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Pictures from Italy by Charles Dickens

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Transcribed from the 1913 Chapman & Hall, Ltd. edition by David
Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk



If the readers of this volume will be so kind as to take their
credentials for the different places which are the subject of its
author's reminiscences, from the Author himself, perhaps they may
visit them, in fancy, the more agreeably, and with a better
understanding of what they are to expect.

Many books have been written upon Italy, affording many means of
studying the history of that interesting country, and the
innumerable associations entwined about it. I make but little
reference to that stock of information; not at all regarding it as
a necessary consequence of my having had recourse to the storehouse
for my own benefit, that I should reproduce its easily accessible
contents before the eyes of my readers.

Neither will there be found, in these pages, any grave examination
into the government or misgovernment of any portion of the country.
No visitor of that beautiful land can fail to have a strong
conviction on the subject; but as I chose when residing there, a
Foreigner, to abstain from the discussion of any such questions
with any order of Italians, so I would rather not enter on the
inquiry now. During my twelve months' occupation of a house at
Genoa, I never found that authorities constitutionally jealous were
distrustful of me; and I should be sorry to give them occasion to
regret their free courtesy, either to myself or any of my

There is, probably, not a famous Picture or Statue in all Italy,
but could be easily buried under a mountain of printed paper
devoted to dissertations on it. I do not, therefore, though an
earnest admirer of Painting and Sculpture, expatiate at any length
on famous Pictures and Statues.

This Book is a series of faint reflections--mere shadows in the
water--of places to which the imaginations of most people are
attracted in a greater or less degree, on which mine had dwelt for
years, and which have some interest for all. The greater part of
the descriptions were written on the spot, and sent home, from time
to time, in private letters. I do not mention the circumstance as
an excuse for any defects they may present, for it would be none;
but as a guarantee to the Reader that they were at least penned in
the fulness of the subject, and with the liveliest impressions of
novelty and freshness.

If they have ever a fanciful and idle air, perhaps the reader will
suppose them written in the shade of a Sunny Day, in the midst of
the objects of which they treat, and will like them none the worse
for having such influences of the country upon them.

I hope I am not likely to be misunderstood by Professors of the
Roman Catholic faith, on account of anything contained in these
pages. I have done my best, in one of my former productions, to do
justice to them; and I trust, in this, they will do justice to me.
When I mention any exhibition that impressed me as absurd or
disagreeable, I do not seek to connect it, or recognise it as
necessarily connected with, any essentials of their creed. When I
treat of the ceremonies of the Holy Week, I merely treat of their
effect, and do not challenge the good and learned Dr. Wiseman's
interpretation of their meaning. When I hint a dislike of
nunneries for young girls who abjure the world before they have
ever proved or known it; or doubt the ex officio sanctity of all
Priests and Friars; I do no more than many conscientious Catholics
both abroad and at home.

I have likened these Pictures to shadows in the water, and would
fain hope that I have, nowhere, stirred the water so roughly, as to
mar the shadows. I could never desire to be on better terms with
all my friends than now, when distant mountains rise, once more, in
my path. For I need not hesitate to avow, that, bent on correcting
a brief mistake I made, not long ago, in disturbing the old
relations between myself and my readers, and departing for a moment
from my old pursuits, I am about to resume them, joyfully, in
Switzerland; where during another year of absence, I can at once
work out the themes I have now in my mind, without interruption:
and while I keep my English audience within speaking distance,
extend my knowledge of a noble country, inexpressibly attractive to
me. {1}

This book is made as accessible as possible, because it would be a
great pleasure to me if I could hope, through its means, to compare
impressions with some among the multitudes who will hereafter visit
the scenes described with interest and delight.

And I have only now, in passport wise, to sketch my reader's
portrait, which I hope may be thus supposititiously traced for
either sex:

Complexion Fair.
Eyes Very cheerful.
Nose Not supercilious.
Mouth Smiling.
Visage Beaming.
General Expression Extremely agreeable.


On a fine Sunday morning in the Midsummer time and weather of
eighteen hundred and forty-four, it was, my good friend, when--
don't be alarmed; not when two travellers might have been observed
slowly making their way over that picturesque and broken ground by
which the first chapter of a Middle Aged novel is usually attained-
-but when an English travelling-carriage of considerable
proportions, fresh from the shady halls of the Pantechnicon near
Belgrave Square, London, was observed (by a very small French
soldier; for I saw him look at it) to issue from the gate of the
Hotel Meurice in the Rue Rivoli at Paris.

I am no more bound to explain why the English family travelling by
this carriage, inside and out, should be starting for Italy on a
Sunday morning, of all good days in the week, than I am to assign a
reason for all the little men in France being soldiers, and all the
big men postilions; which is the invariable rule. But, they had
some sort of reason for what they did, I have no doubt; and their
reason for being there at all, was, as you know, that they were
going to live in fair Genoa for a year; and that the head of the
family purposed, in that space of time, to stroll about, wherever
his restless humour carried him.

And it would have been small comfort to me to have explained to the
population of Paris generally, that I was that Head and Chief; and
not the radiant embodiment of good humour who sat beside me in the
person of a French Courier--best of servants and most beaming of
men! Truth to say, he looked a great deal more patriarchal than I,
who, in the shadow of his portly presence, dwindled down to no
account at all.

There was, of course, very little in the aspect of Paris--as we
rattled near the dismal Morgue and over the Pont Neuf--to reproach
us for our Sunday travelling. The wine-shops (every second house)
were driving a roaring trade; awnings were spreading, and chairs
and tables arranging, outside the cafes, preparatory to the eating
of ices, and drinking of cool liquids, later in the day; shoe-
blacks were busy on the bridges; shops were open; carts and waggons
clattered to and fro; the narrow, up-hill, funnel-like streets
across the River, were so many dense perspectives of crowd and
bustle, parti-coloured nightcaps, tobacco-pipes, blouses, large
boots, and shaggy heads of hair; nothing at that hour denoted a day
of rest, unless it were the appearance, here and there, of a family
pleasure-party, crammed into a bulky old lumbering cab; or of some
contemplative holiday-maker in the freest and easiest dishabille,
leaning out of a low garret window, watching the drying of his
newly polished shoes on the little parapet outside (if a
gentleman), or the airing of her stockings in the sun (if a lady),
with calm anticipation.

Once clear of the never-to-be-forgotten-or-forgiven pavement which
surrounds Paris, the first three days of travelling towards
Marseilles are quiet and monotonous enough. To Sens. To Avallon.
To Chalons. A sketch of one day's proceedings is a sketch of all
three; and here it is.

We have four horses, and one postilion, who has a very long whip,
and drives his team, something like the Courier of Saint
Petersburgh in the circle at Astley's or Franconi's: only he sits
his own horse instead of standing on him. The immense jack-boots
worn by these postilions, are sometimes a century or two old; and
are so ludicrously disproportionate to the wearer's foot, that the
spur, which is put where his own heel comes, is generally halfway
up the leg of the boots. The man often comes out of the stable-
yard, with his whip in his hand and his shoes on, and brings out,
in both hands, one boot at a time, which he plants on the ground by
the side of his horse, with great gravity, until everything is
ready. When it is--and oh Heaven! the noise they make about it!--
he gets into the boots, shoes and all, or is hoisted into them by a
couple of friends; adjusts the rope harness, embossed by the
labours of innumerable pigeons in the stables; makes all the horses
kick and plunge; cracks his whip like a madman; shouts 'En route--
Hi!' and away we go. He is sure to have a contest with his horse
before we have gone very far; and then he calls him a Thief, and a
Brigand, and a Pig, and what not; and beats him about the head as
if he were made of wood.

