Heidelberg was the only place where I found lady ticket agents at the railway station. The station is a very large and important one, and the positions held by those ladies are of great responsibility. In Continental Europe, it is the ladies that transact most of the business in almost every city. Hotels, stores, shops, cafes, drinking stands, &c., are generally managed by ladies.
Heidelberg was the last city in which I felt that I was hourly seeing the cousins of the Pennsylvania Germans. Here still, I did occasionally see one who not only favored some of our people in form and features, but whose voice and accent also spoke of kinship. I had heard persons speak in some parts of the Pfalz and particularly around Boechingen (about 10 miles S.S.W. from Neustadt and 25 miles W.S.W. from Speyer) from 50 to 70 per cent of whose words corresponded to the Pennsylvania German. Duerkheim, Landau, (and some say, Kaiserslautern too), are good examples.
The old renowned university of Heidelberg has 800 students, and a library of 200,000 volumes and 1,800 MSS.
The castle is the most magnificent ruin in Germany. The towers, turrets, buttresses, balconies, and fine statues still stand there, proud and bold, even in its ruins. And the portcullis of iron in one of its lofty gateways gave me the first idea how the balance of the enemy could be shut off, after a portion had been admitted into the yard of the fortifications with a view of slaughtering them. The iron bars of this portcullis or sliding gate are very thick and heavy, and have sharp points below. A tower stands over the gate, into which the portcullis is drawn up. The defenders of castles would sometimes conceal themselves and keep perfectly silent on the approach of an enemy, as if the castle had been abandoned, but as soon as as large a portion of them as they thought they could dispose of, had entered, the portcullis was dropped, which, on account of its immense weight, of course made its way to the ground even, if it had to pierce the bodies of a dozen that stood under it! Hereupon the alarm was sounded and all that were inside were barbarously slaughtered. In some castles there were large pit-falls full of pointed spears standing upwards. As soon as a large part of the enemy were upon this pit, they would be precipitated into the spears below! At other places there were immense rollers, and only one approach to the castle, which lead directly up the hill. When the assaulting enemy made its approach by this, the hillside was filled with the enemy's soldiers, these rollers would be loosened upon them, and thus the bodies of many thousands would be mangled in a minute! Such was the barbarity of the ancients.
I will not forget the long walk I had all alone through one of the underground passages of the Heidelberg Castle. I saw a pale light at the other end, when I entered; but it was dark in the middle, and turned out to be much longer than I had anticipated. These passages are about 7 feet high and 10 feet wide, and are arched by a brick vault. The illumination of this ruined castle on the evening of August 23rd, constituted one of my grandest sights in all Europe. It seemed to be enveloped with flames of such an intense heat, that its walls, towers, &c., appeared to be about to melt down! As the colors of the illuminating light changed suddenly from yellowish white to blue, green and red, the scene was so indescribably beautiful, that numbers of the ten thousand spectators actually went into raptures.
in the castle of Heidelberg, the largest of all the tuns in the world, is 32 feet long, 22 feet in diameter at both ends and 23 feet in the center. Its eighteen wooden hoops are 8 inches thick and 15 inches broad, and its 127 staves are 91 inches thick. The bung-hole is 3 to 4 inches in diameter. To built it cost the enormous sum of $32,000, and its capacity is equal to about 2,200 common barrels! On top of it is a dancing-floor having the bung-hole in the center! What a joy it must be for the dancers to reflect that there is such a flood of wine still beneath them! This giant tun erected as an altar to the jovial God "Bacchus," has been filled completely three times, (1753, 1760, 1766).
"In Heidelberg beim grossen Fass Da liess sich's froehlich sein, Bei einem vollgefuelten Glas Von edlem Pfaelzer Wein; Den als dies Fass kam einst zum stand Do war ein Jubel in dem Land, Da freut' sich Alles, Gross und Klein, Denn voll war es mit Pfaelzer Wein."
"In Heidelberg, the 'Grosse Fass,' Caused merry days to shine, When all enjoyed the well filled glass Of noble Pfaelzer wine; For when this Tun first came to light, All did in joy combine, To see the 'Fass,' oh wondrous sight! Fill'd up with Pfaelzer wine."
The Philosophenweg, (Philosopher's way), two miles in length, commands some of the finest prospect on the Rhine. It winds through charming vineyards, and from it may be enjoyed splendid views of the town, castle, valley, and of the beautiful outlines of the Haardt Mountains and the cathedral of Speyer in the distance.
From Heidelberg I went to Stuttgart, remarkable for the vast collection of books (300,000 vols.) in the Royal Library. Among these are about 9,000 Bibles, in some 80 languages!
The Railway Station in Stuttgart is remarkable both for magnificence and the beauty of its interior. Its wide and lofty passages and splendid waiting-rooms, are among the grandest in the world.
From Stuttgart I went to Carlsruhe, famous for the manner in which the streets meet at the Castle, from every point of the compass. Some thirty streets meet here like so many sticks of a circular fan. Near the Botanic Garden, is a large Hall of Art rich in paintings and relics.
Strassburg, the capital of Alsace and Lorraine, is situated on the River Ill, 2 miles from the Rhine, and comprises a population of 80,000 inhabitants. Its Cathedral, covering more than an acre of ground and 216 feet in height, is deservedly famous. Its elegant spire, the highest in Europe, is 465 feet in height. To procure a permit from the city authorities to ascend to the "lantern," which is immediately below the extreme summit, I walked about the city nearly an hour to find the proper official. The view from the platform or roof of the building (216 feet high) affords a fine view of the beautiful plains of Alsace, but many ascend to the "lantern" simply for the satisfaction of saying that they have done it. No one is allowed to go higher than the platform, except by special permission from the city authorities, and accompanied by a guide and protector, for which an extra ticket is required. The ascent is quite easy for some distance, but by and by the spire becomes too narrow to have stairs on the inside, so that we had to climb up on the outside along ladder-like steps. If one would become giddy in this place, he might fall from a hight of over four hundred feet into the street below! I cannot stop to speak of the world-renowned astronomical clock which is contained in this cathedral.
The railroad through the Black Forest is one of the great victories of civil engineering which characterize this age of great undertakings. We passed in exactly one hour through 38 tunnels, during which time, in our ascent of the mountains, we passed through one valley three times! When we had reached the highest point, we saw the two other tracks at different elevations on the mountain side below us! Here we passed for many hours through pine forests, all the trees of which were raised from seed, (some sown, and others planted). Many square miles of this mountainous section is covered with pines planted as regularly as our orchards; and the scenery of these mountain-sides green with dense forests in which the comical tree-tops stand with mathematical exactness in the square or quincunx order, is among the most beautiful imaginable.
It is almost impossible to describe the scenery of the Alps to one who had never yet ascended mountains above the region of the clouds, without so bewildering his imagination that his fancy will call forth and accept more fictitious notions than true ones. The best description that I had ever heard of the Alps, was the occasion of my most incorrect conceptions about them. I think the speaker did not misstate or exaggerate anything in a single word, but as he could in an hour's talk tell only one tenth of what one ought to know, in order to form a correct notion of what the Alps look like, my fanciful imagination promptly supplied the coloring of the other nine tenths of the picture which he left untouched; and consequently when I came to see the Alps, I found them entirely different from what I had anticipated.
The ordinary school maps represent the Alps as extending along the borders of Switzerland, as if they consisted of a single range, or possibly of several parallel ranges, and Mount Blanc as its towering peak. With what surprise a scholar who only saw these maps, will look about him, when he reaches the summit of any high peak in Switzerland! On the Rigi, for example, one sees an extent of territory almost 300 miles in circuit, every part of which is studded with ice-capped peaks. These range not in any one particular direction, nor do they number only several dozen, but many hundreds of them stand around the beholder toward every point of the compass and at variable distances, from the Pilatus near by to the most distant part of the horizon—more than 50 miles away. The snow-clad crowns of many of these rise high above the clouds, so that
"Through the parting clouds only The earth can be seen, Far down 'neath the vapour The meadows of green."
Those forms of clouds called cumuli, (P.G. Gewitter Wolken), presenting themselves the appearance of mountains covered with ice, often creep around these peaks at less than half their height! At Zurich I first beheld the strange sight of mountains and clouds piled upon each other so that I could not well distinguish them. It was on a sunny afternoon that I stood on the banks of the Zuricher See (Lake Zurich) and, looking over its calm waters, I beheld in the distant southeast a strange phenomenon. There stood the high glittering banks of clouds, and over them I saw the black sides of a towering peak whose top was covered with ice and snow. I then visited the Rigi and looked at Alpine Switzerland from its giddy heights. This, since the railroad has been completed to its top, is one of the most famous mountains in Switzerland. Though it stands beneath the line of perpectual snow, its top being covered with grass in summer, still it commands a panoramic view of indescribable grandeur. Numerous hotels stand around the top where thousands of tourists find shelter during the summer nights, and among them is one of the finest hotels in the world. When fall comes, all the landlords must take their families and move down from the mountain, as it would be impossible to keep the track of the railroad clear during the winter to bring up the necessary provisions for them. The snow is often from 10 to 20 feet deep on these Alps.
