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After Waterloo: Reminiscences of European Travel 1815-1819
by Major W. E Frye
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ROME, 22nd Octr.

Nothing material occurred on my return from Naples to Rome; but on the 2d day after my arrival I made an excursion to Tivoli, which is about eighteen miles distant from Rome. I passed the night at the only inn at Tivoli. The next morning I walked to the Villa d'Este in this neighbourhood, which is a vast edifice with extensive grounds. Here on a terrace in front of the villa are models in marble of all the principal edifices and monuments, ancient and modern, of Rome, very ingeniously executed. From the Villa d'Este is a noble view of the whole plain of Latium and of the "Eternal City."

From hence I walked about two miles further to visit the greatest antiquity and curiosity of the place, which is the Villa or rather the ruins of the celebrated Villa built by Adrian, which must have been of immense size from the vast space of ground it occupies. It was intended to unite everything that the magnificent ideas of a Prince could devise who wished to combine every sort of recreation, sensual as well as intellectual, within the precincts of his Palace; columns, friezes, capitals, entablatures and various other spoils of rich architecture cover the ground in profusion: many of the walls and archways are entire and almost an entire cupola remains standing. Besides the buildings above ground, here are cellars under ground intended as quarters for the guards and capable of holding three thousand men, as well as stabling for horses. In the inclosure of and forming part of this Villa, which covers a circumference of seven miles, were a gymnasium, baths, temples, a school of philosophers, tanks, a theatre, &c. The greatest part of these buildings are choaked up and covered with earth, since it is by excavation alone that what does appear was brought to light. It was by excavation that a man discovered a large hall wherein he found the nine beautiful statues of the Muses, which now adorn the Museum of the Vatican; and no doubt if the Roman government would recommence the excavations many more valuables might be found. Hadrian's villa has already furnished many a statue, column and pilaster to the Museums, churches and Palaces of Rome.

I was much more gratified in beholding the remains of this Villa than in visiting Tivoli and I remained here several hours. At four o'clock in the afternoon I started on my return to Rome; it was imprudent not to have started sooner, as it is always dangerous to be outside the walls of Rome after dark, in consequence of the brigands who infest the environs and sometimes come close to the walls of the city.

I reached my hotel in Rome at nine o'clock, one hour and half after dark, but had the good fortune to meet nobody. The Roman peasantry generally go armed and those who feed cattle in the fields of the Campagna or have any labour to perform there never sleep there on account of the mal'aria.

[93] Horace, Epist., II, 1, 156.—ED.

[94] Horace, Sat., i, 5, 26.—ED.

[95] A carlino is of the value of half a franc or five pence English. The accounts in Naples are kept in ducati, carlini and grani. Ten carlini make a ducat and ten grani (a copper coin) make a carlino. A grano is a sou French in value. The ducato is an imaginary coin. The soudo Napoletano, a handsome silver coin of the size of an ecu de six francs, is equal to twelve carlini.

[96] Not one of these vases was found at Pompeii.—ED.

[97] Horace, Carm., II, 1, 7.—ED.

[98] Virgil, Aen., VI, 264.—ED.

[99] Virgil, Aen., VI, 129.—ED.



CHAPTER XII

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 1816

From Rome to Florence—Sismondi the historian—Reminiscences of India—Lucca—Princess Elisa Baciocchi—Pisa—The Campo Santo—Leghorn— Hebrews in Leghorn—Lord Dillon—The story of a lost glove—From Florence to Lausanne by Milan, Turin and across Mont Cenis—Lombardy in winter—The Hospice of Mont Cenis.

FLORENCE, Novr. 20th.

I bade adieu to Rome on the 28th October and returned here by the same road I went, viz., by Radicofani and Sienna. I arrived here after a journey of six days, having been detained one day at Aquapendente on account of the swelling of the waters. The day after my arrival here I despatched a letter to Pescia to Mr Sismondi de' Sismondi, the celebrated author of the history of the Italian Republics, to inform him of my intended visit to him, and I forwarded to him at the same time two letters of introduction, one from Colonel Wardle and the other from Mr Piton, banker at Geneva, who mentioned me in his letter to Sismondi as having des idees parfaitement analogues aux siennes. I received a most friendly answer inviting me to come to Pescia and to pass a few days with him at his villa. Pescia is thirty miles distant from Florence and the same from Leghorn. I was delighted with the opportunity of seeing a man whom I esteemed so much as an author and as a citizen, and of visiting at the same time the different cities of Tuscany, particularly Lucca and Pisa. I accordingly hired a cabriolet and on the morning of the 6th Novr drove to Prato, a good-sized handsome town, solidly built, ten miles distant from Florence. The country on each side of the road appears highly cultivated, and the road is lined with villas and farm houses with gardens nearly the whole way. Changing horses at Prato, I proceeded ten miles further to Pistoia, a large elegant and well-built town on the banks of the Ombrone.

The streets in Pistoia are broad and well paved and the Palazzo pubblico is a striking building; so is the Seminario or College. Here I changed horses again and proceeded to Pescia, where I alighted at the villa of M. Sismondi. The distance between Pistoia and Pescia is about ten or eleven miles.

Pescia is a beautiful little town, very clean and solidly built, lying in a valley surrounded nearly on all sides by mountains. Its situation is extremely romantic and picturesque, and there are several handsome villas on the slopes and summits of these mountains. On market days Pescia is crowded with the country people who flock hither from all parts, and one is astonished to see such a number of beautiful and well dressed country girls. Industry and comfort are prevalent here, as is the case indeed all over Tuscany; I mean agricultural industry, for commerce is just now at a stand.

I passed three most delightful days and which will live for ever in my recollection, with Mr Sismondi, in whom I found an inexhaustible fund of talent and information, combined with such an unassuming simplicity of character and manner that he appeared to me by far the most agreeable litterary man that I ever met with. His mother, who is a lady of great talent and perfectly conversant in English litterature, resides with him. His sister also is settled at Pescia, being married to a Tuscan gentleman of the name of Forti. The sister has a full share of the talents and amiable qualities of her mother and brother. With a family of such resources as this, you may suppose our conversation did not flag for a moment, nor do I recollect in the course of my whole life having passed such a pleasant time; and I only wished that the three days could be prolonged to three years. Politics, the occurrences of the day, living characters, classical reminiscences, French, English, Italian and German litterature, afforded us an inexhaustible variety of topics for conversation: and the profound local knowledge that Mr Sismondi possesses of Italy, of its history and antiquities, renders his communications of the utmost value to the traveller. Our supper was prolonged to a late hour and I question if the suppers and conversations of Scipio and Atticus, those nodes caenaeque Deum[100] were more piquant or afforded more variety than ours. Shakespeare, Schiller, Voltaire, Ariosto, Dante, Filangieri, Michel Angelo, Washington, Napoleon, all furnished anecdotes and reflexions in abundance.

The last evening that I passed here, two families of Pescia came in. One of the gentlemen was a great reader of voyages and travels, and India suddenly became the subject of discourse. As I had passed six years in that country, during which time I had visited the three Presidencies of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, having ascended the Ganges as far as Benares, having visited the Mysore country and Nizam's territory, having sojourned three weeks among the splendid and magnificent ruins of Bijanagur or Bisnagar, having travelled thro' the whole of the Deccan from Pondicherry to cape Comorin, besides having traversed on horseback the whole circumference of Ceylon and across the whole island from East to West by the Wanny, I was enabled to furnish them with many an anecdote from the Eastern world, which to them was a great treat, and I dare say at times my narration appeared almost as marvellous as a story in the Arabian Nights, particularly when I related the various religious ceremonies, the grim Idol of Juggernaut, the swinging to recover cast, the exposure of old people to the holy death in the Ganges by stopping up their nose, mouth and ears with mud, and placing them on the water's edge at low tide in order that they should be swept off at the high water; the holy city of Benares; the magnificent remains of Bisnagar; the splendid Pagodas of Ramisseram; the policy of the Bramins; the appalling voluntary penances of the Joguis or Fakirs as the Europeans call them; the bed of spikes; the arm held up in the air for fifteen years; the tiger hunt; the method of catching the elephant in Ceylon; the pearl fishery; Sepoy establishment; in short I must have appeared to them a Ulysses or a Sindbad, and I dare say that they thought I added from time to time a little embellishment from my imagination, tho' I can safely and solemnly aver that I did not extenuate nor exaggerate any thing, but simply related what I had myself seen and witnessed.

Mr Sismondi is under a sort of banishment from his native country Geneva in consequence of the side of the question he took in his writings on the return of the Emperor Napoleon from Elba. It was indeed natural for the restored government (the Bourbons) to desire the removal from France of a man of talent who had exposed their past and might scrutinize their future conduct and wilful faults; but why the Government of Geneva should espouse their quarrel and visit one of their most estimable citizens with banishment for opinions not at all connected with nor influential upon Geneva, appears to me not only absurd and anomalous, but unjust in the highest degree. But such is the state of degradation to which Europe is reduced by the triumph of the old regime; and the Swiss Governments are compelled to become the instruments of the vengeance of the coalition. But I shall dwell no more on this subject at present. Let us hope that in a short time a more liberal spirit will arise, and the Genevese will be eager to recall in triumph the illustrious citizen of whom they have so much reason to be proud.

We spent our mornings, Mr Sismondi and I, in promenades towards the most striking points of the country immediately environing Pescia, and as I had at this time some idea of coming to settle in Tuscany, he was so kind as to conduct me to look at several villas that were to let; and I inspected three very beautiful ones well furnished and each capable of holding a large family, that were to be let for 18, 20, and 24 louis d'or per annum.