There is little more than one variety in the appearance of the
country, for the first two days. From a dreary plain, to an
interminable avenue, and from an interminable avenue to a dreary
plain again. Plenty of vines there are in the open fields, but of
a short low kind, and not trained in festoons, but about straight
sticks. Beggars innumerable there are, everywhere; but an
extraordinarily scanty population, and fewer children than I ever
encountered. I don't believe we saw a hundred children between
Paris and Chalons. Queer old towns, draw-bridged and walled: with
odd little towers at the angles, like grotesque faces, as if the
wall had put a mask on, and were staring down into the moat; other
strange little towers, in gardens and fields, and down lanes, and
in farm-yards: all alone, and always round, with a peaked roof,
and never used for any purpose at all; ruinous buildings of all
sorts; sometimes an hotel de ville, sometimes a guard-house,
sometimes a dwelling-house, sometimes a chateau with a rank garden,
prolific in dandelion, and watched over by extinguisher-topped
turrets, and blink-eyed little casements; are the standard objects,
repeated over and over again. Sometimes we pass a village inn,
with a crumbling wall belonging to it, and a perfect town of out-
houses; and painted over the gateway, 'Stabling for Sixty Horses;'
as indeed there might be stabling for sixty score, were there any
horses to be stabled there, or anybody resting there, or anything
stirring about the place but a dangling bush, indicative of the
wine inside: which flutters idly in the wind, in lazy keeping with
everything else, and certainly is never in a green old age, though
always so old as to be dropping to pieces. And all day long,
strange little narrow waggons, in strings of six or eight, bringing
cheese from Switzerland, and frequently in charge, the whole line,
of one man, or even boy--and he very often asleep in the foremost
cart--come jingling past: the horses drowsily ringing the bells
upon their harness, and looking as if they thought (no doubt they
do) their great blue woolly furniture, of immense weight and
thickness, with a pair of grotesque horns growing out of the
collar, very much too warm for the Midsummer weather.

Then, there is the Diligence, twice or thrice a-day; with the dusty
outsides in blue frocks, like butchers; and the insides in white
nightcaps; and its cabriolet head on the roof, nodding and shaking,
like an idiot's head; and its Young-France passengers staring out
of window, with beards down to their waists, and blue spectacles
awfully shading their warlike eyes, and very big sticks clenched in
their National grasp. Also the Malle Poste, with only a couple of
passengers, tearing along at a real good dare-devil pace, and out
of sight in no time. Steady old Cures come jolting past, now and
then, in such ramshackle, rusty, musty, clattering coaches as no
Englishman would believe in; and bony women dawdle about in
solitary places, holding cows by ropes while they feed, or digging
and hoeing or doing field-work of a more laborious kind, or
representing real shepherdesses with their flocks--to obtain an
adequate idea of which pursuit and its followers, in any country,
it is only necessary to take any pastoral poem, or picture, and
imagine to yourself whatever is most exquisitely and widely unlike
the descriptions therein contained.

You have been travelling along, stupidly enough, as you generally
do in the last stage of the day; and the ninety-six bells upon the
horses--twenty-four apiece--have been ringing sleepily in your ears
for half an hour or so; and it has become a very jog-trot,
monotonous, tiresome sort of business; and you have been thinking
deeply about the dinner you will have at the next stage; when, down
at the end of the long avenue of trees through which you are
travelling, the first indication of a town appears, in the shape of
some straggling cottages: and the carriage begins to rattle and
roll over a horribly uneven pavement. As if the equipage were a
great firework, and the mere sight of a smoking cottage chimney had
lighted it, instantly it begins to crack and splutter, as if the
very devil were in it. Crack, crack, crack, crack. Crack-crack-
crack. Crick-crack. Crick-crack. Helo! Hola! Vite! Voleur!
Brigand! Hi hi hi! En r-r-r-r-r-route! Whip, wheels, driver,
stones, beggars, children, crack, crack, crack; helo! hola! charite
pour l'amour de Dieu! crick-crack-crick-crack; crick, crick, crick;
bump, jolt, crack, bump, crick-crack; round the corner, up the
narrow street, down the paved hill on the other side; in the
gutter; bump, bump; jolt, jog, crick, crick, crick; crack, crack,
crack; into the shop-windows on the left-hand side of the street,
preliminary to a sweeping turn into the wooden archway on the
right; rumble, rumble, rumble; clatter, clatter, clatter; crick,
crick, crick; and here we are in the yard of the Hotel de l'Ecu
d'Or; used up, gone out, smoking, spent, exhausted; but sometimes
making a false start unexpectedly, with nothing coming of it--like
a firework to the last!

The landlady of the Hotel de l'Ecu d'Or is here; and the landlord
of the Hotel de l'Ecu d'Or is here; and the femme de chambre of the
Hotel de l'Ecu d'Or is here; and a gentleman in a glazed cap, with
a red beard like a bosom friend, who is staying at the Hotel de
l'Ecu d'Or, is here; and Monsieur le Cure is walking up and down in
a corner of the yard by himself, with a shovel hat upon his head,
and a black gown on his back, and a book in one hand, and an
umbrella in the other; and everybody, except Monsieur le Cure, is
open-mouthed and open-eyed, for the opening of the carriage-door.
The landlord of the Hotel de l'Ecu d'Or, dotes to that extent upon
the Courier, that he can hardly wait for his coming down from the
box, but embraces his very legs and boot-heels as he descends. 'My
Courier! My brave Courier! My friend! My brother!' The landlady
loves him, the femme de chambre blesses him, the garcon worships
him. The Courier asks if his letter has been received? It has, it
has. Are the rooms prepared? They are, they are. The best rooms
for my noble Courier. The rooms of state for my gallant Courier;
the whole house is at the service of my best of friends! He keeps
his hand upon the carriage-door, and asks some other question to
enhance the expectation. He carries a green leathern purse outside
his coat, suspended by a belt. The idlers look at it; one touches
it. It is full of five-franc pieces. Murmurs of admiration are
heard among the boys. The landlord falls upon the Courier's neck,
and folds him to his breast. He is so much fatter than he was, he
says! He looks so rosy and so well!