All Swiss scenery, whether one is on the lakes, upon the mountains, or in the valleys and ravines, is singularly charming, and bears no resemblance to the scenery which one sees elsewhere; so that for this lack of having something with which to compare it, no one can do it justice in any description short of a volume. The reader will therefore pardon our haste in this country. One who sees the rest of Europe and not Switzerland, will not miss any particular links in the historic chain of social, religious and political development of the human race, but he will not have seen the sublime in nature. The Alps are the poetry of inorganic creation, and a week or two spent on their lakes, in their valleys and gorges, amid the high waterfalls or upon their snowfields and glaciers, teaches one to associate new meanings to the words, grand, sublime, lofty, inspiring, overawing, romantic, wild, precipitous and bewildering, &c. It took me two days to ascend as high as the Rhone glacier, during which time I walked over 30 miles up hill along old military roads which the Romans constructed through Switzerland. I saw the snow and ice on the first day already, and it seemed as if I was but a little below it, but in place of reaching the snow line in the afternoon as I judged I might, I did not reach it until the next afternoon at 5:00 o'clock. The valleys are narrow and the mountains rise in some places almost perpendicularly at the sides, so that the snow and ice which melts near the tops of the mountains, falls down thousands of feet into the streams below. Water-falls that are from several hundred to a thousand feet in height are numerous among the Alps.
The Giessbach Falls which I ascended on the 6th of September, descends in a series of seven cascades 1,148 feet, and the Handeck Falls, which I passed on the 5th, precipitates in an unbroken sheet from the height of 250 feet! Rainbows stand over all the falls of the Alps, whenever the sun shines.
On the second day (Sept. 4th) of my ascend of the Alps, I could look upwards and see the eternal snows, or look down into the valleys, and see the people in the meadows and fields making hay or cutting grain! Haymakers may drink the water that was an hour before part of the mass of ice and snow which they see hanging near the top of the mountains several thousand feet above their heads! Avalanches slide down into the valleys every month of the year, and I passed through tunnels and bridges that are purposely constructed that the snow may thus slide over the roads without doing harm to any one. Where the mountains rise too precipitously, it is in some places impossible to construct a road along the edge; in these cases they pierce through the mountains for considerable distances. The Axenstrasse, along Lake Luzerne, has many such tunnels, one of which is about one eighth of a mile in length. In the Grimsel, the road avoids a water-fall by passing through a tunnel under it.
The Rhone Glacier, the only ice-field that I crossed, is upwards of nine miles in length and rises from 5,751 feet to 10,450 feet in height. About the time of sunset on the 4th of September, I entered the cavern of ice from which issues the stream that constitutes the source of the Rhone River. "This is the Rhodanus of the ancients, which was said to issue 'from the gates of eternal night at the foot of the pillar of the sun.'"
I descended through the Grimsel pass (7,103 feet) and Haslithal along the upper waters of the Aare down to Meiringen, in one day. Though there is only a bridle-path through the almost unparalled wildnesses of this valley, still there is a telegraphic wire running up to the hotel at the upper end, near the Rhone Glacier! No language can describe the picturesqueness of the bare rocky sides of this valley. I heard persons who thought they were alone, utter a dozen exclamations of surprise while making a single turn where a new view opened! The solitary tourist will ejaculate his exclamations without number; and it is under such circumstances that the unpoetical soul seeks some personification to whom it may do homage. It would not require a worshipper of images to kneel down, in the Grimsel or Ober Haslithal, before any emblem that embodied any adequate representation of the crushingly sublime scenery that one beholds there!
I met a lake whose depths seemed as boundless as the blue heavens above me. The water of many of the Swiss lakes is as clear as crystal, so that white objects at their bottoms may be discerned at great depths.
While sailing along the Lake of Geneva one day, I could as little see substance in the water below me, when I looked upon it at a certain distance from the steamer, as in the clear sky; both seemed alike blue and boundless!
The weather and the temperature changes very suddenly among the high Alps. The climate in the valleys of Switzerland is as warm as ours, in summer, while some thousand feet higher lie the everlasting glaciers. From these, avalanches of cold air precipitate into the valleys, so that the mercury often falls from 20 to 30 degrees in ten minutes! One is in danger of taking "a cold" every day in Switzerland.
Besides "The Alps" and the lovely lakes among them, the tourist may also see castles, museums, art galleries, pleasure gardens, &c., in Switzerland, but I will only enumerate a few of the most striking objects that I met and saw in this curious country, and then pass on to Italy.
One of the bridges of Lucerne is adorned with very curious paintings representing the "Dance of Death." Scores of skeletons, some blowing the bugle or playing with the triangles, others equipped with hoes and spades, are jubilant over their work!
One of the finest organs in Europe is the far-famed one at Freiburg, having 67 stops and 7,800 pipes, some of them 33 feet long. This instrument has such a range of volume that it can simulate the roaring thunder as well as the faintest echo. The portal of the same cathedral which contains the famous organ is also adorned (?) with a curious representation of the last judgment. St. Peter leads the blessed to the door of Heaven, but half a dozen evil ones busy themselves in disposing of the wicked. One of them that has a head like a hog, carries them from the scales into a large caldron where they are boiled. Others with forks in their hands pitch them into the mouth of the large dragon-devil who is represented as glutting them, and whose capacious mouth admits of several of them at a time! The time has almost arrived when one may no longer describe what he sees in the churches of Europe! This reminds me of a monster that stands upon a fountain in Bern, called the Kindlifresser, (the Ogre), who is in the act of eating a child, while others doomed to the same fate protrude from his girdle and pockets!
Berne is a great place for bears. Besides those connected with the curious machinery of the clock on one of its clock-towers, among the dead bears, they also keep a large den of living bears at the expense of the government. The bear is the heraldic emblem of Switzerland, as is our eagle of American freedom.
Of the fictitous hero, William Tell, and the nature and character of the Swiss Republic, I can not say more in the compass of this book, than that the former is a myth and that the latter was in a great measure the outgrowth of poverty.
The reader may form an idea of the miserable dwellings of the peasantry on the mountains, when he is told that many are hardly distinguishable from the stables in which the cattle are sheltered.
When I came into view of Guttannen, the first village of any considerable extent that I passed after seeing the Rhone Glacier and the wildnesses of the Grimsel and Haslithal, where no houses except hotels, and in some places not even trees or grass abound, I felt glad once more to see a group of human habitations, and determined to count them, so that I might record their number. I passed along the edge of the mountains where I could easily overlook the village, but it was in many instances impossible to determine by a survey of their external appearances, which were the stables and which the houses or huts, so I counted them all, large and small, and found their number between 60 and 90. I once intended to count these buildings only with windows, as houses; but I soon discovered that some huts had windows only on one or several sides, and looked like stables on the other sides!
A question to dairy men: Do thunder and lightning affect fresh milk? A lady keeping a cafe in Brienz, told me that if a thunder storm overtook those which were bringing the fresh milk from the mountains, the milk would suddenly turn sour, so that it could no longer be boiled for drinking it sweet. She said, "Es thut sie verbolera, so das sie gerinnt wen man sie kochen will!"
Geneva to Turin.
Switzerland has two national languages, the German and the French, both of which are recognized by the Government. Geneva is French, so I had some trouble in getting my information and procuring a ticket for Italy. I left Geneva at 6:40 a.m., September 10th; and after passing through a number of tunnels, one of which required 5-1/2 minutes of moderate railway speed, we arrived at Bellegarde, on the French border, and passed muster. From 9:00 to 10:00 o'clock we were detained at Culoz, and by noon we saw the snow-covered Alps again. At 3:30 p.m., we arrived at Modane and passed muster for Italy.
Mont Cenis Tunnel.
We entered the mouth of this great tunnel, over 8 miles in length, at 4:58-1/2 p.m., and were exactly 26 minutes in the very bowels of the earth, where absolute darkness reigns. Temperature in the middle, 59 deg. Fahrenheit.