Wine and every article of life is of prodigious cheapness here, and the inhabitants are so respectable, and there is such an absence of all crime, that Pescia must be a very desirable and economical residence for any foreign family possessing a sufficient knowledge of Italian to mix with the society of the natives. There are several ancient and noble families in the neighbourhood, highly respectable in point of moral character and manners, but rather in decadence in point of fortune.

It was with the greatest regret that I bade adieu to the amiable Sismondi, his mother and sister; but I hope for a time only, as I have some idea of removing my domicile from Lausanne to this part of the world.

I started at 10 o'clock a.m. on the 11th of November and after two hours' journey in a cabriolet arrived at Lucca, a distance of ten miles, and put up at the Hotel del Pelicano. The road runs thro' a highly cultivated country.

Lucca is a large fortified city, situated hi a beautifully luxuriant plain or basin surrounded on all sides by hills and mountains of various slopes, contours and heights, and abounding in villas, vineyards, mulberry and olive plantations. Every spot of ground is in cultivation and the industry of the inhabitants of Lucca is proverbial. Indeed the whole territory of this little ci-devant Republic is a perfect paradise.

The city itself, from the massiveness and solidity of the edifices, has more of a solemn than a lively appearance; but there is a delightful walk on the ramparts which are lined with trees. The streets are well paved. The extreme antiquity of the city and style of its edifices make it appear less riani than the other cities in Tuscany. The Cathedral is Gothic and there are in it the statues of the four Evangelists. This and the Palazzo Pubblico are the most conspicuous edifices. Tho' the Republic is annihilated, the word Libertas still remains on an escutcheon on the gates of the city. Lucca, tho' no longer a Republic and enclavee in Tuscany, is for the present an independent state and belongs to an Infanta of Spain (formerly Princess of Parma) who takes the title of Duchess of Lucca. It is generally supposed however that on the demise of Maria Louisa, ex-Empress of the French and now Duchess of Parma, this family, viz., the Duchess of Lucca and her son will resume their ancient possessions in the Parmesan, and that Lucca will then be incorporated with Tuscany.

Before the fall of Napoleon the Princess Elisa Baciocchi his sister was sovereign of Lucca, and she it was who has embellished the outside of the city with some beautiful promenades. She devoted her whole time, talents and resources to the good of her subjects and is highly esteemed and much regretted by them. The present Duchess of Lucca has no other character but that which seems common to the Royal families of France, Spain and Naples; viz., of being very weak and priest-ridden. Lucca furnishes excellent female servants who are remarkable for their industry and probity. Their only solace is their lover or amoroso, as they term him; and when they enter into the service of any family, they always stipulate for one day in the week on which they must have liberty to visit their amoroso, or the amoroso must be allowed to come to the house to visit them. This is an ancient custom among them and has no pernicious consequences, nor does it interfere with their other good qualities. At the back of Lucca is an immense mountain which stands between it and Pisa, and intercepts the reciprocal view of the two cities which are only ten miles distant from each other. This mountain and its peculiarity is the very one mentioned by Dante in his Inferno in the episode of Ugolino:

Cacciando il lupo e i lupicini AL MONTE, PER CHE i Pisan veder Lucca NON ponno.[101]

I started from Lucca in a cabriolet and in two hours arrived at Pisa, putting up at the Tre Donzelle on the Quai of the Arno. Between Lucca and Pisa are the Bagni di Lucca, a favorite resort for the purpose of bathing and drinking the mineral waters.

Pisa is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen in Italy. The extreme elegance and comfort of the houses, the spacious Quai on the Arno which furnishes a most agreeable promenade, the splendid style of architecture of the Palazzi and public buildings, the cleanliness of the streets, the salubrity of the climate, the mildness of the winter, the profusion and cheapness of all the necessaries of life, and above all the amenity and simplicity of the inhabitants, combine to make Pisa an agreeable and favorite residence. Yet the population having much decreased there appears an air of melancholy stillness about the city and grass may be seen in some of the streets. This decay in population causes lodgings to be very cheap.

The most striking object in Pisa is the leaning tower (Torre cadente) and after that the Cathedral, Baptistery, and Campo Santo which are all close to the tower and to each other. Imagine two fine Gothic Churches in a square or place like Lincoln's Inn Fields; a large oblong building nearly at right angles with the churches and inclosing a green grass plot in its quadrangle and a leaning tower of cylindrical form facing the churches: and then you will have a complete idea of this part of Pisa.

I must not omit to mention that there is a breed of camels here belonging to the Grand Duke; I believe it is the only part of Europe except Turkey where the breed of camels is attempted to be propagated.

LEGHORN, 17 Novr.

I left Pisa for Leghorn on the morning of the 15th November, and after a drive of two hours in a cabriolet I arrived at the latter place and put up at the Aquila Nera. The distance between Pisa and Leghorn is only 10 or 11 miles and a plain with few trees, either planted in corn or in pasturage, forms the landscape between the two cities.

Leghorn (Livorno), being a modern city, does not offer anything remarkably interesting to the classical traveller either from its locality or its history. Founded under the auspices of the Medici it has risen rapidly to grandeur and opulence, and has eclipsed Genoa in commerce. It is a remarkably handsome city, the streets being all broad and at right angles; the Piazze are large and the Piazza Grande in particular is magnificent. There is a fine broad street leading from the Piazza Grande to the Port. The Port and Mole are striking objects and considerable commercial bustle prevails there.

Among the few things worthy of particular notice is the Jewish Synagogue, decorated with costly lamps and inscriptions in gold in the Hebrew and Spanish languages, many of which allude to the hospitality and protection afforded to the Hebrew nation by the Sovereigns of Tuscany. There are a great number of Hebrew families here: they all speak Spanish, being the descendants of those unfortunate Jews who were expelled from Spain at the time of the expulsion of the Moors in the reign of Don Felipe III surnamed el Discreto, who was determined not to suffer either a Jew, Mahometan or heretic in all his dominions. This barbarous decree was the ruin and destruction of a number of industrious families, thousands of whom died of despair at being exiled from their native land. In return for this what has Spain gained? The Inquisition—despotism in its worst form—poverty—rags —lice—an overbearing insolent and sanguinary priesthood of whom the monarch is either the puppet or the slave; a degraded nobility; a half savage, grossly ignorant, lazy and brutal people. A proper judgment on the Spanish nation for its cruelty and fanaticism! My guide at Leghorn conducted me to see the burying ground belonging to the English factory, which is interesting enough from the variety of tombs, monuments and inscriptions. Here all Protestants, to whatever nation they belong, are buried. I noticed Smollett's tomb. It is on the whole an interesting spot, tho' not quite so much so as the cemetery of Pere La Chaise at Paris.

I returned to Florence from Leghorn tout d'une traite in the diligence. We stopped at Fornacetti (half way) to dine. There is a good table d'Hote (ordinario) there.

FLORENCE, 22nd Novr.

I have become acquainted with Lord Dillon[102] and his family, who are residing here and from whom I have received much civility. I met at his house the Marchese Giuliani, one of the adherents of King Joachim, a very amiable and clever man who speaks English fluently. Lord Dillon is a man of much reading and information and his conversation is at all times a great treat. His lady too is very amiable and accomplished. I went one day with a friend of mine to a pique-nique party at the Cascino, where a laughable adventure occurred perfectly in the stile of the novelle of Boccacio. As it is not the custom in Florence that husbands and wives should go together to places of public amusement, the lady is generally accompanied by her cavalier servente: but it by no means follows that the cavalier servente is the favored lover: one is often adopted as a cover to another who enjoys the peculiar favors of the lady. A gentleman who arrived at the hall where the supper table was laid out, somewhat earlier than the rest of the company and before the chamber was lighted, observed a gentleman and lady ascend the staircase, turn aside by a corridor and enter a chamber together. It was dark and he could not distinguish their persons. He waited fifteen or twenty minutes and observed them leave the chamber together, pass along the corridor and disappear. He had the curiosity to go into the chamber they had just left and found on the bed a lady's glove. He took up the glove and put it in his pocket, determined that this incident should afford him some amusement at supper and the company also by putting some fair one to the blush. Accordingly, when the supper was nearly over, he held up the glove and asked with a loud voice if any lady had lost a glove; when his own wife who was sitting at the same table at some distance from him called out with the utmost sangfroid: E il mio! dammelo: l'ho lasciato cadere. You may conceive what a laugh there was against him, for he had related the circumstances of his finding it to several of the company before they sat down to supper. This reminded me of an anecdote mentioned by Brantome as having occurred at Milan in his time, a glove being in this case also the cause of the desagrement. A married lady had been much courted by a Spanish Cavalier of the name of Leon: one day, thinking he had made sure of her, he followed her into her bedroom, but met with a severe and decided repulse and was compelled to leave her re infecta. In his confusion he left one of his gloves on the bed which remained there unperceived by the lady. The husband of the lady arrived shortly afterwards and as he was aware of the attentions of the Spaniard to his wife and had noticed his going into the house, he went directly to his wife's chamber, where the first thing that captivated his attention was a man's military glove on the bed. He, however, said nothing, but from that moment abstained from all conjugal duty. The lady finding herself thus neglected by a husband who had been formerly tender and attentive, was at a loss to know the reason, and determined to come to an eclaircissement with him in as delicate a manner as she could. She therefore took a slip of paper, wrote the following lines thereon and placed it on his table:

Vigna era, vigna son; Era podada, or piu non son; E non so per qual cagion Non mi poda il mio patron.[103]

The husband, on reading these lines, wrote the following in answer:

Vigna eri, vigna sei; Eri podada, e piu non sei; Per la gran fa del Leon Non ti poda il tuo patron.