The door is opened. Breathless expectation. The lady of the
family gets out. Ah sweet lady! Beautiful lady! The sister of
the lady of the family gets out. Great Heaven, Ma'amselle is
charming! First little boy gets out. Ah, what a beautiful little
boy! First little girl gets out. Oh, but this is an enchanting
child! Second little girl gets out. The landlady, yielding to the
finest impulse of our common nature, catches her up in her arms!
Second little boy gets out. Oh, the sweet boy! Oh, the tender
little family! The baby is handed out. Angelic baby! The baby
has topped everything. All the rapture is expended on the baby!
Then the two nurses tumble out; and the enthusiasm swelling into
madness, the whole family are swept up-stairs as on a cloud; while
the idlers press about the carriage, and look into it, and walk
round it, and touch it. For it is something to touch a carriage
that has held so many people. It is a legacy to leave one's

The rooms are on the first floor, except the nursery for the night,
which is a great rambling chamber, with four or five beds in it:
through a dark passage, up two steps, down four, past a pump,
across a balcony, and next door to the stable. The other sleeping
apartments are large and lofty; each with two small bedsteads,
tastefully hung, like the windows, with red and white drapery. The
sitting-room is famous. Dinner is already laid in it for three;
and the napkins are folded in cocked-hat fashion. The floors are
of red tile. There are no carpets, and not much furniture to speak
of; but there is abundance of looking-glass, and there are large
vases under glass shades, filled with artificial flowers; and there
are plenty of clocks. The whole party are in motion. The brave
Courier, in particular, is everywhere: looking after the beds,
having wine poured down his throat by his dear brother the
landlord, and picking up green cucumbers--always cucumbers; Heaven
knows where he gets them--with which he walks about, one in each
hand, like truncheons.

Dinner is announced. There is very thin soup; there are very large
loaves--one apiece; a fish; four dishes afterwards; some poultry
afterwards; a dessert afterwards; and no lack of wine. There is
not much in the dishes; but they are very good, and always ready
instantly. When it is nearly dark, the brave Courier, having eaten
the two cucumbers, sliced up in the contents of a pretty large
decanter of oil, and another of vinegar, emerges from his retreat
below, and proposes a visit to the Cathedral, whose massive tower
frowns down upon the court-yard of the inn. Off we go; and very
solemn and grand it is, in the dim light: so dim at last, that the
polite, old, lanthorn-jawed Sacristan has a feeble little bit of
candle in his hand, to grope among the tombs with--and looks among
the grim columns, very like a lost ghost who is searching for his

Underneath the balcony, when we return, the inferior servants of
the inn are supping in the open air, at a great table; the dish, a
stew of meat and vegetables, smoking hot, and served in the iron
cauldron it was boiled in. They have a pitcher of thin wine, and
are very merry; merrier than the gentleman with the red beard, who
is playing billiards in the light room on the left of the yard,
where shadows, with cues in their hands, and cigars in their
mouths, cross and recross the window, constantly. Still the thin
Cure walks up and down alone, with his book and umbrella. And
there he walks, and there the billiard-balls rattle, long after we
are fast asleep.

We are astir at six next morning. It is a delightful day, shaming
yesterday's mud upon the carriage, if anything could shame a
carriage, in a land where carriages are never cleaned. Everybody
is brisk; and as we finish breakfast, the horses come jingling into
the yard from the Post-house. Everything taken out of the carriage
is put back again. The brave Courier announces that all is ready,
after walking into every room, and looking all round it, to be
certain that nothing is left behind. Everybody gets in. Everybody
connected with the Hotel de l'Ecu d'Or is again enchanted. The
brave Courier runs into the house for a parcel containing cold
fowl, sliced ham, bread, and biscuits, for lunch; hands it into the
coach; and runs back again.

What has he got in his hand now? More cucumbers? No. A long
strip of paper. It's the bill.

The brave Courier has two belts on, this morning: one supporting
the purse: another, a mighty good sort of leathern bottle, filled
to the throat with the best light Bordeaux wine in the house. He
never pays the bill till this bottle is full. Then he disputes it.

He disputes it now, violently. He is still the landlord's brother,
but by another father or mother. He is not so nearly related to
him as he was last night. The landlord scratches his head. The
brave Courier points to certain figures in the bill, and intimates
that if they remain there, the Hotel de l'Ecu d'Or is thenceforth
and for ever an hotel de l'Ecu de cuivre. The landlord goes into a
little counting-house. The brave Courier follows, forces the bill
and a pen into his hand, and talks more rapidly than ever. The
landlord takes the pen. The Courier smiles. The landlord makes an
alteration. The Courier cuts a joke. The landlord is
affectionate, but not weakly so. He bears it like a man. He
shakes hands with his brave brother, but he don't hug him. Still,
he loves his brother; for he knows that he will be returning that
way, one of these fine days, with another family, and he foresees
that his heart will yearn towards him again. The brave Courier
traverses all round the carriage once, looks at the drag, inspects
the wheels, jumps up, gives the word, and away we go!

It is market morning. The market is held in the little square
outside in front of the cathedral. It is crowded with men and
women, in blue, in red, in green, in white; with canvassed stalls;
and fluttering merchandise. The country people are grouped about,
with their clean baskets before them. Here, the lace-sellers;
there, the butter and egg-sellers; there, the fruit-sellers; there,
the shoe-makers. The whole place looks as if it were the stage of
some great theatre, and the curtain had just run up, for a
picturesque ballet. And there is the cathedral to boot: scene-
like: all grim, and swarthy, and mouldering, and cold: just
splashing the pavement in one place with faint purple drops, as the
morning sun, entering by a little window on the eastern side,
struggles through some stained glass panes, on the western.

In five minutes we have passed the iron cross, with a little ragged
kneeling-place of turf before it, in the outskirts of the town; and
are again upon the road.


Chalons is a fair resting-place, in right of its good inn on the
bank of the river, and the little steamboats, gay with green and
red paint, that come and go upon it: which make up a pleasant and
refreshing scene, after the dusty roads. But, unless you would
like to dwell on an enormous plain, with jagged rows of irregular
poplars on it, that look in the distance like so many combs with
broken teeth: and unless you would like to pass your life without
the possibility of going up-hill, or going up anything but stairs:
you would hardly approve of Chalons as a place of residence.

You would probably like it better, however, than Lyons: which you
may reach, if you will, in one of the before-mentioned steamboats,
in eight hours.

What a city Lyons is! Talk about people feeling, at certain
unlucky times, as if they had tumbled from the clouds! Here is a
whole town that is tumbled, anyhow, out of the sky; having been
first caught up, like other stones that tumble down from that
region, out of fens and barren places, dismal to behold! The two
great streets through which the two great rivers dash, and all the
little streets whose name is Legion, were scorching, blistering,
and sweltering. The houses, high and vast, dirty to excess, rotten
as old cheeses, and as thickly peopled. All up the hills that hem
the city in, these houses swarm; and the mites inside were lolling
out of the windows, and drying their ragged clothes on poles, and
crawling in and out at the doors, and coming out to pant and gasp
upon the pavement, and creeping in and out among huge piles and
bales of fusty, musty, stifling goods; and living, or rather not
dying till their time should come, in an exhausted receiver. Every
manufacturing town, melted into one, would hardly convey an
impression of Lyons as it presented itself to me: for all the
undrained, unscavengered qualities of a foreign town, seemed
grafted, there, upon the native miseries of a manufacturing one;
and it bears such fruit as I would go some miles out of my way to
avoid encountering again.

In the cool of the evening: or rather in the faded heat of the
day: we went to see the Cathedral, where divers old women, and a
few dogs, were engaged in contemplation. There was no difference,
in point of cleanliness, between its stone pavement and that of the
streets; and there was a wax saint, in a little box like a berth
aboard ship, with a glass front to it, whom Madame Tussaud would
have nothing to say to, on any terms, and which even Westminster
Abbey might be ashamed of. If you would know all about the
architecture of this church, or any other, its dates, dimensions,
endowments, and history, is it not written in Mr. Murray's Guide-
Book, and may you not read it there, with thanks to him, as I did!