We now come to a country which contrasts as strangely with the nations of western Europe, as those do with America, or as Alpine Switzerland does with the rest of the world. When I parted at Paris with my New York friend, he bound for Rome, I for the north, we still had our school-boy ideas of Germany, Switzerland and Italy; and I shall never forget the remark which he then made, and which embodied my notions and anticipations perhaps as well as his own. He said, "I suppose we have now seen the brightest side of the picture, the trouble is that scenes will now become tamer as we advance toward the cradle of humanity." I had been pleasantly disappointed almost every time that I entered a new country, but now, as I was entering Italy, I expected that I would surely not see much to interest me except her rich stores of art and the ancient ruins. But less than a day at Turin convinced me that I had by no means entered a country whose people were behind hand in civilization and refinement; and when on my way from Turin to Milan I saw how much clearer and brighter the blue heavens were, how much sweeter the air smelt than any I had ever breathed before, (not excepting that of Paris, even), and how much fairer the people were than any other that I had yet seen, I felt that I must surely be on the border of that charming paradise which the poets make of Italy, but for which I had never given them due credit.
Italy's Fair Sons and Daughters.
I now come to a dry subject, especially for old people; but numbers of my young friends, among them several editors and teachers, requested me very earnestly to take particular notice which country contained the fairest specimens of the human species. Why these literary characters are so deeply interested in this question, I cannot tell, but my duty is plain enough—they want "a true and impartial statement of the facts," which I will endeavor to render them. I observed everywhere that culture and personal beauty always go together. When I came to a city that had clean and beautiful streets and houses, I invariably found good looking people there; but in the rural districts generally, and in suburbs and wretched towns, beauty and culture are at a lower ebb. I now refer to that form of beauty which is dependent upon personal accomplishments and intellectual endowments and culture—that beauty which beams from an intellectual countenance and sparkles from eyes that glisten with pleasure. That is the kind of beauty that renders 90 per cent. of the individuals in all cultivated society acceptable, and 20 per cent. charming and attractive, but which is wanting to nine tenths of those who cannot, or do not, pay attention to cultivation and refinement. There are a very few persons whose forms and features please and fascinate even without the aid of accomplishments. These may be said to be possessed of native beauty, which is met with very seldom in all countries that have a climate unfavorable to health. If I had not gone to Italy, I should not have hesitated to give my preference to the mild climate of Paris, where health and beauty are the natural result of a warm temperature, almost semi-tropical in mildness, and where the highest art assists to make every grace shine. But when I saw how nature dotes upon Italy, I felt as if she was only acting the step-mother to the rest of the world. The loveliest portion of Italy is the valley of the Po. One sees fewer sickly or consumptive people in some parts of England, France and Germany, than in our section of America, but in Turin and Milan every person looks hale, healthy, happy and beautiful, from the tender days of infancy to a ripe old age.
Nothing that I saw in Europe surprised me more than to come so suddenly into the midst of a people whose very countenance bear the bloom of youth, even until the gray locks of age appear.
Old age even knows no wingles here! I know that it seems incredible to any one that has never been in warmer climes, but the word beauty has a new meaning here. The glow which is lambent upon the faces of the sons and daughters of this section of sunny Italy, is something that I never saw elsewhere, and that cannot be described. It is a solemn truth, that nine tenths of all the ladies of Turin and Milan are perfect beauties; and I need not say less for the full round forms of the gentlemen. Only after I had observed that several very fair persons, who happened, to pass near me, had gray hair, did I notice that the bloom of youth still glows upon the faces of those who are 35 to 40 years of age! When I first came into this paradise of fairy angels, (for a paradise is the valley of the Po), I mistook this bloom of youth and glow of health and vigor for the lambent flames which flash from the countenances of the intellectual—it seemed to me that I must be surrounded by a halo of literary sages and muses, all gifted alike with every grace and charm that nature can bestow or art improve; but when I observed the youths at work in the fields and the maidens at the garden gates, who turned for a moment from their respective tasks to see our train move along, look as happy, as gay and as beautiful as the belles of the cafes and the beaus of the cities, I concluded that it must be the healthy state of the body that makes every face look rosy and bright in this fair and sunny clime. At Milan I asked some of my companions how far this paradise of beauties extended southward in Italy. "To Florence," was the answer. But I did not find that to be quite correct, for though Florence may have more fair people than any northern city, the proportion of beauties to the whole population, which is perhaps ninety per cent, in Turin and Milan, cannot be more than 20 or 30 per cent, in Florence. In order to be able to correct any false impression that I might have imbibed in my first visit to the valley of the Po, I paid particular attention to the same subject on my return from Egypt. At Milan there was then an immense concourse of people assembled from all parts of Europe to see Emperor William of Germany and King Victor Emanuel of Italy parade the streets of that elegant city, with a retinue of over 20,000 soldiers; the consequence was, that the fair people of Milan were lost in the multitude. But on my return to Turin, I found that her beautiful sons and daughters, again presented the same dream-like and enchanting scene of a pleasure-garden full of fair and merry beings possessed of angelic beauty, and enjoying their blessed existance just as I had seen them a month before.
I met travelers that say the same thing of Nature's children in other sunny lands—Spain for example. The truth seems to be, that in warm climates only, will man attain that perfect healthy and beautiful physical development which has constituted the model of the artist and the theme of the poet, in every age. I have heard some pronounce the statue of Venus de Medici, the ideal perfection of female form and beauty. It is probably as near as sculpture can reach it, but who would suppose that a white stone could do justice to the beauty of a pure child of nature? The marble may present a most perfect form; but what becomes of the glow of life and flush of beauty upon the maiden's cheek, the ruby lips and the grace and elegance of her movements and winning manners? We may speak of ideal beauty in countries where the physical development of the inhabitants is blasted by the severities of the extreme heat and cold of an inhospitable clime, where the blasts of winter make every form shiver for many months of the year; but the superior beauty of the daughters of Northern Italy, if they were placed side by side with Venus de Medici, would laugh that frigid form to scorn! As compared with these, I thought I had seen no others that could either talk or laugh or walk!
The Italians live upon a very simple diet. When I first saw numbers of them make meals of dry bread and fruit, I supposed poverty impelled them to partake of so scant a diet, but by the time I came back from Egypt, I too had learned to sit down and eat dry bread and grapes together, though I could procure meat as cheap in Italy as elsewhere in Europe. It is not advisable to partake of much meat in any warm country. Any one may form an idea of what kind of a consumer of food cold is, when he reflects how much more flesh we consume in winter than in summer. I did not partake of more than half the amount of food in southern Italy and Egypt that I needed in England, Germany or Switzerland, and there is little room for doubt that many Italians do with one third of the amount of food that we require in the severer climate of the Middle States. I was always reminded of the story of "Cornaro the Italian," related in Wilson's Fourth Reader, whenever I saw them eat their simple meals. It is very singular, too, that they should all look full, healthy and robust; and many of us, on the contrary, lean and sickly. Twelve ounces of solid food and thirteen ounces of drink, seems a very spare supply to an American, but I do not believe that it is accounted very extraordinary in Italy.
The praises of the magnificence and splendor of the Cathedral of Milan are sung all over the world. It is nearly 500 feet long and 250 feet wide through the transepts, covering an area of almost two acres and three quarters! The height of the nave is 150 feet! Its entire walls, and its pinnacles, spire and roof are all constructed of fine marble. The spire is over 350 feet high. The marble slabs constituting the roof are about three inches thick; how enormous the weight of that roof must be! Each of the 135 pinnacles or smaller spires is crowned with a statue, and throngs of others (some 4,500) ornament the outside of this magnificent building. The interior of this edifice is one of the most imposing in the world. As I looked at the rich decorations and delicate traceries of its high ceiling, 150 feet above me, I felt as if no human being could be worthy of enjoying such a magnificent view. But, "unless a language be invented full of lance-headed characters, and Gothic vagaries of arch and finial, flower and fruit, bird and beast," the beauties and glories of the temples of Italy, and her unparalleled galleries of art, can never be described. From Milan I went to Vicenza, where I spent a sleepless night in skirmishes with the mosquitoes! The number and variety of obnoxious insects multiplies fearfully as one approaches the topical regions. Thence I went to
As I was very much disappointed with Venice, I shall not occupy much time in describing this daughter of the sea. The railway bridge which leads to this city is about two miles long. I expected that a city whose streets are canals and whose carriages are all boats, would present a very unique appearance, but when I once saw them, they were so exactly what I had anticipated, that I felt disgusted and left the city without doing justice even to the vast collection of paintings in the Ducal Palace, which alone is worth going a great distance to see.
The church of San Marco is one of the grandest and most wonderful structures in Italy, and I can only refrain from copying Ruskin's very fine description of it, because his account, though true in every particular, would, to one who has never seen any of the architectural glories of Italy, seem more like the attempt of a poet to depict in glowing language the vagaries of a dream, than like the description of an edifice really in existance.
On the Piazza above the portal of San Marco, stand the celebrated bronze horses "which Constantine carried from Rome to Constantinople, whence Marino Zeno brought them hither in 1205; they were taken to Paris by Napoleon in 1797, but restored by the Allies in 1815."
