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agreeable country to Como. The inn, the Angiolo, is certainly on the lake, but only on a small part, which is within the walls of the city; there is no good view of it to be had from the house. I saw, in several parts of this city, little places like a corner cupboard in an oldfashioned house, with shelves, upon which were not long ale-glasses, with spiral lines of white in the stem, punch bowls, or china tea-cups, but skulls, each of which was labelled, as it were, thus; Nathan Brown, butcher, Whitechapel; Hannah Jones, relict of Simon Jones, of St. Martin's-lane, tallow-chandler; Ruth Lloyd, spinster, daughter of Baruch Lloyd, of Red Lion-street, cheesemonger; the Rev. Joel Bogglethwaites, curate of St. Giles's, and so forth: this is assuredly the most disgusting piece of superstition I ever encountered. The town is ugly and nasty, the cathedral fine: I was struck with the Latin inscriptions, in which the Italians excel; they are not thick, dull, and flat, like the stuff which our schoolmasters brew to hide under the first stone of St. Pancras church, or of London Bridge, but clear, bright, and up.
I tasted for the first time a good ripe fig; the inside was a red sweet-meat, not like a bit of rotten cucumber, as with us; as different in short from our figs as the inscriptions of the Italians from the heavy Latinity of our clumsy pedants. We were regaled also with a delicious little fish, a sort of herring, caught in the lake. We strolled after dinner to a suburb, where was a church, which we entered; it was lighted up-we saw nothing there out of the common course; a stupid old priest was blundering over what he had read every day for forty or fifty years; some children were gabbling the responses as loud and as quick as they could, and a schoolmaster of inauspicious air was praying away, and boxing the ears of his scholars. We returned to our inn, and heard a boy sing under the window the beginning of the opera of Figaro extremely well. After listening for some time, in spite of ourselves, to the often reiterated declarations of some Englishmen, that they would travel thirty leagues on the morrow, we retired to rest.
Saturday, Oct. 15th.-We took a boat with three paddlers to the Villa d'Este, once the residence of the late Queen Caroline, a spot well known to fame and to infamy; it might truly be named the palace of lies; it is a place to be well satisfied with, but not to be coveted. There is a long suite of rooms, some in the rustic style; a large garden with trees and flowers, but there is too much knickknackery; the most offensive piece is a glaring sham castle upon the hill behind, so truly detestable, that an English gentleman would not sleep upon the premises until he had entirely demolished it, or, what is precisely the same thing, that a retiring tradesman would fall in love with it, and purchase the place for its sake. The villa is rarely, if ever, inhabited; it is the property of Torlonia, the banker, at Rome.
The voyage to Pliny's villa is charming. The situation is delightful; it is approachable only by a boat; "altissimus iste secessus," the deepest retirement, it was fitly termed. The house is a stack of rubbish, with long passages, dark halls, and open courts; there are pyramidal cypresses, mouldering steps and terraces, and a waterfall; the famous fountain and a woody hill rising steeply behind. The letter to Sura, in which Pliny describes the fountain, is painted on the
walls, on the one side in the original Latin, on the other in an Italian translation. His reasons for the phenomena are amusing, because they differ from the style and tone which the wise men of the present day assume, when they would impose upon the public.-" Fons oritur in monte, per saxa decurrit, excipitur cænatiunculâ manu factâ: ibi paulum retentus in Larium lacum decidit. Hujus mira natura: ter in die, statis auctibus ac diminutionibus crescit decrescitque. Cernitur id palam, et cum summâ voluptate deprehenditur. Juxta recumbis et vesceris; atque etiam ex ipso fonte (nam est frigidissimus) potas: interim ille certis dimensisque momentis vel subtrahitur vel assurgit. Annulum, seu quid aliud, ponis in sicco: alluitur sensim, ac novissimè operitur: detegitur rursus, paulatimque deseritur: si diutius observes, utrumque iterum ac tertio videas." The description of the situation of the fountain is correct; we drank of the water, but time would not suffer us to judge of the correctness of Pliny's report, by placing a ring on the dry margin, by watching the gradual wetting, the final covering, the uncovering, and slow desertion of it by the water; still less by a longer observation of the reiteration of the subtraction and adsurrection of the cool liquor at certain measured intervals. We are disposed to smile at the solutions which are proposed by Pliny, but it would be difficult to account in a satisfactory manner for phenomena that still raise a question, "altissimâ eruditione dignissimam;" his illustration of the narrow-necked bottle, ampulla, is at least ingenious.
The old woman who showed the villa (she must be nearly as old as Pliny the elder) told us that the place was on sale. An old man of 103, who was rowed by his son, a youth of 75, had stationed himself at the landing-place, as a good post for halfpence, in which respect at least it seemed that old age had not impaired his judgment; he repeated incessantly, "I have many years! I have many years!"