For this reason, I should abstain from mentioning the curious clock
in Lyons Cathedral, if it were not for a small mistake I made, in
connection with that piece of mechanism. The keeper of the church
was very anxious it should be shown; partly for the honour of the
establishment and the town; and partly, perhaps, because of his
deriving a percentage from the additional consideration. However
that may be, it was set in motion, and thereupon a host of little
doors flew open, and innumerable little figures staggered out of
them, and jerked themselves back again, with that special
unsteadiness of purpose, and hitching in the gait, which usually
attaches to figures that are moved by clock-work. Meanwhile, the
Sacristan stood explaining these wonders, and pointing them out,
severally, with a wand. There was a centre puppet of the Virgin
Mary; and close to her, a small pigeon-hole, out of which another
and a very ill-looking puppet made one of the most sudden plunges I
ever saw accomplished: instantly flopping back again at sight of
her, and banging his little door violently after him. Taking this
to be emblematic of the victory over Sin and Death, and not at all
unwilling to show that I perfectly understood the subject, in
anticipation of the showman, I rashly said, 'Aha! The Evil Spirit.
To be sure. He is very soon disposed of.' 'Pardon, Monsieur,'
said the Sacristan, with a polite motion of his hand towards the
little door, as if introducing somebody--'The Angel Gabriel!'

Soon after daybreak next morning, we were steaming down the Arrowy
Rhone, at the rate of twenty miles an hour, in a very dirty vessel
full of merchandise, and with only three or four other passengers
for our companions: among whom, the most remarkable was a silly,
old, meek-faced, garlic-eating, immeasurably polite Chevalier, with
a dirty scrap of red ribbon hanging at his button-hole, as if he
had tied it there to remind himself of something; as Tom Noddy, in
the farce, ties knots in his pocket-handkerchief.

For the last two days, we had seen great sullen hills, the first
indications of the Alps, lowering in the distance. Now, we were
rushing on beside them: sometimes close beside them: sometimes
with an intervening slope, covered with vineyards. Villages and
small towns hanging in mid-air, with great woods of olives seen
through the light open towers of their churches, and clouds moving
slowly on, upon the steep acclivity behind them; ruined castles
perched on every eminence; and scattered houses in the clefts and
gullies of the hills; made it very beautiful. The great height of
these, too, making the buildings look so tiny, that they had all
the charm of elegant models; their excessive whiteness, as
contrasted with the brown rocks, or the sombre, deep, dull, heavy
green of the olive-tree; and the puny size, and little slow walk of
the Lilliputian men and women on the bank; made a charming picture.
There were ferries out of number, too; bridges; the famous Pont
d'Esprit, with I don't know how many arches; towns where memorable
wines are made; Vallence, where Napoleon studied; and the noble
river, bringing at every winding turn, new beauties into view.

There lay before us, that same afternoon, the broken bridge of
Avignon, and all the city baking in the sun; yet with an under-
done-pie-crust, battlemented wall, that never will be brown, though
it bake for centuries.

The grapes were hanging in clusters in the streets, and the
brilliant Oleander was in full bloom everywhere. The streets are
old and very narrow, but tolerably clean, and shaded by awnings
stretched from house to house. Bright stuffs and handkerchiefs,
curiosities, ancient frames of carved wood, old chairs, ghostly
tables, saints, virgins, angels, and staring daubs of portraits,
being exposed for sale beneath, it was very quaint and lively. All
this was much set off, too, by the glimpses one caught, through a
rusty gate standing ajar, of quiet sleepy court-yards, having
stately old houses within, as silent as tombs. It was all very
like one of the descriptions in the Arabian Nights. The three one-
eyed Calenders might have knocked at any one of those doors till
the street rang again, and the porter who persisted in asking
questions--the man who had the delicious purchases put into his
basket in the morning--might have opened it quite naturally.

After breakfast next morning, we sallied forth to see the lions.
Such a delicious breeze was blowing in, from the north, as made the
walk delightful: though the pavement-stones, and stones of the
walls and houses, were far too hot to have a hand laid on them

We went, first of all, up a rocky height, to the cathedral: where
Mass was performing to an auditory very like that of Lyons, namely,
several old women, a baby, and a very self-possessed dog, who had
marked out for himself a little course or platform for exercise,
beginning at the altar-rails and ending at the door, up and down
which constitutional walk he trotted, during the service, as
methodically and calmly, as any old gentleman out of doors.

It is a bare old church, and the paintings in the roof are sadly
defaced by time and damp weather; but the sun was shining in,
splendidly, through the red curtains of the windows, and glittering
on the altar furniture; and it looked as bright and cheerful as
need be.

Going apart, in this church, to see some painting which was being
executed in fresco by a French artist and his pupil, I was led to
observe more closely than I might otherwise have done, a great
number of votive offerings with which the walls of the different
chapels were profusely hung. I will not say decorated, for they
were very roughly and comically got up; most likely by poor sign-
painters, who eke out their living in that way. They were all
little pictures: each representing some sickness or calamity from
which the person placing it there, had escaped, through the
interposition of his or her patron saint, or of the Madonna; and I
may refer to them as good specimens of the class generally. They
are abundant in Italy.

In a grotesque squareness of outline, and impossibility of
perspective, they are not unlike the woodcuts in old books; but
they were oil-paintings, and the artist, like the painter of the
Primrose family, had not been sparing of his colours. In one, a
lady was having a toe amputated--an operation which a saintly
personage had sailed into the room, upon a couch, to superintend.
In another, a lady was lying in bed, tucked up very tight and prim,
and staring with much composure at a tripod, with a slop-basin on
it; the usual form of washing-stand, and the only piece of
furniture, besides the bedstead, in her chamber. One would never
have supposed her to be labouring under any complaint, beyond the
inconvenience of being miraculously wide awake, if the painter had
not hit upon the idea of putting all her family on their knees in
one corner, with their legs sticking out behind them on the floor,
like boot-trees. Above whom, the Virgin, on a kind of blue divan,
promised to restore the patient. In another case, a lady was in
the very act of being run over, immediately outside the city walls,
by a sort of piano-forte van. But the Madonna was there again.
Whether the supernatural appearance had startled the horse (a bay
griffin), or whether it was invisible to him, I don't know; but he
was galloping away, ding dong, without the smallest reverence or
compunction. On every picture 'Ex voto' was painted in yellow
capitals in the sky.

Though votive offerings were not unknown in Pagan Temples, and are
evidently among the many compromises made between the false
religion and the true, when the true was in its infancy, I could
wish that all the other compromises were as harmless. Gratitude
and Devotion are Christian qualities; and a grateful, humble,
Christian spirit may dictate the observance.

Hard by the cathedral stands the ancient Palace of the Popes, of
which one portion is now a common jail, and another a noisy
barrack: while gloomy suites of state apartments, shut up and
deserted, mock their own old state and glory, like the embalmed
bodies of kings. But we neither went there, to see state rooms,
nor soldiers' quarters, nor a common jail, though we dropped some
money into a prisoners' box outside, whilst the prisoners,
themselves, looked through the iron bars, high up, and watched us
eagerly. We went to see the ruins of the dreadful rooms in which
the Inquisition used to sit.

