  It was very pleasant to see
the ancient warlike rampart thus overcome with rustic peace.  The ruined
gateway is partly overgrown with ivy.

Returning to our inn, along the street, we saw ------ sketching one of
the doors of the Gothic church, in the midst of a crowd of the good
people of San Quirico, who made no scruple to look over her shoulder,
pressing so closely as hardly to allow her elbow-room.  I must own that I
was too cowardly to come forward and take my share of this public notice,
so I turned away to the inn and there awaited her coming.  Indeed, she
has seldom attempted to sketch without finding herself the nucleus of a
throng.



VITERBO.


The Black Eagle, October 14th.--Perhaps I had something more to say of
San Quirico, but I shall merely add that there is a stately old palace of
the Piccolomini close to the church above described.  It is built in the
style of the Roman palaces, and looked almost large enough to be one of
them.  Nevertheless, the basement story, or part of it, seems to be used
as a barn and stable, for I saw a yoke of oxen in the entrance.  I cannot
but mention a most wretched team of vettura-horses which stopped at the
door of our albergo: poor, lean, downcast creatures, with deep furrows
between their ribs; nothing but skin and bone, in short, and not even so
much skin as they should have had, for it was partially worn off from
their backs.  The harness was fastened with ropes, the traces and reins
were ropes; the carriage was old and shabby, and out of this miserable
equipage there alighted an ancient gentleman and lady, whom our waiter
affirmed to be the Prefect of Florence and his wife.

We left San Quirico at two o'clock, and followed an ascending road till
we got into the region above the clouds; the landscape was very wide, but
very dreary and barren, and grew more and more so till we began to climb
the mountain of Radicofani, the peak of which had been blackening itself
on the horizon almost the whole day.  When we had come into a pretty high
region we were assailed by a real mountain tempest of wind, rain, and
hail, which pelted down upon us in good earnest, and cooled the air a
little below comfort.  As we toiled up the mountain its upper region
presented a very striking aspect, looking as if a precipice had been
smoothed and squared for the purpose of rendering the old castle on its
summit more inaccessible than it was by nature.  This is the castle of
the robber-knight, Ghino di Tacco, whom Boccaccio introduces into the
Decameron.  A freebooter of those days must have set a higher value on
such a rock as this than if it had been one mass of diamond, for no art
of mediaeval warfare could endanger him in such a fortress.  Drawing yet
nearer, we found the hillside immediately above us strewn with thousands
upon thousands of great fragments of stone.  It looked as if some great
ruin had taken place there, only it was too vast a ruin to have been the
dismemberment and dissolution of anything made by man.

We could now see the castle on the height pretty distinctly.  It seemed
to impend over the precipice; and close to the base of the latter we saw
the street of a town on as strange and inconvenient a foundation as ever
one was built upon.  I suppose the inhabitants of the village were
dependants of the old knight of the castle; his brotherhood of robbers,
as they married and had families, settled there under the shelter of the
eagle's nest.  But the singularity is, how a community of people have
contrived to live and perpetuate themselves so far out of the reach of
the world's help, and seemingly with no means of assisting in the world's
labor.  I cannot imagine how they employ themselves except in begging,
and even that branch of industry appears to be left to the old women and
the children.  No house was ever built in this immediate neighborhood for
any such natural purpose as induces people to build them on other sites.
Even our hotel, at which we now arrived, could not be said to be a
natural growth of the soil; it had originally been a whim of one of the
Grand Dukes of Tuscany,--a hunting-palace,--intended for habitation only
during a few weeks of the year.  Of all dreary hotels I ever alighted at,
methinks this is the most so; but on first arriving I merely followed the
waiter to look at our rooms, across stone-paved basement-halls dismal as
Etruscan tombs; up dim staircases, and along shivering corridors, all of
stone, stone, stone, nothing but cold stone.  After glancing at these
pleasant accommodations, my wife and I, with J-----, set out to ascend
the hill and visit the town of Radicofani.

It is not more than a quarter of a mile above our hotel, and is
accessible by a good piece of road, though very steep.  As we approached
the town, we were assailed by some little beggars; but this is the case
all through Italy, in city or solitude, and I think the mendicants of
Radicofani are fewer than its proportion.  We had not got far towards the
village, when, looking back over the scene of many miles that lay
stretched beneath us, we saw a heavy shower apparently travelling
straight towards us over hill and dale.  It seemed inevitable that it
should soon be upon us, so I persuaded my wife to return to the hotel;
but J----- and I kept onward, being determined to see Radicofani with or
without a drenching.  We soon entered the street; the blackest, ugliest,
rudest old street, I do believe, that ever human life incrusted itself
with.  The first portion of it is the overbrimming of the town in
generations subsequent to that in which it was surrounded by a wall; but
after going a little way we came to a high, square tower planted right
across the way, with an arched gateway in its basement story, so that it
looked like a great short-legged giant striding over the street of
Radicofani.  Within the gateway is the proper and original town, though
indeed the portion outside of the gate is as densely populated, as ugly,
and as ancient, as that within.

The street was very narrow, and paved with flag-stones not quite so
smooth as those of Florence; the houses are tall enough to be stately, if
they were not so inconceivably dingy and shabby; but, with their
half-dozen stories, they make only the impression of hovel piled upon
hovel,--squalor immortalized in undecaying stone.  It was now getting far
into the twilight, and I could not distinguish the particularities of the
little town, except that there were shops, a cafe or two, and as many
churches, all dusky with age, crowded closely together, inconvenient
stifled too in spite of the breadth and freedom of the mountain
atmosphere outside the scanty precincts of the street.  It was a
death-in-life little place, a fossilized place, and yet the street was
thronged, and had all the bustle of a city; even more noise than a city's
street, because everybody in Radicofani knows everybody, and probably
gossips with everybody, being everybody's blood relation, as they cannot
fail to have become after they and their forefathers have been shut up
together within the narrow walls for many hundred years.  They looked
round briskly at J----- and me, but were courteous, as Italians always
are, and made way for us to pass through the throng, as we kept on still
ascending the steep street.  It took us but a few minutes to reach the
still steeper and winding pathway which climbs towards the old castle.

After ascending above the village, the path, though still paved, becomes
very rough, as if the hoofs of Ghino di Tacco's robber cavalry had
displaced the stones and they had never been readjusted.  On every side,
too, except where the path just finds space enough, there is an enormous
rubbish of huge stones, which seems to have fallen from the precipice
above, or else to have rained down out of the sky.  We kept on, and by
and by reached what seemed to have been a lower outwork of the castle on
the top; there was the massive old arch of a gateway, and a great deal of
ruin of man's work, beside the large stones that here, as elsewhere, were
scattered so abundantly.  Within the wall and gateway just mentioned,
however, there was a kind of farm-house, adapted, I suppose, out of the
old ruin, and I noticed some ears of Indian corn hanging out of a window.
There were also a few stacks of hay, but no signs of human or animal
life; and it is utterly inexplicable to me, where these products of the
soil could have come from, for certainly they never grew amid that
barrenness.

We had not yet reached Ghino's castle, and, being now beneath it, we had
to bend our heads far backward to see it rising up against the clear sky
while we were now in twilight.  The path upward looked terribly steep and
rough, and if we had climbed it we should probably have broken our necks
in descending again into the lower obscurity.  We therefore stopped here,
much against J-----'s will, and went back as we came, still wondering at
the strange situation of Radicofani; for its aspect is as if it had
stepped off the top of the cliff and lodged at its base, though still in
danger of sliding farther down the hillside.  Emerging from the compact,
grimy life of its street, we saw that the shower had swept by, or
probably had expended itself in a region beneath us, for we were above
the scope of many of the showery clouds that haunt a hill-country.  There
was a very bright star visible, I remember, and we saw the new moon, now
a third towards the full, for the first time this evening.  The air was
cold and bracing.

But I am excessively sleepy, so will not describe our great dreary hotel,
where a blast howled in an interminable corridor all night.  It did not
seem to have anything to do with the wind out of doors, but to be a blast
that had been casually shut in when the doors were closed behind the last
Grand Duke who came hither and departed, and ever since it has been kept
prisoner, and makes a melancholy wail along the corridor.  The dreamy
stupidity of this conceit proves how sleepy I am.



SETTE VENE.


October 15th.--We left Radicofani long before sunrise, and I saw that
ceremony take place from the coupe of the vettura for the first time in a
long while.  A sunset is the better sight of the two.  I have always
suspected it, and have been strengthened in the idea whenever I have had
an opportunity of comparison.  Our departure from Radicofani was most
dreary, except that we were very glad to get away; but, the cold
discomfort of dressing in a chill bedroom by candlelight, and our
uncertain wandering through the immense hotel with a dim taper in search
of the breakfast-room, and our poor breakfast of eggs, Italian bread, and
coffee,--all these things made me wish that people were created with
roots like trees, so they could not befool themselves with wandering
about.  However, we had not long been on our way before the morning air
blew away all our troubles, and we rumbled cheerfully onward, ready to
encounter even the papal custom-house officers at Ponte Centino.  Our
road thither was a pretty steep descent.  I remember the barren landscape
of hills, with here and there a lonely farm-house, which there seemed to
be no occasion for, where nothing grew.

At Ponte Centino my passport was examined, and I was invited into an
office where sat the papal custom-house officer, a thin, subtle-looking,
keen-eyed, sallow personage, of aspect very suitable to be the agent of a
government of priests.  I communicated to him my wish to pass the
custom-house without giving the officers the trouble of examining my
luggage.  He inquired whether I had any dutiable articles, and wrote for
my signature a declaration in the negative; and then he lifted a
sand-box, beneath which was a little heap of silver coins.  On this
delicate hint I asked what was the usual fee, and was told that fifteen
pauls was the proper sum.  I presume it was entirely an illegal charge,
and that he had no right to pass any luggage without examination; but the
thing is winked at by the authorities, and no money is better spent for
the traveller's convenience than these fifteen pauls.  There was a papal
military officer in the room, and he, I believe, cheated me in the change
of a Napoleon, as his share of the spoil.  At the door a soldier met me
with my passport, and looked as if he expected a fee for handing it to
me; but in this he was disappointed.  After I had resumed my seat in the
coupe, the porter of the custom-house--a poor, sickly-looking creature,
half dead with the malaria of the place--appeared, and demanded a fee for
doing nothing to my luggage.  He got three pauls, and looked but half
contented.  This whole set of men seem to be as corrupt as official
people can possibly be; and yet I hardly know whether to stigmatize them
as corrupt, because it is not their individual delinquency, but the
operation of a regular system.  Their superiors know what men they are,
and calculate upon their getting a living by just these means.  And,
indeed, the custom-house and passport regulations, as they exist in
Italy, would be intolerable if there were not this facility of evading
them at little cost.  Such laws are good for nothing but to be broken.

We now began to ascend again, and the country grew fertile and
picturesque.  We passed many mules and donkeys, laden with a sort of deep
firkin on each side of the saddle, and these were heaped up with grapes,
both purple and white.  We bought some, and got what we should have
thought an abundance at small price, only we used to get twice as many at
Montanto for the same money.  However, a Roman paul bought us three or
four pounds even here.  We still ascended, and came soon to the gateway
of the town of Acquapendente, which stands on a height that seems to
descend by natural terraces to the valley below. . . . .

French soldiers, in their bluish-gray coats and scarlet trousers, were on
duty at the gate, and one of them took my passport and the vetturino's,
and we then drove into the town to wait till they should be vised.  We
saw but one street, narrow, with tall, rusty, aged houses, built of
stone, evil smelling; in short, a kind of place that would be intolerably
dismal in cloudy England, and cannot be called cheerful even under the
sun of Italy. . . . . Priests passed, and burly friars, one of whom was
carrying a wine-barrel on his head.  Little carts, laden with firkins of
grapes, and donkeys with the same genial burden, brushed passed our
vettura, finding scarce room enough in the narrow street.  All the idlers
of Acquapendente--and they were many--assembled to gaze at us, but not
discourteously.  Indeed, I never saw an idle curiosity exercised in such
a pleasant way as by the country-people of Italy.  It almost deserves to
be called a kindly interest and sympathy, instead of a hard and cold
curiosity, like that of our own people, and it is displayed with such
simplicity that it is evident no offence is intended.

By and by the vetturino brought his passport and my own, with the
official vise, and we kept on our way, still ascending, passing through
vineyards and olives, and meeting grape-laden donkeys, till we came to
the town of San Lorenzo Nuovo, a place built by Pius VI. as the refuge
for the people of a lower town which had been made uninhabitable by
malaria.  The new town, which I suppose is hundreds of years old, with
all its novelty shows strikingly the difference between places that grow
up and shape out their streets of their own accord, as it were, and one
that is built on a settled plan of malice aforethought.  This little
rural village has gates of classic architecture, a spacious piazza, and a
great breadth of straight and rectangular streets, with houses of uniform
style, airy and wholesome looking to a degree seldom seen on the
Continent.  Nevertheless, I must say that the town looked hatefully dull
and ridiculously prim, and, of the two, I had rather spend my life in
Radicofani.  We drove through it, from gate to gate, without stopping,
and soon came to the brow of a hill, whence we beheld, right beneath us,
the beautiful lake of Bolsena; not exactly at our feet, however, for a
portion of level ground lay between, haunted by the pestilence which has
depopulated all these shores, and made the lake and its neighborhood a
solitude.  It looked very beautiful, nevertheless, with a sheen of a
silver mid a gray like that of steel as the wind blew and the sun shone
over it; and, judging by my own feelings, I should really have thought
that the breeze from its surface was bracing and healthy.

Descending the hill, we passed the ruins of the old town of San Lorenzo,
of which the prim village on the hill-top may be considered the daughter.
There is certainly no resemblance between parent and child, the former
being situated on a sort of precipitous bluff, where there could have
been no room for piazzas and spacious streets, nor accessibility except
by mules, donkeys, goats, and people of Alpine habits.  There was an
ivy-covered tower on the top of the bluff, and some arched cavern mouths
that looked as if they opened into the great darkness.  These were the
entrances to Etruscan tombs, for the town on top had been originally
Etruscan, and the inhabitants had buried themselves in the heart of the
precipitous bluffs after spending their lives on its summit.

Reaching the plain, we drove several miles along the shore of the lake,
and found the soil fertile and generally well cultivated, especially with
the vine, though there were tracks apparently too marshy to be put to any
agricultural purpose.  We met now and then a flock of sheep, watched by
sallow-looking and spiritless men and boys, who, we took it for granted,
would soon perish of malaria, though, I presume, they never spend their
nights in the immediate vicinity of the lake.  I should like to inquire
whether animals suffer from the bad qualities of the air.  The lake is
not nearly so beautiful on a nearer view as it is from the hill above,
there being no rocky margin, nor bright, sandy beach, but everywhere this
interval of level ground, and often swampy marsh, betwixt the water and
the hill.  At a considerable distance from the shore we saw two islands,
one of which is memorable as having been the scene of an empress's
murder, but I cannot stop to fill my journal with historical
reminiscences.

We kept onward to the town of Bolsena, which stands nearly a mile from
the lake, and on a site higher than the level margin, yet not so much so,
I should apprehend, as to free it from danger of malaria.  We stopped at
an albergo outside of the wall of the town, and before dinner had time to
see a good deal of the neighborhood.  The first aspect of the town was
very striking, with a vista into its street through the open gateway, and
high above it an old, gray, square-built castle, with three towers
visible at the angles, one of them battlemented, one taller than the
rest, and one partially ruined.  Outside of the town-gate there were some
fragments of Etruscan ruin, capitals of pillars and altars with
inscriptions; these we glanced at, and then made our entrance through the
gate.

There it was again,--the same narrow, dirty, time-darkened street of
piled-up houses which we have so often seen; the same swarm of ill-to-do
people, grape-laden donkeys, little stands or shops of roasted chestnuts,
peaches, tomatoes, white and purple figs; the same evidence of a fertile
land, and grimy poverty in the midst of abundance which nature tries to
heap into their hands.  It seems strange that they can never grasp it.

We had gone but a little way along this street, when we saw a narrow lane
that turned aside from it and went steeply upward.  Its name was on the
corner,--the Via di Castello,--and as the castle promised to be more
interesting than anything else, we immediately began to ascend.  The
street--a strange name for such an avenue--clambered upward in the oddest
fashion, passing under arches, scrambling up steps, so that it was more
like a long irregular pair of stairs than anything that Christians call a
street; and so large a part of it was under arches that we scarcely
seemed to be out of doors.  At last U----, who was in advance, emerged
into the upper air, and cried out that we had ascended to an upper town,
and a larger one than that beneath.

It really seemed like coming up out of the earth into the midst of the
town, when we found ourselves so unexpectedly in upper Bolsena.  We were
in a little nook, surrounded by old edifices, and called the Piazza del
Orologio, on account of a clock that was apparent somewhere.  The castle
was close by, and from its platform there was a splendid view of the lake
and all the near hill-country.  The castle itself is still in good
condition, and apparently as strong as ever it was as respects the
exterior walls; but within there seemed to be neither floor nor chamber,
nothing but the empty shell of the dateless old fortress.  The stones at
the base and lower part of the building were so massive that I should
think the Etrurians must have laid them; and then perhaps the Romans
built a little higher, and the mediaeval people raised the battlements
and towers.  But we did not look long at the castle, our attention being
drawn to the singular aspect of the town itself, which--to speak first of
its most prominent characteristic--is the very filthiest place, I do
believe, that was ever inhabited by man.  Defilement was everywhere; in
the piazza, in nooks and corners, strewing the miserable lanes from side
to side, the refuse of every day, and of accumulated ages.  I wonder
whether the ancient Romans were as dirty a people as we everywhere find
those who have succeeded them; for there seems to have been something in
the places that have been inhabited by Romans, or made famous in their
history, and in the monuments of every kind that they have raised, that
puts people in mind of their very earthliness, and incites them to defile
therewith whatever temple, column, ruined palace, or triumphal arch may
fall in their way.  I think it must be an hereditary trait, probably
weakened and robbed of a little of its horror by the influence of milder
ages; and I am much afraid that Caesar trod narrower and fouler ways in
his path to power than those of modern Rome, or even of this disgusting
town of Bolsena.  I cannot imagine anything worse than these, however.
Rotten vegetables thrown everywhere about, musty straw, standing puddles,
running rivulets of dissolved nastiness,--these matters were a relief
amid viler objects.  The town was full of great black hogs wallowing
before every door, and they grunted at us with a kind of courtesy and
affability as if the town were theirs, and it was their part to be
hospitable to strangers.  Many donkeys likewise accosted us with braying;
children, growing more uncleanly every day they lived, pestered us with
begging; men stared askance at us as they lounged in corners, and women
endangered us with slops which they were flinging from doorways into the
street.  No decent words can describe, no admissible image can give an
idea of this noisome place.  And yet, I remember, the donkeys came up the
height loaded with fruit, and with little flat-sided barrels of wine; the
people had a good atmosphere--except as they polluted it themselves--on
their high site, and there seemed to be no reason why they should not
live a beautiful and jolly life.