The lady on reading these lines perceived at once the cause of her husband's estrangement and succeeded in explaining the matter satisfactorily to him, which was facilitated by the ingenuous declaration of Leon himself that he had tried to succeed but had been repulsed. The husband and wife being perfectly reconciled lived happily and no doubt the vine was cultivated as usual.

I left Florence the 27th November, and arrived at Turin 5th December. In an evil hour I engaged myself to accompany an old Swiss Baroness with whom I became acquainted at the Hotel of Mine Hembert to accompany her to Turin. She had with her her son, a fine boy of thirteen years of age but very much spoiled. We engaged a vetturino to conduct us to Turin, stopping one day at Milan. The Baroness did not speak Italian and generally sent for me to interpret for her when any disputes occurred between her and the people at the inns, and these disputes were tolerably frequent, as she always gave the servants wherever she stopped a good deal of trouble and on departing generally forgot to give them the buona grazia. I sometimes paid them for her myself in order to avoid noise and tumult; at other times we departed under vollies of abuse and imprecations such as brutta vecchia, maladetta carogna, and so forth. The Baroness had strong aristocratic prejudices and was a bitter enemy of the French Revolution to which she attributed collectively all the desagremens she had experienced during life and all the inconveniences she met with during our present journey. The negligence and impertinence of the servants in Italy were invariably attributed by her to the revolutionary principle and she told me that the servants in her native canton Bern were the best in the world, but that even in them the French Revolution had made a great deal of difference and that they were not so submissive as they used to be. As she sent for me to be her dragoman in all her disputes on the road, you may conceive how glad I was to arrive at Turin to be rid of her. She put me in mind of Gabrina in the Orlando Furioso. We stopped one day at Milan but we were very near being detained two or three days at Fiacenza owing to an informality in the Baroness's passport, which had not been vise by the Austrian Legation at Florence. In vain she pleaded that she was told at the inn at Florence that such visa was not necessary; the police officer at the Austrian Douane, at a short distance beyond Piacenza, was inexorable and refused to viser her passport to allow her to proceed. She was in a sad dilemma and it was thought we should be obliged to remain at Piacenza. I however recommended her to be guided by me and not to talk with or scold anybody, and that I would ensure her arrival at Milan without difficulty, for I had observed that her scolding the officer at the Douane only served to make him more obstinate. I recommended her therefore that when we should arrive within sixty or seventy paces of the gate at Milan, she should get out of the carriage with her son and walk thro' the gate on foot with the utmost unconcern as if she belonged to the town and was returning from a promenade; and that while they stopped us who were in the carriage to examine our passports, she should walk direct to the inn where we were to lodge, then write to the Consul of her nation to explain the business. She followed my advice and passed unobserved and unmolested into Milan. On the preceding evening at Castel-puster-lengo at supper I asked whether she thought the rigour of the Austrian government was also the offspring of the French Revolution. The Baroness had brought up her son in all these feelings and particularly in a determined hatred of the Canton de Vaud; for in the evening when we arrived at the inn and were sitting round the fire, he would shake the burning faggots about and say: Voila la ville de Lausanne en cendres! If he grows up with these ideas and acts upon them, he stands a good chance of being shot in a duel by some Vaudois. It is a pity to see a child so spoiled, for he was a very fine boy, tho' very violent in his temper which probably he inherited from his mother. Somebody at the pension Surpe at Milan who knew her told me that the Baroness was of an aristocratic family and had married a rich bourgeois of Bern whom she treated rather too much de haut en bas; in short that it was a marriage quite a la George Dandin, till the poor man took it into his head to die one day. At Turin we parted company, she for Genoa and I for Lausanne.

From Turin to Lausanne.

I felt the cold very sensibly in the journey from Florence to Milan and Turin. There is not a colder country in Europe than Lombardy in the winter. The vicinity of the Alps contributes much to this; and the houses being exceedingly large and having no stoves it is quite impossible that the fireplaces can give heat sufficient to warm the rooms. I started from Turin on the morning of the 9th December in the French diligence bound to Lyon, but taking my place only as far as Chambery. In the diligence were a Piedmontese Colonel who had served under Napoleon, and a young Scotchman, a relation of Lord Minto. The latter was fond of excursions in ice and snow and on our arrival at Suza he proposed to me to start from there two or three hours before the diligence and to ascend Mont Cenis on foot as far as the Hospice and I was mad enough to accede to the proposal, for it certainly was little less than madness in a person of my chilly habits and susceptibility of cold and who had passed several years within the tropics to scale the Alps on foot in the middle of December and to walk 24 miles in snow and ice at one o'clock in the morning, which was the hour at which we started. I was well clad in flannel and I went thro' the journey valiantly and in high spirits and without suffering much from the cold till within five miles of the Hospice, when a heavy snow storm came on; it then began to look a little ugly and but for Napoleon's grand chausses we were lost. We struggled on three miles further in the snow before we fell in with a maison de refuge. We knocked there and nobody answered. We then determined coute que coute to push on to the Hospice which we knew could not be more than two miles distant; indeed it was much more advisable so to do than to run the risk of being frozen by remaining two or three hours in the cold air till the diligence should come up. In standing still I began to feel the cold bitterly; so in spite of the snow storm, we pushed on and arrived at the inn at Mont-Cenis at five in the morning. We rubbed our hands and faces well with snow and took care not to approach the fire for several minutes, fortifying ourselves in the interim with a glass of brandy. We then had some coffee made and laid ourselves down to sleep by the side of an enormous fire until the diligence arrived, which made its appearance at eight o'clock. The passengers stopped to breakfast and the Scotchman proposed to me to make the descent of Lans-le-Bourg also on foot; but I was quite satisfied with the prowess I had already exhibited and declined the challenge. He however set off alone and thus performed the entire passage of Mont Cenis on foot. As for the rest of us we were carried down on a traineau; that is to say the diligence was unloaded and its wheels taken off; the baggage and wheels were put on one traineau and the diligence with the passengers in it on another, and in this manner we descended to Lans-le-Bourg. Nothing remarkable occurred on this journey and we arrived at Chambery in good case. I hired a caleche to go to Geneva, remained there three days and arrived at Lausanne on the 18th December.

[100] Horace, Sat., II, 6, 65.—ED.

[101] Dante, Inferno, I, 33,29.—ED.

[102] Henry Augustus, thirteenth Viscount Dillon (1777-1832), married (1807) to Henrietta Browne (died 1862).—ED.

[103] Quoted from memory, with mistakes. The text has been corrected as it stands in Brantome, Les Dames galantes, ed. Chasles, vol. I, p. 351.—ED.



AFTER WATERLOO



PART III.



CHAPTER XIII

MARCH-SEPTEMBER, 1817

Journey from Lausanne to Clermont-Ferrand—A wretched conveyance—The first dish of frogs—Society in Clermont-Ferrand—General de Vergeunes—Cleansing the town—Return to Lausanne—A zealous priest—Journey to Bern and back to Lausanne—Avenches—Lake Morat—Lake Neufchatel—The Diet in Bern—Character of the Bernois—A beautiful Milanese lady.

I started from Lausanne on the 4th March 1817, and arrived on the same day at 4 o'clock at Geneva. On my arrival at Geneva, my banker informed me that I had been denounced to the police, for some political opinions I had spoken at the Hotel de l'Ecu de Geneve, previous to my journey into Italy, and that I had been traced as far as Turin. I went directly on hearing this to the police, and desired to know who my accusers were, and that the accusation against me might be investigated immediately. Both these propositions were however declined, and I was told it was an affaire passee, and of no sort of consequence; so that from that day to this I have never been able to ascertain who my friends were.

I left Lausanne with the intention of paying a visit to my friend Col. Wardle and his family at Clermont-Ferrand, in the Department of the Puy de Dome, in Auvergne, where they are residing. I staid three days at Geneva, and then set off at 7 in the evening on the 8th March with the Courier for Lyons.

I never regretted any thing so much, and was near paying severely for my rashness in putting myself into such a wretched conveyance, at such a season of the year; but I had made the agreement with the Courier without inspecting his carriage, and was obliged to adhere to the bargain. It was a vehicle entirely open before; it was a bitter cold, rainy, snowy night; and I had the rain and snow in my face the whole way, and on crossing the Cerdon I was seized with a violent ague fit, and suffered so much from it that on arrival at a village beyond Nantua where we stopped for supper, I determined to proceed no further, but to rest there that night; and I asked the innkeeper if he could furnish me with a bed for the night. He however made so many objections and seemed so unwilling that I should remain, that I was obliged to make up my mind to proceed. I allayed the frissonnement by a large glass of brandy and water, made fiery hot. At eight o'clock next morning I arrived at Lyons, more dead than alive. A warm bath, however, remaining in bed the whole day, buried in blankets, abstaining from all food, a few grains of calomel at night and copious libations of rice gruel the next day restored me completely to health; and after a sejour of four days at Lyons, I was enabled to proceed on my journey to Clermont on the 14th March. We arrived at Roanne in the evening and I stopped there the whole night.