A little, old, swarthy woman, with a pair of flashing black eyes,--
proof that the world hadn't conjured down the devil within her,
though it had had between sixty and seventy years to do it in,--
came out of the Barrack Cabaret, of which she was the keeper, with
some large keys in her hands, and marshalled us the way that we
should go. How she told us, on the way, that she was a Government
Officer (concierge du palais a apostolique), and had been, for I
don't know how many years; and how she had shown these dungeons to
princes; and how she was the best of dungeon demonstrators; and how
she had resided in the palace from an infant,--had been born there,
if I recollect right,--I needn't relate. But such a fierce,
little, rapid, sparkling, energetic she-devil I never beheld. She
was alight and flaming, all the time. Her action was violent in
the extreme. She never spoke, without stopping expressly for the
purpose. She stamped her feet, clutched us by the arms, flung
herself into attitudes, hammered against walls with her keys, for
mere emphasis: now whispered as if the Inquisition were there
still: now shrieked as if she were on the rack herself; and had a
mysterious, hag-like way with her forefinger, when approaching the
remains of some new horror--looking back and walking stealthily,
and making horrible grimaces--that might alone have qualified her
to walk up and down a sick man's counterpane, to the exclusion of
all other figures, through a whole fever.

Passing through the court-yard, among groups of idle soldiers, we
turned off by a gate, which this She-Goblin unlocked for our
admission, and locked again behind us: and entered a narrow court,
rendered narrower by fallen stones and heaps of rubbish; part of it
choking up the mouth of a ruined subterranean passage, that once
communicated (or is said to have done so) with another castle on
the opposite bank of the river. Close to this court-yard is a
dungeon--we stood within it, in another minute--in the dismal tower
des oubliettes, where Rienzi was imprisoned, fastened by an iron
chain to the very wall that stands there now, but shut out from the
sky which now looks down into it. A few steps brought us to the
Cachots, in which the prisoners of the Inquisition were confined
for forty-eight hours after their capture, without food or drink,
that their constancy might be shaken, even before they were
confronted with their gloomy judges. The day has not got in there
yet. They are still small cells, shut in by four unyielding,
close, hard walls; still profoundly dark; still massively doored
and fastened, as of old.

Goblin, looking back as I have described, went softly on, into a
vaulted chamber, now used as a store-room: once the chapel of the
Holy Office. The place where the tribunal sat, was plain. The
platform might have been removed but yesterday. Conceive the
parable of the Good Samaritan having been painted on the wall of
one of these Inquisition chambers! But it was, and may be traced
there yet.

High up in the jealous wall, are niches where the faltering replies
of the accused were heard and noted down. Many of them had been
brought out of the very cell we had just looked into, so awfully;
along the same stone passage. We had trodden in their very

I am gazing round me, with the horror that the place inspires, when
Goblin clutches me by the wrist, and lays, not her skinny finger,
but the handle of a key, upon her lip. She invites me, with a
jerk, to follow her. I do so. She leads me out into a room
adjoining--a rugged room, with a funnel-shaped, contracting roof,
open at the top, to the bright day. I ask her what it is. She
folds her arms, leers hideously, and stares. I ask again. She
glances round, to see that all the little company are there; sits
down upon a mound of stones; throws up her arms, and yells out,
like a fiend, 'La Salle de la Question!'

The Chamber of Torture! And the roof was made of that shape to
stifle the victim's cries! Oh Goblin, Goblin, let us think of this
awhile, in silence. Peace, Goblin! Sit with your short arms
crossed on your short legs, upon that heap of stones, for only five
minutes, and then flame out again.

Minutes! Seconds are not marked upon the Palace clock, when, with
her eyes flashing fire, Goblin is up, in the middle of the chamber,
describing, with her sunburnt arms, a wheel of heavy blows. Thus
it ran round! cries Goblin. Mash, mash, mash! An endless routine
of heavy hammers. Mash, mash, mash! upon the sufferer's limbs.
See the stone trough! says Goblin. For the water torture! Gurgle,
swill, bloat, burst, for the Redeemer's honour! Suck the bloody
rag, deep down into your unbelieving body, Heretic, at every breath
you draw! And when the executioner plucks it out, reeking with the
smaller mysteries of God's own Image, know us for His chosen
servants, true believers in the Sermon on the Mount, elect
disciples of Him who never did a miracle but to heal: who never
struck a man with palsy, blindness, deafness, dumbness, madness,
any one affliction of mankind; and never stretched His blessed hand
out, but to give relief and ease!

See! cries Goblin. There the furnace was. There they made the
irons red-hot. Those holes supported the sharp stake, on which the
tortured persons hung poised: dangling with their whole weight
from the roof. 'But;' and Goblin whispers this; 'Monsieur has
heard of this tower? Yes? Let Monsieur look down, then!'

A cold air, laden with an earthy smell, falls upon the face of
Monsieur; for she has opened, while speaking, a trap-door in the
wall. Monsieur looks in. Downward to the bottom, upward to the
top, of a steep, dark, lofty tower: very dismal, very dark, very
cold. The Executioner of the Inquisition, says Goblin, edging in
her head to look down also, flung those who were past all further
torturing, down here. 'But look! does Monsieur see the black
stains on the wall?' A glance, over his shoulder, at Goblin's keen
eye, shows Monsieur--and would without the aid of the directing
key--where they are. 'What are they?' 'Blood!'

In October, 1791, when the Revolution was at its height here, sixty
persons: men and women ('and priests,' says Goblin, 'priests'):
were murdered, and hurled, the dying and the dead, into this
dreadful pit, where a quantity of quick-lime was tumbled down upon
their bodies. Those ghastly tokens of the massacre were soon no
more; but while one stone of the strong building in which the deed
was done, remains upon another, there they will lie in the memories
of men, as plain to see as the splashing of their blood upon the
wall is now.

Was it a portion of the great scheme of Retribution, that the cruel
deed should be committed in this place! That a part of the
atrocities and monstrous institutions, which had been, for scores
of years, at work, to change men's nature, should in its last
service, tempt them with the ready means of gratifying their
furious and beastly rage! Should enable them to show themselves,
in the height of their frenzy, no worse than a great, solemn, legal
establishment, in the height of its power! No worse! Much better.
They used the Tower of the Forgotten, in the name of Liberty--their
liberty; an earth-born creature, nursed in the black mud of the
Bastile moats and dungeons, and necessarily betraying many
evidences of its unwholesome bringing-up--but the Inquisition used
it in the name of Heaven.

Goblin's finger is lifted; and she steals out again, into the
Chapel of the Holy Office. She stops at a certain part of the
flooring. Her great effect is at hand. She waits for the rest.
She darts at the brave Courier, who is explaining something; hits
him a sounding rap on the hat with the largest key; and bids him be
silent. She assembles us all, round a little trap-door in the
floor, as round a grave.

'Voila!' she darts down at the ring, and flings the door open with
a crash, in her goblin energy, though it is no light weight.
'Voila les oubliettes! Voila les oubliettes! Subterranean!
Frightful! Black! Terrible! Deadly! Les oubliettes de

My blood ran cold, as I looked from Goblin, down into the vaults,
where these forgotten creatures, with recollections of the world
outside: of wives, friends, children, brothers: starved to death,
and made the stones ring with their unavailing groans. But, the
thrill I felt on seeing the accursed wall below, decayed and broken
through, and the sun shining in through its gaping wounds, was like
a sense of victory and triumph. I felt exalted with the proud
delight of living in these degenerate times, to see it. As if I
were the hero of some high achievement! The light in the doleful
vaults was typical of the light that has streamed in, on all
persecution in God's name, but which is not yet at its noon! It
cannot look more lovely to a blind man newly restored to sight,
than to a traveller who sees it, calmly and majestically, treading
down the darkness of that Infernal Well.