I did not mean to write such an ugly description as the above, but it is
well, once for all, to have attempted conveying an idea of what disgusts
the traveller, more or less, in all these Italian towns.  Setting aside
this grand characteristic, the upper town of Bolsena is a most curious
and interesting place.  It was originally an Etruscan city, the ancient
Volsinii, and when taken and destroyed by the Romans was said to contain
two thousand statues.  Afterwards the Romans built a town upon the site,
including, I suppose, the space occupied by the lower city, which looks
as if it had brimmed over like Radicofani, and fallen from the
precipitous height occupied by the upper.  The latter is a strange
confusion of black and ugly houses, piled massively out of the ruins of
former ages, built rudely and without plan, as a pauper would build his
hovel, and yet with here and there an arched gateway, a cornice, a
pillar, that might have adorned a palace. . . . . The streets are the
narrowest I have seen anywhere,--of no more width, indeed, than may
suffice for the passage of a donkey with his panniers.  They wind in and
out in strange confusion, and hardly look like streets at all, but,
nevertheless, have names printed on the corners, just as if they were
stately avenues.  After looking about us awhile and drawing half-breaths
so as to take in the less quantity of gaseous pollution, we went back to
the castle, and descended by a path winding downward from it into the
plain outside of the town-gate.

It was now dinner-time, . . . . and we had, in the first place, some fish
from the pestiferous lake; not, I am sorry to say, the famous stewed eels
which, Dante says, killed Pope Martin, but some trout. . . . . By the by,
the meal was not dinner, but our midday colazione.  After despatching it,
we again wandered forth and strolled round the outside of the lower town,
which, with the upper one, made as picturesque a combination as could be
desired.  The old wall that surrounds the lower town has been
appropriated, long since, as the back wall of a range of houses; windows
have been pierced through it; upper chambers and loggie have been built
upon it; so that it looks something like a long row of rural dwellings
with one continuous front or back, constructed in a strange style of
massive strength, contrasting with the vines that here and there are
trained over it, and with the wreaths of yellow corn that hang from the
windows.  But portions of the old battlements are interspersed with the
line of homely chambers and tiled house-tops.  Within the wall the town
is very compact, and above its roofs rises a rock, the sheer, precipitous
bluff on which stands the upper town, whose foundations impend over the
highest roof in the lower.  At one end is the old castle, with its towers
rising above the square battlemented mass of the main fortress; and if we
had not seen the dirt and squalor that dwells within this venerable
outside, we should have carried away a picture of gray, grim dignity,
presented by a long past age to the present one, to put its mean ways and
modes to shame.  ------ sat diligently sketching, and children came about
her, exceedingly unfragrant, but very courteous and gentle, looking over
her shoulders, and expressing delight as they saw each familiar edifice
take its place in the sketch.  They are a lovable people, these Italians,
as I find from almost all with whom we come in contact; they have great
and little faults, and no great virtues that I know of; but still are
sweet, amiable, pleasant to encounter, save when they beg, or when you
have to bargain with them.

We left Bolsena and drove to Viterbo, passing the gate of the picturesque
town of Montefiascone, over the wall of which I saw spires and towers,
and the dome of a cathedral.  I was sorry not to taste, in its own town,
the celebrated est, which was the death-draught of the jolly prelate.  At
Viterbo, however, I called for some wine of Montefiascone, and had a
little straw-covered flask, which the waiter assured us was the genuine
est-wine.  It was of golden color, and very delicate, somewhat resembling
still champagne, but finer, and requiring a calmer pause to appreciate
its subtle delight.  Its good qualities, however, are so evanescent, that
the finer flavor became almost imperceptible before we finished the
flask.

Viterbo is a large, disagreeable town, built at the foot of a mountain,
the peak of which is seen through the vista of some of the narrow streets.

There are more fountains in Viterbo than I have seen in any other city of
its size, and many of them of very good design.  Around most of them
there were wine-hogsheads, waiting their turn to be cleansed and rinsed,
before receiving the wine of the present vintage.  Passing a doorway,
J----- saw some men treading out the grapes in a great vat with their
naked feet.

Among the beggars here, the loudest and most vociferous was a crippled
postilion, wearing his uniform jacket, green, faced with red; and he
seemed to consider himself entitled still to get his living from
travellers, as having been disabled in the way of his profession.  I
recognized his claim, and was rewarded with a courteous and grateful bow
at our departure. . . . . To beggars--after my much experience both in
England and Italy--I give very little, though I am not certain that it
would not often be real beneficence in the latter country.  There being
little or no provision for poverty and age, the poor must often suffer.
Nothing can be more earnest than their entreaties for aid; nothing
seemingly more genuine than their gratitude when they receive it.

They return you the value of their alms in prayers, and say, "God will
accompany you."  Many of them have a professional whine, and a certain
doleful twist of the neck and turn of the head, which hardens my heart
against them at once.  A painter might find numerous models among them,
if canvas had not already been more than sufficiently covered with their
style of the picturesque.  There is a certain brick-dust colored cloak
worn in Viterbo, not exclusively by beggars, which, when ragged enough,
is exceedingly artistic.



ROME.


68 Piazza Poli, October 17th.--We left Viterbo on the 15th, and
proceeded, through Monterosi, to Sette Verse.  There was nothing
interesting at Sette Verse, except an old Roman bridge, of a single arch,
which had kept its sweep, composed of one row of stones, unbroken for two
or more thousand years, and looked just as strong as ever, though gray
with age, and fringed with plants that found it hard to fix themselves in
its close crevices.

The next day we drove along the Cassian Way towards Rome.  It was a most
delightful morning, a genial atmosphere; the more so, I suppose, because
this was the Campagna, the region of pestilence and death.  I had a
quiet, gentle, comfortable pleasure, as if, after many wanderings, I was
drawing near Rome, for, now that I have known it once, Rome certainly
does draw into itself my heart, as I think even London, or even little
Concord itself, or old sleepy Salem, never did and never will.  Besides,
we are to stay here six months, and we had now a house all prepared to
receive us; so that this present approach, in the noontide of a genial
day, was most unlike our first one, when we crept towards Rome through
the wintry midnight, benumbed with cold, ill, weary, and not knowing
whither to betake ourselves.  Ah! that was a dismal tine!  One thing,
however, that disturbed even my present equanimity a little was the
necessity of meeting the custom-house at the Porta del Popolo; but my
past experience warranted me in believing that even these ogres might be
mollified by the magic touch of a scudo; and so it proved.  We should
have escaped any examination at all, the officer whispered me, if his
superior had not happened to be present; but, as the case stood, they
took down only one trunk from the top of the vettura, just lifted the
lid, closed it again, and gave us permission to proceed.  So we came to
68 Piazza Poli, and found ourselves at once at home, in such a
comfortable, cosey little house, as I did not think existed in Rome.

I ought to say a word about our vetturino, Constantino Bacci, an
excellent and most favorable specimen of his class; for his magnificent
conduct, his liberality, and all the good qualities that ought to be
imperial, S----- called him the Emperor.  He took us to good hotels, and
feasted us with the best; he was kind to us all, and especially to little
Rosebud, who used to run by his side, with her small white hand in his
great brown one; he was cheerful in his deportment, and expressed his
good spirits by the smack of his whip, which is the barometer of a
vetturino's inward weather; he drove admirably, and would rumble up to
the door of an albergo, and stop to a hair's-breadth just where it was
most convenient for us to alight; he would hire postilions and horses,
where other vetturini would take nothing better than sluggish oxen, to
help us up the hilly roads, so that sometimes we had a team of seven; he
did all that we could possibly require of him, and was content and more,
with a buon mono of five scudi, in addition to the stipulated price.
Finally, I think the tears had risen almost to his eyelids when we parted
with him.

Our friends, the Thompsons, through whose kindness we procured this
house, called to see us soon after our arrival.  In the afternoon, I
walked with Rosebud to the Medici Gardens, and on our way thither, we
espied our former servant, Lalla, who flung so many and such bitter
curses after us, on our departure from Rome, sitting at her father's
fruit-stall.  Thank God, they have not taken effect.  After going to the
Medici, we went to the Pincian Gardens, and looked over into the Borghese
grounds, which, methought, were more beautiful than ever.  The same was
true of the sky, and of every object beneath it; and as we came homeward
along the Corso, I wondered at the stateliness and palatial magnificence
of that noble street.  Once, I remember, I thought it narrow, and far
unworthy of its fame.

In the way of costume, the men in goat-skin breeches, whom we met on the
Campagna, were very striking, and looked like Satyrs.


October 21st.--. . . . I have been twice to St. Peter's, and was
impressed more than at any former visit by a sense of breadth and
loftiness, and, as it were, a visionary splendor and magnificence.  I
also went to the Museum of the Capitol; and the statues seemed to me more
beautiful than formerly, and I was not sensible of the cold despondency
with which I have so often viewed them.  Yesterday we went to the Corsini
Palace, which we had not visited before.  It stands in the Trastevere, in
the Longara, and is a stately palace, with a grand staircase, leading to
the first floor, where is situated the range of picture-rooms.  There
were a good many fine pictures, but none of them have made a memorable
impression on my mind, except a portrait by Vandyke, of a man in
point-lace, very grand and very real.  The room in which this picture
hung had many other portraits by Holbein, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, and
other famous painters, and was wonderfully rich in this department.  In
another, there was a portrait of Pope Julius II., by Raphael, somewhat
differing from those at the Pitti and the Uffizi galleries in Florence,
and those I have seen in England and Paris; thinner, paler, perhaps
older, more severely intellectual, but at least, as high a work of art as
those.

The palace has some handsome old furniture, and gilded chairs, covered
with leather cases, possibly relics of Queen Christina's time, who died
here.  I know not but the most curious object was a curule chair of
marble, sculptured all out of one piece, and adorned with bas-reliefs.
It is supposed to be Etruscan.  It has a circular back, sweeping round,
so as to afford sufficient rests for the elbows; and, sitting down in it,
I discovered that modern ingenuity has not made much real improvement on
this chair of three or four thousand years ago.  But some chairs are
easier for the moment, yet soon betray you, and grow the more irksome.

We strolled along Longara, and found the piazza of St. Peter's full of
French soldiers at their drill. . . . . We went quite round the interior
of the church, and perceiving the pavement loose and broken near the
altar where Guido's Archangel is placed, we picked up some bits of rosso
antico and gray marble, to be set in brooches, as relics.

We have the snuggest little set of apartments in Rome, seven rooms,
including an antechamber; and though the stairs are exceedingly narrow,
there is really a carpet on them,--a civilized comfort, of which the
proudest palaces in the Eternal City cannot boast.  The stairs are very
steep, however, and I should not wonder if some of us broke our noses
down them.  Narrowness of space within doors strikes us all rather
ludicrously, yet not unpleasantly, after being accustomed to the wastes
and deserts of the Montanto Villa.  It is well thus to be put in training
for the over-snugness of our cottage in Concord.  Our windows here look
out on a small and rather quiet piazza, with an immense palace on the
left hand, and a smaller yet statelier one on the right, and just round
the corner of the street, leading out of our piazza, is the Fountain of
Trevi, of which I can hear the plash in the evening, when other sounds
are hushed.

Looking over what I have said of Sodoma's "Christ Bound," at Sierra, I
see that I have omitted to notice what seems to me one of its most
striking characteristics,--its loneliness.  You feel as if the Saviour
were deserted, both in heaven and earth; the despair is in him which made
him say, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  Even in this extremity,
however, he is still Divine, and Sodoma almost seems to have reconciled
the impossibilities of combining an omnipresent divinity with a suffering
and outraged humanity.  But this is one of the cases in which the
spectator's imagination completes what the artist merely hints at.

Mr. ------, the sculptor, called to see us, the other evening, and quite
paid Powers off for all his trenchant criticisms on his brother artists.
He will not allow Powers to be an artist at all, or to know anything of
the laws of art, although acknowledging him to be a great bust-maker, and
to have put together the Greek Slave and the Fisher-Boy very ingeniously.
The latter, however (he says), is copied from the Apollino in the Tribune
of the Uzi; and the former is made up of beauties that had no reference
to one another; and he affirms that Powers is ready to sell, and has
actually sold, the Greek Slave, limb by limb, dismembering it by
reversing the process of putting it together,--a head to one purchaser,
an arm or a foot to another, a hand to a third.  Powers knows nothing
scientifically of the human frame, and only succeeds in representing it
as a natural bone-doctor succeeds in setting a dislocated limb by a happy
accident or special providence.  (The illustration was my own, and
adopted by Mr. ------.)  Yet Mr. ------ seems to acknowledge that he did
succeed.  I repeat these things only as another instance how invariably
every sculptor uses his chisel and mallet to smash and deface the
marble-work of every other.  I never heard Powers speak of Mr. ------,
but can partly imagine what he would have said.

Mr. ------ spoke of Powers's disappointment about the
twenty-five-thousand-dollar appropriation from Congress, and said that he
was altogether to blame, inasmuch as he attempted to sell to the nation
for that sum a statue which, to Mr. ------'s certain knowledge, he had
already offered to private persons for a fifth part of it.  I have not
implicit faith in Mr. ------'s veracity, and doubt not Powers acted
fairly in his own eyes.


October 23d.--I am afraid I have caught one of the colds which the Roman
air continually affected me with last winter; at any rate, a sirocco has
taken the life out of me, and I have no spirit to do anything.  This
morning I took a walk, however, out of the Porta Maggiore, and looked at
the tomb of the baker Eurysaces, just outside of the gate,--a very
singular ruin covered with symbols of the man's trade in stone-work, and
with bas-reliefs along the cornice, representing people at work, making
bread.  An inscription states that the ashes of his wife are likewise
reposited there, in a bread-basket.  The mausoleum is perhaps twenty feet
long, in its largest extent, and of equal height; and if good bakers were
as scarce in ancient Rome as in the modern city, I do not wonder that
they were thought worthy of stately monuments.  None of the modern ones
deserve any better tomb than a pile of their own sour loaves.

I walked onward a good distance beyond the gate alongside of the arches
of the Claudian aqueduct, which, in this portion of it, seems to have had
little repair, and to have needed little, since it was built.  It looks
like a long procession, striding across the Campagna towards the city,
and entering the gate, over one of its arches, within the gate, I saw two
or three slender jets of water spurting from the crevices; this aqueduct
being still in use to bring the Acqua Felice into Rome.

Returning within the walls, I walked along their inner base, to the
Church of St. John Lateran, into which I went, and sat down to rest
myself, being languid and weary, and hot with the sun, though afraid to
trust the coolness of the shade.  I hate the Roman atmosphere; indeed,
all my pleasure in getting back--all my home-feeling--has already
evaporated, and what now impresses me, as before, is the languor of
Rome,--its weary pavements, its little life, pressed down by a weight of
death.

Quitting St. John Lateran, I went astray, as I do nine times out of ten
in these Roman intricacies, and at last, seeing the Coliseum in the vista
of a street, I betook myself thither to get a fresh start.  Its round of
stones looked vast and dreary, but not particularly impressive.  The
interior was quite deserted; except that a Roman, of respectable
appearance, was making a pilgrimage at the altars, kneeling and saying a
prayer at each one.

Outside of the Coliseum, a neat-looking little boy came and begged of me;
and I gave him a baiocco, rather because he seemed to need it so little
than for any other reason.  I observed that he immediately afterwards
went and spoke to a well-dressed man, and supposed that the child was
likewise begging of him.  I watched the little boy, however, and saw
that, in two or three other instances, after begging of other
individuals, he still returned to this well-dressed man; the fact being,
no doubt, that the latter was fishing for baiocci through the medium of
his child,--throwing the poor little fellow out as a bait, while he
himself retained his independent respectability.  He had probably come
out for a whole day's sport; for, by and by, he went between the arches
of the Coliseum, followed by the child, and taking with him what looked
like a bottle of wine, wrapped in a handkerchief.


November 2d.--The weather lately would have suited one's ideal of an
English November, except that there have been no fogs; but of ugly,
hopeless clouds, chill, shivering winds, drizzle, and now and then
pouring rain, much more than enough.  An English coal-fire, if we could
see its honest face within doors, would compensate for all the
unamiableness of the outside atmosphere; but we might ask for the
sunshine of the New Jerusalem, with as much hope of getting it.  It is
extremely spirit-crushing, this remorseless gray, with its icy heart; and
the more to depress the whole family, U---- has taken what seems to be
the Roman fever, by sitting down in the Palace of the Caesars, while Mrs.
S----- sketched the ruins. . . . .

[During four months of the illness of his daughter, Mr. Hawthorne wrote
no word of Journal.--ED.]