Venice to Bologna.
In place of spending several days at Venice, as I now think I should have, I left already in the afternoon at 3:35 o'clock, and reached Bologna that evening. It required between 6 and 7 minutes to cross the bridge, over two miles long, which connects Venice with the land. The water is not deep, and most of this bridge is a mere bank of earth running into the sea. It was on account of my being disgusted at the general unpretending appearance of Venice, that I left her so soon. Among the objects of interest that I saw between Venice and Bologna, was a herd of a hundred deer on a hill-side, and the merry bells of stage-teams jingling like our sleigh-bells, but which may be heard in Italy and Switzerland all the year round. When I observed in my Satchel Guide that Bologna has two leaning towers, one of them nearly 300 feet high leaning 4 feet, and the other about half that height and leaning 8 feet, I determined to go and see them. They are massive but plain brick structures, and it is difficult to decide which way the higher one leans. The inclination of the lower one, however, is decided, but presents nothing striking or threatening in its appearance. I felt afraid that the Leaning Tower of Pisa might possibly also fail to present anything that was remarkable or imposing to the beholder when I would come to see it once, just as a thousand and one other objects do which antiquity and poetry have rendered sacred and famous; and I walked away with down-cast countenance and took passage for Firenze (Florence).
The Cathedral, (Il Duomo), begun in 1298, is 554 feet long; and 334 feet through the transepts. The nave is 152 feet high; the cupola is 138 feet in diameter or about the same as that of St. Peter's in Rome, for which it also served Michael Angelo as a model.
Close by the cathedral is Giotto's Campanile, 300 feet high, the most beautiful of all the towers that I have seen in Europe. The square blocks of many colored marble with which its four sides are coated, produce a richness of effect that is indescribable. Decorated from top to bottom with all manner of statues and architectural ornamentations, "it is like a toy of ivory, which some ingenious and pious monk might have spent his life-time in adorning with sculptural designs and figures of saints; and when it was finished, seeing it so beautiful, he prayed that it might be miraculously magnified from the size of one foot to that of three hundred." The view of this superb structure in connection with the grand edifice (the Cathedral) to which it belongs, opens so suddenly upon the visitor, that he will never forget what feelings of joy and surprise he experienced on making the last turn around the corner, when these splendid edifices leaped upon him so unexpectedly in all their beauty and magesty.
The church of Santa Croce, whose foundation was laid in 1294, is "the Pantheon of Tuscany." It contains the tomb of Michael Angelo, and magnificent monuments of Dante, of Alfiero, of Macchiavelli, of Galileo and of many others of less fame.
The houses in which were born Michael Angelo, Dante, Amerigo Vespucci, Macchiavelli and Galileo may be found and identified by the memorial tablets which mark them.
Piazza della Signoria is the business as well as the historic center of Florence. Here stands the old capitol of the republic, begun in 1298. It was afterwards the residence of Cosmo I. Near this palace is a magnificent fountain of the time of Cosmo I. I cannot tell positively, now, whether the sculpture and architecture of Florence is so much richer than what I saw elsewhere in Europe, or whether the enchanting beauty of sculpturesque and architectural master-strokes at the Cathedral, the Campanile, St. Croce, and the Fountain and Palace in this magnificent square, may not have thrown me into the condition of one in a dream; but I certainly felt all the time that I spent in Florence like one in another world, where scenes of fascinating beauty were surrounding me on every side, and feelings of ecstatic delight precluding me from any but a dream-like enjoyment of the scenery around. I was without any acquaintance or companion the whole day, which in connection with the fact that I was thousands of miles away from the familiar scenes of home, where every object that I contemplated was new and different from what I was wont to see, could not fail to make me feel like one in a dream. I went along the Portico degli Uffizi adorned with throngs of statues of celebrated Tuscans, and into the famous Uffizi Gallery, founded by the Medici, and one of the most precious collections in the world. In the Tribune, the inner sanctuary of the great temple of art ("the richest room in all the world, a heart that draws all hearts to it") I saw the Venus de Medici, the Dancing Faun, the Apollino, the Wrestlers, and other masterpieces of ancient sculpture; also, among the paintings, some of the best works of Raphael, Angelo, Titian and others. I must however admit that the out-door scenery of Florence charmed me more than what I saw in its world renowned museum. It seems to me, that Raphael and M. Angelo deserve more praise for the inventive genius which they evinced in translating bible stories and poetical imagery into pictures, than for their mechanical execution. To such as understand anything about paintings, it will seem very absurd, of course, that I should presume to criticise the paintings of these great masters, but they must admit that a hundred of those who roam the world and come to see the works of the masters, are ignorant of painting and sculpture, as I am, to half a dozen that are able to criticise them from the standpoint of one who is himself an artist. The "hundred" unskilled in the fine arts, have as great a desire to know how they will likely be affected by the sight of those works as the half dozen artists are; permit me to speak to the "hundred!" It is true that the paintings of Raphael and Angelo may have faded, but, whatever they may have been when they were first hung to the wall, they now look pale, shady and inferior in artistic execution to many of those of Rubens and of the masters of the Dutch school in general; that is, if we consider nature as the standard and copying it as the only criterion of a master's talents. But for inventive originality of conception, the Dutch masters are no rivals even, certainly not, of the Italians.
Need I repeat that wherever one finds such a rich store of art as in Florence, there too will he find ladies and gentlemen of beauty, culture and refinement? The same fascinating forms and features which characterize the men and women of Turin and Milan, are also met with here, but they comprise a much smaller proportion of the whole population. It is fair to presume, however, that a large proportion of those which I saw in Florence were natives of distant parts of the globe, which streamed thither, by the thousand, to see that charming city. One can nowhere see more intelligent company than in such a place as Florence; but how the most symmetrical and best looking people of all other countries contrast with Italian beauties, none but those few who ever go thither will ever learn to form the least conception of. It has become my duty, however, to record the fact, that the most favored of all countries when they sail into the society of the fair daughters of sunny Italy cast a shadow about them, as we may fancy any human would when coming into the company of the beautiful angels of a heavenly Paradise. Go reader, if you cannot visit Italy personally, and see what the poets say about these people, and believe every word they can say in favor of their charms.
From Florence I went to Pisa with the special object of seeing the famous Leaning Tower (1174-1350). It is circular, having 15 pillars in the wall of the first story and 30 in each of the six succeeding ones. On top of these, is another one (the eighth) much smaller than the rest, and probably built upon it after the tower had reached the amount of inclination which it now has. The entire structure is 187 feet high, and 173 feet 9 inches in circumference (according to my own measurement). The walls are from 5 to 7 feet thick. There is a peal of bells at the top, the heaviest weighing 6 tons. Nothing is more evident than that this tower assumed its leaning position by accident. It is probable that this structure, which is the finest in Italy except Giotto's Campanile at Florence, was originally designed to be a very high one, (perhaps 300 feet). It is likely that the foundation did not give way until at the seventh story, and that after it came to a stand-still again, they capped it off abruptly by the odd little story which we now see at the top of it. The inclination amounts to about 13 feet. There is a circular pavement around it about 10 feet wide, which has the same angle of inclination that the tower itself has. It is sunk 3 feet into the ground on one side and 8 feet on the other side. Upon careful examination and measurement I discovered that the diameter of the basin thus formed is to the height of the tower, as the inclination of pavement constituting the floor of the basin is to the amount of inclination of the tower.
Let it be remembered, that this tower is not an independent structure, but that it stands near the east end of the Cathedral, as the elegant campanile at Florence stands near the cathedral of that city.
The Cathedral (1063-1118) is 311 feet long, 106 feet wide, and the nave 109 feet high. The great bronze lamp which gave Galileo the hint of the pendulum, still hangs in its nave.
The Baptistry (1153-1278) stands a little distance from the west end of the Cathedral. It is about 120 feet in diameter and its dome is 180 feet high. Peabody considers it "the most faultlessly and exquisitely beautiful building" he ever saw.
These three most elegant buildings, the Cathedral, the Baptistry and the Campanile or Leaning Tower, are a unite in architectural beauty and design, and for effect in external appearance are scarcely outvied by anything that I have seen of the kind in all Italy. No one will feel sorry for having traveled a hundred miles to see the "Leaning Tower," and the traveler will observe with pleasure and satisfaction that its two companions are even more elegant than itself.
On Tuesday noon, September 15th, I left Pisa for Rome. It was continually
as I progressed southward. At London I had received information that I must by no means go to Rome before October, as I might not be able to endure the intense heat of summer in central Italy.