Goblin, having shown les oubliettes, felt that her great coup was
struck. She let the door fall with a crash, and stood upon it with
her arms a-kimbo, sniffing prodigiously.

When we left the place, I accompanied her into her house, under the
outer gateway of the fortress, to buy a little history of the
building. Her cabaret, a dark, low room, lighted by small windows,
sunk in the thick wall--in the softened light, and with its forge-
like chimney; its little counter by the door, with bottles, jars,
and glasses on it; its household implements and scraps of dress
against the wall; and a sober-looking woman (she must have a
congenial life of it, with Goblin,) knitting at the door--looked
exactly like a picture by OSTADE.

I walked round the building on the outside, in a sort of dream, and
yet with the delightful sense of having awakened from it, of which
the light, down in the vaults, had given me the assurance. The
immense thickness and giddy height of the walls, the enormous
strength of the massive towers, the great extent of the building,
its gigantic proportions, frowning aspect, and barbarous
irregularity, awaken awe and wonder. The recollection of its
opposite old uses: an impregnable fortress, a luxurious palace, a
horrible prison, a place of torture, the court of the Inquisition:
at one and the same time, a house of feasting, fighting, religion,
and blood: gives to every stone in its huge form a fearful
interest, and imparts new meaning to its incongruities. I could
think of little, however, then, or long afterwards, but the sun in
the dungeons. The palace coming down to be the lounging-place of
noisy soldiers, and being forced to echo their rough talk, and
common oaths, and to have their garments fluttering from its dirty
windows, was some reduction of its state, and something to rejoice
at; but the day in its cells, and the sky for the roof of its
chambers of cruelty--that was its desolation and defeat! If I had
seen it in a blaze from ditch to rampart, I should have felt that
not that light, nor all the light in all the fire that burns, could
waste it, like the sunbeams in its secret council-chamber, and its

Before I quit this Palace of the Popes, let me translate from the
little history I mentioned just now, a short anecdote, quite
appropriate to itself, connected with its adventures.

'An ancient tradition relates, that in 1441, a nephew of Pierre de
Lude, the Pope's legate, seriously insulted some distinguished
ladies of Avignon, whose relations, in revenge, seized the young
man, and horribly mutilated him. For several years the legate kept
HIS revenge within his own breast, but he was not the less resolved
upon its gratification at last. He even made, in the fulness of
time, advances towards a complete reconciliation; and when their
apparent sincerity had prevailed, he invited to a splendid banquet,
in this palace, certain families, whole families, whom he sought to
exterminate. The utmost gaiety animated the repast; but the
measures of the legate were well taken. When the dessert was on
the board, a Swiss presented himself, with the announcement that a
strange ambassador solicited an extraordinary audience. The
legate, excusing himself, for the moment, to his guests, retired,
followed by his officers. Within a few minutes afterwards, five
hundred persons were reduced to ashes: the whole of that wing of
the building having been blown into the air with a terrible

After seeing the churches (I will not trouble you with churches
just now), we left Avignon that afternoon. The heat being very
great, the roads outside the walls were strewn with people fast
asleep in every little slip of shade, and with lazy groups, half
asleep and half awake, who were waiting until the sun should be low
enough to admit of their playing bowls among the burnt-up trees,
and on the dusty road. The harvest here was already gathered in,
and mules and horses were treading out the corn in the fields. We
came, at dusk, upon a wild and hilly country, once famous for
brigands; and travelled slowly up a steep ascent. So we went on,
until eleven at night, when we halted at the town of Aix (within
two stages of Marseilles) to sleep.

The hotel, with all the blinds and shutters closed to keep the
light and heat out, was comfortable and airy next morning, and the
town was very clean; but so hot, and so intensely light, that when
I walked out at noon it was like coming suddenly from the darkened
room into crisp blue fire. The air was so very clear, that distant
hills and rocky points appeared within an hour's walk; while the
town immediately at hand--with a kind of blue wind between me and
it--seemed to be white hot, and to be throwing off a fiery air from
the surface.

We left this town towards evening, and took the road to Marseilles.
A dusty road it was; the houses shut up close; and the vines
powdered white. At nearly all the cottage doors, women were
peeling and slicing onions into earthen bowls for supper. So they
had been doing last night all the way from Avignon. We passed one
or two shady dark chateaux, surrounded by trees, and embellished
with cool basins of water: which were the more refreshing to
behold, from the great scarcity of such residences on the road we
had travelled. As we approached Marseilles, the road began to be
covered with holiday people. Outside the public-houses were
parties smoking, drinking, playing draughts and cards, and (once)
dancing. But dust, dust, dust, everywhere. We went on, through a
long, straggling, dirty suburb, thronged with people; having on our
left a dreary slope of land, on which the country-houses of the
Marseilles merchants, always staring white, are jumbled and heaped
without the slightest order: backs, fronts, sides, and gables
towards all points of the compass; until, at last, we entered the

I was there, twice or thrice afterwards, in fair weather and foul;
and I am afraid there is no doubt that it is a dirty and
disagreeable place. But the prospect, from the fortified heights,
of the beautiful Mediterranean, with its lovely rocks and islands,
is most delightful. These heights are a desirable retreat, for
less picturesque reasons--as an escape from a compound of vile
smells perpetually arising from a great harbour full of stagnant
water, and befouled by the refuse of innumerable ships with all
sorts of cargoes: which, in hot weather, is dreadful in the last

There were foreign sailors, of all nations, in the streets; with
red shirts, blue shirts, buff shirts, tawny shirts, and shirts of
orange colour; with red caps, blue caps, green caps, great beards,
and no beards; in Turkish turbans, glazed English hats, and
Neapolitan head-dresses. There were the townspeople sitting in
clusters on the pavement, or airing themselves on the tops of their
houses, or walking up and down the closest and least airy of
Boulevards; and there were crowds of fierce-looking people of the
lower sort, blocking up the way, constantly. In the very heart of
all this stir and uproar, was the common madhouse; a low,
contracted, miserable building, looking straight upon the street,
without the smallest screen or court-yard; where chattering mad-men
and mad-women were peeping out, through rusty bars, at the staring
faces below, while the sun, darting fiercely aslant into their
little cells, seemed to dry up their brains, and worry them, as if
they were baited by a pack of dogs.

We were pretty well accommodated at the Hotel du Paradis, situated
in a narrow street of very high houses, with a hairdresser's shop
opposite, exhibiting in one of its windows two full-length waxen
ladies, twirling round and round: which so enchanted the
hairdresser himself, that he and his family sat in arm-chairs, and
in cool undresses, on the pavement outside, enjoying the
gratification of the passers-by, with lazy dignity. The family had
retired to rest when we went to bed, at midnight; but the
hairdresser (a corpulent man, in drab slippers) was still sitting
there, with his legs stretched out before him, and evidently
couldn't bear to have the shutters put up.

