ePub 版

fashion, by vetturino. The road was hilly and extremely dusty, the land bad, and producing a great quantity of chesnuts: as we approached Genoa we found handsome country-houses-but for the absence of green fields and the presence of dry rivers, which in summer are large tracts of bare shingles, it would be a fine country. From the top of a hill I first saw and saluted the much-sung Mediterranean with pleasure, although I have too much reason to be dissatisfied with that sea. It is said that the Italians are temperate, and by no means great eaters-there are surely some exceptions; I have seen Italian women devour most frightful suppers. I remember once observing in a coffee-house in London, an Italian singer of great comic powers, dealing drastically with a loin of pork, in a manner peculiar, energetic, and almost miraculous.

As soon as it was light this morning, the boy of three years and a half old, who was called a delicate child, ate cakes and sweetmeats for an hour; he then took to bread and cheese and the legs of cold fowls, and afterwards to hard pears, and washed them down with a good glass of wine: so far from being fatigued, he kept asking for bread, and pointing to the chesnuts on the trees, said that they were good to eat. At ten we had a breakfast à la fourchette; as it was a meagre day, some of the party abstained from flesh-the boy served on both sides with credit: he eat meat with the feasters and fish and eggs with the fasters; and after this meal, he found out two Spaniards who were busy with a fowl and sausages, and partook of their fare. During our afternoon's ride he did not refuse comfits and fruit; and when I asked him if he was hungry, if he would like a slice of cold meat, some cheese, and a hard boiled egg, he always answered yes, and seemed disappointed that it was only a question of idle curiosity.

The view of Genoa from the light-house is striking. I was pleased with the joyful meeting of our Italians with the relations, especially of two sisters; one had walked out of the city above a mile to meet the other, and she ran by the side of the carriage till it stopped; they kept kissing hands to each other heartily, and seemed beside themselves with joy. Are we not guilty of stifling too much these good feelings?

I put up at the hotel of the Four Nations—this sign is common on the Continent, as well as the Three Kings: I have not met with either of them in England. The Three Kings are undoubtedly the three magi, or wise men of the East; and the Three Crowns, which is also a sign, are the crowns of the magi: as every thing is Scriptural, the Four Nations are the Assyrians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans the four great monarchies, or kingdoms, of the prophet Daniel, who was perhaps greater as a prophet than as an historian. There was a violent rain and furious storm during the night.

Sunday, Oct. 23d.-I slept for the first time under a mosquito netI felt like the lion, in the fable of the lion and the mouse, and I longed for some friendly mouse to gnaw the net and set me at liberty.

I set out at nine with a guide to see the city; I had great difficulty in making my guide speak Italian-the innkeepers and their servants prefer French, either that they may show their learning, or because they think that the traveller who speaks Italian, means to pay in the

Italian style. On entering Italy I made a vow, or resolution, never to speak a word of French, rather to go without what I wanted, and I adhered to it most rigorously.

The Strada Balbi, with its three fine palaces, is very noble, as well as the Strada Novissima and the Strada Nova; they join together and form one handsome street. The view from the terrace in the gardens of the Doria palace is charming; on a summer's evening it must be an inconceivably delightful spot. The palace is interesting from the historical recollections of Andrew Doria, the father of his country and the restorer of its liberty-the Washington of 1528, who, if he did not refuse a proffered crown, was at least too magnanimous to yield to the vulgar ambition of making himself a king. The church of the Annunciation is handsome within, and is adorned with good frescos; there was a great crowd to hear the military mass; the martial music had a fine effect: the soldiers are neat and clean; I was told that they had learned of the English troops to keep themselves clean. I visited a large palace with a noble collection of pictures, and another with a fine saloon of gilded marble, which delights the French, and therefore cannot be in a good tastebut it is certainly excessively rich and handsome. The Garden di Negri has a charming view, and all the terraces, grottoes, bowers, and belvederes of an Italian garden. The cathedral is ancient and ugly, built in black and white stripes, like a magpie. An elegant church has two good pictures, one by Rubens, the other by Guido; another church has some remarkable reliefs, and many have excellent frescoes.

The church Carignani is large and plain; white stucco appears cold and bare to eyes that have been just gazing on the warm paintings of the other churches: there are some good pictures and large statues; one of St. Sebastian, by Puget, is much admired, but he is neither standing nor hanging; I do not like misplaced idealism; if a god has feet he should stand upon them-I cannot admire a saint, hero, or god, who walks through the streets on his hands, and picks his teeth with his toes.