The tourist must not always believe all that is said. Though it is not so pleasant to visit Rome in July or August, as later in the season, still it is quite as safe, if one takes the necessary precautions against fever. No one should eat much meat in Italy and Egypt. I lived upon milk, bread and fruit principally, and dressed in flannel; and as a consequence, never experienced much inconvenience from any source—not from heat even. At Rome I used an umbrella during the middle of the day, and in Egypt all of the day, but with that to protect me from the effect of the direct rays of the sun, I could get along tolerably well.
At Milan a young friend had cautioned me to be careful at Rome, as persons were often murdered there in broad daylight! I was not at all alarmed by that remark, because I had previously received similarly reports in regard to the morality of other cities, and had discovered that they were unfounded. As our train was sweeping on toward Rome, I apprehended little danger, therefore, from these sources, and after having formed the acquaintance of a certain Frenchman, the professor of mathematics of the University of Brest, who could speak a very little English, I began to have brighter hopes in regard to my visit to Rome.
The sun set soon after we had passed Orbetello, and the moon rose about the same time. We had still two hours to Civita Vecchia and four hours to Rome, but I shall never forget the happiness and emotional excitement that prevailed among our passengers, as we were approaching the city of the Caesars and of the Popes, on that pleasant moonlight evening. The light of the full moon cast a charm about every scene, and as we watched the appearance of tropical species of plants and trees under the subdued and enchanted light of the moon and stars, we felt that we were about to enter the celestial city under eminently fascinating circumstances. At 10:00 o'clock we were intently looking from the windows, each for the first glimpse of Rome. Will we reach the Tiber soon? As our train leaped upon the bridge and my French companion first saw the glassy surface of the historic stream, he, half distracted by solemnity of the occasion, exclaimed with a forced but feeble effort, "THE TIBER, the Tiber!" None was his own, and the enraptured Professor, sinking from the effects of an ecstatic swoon, grasped hold of me and with labored enunciation spoke in a low voice, saying, "I feel in-ex-pres-si-ble e-mo-sions!"
At 10:20 we entered the shed of the great Railway Station. It was my good fortune to meet a German porter who conducted me and my new companion to an excellent hotel (Albergo Torino E Trattoria duetto da Abrate—Via Principe Amedo in prossimita alla Stazione) where we took rooms together.
One sees a thousand strange and curious things at Rome that my limited space will preclude me from describing or mentioning, even. The gable-end of the Stazione (Station) has in base relief a representation of the traditional she-wolf nursing the twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.
Emblems unique and obscure in design, may be seen in almost every street. I saw in one place the hands of a clock dial in the form of snakes.
I did more justice to my eyes than to my feet, during my first day in Rome. The Column of Marcus Aurelius, the Post-Office, Castello S. Angelo, St. Peter, the Vatican, the Colosseum (Amfiteatro Flavia, or Coliseo) and the fountains, arches and ruins of ancient heathen temples that I passed on my way, gave me a pretty good practical idea of the Rome that I had read about in the books. Only the approaching darkness and the dread of walking alone through the suburbs of Rome under cover of night, could induce me on the evening of the first day to tear myself away from the crumbling heaps of stones which constitute the ruins of ancient Rome, so charming and grand to behold.
It required about three days of close study before I could readily identify on my map of ancient Rome, the temples of Vespasian, of Saturn, of Castor and Pollux, of Julius Caesar, of Faustina, and of Venus and Roma; the triumphal arches of Titus, of Severus and of Constantine; the Meta Sudarite, and the Column of Phocas, in the Roman Forum; also the Column of Trajan and other objects in the Forum of Trajan, and numerous other ruins of ancient Rome, including the aqueducts, baths, and the little round Temple of Vesta (?) on the left bank of the Tiber.
The Rome of to-day is about a mile and a half square, and has a population of 245,000 inhabitants. Ancient Rome occupied much more territory, and its population was at the beginning of the 2nd century about 1-1/2 million. The ruins of ancient Rome cover a desolate area of several square miles in extent, besides what is covered by the modern city. Its walls are 15 miles in circuit.
Whatever may be said of the 364 churches of Rome, (including seven called Basilicae, namely: St. Peter, St. John Lateran, Santa Maria Maggiore, and Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, within the city, and St. Paolo, San Lorenzo and San Sebastian, outside of the walls), all agree, that
is the elephant among the ruins of the old city. This stupendous structure is eliptical in form, measuring 615 feet through the longer diameter and 510 feet through the shorter, covering more than 5-1/2 acres of ground. In the height of its glory 87,000 spectators could he accommodated within its walls! It is 156 feet high, but has no roof. The sailors of the imperial fleet used to stretch sail-cloth over it to exclude the burning rays of the sun. The arena is 279 feet by 174 feet. This building was begun in A.D. 72, and dedicated by Titus in A.D. 80. It was inaugurated by gladiatorial combats which lasted 100 days, during which time 5,000 wild animals were killed. About one third of the building is still preserved, and presents a scene to the beholder of overawing magnificence and grandeur. When I walked into the Cathedral of Milan, I felt as if its elevated ceiling was about to lift me up, but, standing in the arena of this vast amphitheater, one feels as if its stupendous walls would crush him to the ground. Close by the Colosseum is the Meta Sudans, and the Arch of Constantine which spans the Via Triumphalis and unites it with Via Sacra (the Sacred Way). This arch has three passages and is adorned with admirable sculptures. It was erected in 311, when Constantine declared himself in favor of Christianity. Following the Sacred way, toward the north, we first come to the arch of Titus and afterwards to
The Roman Forum.
The Sacred Way, it seems, was about 3/8 of a mile in length and extended from the Arch of Constantine or the northern end of the Colosseum near by, to the Capitol. Near the Capitol stands the Triumphal Arch of Septimius Severus, 75 feet high and 82 feet wide, with three passages. It was erected in honor of that emperor and his two sons Caracalla and Geta in A.D. 203, to commemorate victories. It was once surmounted by a brazen chariot with six horses, on which stood Severus, crowned by Victory. The pavement of the Forum, which has been laid bare by recent diggings, lies some twenty feet lower than the level of the street which now passes at the side of the diggings. Near the northern end stands the Column of Phocas, 54 feet high, which was erected in 608 in honor of the tyrant Phocas, of the Eastern Empire. All around the Forum stand what remains of the ancient temples, once dedicated to the deities which it was believed presided over the destinies of Rome, before the advent of Christianity. The broken pillars of ruined temples are seen on every side.
The only relics still extant of the ancient Capitol of Rome are the ruins of the Tabularium, erected B.C. 78, by the consul Q. Lutatius Catulus for the reception of the state archives. The modern Capitol covers a part of it. The Tarpeian Rock, from which the condemned used to be thrown by the ancient Romans, is close by this edifice, if the Rupe Tarpeia still pointed out is the veritable one.
Adjoining the Tabularium is the Schola Xantha, "With the Colonnade of the Twelve Gods, whose images Vettius Agorius Praetextatus, the praefectus urbi, and one of the principal champions of expiring paganism, erected here in A.D. 367." The Twelve Gods stand in base relief, on a beautiful vase in the corridor of the Capitoline Museum, in the following order: Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Hercules, Apollo, Diana, Mars, Venus, Vesta, Mercury, Neptune and Vulcan. It is a remarkable coincidence(?), that there are: First, Twelve Lunations in a year; Second, Twelve Months in a year; Third, Twelve Constellations in the heavens; Fourth, Twelve Gods in the ancient mythology; Fifth, Twelve Labors of Hercules; Sixth, see Law of the Twelve tables(?), Encyclopaedia Britannica on Burying; Seventh, Twelve Sons of Jacob; Eighth, Twelve Tribes of Israel; Ninth, Twelve Apostles of Christ; Tenth, Twelve Virtues and Twelve Vices represented in base reliefs in Notre Dame, Paris; Eleventh, Twelve Colossal statues facing the tomb of Napoleon I.; and Twelfth, Twelve units in a dozen.
It is strange enough that there are a dozen dozen of these curious dozens!
Did Pythagoras not also have twelve spheres to make his sphere-music?
Between the Tabularium and the Forum, about 150 feet southeast from the former, and near the Arch of Severus, are the "remains of
or orator's tribune, a name derived from the iron prows of the war-ships of Antium with which the tribune was adorned after the capture of that town in B.C. 338. At the end of it was the Umbilicus urbis Romae, or ideal center of the city and empire, the remains of which are recognizable. At the other end, below the street, are a few traces of the Miliareum Aureum, or central mile-stone of the roads radiating from Rome, erected by Augustus in B.C. 28. It is however doubtful whether these names are correctly applied to these remains."