February 27th, 1859.--For many days past, there have been tokens of the
coming Carnival in the Corso and the adjacent streets; for example, in
the shops, by the display of masks of wire, pasteboard, silk, or cloth,
some of beautiful features, others hideous, fantastic, currish, asinine,
huge-nosed, or otherwise monstrous; some intended to cover the whole
face, others concealing only the upper part, also white dominos, or robes
bedizened with gold-lace and theatric splendors, displayed at the windows
of mercers or flaunting before the doors.  Yesterday, U---- and I came
along the Corso, between one and two o'clock, after a walk, and found all
these symptoms of impending merriment multiplied and intensified; . . . .
rows of chairs, set out along the sidewalks, elevated a foot or two by
means of planks; great baskets, full of confetti, for sale in the nooks
and recesses of the streets; bouquets of all qualities and prices.  The
Corso was becoming pretty well thronged with people; but, until two
o'clock, nobody dared to fling as much as a rosebud or a handful of
sugar-plums.  There was a sort of holiday expression, however, on almost
everybody's face, such as I have not hitherto seen in Rome, or in any
part of Italy; a smile gleaming out, an aurora of mirth, which probably
will not be very exuberant in its noontide.  The day was so sunny and
bright that it made this opening scene far more cheerful than any day of
the last year's carnival.  As we threaded our way through the Corso,
U---- kept wishing she could plunge into the fun and uproar as J-----
would, and for my own part, though I pretended to take no interest in the
matter, I could have bandied confetti and nosegays as readily and as
riotously as any urchin there.  But my black hat and grave talma would
have been too good a mark for the combatants, . . . . so we went home
before a shot was fired. . . . .


March 7th.--I, as well as the rest of the family, have followed up the
Carnival pretty faithfully, and enjoyed it as well, or rather better
than could have been expected; principally in the street, as a more
looker-on,--which does not let one into the mystery of the fun,--and
twice from a balcony, where I threw confetti, and partly understood why
the young people like it so much.  Certainly, there cannot well be a more
picturesque spectacle in human life, than that stately, palatial avenue
of the Corso, the more picturesque because so narrow, all hung with
carpets and Gobelin tapestry, and the whole palace-heights alive with
faces; and all the capacity of the street thronged with the most
fantastic figures that either the fancies of folks alive at this day are
able to contrive, or that live traditionally from year to year. . . . .
The Prince of Wales has fought manfully through the Carnival with
confetti and bouquets, and U---- received several bouquets from him, on
Saturday, as her carriage moved along.


March 8th.--I went with U---- to Mr. Motley's balcony, in the Corso, and
saw the Carnival from it yesterday afternoon; but the spectacle is
strangely like a dream, in respect to the difficulty of retaining it in
the mind and solidifying it into a description.  I enjoyed it a good
deal, and assisted in so far as to pelt all the people in cylinder hats
with handfuls of confetti.  The scene opens with a long array of cavalry,
who ride through the Corso, preceded by a large band, playing loudly on
their brazen instruments. . . . . There were some splendid dresses,
particularly contadina costumes of scarlet and gold, which seem to be
actually the festal attire of that class of people, and must needs be so
expensive that one must serve for a lifetime, if indeed it be not an
inheritance. . . . .


March 9th.--I was, yesterday, an hour or so among the people on the
sidewalks of the Corso, just on the edges of the fun.  They appeared to
be in a decorous, good-natured mood, neither entering into the merriment,
nor harshly repelling; and when groups of maskers overflowed among them,
they received their jokes in good part.  Many women of the lower class
were in the crowd of bystanders; generally broad and sturdy figures, clad
evidently in their best attire, and wearing a good many ornaments; such
as gold or coral beads and necklaces, combs of silver or gold, heavy
ear-rings, curiously wrought brooches, perhaps cameos or mosaics, though
I think they prefer purely metallic work to these.  One ornament very
common among them is a large bodkin, which they stick through their hair.
It is usually of silver, but sometimes it looks like steel, and is made
in the shape of a sword,--a long Spanish thrusting sword, for example.
Dr. Franco told us a story of a woman of Trastevere, who was addressed
rudely at the Carnival by a gentleman; she warned him to desist, but as
he still persisted, she drew the bodkin from her hair, and stabbed him to
the heart.

By and by I went to Mr. Motley's balcony, and looked down on the closing
scenes of the Carnival.  Methought the merry-makers labored harder to be
mirthful, and yet were somewhat tired of their eight play-days; and their
dresses looked a little shabby, rumpled, and draggled; but the lack of
sunshine--which we have had on all the preceding days--may have produced
this effect.  The wheels of some of the carriages were wreathed round and
spoked with green foliage, making a very pretty and fanciful appearance,
as did likewise the harnesses of the horses, which were trimmed with
roses.  The pervading noise and uproar of human voices is one of the most
effective points of the matter; but the scene is quite indescribable, and
its effect not to be conceived without both witnessing and taking part in
it.  If you merely look at it, it depresses you; if you take even the
slightest share in it, you become aware that it has a fascination, and
you no longer wonder that the young people, at least, take such delight
in plunging into this mad river of fun that goes roaring between the
narrow limits of the Corso.

As twilight came on, the moccoli commenced, and as it grew darker the
whole street twinkled with lights, which would have been innumerable if
every torch-bearer had not been surrounded by a host of enemies, who
tried to extinguish his poor little twinkle.  It was a pity to lose so
much splendor as there might have been; but yet there was a kind of
symbolism in the thought that every one of those thousands of twinkling
lights was in charge of somebody, who was striving with all his might to
keep it alive.  Not merely the street-way, but all the balconies and
hundreds of windows were lit up with these little torches; so that it
seemed as if the stars had crumbled into glittering fragments, and rained
down upon the Corso, some of them lodging upon the palace-fronts, some
falling on the ground.  Besides this, there were gas-lights burning with
a white flame; but this illumination was not half so interesting as that
of the torches, which indicated human struggle.  All this time there were
myriad voices shouting, "SENZA MOCCOLO!" and mingling into one long roar.
We, in our balcony, carried on a civil war against one another's torches,
as is the custom of human beings, within even the narrowest precincts;
but after a while we grew tired, and so did the crowd, apparently; for
the lights vanished, one after another, till the gas-lights--which at
first were an unimportant part of the illumination--shone quietly out,
overpowering the scattered twinkles of the moccoli.  They were what the
fixed stars are to the transitory splendors of human life.

Mr. Motley tells me, that it was formerly the custom to have a mock
funeral of harlequin, who was supposed to die at the close of the
Carnival, during which he had reigned supreme, and all the people, or as
many as chose, bore torches at his burial.  But this being considered an
indecorous mockery of Popish funereal customs, the present frolic of the
moccoli was instituted,--in some sort, growing out of it.

All last night, or as much of it as I was awake, there was a noise of
song and of late revellers in the streets; but to-day we have waked up in
the sad and sober season of Lent.

It is worthy of remark, that all the jollity of the Carnival is a genuine
ebullition of spirit, without the aid of wine or strong drink.


March 11th.--Yesterday we went to the Catacomb of St. Calixtus, the
entrance to which is alongside of the Appian Way, within sight of the
tomb of Cecilia Metella.  We descended not a very great way under ground,
by a broad flight of stone steps, and, lighting some wax tapers, with
which we had provided ourselves, we followed the guide through a great
many intricate passages, which mostly were just wide enough for me to
touch the wall on each side, while keeping my elbows close to my body;
and as to height, they were from seven to ten feet, and sometimes a good
deal higher  It was rather picturesque, when we saw the long line of our
tapers, for another large party had joined us, twinkling along the dark
passage, and it was interesting to think of the former inhabitants of
these caverns. . . . . In one or two places there was the round mark in
the stone or plaster, where a bottle had been deposited.  This was said
to have been the token of a martyr's burial-place, and to have contained
his blood.  After leaving the Catacomb, we drove onward to Cecilia
Metella's tomb, which we entered and inspected.  Within the immensely
massive circular substance of the tomb was a round, vacant space, and
this interior vacancy was open at the top, and had nothing but some
fallen stones and a heap of earth at the bottom.

On our way home we entered the Church of "Domine, quo vadis," and looked
at the old fragment of the Appian Way, where our Saviour met St. Peter,
and left the impression of his feet in one of the Roman paving-stones.
The stone has been removed, and there is now only a fac-simile engraved
in a block of marble, occupying the place where Jesus stood.  It is a
great pity they had not left the original stone; for then all its
brother-stones in the pavement would have seemed to confirm the truth of
the legend.

While we were at dinner, a gentleman called and was shown into the
parlor.  We supposed it to be Mr. May; but soon his voice grew familiar,
and my wife was sure it was General Pierce, so I left the table, and
found it to be really he.  I was rejoiced to see him, though a little
saddened to see the marks of care and coming age, in many a whitening
hair, and many a furrow, and, still more, in something that seemed to
have passed away out of him, without leaving any trace.  His voice,
sometimes, sounded strange and old, though generally it was what it used
to be.  He was evidently glad to see me, glad to see my wife, glad to see
the children, though there was something melancholy in his tone, when he
remarked what a stout boy J----- had grown.  Poor fellow! he has neither
son nor daughter to keep his heart warm.  This morning I have been with
him to St. Peter's, and elsewhere about the city, and find him less
changed than he seemed to be last night; not at all changed in heart and
affections.  We talked freely about all matters that came up; among the
rest, about the project--recognizable by many tokens--for bringing him
again forward as a candidate for the Presidency next year.  He appears to
be firmly resolved not again to present himself to the country, and is
content to let his one administration stand, and to be judged by the
public and posterity on the merits of that.  No doubt he is perfectly
sincere; no doubt, too, he would again be a candidate, if a pretty
unanimous voice of the party should demand it.  I retain all my faith in
his administrative faculty, and should be glad, for his sake, to have it
fully rccognized; but the probabilities, as far as I can see, do not
indicate for him another Presidential term.


March 15th.--This morning I went with my wife and Miss Hoar to Miss
Hosmer's studio, to see her statue of Zenobia.  We found her in her
premises, springing about with a bird-like action.  She has a lofty room,
with a skylight window; it was pretty well warmed with a stove, and there
was a small orange-tree in a pot, with the oranges growing on it, and two
or three flower-shrubs in bloom.  She herself looked prettily, with her
jaunty little velvet cap on the side of her head, whence came clustering
out, her short brown curls; her face full of pleasant life and quick
expression; and though somewhat worn with thought and struggle, handsome
and spirited.  She told us that "her wig was growing as gray as a rat."

There were but very few things in the room; two or three plaster busts, a
headless cast of a plaster statue, and a cast of the Minerva Medica,
which perhaps she had been studying as a help towards the design of her
Zenobia; for, at any rate, I seemed to discern a resemblance or analogy
between the two.  Zenobia stood in the centre of the room, as yet
unfinished in the clay, but a very noble and remarkable statue indeed,
full of dignity and beauty.  It is wonderful that so brisk a woman could
have achieved a work so quietly impressive; and there is something in
Zenobia's air that conveys the idea of music, uproar, and a great throng
all about her; whilst she walks in the midst of it, self-sustained, and
kept in a sort of sanctity by her native pride.  The idea of motion is
attained with great success; you not only perceive that she is walking,
but know at just what tranquil pace she steps, amid the music of the
triumph.  The drapery is very fine and full; she is decked with
ornaments; but the chains of her captivity hang from wrist to wrist; and
her deportment--indicating a soul so much above her misfortune, yet not
insensible to the weight of it--makes these chains a richer decoration
than all her other jewels.  I know not whether there be some magic in the
present imperfect finish of the statue, or in the material of clay, as
being a better medium of expression than even marble; but certainly I
have seldom been more impressed by a piece of modern sculpture.  Miss
Hosmer showed us photographs of her Puck--which I have seen in the
marble--and likewise of the Will-o'-the-Wisp, both very pretty and
fanciful.  It indicates much variety of power, that Zenobia should be the
sister of these, which would seem the more natural offspring of her quick
and vivid character.  But Zenobia is a high, heroic ode.

. . . . On my way up the Via Babuino, I met General Pierce.  We have
taken two or three walks together, and stray among the Roman ruins, and
old scenes of history, talking of matters in which he is personally
concerned, yet which are as historic as anything around us.  He is
singularly little changed; the more I see him, the more I get him back,
just such as he was in our youth.  This morning, his face, air, and smile
were so wonderfully like himself of old, that at least thirty years are
annihilated.

Zenobia's manacles serve as bracelets; a very ingenious and suggestive
idea.


March 18th.--I went to the sculpture-gallery of the Capitol yesterday,
and saw, among other things, the Venus in her secret cabinet.  This was
my second view of her: the first time, I greatly admired her; now, she
made no very favorable impression.  There are twenty Venuses whom I like
as well, or better.  On the whole, she is a heavy, clumsy,
unintellectual, and commonplace figure; at all events, not in good looks
to-day.  Marble beauties seem to suffer the same occasional eclipses as
those of flesh and blood.  We looked at the Faun, the Dying Gladiator,
and other famous sculptures; but nothing had a glory round it, perhaps
because the sirocco was blowing.  These halls of the Capitol have always
had a dreary and depressing effect upon me, very different from those of
the Vatican.  I know not why, except that the rooms of the Capitol have a
dingy, shabby, and neglected look, and that the statues are dusty, and
all the arrangements less magnificent than at the Vatican.  The corroded
and discolored surfaces of the statues take away from the impression of
immortal youth, and turn Apollo [The Lycian Apollo] himself into an old
stone; unless at rare intervals, when he appears transfigured by a light
gleaming from within.


March 23d.--I am wearing away listlessly these last precious days of my
abode in Rome.  U----'s illness is disheartening, and by confining
------, it takes away the energy and enterprise that were the spring of
all our movements.  I am weary of Rome, without having seen and known it
as I ought, and I shall be glad to get away from it, though no doubt
there will be many yearnings to return hereafter, and many regrets that I
did not make better use of the opportunities within my grasp.  Still, I
have been in Rome long enough to be imbued with its atmosphere, and this
is the essential condition of knowing a place; for such knowledge does
not consist in having seen every particular object it contains.  In the
state of mind in which I now stand towards Rome, there is very little
advantage to be gained by staying here longer.

And yet I had a pleasant stroll enough yesterday afternoon, all by
myself, from the Corso down past the Church of St. Andrea della Valle,--
the site where Caesar was murdered,--and thence to the Farnese Palace,
the noble court of which I entered; thence to the Piazza Cenci, where I
looked at one or two ugly old palaces, and fixed on one of them as the
residence of Beatrice's father; then past the Temple of Vesta, and
skirting along the Tiler, and beneath the Aventine, till I somewhat
unexpectedly came in sight of the gray pyramid of Caius Cestius.  I went
out of the city gate, and leaned on the parapet that encloses the
pyramid, advancing its high, unbroken slope and peak, where the great
blocks of marble still fit almost as closely to one another as when they
were first laid; though, indeed, there are crevices just large enough for
plants to root themselves, and flaunt and trail over the face of this
great tomb; only a little verdure, however, over a vast space of marble,
still white in spots, but pervadingly turned gray by two thousand years'
action of the atmosphere.  Thence I came home by the Caelian, and sat
down on an ancient flight of steps under one of the arches of the
Coliseum, into which the sunshine fell sidelong.  It was a delightful
afternoon, not precisely like any weather that I have known elsewhere;
certainly never in America, where it is always too cold or too hot.  It,
resembles summer more than anything which we New-Englanders recognize in
our idea of spring, but there was an indescribable something, sweet,
fresh, gentle, that does not belong to summer, and that thrilled and
tickled my heart with a feeling partly sensuous, partly spiritual.

I go to the Bank and read Galignani and the American newspapers; thence I
stroll to the Pincian or to the Medici Gardens; I see a good deal of
General Pierce, and we talk over his Presidential life, which, I now
really think, he has no latent desire nor purpose to renew.  Yet he seems
to have enjoyed it while it lasted, and certainly he was in his element
as an administrative man; not far-seeing, not possessed of vast stores of
political wisdom in advance of his occasions, but endowed with a
miraculous intuition of what ought to be done just at the time for
action.  His judgment of things about him is wonderful, and his Cabinet
recognized it as such; for though they were men of great ability, he was
evidently the master-mind among them.  None of them were particularly his
personal friends when he selected them; they all loved him when they
parted; and he showed me a letter, signed by all, in which they expressed
their feelings of respect and attachment at the close of his
administration.  There was a noble frankness on his part, that kept the
atmosphere always clear among them, and in reference to this
characteristic Governor Marcy told him that the years during which he had
been connected with his Cabinet had been the happiest of his life.
Speaking of Caleb Cushing, he told me that the unreliability, the
fickleness, which is usually attributed to him, is an actual
characteristic, but that it is intellectual, not moral.  He has such
comprehensiveness, such mental variety and activity, that, if left to
himself, he cannot keep fast hold of one view of things, and so cannot,
without external help, be a consistent man.  He needs the influence of a
more single and stable judgment to keep him from divergency, and, on this
condition, he is a most inestimable coadjutor.  As regards learning and
ability, he has no superior.

Pierce spoke the other day of the idea among some of his friends that his
life had been planned, from a very early period, with a view to the
station which he ultimately reached.  He smiled at the notion, said that
it was inconsistent with his natural character, and that it implied
foresight and dexterity beyond what any mortal is endowed with.  I think
so too; but nevertheless, I was long and long ago aware that he cherished
a very high ambition, and that, though he might not anticipate the
highest things, he cared very little about inferior objects.  Then as to
plans, I do not think that he had any definite ones; but there was in him
a subtle faculty, a real instinct, that taught him what was good for
him,--that is to say, promotive of his political success,--and made him
inevitably do it.  He had a magic touch, that arranged matters with a
delicate potency, which he himself hardly recognized; and he wrought
through other minds so that neither he nor they always knew when and how
far they were under his influence.  Before his nomination for the
Presidency I had a sense that it was coming, and it never seemed to me an
accident.  He is a most singular character; so frank, so true, so
immediate, so subtle, so simple, so complicated.

I passed by the tower in the Via Portoghese to-day, and observed that the
nearest shop appears to be for the sale of cotton or linen cloth. . . . .
The upper window of the tower was half open; of course, like all or
almost all other Roman windows, it is divided vertically, and each half
swings back on hinges. . . . .