The villa Tanzi is a good house with pleasant gardens, but they are injured by plaster castles and batteries, painted to resemble brick, and bristling thickly with quakers, or wooden cannons; in England we leave these dread-inspiring playthings to yellow admirals.
I observed this morning, for the first time, the olive; I plucked a small branch, and wore it at my button-hole all day, like Noah's dove. It was not possible to see this sacred tree for the first time without emotion; by dint of often repeated daily journies to discover at last this offspring of the earth, the hoary olive with its berries,
Prodere cum baccis fætum canentis olivæ,
was a real triumph; it brought before my eyes Athens and its tutelary virgin goddess, and recalled many bright passages of the Greek and Roman classics: to-day at least I have not lost a day. I regretted exceedingly that, because of the lateness of the season, and still more on account of the shortness of the time which remained, and in which I had to accomplish so many important objects, I could catch such an imperfect glimpse only of these beauteous lakes; I had been compelled to omit altogether the pretty little lake of Lugano; I had seen much less of the Lago Maggiore than I wished, and of this lake I had viewed only the right leg: the Lago di Como is justly said to resemble the figure of a man, at Belaggio the body and both the legs may be
seen at once, and I lament that I did not seize upon a day to visit that point of land at all risks, and in defiance of all consequences.
Our driver entertained us on our way to Milan by reading to himself a book of poems-such is the custom of the country; a voluntary or involuntary ignorance of which might declare, that we were strangely familiar with our post-boy, and assert of a lady in the like situation, that if he were not her lover, he would not venture to use such a gross and extraordinary freedom. We had a good and cheap dinner at Burlassina, and entered Milan in the dark, full of great expectations; as we rolled smoothly along the streets, we experienced the advantage of the peculiar pavement; large smooth stones, like our curb stones, are introduced at a convenient distance for the wheels to run upon, The soldiers at the gates took our passports, and eyed us with as much suspicion as if we had come to take the city from them; the Austrians seem to consider Italy as stolen goods.
I remember that I used to see sometimes, when I was a boy, a long white greyhound that had stolen a shoulder of mutton, and buried it in the garden; I was struck by the slinking look of the animal; and I also remember that the wife of a respectable linen-draper, who knew of his crime, and chanced to be in a moralizing mood, once said to me, "See there, that is guilt; what a guilty look he has." The dog certainly seemed to look upon all mankind as having a special mission to punish him, and to regard the cook, not as a nice tidy girl, who, when her labours were over, washed and cleaned herself against tea, and who dressed plainly and saved her money, that she might send a one-pound note, now and then, to her old mother-not as a useful servant, who skilfully prepared meat for the enjoyment of othersnot as a Christian having a soul to be saved-not as a British subject, whose life could not be taken away without the intervention of two juries-not as a citizeness, possessing a sacred and indefeasable right to a full, fair, and free representation, whether actual or virtual, and to be taxed thereby to the utmost-not as a portly person, the crumby object in which all the soft wishes of the coachman were centeredbut as the abstract enemy of his loins, whose only end in life was to stave in his ribs with the handle of a brush, or to transfix him with one of the largest spits. In like manner the white Austrian regards the curious traveller as a person who will, some day or other, have a hand in turning him out of Italy, if not in hanging the puritanicallooking emperor.
Saturday, Oct. 16th.-The duomo, or cathedral, strikes forcibly at first sight, because it is built of white marble, and because of the consequent sharpness of the sculptures. I was disappointed with the full view of the west front; the Roman doors and windows are blots upon its Gothic face; but when it is seen from the proper point, (the archway to the south-west, where a sentinel stands,) the effect is magical; but from a distance it is not great, and cannot be compared with the cathedral of Strasburg. The interior is rich with paintings, statues, altars, and tombs: workmen were employed upon the roof, which was painted so artfully, that it was difficult to believe that it was not in reality carved and fretted, and in completing the party coloured pavement. Cathedrals are never finished, for which, as far as respects the Italian priests, Burnet gives an uncharitable reason in his travels →
"The work will not be quite finished yet for some ages, that being one of the crafts of the Italian priests never to finish a great design, that so, by keeping it still in an unfinished state, they may be always drawing great donatives to it from the superstition of the people." These remarks are of course only applicable to the Catholics, and by no means to the priests of reformed religions; the ministers of dissenters, as we well know, have an abhorrence for gifts.
The cathedral was soon crowded with a large congregation, and the service commenced; there were more men present than I had seen hitherto, and I even observed one man at confession, a religious exercise which is usually confined to the softer and more repenting sex. We descended to the subterranean chapel of St. Charles Borromeo, which has been lately completed at a vast expense, and is composed entirely of embossed silver and brocade, and is like the boudoir of a living beauty, rather than the chapel of a dead saint. The priest, who officiated on this occasion as our guide, was the sleekest person I ever beheld. Oh! the butter, the eggs, the jelly, the cream, the chocolate; oh, all ye soft and nourishing things, that this man must daily and hourly consume!