Between Lyons and Roanne is the mountain of Tarare where the road is cut right athwart the mountain and is consequently terribly steep; indeed it is the steepest ascent for a carriage I ever beheld. All the passengers were obliged to bundle out and ascend on foot; and even then it is a most arduous montee for such a cumbrous machine as a French diligence.

The country between Lyons and Roanne appears diversified; but this is not the season for enjoying the beauties of nature. Roanne consists of one immensely long street, but it is broad, and contains excellently built houses and shops. There is a theatre also and baths. It is situated on the Loire which I now salute for the first time.

The following morning at nine o'clock a patache (a sort of two wheeled carriage) was in waiting to convey me the remainder of my journey; and I arrived at night at a large village or town called Thiers. Halfway between Roanne and Thiers, on stopping at a small village to dine, I observed a dish of frogs at the kitchen fire at the inn; and as it was the first time I had observed them as an article of food in France, I was desirous to taste them. They were dressed in a fricassee of white sauce, and I found them excellent. The legs only are used. They would be delicious as a curry. The next morning we continued our journey; and crossing the river Allier at twelve o'clock, arrived at Clermont-Ferrand at 2 p.m., and dined with Col. Wardle. Clermont and Ferrand are two towns within a mile and half distant from each other and this Clermont is generally called Clermont-Ferrand to distinguish it from other towns of the same name.

CLERMONT, March 26th.

I have taken lodgings for a month, and board with a French family for 90 franks per month. On the road hither the immense mountain called the Puy de Dome is discernible at a great distance; it is said to have been a volcano.

Clermont is a very ancient city and has an air of dullness; but the Place and promenades round the town are excellent. It is the capital of this department (Puy de Dome). There is a terrible custom here of emptying the aguas mayores y menores (as the Spaniards term those secretions) into the small streets that lie at the back of the houses. The consequence is that they are clogged up with filth and there is always a most abominable stench. One must be careful how one walks thro' these streets at night, from the liability of being saluted by a golden shower. The lower classes of the Auvergnats have the reputation of being dirty, slovenly and idle.

Here is a church built by the English in the time of Edward III, when the Black Prince commanded in this country; and it was in a chapel in this city, the remains of which still exist, that Peter the Hermit preached the first crusade. These are almost the only things worthy of remark in the town itself, except that there is a good deal of commerce carried on, manufactures of crockery, cloth and silk stockings. But in the natural curiosities of the environs of Clermont there is a great deal to interest the botanist and mineralogist and above all there is a remarkable petrifying well, very near the town, where by leaving pieces of wood, shell-fish and other articles exposed to the dropping of the water, they become petrified in a short time. This water has the same effect on dead animals and rapidly converts them into stone. I have myself seen a small basket filled with plovers' eggs become in eight days a perfect petrifaction.

CLERMONT, April 2d.

I am arrived here at rather a dull season: the Carnaval is just over and all the young ladies are taking to their Livres d'Heures to atone for any levity or indiscretion they may have been guilty of during the hey day of the Carnaval. The Wardle family have a very pleasant acquaintance here, chiefly among the liberaux, or moderate royalists, but there are some most inveterate Ultras in this city, who keep aloof from any person of liberal principles, as they would of a person infected with the plague. The noblesse of Auvergne have the reputation of being in general ignorant and despotic. There is but little agrement or instruction to be derived from their society, for they have not the ideas of the age. In general the nobles of Auvergne, tho' great sticklers for feudality and for their privileges, and tho' they disliked the Revolution, had the good sense not to emigrate.

There is a Swiss regiment of two battalions quartered here. It bears the name of its Colonel, De Salis. As there are a number of officers of the old army here, on half pay, about three hundred in number, it is said, frequent disputes occur between them and the Swiss officers. The Swiss are looked upon by the people at large as the satellites of despotism and not without reason. It is, I think, degrading for any country to have foreign troops in pay in time of peace. Several attempts have been made in the Chamber of Deputies to obtain their removal or licenciement, but without success. As it is supposed that the song of the Ranz des Vaches affects the sensibility of the Swiss very much, and makes them long to return to their native mountains, a wag has recommended to all the young ladies in France who are musicians to play and sing the Ranz des Vaches with all their might, in order to induce the Swiss to betake themselves to their native country.

There has been a great deal of denunciation going forward here; but the General de V——[104] who commands the troops in Clermont, determined to put a stop to it. He had the good sense to see that such a system, if encouraged, would be destructive of all society, prejudicial to the Government, and vexatious to himself; as he would be thereby kept continually in hot water. Accordingly, on a delator presenting himself and accusing another of not being well affected to the present order of things, and of having spoken disrespectfully of the King, M. de V—— said to him: "I have no doubt, Sir, that your denunciation proceeds from pure motives, and I give you full credit for your zeal and attachment to the royal cause; but I cannot take any steps against the person whom you accuse, unless you are willing to give me leave to publish your name and consent to be confronted with him, so that I may examine fairly the state of the case, and render justice to both parties." The accuser declined acceding to this proposition. The General desired him to withdraw, and shortly after intimated publicly that he would listen to no denunciation, unless the denouncer gave up his name and consented to be confronted with the accused. The consequence of this intimation was that all denunciations ceased. The late Prefect however was not so prudent, and chose rather to encourage delation; but mark the consequence! He arrested several persons wrongfully, was obliged to release them afterwards, was in continual hot water and it ended by the Government being obliged to displace him. To avoid the merited vengeance of many individuals whom he had ill-treated, he was obliged, on giving up his prefecture, to make a precipitate retreat from Clermont. The delators attempted the same system with the new Prefect and Col. Wardle, having invited some of the Swiss officers to a ball, to which were likewise invited people of all opinions, an information was lodged against him, purporting that he wanted to corrupt the Swiss officers from their allegiance. The Prefect sent the letter to Col. Wardle and said that it had not made the slightest impression on his mind, and that he treated it as a malicious report. The new Prefect adopted the same system as the General and tranquillity is since perfectly restored.

Things have been taking a better turn since the dissolution of the Chambre introuvable. Decazes, the present minister, is an able man, and if he is not contrarie by the Liberaux, he will keep the fanatical Ultras in good order. The Bishop of Clermont is a liberal man also, and as it seems the wish of the present public functionaries here to conciliate, it is to be hoped that their example will not be lost on the bons vieux gentilshommes of Auvergne.

I find an inexhaustible fund of entertainment from the conversation of M. C——. He has so many interesting anecdotes to relate respecting the French Revolution. With regard to his present occupations, which are directed towards rural economy, he tells me that he has succeeded in a plan of cleansing the town from its Augean filth, and making it very profitable to himself; and that he calculates to obtain a revenue thereby of twenty thousand franks annually. He has, in short, undertaken to be the grand scavenger of the town, and the Government, in addition to a salary of 2,500 francs per annum, which they give him for his trouble, give to him the exclusive privilege of removing all the dung he can collect in the precincts of the city, and of converting it to his own advantage. He began by fitting up a large enclosure, walled on each side, and in which he deposits all the filth he can collect in the stables, yards and streets of Clermont. He sends his carts round the town every morning to get them loaded. All their contents are brought to this repository, and shot out there. Straw is then placed over this dung, and then earth or soil collected from gullies and ravines, and this arranged stratum super stratum, till it forms an immense compact cake of rich compost; and when it has filled one of the yards and has completed a thickness of five feet, he sells it to the farmers, who send their carts to carry it off. He has divided this enclosure or repository into three or four compartments. The compost therefore is prepared, and ready to be carried off in one yard, while the others are filling. In this he has rendered a great benefit to the public, for the Auvergnats are incurable in their custom of emptying their pots de chambre out of the windows; so that the streets every morning are in a terrible state: but thanks to the industry of C—— his cars go round to collect the precious material, and all is cleared away by twelve o'clock. He collects bones too, and offal to add to the compost. He conducted me to see his premises; but the odour was too strong....

I returned to Lausanne by the same route, leaving Clermont on the 6th April, staying four days at Lyons and as many at Geneva. Young Wardle accompanied me. We met with no other adventure on the road than having a young Catholic priest, fresh from the seminary, for our travelling companion, from Thiers to Roanne. This young man wished to convert Wardle and myself to Catholicism.

Among many arguments that he made use of was that most silly one, which has been so often sported by the Catholic theologians, viz.: that it is much safer to be a Catholic than a Protestant, inasmuch as the Catholics do not allow that any person can be saved out of the pale of their church, whereas the Protestants do allow that a Catholic may be saved. I answered him that this very argument made more against Catholicism than any other, and that this intolerant spirit would ever prevent me (even had such an idea entered into my head) of embracing such a religion. I then told him that, once for all, I did not wish to enter into any theological disputes; that I had fully made up my mind on these subjects; and that I would rather take the opinion of a Voltaire or a Franklin on these matters than all the opinions of all the theologians and churchmen that ever sat in council from the Council of Nicsea to the present day. This silenced him effectually. Such is the absurd line of conduct pursued by the Catholic priests of the present day in France. Instead of reforming the discipline and dogmas of their church and adapting it to the enlightened ideas of the present age, they are sedulously employd in preaching intolerant doctrines, and reviving absurd legends, and pretended miracles, which have been long ago consigned to contempt and oblivion by all rational Catholics; and by this they hope to re-establish the ecclesiastical power in its former glory and preponderance. Vain hope! By the American and French Revolutions a great light is gone up to the Gentiles. Catholicism is on its last legs, and they might as soon attempt to replace our old friend and school acquaintance Jupiter on the throne of heaven, as to re-establish the Papal power in its pristine splendour; to borrow the language of the Pilgrim's Progress, the Giant Pope will be soon as dead as the Giant Pagan.