Last week a fritter-establishment was opened in our piazza.  It was a
wooden booth erected in the open square, and covered with canvas painted
red, which looked as if it had withstood much rain and sunshine.  In
front were three great boughs of laurel, not so much for shade, I think,
as ornament.  There were two men, and their apparatus for business was a
sort of stove, or charcoal furnace, and a frying-pan to place over it;
they had an armful or two of dry sticks, some flour, and I suppose oil,
and this seemed to be all.  It was Friday, and Lent besides, and possibly
there was some other peculiar propriety in the consumption of fritters
just then.  At all events, their fire burned merrily from morning till
night, and pretty late into the evening, and they had a fine run of
custom; the commodity being simply dough, cut into squares or rhomboids,
and thrown into the boiling oil, which quickly turned them to a light
brown color.  I sent J----- to buy some, and, tasting one, it resembled
an unspeakably bad doughnut, without any sweetening.  In fact, it was
sour, for the Romans like their bread, and all their preparations of
flour, in a state of acetous fermentation, which serves them instead of
salt or other condiment.  This fritter-shop had grown up in a night, like
Aladdin's palace, and vanished as suddenly; for after standing through
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, it was gone on Monday morning, and a
charcoal-strewn place on the pavement where the furnace had been was the
only memorial of it.  It was curious to observe how immediately it became
a lounging-place for idle people, who stood and talked all day with the
fritter-friers, just as they might at any old shop in the basement, of a
palace, or between the half-buried pillars of the Temple of Minerva,
which had been familiar to them and their remote grandfathers.


April 14th.--Yesterday afternoon I drove with Mr. and Mrs. Story and Mr.
Wilde to see a statue of Venus, which has just been discovered, outside
of the Porta Portese, on the other side of the Tiber.  A little distance
beyond the gate we came to the entrance of a vineyard, with a wheel-track
through the midst of it; and, following this, we soon came to a hillside,
in which an excavation had been made with the purpose of building a
grotto for keeping and storing wine.  They had dug down into what seemed
to be an ancient bathroom, or some structure of that kind, the excavation
being square and cellar-like, and built round with old subterranean walls
of brick and stone.  Within this hollow space the statue had been found,
and it was now standing against one of the walls, covered with a coarse
cloth, or a canvas bag.  This being removed, there appeared a headless
marble figure, earth-stained, of course, and with a slightly corroded
surface, but wonderfully delicate and beautiful, the shape, size, and
attitude, apparently, of the Venus de' Medici, but, as we all thought,
more beautiful than that.  It is supposed to be the original, from which
the Venus de' Medici was copied.  Both arms were broken off, but the
greater part of both, and nearly the whole of one hand, had been found,
and these being adjusted to the figure, they took the well-known position
before the bosom and the middle, as if the fragmentary woman retained her
instinct of modesty to the last.  There were the marks on the bosom and
thigh where the fingers had touched; whereas in the Venus de' Medici, if
I remember rightly, the fingers are sculptured quite free of the person.
The man who showed the statue now lifted from a corner a round block of
marble, which had been lying there among other fragments, and this he
placed upon the shattered neck of the Venus; and behold, it was her head
and face, perfect, all but the nose!  Even in spite of this mutilation,
it seemed immediately to light up and vivify the entire figure; and,
whatever I may heretofore have written about the countenance of the Venus
de' Medici, I here record my belief that that head has been wrongfully
foisted upon the statue; at all events, it is unspeakably inferior to
this newly discovered one.  This face has a breadth and front which are
strangely deficient in the other.  The eyes are well opened, most unlike
the buttonhole lids of the Venus de' Medici; the whole head is so much
larger as to entirely obviate the criticism that has always been made on
the diminutive head of the De' Medici statue.  If it had but a nose!
They ought to sift every handful of earth that has been thrown out of the
excavation, for the nose and the missing hand and fingers must needs be
there; and, if they were found, the effect would be like the reappearance
of a divinity upon earth.  Mutilated as we saw her, it was strangely
interesting to be present at the moment, as it were, when she had just
risen from her long burial, and was shedding the unquenchable lustre
around her which no eye had seen for twenty or more centuries.  The earth
still clung about her; her beautiful lips were full of it, till Mr. Story
took a thin chip of wood and cleared it away from between them.

The proprietor of the vineyard stood by; a man with the most purple face
and hugest and reddest nose that I ever beheld in my life.  It must have
taken innumerable hogsheads of his thin vintage to empurple his face in
this manner.  He chuckled much over the statue, and, I suppose, counts
upon making his fortune by it.  He is now awaiting a bid from the Papal
government, which, I believe, has the right of pre-emption whenever any
relics of ancient art are discovered.  If the statue could but be
smuggled out of Italy, it might command almost any price.  There is not,
I think, any name of a sculptor on the pedestal, as on that of the Venus
de' Medici.  A dolphin is sculptured on the pillar against which she
leans.  The statue is of Greek marble.  It was first found about eight
days ago, but has been offered for inspection only a day or two, and
already the visitors come in throngs, and the beggars gather about the
entrance of the vineyard.  A wine shop, too, seems to have been opened on
the premises for the accommodation of this great concourse, and we saw a
row of German artists sitting at a long table in the open air, each with
a glass of thin wine and something to eat before him; for the Germans
refresh nature ten times to other persons once.

How the whole world might be peopled with antique beauty if the Romans
would only dig!


April 19th.--General Pierce leaves Rome this morning for Venice, by way
of Ancona, and taking the steamer thence to Trieste.  I had hoped to make
the journey along with him; but U----'s terrible illness has made it
necessary for us to continue here another mouth, and we are thankful that
this seems now to be the extent of our misfortune.  Never having had any
trouble before that pierced into my very vitals, I did not know what
comfort there might be in the manly sympathy of a friend; but Pierce has
undergone so great a sorrow of his own, and has so large and kindly a
heart, and is so tender and so strong, that he really did the good, and I
shall always love him the better for the recollection of his
ministrations in these dark days.  Thank God, the thing we dreaded did
not come to pass.

Pierce is wonderfully little changed.  Indeed, now that he has won and
enjoyed--if there were any enjoyment in it--the highest success that
public life could give him, he seems more like what he was in his early
youth than at any subsequent period.  He is evidently happier than I have
ever known him since our college days; satisfied with what he has been,
and with the position in the country that remains to him, after filling
such an office.  Amid all his former successes,--early as they came, and
great as they were,--I always perceived that something gnawed within him,
and kept him forever restless and miserable.  Nothing he won was worth
the winning, except as a step gained toward the summit.  I cannot tell
how early he began to look towards the Presidency; but I believe he would
have died an unhappy man without it.  And yet what infinite chances there
seemed to be against his attaining it!  When I look at it in one way, it
strikes me as absolutely miraculous; in another, it came like an event
that I had all along expected.  It was due to his wonderful tact, which
is of so subtle a character that he himself is but partially sensible
of it.

I have found in him, here in Rome, the whole of my early friend, and even
better than I used to know him; a heart as true and affectionate, a mind
much widened and deepened by his experience of life.  We hold just the
same relation to each other as of yore, and we have passed all the
turning-off places, and may hope to go on together still the same dear
friends as long as we live.  I do not love him one whit the less for
having been President, nor for having done me the greatest good in his
power; a fact that speaks eloquently in his favor, and perhaps says a
little for myself.  If he had been merely a benefactor, perhaps I might
not have borne it so well; but each did his best for the other as friend
for friend.


May 15th.--Yesterday afternoon we went to the Barberini picture-gallery
to take a farewell look at the Beatrice Cenci, which I have twice visited
before since our return from Florence.  I attempted a description of it
at my first visit, more than a year ago, but the picture is quite
indescribable and unaccountable in its effect, for if you attempt to
analyze it you can never succeed in getting at the secret of its
fascination.  Its peculiar expression eludes a straightforward glance,
and can only be caught by side glimpses, or when the eye falls upon it
casually, as it were, and without thinking to discover anything, as if
the picture had a life and consciousness of its own, and were resolved
not to betray its secret of grief or guilt, though it wears the full
expression of it when it imagines itself unseen.  I think no other such
magical effect can ever have been wrought by pencil.  I looked close into
its eyes, with a determination to see all that there was in them, and
could see nothing that might not have been in any young girl's eyes; and
yet, a moment afterwards, there was the expression--seen aside, and
vanishing in a moment--of a being unhumanized by some terrible fate, and
gazing at me out of a remote and inaccessible region, where she was
frightened to be alone, but where no sympathy could reach her.  The mouth
is beyond measure touching; the lips apart, looking as innocent as a
baby's after it has been crying.  The picture never can be copied.  Guido
himself could not have done it over again.  The copyists get all sorts of
expression, gay, as well as grievous; some copies have a coquettish air,
a half-backward glance, thrown alluring at the spectator, but nobody ever
did catch, or ever will, the vanishing charm of that sorrow.  I hated to
leave the picture, and yet was glad when I had taken my last glimpse,
because it so perplexed and troubled me not to be able to get hold of its
secret.

Thence we went to the Church of the Capuchins, and saw Guido's Archangel.
I have been several times to this church, but never saw the picture
before, though I am familiar with the mosaic copy at St. Peter's, and had
supposed the latter to be an equivalent representation of the original.
It is nearly or quite so as respects the general effect; but there is a
beauty in the archangel's face that immeasurably surpasses the copy,--the
expression of heavenly severity, and a degree of pain, trouble, or
disgust, at being brought in contact with sin, even for the purpose of
quelling and punishing it.  There is something finical in the copy, which
I do not find in the original.  The sandalled feet are here those of an
angel; in the mosaic they are those of a celestial coxcomb, treading
daintily, as if he were afraid they would be soiled by the touch of
Lucifer.

After looking at the Archangel we went down under the church, guided
by a fleshy monk, and saw the famous cemetery, where the dead monks of
many centuries back have been laid to sleep in sacred earth from
Jerusalem. . . . .



FRANCE.


Hotel des Colonies, Marseilles, May 29th, Saturday.--Wednesday was the
day fixed for our departure from Rome, and after breakfast I walked to
the Pincian, and saw the garden and the city, and the Borghese grounds,
and St. Peter's in an earlier sunlight than ever before.  Methought they
never looked so beautiful, nor the sky so bright and blue.  I saw Soracte
on the horizon, and I looked at everything as if for the last time; nor
do I wish ever to see any of these objects again, though no place ever
took so strong a hold of my being as Rome, nor ever seemed so close to me
and so strangely familiar.  I seem to know it better than my birthplace,
and to have known it longer; and though I have been very miserable there,
and languid with the effects of the atmosphere, and disgusted with a
thousand things in its daily life, still I cannot say I hate it, perhaps
might fairly own a love for it.  But life being too short for such
questionable and troublesome enjoyments, I desire never to set eyes on it
again. . . . .

. . . . We traversed again that same weary and dreary tract of country
which we passed over in a winter afternoon and night on our first arrival
in Rome.  It is as desolate a country as can well be imagined, but about
midway of our journey we came to the sea-shore, and kept very near it
during the rest of the way.  The sight and fragrance of it were
exceedingly refreshing after so long an interval, and U---- revived
visibly as we rushed along, while J----- chuckled and contorted himself
with ineffable delight.

We reached Civita Vecchia in three or four hours, and were there
subjected to various troubles. . . . . All the while Miss S------ and I
were bothering about the passport, the rest of the family sat in the sun
on the quay, with all kinds of bustle and confusion around them; a very
trying experience to U---- after the long seclusion and quiet of her
sick-chamber.  But she did not seem to suffer from it, and we finally
reached the steamer in good condition and spirits. . . . .

I slept wretchedly in my short and narrow berth, more especially as there
was an old gentleman who snored as if he were sounding a charge; it was
terribly hot too, and I rose before four o'clock, and was on deck amply
in time to watch the distant approach of sunrise.  We arrived at Leghorn
pretty early, and might have gone ashore and spent the day.  Indeed, we
had been recommended by Dr. Franco, and had fully purposed to spend a
week or ten days there, in expectation of benefit to U----'s health from
the sea air and sea bathing, because he thought her still too feeble to
make the whole voyage to Marseilles at a stretch.  But she showed herself
so strong that we thought she would get as much good from our three days'
voyage as from the days by the sea-shore.  Moreover, . . . . we all of us
still felt the languor of the Roman atmosphere, and dreaded the hubbub
and crazy confusion of landing at an Italian port. . . . . So we lay in
the harbor all day without stirring from the steamer. . . . . It would
have been pleasant, however, to have gone to Pisa, fifteen miles off, and
seen the leaning tower; but, for my part, I have arrived at that point
where it is somewhat pleasanter to sit quietly in any spot whatever than
to see whatever grandest or most beautiful thing.  At least this was my
mood in the harbor of Leghorn.  From the deck of the steamer there were
many things visible that might have been interesting to describe: the
boats of peculiar rig, and covered with awning; the crowded shipping; the
disembarkation of horses from the French cavalry, which were lowered from
steamers into gondolas or lighters, and hung motionless, like the sign of
the Golden Fleece, during the transit, only kicking a little when their
feet happened to graze the vessel's side.  One horse plunged overboard,
and narrowly escaped drowning.  There was likewise a disembarkation of
French soldiers in a train of boats, which rowed shoreward with sound of
trumpet.  The French are concentrating a considerable number of troops at
this point.

Our steamer was detained by order of the French government to take on
board despatches; so that, instead of sailing at dusk, as is customary,
we lay in the harbor till seven of the next morning.  A number of young
Sardinian officers, in green uniform, came on board, and a pale and
picturesque-looking Italian, and other worthies of less note,--English,
American, and of all races,--among them a Turk with a little boy in
Christian dress; also a Greek gentleman with his young bride.

At the appointed time we weighed anchor for Genoa, and had a beautiful
day on the Mediterranean, and for the first time in my life I saw the
real dark blue of the sea.  I do not remember noticing it on my outward
voyage to Italy.  It is the most beautiful hue that can be imagined, like
a liquid sky; and it retains its lustrous blue directly under the side of
the ship, where the water of the mid-Atlantic looks greenish. . . . . We
reached Genoa at seven in the afternoon. . . . . Genoa looks most
picturesquely from the sea, at the foot of a sheltering semicircle of
lofty hills; and as we lay in the harbor we saw, among other interesting
objects, the great Doria Palace, with its gardens, and the cathedral, and
a heap and sweep of stately edifices, with the mountains looking down
upon he city, and crowned with fortresses.  The variety of hue in the
houses, white, green, pink, and orange, was very remarkable.  It would
have been well to go ashore here for an hour or two and see the streets,
--having already seen the palaces, churches, and public buildings at our
former visit,--and buy a few specimens of Genoa goldsmiths' work; but I
preferred the steamer's deck, so the evening passed pleasantly away; the
two lighthouses at the entrance of the port kindled up their fires, and
at nine o'clock the evening gun thundered from the fortress, and was
reverberated from the heights.  We sailed away at eleven, and I was
roused from my first sleep by the snortings and hissings of the vessel as
she got under way.

At Genoa we took on board some more passengers, an English nobleman with
his lady being of the number.  These were Lord and Lady J------, and
before the end of our voyage his lordship talked to me of a translation
of Tasso in which he is engaged, and a stanza or two of which he repeated
to me.  I really liked the lines, and liked too the simplicity and
frankness with which he spoke of it to me a stranger, and the way be
seemed to separate his egotism from the idea which he evidently had that
he is going to make an excellent translation.  I sincerely hope it may be
so.  He began it without any idea of publishing it, or of ever bringing
it to a conclusion, but merely as a solace and occupation while in great
trouble during an illness of his wife, but he has gradually come to find
it the most absorbing occupation he ever undertook; and as Mr. Gladstone
and other high authorities give him warm encouragement, he now means to
translate the entire poem, and to publish it with beautiful
illustrations, and two years hence the world may expect to see it.  I do
not quite perceive how such a man as this--a man of frank, warm, simple,
kindly nature, but surely not of a poetical temperament, or very refined,
or highly cultivated--should make a good version of Tasso's poems; but
perhaps the dead poet's soul may take possession of this healthy
organization, and wholly turn him to its own purposes.

The latter part of our voyage to-day lay close along the coast of France,
which was hilly and picturesque, and as we approached Marseilles was very
bold and striking.  We steered among rocky islands, rising abruptly out
of the sea, mere naked crags, without a trace of verdure upon them, and
with the surf breaking at their feet.  They were unusual specimens of
what hills would look like without the soil, that is to them what flesh
is to a skeleton.  Their shapes were often wonderfully fine, and the
great headlands thrust themselves out, and took such lines of light and
shade that it seemed like sailing through a picture.  In the course of
the afternoon a squall came up and blackened the sky all over in a
twinkling; our vessel pitched and tossed, and a brig a little way from us
had her sails blown about in wild fashion.  The blue of the sea turned as
black as night, and soon the rain began to spatter down upon us, and
continued to sprinkle and drizzle a considerable time after the wind had
subsided.  It was quite calm and pleasant when we entered the harbor of
Marseilles, which lies at the foot of very fair hills, and is set among
great cliffs of stone.  I did not attend much to this, however, being in
dread of the difficulty of landing and passing through the custom-house
with our twelve or fourteen trunks and numberless carpet-bags.  The
trouble vanished into thin air, nevertheless, as we approached it, for
not a single trunk or bag was opened, and, moreover, our luggage and
ourselves were not only landed, but the greater part of it conveyed to
the railway without any expense.  Long live Louis Napoleon, say I.  We
established ourselves at the Hotel des Colonies, and then Mss S------,
J-----, and I drove hither and thither about Marseilles, making
arrangements for our journey to Avignon, where we mean to go to-day.  We
might have avoided a good deal of this annoyance; but travellers, like
other people, are continually getting their experience just a little too
late.  It was after nine before we got back to the hotel and took our tea
in peace.



AVIGNON.