From the promenade on the old walls, and from the pier, and from the top of the church Carignani, we obtained excellent views of the city and of the port. Many olive-trees grow around the city, and immense fig-trees are found in the courts of many houses and palaces: I saw the beautiful fruit of the arbutus exposed for sale on the stalls; it is said to be unwholesome, that only a few can be eaten with safety. The women are not handsome-but the white veil which they wear on their heads is becoming. The houses are extremely high and the streets surprisingly narrow; they are paved with large stones, with a narrow path of clinkers in the middle for the horses. The roofs of the houses are of an agreeable hue, being all covered with a light-coloured slate, which adds much to the beauty of this superb city. The figs are excellent; when opened they are of a bright pink, which I take to be the sign of a good fig. I found the fish good and fresh; small John-Dorées, and a little white fish, which but for its tiny black eyes would pass for pipe-macaroni. Fish ought to be scarce here, if we may believe the proverb, which gives such an unfavourable character of Genoa :-Mountains without wood, a sea

without fish, a people without faith, and women without modesty."Monti senza legno, mare senza pesce, gente senza fede, e donne senza vergogna."

Monday, Oct. 24th.-Of all the troublesome places for a passport, this is one of the most troublesome: they made me go in person to the police-then to the governor, and pay the fellow five francs-then to the English consul, which was unnecessary-then to a wretch of a Tuscan consul, who lived on the second floor in a little back street; and in imitation of his betters, the garreteer made me pay two francs more-it was then necessary to send my passport to the governor again, and finally to the police: the whole affair took up much time, and was a great nuisance. If the worthless animal who at present is styled King of Sardinia, Cyprus, and Jerusalem, were, as is much to be wished, only and actually monarch of Jerusalem alone, he could not treat travellers with a greater, or more stupid, illiberality.

Having at last obtained my passport, I visited a palace, which contains some excellent pictures; four admirable Guidos in one room, especially the Cleopatra. In another palace newly and handsomely furnished and highly perfumed with frankincense, were some exquisite paintings in good repair; two long narrow landscapes by Titian are considered great curiosities. In the royal palace is a superb production of Paul Veronese-Mary Magdalene anointing the feet of Christ. The arsenal contains as usual some muskets; something that might be the work of an English blacksmith, but is said to be an ancient rostrum; it was found in the sea in cleaning out the harbour; it has been fixed in the wall; and an inscription says, that the Genoese have dedicated it to the naval glory of their ancestors. It is not above a foot long, and, as has justly been observed, it would perhaps never have been thought the beak of a ship, had it not been found in so probable a place as the haven. The garden of the house where some English consul or minister had lived, is steep and pleasant-the view from the summer-house at the top of the garden is delightful; the day was very fine; that it was agreeable to sit in the open air on a marble bench, is a good criterion of the climate.

The poor-house is an immense building; in the chapel is a round basso-relievo in marble of the Madonna supporting a dead Christ; the heads only and the hands of the Virgin are given, but it is simple, natural, and affecting, and the skill with which the hair of Christ is expressed, is creditable even to Michael Angelo. We met a sedan-chair coming from the poor-house with a girl in it, who had a most doleful face, and a woman was following her on foot; we asked the matron, an ungracious person, what the girl had been doing? she answered generally, that she had been standing naughty, stava cattiva; in what posture she had been standing we could not learn, or what they were going to do with her. In the kitchen they were ladling out soup, thick with cabbage and vegetables, into basons of the colour and texture of flower-pots, and they put into each a little morsel of paste, which a woman was preparing in a mortar. I approached the mortar to see what it was, when a middle-aged woman in a religious habit, like a nun, came to me, and said that the paste was to flavour the soup, and that it consisted of cheese and garlic pounded together. She then

began an encomium on garlic, and said that it was a wholesome and indeed a wonderful thing, for if there was any wind upon the stomach it enabled it to come up; of which, with more simplicity than grace, she gave a practical illustration,

In notes with many a winding bout,
Of linked sweetness long drawn out;

adding triumphantly "There, I could not do so, if I did not eat garlic." She then led me to a sort of cloister, where a number of young women were sitting, and told me that they belonged to the house, but that it was not like a convent, for I might marry any of them I chose. I asked how many of them I might have; she said only one at once, but if she died I might have another. I observed that I could do as much as that in my own country, and retired. I confess I did not feel tempted to take either a wife or a cook from that establishment.

There are but few public institutions at Genoa; most of the lions are private property. There is a certain shyness, the attendant upon dishonesty, in the Italians; although they are cheerful and goodtempered, they are far less chatty and sociable than the English; but I cannot believe that they are such great rogues as they seem to think themselves; why then this shy reserve?