Next day we went down to the harbour, where the sailors of all
nations were discharging and taking in cargoes of all kinds:
fruits, wines, oils, silks, stuffs, velvets, and every manner of
merchandise. Taking one of a great number of lively little boats
with gay-striped awnings, we rowed away, under the sterns of great
ships, under tow-ropes and cables, against and among other boats,
and very much too near the sides of vessels that were faint with
oranges, to the Marie Antoinette, a handsome steamer bound for
Genoa, lying near the mouth of the harbour. By-and-by, the
carriage, that unwieldy 'trifle from the Pantechnicon,' on a flat
barge, bumping against everything, and giving occasion for a
prodigious quantity of oaths and grimaces, came stupidly alongside;
and by five o'clock we were steaming out in the open sea. The
vessel was beautifully clean; the meals were served under an awning
on deck; the night was calm and clear; the quiet beauty of the sea
and sky unspeakable.

We were off Nice, early next morning, and coasted along, within a
few miles of the Cornice road (of which more in its place) nearly
all day. We could see Genoa before three; and watching it as it
gradually developed its splendid amphitheatre, terrace rising above
terrace, garden above garden, palace above palace, height upon
height, was ample occupation for us, till we ran into the stately
harbour. Having been duly astonished, here, by the sight of a few
Cappucini monks, who were watching the fair-weighing of some wood
upon the wharf, we drove off to Albaro, two miles distant, where we
had engaged a house.

The way lay through the main streets, but not through the Strada
Nuova, or the Strada Balbi, which are the famous streets of
palaces. I never in my life was so dismayed! The wonderful
novelty of everything, the unusual smells, the unaccountable filth
(though it is reckoned the cleanest of Italian towns), the
disorderly jumbling of dirty houses, one upon the roof of another;
the passages more squalid and more close than any in St. Giles's or
old Paris; in and out of which, not vagabonds, but well-dressed
women, with white veils and great fans, were passing and repassing;
the perfect absence of resemblance in any dwelling-house, or shop,
or wall, or post, or pillar, to anything one had ever seen before;
and the disheartening dirt, discomfort, and decay; perfectly
confounded me. I fell into a dismal reverie. I am conscious of a
feverish and bewildered vision of saints and virgins' shrines at
the street corners--of great numbers of friars, monks, and
soldiers--of vast red curtains, waving in the doorways of the
churches--of always going up hill, and yet seeing every other
street and passage going higher up--of fruit-stalls, with fresh
lemons and oranges hanging in garlands made of vine-leaves--of a
guard-house, and a drawbridge--and some gateways--and vendors of
iced water, sitting with little trays upon the margin of the
kennel--and this is all the consciousness I had, until I was set
down in a rank, dull, weedy court-yard, attached to a kind of pink
jail; and was told I lived there.

I little thought, that day, that I should ever come to have an
attachment for the very stones in the streets of Genoa, and to look
back upon the city with affection as connected with many hours of
happiness and quiet! But these are my first impressions honestly
set down; and how they changed, I will set down too. At present,
let us breathe after this long-winded journey.


The first impressions of such a place as ALBARO, the suburb of
Genoa, where I am now, as my American friends would say, 'located,'
can hardly fail, I should imagine, to be mournful and
disappointing. It requires a little time and use to overcome the
feeling of depression consequent, at first, on so much ruin and
neglect. Novelty, pleasant to most people, is particularly
delightful, I think, to me. I am not easily dispirited when I have
the means of pursuing my own fancies and occupations; and I believe
I have some natural aptitude for accommodating myself to
circumstances. But, as yet, I stroll about here, in all the holes
and corners of the neighbourhood, in a perpetual state of forlorn
surprise; and returning to my villa: the Villa Bagnerello (it
sounds romantic, but Signor Bagnerello is a butcher hard by): have
sufficient occupation in pondering over my new experiences, and
comparing them, very much to my own amusement, with my
expectations, until I wander out again.

The Villa Bagnerello: or the Pink Jail, a far more expressive name
for the mansion: is in one of the most splendid situations
imaginable. The noble bay of Genoa, with the deep blue
Mediterranean, lies stretched out near at hand; monstrous old
desolate houses and palaces are dotted all about; lofty hills, with
their tops often hidden in the clouds, and with strong forts
perched high up on their craggy sides, are close upon the left; and
in front, stretching from the walls of the house, down to a ruined
chapel which stands upon the bold and picturesque rocks on the sea-
shore, are green vineyards, where you may wander all day long in
partial shade, through interminable vistas of grapes, trained on a
rough trellis-work across the narrow paths.

This sequestered spot is approached by lanes so very narrow, that
when we arrived at the Custom-house, we found the people here had
TAKEN THE MEASURE of the narrowest among them, and were waiting to
apply it to the carriage; which ceremony was gravely performed in
the street, while we all stood by in breathless suspense. It was
found to be a very tight fit, but just a possibility, and no more--
as I am reminded every day, by the sight of various large holes
which it punched in the walls on either side as it came along. We
are more fortunate, I am told, than an old lady, who took a house
in these parts not long ago, and who stuck fast in HER carriage in
a lane; and as it was impossible to open one of the doors, she was
obliged to submit to the indignity of being hauled through one of
the little front windows, like a harlequin.

When you have got through these narrow lanes, you come to an
archway, imperfectly stopped up by a rusty old gate--my gate. The
rusty old gate has a bell to correspond, which you ring as long as
you like, and which nobody answers, as it has no connection
whatever with the house. But there is a rusty old knocker, too--
very loose, so that it slides round when you touch it--and if you
learn the trick of it, and knock long enough, somebody comes. The
brave Courier comes, and gives you admittance. You walk into a
seedy little garden, all wild and weedy, from which the vineyard
opens; cross it, enter a square hall like a cellar, walk up a
cracked marble staircase, and pass into a most enormous room with a
vaulted roof and whitewashed walls: not unlike a great Methodist
chapel. This is the sala. It has five windows and five doors, and
is decorated with pictures which would gladden the heart of one of
those picture-cleaners in London who hang up, as a sign, a picture
divided, like death and the lady, at the top of the old ballad:
which always leaves you in a state of uncertainty whether the
ingenious professor has cleaned one half, or dirtied the other.
The furniture of this sala is a sort of red brocade. All the
chairs are immovable, and the sofa weighs several tons.

On the same floor, and opening out of this same chamber, are
dining-room, drawing-room, and divers bedrooms: each with a
multiplicity of doors and windows. Up-stairs are divers other
gaunt chambers, and a kitchen; and down-stairs is another kitchen,
which, with all sorts of strange contrivances for burning charcoal,
looks like an alchemical laboratory. There are also some half-
dozen small sitting-rooms, where the servants in this hot July, may
escape from the heat of the fire, and where the brave Courier plays
all sorts of musical instruments of his own manufacture, all the
evening long. A mighty old, wandering, ghostly, echoing, grim,
bare house it is, as ever I beheld or thought of.

