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peasant-farmer becomes their vassal and vine-dresser. As a rule the transaction takes place thus,—the debtor only sells the soil; the trees (gh albert, which includes the vines) remain his, he continues to cultivate the vineyard, and retains for himself half or three-quarters of the produce. Scarcely a year passes, and the same vine-owner appears before the purchaser of his land and offers him the trees for sale. Now he becomes farmer for his master, inhabits the vineyard with his family, and continues to cultivate it, receiving a portion of the produce. This may equal or even exceed that of the present proprietor, but yet he will find himself more and more in debt, and have to make over to his master no small proportion of his gains in advance."—Gregormiui.
The simple religious faith which exists amongst the mountain peasantry is most touching and instructive. The sound of the angelus bell will collect the whole population of one of the small Abruzzi towns in its churches, and the priests, unlike the spectres which haunt ultra-Protestant story-books, are more frequently simple gentle fathers of their people, consulted by them in every anxiety, and trusted in every difficulty. The open-air life in many ot these villages, where all the spinning, lace-making, and other avocations are carried on in the street, brings the people wonderfully together, and unites their interests and associations as those of one great family, and if a poor person dies, it is not unusual to see the whole town attend the funeral, while orphans who have been born in the place, become regarded as universal property, and receive a share of the attentions and care of all. On a summer's evening, when crowds of the inhabitants of a mountain town are sitting out in the shady street at their work, it is not unusual for one of them to take up one of the long melancholy neverending songs which are handed down here for generations, and for the whole people to join in the choruses. These songs are inexhaustible, varying from the short lively catches
in two lines called stornelli, to long ballads which sometimes succeed one another in more than a hundred verses. A curious collection of the latter, giving their variations according to the different towns and patois in which they are sung, are being published, under the name of "Canti e Racconti del Popolo Italiano," collected by D. Comparetti and A. D'Ancona. But no more complete picture of the manners and characteristics of the lower classes in Rome and its neighbourhood can be found than that which is given in the two thousand three hundred sonnets of Belli (1791—1863), who, himself one of "the people," wrote with the very essence of their feeling. There is a charming volume on "The Folklore of Rome," by R. H. Busk.
Riding is the best means of seeing the Campagna immediately around Rome; indeed there are many interesting places, such as Rustica on the Anio, which cannot be reached in a carriage. But for the longer excursions it is far best to adopt whatever is the usual means of locomotion in the district, generally some high-slung Barocano. In the Abruzzi, diligences are universally used, and, where the distances are so great between one town and another, they are quite a necessity. In some places these are of the most primitive construction, and in mountainous districts are always drawn by oxen placed in front of the horses, while the harness of the latter, thickly adorned with bells, feathers, and little brass figures of saints, is quite an artistic study. Diligence life is a phase of Italian existence which no one should omit trying at least once, or rather that of the public carriages which ply slowly between the different surrounding towns and the capital. In a vehicle of this kind one nnot fail to be thrown into the closest juxtaposition with Vol. L 3
one's neighbours, and nowhere is the universal national bonhommie and good fellowship more conspicuous. Suppose you are at Tivoli and wish to go to Rome. The diligence starts in the middle of the day. You walk to it from your inn, with a porter carrying your portmanteau. You find it under a dark archway; a lumbering vehicle, something like a heavy though very dilapidated fly, with three lean unkempt horses attached to it by ropes. The company is already assembled and greet you as if you were an old acquaintance. There is a fat monk in a brown habit which does not smell very good, a woman in panno and large gold ear-rings, a young office clerk, a girl of sixteen, and a little child of two. The young man sits by the driver, all the rest go inside. There is endless delay in starting, for when you are just going off, the rope-hamess gives way and has to be mended. You begin to feel impatient, but find nobody cares in the least, so you think it is not worth while. You get in, and find the interior very mouldy, with tattered sides, and dirty straw on the floor. The most unimaginable baggage is being packed on the roof. The gossippy condattore leans against the portico smoking cigarettes, and regaling Tivoli with the scandal of Rome. An important stalliere in rags stands by and demands his fee of one soldo. At last the company are desired to mount. The diligence is moving: it is an immense excitement: there is quite a rush of children down the street to see it. The vehicle creaks and groans. Surely the ropes are going to break again; but no, they actually hold firm this time and the carriage starts, rocking from side to side of the rugged pavement, amid the remonstrances of the woman in the earrings, whose daughter has not been able to embrace her,
and who shrieks out of the window, " Ma, Nino, Nino, non ho baciato la figlia mia."j
You do not get far before the fleas become active and a universal scratching begins. The child squeals. Then the monk gives it a lollypop and begins a long story about an image in his convent which winked twice—ringraziamo Dio —actually twice, on the eve of Ascension Day. You can hardly hear, for you are going down a hill and the carriage rocks so, and the bells make such a noise. Suddenly there is a regular outcry, "Oh, Madonna Santissima!" the young girl is taken worse. ... "Oh, povera piccina!" You stop for a little while, and are glad to escape even for a minute from the overwhelming smell of cheese and garlic which rises from a basket your next neighbour has placed at your feet. All is perfect good humour, the invalid recovers, you mount once more, the driver sings stornelli in a loud ringing voice: the monk hands round his snuff-box: you sneeze, and all the company say " Felicita "—and so on, till, when you reach the walls of Rome, you are all the greatest friends in the world, and you shake hands all round when you part, amid a chorus of " a rivederla Signore!"
It is melancholy to think how many people are deterred from the great enjoyment which is to be obtained from these Italian mountain excursions by imaginary fears of brigands. Of course it is just within the bounds of possibility that a casualty might occur, but, except perhaps in the neighbourhood of Palestrina or the Pontine Marshes, the chances arc exceedingly remote, and as a general rule the more distant places are the safest. Those who stay amongst the cordial, frank, friendly people of most of the mountain towns, or who visit the beautiful prosperous valley of the Liris, would smile at the very idea of an adventure; and, in the nearer Campagna, the buffaloes, and still more the shepherd dogs, are far more to be dreaded by lonely pedestrians than the inhabitants. Tourists who are content to travel simply to live with and like the people they are amongst, and especially who can sign "pittore" to the description of their profession required in strangers' books at the inns, are not only likely to be unmolested, but cordially welcomed and kindly treated, however savage the aspect of nature may be in the country in which they are wandering. The times are quite passed when picturesque groups surrounded every carriage which appeared in a remote place, and commanded its occupants to "saltar fuora" as the expression was. The brigand stories of the last century are preserved in English country houses, and served up for the benefit of any member of the family who may be travelling south, as if they were events of to-day. But those who entertain these fears do not realize how very small the proportion of robberies and murders is in Italy compared to that of their own country—and do not know that no well-authenticated case can be ascertained of a foreigner having been either murdered or carried off by brigands, north of the old Neapolitan states, since the time of railways. Events which would curdle the blood of every Italian throughout the country pass almost unnoticed in England. For instance, what detail of old Italian brigandage was ever half so horrible as the sentence which was appended to the account of the dreadful railway accident at Merthyr Tydvil (May, 1874) in the Times:—" We regret to say that the poor women most injured were robbed of their purses even before they could be extricated from the ruins of the carriages!" Or, what tale of Italian ferocity ever equalled