On arrival at Lyons we put up at the Hotel du Parc, where I found cheaper and better entertainment than at the Hotel du Nord.

My friend young Wardle has fallen in love with a very beautiful cafetiere at Lyons', and spends a great part of his time in the cafe, at which this nymph administers, and looks at her, sighs, looks and sighs again. It is not probable however that he will succeed in his suit, for she has been courted by very many others and no one has succeeded. She remains constant to her good man, and the breath of calumny has never ventured to assail her. I met one day at Lyons with my old friend W——s of Strassburg, who was a Lieutenant in the 25th Regiment in the French service and served in the battle of Waterloo.[105] He is now here and being on demi-solde, employs himself in a mercantile house here as principal commis. He dined with us and we passed a most pleasant day together.

I arrived on the 20th April at Lausanne.

* * * * *

After remaining some weeks, at Lausanne on my return from Clermont, I determind on making a pedestrian trip as far as Bern and Neufchatel previous to returning into Italy, which it is my intention to do in September. I sent on my portmanteau accordingly to Payerne near Avenches, intending to pay a visit and pass three days with my friend, the Revd. Mr. J[omini],[106] the rector of the parish there, from whom I had received a pressing invitation. I was acquainted at Lausanne with his daughter, Mme C——, and was much pleased in her society. She had great talent of conversation, and I never in my life met with a lady possessed of so much historical knowledge. I started on the 27th June from Lausanne, passed the first night at Mondon and the next afternoon arrived at Avenches, the Aventicum of the ancient Romans. Payerne is only a mile distant from Avenches, and I was received with the utmost cordiality by the worthy pastor and his daughter. The scenery on the road to Avenches is very like the scenery in all the rest of the Canton de Vaud, viz., alternate mountain and valley, lofty trees, and every spot capable of cultivation bearing some kind of produce; corn just ready for the sickle and fruit such as cherries and strawberries in full bloom. Avenches has an air of great antiquity and looks very gloomy withal, which forms a striking contrast to the neat, well built towns and villages of this Canton on the banks of the lake Leman where everything appears so stirring and cheerful. Avenches, on the contrary, is very dull, and there is little society.

At Mr. J[omini] there were, besides his daughter, his son and his son's wife. All the ministres (for such is the word in use to designate Protestant clergymen and you would give great offence were you to call them pretres) have a fixed salary of 100L sterling per annum, with a house and ground attached to the cure; so that by farming a little they can maintain then? families creditably. M. Jomini lost his wife some time ago, and still remains a widower.

I left Payerne on the fifth of July and walked to the campagne of M. de T[reytorre]us,[107] situated on the banks of the lake Morat. It is a very pretty country house, spacious and roomy, and I was received with the utmost cordiality by M. de T[reytorrens] and his amiable family. He is a very opulent proprietor in this part of the country, and has spent part of his life in England. He is a dignified looking man, a little too much perhaps of the old school and no friend to the innovations and changes arising from the French Revolution. Having lived much among the Tory nobility of England, he has imbibed their ideas and views of things. His son is now employed in one of the public offices in London. His wife and three daughters, one of whom is married to a ministre, dwell with him. With this family I passed three days in the most agreeable manner. I find the style and manner of living of the noblesse (or country gentlemen, as we should style them) of Switzerland very comfortable, in every sense of the word. I wish my friends the French would take more to a country life, it would essentially benefit the nation. The way of living in M. de T[reytorre]us family is as follows. A breakfast of coffee and bread and butter is served up to each person separately in their own room, or in the Salle a manger, Before dinner every one follows his own avocation or amusement. At one, the family assemble to dinner which generally consist of soup, bouilli, entrees of fish, flesh and fowl, entremets of vegetables, a roti of butcher's meat, fowl or game, pastry and desert. The wine of the country is drunk at dinner as a table wine, and old wines of the country or wines of foreign growth are handed round to each guest during the desert. After dinner coffee and liqueurs are served. After an hour's conversation or repose, promenades are proposed which occupy the time till dusk. Music, cards or reading plays fill up the rest of the evening, till supper is announced at nine o'clock, which is generally as substantial as the dinner.

On taking leave of Mr. de T[reytorre]ns' family I walked to the banks of the lake Neufchatel, having a stout fellow with me to carry my sac-de nuit. On arrival at the lake I crossed over in a boat to Neufchatel, which lies on the other side. I remained there the whole of the day. It is a very pretty neat little city, in a romantic position. Its government is a complete anomaly. Neufchatel forms a component part of the Helvetic confederacy, and yet the inhabitants are vassals of the King of Prussia, and the aristocracy are proud of this badge of servitude. The King of Prussia however does not at all interfere with its internal government, and his supremacy is in no other respects useful to him than in giving him a slight revenue. French is the language spoken in the canton. There is a marked distinction of rank all over Switzerland, except in Geneva, Vaud and the small democratic cantons such as Zug and Schwytz, where it is merely nominal. In short, tranquillity is the order of the day. Each rank respects the privileges of the other and the peasant, however rich, is not at all disposed to vary from his usual mode of life or to ape the noble; and hence, tho' sumptuary laws are no longer in force, they continue so virtually and the peasantry in all the German cantons adhere strictly to the national costume.

BERN, 14 July.

I put myself in the diligence that plies between Neufchatel and Bern at nine p.m., on the 12 July, and the following morning put up at the Crown Inn in the city of Bern, in the Pays Allemand, whereas the French cantons are termed the Pays Romand. Bern is a remarkably elegant city as much so as any in Italy, and much cleaner withal. The streets are broad, and in most of them are trottoirs under arcades. There are a great number of book-sellers here, and the best editions of the German authors are to be procured very cheap. Bern is situated on an eminence forming almost an island as it were in the middle of the river Aar; steep ravines are on all sides of it; and there is a bridge over the Aar to keep up the communication; and as the borders of the island, on which the city stands, are very steep, a zig-zag road, winding along the ravines, brings you to the city gates. These gates are very superb. On each side of the gates are two enormous white stone bears, the emblems of the tutelary genius of this city. The houses are very lofty and solidly built. The promenades in the environs of Bern are the finest I have seen anywhere, and the grounds allotted to this purpose are very tastefully laid out. These promenades are paved with gravel and cut thro' the forests, that lie on the coteaux and ravines on the other side of the Aar. There are several neat villas in the neighbourhood of these promenades, and there are cafes and restaurants for those who chuse to refresh themselves. Such is the beauty of these walks, that one feels inclined to pass the whole day among them. They are laid out in such variety, and are so multiplied, that you often lose your way; you are sure however to be brought up by a point de vue at one or other of the angles of the zig-zag; and this serves as a guide pour vous orienter, as the French say. Another favorite promenade is a garden, in the town itself, that environs the whole city from which and from the superb terrace of the Cathedral you have a magnificent view of the glaciers that tower above the Grindelwald and Lauterbrunn. The immense forests that are in the neighbourhood of Bern form a striking contrast with the cornfields in the vallies and on the coteaw. There are but few vineyards in the neighbourhood of Bern.

BERN, 16 July.

The Diet is held this year in Bern and it is now sitting. I have met with the two Deputies of the Canton de Vaud, MM. P——- and M——-. I am glad to hear from them that the animosity existing between the two cantons of Bern and Vaud is beginning to subside. M. P——— has made a most able and conciliating speech at the Diet. Still there is a good deal of jealousy rankling in the breast of the Bern noblesse and the avulsumimperium is a very sore subject with them. I recollect once at Lausanne meeting with a young man of one of the principal families of Bern, who had been hi the English service. The conversation happened to turn on the emancipation of the Canton de Vaud from the domination of Bern, when the young man became perfectly furious and insisted that the Vaudois had no right whatever to their liberty, for that the Canton of Bern had purchased the province of Vaud from the Dukes of Savoy. "En un mot" (said he), "ils sont nos esclaves, nos ilotes et ils sont aussi clairement notre propriete que les negres de la Jamaique le sont de leurs maitres"

A very harsh measure has lately been passed in the Diet, evidently suggested by the aristocracy of Bern, which tended to fine and punish those Swiss officers who remained in Prance to serve under Napoleon after his return from Elba, and who did not obey the order of the Diet which recalled them. A very able objection has been made to this measure in a brochure, wherein it is stated that many of these officers had no means of living out of France and that, on a former occasion, when a number of Swiss officers were serving the English Government and were employed in America in the war against the United States in 1812 and 1818, the Diet, then under Napoleon's influence, issued a decree recalling them and commanding them to quit the English service forthwith. This they refused to do and continued to serve. No notice whatever was taken of this act of disobedience, when they returned to their native country on being disbanded in 1814, and they were very favourably received. Why then, says the author of this pamphlet, is a similar act of disobedience to pass unnoticed in one instance and to be so severely punished in another? Or do you wish to prove that your vengeance is directed only against those who remained in France, to fight for its liberties, when invaded by a foreign foe, while those who remained in America to fight against the liberties and existence of the American Republic you have received with applause and congratulation? Is such conduct worthy of Republicans? O, fie!

Such an argument is in my opinion convincing for all the world except for an English Tory, a French Ultra or a Bern Oligarch.

The Arsenal here is well worth seeing; here is a superb collection of ancient armour, much of which were the spoils of the Austrian and Burgundian chivalry, who fell in their attempts to crush Helvetic liberty.