We visited the public walk, where was a military band and a considerable assemblage of Milanese. Some females wore hair-powder; I saw many women with fine expressive faces, but their complexion and skin were so coarse that, like the fresco paintings, they looked well only at a distance: my companion, who had not yet recovered the fright which the ogresses at Varese gave him, attributed this defect to excess at supper.
We walked round the walls, and complained that the view of Milan from thence was poor, being deficient in towers and steeples, which give a noble appearance to a city: we came to the church of our lady of the passion, S. M. della Passione, a handsome building, painted with good effect, and reposed ourselves there for some time with pleasure. The great theatre Alla Scala being shut for repairs, we went in the evening to the theatre Cannobliano; we found a full house, an opera, some skilful singers, especially a female, whose voice however was not very pleasing; and although a ballet-master of high renown had died about six months before, the ballet was well danced.
Monday, Oct. 17th.-We ascended the duomo; the staircase is good and easy, and conducts to long and remarkable perspectives of pinnacles, buttresses, and statues. The roof of a handsome building usually reminds us of human infirmity: it is constructed of paltry slates, or of ugly lead; but this is formed of large slabs of white marble, accurately joined, and is in keeping with the rest of the noble structure, of which it is the ornament rather than the disgrace. Napoleon did much to complete the great design, which even at this time has not been perfected. The view from the tower, except the distant Alps, extends over a country as flat and as fertile as the plains which are seen from the top of York Minster. The buildings are flat, the tiles ugly, and there are no buildings spiring up, so that the aspect of Milan is not majestic.
The gallery of paintings at the Brera, formerly a college of Jesuits, contains many treasures; St. Peter and St. Paul, by Guido, is justly renowned; Abraham dismissing Hagar is esteemed the masterpiece of
Guercino; in a picture by the father of Raphael something of the peculiar manner of the son may be discovered; to write down the bare names of all the works of merit in this collection would be a considerable task, to describe them were to write a history of painting. The saloons for the gallery of antiquities in this palace are handsome. The botanical garden is pretty good. The design and execution of the Circus, built by Napoleon, are remarkable; it brings to mind the ancient amphitheatres, but it is somewhat shallow, and from this deficiency in depth or height, the effect of the seats rising, row above row, for a vast distance, which, when they were covered with crowds of spectators, must have been very sublime, is in a great degree wanting.
The triumphal arch, commenced by Napoleon, at the beginning of the road over the Semplon, is built of white marble, and covered with reliefs; it is therefore beautiful, but in other respects I did not find much to admire; it is in an unfinished state; whether it will ever be completed is at least doubtful. Why should a man, who could do great things, erect triumphal arches to himself? he might have safely entrusted his glory to the care of others; it would have been more secure with them than in his own keeping; but of this, and of many other truths equally evident, the uneducated soldier was ignorant.
The Ambrosian Library does not seem to have a vast number of books, but it is rich in MSS.; they showed us a Virgil, transcribed by Petrarch with his own hand, on vellum; the writing is neat, but it resembles too much that of an engrossing clerk. There are some fine paintings, many drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, and other masters, and the original cartoon of the school of Athens, in black and white chalk; it is in good preservation.
Tuesday, Oct. 18th.-We visited the famous fresco of Leonardo da Vinci, the Cenacolo, or last Supper, painted on the wall at the top of the refectory of the suppressed convent of our Lady of Graces; it is much injured, and as it were utterly destroyed, yet we could see fine heads, and a fine dramatic effect. The cupola of the church of S. M. delle Grazie is from the design of Bramante, and is therefore worthy of study. The church of St. Alexander is rich and beautiful, that of the Madonna presso S. Celso is perhaps still more so, and of higher celebrity. We wasted half an hour in going to see an ugly picture by the worst of human painters, David, of Napoleon crossing the Alps, and some other ostentatious trumpery, got up in praise of himself by that spoilt child of blind fortune, the Corsican Imperial Artilleryman.
I met with a tall gaunt cicerone in the duomo, who explained every stone in the building, and told me the subjects of all the large pictures of the life and exploits of St. Charles Borromeo, many of which would have been perfectly unintelligible without the assistance of my longbacked friend; the festival of this saint is to be celebrated at the beginning of the next month; these paintings are suspended in regular order between the pillars for that solemnity; we were so fortunate aş to visit Milan at a time when we could profit by whatever edification is to be derived from contemplating them.
The life of a saint is a strange one, and some of his feats were very whimsical; I did not find a representation of the mental reservation of St. Charles, for which the Jesuits panegyrize him, and which is thus