Tuesday, Oct. 25th.-At the early hour of half-past four I was roused for the purpose of executing within the day a journey of some thirty miles. I went to seek my vetturino, and when we were just on the point of departure, three young Germans, who were to occupy the inside of the carriage with myself, unluckily raised the question whether the price was to be paid in lire or francs; it would make a difference of one-seventh part, and it led to a long dispute. At last all parties were unanimous in referring to the master of the carriage, with whom the bargain had been made; the simple Germans believed that he would decide against himself and for them, if the interests of justice required it I have often observed that this is one of the ways in which men are most easily duped, in agreeing to refer to the decision of an unjust and partial tribunal. At last the silly suitors returned, and praised my penetration, for the decree of the Lord Chancellor was as I had predicted, in favour of francs; they were however satisfied with the determination, because he had agreed to take a certain sum for the present, or buono mano; in this also they were tricked, because as that is entirely voluntary, they had the game in their own hands, and if they thought that they were imposed upon as to the price, they might have indemnified themselves amply out of this fund, and have avoided all dispute and loss of time.

We did not set off until half-past eight; a Spaniard, who was to occupy the cabriolet, had the never-failing resource of his cegars-he smoked away the four hours with perfect composure; I am unhappily no smoker, and as I happen to know exactly the value of time which is spent in judicial inquiries and decisions, and how usefully it is employed; that in the few cases where every thing is not predetermined and arranged beforehand, it is much better to take a pair of dice, or a halfpenny, and to settle the point in dispute in a moment, upon principles equally rational and more satisfactory; I was, I confess, somewhat impatient, and wished sincerely that the golden simplicity of the

Germans had been fairly exhausted in the proper period of the world, the golden age, for in this age of iron, in Italy and Genoa, it appeared to be exceedingly out of place.

Whilst I was waiting I was told that the wind was fair and the day was fine, which was perfectly true, and that we should soon be blown along to Leghorn-this was less certain; and as I am not fond of trusting myself to the sea, I was especially unwilling to "wander in that perilous flood" at this season, and in a felucca. We crossed a dry river, and followed a fine road close upon the sea-shore; the country was very beautiful-olive trees in profusion, and in the gardens orange and lemon-trees covered with fruit. We took a slight repast in the middle of the day at a poor inn, and slept at Sestri. I found the temperature warm and comfortable; but the little Spaniard, who had been accustomed to the climate of Seville, complained bitterly of the cold; he anticipated with horror the thoughts of passing a winter in Rome, and declared that the inclemency of the climate would kill him; an Italian sky is proverbial amongst us northern nations as breathing nothing but the soft gales of Paradise.

My German companions treated me all day with extraordinary respect, in consequence of a ludicrous mistake; they had asked the vetturino of what rank their companion was to be; he said a high lord, un alto signore, he did not exactly know what, he believed an abate. How the man took this notion into his head I cannot comprehend, unless it was that he saw me when I was at dinner, after a walk of nine hours, and he judged of my quality from my appetite, which in his opinion could only be found in such unsophisticated purity in the jolly abbot of a rich monastery. However the notion originated, the good Germans believed it all day, and it was not until I chanced to say that I was an Englishman, and one of them asked if we had still abbots in England, that the matter was explained, to the great diversion of all the party, both lay and ecclesiastical.

Wednesday, Oct. 26th.-We rose at an unnatural hour, and slowly proceeded to Borghetto, or, as it is nick-named, Porchetto, the little pig, a filthy and piggish place, where we dined. After dinner I set off to walk to Spezia; the distance is twelve Italian or geographical, therefore nearly fourteen English, miles; I had advanced within half a mile of Spezia before the carriage overtook me; the vetturine travel a little faster than it is convenient to walk, but not much; a little law enables the pedestrian to keep a long time in advance. The new road goes to the left, and consequently leaves the sea and passes inland, through a solitary country covered with woods of low chesnut-trees; it is laid out on scientific principles, executed in a handsome and expensive style, and when completed will be an excellent road. For a long time Genoa has been, for so large, so rich, and so important a place, the most inaccessible spot in the world; this road will facilitate the intercourse with Florence, Leghorn, and the south; on the north the new road over the Bocchetta connects it with Milan and Turin and the northern nations. On turning the corner by an old olive-tree at the top of the hill, I came suddenly upon a noble view of the fatal gulph of Spezia, and of " the remorseless deep: " the day had been wild, but the evening was calm and fine; the country is beautiful; the Appenines on the left were white with snow like Alps. It was dusk с

SEPT. 1826.

« 上一頁繼續 »