By way of shewing how fond the Bernois are of old institutions and customs, they have been at the trouble to catch three or four bears and keep them in a walled pit in the city, where they are well fed and taken care of. The popular superstition is that the bears entertained in this manner contribute to the safety of the commonwealth; and this establishment continued ever in full force, until the dissolution of the old Confederacy took place and the establishment in its place of the Helvetic Republic under the influence of the French directorial government. The custom, then, appearing absurd and useless, was abolished, and the bears were sold. But since the peace of 1814 other bears have been caught and are nourishd, as the former ones were, at the expence of the state.

Bern derives its name from Bueren, the German word for Bears (plural number). Only the French spell Berne, with an e at the end of it.

There are no theatrical amusements going forward here. Cards and now and then a little music form the evening recreations.

In the inn at Bern I became acquainted with a most delightful Milanese lady and her son. Her name is L———; she is the widow of an opulent banker at Milan and has a large family of children. She was about thirty-eight years of age and is still a remarkably handsome woman. Time has made very little impression on her and she unites very pleasing manners with a great taste for litterature. She is greatly proficient in the English language and litterature, which she understands thoroughly, tho' she speaks it with difficulty. She is an enthusiastic admirer of Shakespeare, Milton and Byron. She had been to Zurich for her son, who was employed in a commercial house there, in order to take him back with her into Italy. She spoke French as well as Italian, and her son had a very good knowledge of German. She offered me a seat in her carriage, on the understanding that I was going to Lausanne, where she intended to stop a day or two. An offer of the kind made by so elegant and fascinating a woman you may be assured I did not scruple to accept, and I was in hopes of improving on this acquaintance and renewing it at Milan. Indeed, did not business oblige me to remain some weeks at Lausanne, I should certainly offer my services to escort her all the way to Milan. She had letters of introduction for Lausanne, and during her stay there I acted as her cicerone, to point out the most interesting objects and points of view, which the place affords.

[104] Louis Charles Joseph Gravier, vicomte de Vergennes d'Alonne, was the son of the Comte de Vergennes, who was minister under the reign of Louisi XVI. Born at Constantinople in 1766, he took service at the early age of thirteen, was promoted captain in 1782 and colonel in 1788. Having emigrated in 1791, he served in Conde's army, then took service in England from 1795 to 1797. On the 3rd March, 1815, he re-entered the army as "marechal de camp," and, on the 2nd November of that same year, was promoted general commander of the department of Puy de Dome. He retired on the 8th March, 1817, and seems to have been much regretted at Clermont. Died 1821.—ED.

[105] Jean Francois Wlnkens, born at Aix-la-Chapelle In 1790, is mentioned in the records of the French War Office as having served in the 25th Regiment at Waterloo. His family may have belonged to Strassburg.—ED.

[106] Pierre Jacques Jomini, Protestant minister at Avenches from 1808 to 1819.—ED.

[107] The Treytorrens family, of old nobility and fame, now extinct, possessed a large estate at Guevaux, on the borders of the lake of Morat.—ED.



CHAPTER XIV

SEPTEMBER 1817-APRIL 1818

Journey from Lausanne to Milan, Florence, Rome and Naples—Residence at Naples—The theatre of San Carlo—Rossini's operas—Gaming in Naples—The Lazzaroni—Public writers—Carbonarism—Return to Rome—Christmas eve at Santa Maria Maggiore—Mme Dionigi—Theatricals—Society in Rome—The papal government—Lucien Bonaparte, prince of Canino—Louis Napoleon, ex-King of Holland—Pope Pius VII—Thorwaldsen—Granet—The Holy Week in Rome—The Duchess of Devonshire—From Rome to Florence by the Perugia road.

I started from Lausanne with a party of two ladies in a Milanese vettura on the morning of the 20th September. We arrived at Milan on the 25th late in the evening. On passing the Simplon we met with three or four men who had the appearance of soldiers, and asked for alms something in the style of the old Spanish soldier who accosted Gil Blas on his first journey. Our ladies were a little alarmed. On travelling over the plains of Lombardy, one of these ladies, who had never before been out of her country (Switzerland) and was consequently accustomed to see the horizon bounded at a very short distance by immense mountains on all sides, was much alarmed, on arrival at the plain, at seeing no bounds to the horizon; she was apprehensive of falling down and rolling over. Her remark reminded me of one of the objections made to the project of Columbus's voyage in discovery of a western passage to India; it was said that in consequence of the rotundity of the earth they would roll down and never be able to get up again. The sensation experienced by my fellow traveller, however, may be well accounted for and explained by any one who from a plain surface situated on a great height looks down without a railing or balcony.

These ladies were quite delighted with the splendour and bustle of Milan and particularly when I took them to the Scala theatre, where a very splendid Ballo was given, intitled Sammi Re d'Egitto. The scenery and decorations were magnificent, being taken from Denon's drawings of Egyptian views, and the costume was exceedingly appropriate. My fellow travellers were much struck at the appearance of the horses on the stage and the grotesque dancing. The last scene was the most magnificent. It represented the great Pyramids, on the angles of which stood a line of soldiers from the base to the apex holding lighted torches. The coup d'oeil was enchanting. I took the ladies to see my old friend Girolamo and in fine was their cicerone every where. We remained only four days at Milan and then proceeded to Florence, where we arrived on the 7th October. We employed six days for our journey and one day we halted at Bologna. After remaining four days at Florence and taking the Radicofani road we arrived at Rome the 18th October.

At Rome I met my friend P.G. and his wife who were travelling towards Naples and I likewise made two very pleasant acquaintances, the one a Portuguese, the other a Milanese. The Milanese is a cousin of the Neapolitan minister Di M———; and the Portuguese (M. de N———) had been employed by his Government in a diplomatic capacity at Vienna. At Rome I engaged appartments from the 20th of December for three months and then started for Naples, with the intention of passing two months there, and returning to Rome, to be in time to witness the fete at Christmas Eve. At Velletri I met with a Jamaica family, Mr and Mrs O———, with their daughter and daughter-in-law; and we were strongly advised to take an escort as far as Torre tre ponti, being obliged to start very early from Velletri in order to reach Terracina before night-fall. Nothing however occurred and we arrived at Terracina without accident. The rascally innkeeper there made Mr O——— pay forty franks for each miserable room that he occupied, and fifteen franks a head for his supper; he was very insolent with all. I was rejoiced to find that in one instance he failed in his hopes of extortion. As he is obliged by law to furnish supper and beds at a fixed price to those who travel with vetturini and are spesati, he, whenever a vetturino arrives locks up all his decent chambers and says that they are engaged, in order to keep them for those travellers who may arrive in their own carriages and whom he can fleece ad libitum. A friend of mine and his lady, who were travelling in their own carriage, had, in order to avoid this extortion, engaged with a vetturino to conduct them from Naples to Rome with his horses, but their own carriage, and, had stipulated to be spesati. Mine host of Terracina, seeing a smart carriage drive up, ordered one of his best rooms to be got ready, ushered them in himself and returnd in half an hour to ask what they would have for supper; when to his great astonishment and mortification, they referred him for the arrangement of the supper to the vetturino, saying that they were spesati. He then began to curse and swear, said that they should not have that room, and wanted to turn them out of it forcibly; but my friend Major G—— took up one of his pistols, which were lying on the table, and told the innkeeper that if he did not cease to molest them and instantly quit the room, he would blow out his brains. This threat had the desired effect, and he withdrew. It appears that this fellow has in the end outwitted himself, for most people now, who travel on this road in their own carriage, chuse to travel with a vetturino and his horses and are spesati, solely in order to avoid the extortion practised upon them.

We arrived at Naples on the 29th October without accident. A buona grazia of a scudo at the frontier obviated the delay which would otherwise have occurred in examining our baggage by the douaniers. I put up at No 1 Largo St Anna di Palazzo, near the Strada di Toledo, at the house of one Berlier, who had been a domestic of poor Murat's. The Austrian troops being now withdrawn, the military cordon of sentinels from the frontier to Naples is kept up by the Neapolitan troops; but what a contrast between the vigilance of the Austrian sentinels, and the negligence of the Neapolitans! The last time I travelled on this road, I never failed, after dusk, to hear the shout of Wer da? of the Austrian sentries, long before I came up to them, and I always found them alert. Now that the cordon was Neapolitan, I always found the sentries either asleep, or playing at cards with their companion (the sentries being double), both having left their arms at the place where they were posted. At night I have no doubt they all fall asleep, so that three or four active banditti might come and cut the throats of the whole chain of sentries in detail.

30th October, 1818.

I have begun my course of water drinking at the fountain of Sta Lucia. Since I was here the last time, the theatre of St Carlo has been finished and I went to visit it the second night after my arrival. It is a noble theatre and of immense size, larger it is said than the Scala at Milan, tho' it does not appear so. The profusion of ornament and gilding serves to diminish the appearance of its magnitude. It is probably now the most magnificent theatre in Europe. The performance was Il Babiere di Siviglia by Rossini, and afterwards a superb Ballo taken closely from Coleman's Blue-Beard and arranged as a Ballo by Vestris. The only difference lies in the costume and the scenery; for here the Barbe Bleue, instead of being a Turkish Pacha, as in Coleman's piece, is a Chinese Mandarin, and the decorations are all Chinese. A great deal of Scotch music is introduced in this Ballo, and seems to give great satisfaction. At the little theatre of San Carlino I witnessed the representation of Rossini's Cenerentola, a most delightful piece. The young actress who did the part of Cenerentola acted it to perfection and sung so sweetly and correctly, that it would seem as if the role were composed on purpose for her. The part of Don Magnifico was extremely well played, and those of the sisters very fairly and appropriately. The three actresses who did the part of Cenerentola and her sisters, were all handsome, but she who did Cenerentola surpassed them all; she was a perfect beauty and a grace. I think the music of this opera would please the public taste in England. Rossini seems to have banished every other musical composer from the stage.