Hotel de l'Europe, June 1st.--I remember nothing very special to record
about Marseilles; though it was really like passing from death into life,
to find ourselves in busy, cheerful, effervescing France, after living so
long between asleep and awake in sluggish Italy.  Marseilles is a very
interesting and entertaining town, with its bold surrounding heights, its
wide streets,--so they seemed to us after the Roman alleys,--its squares,
shady with trees, its diversified population of sailors, citizens,
Orientals, and what not; but I have no spirit for description any longer;
being tired of seeing things, and still more of telling myself about
them.  Only a young traveller can have patience to write his travels.
The newest things, nowadays, have a familiarity to my eyes; whereas in
their lost sense of novelty lies the charm and power of description.

On Monday (30th May), though it began with heavy rain, we set early about
our preparations for departure, . . . . and, at about three, we left the
Hotel des Colonies.  It is a very comfortable hotel, though expensive.
The Restaurant connected with it occupies the enclosed court-yard and the
arcades around it; and it was a good amusement to look down from the
surrounding gallery, communicating with our apartments, and see the
fashion and manner of French eating, all the time going forward.  In
sunny weather a great awning is spread over the whole court, across from
the upper stories of the house.  There is a grass-plat in the middle, and
a very spacious and airy dining-saloon is thus formed.

Our railroad carriage was comfortable, and we found in it, besides two
other Frenchwomen, two nuns.  They were very devout, and sedulously read
their little books of devotion, repeated prayers under their breath,
kissed the crucifixes which hung at their girdles, and told a string of
beads, which they passed from one to the other.  So much were they
occupied with these duties, that they scarcely looked at the scenery
along the road, though, probably, it is very rare for them to see
anything outside of their convent walls.  They never failed to mutter a
prayer and kiss the crucifix whenever we plunged into a tunnel.  If they
glanced at their fellow-passengers, it was shyly and askance, with their
lips in motion all the time, like children afraid to let their eyes
wander from their lesson-book.  One of them, however, took occasion to
pull down R-----'s dress, which, in her frisky movements about the
carriage, had got out of place, too high for the nun's sense of decorum.
Neither of them was at all pretty, nor was the black stuff dress and
white muslin cap in the least becoming, neither were their features of an
intelligent or high-bred stamp.  Their manners, however, or such little
glimpses as I could get of them, were unexceptionable; and when I drew a
curtain to protect one of them from the sun, she made me a very courteous
gesture of thanks.

We had some very good views both of sea and hills; and a part of our way
lay along the banks of the Rhone. . . . . By the by, at the station at
Marseilles I bought the two volumes of the "Livre des Merveilles," by a
certain author of my acquaintance, translated into French, and printed
and illustrated in very pretty style.  Miss S------ also bought them,
and, in answer to her inquiry for other works by the same author, the
bookseller observed that "she did not think Monsieur Nathaniel had
published anything else."  The Christian name deems to be the most
important one in France, and still more especially in Italy.

We arrived at Avignon, Hotel de l'Europe, in the dusk of the
evening. . . . . The lassitude of Rome still clings to us, and I, at
least, feel no spring of life or activity, whether at morn or eve.  In
the morning we found ourselves very pleasantly situated as regards
lodgings.  The gallery of our suite of rooms looks down as usual into an
enclosed court, three sides of which are formed by the stone house and
its two wings, and the third by a high wall, with a gateway of iron
between two lofty stone pillars, which, for their capitals, have great
stone vases, with grass growing in them, and hanging over the brim.
There is a large plane-tree in one corner of the court, and creeping
plants clamber up trellises; and there are pots of flowers and
bird-cages, all of which give a very fresh and cheerful aspect to the
enclosure.  The court is paved with small round stones; the omnibus
belonging to the hotel, and all the carriages of guests drive into it;
and the wide arch of the stable-door opens under the central part of
the house.  Nevertheless, the scene is not in all respects that of a
stable-yard; for gentlemen and ladies come from the salle a manger and
other rooms, and stand talking in the court, or occupy chairs and seats
there; children play about; the hostess or her daughter often appears and
talks with her guests or servants; dogs lounge, and, in short, the court
might well enough be taken for the one scene of a classic play.  The
hotel seems to be of the first class, though such would not be indicated,
either in England or America, by thus mixing up the stable with the
lodgings.  I have taken two or three rambles about the town, and have
climbed a high rock which dominates over it, and gives a most extensive
view from the broad table-land of its summit.  The old church of Avignon
--as old as the times of its popes, and older--stands close beside this
mighty and massive crag.  We went into it, and found it a dark old place,
with broad, interior arches, and a singularly shaped dome; a venerable
Gothic and Grecian porch, with ancient frescos in its arched spaces; some
dusky pictures within; an ancient chair of stone, formerly occupied by
the popes, and much else that would have been exceedingly interesting
before I went to Rome.  But Rome takes the charm out of an inferior
antiquity, as well as the life out of human beings.

This forenoon J----- and I have crossed the Rhone by a bridge, just the
other side of one of the city gates, which is near our hotel.  We walked
along the riverside, and saw the ruins of an ancient bridge, which ends
abruptly in the midst of the stream; two or three arches still making
tremendous strides across, while the others have long ago been crumbled
away by the rush of the rapid river.  The bridge was originally founded
by St. Benezet, who received a Divine order to undertake the work, while
yet a shepherd-boy, with only three sous in his pocket; and he proved the
authenticity of the mission by taking an immense stone on his shoulder,
and laying it for the foundation.  There is still an ancient chapel
midway on the bridge, and I believe St. Benezet lies buried there, in the
midst of his dilapidated work.  The bridge now used is considerably lower
down the stream.  It is a wooden suspension-bridge, broader than the
ancient one, and doubtless more than supplies its place; else,
unquestionably, St. Benezet would think it necessary to repair his own.
The view from the inner side of this ruined structure, grass-grown and
weedy, and leading to such a precipitous plunge into the swift river, is
very picturesque, in connection with the gray town and above it, the
great, massive bulk of the cliff, the towers of the church, and of a vast
old edifice, shapeless, ugly, and venerable, which the popes built and
occupied as their palace, many centuries ago. . . . .

After dinner we all set out on a walk, in the course of which we called
at a bookseller's shop to show U---- an enormous cat, which I had already
seen.  It is of the Angora breed, of a mottled yellow color, and is
really a wonder; as big and broad as a tolerably sized dog, very soft and
silken, and apparently of the gentlest disposition.  I never imagined the
like, nor felt anything so deeply soft as this great beast.  Its master
seems very fond and proud of it; and, great favorite as the cat is, she
does not take airs upon herself, but is gently shy and timid in her
demonstrations.

We ascended the great Rocher above the palace of the popes, and on our
way looked into the old church, which was so dim in the decline of day
that we could not see within the dusky arches, through which the chapels
communicated with the nave.  Thence we pursued our way up the farther
ascent, and, standing on the edge of the precipice,--protected by a
parapet of stone, and in other places by an iron railing,--we could look
down upon the road that winds its dusky track far below, and at the river
Rhone, which eddies close beside it.  This is indeed a massive and lofty
cliff, and it tumbles down so precipitously that I could readily have
flung myself from the bank, and alighted on my head in the middle of the
river.  The Rhone passes so near its base that I threw stones a good way
into its current.  We talked with a man of Avignon, who leaned over the
parapet near by, and he was very kind in explaining the points of view,
and told us that the river, which winds and doubles upon itself so as to
look like at least two rivers, is really the Rhone alone.  The Durance
joins with it within a few miles below Avignon, but is here invisible.


Hotel de l'Europe, June 2d.--This morning we went again to the Duomo of
the popes; and this time we allowed the custode, or sacristan, to show us
the curiosities of it.  He led us into a chapel apart, and showed us the
old Gothic tomb of Pope John XXII., where the recumbent statue of the
pope lies beneath one of those beautiful and venerable canopies of stone
which look at once so light and so solemn.  I know not how many hundred
years old it is, but everything of Gothic origin has a faculty of
conveying the idea of age; whereas classic forms seem to have nothing to
do with time, and so lose the kind of impressiveness that arises from
suggestions of decay and the past.

In the sacristy the guide opened a cupboard that contained the jewels and
sacred treasures of the church, and showed a most exquisite figure of
Christ in ivory, represented as on a cross of ebony; and it was executed
with wonderful truth and force of expression, and with great beauty
likewise.  I do not see what a full-length marble statue could have had
that was lacking in this little ivory figure of hardly more than a foot
high.  It is about two centuries old, by an unknown artist.  There is
another famous ivory statuette in Avignon which seems to be more
celebrated than this, but can hardly be superior.  I shall gladly look at
it if it comes in my way.

Next to this, the prettiest thing the man showed us was a circle of
emeralds, in one of the holy implements; and then he exhibited a little
bit or a pope's skull; also a great old crozier, that looked as if made
chiefly of silver, and partly gilt; but I saw where the plating of silver
was worn away, and betrayed the copper of its actual substance.  There
were two or three pictures in the sacristy, by ancient and modern French
artists, very unlike the productions of the Italian masters, but not
without a beauty of their own.

Leaving the sacristy, we returned into the church, where U---- and J-----
began to draw the pope's old stone chair.  There is a beast, or perhaps
more than one, grotesquely sculptured upon it; the seat is high and
square, the back low and pointed, and it offers no enticing promise to a
weary man.

The interior of the church is massively picturesque, with its vaulted
roof, and a stone gallery, heavily ornamented, running along each side of
the nave.  Each arch of the nave gives admittance to a chapel, in all of
which there are pictures, and sculptures in most of them.  One of these
chapels is of the time of Charlemagne, and has a vaulted roof of
admirable architecture, covered with frescos of modern date and little
merit.  In an adjacent chapel is the stone monument of Pope Benedict,
whose statue reposes on it, like many which I have seen in the cathedral
of York and other old English churches.  In another part we saw a
monument, consisting of a plain slab supported on pillars; it is said to
be of a Roman or very early Christian epoch.  In another chapel was a
figure of Christ in wax, I believe, and clothed in real drapery; a very
ugly object.  Also, a figure reposing under a slab, which strikes the
spectator with the idea that it is really a dead person enveloped in a
shroud.  There are windows of painted glass in some of the chapels; and
the gloom of the dimly lighted interior, especially beneath the broad,
low arches, is very impressive.

While we were there some women assembled at one of the altars, and went
through their acts of devotion without the help of a priest; one and
another of them alternately repeating prayers, to which the rest
responded.  The murmur of their voices took a musical tone, which was
reverberated by the vaulted arches.

U---- and I now came out; and, under the porch, we found an old woman
selling rosaries, little religious books, and other holy things.  We
bought two little medals of the Immaculate Virgin, one purporting to be
of silver, the other of gold; but as both together cost only two or three
sous, the genuineness of the material may well be doubted.  We sat down
on the steps, of a crucifix which is placed in front of the church, and
the children began to draw the porch, of which I hardly know whether to
call the architecture classic or Gothic (as I said before); at all events
it has a venerable aspect, and there are frescos within its arches by
Simone Memmi. . . . . The popes' palace is contiguous to the church, and
just below it, on the hillside.  It is now occupied as barracks by some
regiments of soldiers, a number of whom were lounging before the
entrance; but we passed the sentinel without being challenged, and
addressed ourselves to the concierge, who readily assented to our request
to be shown through the edifice.  A French gentleman and lady, likewise,
came with similar purpose, and went the rounds along with us.  The palace
is such a confused heap and conglomeration of buildings, that it is
impossible to get within any sort of a regular description.  It is a
huge, shapeless mass of architecture; and if it ever had any pretence to
a plan, it has lost it in the modern alterations.  For instance, an
immense and lofty chapel, or rather church, has had two floors, one above
the other, laid at different stages of its height; and the upper one of
these floors, which extends just where the arches of the vaulted root
begin to spring from the pillars, is ranged round with the beds of one of
the regiments of soldiers.  They are small iron bedsteads, each with its
narrow mattress, and covered with a dark blanket.  On some of them lay or
lounged a soldier; other soldiers were cleaning their accoutrements;
elsewhere we saw parties of them playing cards.  So it was wherever we
went among those large, dingy, gloomy halls and chambers, which, no
doubt, were once stately and sumptuous, with pictures, with tapestry, and
all sorts of adornment that the Middle Ages knew how to use.  The windows
threw a sombre light through embrasures at least two feet thick.  There
were staircases of magnificent breadth.  We were shown into two small
chapels, in different parts of the building, both containing the remains
of old frescos wofully defaced.  In one of them was a light, spiral
staircase of iron, built in the centre of the room as a means of
contemplating the frescos, which were said to be the work of our old
friend Giotto. . . . . Finally, we climbed a long, long, narrow stair,
built in the thickness of the wall, and thus gained access to the top of
one of the towers, whence we saw the noblest landscapes, mountains,
plains, and the Rhone, broad and bright, winding hither and thither, as
if it had lost its way.

Beneath our feet was the gray, ugly old palace, and its many courts, just
as void of system and as inconceivable as when we were burrowing through
its bewildering passages.  No end of historical romances might be made
out of this castle of the popes; and there ought to be a ghost in every
room, and droves of them in some of the rooms; for there have been
murders here in the gross and in detail, as well hundreds of years ago,
as no longer back than the French Revolution, when there was a great
massacre in one of the courts.  Traces of this bloody business were
visible in actual stains on the wall only a few years ago.

Returning to the room of the concierge, who, being a little stiff with
age, had sent an attendant round with us, instead of accompanying us in
person, he showed us a picture of Rienzi, the last of the Roman tribunes,
who was once a prisoner here.  On a table, beneath the picture, stood a
little vase of earthenware containing some silver coin.  We took it as a
hint, in the customary style of French elegance, that a fee should be
deposited here, instead of being put into the hand of the concierge; so
the French gentleman deposited half a franc, and I, in my magnificence,
twice as much.


Hotel de l'Europe, June 6th.--We are still here. . . . . I have been
daily to the Rocher des Dons, and have grown familiar with the old church
on its declivity.  I think I might become attached to it by seeing it
often.  A sombre old interior, with its heavy arches, and its roof
vaulted like the top of a trunk; its stone gallery, with ponderous
adornments, running round three sides.  I observe that it is a daily
custom of the old women to say their prayers in concert, sometimes making
a pilgrimage, as it were, from chapel to chapel.  The voice of one of
them is heard running through the series of petitions, and at intervals
the voices of the others join and swell into a chorus, so that it is like
a river connecting a series of lakes; or, not to use so gigantic a
simile, the one voice is like a thread, on which the beads of a rosary
are strung.

One day two priests came and sat down beside these prayerful women, and
joined in their petitions.  I am inclined to hope that there is something
genuine in the devotion of these old women.

The view from the top of the Rocker des Dons (a contraction of Dominis)
grows upon me, and is truly magnificent; a vast mountain-girdled plain,
illuminated by the far windings and reaches of the Rhone.  The river is
here almost as turbid as the Tiber itself; but, I remember, in the upper
part of its course the waters are beautifully transparent.  A powerful
rush is indicated by the swirls and eddies of its broad surface.

Yesterday was a race day at Avignon, and apparently almost the whole
population and a great many strangers streamed out of the city gate
nearest our hotel, on their way to the race-course.  There were many
noticeable figures that might come well into a French picture or
description; but only one remains in my memory,--a young man with a
wooden leg, setting off for the course--a walk of several miles, I
believe--with prodigious courage and alacrity, flourishing his wooden leg
with an air and grace that seemed to render it positively flexible.  The
crowd returned towards sunset, and almost all night long, the streets and
the whole air of the old town were full of song and merriment.  There was
a ball in a temporary structure, covered with an awning, in the Place
d'Horloge, and a showman has erected his tent and spread forth his great
painted canvases, announcing an anaconda and a sea-tiger to be seen.
J----- paid four sous for admittance, and found that the sea-tiger was
nothing but a large seal, and the anaconda altogether a myth.

I have rambled a good deal about the town.  Its streets are crooked and
perplexing, and paved with round pebbles for the most part, which afford
more uncomfortable pedestrianism than the pavement of Rome itself.  It is
an ancient-looking place, with some large old mansions, but few that are
individually impressive; though here and there one sees an antique
entrance, a corner tower, or other bit of antiquity, that throws a
venerable effect over the gray commonplace of past centuries.  The town
is not overclean, and often there is a kennel of unhappy odor.  There
appear to have been many more churches and devotional establishments
under the ancient dominion of the popes than have been kept intact in
subsequent ages; the tower and facade of a church, for instance, form the
front of a carpenter's shop, or some such plebeian place.  The church
where Laura lay has quite disappeared, and her tomb along with it.  The
town reminds me of Chester, though it does not in the least resemble it,
and is not nearly so picturesque.  Like Chester, it is entirely
surrounded by a wall; and that of Avignon--though it has no delightful
promenade on its top, as the wall of Chester has--is the more perfectly
preserved in its mediaeval form, and the more picturesque of the two.
J----- and I have once or twice walked nearly round it, commencing from
the gate of Ouelle, which is very near our hotel.  From this point it
stretches for a considerable distance along by the river, and here there
is a broad promenade, with trees, and blocks of stone for seats; on one
side "the arrowy Rhone," generally carrying a cooling breeze along with
it; on the other, the gray wall, with its battlements and machicolations,
impending over what was once the moat, but which is now full of careless
and untrained shrubbery.  At intervals there are round towers swelling
out from the wall, and rising a little above it.  After about half a mile
along the river-side the wall turns at nearly right angles, and still
there is a wide road, a shaded walk, a boulevard; and at short distances
are cafes, with their little round tables before the door, or small shady
nooks of shrubbery.  So numerous are these retreats and pleasaunces that
I do not see how the little old town can support them all, especially as
there are a great many cafes within the walls.  I do not remember seeing
any soldiers on guard at the numerous city gates, but there is an office
in the side of each gate for levying the octroi, and old women are
sometimes on guard there.