The Temple of Caesar
is situated on the east side of the Forum, with its front toward the Capitol. To this, "Caesar, in addition to other alterations made by him, transferred the tribune of the orators. This was now named the Rostra Julia, and from it, on the occasion of the funeral of the murdered dictator on the 19th or 20th March, B.C. 44, Mark Antony pronounced the celebrated oration which wrought so wonder-fully on the passions of the excited populace. A funeral pyre was hastily improvised, and the unparalleled honor accorded to the illustrious dead of being burned in view of the most sacred shrines of the city. A column with the inscription 'parenti patriae' was afterwards erected here to commemorate the event. At a later period Augustus erected this temple in honor of 'Divus Julius,' his defied uncle and adopted father, and dedicated it to him in B.C. 29, after the battle of Actium. At the same time he adorned the rostra with prows of the captured Egyptian vessels."—Baedeker.
The Baths of Caracalla.
As an example of the magnificence of the ancient Roman baths, we may take the Thermae of Caracalla which could accommodate 1,600 bathers at a time! This establishment, now the largest mass of ruins in Rome, except the Colosseum, was 720 feet long and 372 feet wide. A flight of 98 steps lead to the roof which (the roof) has now tumbled down. This structure covered over six acres of ground, and had its porticoes, race course, &c., surrounded by a wall. The total area of the grounds is nearly 27 acres!
The Baths of Diocletian, erected in the 4th century, were 6,000 feet in perimeter and its number of daily bathers were 3,000.
The Pyramid of Cestius.
"The Egyptian pyramidal form was not unfrequently employed by the Romans in the construction of their tombs." That of Cestius, who died within the last thirty years before Christ, is 116 feet high and 98 feet square at the base. It is constructed with bricks and covered with marble blocks.
Upon the Cemetery of St. Lorenzo, "the great modern burial-ground of Rome," I saw one or several small monuments or head stones which were in the form of pyramids. Here, as in Catholic burial-grounds generally in Europe, crosses take the place of memorial stones, except some of the latest interments are marked by marble slabs and monuments.
or underground burial-places of Rome, are not quite as interesting as many suppose who have read large chapters and heard long addresses upon the subject. The passages are almost innumerable, intersecting each other in every direction and ranging in some places many stories above each other, but still, as you pass along in the dim light of a little taper, it appears much like a subterranean stone-quarry containing pigeon-holes for the dead.
The Temple of Vesta.
The little round temple referred to on page 244, was once supposed to have been the temple of Vesta, but it is now quite certain that this was a mistake. It is 50 feet in diameter and each of its 20 Corinthian columns which constitute the circular colonnade around it, is 32 feet high. Wherever the Temple of Vesta may have stood, it is evident that from its eternal fires was borrowed the custom, still extant in Catholic churches, of keeping up a perpetual flame by means of tapers. Six Vestal Virgins sworn to perpetual virginity, used to watch the sacred flame upon the altar in the Temple of Vesta, and it is an impressive sight to see the same sacred and eternal flame still burning around the High Altar in St. Peter's. From what may still be seen in Europe in general, and at Rome in particular, it is evident that all or nearly all of the emblems, forms and ceremonies of the early Catholic Church were borrowed from ancient mythology.
Obelisks and Fountains.
The many magnificent fountains of Rome are all adorned with groups representing characters of ancient mythology, as is the case with nearly all the fountains of Europe and America, even unto this day, and the half a dozen or more obelisks of Rome are likewise monuments of the heathen origin of modern civilization. These, it seems, were first erected and dedicated to the sun, as we may infer from the fact that globes representing the sun surmount them. Since the introduction of the Christian religion, a figure of St. Peter with the cross is placed upon some of them. Hence, the development of religious ideas stands chronologically thus: First, Sun-worship and afterwards the elevation of St. Peter, and of the Cross. Judging from what we see on ancient monuments and in the churches, it is perhaps a fair question, whether St. Peter, the Virgin and other saints were not at one time quite as much the' object of worship, as Christ himself?
"St. Peter's stands on the site of the circus of Nero, where many Christians were martyred and where St. Peter is said to have been buried after his crucifixion." An oratory (chapel?) stood here as early as A.D. 90. In 309 a basilica, half the size of what St. Peter's now is, was begun by Constantine. It was the grandest church of that time. "The crypt is now the only remnant of this early basilica." The building of the present edifice was commenced in 1506 by Julius II. Michael Angelo worked 17 years at it (to 1564). It was completed and "consecrated by Pope Urban VIII., on 18th November, 1626, on the 1300th anniversary of the day on which St. Silvester is said to have consecrated the original edifice."
This church contains 29 altars, besides the high altar. "Its area is 212,321 sq. ft., while that of the cathedral of Milan is 117,678, St. Paul's at London 108,982, St. Sophia at Constantinople 96,497, and the Cathedral of Cologne 73,903 sq. ft." The nave is 87 feet wide and 150 feet high, and the dome is 138 feet in diameter (5 feet less than that of the Pantheon) and some 450 feet high. One might fill a volume in describing its rich marble pavement, its 148 massive columns, its gilded chapels and ceiling, its fine sculpture, and the thousand and one objects in and about it that render it the most imposing as well as the largest church in the world. Imagine yourself in the middle of a church occupying over five acres, whose High Altar stands under a brass canopy 95 feet high, and weighing 93 tons, and whose Confessio is surrounded by 89 burning lamps! The total cost of the edifice is about $85,000,000. [It should always be remembered that labor has been twice to three times as cheap in Europe as it is now in this country]. "The expense of erecting this church was so heavy that Julius II. and Leo X. resorted to the sale of indulgences to raise the money, and this lead to the Reformation."
is the church of the Pope as bishop of Rome, and here his coronation takes place. "It takes the precedence even of St. Peter, in ecclesiastical rank, being, as the inscription on its facade sets forth, 'c Ominum Urbis Et Urbis Ecclesiarum Mater Et Caput.'"
If St. Peter's had not the advantage of a piazza that is unrivaled in magnificence, I think the lofty facade of the Lateran would present a view of more imposing grandeur, even, than that stately structure. The interior of this church is very beautiful. It must not be supposed that St. Peter's has no rivals in beauty. Even in Rome it does not seem to stand alone. Of the 363 other churches in the great city of churches, there are numbers that vie with it in the beauty and perfection of some particular portions.
Santa Maria Maggiore.
"The Virgin appeared simultaneously to the devout Roman patrician Johannes and to Pope Liberius in their dreams, commanding them to erect a church to her on the spot where they should find a deposit of snow on the following morning (August 5th)." The Basilica Liberiana which was erected in obedience of this vision, was succeeded by a church named S. Maria Mater Dei (A.D. 432) and later by the present edifice. Almost every church in Rome has its legend. I have seen no other church that seemed so rich in gold, precious alabaster and many other kinds of beautiful and costly stones. Its panelled roof is gilt with the first gold brought to Spain from South America, and presented to the Pope by Ferdinand and Isabella.
Near S. Maria Maggiore is the church of
S. Antonio Abbate,
to which are brought the horses, mules, cows, etc., during the week following the feast of the saint (January 17-23). On the 23rd, the Pope and many persons of the higher classes send their horses here to be blessed and sprinkled with holy water.
The Scala Santa
referred to on page 189 of this book, are in a church near the Lateran. They were brought to Rome by the Empress Helena and may only be ascended on the knees. They are partly covered with boards, to save the stones from being worn away by the thousands that ascend it. Two adjoining stairways are for the descent.
S. Pietro in Vincoli
was founded about 442, as the receptacle for the chains of St. Peter, which had been presented by Eudoxia, wife of Valentinian III., to Pope Leo I. This church contains the famous statue of Moses with horns, by Michael Angelo. Mediaeval Christian artists generally represented Moses with horns, owing to an erroneous translation of Exodus XXXIV., 35. Michael Angelo represented these horns upon the head of Moses as having been about three inches in length.
S. Maria in Aracoeli
probably occupies the site of the Temple of Jupiter. Its present altar encloses an ancient altar which is said to have been erected by Augustus. "According to a legend of the 12th century, this was the spot where the Sibyl Tibur appeared to the emperor, whom the senate proposed to elevate to the rank of a god, and revealed to him a vision of the Virgin and her Son."
This church is approached by a very high flight of steps rising from the foot of those leading to the piazza of the modern Capitol, and "the interior is vast, solemn, and highly picturesque. It was here, as Gibbon tells us, that on the 15th of October, 1764, as he sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefooted friars were singing vespers, the idea of writing the 'Decline and Fall' of the city first started to his mind."
has been the residence of the Popes since their return from Avignon, in France, where they had resided from 1309 to 1377. It is now the most extensive palace in the world, being three stories high and 1,151 feet long by 767 feet wide, covering over 20 acres! The palace comprises 20 courts, eight grand staircases and two hundred smaller ones, and is said to contain 11,000 halls, chapels, saloons and private apartments. Since the Italian occupation, Pope Pius IX. considers himself a prisoner in his own palace, though strange to say, there are no doors locked except those which he locks himself on the inside! King Victor Emanuel, though, excommunicated by the Pope in the most indecent language that ever fell from human lips, has done no violence to the person of the Pope, and now contents himself as an outsider of the church.