I have seen, at the Theatre of San Carlo, the Don Giovanni of Mozart; but certainly, after being accustomed to the extreme vivacity of Rossini's style, the music, even of the divine Mozart, appears to go off heavily. There is too much of what the French call musique de fanfares in the opera of Don Giovanni and I believe most of the Italians are of my way of thinking.

We have just heard of the death of the poor Princess Charlotte. I am no great admirer of Kings and Queens; and yet I must own, I could not help feeling regret for the death of this princess. I had formed a very high opinion of her, from many traits in her character; and I fancied and hoped that she was destined to redeem England from the degradation and bad odour into which she had been plunged by the borough-mongers and bureaucrats, engendered by the Pitt system. She had liberal ideas and an independent spirit. I really almost caught myself shedding tears at this event, and had she been buried here, I should have gone to scatter flowers upon her tomb:

His saltem accumulem donis, et fungar inani Munere.[108]

Has no royalist or ministerial poet been found to do hommage to her manes? Had she lived to be Queen of England she would have found a thousand venal pens to give her every virtue under heaven.

There is a professor of natural philosophy now at Naples, of the name of Amici, from Modena, who has invented a microscope of immense power. The circulation of the blood in the thigh of a frog (the coldest animal in nature), when viewed thro' this microscope, appears to take place with the rapidity of a Swiss torrent.

Since I have been here, I have once more ascended Vesuvius; there was no eruption at all this time, but I witnessed the sight of a stream of red-hot liquid lava flowing slowly down the flank of the mountain. It was about two and a half feet broad.

In my letters from Naples, the last time I was there, I gave you some idea of the state of society. Among the upper classes gaming is reduced to a science and is almost exclusively the order of the day. There is little or no taste for litterature among any part of the native society. The upper classes are sensualists; the middling ignorant and superstitious. With regard to the Lazzaroni, I do not think that they at all deserve the ill name that has been given to them. They always seem good humoured and willing to work, when employment is given to them; and they do not appear at all disposed to disturb the public peace, which, from their being so numerous and formidable a body, they could easily do. The Neapolitan dialect has a far greater affinity to the Spanish than to the Tuscan, and there are likewise, a great many Greek words in it. When one takes into consideration the extreme ignorance that prevails among the Neapolitans in general, one is astonished that such a prodigy of genius as Filangieri could have sprung up among them. What talent, application, deep research and judgment were united in that illustrious man! And yet there are many Neapolitans of rank who have never heard of him. Would you believe that on my asking one of the principal booksellers in Naples for Filangieri's work on legislation (an immortal work which has called forth the admiration and eulogy of the greatest geniuses of the age, of which Benjamin Franklin and Sir Wm Jones spoke in the most unqualified terms of approbation; a work which has been translated into all the languages of Europe), I was told by the bookseller that he had never heard either of the author or of his work.

A very curious thing at Naples is the number of public writers; who compose letters and memorials in booths, fitted up in the streets. As the great majority of the people are so ignorant as to be unable to read or write, it follows that when they receive letters, they must find somebody to read them for them and to write the answers required. They accordingly, on the receipt of a letter, bring it to one of these public scribes, ask him to read it for them and to write an answer, for which trouble he receives a fixed pay. These writers are thus let into the secrets of family affairs of more than half of the city; and as some-of them are in the pay of the Government for communicating intelligence, you may guess how formidable they may become to liberty and how dangerous an engine in the hands of a despotic Government.

It appears that the theatre of San Carlo is principally kept up by gaming; that is to say, the managers and proprietors would not undertake the direction of it without the Gaming Bank being annexed to it; for otherwise they would lose money, the expence of the Opera on account of the magnificent decorations of the Ballets being very great, which the receipts of the theatre are insufficient to meet; but the profits of the Casino cover all and amply reimburse the proprietors.

With regard to political opinions here there is a great stagnation. It costs the Neapolitans too much trouble to think and reflect. M——-, the principal minister, is however no favourite; neither is N——-, who has quitted the Austrian service, and is nominated Captain-General of the Neapolitan army.[109]

There is a great talk about the increase of Carbonarism. You will probably ask me what Carbonarism means. I am not initiated in the secret of the Carbonari; but as far as I can understand, this sect or secret society has its mysteries like modern Free-masonry or like the Orphics of old, and several progressive degrees of initiation are required. Its secret object is said to be the emancipation of Italy from a foreign despotism and the forming of a government purely national. This is the reason why this sect is regarded with as much jealousy by the different governments of Italy as the early Christians used to be by the Pagan Emperors. Great proofs of courage, constancy and self denial are required from the initiated; and very many fail, or do not rise beyond the lower degrees of initiation, for it is very difficult for an Italian to withstand sensuality. But the leaders of this sect are perfectly in the right to require such proofs, for no man is fit to be trusted with any political design whatever, who has not obtained the greatest mastery over his passions. The word Carbonari, I need not tell you, means Coalmen; the Italian history presents many examples of secret societies taking their appellation from some mechanical profession.

I have now been nearly two months in Naples, and the zampogne or bag-pipes, which play about the streets at night, announce the speedy approach of Christmas, so that I shall soon take my departure for Rome.

* * * * *

I left Naples on the 18th of December and arrived at Rome on the 22d. I am settled in my old lodgings, No. 29 Piazza di Spagna. Nothing worth mentioning occurred during the journey.

The fete, of the birth of Christ held at Santa Maria Maggiore on the evening of the 24th December is of the most splendid description, and attended by an immense crowd of women. Guns are fired on the moment that the birth of the Saviour is announced, and this event occurs precisely at midnight. The Romans seem to rejoice as much at the anniversary of this event, as if it happened for the first time, and as if immediate temporal advantage were to be derived from it.

I have mixed a good deal in society in Rome since my return from Naples. Among other acquaintance I must particularly distinguish Mme Dionigi, a very celebrated lady, possessing universality of talent.[110] She is well known all over Italy, for the extent of her litterary attainments, but more particularly for her proficiency in the fine arts, above all in painting, of which she is an adept. She also possesses the most amiable qualities of the heart, and is universally beloved and respected for the worth of her private character, and for her generous disposition. She has all the vivacity of intellect belonging to youth, tho' now nearly eighty-six years of age,[111] and of a very delicate physical constitution; in short she affords, and I often tell her so, the most striking proof of the immortality of the soul. There is a conversazione at her house twice a week, where you meet with foreign as well as Italian litterati, and persons of distinction of all nations, tongues and languages. Her eldest daughter, Mme D'Orfei, is an excellent improvisatrice, and has frequently given us very favourable specimens of the inspiration which breathes itself in her soul. I have likewise witnessed the talent of two very extraordinary improvisatori, the one a young girl of eighteen years of age, by name Rosa Taddei. She is the daughter of the proprietor of the Teatro della Valle at Rome, and sometimes performs herself in dramatic pieces; yet, strange to say, tho' she is an admirable improvisatrice and possesses a thorough classic and historical knowledge, she is but an indifferent actress.

It is a great shame that her father obliges her to act on the stage in very inferior parts, when she ought only to exhibit on the tripod. I assisted at an Accademia given by her one evening at the Teatro della Valle, when she improvised on the following subjects, which were proposed by various members of the audience: 1st, La morte d'Egeo; 2dy, La Madre Ebrea; 3rd, Coriolano alle mura di Roma; 4th, Ugolino; 5th, Saffo e Faone; 6th, in the Carnaval with the following intercalario: "Maschera ti conosco, tieni la benda al cor!" which intercalario compels a rhyme in osco, a most difficult one. The Madre Ebrea and Coriolano were given in ottava rima with a rima obbligata for each stanza. The Morte d'Egeo was given in terza rima. Her versification appeared to be excellent, nor could I detect the absence or superabundance, of a single syllable. She requires the aid of music, chuses the melody; the audience propose the subject, and rima obbligata, and the intercalario, where it is required. In her gestures, particularly before she begins to recite, she reminded me of the description given of the priestess of. Delphi. She walks along the stage for four or five minutes in silent meditation on the subject proposed, then suddenly stops, calls to the musicians to play a certain symphony and then begins as if inspired. Among the different rhimes in osco, a gentleman who sat next to me proposed to her Cimosco. I asked him what Cimosco he meant; he replied a Tuscan poet of that name. For my part, I had never heard of any other of that name than the King Cimosco in the Orlando Furioso, who makes use of fire-arms; and Rosa Taddei was, it appears, of my opinion, since this was the Cimosco she chose to characterise; and she made thereby a very neat and happy comparison between the gun of Cimosco and the arrow of Cupid. This talent of the improvisatori is certainly wonderful, and one for which there is no accounting. It appears peculiar to the Italian nation alone among the moderns, but probably was in vogue among the ancient Greeks also. It is certain that Rosa Taddei gives as fine thoughts as are to be met with in most poets, and I am very much tempted to incline to Forsyth's opinion that Homer himself was neither more nor less than an improvisatore, the Greek language affording nearly as many poetic licences as the Italian, and the faculty of heaping epithet on epithet being common in both languages.