This morning, after breakfast, J----- and I crossed the suspension-bridge
close by the gate nearest our hotel, and walked to the ancient town of
Villeneuve, on the other side of the Rhone.  The first bridge leads to an
island, from the farther side of which another very long one, with a
timber foundation, accomplishes the passage of the other branch of the
Rhone.  There was a good breeze on the river, but after crossing it we
found the rest of the walk excessively hot.  This town of Villeneuve is
of very ancient origin, and owes its existence, it is said, to the
famous holiness of a female saint, which gathered round her abode and
burial-place a great many habitations of people who reverenced her.  She
was the daughter of the King of Saragossa, and I presume she chose this
site because it was so rocky and desolate.  Afterwards it had a long
mediaeval history; and in the time of the Avignon popes, the cardinals,
regretful of their abandoned Roman villas, built pleasure-houses here, so
that the town was called Villa Nueva.  After they had done their best, it
must have seemed to these poor cardinals but a rude and sad exchange for
the Borghese, the Albani, the Pamfili Doria, and those other perfectest
results of man's luxurious art.  And probably the tradition of the Roman
villas had really been kept alive, and extant examples of them all the
way downward from the times of the empire.  But this Villeneuve is the
stoniest, roughest town that can be imagined.  There are a few large old
houses, to be sure, but built on a line with shabby village dwellings and
barns, and so presenting little but samples of magnificent shabbiness.
Perhaps I might have found traces of old splendor if I had sought for
them; but, not having the history of the place in my mind, I passed
through its scrambling streets without imagining that Princes of the
Church had once made their abode here.  The inhabitants now are peasants,
or chiefly such; though, for aught I know, some of the French noblesse
may burrow in these palaces that look so like hovels.

A large church, with a massive tower, stands near the centre of the town;
and, of course, I did not fail to enter its arched door,--a pointed arch,
with many frames and mouldings, one within another.  An old woman was at
her devotions, and several others came in and knelt during my stay there.
It was quite an interesting interior; a long nave, with six pointed
arches on each side, beneath which were as many chapels.  The walls were
rich with pictures, not only in the chapels, but up and down the nave,
above the arches.  There were gilded virgins, too, and much other quaint
device that produced an effect that I rather liked than otherwise.  At
the end of the church, farthest from the high altar, there were four
columns of exceedingly rich marble, and a good deal more of such precious
material was wrought into the chapels and altars.  There was an old stone
seat, also, of some former pope or prelate.  The church was dim enough to
cause the lamps in the shrines to become points of vivid light, and,
looking from end to end, it was a long, venerable, tarnished, Old World
vista, not at all tampered with by modern taste.

We now went on our way through the village, and, emerging from a gate,
went clambering towards the castle of St. Andre, which stands, perhaps, a
quarter of a mile beyond it.  This castle was built by Philip le Bel, as
a restraint to the people of Avignon in extending their power on this
side of the Rhone.  We happened not to take the most direct way, and so
approached the castle on the farther side and were obliged to go nearly
round the hill on which it stands, before striking into the path which
leads to its gate.  It crowns a very bold and difficult hill, directly
above the Rhone, opposite to Avignon,--which is so far off that objects
are not minutely distinguishable,--and looking down upon the long,
straggling town of Villeneuve.  It must have been a place of mighty
strength, in its day.  Its ramparts seem still almost entire, as looked
upon from without, and when, at length, we climbed the rough, rocky
pathway to the entrance, we found the two vast round towers, with their
battlemented summits and arched gateway between them, just as perfect as
they could have been five hundred or more years ago.  Some external
defences are now, however, in a state of ruin; and there are only the
remains of a tower, that once arose between the two round towers, and was
apparently much more elevated than they.  A little in front of the gate
was a monumental cross of stone; and in the arch, between the two round
towers, were two little boys at play; and an old woman soon showed
herself, but took no notice of us.  Casting our eyes within the gateway,
we saw what looked a rough village street, betwixt old houses built
ponderously of stone, but having far more the aspect of huts than of
castle-hails.  They were evidently the dwellings of peasantry, and people
engaged in rustic labor; and no doubt they have burrowed into the
primitive structures of the castle, and, as they found convenient, have
taken their crumbling materials to build barns and farm-houses.  There
was space and accommodation for a very considerable population; but the
men were probably at work in the fields, and the only persons visible
were the children aforesaid, and one or two old women bearing bundles of
twigs on their backs.  They showed no curiosity respecting us, and though
the wide space included within the castle-rampart seemed almost full of
habitations ruinous or otherwise, I never found such a solitude in any
ruin before.  It contrasts very favorably in this particular with English
castles, where, though you do not find rustic villages within the warlike
enclosure, there is always a padlocked gate, always a guide, and
generally half a dozen idle tourists.  But here was only antiquity, with
merely the natural growth of fungous human life upon it.

We went to the end of the castle court and sat down, for lack of other
shade, among some inhospitable nettles that grew close to the wall.
Close by us was a great gap in the ramparts,--it may have been a breach
which was once stormed through; and it now afforded us an airy and sunny
glimpse of distant hills. . . . . J----- sketched part of the broken
wall, which, by the by, did not seem to me nearly so thick as the walls
of English castles.  Then we returned through the gate, and I stopped,
rather impatiently, under the hot sun, while J----- drew the outline of
the two round towers.  This done, we resumed our way homeward, after
drinking from a very deep well close by the square tower of Philip le
Bel.  Thence we went melting through the sunshine, which beat upward
as pitilessly from the white road as it blazed downwards from the
sky. . . . .



GENEVA.


Hotel d'Angleterre, June 11th.--We left Avignon on Tuesday, 7th, and took
the rail to Valence, where we arrived between four and five, and put up
at the Hotel de la Poste, an ancient house, with dirty floors and dirt
generally, but otherwise comfortable enough. . . . . Valence is a stately
old town, full of tall houses and irregular streets.  We found a
cathedral there, not very large, but with a high and venerable interior,
a nave supported by tall pillars, from the height of which spring arches.
This loftiness is characteristic of French churches, as distinguished
from those of Italy. . . . . We likewise saw, close by the cathedral, a
large monument with four arched entrances meeting beneath a vaulted roof;
but, on inquiry of an old priest and other persons, we could get no
account of it, except that it was a tomb, and of unknown antiquity.  The
architecture seemed classic, and yet it had some Gothic peculiarities,
and it was a reverend and beautiful object.  Had I written up my journal
while the town was fresh in my remembrance, I might have found much to
describe; but a succession of other objects have obliterated most of the
impressions I have received here.  Our railway ride to Valence was
intolerably hot.  I have felt nothing like it since leaving America,
and that is so long ago that the terrible discomfort was just as good
as new. . . . .

We left Valence at four, and came that afternoon to Lyons, still along
the Rhone.  Either the waters of this river assume a transparency in
winter which they lose in summer, or I was mistaken in thinking them
transparent on our former journey.  They are now turbid; but the hue does
not suggest the idea of a running mud-puddle, as the water of the Tiber
does.  No streams, however, are so beautiful in the quality of their
waters as the clear, brown rivers of New England.  The scenery along this
part of the Rhone, as we have found all the way from Marseilles, is very
fine and impressive; old villages, rocky cliffs, castellated steeps,
quaint chateaux, and a thousand other interesting objects.

We arrived at Lyons at five o'clock, and went to the Hotel de l'Univers,
to which we had been recommended by our good hostess at Avignon.  The day
had become showery, but J----- and I strolled about a little before
nightfall, and saw the general characteristics of the place.  Lyons is a
city of very stately aspect, hardly inferior to Paris; for it has regular
streets of lofty houses, and immense squares planted with trees, and
adorned with statues and fountains.  New edifices of great splendor are
in process of erection; and on the opposite side of the Rhone, where the
site rises steep and high, there are structures of older date, that have
an exceedingly picturesque effect, looking down upon the narrow town.

The next morning I went out with J----- in quest of my bankers, and of
the American Consul; and as I had forgotten the directions of the waiter
of the hotel, I of course went astray, and saw a good deal more of Lyons
than I intended.  In my wanderings I crossed the Rhone, and found myself
in a portion of the city evidently much older than that with which I had
previously made acquaintance; narrow, crooked, irregular, and rudely
paved streets, full of dingy business and bustle,--the city, in short, as
it existed a century ago, and how much earlier I know not.  Above rises
that lofty elevation of ground which I before noticed; and the glimpses
of its stately old buildings through the openings of the street were very
picturesque.  Unless it be Edinburgh, I have not seen any other city that
has such striking features.  Altogether unawares, immediately after
crossing the bridge, we came upon the cathedral; and the grand,
time-blackened Gothic front, with its deeply arched entrances, seemed to
me as good as anything I ever saw,--unexpectedly more impressive than all
the ruins of Rome.  I could but merely glance at its interior; so that
its noble height and venerable space, filled with the dim, consecrated
light of pictured windows, recur to me as a vision.  And it did me good
to enjoy the awfulness and sanctity of Gothic architecture again, after
so long shivering in classic porticos. . . . .

We now recrossed the river. . . . . The Frank methods and arrangements in
matters of business seem to be excellent, so far as effecting the
proposed object is concerned; but there is such an inexorable succession
of steel-wrought forms, that life is not long enough for so much
accuracy.  The stranger, too, goes blindfold through all these processes,
not knowing what is to turn up next, till, when quite in despair, he
suddenly finds his business mysteriously accomplished. . . . .

We left Lyons at four o'clock, taking the railway for Geneva.  The
scenery was very striking throughout the journey; but I allowed the
hills, deep valleys, high impending cliffs, and whatever else I saw along
the road, to pass from me without an ink-blot.  We reached Geneva at
nearly ten o'clock. . . . . It is situated partly on low, flat ground,
bordering the lake, and behind this level space it rises by steep,
painfully paved streets, some of which can hardly be accessible by
wheeled carriages.  The prosperity of the town is indicated by a good
many new and splendid edifices, for commercial and other purposes, in the
vicinity of the lake; but intermixed with these there are many quaint
buildings of a stern gray color, and in a style of architecture that I
prefer a thousand times to the monotony of Italian streets.  Immensely
high, red roofs, with windows in them, produce an effect that delights
me.  They are as ugly, perhaps, as can well be conceived, but very
striking and individual.  At each corner of these ancient houses
frequently is a tower, the roof of which rises in a square pyramidal
form, or, if the tower be round, in a round pyramidal form.  Arched
passages, gloomy and grimy, pass from one street to another.  The lower
town creeps with busy life, and swarms like an ant-hill; but if you climb
the half-precipitous streets, you find yourself among ancient and stately
mansions, high roofed, with a strange aspect of grandeur about them,
looking as if they might still be tenanted by such old magnates as dwelt
in them centuries ago.  There is also a cathedral, the older portion
exceedingly fine; but it has been adorned at some modern epoch with a
Grecian portico,--good in itself, but absurdly out of keeping with the
edifice which it prefaces.  This being a Protestant country, the doors
were all shut,--an inhospitality that made me half a Catholic.  It is
funny enough that a stranger generally profits by all that is worst for
the inhabitants of the country where he himself is merely a visitor.
Despotism makes things all the pleasanter for the stranger.  Catholicism
lends itself admirably to his purposes.

There are public gardens (one, at least) in Geneva. . . . . Nothing
struck me so much, I think, as the color of the Rhone, as it flows under
the bridges in the lower town.  It is absolutely miraculous, and,
beautiful as it is, suggests the idea that the tubs of a thousand dyers
have emptied their liquid indigo into the stream.  When once you have
conquered and thrust out this idea, it is an inexpressible delight to
look down into this intense, brightly transparent blue, that hurries
beneath you with the speed of a race-horse.

The shops of Geneva are very tempting to a traveller, being full of such
little knick-knacks as he would be glad to carry away in memory of the
place: wonderful carvings in wood and ivory, done with exquisite taste
and skill; jewelry that seems very cheap, but is doubtless dear enough,
if you estimate it by the solid gold that goes into its manufacture;
watches, above all things else, for a third or a quarter of the price
that one pays in England, looking just as well, too, and probably
performing the whole of a watch's duty as uncriticisably.  The Swiss
people are frugal and inexpensive in their own habits, I believe, plain
and simple, and careless of ornament; but they seem to reckon on other
people's spending a great deal of money for gewgaws.  We bought some of
their wooden trumpery, and likewise a watch for U----. . . . . Next to
watches, jewelry, and wood-carving, I should say that cigars were one of
the principal articles of commerce in Geneva.  Cigar-shops present
themselves at every step or two, and at a reasonable rate, there being no
duties, I believe, on imported goods.  There was no examination of our
trunks on arrival, nor any questions asked on that score.



VILLENEUVE.


Hotel de Byron, June 12th.--Yesterday afternoon we left Geneva by a
steamer, starting from the quay at only a short distance from our hotel.
The forenoon had been showery; but the suit now came out very pleasantly,
although there were still clouds and mist enough to give infinite variety
to the mountain scenery.  At the commencement of our voyage the scenery
of the lake was not incomparably superior to that of other lakes on which
I have sailed, as Lake Windermere, for instance, or Loch Lomond, or our
own Lake Champlain.  It certainly grew more grand and beautiful, however,
till at length I felt that I had never seen anything worthy to be put
beside it.  The southern shore has the grandest scenery; the great hills
on that side appearing close to the water's edge, and after descending,
with headlong slope, directly from their rocky and snow-streaked summits
down into the blue water.  Our course lay nearer to the northern shore,
and all our stopping-places were on that side.  The first was Coppet,
where Madame de Stael or her father, or both, were either born or resided
or died, I know not which, and care very little.  It is a picturesque
village, with an old church, and old, high-roofed, red-tiled houses, the
whole looking as if nothing in it had been changed for many, many years.
All these villages, at several of which we stopped momentarily, look
delightfully unmodified by recent fashions.  There is the church, with
its tower crowned by a pyramidal roof, like an extinguisher; then the
chateau of the former lord, half castle and half dwelling-house, with a
round tower at each corner, pyramid topped; then, perhaps, the ancient
town-house or Hotel de Ville, in an open paved square; and perhaps the
largest mansion in the whole village will have been turned into a modern
inn, but retaining all its venerable characteristics of high, steep
sloping roof, and antiquated windows.  Scatter a delightful shade of
trees among the houses, throw in a time-worn monument of one kind or
another, swell out the delicious blue of the lake in front, and the
delicious green of the sunny hillside sloping up and around this closely
congregated neighborhood of old, comfortable houses, and I do not know
what more I can add to this sketch.  Often there was an insulated house
or cottage, embowered in shade, and each seeming like the one only spot
in the wide world where two people that had good consciences and loved
each other could spend a happy life.  Half-ruined towers, old historic
castles, these, too, we saw.  And all the while, on the other side of the
lake, were the high hills, sometimes dim, sometimes black, sometimes
green, with gray precipices of stone, and often snow-patches, right above
the warm sunny lake whereon we were sailing.

We passed Lausanne, which stands upward, on the slope of the hill, the
tower of its cathedral forming a conspicuous object.  We mean to visit
this to-morrow; so I may pretermit further mention of it here.  We passed
Vevay and Clarens, which, methought, was particularly picturesque; for
now the hills had approached close to the water on the northern side
also, and steep heights rose directly above the little gray church and
village; and especially I remember a rocky cliff which ascends into a
rounded pyramid, insulated from all other peaks and ridges.  But if I
could perform the absolute impossibility of getting one single outline of
the scene into words, there would be all the color wanting, the light,
the haze, which spiritualizes it, and moreover makes a thousand and a
thousand scenes out of that single one.  Clarens, however, has still
another interest for me; for I found myself more affected by it, as the
scene of the love of St. Preux and Julie, than I have often been by
scenes of poetry and romance.  I read Rousseau's romance with great
sympathy, when I was hardly more than a boy; ten years ago, or
thereabouts, I tried to read it again without success; but I think, from
my feeling of yesterday, that it still retains its hold upon my
imagination.

Farther onward, we saw a white, ancient-looking group of towers, beneath
a mountain, which was so high, and rushed so precipitately down upon this
pile of building as quite to dwarf it; besides which, its dingy whiteness
had not a very picturesque effect.  Nevertheless, this was the Castle of
Chillon.  It appears to sit right upon the water, and does not rise very
loftily above it.  I was disappointed in its aspect, having imagined this
famous castle as situated upon a rock, a hundred, or, for aught I know, a
thousand feet above the surface of the lake; but it is quite as
impressive a fact--supposing it to be true--that the water is eight
hundred feet deep at its base.  By this time, the mountains had taken the
beautiful lake into their deepest heart; they girdled it quite round with
their grandeur and beauty, and, being able to do no more for it, they
here withheld it from extending any farther; and here our voyage came to
an end.  I have never beheld any scene so exquisite; nor do I ask of
heaven to show me any lovelier or nobler one, but only to give me such
depth and breadth of sympathy with nature, that I may worthily enjoy
this.  It is beauty more than enough for poor, perishable mortals.  If
this be earth, what must heaven be!

It was nearly eight o'clock when we arrived; and then we had a walk of at
least a mile to the Hotel Byron. . . . . I forgot to mention that in the
latter part of our voyage there was a shower in some part of the sky, and
though none of it fell upon us, we had the benefit of those gentle tears
in a rainbow, which arched itself across the lake from mountain to
mountain, so that our track lay directly under this triumphal arch.  We
took it as a good omen, nor were we discouraged, though, after the
rainbow had vanished, a few sprinkles of the shower came down.

We found the Hotel Byron very grand indeed, and a good one too.  There
was a beautiful moonlight on the lake and hills, but we contented
ourselves with looking out of our lofty window, whence, likewise, we had
a sidelong glance at the white battlements of Chillon, not more than a
mile off, on the water's edge.  The castle is wofully in need of a
pedestal.  If its site were elevated to a height equal to its own, it
would make a far better appearance.  As it now is, it looks, to speak
profanely of what poetry has consecrated, when seen from the water, or
along the shore of the lake, very like an old whitewashed factory or
mill.