The masses can now no longer "go to Rome to see the Pope," for he neither ventures forth from his palace into the city for exercise and pleasure, as he used to, neither does he hold any public receptions. My French companion who had come to Rome for the purpose of making a present of several hundred dollars to the Pope, insisted on my accompanying him, as he was allowed a private interview, but I could not avail myself of the opportunity.
The galleries and museums of the palace are the richest in the world, in Roman and Christian antiquities. Here are the paintings which have rendered Raphael and Angelo immortal to fame. They are almost innumerable. These masters translated the Bible into pictures, and here are the originals of many of the cuts that adorn our finely illustrated family Bibles. Michael Angelo painted 22 months (1508-11) at the ceiling of the Sixtine Chapel. In the Loggie, Raphael represents God in the person of an old man wearing a long gray beard and attired in the oriental costume.
The principal museums in Rome are the Christian and the Gregorianum Lateranense in the Lateran; the Etruscan, the Egyptian and the Museum of Christian Antiquities in the Vatican; and the Capitoline Museum, on Capitoline Hill. The vast stores of ancient art contained in these, brings the beholder back again to the strange scenes of the distant past, as do perhaps no other museums in the world. To do justice to these collections would require many weeks, and a mere catalogue of their contents would cover many pages. Among the most interesting apartments of the Capitoline Museum, are the Room of the Dying Gladiator, the Room of the Philosophers, the Room of the Busts of the Emperors, the Room of Venus, &c. Baedeker guides the tourist through Rome by means of 312 pages of description in fine print. It may be proper to observe here, that Murray leads the visitor in the same way through London by means of a guide-book of 316 pages, and Galignani has 438 pages on Paris, exclusive of the tables of contents.
In regard to the brilliant and magnificent churches of Italy, which, for beauty, throw those of the rest of the world into the shade, I will here add that their overawing grandeur assisted materially in making man a humble and submissive being; and possibly taught him to take the first steps from ancient barbarity toward civilization and refinement.
Several square miles of ancient Rome lying in ruins, is now unoccupied, and many of the roads which intersect this desolate area are lined on both sides by walls from 7 to 10 or 12 feet in height. They are plastered white and overgrown by the ivy; and as one walks along in these, he may well occupy his time in watching a species of little reptiles that are very nimble but shy, running up the high smooth walls as easily as along the ground. They are harmless, no doubt, but I dreaded them quite as much as if I had been in a similar danger of treading upon snakes! They dart like arrows across the streets, and in their reckless haste of attempting to cross the street to avoid me, they frequently came near losing their lives under my feet! They are about 3 to 6 inches long, we will say; have four legs as near as I could count, and are very slim, resembling the snake in form and the frog in features. Good-by, Old Rome!
I spent 8 days in London, 17 in Paris and 6 in Rome; doing to one city about as much justice as to the other, in those various periods of time; but if one would come to Rome first, he would not be able to tear himself away in less than a few weeks. No one should travel any other way than against the course of civilization, on his first visit to Europe. In my course from Liverpool to Rome I enjoyed new sights in a constant flow, like that of a steady rain. I do not believe that it would be well for an American to be abruptly transported to Rome and awake one morning there. The strange sights would assail him suddenly, like a flood of angry waters!
Rome to Brindisi.
From Rome I went to Pompeii, stopping long enough at Naples, however, to learn that the impudence of the pestiferous porters is quite unendurable. Italy throughout is much infested with porters, but in the southern section of the peninsula they are a regular pest, which at times becomes epidemic. During the traveling season it seems as if everybody was a porter. Sometimes they will surround the traveler and assail him on every side, asking him to let them carry his baggage. Sometimes I found them to be of great service in finding hotels for me, but at other times I was much inconvenienced by their attacks. I think it was at Naples, where a dozen or more of them yelled at me all at the same time, each desirous of carrying my satchel. As none of them could speak in a language that I understood, I declined to let any one have it. Each one evinced his earnestness by taking hold of my baggage while asking for it. After taking turns at their chances in this way for a while, at the same time crowding the path in front of me so that I could not proceed, one of them in his greediness almost tore my satchel out of my hands, I responded to his supplication with such a tremendous no, that the next fellow assumed a stooping posture and asked me in a whisper! These people deserve our pity rather than censure. Many of them are evidently sometimes in a famishing condition. But few who have not seen, can form an idea of the poverty which reigns in some sections of Southern Italy, especially between Naples and Brindisi. I saw children running about in this section, that had little of clothing save a shirt, which was generally torn in every part; some few, below the age of about six or eight years, had not even a thread of clothing upon their bodies. An elderly man that was plowing with a pair of oxen, as is the custom in Italy, was accompanied by his wife who was well dressed, but he wore only a shirt that reached to his knees, and a hat. I spent a Sunday at Brindisi, and observed that people keep no Sunday there. All the people wear old and tattered garments, and I could not see a hat, a coat or a pair of pantaloons on the person of one of the hundreds that thronged the market-place all Sunday, that looked as if it had been new at any time within the last few years!
The railroad tunnels are even more numerous than in the Black Forest. In some places it becomes impossible to read in the cars, as the train is much of the time under the mountains. From the window of the cars I saw a man with his bare feet in a tub treading grapes, for the purpose of making wine. It reminded me of the way, as it is said, some made their sourcrout in this country some forty-five or fifty years ago.
I spent a day among the ruins of Pompeii and in the ascent of Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii was a town of about 30,000 inhabitants when it was destroyed by an eruption of old Vesuvius in A.D. 79. On the 24th of August a dense shower of ashes covered the town 3 feet in thickness, but allowed the inhabitants time to escape. Only of those which returned to recover valuables, &c., were overtaken and covered by the shower of red hot rapilli, or fragments of pumice-stone, which, with succeeding showers of ashes, covered the town to the depth of 7-8 feet. "The present superincumbent mass is about 20 feet in thickness." In the one third of the town already excavated the skeletons of some 500 have been found. Casts of bodies found in 1863, were made by pouring plaster of Paris into the cavities where they had lain, and the figures of the deceased in their death-struggle are thus obtained. Baedeker devotes 25 pages to a description of the wonders and curiosities of this exhumed town.
The ascent of Vesuvius required about six hours. We started at 6:30 in the morning and returned at 12:30 p.m. The distance from Pompeii, which stands at its foot, to the top of it is about 5 miles in a straight line, and eight miles by the paths. Mules can ascend half-way; but I took a guide and walked the whole distance. At the point where the mules must be abandoned, a number of guides offered to carry me up, or to drag me up by means of a rope! But I climbed it. A cloud hangs over it all the time, which is occasioned by the column of steam that issues from its crater. The entire upper part of the peak is perfectly bare of vegetation, and covered with fine cinders, rapilli, &c., through which escapes a gas that almost suffocates the ascending traveler. At the top we shouted into the crater and heard distinct echos after two seconds, which proves that the mouth of the crater reflected the sound at the depth of about 1,000 or 1,100 feet!
From Pompeii I returned to Naples and spent the night there. Early on Thursday morning I went to the "Stazione" (Station) and left for Brindisi. The temperature was 90 degrees in the shade, in the afternoon. Some people have constructed artificial caves which they use as stables, for their cattle; and possibly some have such rude grottos for their homes!
On the Mediterranean.
On Monday morning, September 26th, at 4:00 o'clock a.m., I stepped on board the steamship "Avoca" to take passage for Alexandria. Brindisi, like Havre, is one of the finest places in the world to leave! Almost everything about it is repulsive. I saw many children there that have possibly never seen a washing day in their lives! I sailed for Egypt with great reluctance, for I had already my misgivings about the property of tourists from civilized nations going thither for sight-seeing. Well one does see sights there—but, such sights!