The other genius in this wonderful art is Signer Sgricci. He is so far superior to Rosa Taddei in being five or six years older, in being a very good Latinist and hi improvising whole tragedies on any subject, chosen by the audience. When the subject is chosen, he develops his plan, fixes his dramatis personae and then strikes off in versi sciolti. He at times introduces a chorus with lyric poetry. I was present one evening at an Accademia given by him in the Palazzo Chigi. The subject chosen was Sophonisba and it was wonderful the manner in which he varied his plot from that of every other dramatic author on the same subject. He acted the drama, as well as composed it, and pourtrayed the different characters with the happiest effect. The ardent passion and impetuosity of Massinissa, the studied calm philosophy and stoicism of Scipio, the romantic yet dignified attachment of Sophonisba, and the plain soldierlike honorable behaviour of Syphax were given in a very superior style. I recollect particularly a line he puts in the mouth of Scipio, when he is endeavouring to persuade Massinissa to resist the allurements and blandishments of love:

Che cor di donne e laberinto, in quale Facil si perde l'intelletto umano.

This drama he divided into three acts, and on its termination he improvised a poem in terza rima on the subject of the contest of Ajax and Ulysses for the armour of Achilles.

Wonderful, however, as this act of improvising may appear, it is not perhaps so much so as the mathematical faculty of a youth of eight years of age, Yorkshireman by birth, who has lately exhibited his talent for arithmetical calculation improvised in England and who in a few seconds, from mental calculation, could give the cube root of a number containing fifteen or sixteen figures.

Is not all this a confirmation of Doctor Gall's theory on craniology? viz., that our faculties depend on the organisation of the scull. I think I have seen this frequently exemplified at Eton. I have known a boy who could not compose a verse, make a considerable figure in arithmetic and geometry; and another, who could write Latin verse with almost Ovidian elegance, and yet could not work the simplest question in vulgar fractions. Indeed, I think there seems little doubt that we are born with dispositions and propensities, which may be developed and encouraged, or damped and checked altogether by education.

I have become acquainted with several families at Rome, so that I am at no loss where to spend my evenings. Music is the never failing resource for those with whom the spirit of conversation fails. The society at Rome is perfectly free from etiquette or gene. When once presented to a family you may enter their house every evening without invitation, make your bow to the master and mistress of the house, enter into conversation or not as you please. You may absent yourself for weeks together from these conversazioni, and nobody will on your re-appearance enquire where you have been or what you have been doing. In short, in the intercourse with Roman society, you meet with great affability, sometimes a little ennui, but no commerage. The avvocati may be said to form almost exclusively the middling class in Rome, and they educate their families very respectably. This class was much caressed by the French Government during the time that Rome was annexed to the French Empire, and most of the employes of the Government at that time were taken from this class. I have met with several sensible well-informed people, who have been accurate observers of the times, and had derived profit in point of instruction from the scenes they had witnessed.

The Papal Government began, as most of the restored governments did, by displacing many of these gentlemen, for no other fault than because they had served under the Ex-government, and replaced them by ecclesiastics, as in the olden time. But the Papal Government very soon discovered that the whole political machine would be very soon at a stand, by such an epuration; and the most of them have been since reinstated. Consalvi, the Secretary of State, is a very sensible man; he has hard battles to fight with the Ultras of Rome in order to maintain in force the useful regulations introduced by the French Government, particularly the organisation of a vigilant police, and the putting a stop to the murders and robberies, which used formerly to be committed with impunity. The French checked the system of granting asylum to these vagabonds altogether. But on the restoration of the Papal Government a strong interest was made to allow asylums, as formerly, to criminals. Many of these gentry began to think that the good old times were come again, wherein they could commit with impunity the most atrocious crimes; and no less than eighty persons were in prison at one time for murder. This opened the eyes of the Government, and Consalvi insisted on the execution of these men and carried his point of establishing a vigilant police. The Army too has been put on a better footing. The Papal troops are now clothed and disciplined in the French manner, and make a most respectable appearance. The infantry is clothed in white; the cavalry in green. The cockade is white and yellow. No greater proof can be given of the merit and utility of the French institutions in Italy, than the circumstance of all the restored Governments being obliged by their interests (tho' contrary to their wishes and prejudices), to adopt and enforce them. There is still required, however, a severer law for the punishment of post office defalcations. Simple dismissal is by no means adequate, when it is considered how much mischief may ensue from such offences. A very serious offence of this nature and which has made a great sensation, has lately occurred. As all foreign letters must be franked, and as the postage to England is very high, one of the clerks at the Post office had been in the habit of receiving money for the franking of letters, appropriated it to his own use, and never forwarded the letters. This created great inconvenience; a number of families having never received answers to their letters and being without the expected remittances, began to be uneasy and to complain. An enquiry was instituted, and it was discovered that the clerk above mentioned had been carrying on this game to a great extent. He used to tear the letters and throw the fragments into a closet. Several scraps of letters were thus discovered and, on being examined, he made an ample confession of his practises. He was merely discharged, and no other punishment was indicted on him. I am no advocate for the punishment of death for any other crime but wilful murder; but surely this fellow was worse than a robber, and deserved a greater severity of punishment.

ROME, 10th February, 1818.

The Carnaval has long since begun, and this is the heaven of the Roman ladies. On my remarking to a lady that I was soon tired of it and after a day or two found it very childish, she replied: "Bisogna esser donna e donna Italiana per ben godere de' piaceri del Carnevale."

When I speak of the Carnaval, I speak of the last ten days of it which precede Lent. The following is the detail of the day's amusement during the season.

After dinner, which is always early, the masks sally out and repair to the Corso. The windows and balconies of the houses are filled with spectators, in and out of masks. A scaffolding containing an immense number of seats is constructed in the shape of a rectangle, beginning at the Piazza del Popolo, running parallel to the Corso on each side, and terminating near the Piazza di Venezia; close to which is the goal of the horse race that takes place in this enclosure. Carriages, with persons in them, generally masked, parade up and down this space in two currents, the one ascending, the other descending the Corso. They are saluted as they pass with showers of white comfits from the spectators on the seats of the scaffolding, or from the balconies and windows on each side of the street. These comfits break into a white powder and bespatter the clothes of the person on whom they fall as if hair-powder had been thrown on them. This seems to be the grand joke of this part of the Carnival. After the carriages have paraded about an hour, a signal is given by the firing of a gun that the horse race is about to begin. The carriages, on the gun being fired, must immediately evacuate the Corso in order to leave it clear for the race; some move off and rendezvous on the Piazza del Popolo just behind the scaffolding, from the foot of which the horses start; others file off by the Via Ripetta and take their stand on the Piazza Colonna. The horse-race is performed by horses without riders, generally five or six at a time. They are each held with a bridle or halter by a man who stands by them, in order to prevent their starting before the signal is given; and this requires no small degree of force and dexterity, as the horses are exceedingly impatient to set off. The manes of the horses are dressed in ribbands of different colours to distinguish them. Pieces of tin, small bells and other noisy materials are fastened to their manes and tails, in order by frightening the poor animals, to make them run the faster, and with this view also squibs and crackers are discharged at them as they pass along. A second gun is the signal for starting; the keepers loose their hold, and off go the horses. The horse that arrives the first at the goal wins the grand prize; and there are smaller ones for the two next. This race is repeated four or five times till dusk, and then the company separate and return home to dress. They then repair to the balls at the different casinos, and at the conclusion of the ball, supper parties are formed either at restaurants or at each other's houses. During the time occupied in the balls and promenades, as every body goes masked either in character or in domino, there is a fine opportunity for pairing off, and it is no doubt turned to account. This is a pretty accurate account of a Roman Carnaval. A great deal of wit and repartee takes place among the masks and they are in general extremely well supported, and indeed they ought to be, for there is a great sameness of character assumed at every masquerade, and very little novelty is struck out, except perhaps by some foreigner, who chuses to introduce a national character of his own, which is probably but little, or not at all, understood by the natives, and very often not at all well supported by the foreigner himself. An American gentleman once made his appearance as an Indian warrior with his war-hatchet and calumet; he danced the war dance, which excited great astonishment. He then presented his calumet to a mask, who not knowing what the ceremony meant, declined it, when the Mohawk flourished his hatchet and gave such a dreadful shriek as to set the whole company in alarm.[112] On the whole this character was so little understood that it was looked upon as a mauvaise plaisanterie.

The usual characters are Pulcinelli, Arlecchini, Spanish Grandees, Turks, fortune tellers, flower girls and Devils; sometimes too they go in the costume of the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient mythology. I observe that the English ladies here prefer to appear without masks in the costume of the Swiss and Italian peasantry.

There is a very large English society at Rome, and at some of the parties here, you could suppose yourself in Grosvenor Square.

The late political changes have brought together in Rome many persons of the most opposite parties and sentiments, who have fallen from the height of political power and influence into a private station, but who enjoy themselves here unmolested, and even protected by the Government, and are much courted by foreigners. I have seen at the same masquerade, in the Teatro Aliberti, in boxes close to each other, the Queen of Spam (mother of Ferdinand VII), and the Princess Borghese, Napoleon's sister. In a box at a short distance from them were Lucian Buonaparte, his wife and daughters. Besides these, the following ex-Sovereigns and persons of distinction, fallen from their high estate, reside in Rome, viz., King Charles IV of Spain; the ex-King of Holland, Louis Buonaparte; the abdicated King of Sardinia, Victor Emanuel; Don Manuel Godoy, the Prince of Peace; Cardinal Fesch, and Madame Letitia, the mother of Napoleon.

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