This morning I walked to the Castle of Chillon with J-----, who sketches
everything he sees, from a wildflower or a carved chair to a castle or a
range of mountains.  The morning had sunshine thinly scattered through
it; but, nevertheless, there was a continual sprinkle, sometimes scarcely
perceptible, and then again amounting to a decided drizzle.  The road,
which is built along on a little elevation above the lake shore, led us
past the Castle of Chillon; and we took a side-path, which passes still
nearer the castle gate.  The castle stands on an isthmus of gravel,
permanently connecting it with the mainland.  A wooden bridge, covered
with a roof, passes from the shore to the arched entrance; and beneath
this shelter, which has wooden walls as well as roof and floor, we saw a
soldier or gendarme who seemed to act as warder.  As it sprinkled rather
more freely than at first, I thought of appealing to his hospitality for
shelter from the rain, but concluded to pass on.

The castle makes a far better appearance on a nearer view, and from the
land, than when seen at a distance, and from the water.  It is built of
stone, and seems to have been anciently covered with plaster, which
imparts the whiteness to which Byron does much more than justice, when he
speaks of "Chillon's snow-white battlements."  There is a lofty external
wall, with a cluster of round towers about it, each crowned with its
pyramidal roof of tiles, and from the central portion of the castle rises
a square tower, also crowned with its own pyramid to a considerably
greater height than the circumjacent ones.  The whole are in a close
cluster, and make a fine picture of ancient strength when seen at a
proper proximity; for I do not think that distance adds anything to the
effect.  There are hardly any windows, or few, and very small ones,
except the loopholes for arrows and for the garrison of the castle to
peep from on the sides towards the water; indeed, there are larger
windows at least in the upper apartments; but in that direction, no
doubt, the castle was considered impregnable.  Trees here and there on
the land side grow up against the castle wall, on one part of which,
moreover, there was a green curtain of ivy spreading from base to
battlement.  The walls retain their machicolations, and I should judge
that nothing had been [altered], nor any more work been done upon the old
fortress than to keep it in singularly good repair.  It was formerly a
castle of the Duke of Savoy, and since his sway over the country ceased
(three hundred years at least), it has been in the hands of the Swiss
government, who still keep some arms and ammunition there.

We passed on, and found the view of it better, as we thought, from a
farther point along the road.  The raindrops began to spatter down
faster, and we took shelter under an impending precipice, where the ledge
of rock had been blasted and hewn away to form the road.  Our refuge was
not a very convenient and comfortable one, so we took advantage of the
partial cessation of the shower to turn homeward, but had not gone far
when we met mamma and all her train.  As we were close by the castle
entrance, we thought it advisable to seek admission, though rather
doubtful whether the Swiss gendarme might not deem it a sin to let us
into the castle on Sunday.  But he very readily admitted us under his
covered drawbridge, and called an old man from within the fortress to
show us whatever was to be seen.  This latter personage was a staid,
rather grim, and Calvinistic-looking old worthy; but he received us
without scruple, and forthwith proceeded to usher us into a range of most
dismal dungeons, extending along the basement of the castle, on a level
with the surface of the lake.  First, if I remember aright, we came to
what he said had been a chapel, and which, at all events, looked like an
aisle of one, or rather such a crypt as I have seen beneath a cathedral,
being a succession of massive pillars supporting groined arches,--a very
admirable piece of gloomy Gothic architecture.  Next, we came to a very
dark compartment of the same dungeon range, where he pointed to a sort of
bed, or what might serve for a bed, hewn in the solid rock, and this, our
guide said, had been the last sleeping-place of condemned prisoners on
the night before their execution.  The next compartment was still duskier
and dismaller than the last, and he bade us cast our eyes up into the
obscurity and see a beam, where the condemned ones used to be hanged.  I
looked and looked, and closed my eyes so as to see the clearer in this
horrible duskiness on opening them again.  Finally, I thought I discerned
the accursed beam, and the rest of the party were certain that they saw
it.  Next beyond this, I think, was a stone staircase, steep, rudely cut,
and narrow, down which the condemned were brought to death; and beyond
this, still on the same basement range of the castle, a low and narrow
[corridor] through which we passed and saw a row of seven massive
pillars, supporting two parallel series of groined arches, like those in
the chapel which we first entered.  This was Bonnivard's prison, and the
scene of Byron's poem.

The arches are dimly lighted by narrow loopholes, pierced through the
immensely thick wall, but at such a height above the floor that we could
catch no glimpse of land or water, or scarcely of the sky.  The prisoner
of Chillon could not possibly have seen the island to which Byron
alludes, and which is a little way from the shore, exactly opposite the
town of Villeneuve.  There was light enough in this long, gray, vaulted
room, to show us that all the pillars were inscribed with the names of
visitors, among which I saw no interesting one, except that of Byron
himself, which is cut, in letters an inch long or more, into one of the
pillars next to that to which Bonnivard was chained.  The letters are
deep enough to remain in the pillar as long as the castle stands.  Byron
seems to have had a fancy for recording his name in this and similar
ways; as witness the record which I saw on a tree of Newstead Abbey.  In
Bonnivard's pillar there still remains an iron ring, at the height of
perhaps three feet from the ground.  His chain was fastened to this ring,
and his only freedom was to walk round this pillar, about which he is
said to have worn a path in the stone pavement of the dungeon; but as the
floor is now covered with earth or gravel, I could not satisfy myself
whether this be true.  Certainly six years, with nothing else to do in
them save to walk round the pillar, might well suffice to wear away the
rock, even with naked feet.  This column, and all the columns, were cut
and hewn in a good style of architecture, and the dungeon arches are not
without a certain gloomy beauty.  On Bonnivard's pillar, as well as on
all the rest, were many names inscribed; but I thought better of Byron's
delicacy and sensitiveness for not cutting his name into that very
pillar.  Perhaps, knowing nothing of Bonnivard's story, he did not know
to which column he was chained.

Emerging from the dungeon-vaults, our guide led us through other parts of
the castle, showing us the Duke of Savoy's kitchen, with a fireplace at
least twelve feet long; also the judgment-hall, or some such place, hung
round with the coats of arms of some officers or other, and having at one
end a wooden post, reaching from floor to ceiling, and having upon it the
marks of fire.  By means of this post, contumacious prisoners were put to
a dreadful torture, being drawn up by cords and pulleys, while their
limbs were scorched by a fire underneath.  We also saw a chapel or two,
one of which is still in good and sanctified condition, and was to be
used this very day, our guide told us, for religious purposes.  We saw,
moreover, the Duke's private chamber, with a part of the bedstead on
which he used to sleep, and be haunted with horrible dreams, no doubt,
and the ghosts of wretches whom he had tortured and hanged; likewise the
bedchamber of his duchess, that had in its window two stone seats, where,
directly over the head of Bonnivard, the ducal pair might look out on the
beautiful scene of lake and mountains, and feel the warmth of the blessed
sun.  Under this window, the guide said, the water of the lake is eight
hundred feet in depth; an immense profundity, indeed, for an inland lake,
but it is not very difficult to believe that the mountain at the foot of
which Chillon stands may descend so far beneath the water.  In other
parts of the lake and not distant, more than nine hundred feet have been
sounded.  I looked out of the duchess's window, and could certainly see
no appearance of a bottom in the light blue water.

The last thing that the guide showed us was a trapdoor, or opening,
beneath a crazy old floor.  Looking down into this aperture we saw three
stone steps, which we should have taken to be the beginning of a flight
of stairs that descended into a dungeon, or series of dungeons, such as
we had already seen.  But inspecting them more closely, we saw that the
third step terminated the flight, and beyond was a dark vacancy.  Three
steps a person would grope down, planting his uncertain foot on a dimly
seen stone; the fourth step would be in the empty air.  The guide told us
that it used to be the practice to bring prisoners hither, under pretence
of committing them to a dungeon, and make them go down the three steps
and that fourth fatal one, and they would never more be heard of; but at
the bottom of the pit there would be a dead body, and in due time a
mouldy skeleton, which would rattle beneath the body of the next prisoner
that fell.  I do not believe that it was anything more than a secret
dungeon for state prisoners whom it was out of the question either to set
at liberty or bring to public trial.  The depth of the pit was about
forty-five feet.  Gazing intently down, I saw a faint gleam of light at
the bottom, apparently coming from some other aperture than the trap-door
over which we were bending, so that it must have been contemplated to
supply it with light and air in such degree as to support human life.
U---- declared she saw a skeleton at the bottom; Miss S------ thought she
saw a hand, but I saw only the dim gleam of light.

There are two or three courts in the castle, but of no great size.  We
were now led across one of them, and dismissed out of the arched entrance
by which we had come in.  We found the gendarme still keeping watch on
his roofed drawbridge, and as there was the same gentle shower that had
been effusing itself all the morning, we availed ourselves of the
shelter, more especially as there were some curiosities to examine.
These consisted chiefly of wood-carvings,--such as little figures in the
national costume, boxes with wreaths of foliage upon them, paper knives,
the chamois goat, admirably well represented.  We at first hesitated to
make any advances towards trade with the gendarme because it was Sunday,
and we fancied there might be a Calvinistic scruple on his part about
turning a penny on the Sabbath; but from the little I know of the Swiss
character, I suppose they would be as ready as any other men to sell, not
only such matters, but even their own souls, or any smaller--or shall we
say greater--thing on Sunday or at any other time.  So we began to ask
the prices of the articles, and met with no difficulty in purchasing a
salad spoon and fork, with pretty bas-reliefs carved on the handles, and
a napkin-ring.  For Rosebud's and our amusement, the gendarme now set a
musical-box a-going; and as it played a pasteboard figure of a dentist
began to pull the tooth of a pasteboard patient, lifting the wretched
simulacrum entirely from the ground, and keeping him in this horrible
torture for half an hour.  Meanwhile, mamma, Miss Shepard, U----, and
J----- sat down all in a row on a bench and sketched the mountains; and
as the shower did not cease, though the sun most of the time shone
brightly, they were kept actual prisoners of Chillon much longer than we
wished to stay.

We took advantage of the first cessation,--though still the drops came
dimpling into the water that rippled against the pebbles beneath the
bridge,--of the first partial cessation of the shower, to escape, and
returned towards the hotel, with this kindliest of summer rains falling
upon us most of the way  In the afternoon the rain entirely ceased, and
the weather grew delightfully radiant, and warmer than could well be
borne in the sunshine.  U---- and I walked to the village of Villeneuve,
--a mile from the hotel,--and found a very commonplace little old town of
one or two streets, standing on a level, and as uninteresting as if there
were not a hill within a hundred miles.  It is strange what prosaic lines
men thrust in amid the poetry of nature. . . . .


Hotel de l'Angleterre, Geneva, June 14th.--Yesterday morning was very
fine, and we had a pretty early breakfast at Hotel Byron, preparatory to
leaving it.  This hotel is on a magnificent scale of height and breadth,
its staircases and corridors being the most spacious I have seen; but
there is a kind of meagreness in the life there, and a certain lack of
heartiness, that prevented us from feeling at home.  We were glad to get
away, and took the steamer on our return voyage, in excellent spirits.
Apparently it had been a cold night in the upper regions, for a great
deal more snow was visible on some of the mountains than we had before
observed; especially a mountain called "Diableries" presented a silver
summit, and broad sheets and fields of snow.  Nothing ever can have been
more beautiful than those groups of mighty hills as we saw them then,
with the gray rocks, the green slopes, the white snow-patches and crests,
all to be seen at one glance, and the mists and fleecy clouds tumbling,
rolling, hovering about their summits, filling their lofty valleys, and
coming down far towards the lower world, making the skyey aspects so
intimate with the earthly ones, that we hardly knew whether we were
sojourning in the material or spiritual world.  It was like sailing
through the sky, moreover, to be borne along on such water as that of
Lake Leman,--the bluest, brightest, and profoundest element, the most
radiant eye that the dull earth ever opened to see heaven withal.  I am
writing nonsense, but it is because no sense within my mind will answer
the purpose.

Some of these mountains, that looked at no such mighty distance, were at
least forty or fifty miles off, and appeared as if they were near
neighbors and friends of other mountains, from which they were really
still farther removed.  The relations into which distant points are
brought, in a view of mountain scenery, symbolize the truth which we can
never judge within our partial scope of vision, of the relations which we
bear to our fellow-creatures and human circumstances.  These mighty
mountains think that they have nothing to do with one another, each seems
itself its own centre, and existing for itself alone; and yet to an eye
that can take them all in, they are evidently portions of one grand and
beautiful idea, which could not be consummated without the lowest and the
loftiest of them.  I do not express this satisfactorily, but have a
genuine meaning in it nevertheless.

We passed again by Chillon, and gazed at it as long as it was distinctly
visible, though the water view does no justice to its real
picturesqueness, there being no towers nor projections on the side
towards the lake, nothing but a wall of dingy white, with an indentation
that looks something like a gateway.  About an hour and a half brought us
to Ouchy, the point where passengers land to take the omnibus to
Lausanne.  The ascent from Ouchy to Lausanne is a mile and a half, which
it took the omnibus nearly half an hour to accomplish.  We left our
shawls and carpet-bags in the salle a manger of the Hotel Faucon, and set
forth to find the cathedral, the pinnacled tower of which is visible for
a long distance up and down the lake.  Prominent as it is, however, it is
by no means very easy to find it while rambling through the intricate
streets and declivities of the town itself, for Lausanne is the town, I
should fancy, in all the world the most difficult to go directly from one
point to another.  It is built on the declivity of a hill, adown which
run several valleys or ravines, and over these the contiguity of houses
extends, so that the communication is kept up by means of steep streets
and sometimes long weary stairs, which must be surmounted and descended
again in accomplishing a very moderate distance.  In some inscrutable way
we at last arrived at the cathedral, which stands on a higher site than
any other in Lausanne.  It has a very venerable exterior, with all the
Gothic grandeur which arched mullioned windows, deep portals, buttresses,
towers, and pinnacles, gray with a thousand years, can give to
architecture.  After waiting awhile we obtained entrance by means of an
old woman, who acted the part of sacristan, and was then showing the
church to some other visitors.

The interior disappointed us; not but what it was very beautiful, but I
think the excellent repair that it was in, and the Puritanic neatness
with which it is kept, does much towards effacing the majesty and mystery
that belong to an old church.  Every inch of every wall and column, and
all the mouldings and tracery, and every scrap of grotesque carving, had
been washed with a drab mixture.  There were likewise seats all up and
down the nave, made of pine wood, and looking very new and neat, just
such seats as I shall see in a hundred meeting-houses (if ever I go into
so many) in America.  Whatever might be the reason, the stately nave,
with its high-groined roof, the clustered columns and lofty pillars, the
intersecting arches of the side-aisles, the choir, the armorial and
knightly tombs that surround what was once the high altar, all produced
far less effect than I could have thought beforehand.

As it happened, we had more ample time and freedom to inspect this
cathedral than any other that we have visited, for the old woman
consented to go away and leave us there, locking the door behind her.
The others, except Rosebud, sat down to sketch such portions as struck
their fancy; and for myself, I looked at the monuments, of which some,
being those of old knights, ladies, bishops, and a king, were curious
from their antiquity; and others are interesting as bearing memorials of
English people, who have died at Lausanne in comparatively recent years.
Then I went up into the pulpit, and tried, without success, to get into
the stone gallery that runs all round the nave; and I explored my way
into various side apartments of the cathedral, which I found fitted up
with seats for Sabbath schools, perhaps, or possibly for meetings of
elders of the Church.  I opened the great Bible of the church, and found
it to be a French version, printed at Lille some fifty years ago.  There
was also a liturgy, adapted, probably, to the Lutheran form of worship.
In one of the side apartments I found a strong box, heavily clamped with
iron, and having a contrivance, like the hopper of a mill, by which money
could be turned into the top, while a double lock prevented its being
abstracted again.  This was to receive the avails of contributions made
in the church; and there were likewise boxes, stuck on the ends of long
poles, wherewith the deacons could go round among the worshippers,
conveniently extending the begging-box to the remotest curmudgeon among
them all.  From the arrangement of the seats in the nave, and the labels
pasted or painted on them, I judged that the women sat on one side and
the men on the other, and the seats for various orders of magistrates,
and for ecclesiastical and collegiate people, were likewise marked out.

I soon grew weary of these investigations, and so did Rosebud and J-----,
who essayed to amuse themselves with running races together over the
horizontal tombstones in the pavement of the choir, treading
remorselessly over the noseless effigies of old dignitaries, who never
expected to be so irreverently treated.  I put a stop to their sport, and
banished them to different parts of the cathedral; and by and by, the old
woman appeared again, and released us from durance. . . . .

While waiting for our dejeuner, we saw the people dining at the regular
table d'hote of the hotel, and the idea was strongly borne in upon me,
that the professional mystery of a male waiter is a very unmanly one.  It
is so absurd to see the solemn attentiveness with which they stand behind
the chairs, the earnestness of their watch for any crisis that may demand
their interposition, the gravity of their manner in performing some
little office that the guest might better do for himself, their decorous
and soft steps; in short, as I sat and gazed at them, they seemed to me
not real men, but creatures with a clerical aspect, engendered out of a
very artificial state of society.  When they are waiting on myself, they
do not appear so absurd; it is necessary to stand apart in order to see
them properly.

We left Lausanne--which was to us a tedious and weary place--before four
o'clock.  I should have liked well enough to see the house of Gibbon, and
the garden in which he walked, after finishing "The Decline and Fall";
but it could not be done without some trouble and inquiry, and as the
house did not come to see me, I determined not to go and see the house.
There was, indeed, a mansion of somewhat antique respectability, near our
hotel, having a garden and a shaded terrace behind it, which would have
answered accurately enough to the idea of Gibbon's residence.  Perhaps it
was so; far more probably not.

