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INTRODUCTORY. 35

and who shrieks out of the window, " Ma, Kino, Nino, non ho baciato la figlia mia."

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 are 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 INTRODUCTORY. 37

that of the Liverpool " roughs " (August, 1874), who, when a respectable citizen refused to give up his money, deliberately kicked him to death, in the presence of his wife and brother, who were themselves terribly injured in endeavouring to defend him. Even from brigands, if they are Italian, a woman would be almost certain to meet with nothing but personal kindness and respect, and a suffering woman could not be sufficiently commiserated or assisted.

An equally false impression exists in England as to middle and upper classes in Central Italy, who are generally represented and believed to be little better than well-dressed clowns, selfish, egotistical, frivolous, uneducated, ground down by superstition, devoid of all the habits of cleanly and civilized life. Such misconceptions will soon vanish from the minds of those who are at the pains to furnish themselves with introductions to the resident gentry on their mountain excursions, and who enjoy the friendly cordial hospitality of the many happy family homes, in which generation after generation have lived honoured and beloved, while in the sons and daughters of the country-houses, as well as in those of many of the Roman palaces, the same cultivation and accomplishments will be found which exist in a similar class in England, illuminated by that native grace and natural quickness and brilliancy which is seldom seen out of Italy.

"Any one who has been at the pains to seek a friendship, and has been lucky enough to find one, among the sons of modern Rome, will not be slow in doing justice to their charms; the faithfulness, warmth, tact, good humour, the grace of manner, the courage and tenderness, and that dignity of manhood which is so well reflected in the strong straight limbs, bright skin, rippling hair, and sunny faces, so well known to the loungers in the Corso, or on the Pincian hill. Let us not judge the Roman harshly. His history has been strangely chequered, and his energies may have varied with his fortunes. Sometimes, like Rienzi, he may still mistake memories for hopes, idle visions of past greatness for that inspiration which is the earnest of future glory: 'At non omnia perdidit, neque omnes.'"

Claude Delaval Cobham.

With regard to the best seasons for the excursions from Eome, those who reach Central Italy in October will find that month far the best for a tour in the Abruzzi, before the winter snows have set in. Subiaco and its surroundings are gloriously beautiful in November, and are greatly enhanced by the tints of the decaying vegetation, the absence of which is much felt in spring when the valley between Subiaco and Tivoli looks bare and colourless.

During the winter months many of the shorter excursions may be pleasantly made from Eome in a carriage or on horseback, and a tramontana, if not too severe, will be found most agreeable by pedestrians in the valleys of Veii, or on the heights of Tusculum. The railway to Frascati opens many delightful and short excursions, and may always give a perfect country change of a few hours. In March, Alatri, Anagni, Cori, and Segni may be visited, with many other places in that district, but March is an uncertain month because "Marzo e pazzo," for it is the time, say Italians, "when men did kill God."

'' A reverend meteorologist accounted for the cold in Lent, by saying that it was a mortification peculiar to the holy season, and would continue till Easter, because it was cold when Peter sate at the High Priest's fire on the eve of the Crucifixion."—Forsyth.

But April is the pleasantest month of all, and then should be made the enchanting excursion to Soracte, Caprarola, and the Ciminian Hills—which may be extended to Orvieto, whence those who do not wish to return to Rome may continue their journey northwards.

CHAPTER I.

OSTIA AND CASTEL FUSANO.

(This excursion can easily be managed in the day. Provisions must be taken, as there is no inn at Ostia, and visitors to Castel Fusano must provide themselves the day before with an order (given on presenting a card with a request, at the Chigi Palace in the Corso) to put up their horses there. Two hours suffice to see Ostia, but as much time as possible should be given to Castel Fusano.)

IT was in the freshness of an early morning of most brilliant sunshine, that we drove out of the old crumbling Ostian gate now called Porta San Paolo, which Belisarius built, and where Totila and Genseric entered Eome, and passed beneath the Pyramid of Caius Cestius, which for nineteen hundred years has cast its pointed shadow over the turfy slopes, where foreign Christians, gathered from so many distant lands, now sleep in Christ. This pyramid St. Paul looked upon as he was led out to execution beyond the city walls, and it may be considered as "the sole surviving witness of his martyrdom." A little further and we pass the "Chapel of the Farewell," which marks the site of his legendary leave-taking with St. Peter, and is adorned with a bas-relief of the two aged martyrs embracing for the last time, and inscriptions of the words they are reported to have spoken to one another. Then we reach the great basilica, once surrounded by the flourishing fortified village of Joanopolis, but now standing alone in

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