Our voyage to Egypt was a very prosperous and, I may say, a pleasant one. Time, some eighty hours. As first and second class passage is unreasonably high, boarding costing $9—$10 per day, I took third class passage, and with a special outlay of a few dollars obtained acceptable meals. The steamer belonged to an English line, and it was one of the most pleasant incidents of my entire tour, to hear a company of sailors chime in one evening and sing "Kiss Me Mother, Kiss Your Darling." I had heard little English speaking for months, and now to hear that old familiar tune, five thousand miles away from home, made me feel as if America could after all not be so very far off! There were no storms, nor was their any cool night air upon that "summer seat." I slept one night on deck, without even an awning of canvass over me,—how pleasant it was at night to awake and see the winter constellation of Orion as high up already in September, as I was wont to see it in America in the month of January! We reached
on the fourth day after leaving the coasts of Italy. Perhaps I can not give the reader a better idea of what a blank Egypt seems to one who has luxuriated for months amid the scenes of Europe, than by leaving my chapter on Egypt a blank one. A great deal too much has been written about Egypt and the East, already. What profitable example can we take from those semi-barbarians? A young man who was just returning from a tour through Egypt and Greece, had told me already at Rome, that "going to see the East is done mostly for the name of having done the thing." He had been disappointed, and so was I. Why do tourists speak so much about the pyramids, after returning from Egypt? Because there is little else to be seen there or to talk about! And these are not half the wonders that many imagine who falsely presume that the building of the entire structures were undertaken at once. The broad foundation of 13 acres, which constitutes the base of the greatest, was not undertaken at one time; but only a small pyramid was at first reared, and around this, as a nucleus, was built layer after layer, until the structure assumed the amazing proportions which now characterize the astounding magnificence of the great pyramids on the plains of Geezeh. Thus at whatever time the sovereign might die, his pyramid would be almost complete, and would be large or small, in proportion to the time spent upon it. Perhaps succeeding generations built at some of the larger pyramids. They are monuments erected to the memory of kings or ruling families, and contain their tombs. Such, at least, is a plausible solution of the problem of pyramid-building.
At Cairo I engaged a guide whom I paid three dollars for accompanying me as many hours, and bargained with him that he must furnish the mules, (or donkeys I should have said), and pay all the contingent expenses. We visited the Mosk of Mohamet Ali in the Citadel, the Mosk of Hassen and others. Attendants at the doors provided us with slippers, for no one is allowed to tread the fine carpet (or matting?) of these holy temples with his shoes. Hats must be kept on, however. A large mosque generally consists of porticoes surrounded a square open court, containing a fountain or tank in the center. Here every Mussulman washes his hands and feet before he goes to prayers. They sometimes would here bathe their whole bodies in former times! It is not at all surprising that washing of feet should have become a part of the religious ceremonies in countries like Egypt, where washing is quite as necessary to existence, as eating and drinking, even. I wish they had pure water enough to wash themselves a dozen times a day. They would certainly be, what we consider very dirty, more than half the time, even then. As it is, they must take their untanned goat-skin bags and collect the luke-warm water which they find in dirty pools, and take it home for drinking purposes! It is impossible for the poor Egyptians to keep themselves clean. It rains only about three days in a year, and the wind takes so much dust into the air that one can often neither see or breath for a few seconds. This dust collected in such a thick layer upon my body, the first day, that I could in the evening plow furrows with my fingers upon any portion of my skin. I protected my eyes, by hiding my face in my shawl, during the most dangerous busts; but being ignorant of the necessity of putting cotton into my ears, I lost the hearing of one of them, which I only recovered quite lately. Hundreds of people in Cairo are blind, and certainly the majority of them have but poor sight or have very sore eyes! What wretched houses they live in! Many of the huts in their villages consist of but a single apartment, large enough for a person to lie down lengthwise in it, but not more than 5 feet wide. The walls and roof are all mud, and so low that a man cannot stand erect in some of them! These mud-huts have no doors even! The men as well as the women wear long flowing garments, like those represented in our picture Bibles. Many of the poor women have but a single garment to cover their bodies with. This consists of a hood-like covering for the head, and a loose flowing robe, all in one piece; having neither shoes nor the other garments to make themselves presentable in any decent or refined society. Many present pictures of indescribable wretchedness. I saw a woman nurse her child in the cars, who, when presented with an apple for her babe, returned her thanks without a smile, even, to the giver! These people are in too great misery to know what it is to feel happy! I saw men and women speak by the hour in the train without once turning into any pleasant mood. How my pity might have turned into joy, could I only have seen them indulge in a hearty laugh occasionally! Some of their girls and women of all ages will still ride the donkey, after the oriental style. The middle and poorer classes of Egyptians will eat little snails and fish fried with the heads, scales and all the appurtenances of their internal structures! In the East they churn the butter in bags made of untanned goat-skins, having the hair inside. Moreover, they bring the butter upon the table without doing so much as to comb it, even!
When I had seen these things, and was informed that on account of the cholera which was still raging in Syria, the surrounding nations had interposed a quarantine, so that if I would venture to go on to Joppa (which I could have reached in a few hours), I would become a prisoner, I soon decided that I would rather not see a people (the Syrians) that is more miserable than the Egyptians, even, than be in danger of being obliged to partake of food that could scarcely have failed to make me sick. Crossing the desert by rail, meeting large caravans of camels, and seeing the palm-trees, the minarets, the mosks, the pyramids, the muddy waters of the Nile, and above all the curious styles of the oriental costume, are interesting enough to one that comes to Egypt with ordinary expectations and correct information in regard to the country; but I did not expect to find the Egyptians a black inferior race, that would fight with each other on the pavements in the largest cities in broad daylight, violently tear my property out of my hands in sight of the finest square in Alexandria, carry naked children upon their shoulders in their large towns, and seat themselves around large dishes of rice and gravy mixing the same with their fingers and conveying it to their mouths in the palms of their hands! Numbers of them will dine without the use of either knives, forks or spoons, and when dinner is over, there is but one dish to be washed. Each has two hands and ten fingers to clean, and washing those, ends the whole matter! These are extreme cases, of course. Some live decently, too. Some few of the ruling classes, in luxury, perhaps. From Cairo I traveled by rail to Ismalia, thence by the Suez Canal to Port Said, where I spent the Sunday (October 3rd). On Tuesday I reached Alexandria again. I there put up at a first-class hotel (for travelers from civilized and refined nations can not enjoy themselves at inferior hotels in Egypt), and stayed five days, until the next steamer sailed for Brindisi. The hotel contained an excellent cafe, where ten intelligent and refined ladies and four gentlemen, all natives of Austria, were engaged to render music every evening for a whole year. One evening as I sat in the cafe at my supper, a poor boy came in to sell flowers; for what we must pay in this country for a drink, I bought a bouquet almost as large as a bucket, and when the next lady came to collect for the music, I gave her the bouquet as a present to the whole company. It was worth more than an introduction to the entire party, and for the balance of my stay I was always well entertained, and was kindly informed of anything that I asked in regard to the manners and customs of oriental life. The people of every nation under the sun, travel in Egypt in the habits of their own peculiar national costumes—the Turk with his turban, the Greek with his red cap, and the Arabians, East Indians, Russians, and all the nations of Western Europe are represented here, all wearing their own peculiar styles and fashions. The money too is a mixture of the coins of a dozen different countries. None except the poorest women will come out of their houses without having their faces covered with thick black veils.
On the "Home-Stretch."
I do not know where I was the happiest, when I reached the coasts of Italy and saw dear Europe again, when I reached Paris, or when I landed at New York and was finally again ushered into the sweet scenes of home! But I remember well that I left no city with so much regret as Paris. How I watched to see the last glimmering rays of its ten thousand gas-jets, as our train moved away at the silent midnight hour of October 22nd.
I had stopped at Milan to see the grand peagent of Emperor William of Germany, and King Victor Emanuel of Italy, with a retinue of some 22,000 militia, with which they held a military drill, and saw the illumination of the Cathedral on that memorable occasion; besides I had stopped a day at Rome, and two at Paris; yet I made my return trip from Alexandria to New York in 25 days, sleeping but 7 nights in comfortable beds in all that time. Sleeping in the cars and on the ships, never amounted to much. I made this haste on account of the now rapidly approaching winter.
Notwithstanding the influence which the church and the political powers of Rome, in earlier times, and which Paris and the spirit of progress in later years, have exerted to the contrary, the manners, customs and institutions of the people are still so different that the people of the Western Continent can not form correct ideas of European life without having first visited portions of it. For want of a standard of comparison, the reader is often utterly deceived by fine poetical descriptions, because he can not properly construe the language.
A tour of ordinary length and duration can now be made through the western nations of Europe, with less expense than is generally believed, as may be inferred from the fact that my entire tour of nearly fourteen thousand miles, cost less than seven hundred dollars. Many travelers lose forty percent of their money by imposition, and others are more careless and extravagant than they ought. If I could not have spoken German, it would have cost me several hundred dollars more. Could I have spoken French, it might have cost me a hundred dollars less. The expenses of making the tour of England, France and Switzerland are from $300 to $1,000, according to the style in which one wishes to travel; but a young man who wishes to spent $1,000 in educating himself, will make the best investment by spending half of it in traveling in foreign lands. He will there lay such a sure foundation for a correct knowledge of the institutions of the world, as no amount of reading can ever afford him. Let the enterprising "go west," but the student should see eastern countries.