Our former voyages had been taken in the Hirondelle; we now, after
broiling for some time in the sunshine by the lakeside, got on board of
the Aigle, No. 2.  There were a good many passengers, the larger
proportion of whom seemed to be English and American, and among the
latter a large party of talkative ladies, old and young.  The voyage was
pleasant while we were protected from the sun by the awning overhead, but
became scarcely agreeable when the sun had descended so low as to shine
in our faces or on our backs.  We looked earnestly for Mont Blanc, which
ought to have been visible during a large part of our course; but the
clouds gathered themselves hopelessly over the portion of the sky where
the great mountain lifted his white peak; and we did not see it, and
probably never shall.  As to the meaner mountains, there were enough of
them, and beautiful enough; but we were a little weary, and feverish with
the heat. . . . . I think I had a head-ache, though it is so unusual a
complaint with me, that I hardly know it when it comes.  We were none of
us sorry, therefore, when the Eagle brought us to the quay of Geneva,
only a short distance from our hotel. . . . .

To-day I wrote to Mr. Wilding, requesting him to secure passages for us
from Liverpool on the 15th of next month, or 1st of August.  It makes my
heart thrill, half pleasantly, half otherwise; so much nearer does this
step seem to bring that home whence I have now been absent six years, and
which, when I see it again, may turn out to be not my home any longer.  I
likewise wrote to Bennoch, though I know not his present address; but I
should deeply grieve to leave England without seeing him.  He and Henry
Bright are the only two men in England to whom I shall be much grieved to
bid farewell; but to the island itself I cannot bear to say that word as
a finality.  I shall dreamily hope to come back again at some indefinite
time; rather foolishly perhaps, for it will tend to take the substance
out of my life in my own land.  But this, I suspect, is apt to be the
penalty of those who stay abroad and stay too long.



HAVRE.


Hotel Wheeler, June 22d.--We arrived at this hotel last evening from
Paris, and find ourselves on the borders of the Petit Quay Notre Dame,
with steamers and boats right under our windows, and all sorts of
dock-business going on briskly.  There are barrels, bales, and crates of
goods; there are old iron cannon for posts; in short, all that belongs to
the Wapping of a great seaport. . . . . The American partialities of the
guests [of this hotel] are consulted by the decorations of the parlor, in
which hang two lithographs and colored views of New York, from Brooklyn
and from Weehawken.  The fashion of the house is a sort of nondescript
mixture of Frank, English, and American, and is not disagreeable to us
after our weary experience of Continental life.  The abundance of the
food is very acceptable in comparison with the meagreness of French and
Italian meals; and last evening we supped nobly on cold roast beef and
ham, set generously before us, in the mass, instead of being doled out in
slices few and thin.  The waiter has a kindly sort of manner, and
resembles the steward of a vessel rather than a landsman; and, in short,
everything here has undergone a change, which might admit of very
effective description.  I may now as well give up all attempts at
journalizing.  So I shall say nothing of our journey across France from
Geneva. . . . . To-night, we shall take our departure in a steamer for
Southampton, whence we shall go to London; thence, in a week or two, to
Liverpool; thence to Boston and Concord, there to enjoy--if enjoyment it
prove--a little rest and a sense that we are at home.

[More than four months were now taken up in writing "The Marble Faun," in
great part at the seaside town of Redcar, Yorkshire, Mr. Hawthorne having
concluded to remain another year in England, chiefly to accomplish that
romance.  In Redcar, where he remained till September or October, he
wrote no journal, but only the book.  He then went to Leamington, where
he finished "The Marble Faun" in March, and there is a little
journalizing soon after leaving Redcar.--ED.]



ENGLAND.


Leamington, November 14th, 1859.--J---- and I walked to Lillington the
other day.  Its little church was undergoing renovation when we were here
two years ago, and now seems to be quite renewed, with the exception of
its square, gray, battlemented tower, which has still the aspect of
unadulterated antiquity.  On Saturday J----- and I walked to Warwick by
the old road, passing over the bridge of the Avon, within view of the
castle.  It is as fine a piece of English scenery as exists anywhere,--
the quiet little river, shadowed with drooping trees, and, in its vista,
the gray towers and long line of windows of the lordly castle, with a
picturesquely varied outline; ancient strength, a little softened by
decay. . . . .

The town of Warwick, I think, has been considerably modernized since I
first saw it.  The whole of the central portion of the principal street
now looks modern, with its stuccoed or brick fronts of houses, and, in
many cases, handsome shop windows.  Leicester Hospital and its adjoining
chapel still look venerably antique; and so does a gateway that half
bestrides the street.  Beyond these two points on either side it has a
much older aspect.  The modern signs heighten the antique impression.


February 5th, 1860.--Mr. and Mrs. Bennoch are staying for a little while
at Mr. B------'s at Coventry, and Mr. B------ called upon us the other
day, with Mr. Bennoch, and invited us to go and see the lions of
Coventry; so yesterday U---- and I went.  It was not my first visit,
therefore I have little or nothing to record, unless it were to describe
a ribbon-factory into which Mr. B------ took us.  But I have no
comprehension of machinery, and have only a confused recollection of an
edifice of four or five stories, on each floor of which were rows of huge
machines, all busy with their iron hands and joints in turning out
delicate ribbons.  It was very curious and unintelligible to me to
observe how they caused different colored patterns to appear, and even
flowers to blossom, on the plain surface of a ribbon.  Some of the
designs were pretty, and I was told that one manufacturer pays 500 pounds
annually to French artists (or artisans, for I do not know whether they
have a connection with higher art) merely for new patterns of ribbons.
The English find it impossible to supply themselves with tasteful
productions of this sort merely from the resources of English fancy.  If
an Englishman possessed the artistic faculty to the degree requisite to
produce such things, he would doubtless think himself a great artist, and
scorn to devote himself to these humble purposes.  Every Frenchman is
probably more of an artist than one Englishman in a thousand.

We ascended to the very roof of the factory, and gazed thence over smoky
Coventry, which is now a town of very considerable size, and rapidly on
the increase.  The three famous spires rise out of the midst, that of St.
Michael being the tallest and very beautiful.  Had the day been clear, we
should have had a wide view on all sides; for Warwickshire is well laid
out for distant prospects, if you can only gain a little elevation from
which to see them.

Descending from the roof, we next went to see Trinity Church, which has
just come through an entire process of renovation, whereby much of its
pristine beauty has doubtless been restored; but its venerable awfulness
is greatly impaired.  We went into three churches, and found that they
had all been subjected to the same process.  It would be nonsense to
regret it, because the very existence of these old edifices is involved
in their being renewed; but it certainly does deprive them of a great
part of their charm, and puts one in mind of wigs, padding, and all such
devices for giving decrepitude the aspect of youth.  In the pavement of
the nave and aisles there are worn tombstones, with defaced inscriptions,
and discolored marbles affixed against the wall; monuments, too, where a
mediaeval man and wife sleep side by side on a marble slab; and other
tombs so old that the inscriptions are quite gone.  Over an arch, in one
of the churches, there was a fresco, so old, dark, faded, and blackened,
that I found it impossible to make out a single figure or the slightest
hint of the design.  On the whole, after seeing the churches of Italy, I
was not greatly impressed with these attempts to renew the ancient beauty
of old English minsters; it would be better to preserve as sedulously
as possible their aspect of decay, in which consists the principal
charm. . . . .

On our way to Mr. B------'s house, we looked into the quadrangle of a
charity-school and old men's hospital, and afterwards stepped into a
large Roman Catholic church, erected within these few years past, and
closely imitating the mediaeval architecture and arrangements.  It is
strange what a plaything, a trifle, an unserious affair, this imitative
spirit makes of a huge, ponderous edifice, which if it had really been
built five hundred years ago would have been worthy of all respect.  I
think the time must soon come when this sort of thing will be held in
utmost scorn, until the lapse of time shall give it a claim to respect.
But, methinks, we had better strike out any kind of architecture, so it
be our own, however wretched, than thus tread back upon the past.

Mr. B------ now conducted us to his residence, which stands a little
beyond the outskirts of the city, on the declivity of a hill, and in so
windy a spot that, as he assured me, the very plants are blown out of the
ground.  He pointed to two maimed trees whose tops were blown off by a
gale two or three years since; but the foliage still covers their
shortened summits in summer, so that he does not think it desirable to
cut them down.

In America, a man of Mr. B------'s property would take upon himself the
state and dignity of a millionaire.  It is a blessed thing in England,
that money gives a man no pretensions to rank, and does not bring the
responsibilities of a great position.

We found three or four gentlemen to meet us at dinner,--a Mr. D------ and
a Mr. B------, an author, having written a book called "The Philosophy of
Necessity," and is acquainted with Emerson, who spent two or three days
at his house when last in England.  He was very kindly appreciative of my
own productions, as was also his wife, next to whom I sat at dinner.  She
talked to me about the author of "Adam Bede," whom she has known
intimately all her life. . . . . Miss Evans (who wrote "Adam Bede") was
the daughter of a steward, and gained her exact knowledge of English
rural life by the connection with which this origin brought her with the
farmers.  She was entirely self-educated, and has made herself an
admirable scholar in classical as well as in modern languages.  Those
who knew her had always recognized her wonderful endowments, and only
watched to see in what way they would develop themselves.  She is a
person of the simplest manners and character, amiable and unpretending,
and Mrs. B------ spoke of her with great affection and respect. . . . .
Mr. B------, our host, is an extremely sensible man; and it is remarkable
how many sensible men there are in England,--men who have read and
thought, and can develop very good ideas, not exactly original, yet so
much the product of their own minds that they can fairly call them their
own.


February 18th.--. . . . This present month has been somewhat less dismal
than the preceding ones; there have been some sunny and breezy days when
there was life in the air, affording something like enjoyment in a walk,
especially when the ground was frozen.  It is agreeable to see the fields
still green through a partial covering of snow; the trunks and branches
of the leafless trees, moreover, have a verdant aspect, very unlike that
of American trees in winter, for they are covered with a delicate green
moss, which is not so observable in summer.  Often, too, there is a twine
of green ivy up and down the trunk.  The other day, as J----- and I were
walking to Whitnash, an elm was felled right across our path, and I was
much struck by this verdant coating of moss over all its surface,--the
moss plants too minute to be seen individually, but making the whole tree
green.  It has a pleasant effect here, where it is the natural aspect of
trees in general; but in America a mossy tree-trunk is not a pleasant
object, because it is associated with damp, low, unwholesome situations.
The lack of foliage gives many new peeps and vistas, hereabouts, which I
never saw in summer.


March 17th.--J----- and I walked to Warwick yesterday forenoon, and went
into St. Mary's Church, to see the Beauchamp chapel. . . . . On one side
of it were some worn steps ascending to a confessional, where the priest
used to sit, while the penitent, in the body of the church, poured his
sins through a perforated auricle into this unseen receptacle.  The
sexton showed us, too, a very old chest which had been found in the
burial vault, with some ancient armor stored away in it.  Three or four
helmets of rusty iron, one of them barred, the last with visors, and all
intolerably weighty, were ranged in a row.  What heads those must have
been that could bear such massiveness!  On one of the helmets was a
wooden crest--some bird or other--that of itself weighed several
pounds. . . . .


April 23d.--We have been here several weeks. . . . . Had I seen Bath
earlier in my English life, I might have written many pages about it, for
it is really a picturesque and interesting city.  It is completely
sheltered in the lap of hills, the sides of the valley rising steep and
high from the level spot on which it stands, and through which runs the
muddy little stream of the Avon.  The older part of the town is on the
level, and the more modern growth--the growth of more than a hundred
years--climbs higher and higher up the hillside, till the upper streets
are very airy and lofty.  The houses are built almost entirely of Bath
stone, which in time loses its original buff color, and is darkened by
age and coal-smoke into a dusky gray; but still the city looks clean and
pure as compared with most other English towns.  In its architecture, it
has somewhat of a Parisian aspect, the houses having roofs rising steep
from their high fronts, which are often adorned with pillars, pilasters,
and other good devices, so that you see it to be a town built with some
general idea of beauty, and not for business.  There are Circuses,
Crescents, Terraces, Parades, and all such fine names as we have become
familiar with at Leamington, and other watering-places.  The declivity of
most of the streets keeps them remarkably clean, and they are paved in a
very comfortable way, with large blocks of stone, so that the middle of
the street is generally practicable to walk upon, although the sidewalks
leave no temptation so to do, being of generous width.  In many alleys,
and round about the abbey and other edifices, the pavement is of square
flags, like those of Florence, and as smooth as a palace floor.  On the
whole, I suppose there is no place in England where a retired man, with a
moderate income, could live so tolerably as at Bath; it being almost a
city in size and social advantages; quite so, indeed, if eighty thousand
people make a city,--and yet having no annoyance of business nor spirit
of worldly struggle.  All modes of enjoyment that English people like may
be had here; and even the climate is said to be milder than elsewhere in
England.  How this may be, I know not; but we have rain or passing
showers almost every day since we arrived, and I suspect the surrounding
hills are just about of that inconvenient height, that keeps catching
clouds, and compelling them to squeeze out their moisture upon the
included valley.  The air, however, certainly is preferable to that of
Leamington. . . . .

There are no antiquities except the abbey, which has not the interest of
many other English churches and cathedrals.  In the midst of the old part
of the town stands the house which was formerly Beau Nash's residence,
but which is now part of the establishment of an ale-merchant.  The
edifice is a tall, but rather mean-looking, stone building, with the
entrance from a little side court, which is so cumbered with empty
beer-barrels as hardly to afford a passage.  The doorway has some
architectural pretensions, being pillared and with some sculptured
devices--whether lions or winged heraldic monstrosities I forget--on the
pediment.  Within, there is a small entry, not large enough to be termed
a hall, and a staircase, with carved balustrade, ascending by angular
turns and square landing-places.  For a long course of years, ending a
little more than a century ago, princes, nobles, and all the great and
beautiful people of old times, used to go up that staircase, to pay their
respects to the King of Bath.  On the side of the house there is a marble
slab inserted, recording that here he resided, and that here he died in
1767, between eighty and ninety years of age.  My first acquaintance with
him was in Smollett's "Roderick Random," and I have met him in a hundred
other novels.

His marble statue is in a niche at one end of the great pump-room, in
wig, square-skirted coat, flapped waistcoat, and all the queer costume of
the period, still looking ghost-like upon the scene where he used to be
an autocrat.  Marble is not a good material for Beau Nash, however; or,
if so, it requires color to set him off adequately. . . . .

It is usual in Bath to see the old sign of the checker-board on the
doorposts of taverns.  It was originally a token that the game might be
played there, and is now merely a tavern-sign.



LONDON.


31 Hertford Street, Mayfair, May 16th, 1860.--I came hither from Bath on
the 14th, and am staying with my friends, Mr. and Mrs. Motley.  I would
gladly journalize some of my proceedings, and describe things and people;
but I find the same coldness and stiffness in my pen as always since our
return to England.  I dined with the Motleys at Lord Dufferin's, on
Monday evening, and there met, among a few other notable people, the
Honorable Mrs. Norton, a dark, comely woman, who doubtless was once most
charming, and still has charms, at above fifty years of age.  In fact, I
should not have taken her to be greatly above thirty, though she seems to
use no art to make herself look younger, and talks about her time of
life, without any squeamishness.  Her voice is very agreeable, having a
sort of muffled quality, which is excellent in woman.  She is of a very
cheerful temperament, and so has borne a great many troubles without
being destroyed by them.  But I can get no color into my sketch, so shall
leave it here.


London, May 17th. [From a letter.]--Affairs succeed each other so fast,
that I have really forgotten what I did yesterday.  I remember seeing my
dear friend, Henry Bright, and listening to him, as we strolled in the
Park, and along the Strand.  To-day I met at breakfast Mr. Field
Talfourd, who promises to send you the photograph of his portrait of Mr.
Browning.  He was very agreeable, and seemed delighted to see me again.
At lunch, we had Lord Dufferin, the Honorable Mrs. Norton, and Mr.
Sterling (author of the "Cloister Life of Charles V."), with whom we are
to dine on Sunday.

You would be stricken dumb, to see how quietly I accept a whole string of
invitations, and what is more, perform my engagements without a murmur.

A German artist has come to me with a letter of introduction, and a
request that I will sit to him for a portrait in bas-relief.  To this,
likewise, I have assented! subject to the condition that I shall have my
leisure.

The stir of this London life, somehow or other, has done me a wonderful
deal of good, and I feel better than for months past.  This is strange,
for if I had my choice, I should leave undone almost all the things I do.

I have had time to see Bennoch only once.

[This closes the European Journal.  After Mr. Hawthorne's return to
America, he published "Our Old Home," and began a new romance, of which
two chapters appeared in the Atlantic Monthly.  But the breaking out of
the war stopped all imaginative work with him, and all journalizing,
until 1862, when he went to Maine for a little excursion, and began
another journal, from which I take one paragraph, giving a slight note
of his state of mind at an interesting period of his country's history.
--ED.]


West Gouldsborough, August 15th, 1862.--It is a week ago, Saturday, since
J----- and I reached this place, . . . . Mr. Barney S. Hill's.

At Hallowell, and subsequently all along the route, the country was
astir with volunteers, and the war is all that seems to be alive, and
even that doubtfully so.  Nevertheless, the country certainly shows a
good spirit, the towns offering everywhere most liberal bounties, and
every able-bodied man feels an immense pull and pressure upon him to go
to the war.  I doubt whether any people was ever actuated by a more
genuine and disinterested public spirit; though, of course, it is not
unalloyed with baser motives and tendencies.  We met a train of cars with
a regiment or two just starting for the South, and apparently in high
spirits.  Everywhere some insignia of soldiership were to be seen,--
bright buttons, a red stripe down the trousers, a military cap, and
sometimes a round-shouldered bumpkin in the entire uniform.  They require
a great deal to give them the aspect of soldiers; indeed, it seems as if
they needed to have a good deal taken away and added, like the rough clay
of a sculptor as it grows to be a model.  The whole talk of the bar-rooms
and every other place of intercourse was about enlisting and the war,
this being the very crisis of trial, when the voluntary system is drawing
to an end, and the draft almost immediately to commence.


END OF VOL. II.





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