There is a little vine-covered terrace, opening from the drawing-
room; and under this terrace, and forming one side of the little
garden, is what used to be the stable. It is now a cow-house, and
has three cows in it, so that we get new milk by the bucketful.
There is no pasturage near, and they never go out, but are
constantly lying down, and surfeiting themselves with vine-leaves--
perfect Italian cows enjoying the dolce far' niente all day long.
They are presided over, and slept with, by an old man named
Antonio, and his son; two burnt-sienna natives with naked legs and
feet, who wear, each, a shirt, a pair of trousers, and a red sash,
with a relic, or some sacred charm like the bonbon off a twelfth-
cake, hanging round the neck. The old man is very anxious to
convert me to the Catholic faith, and exhorts me frequently. We
sit upon a stone by the door, sometimes in the evening, like
Robinson Crusoe and Friday reversed; and he generally relates,
towards my conversion, an abridgment of the History of Saint Peter-
-chiefly, I believe, from the unspeakable delight he has in his
imitation of the cock.

The view, as I have said, is charming; but in the day you must keep
the lattice-blinds close shut, or the sun would drive you mad; and
when the sun goes down you must shut up all the windows, or the
mosquitoes would tempt you to commit suicide. So at this time of
the year, you don't see much of the prospect within doors. As for
the flies, you don't mind them. Nor the fleas, whose size is
prodigious, and whose name is Legion, and who populate the coach-
house to that extent that I daily expect to see the carriage going
off bodily, drawn by myriads of industrious fleas in harness. The
rats are kept away, quite comfortably, by scores of lean cats, who
roam about the garden for that purpose. The lizards, of course,
nobody cares for; they play in the sun, and don't bite. The little
scorpions are merely curious. The beetles are rather late, and
have not appeared yet. The frogs are company. There is a preserve
of them in the grounds of the next villa; and after nightfall, one
would think that scores upon scores of women in pattens were going
up and down a wet stone pavement without a moment's cessation.
That is exactly the noise they make.

The ruined chapel, on the picturesque and beautiful sea-shore, was
dedicated, once upon a time, to Saint John the Baptist. I believe
there is a legend that Saint John's bones were received there, with
various solemnities, when they were first brought to Genoa; for
Genoa possesses them to this day. When there is any uncommon
tempest at sea, they are brought out and exhibited to the raging
weather, which they never fail to calm. In consequence of this
connection of Saint John with the city, great numbers of the common
people are christened Giovanni Baptista, which latter name is
pronounced in the Genoese patois 'Batcheetcha,' like a sneeze. To
hear everybody calling everybody else Batcheetcha, on a Sunday, or
festa-day, when there are crowds in the streets, is not a little
singular and amusing to a stranger.

The narrow lanes have great villas opening into them, whose walls
(outside walls, I mean) are profusely painted with all sorts of
subjects, grim and holy. But time and the sea-air have nearly
obliterated them; and they look like the entrance to Vauxhall
Gardens on a sunny day. The court-yards of these houses are
overgrown with grass and weeds; all sorts of hideous patches cover
the bases of the statues, as if they were afflicted with a
cutaneous disorder; the outer gates are rusty; and the iron bars
outside the lower windows are all tumbling down. Firewood is kept
in halls where costly treasures might be heaped up, mountains high;
waterfalls are dry and choked; fountains, too dull to play, and too
lazy to work, have just enough recollection of their identity, in
their sleep, to make the neighbourhood damp; and the sirocco wind
is often blowing over all these things for days together, like a
gigantic oven out for a holiday.

Not long ago, there was a festa-day, in honour of the VIRGIN'S
MOTHER, when the young men of the neighbourhood, having worn green
wreaths of the vine in some procession or other, bathed in them, by
scores. It looked very odd and pretty. Though I am bound to
confess (not knowing of the festa at that time), that I thought,
and was quite satisfied, they wore them as horses do--to keep the
flies off.

Soon afterwards, there was another festa-day, in honour of St.
Nazaro. One of the Albaro young men brought two large bouquets
soon after breakfast, and coming up-stairs into the great sala,
presented them himself. This was a polite way of begging for a
contribution towards the expenses of some music in the Saint's
honour, so we gave him whatever it may have been, and his messenger
departed: well satisfied. At six o'clock in the evening we went
to the church--close at hand--a very gaudy place, hung all over
with festoons and bright draperies, and filled, from the altar to
the main door, with women, all seated. They wear no bonnets here,
simply a long white veil--the 'mezzero;' and it was the most gauzy,
ethereal-looking audience I ever saw. The young women are not
generally pretty, but they walk remarkably well, and in their
personal carriage and the management of their veils, display much
innate grace and elegance. There were some men present: not very
many: and a few of these were kneeling about the aisles, while
everybody else tumbled over them. Innumerable tapers were burning
in the church; the bits of silver and tin about the saints
(especially in the Virgin's necklace) sparkled brilliantly; the
priests were seated about the chief altar; the organ played away,
lustily, and a full band did the like; while a conductor, in a
little gallery opposite to the band, hammered away on the desk
before him, with a scroll; and a tenor, without any voice, sang.
The band played one way, the organ played another, the singer went
a third, and the unfortunate conductor banged and banged, and
flourished his scroll on some principle of his own: apparently
well satisfied with the whole performance. I never did hear such a
discordant din. The heat was intense all the time.

The men, in red caps, and with loose coats hanging on their
shoulders (they never put them on), were playing bowls, and buying
sweetmeats, immediately outside the church. When half-a-dozen of
them finished a game, they came into the aisle, crossed themselves
with the holy water, knelt on one knee for an instant, and walked
off again to play another game at bowls. They are remarkably
expert at this diversion, and will play in the stony lanes and
streets, and on the most uneven and disastrous ground for such a
purpose, with as much nicety as on a billiard-table. But the most
favourite game is the national one of Mora, which they pursue with
surprising ardour, and at which they will stake everything they
possess. It is a destructive kind of gambling, requiring no
accessories but the ten fingers, which are always--I intend no pun-
-at hand. Two men play together. One calls a number--say the
extreme one, ten. He marks what portion of it he pleases by
throwing out three, or four, or five fingers; and his adversary
has, in the same instant, at hazard, and without seeing his hand,
to throw out as many fingers, as will make the exact balance.
Their eyes and hands become so used to this, and act with such
astonishing rapidity, that an uninitiated bystander would find it
very difficult, if not impossible, to follow the progress of the
game. The initiated, however, of whom there is always an eager
group looking on, devour it with the most intense avidity; and as
they are always ready to champion one side or the other in case of
a dispute, and are frequently divided in their partisanship, it is
often a very noisy proceeding. It is never the quietest game in
the world; for the numbers are always called in a loud sharp voice,
and follow as close upon each other as they can be counted. On a
holiday evening, standing at a window, or walking in a garden, or
passing through the streets, or sauntering in any quiet place about
the town, you will hear this game in progress in a score of wine-
shops at once; and looking over any vineyard walk, or turning
almost any corner, will come upon a knot of players in full cry.
It is observable that most men have a propensity to throw out some
particular number oftener than another; and the vigilance with
which two sharp-eyed players will mutually endeavour to detect this
weakness, and adapt their game to it, is very curious and
entertaining. The effect is greatly heightened by the universal
suddenness and vehemence of gesture; two men playing for half a
farthing with an intensity as all-absorbing as if the stake were

Hard by here is a large Palazzo, formerly belonging to some member
of the Brignole family, but just now hired by a school of Jesuits
for their summer quarters. I walked into its dismantled precincts
the other evening about sunset, and couldn't help pacing up and
down for a little time, drowsily taking in the aspect of the place:
which is repeated hereabouts in all directions.

I loitered to and fro, under a colonnade, forming two sides of a
weedy, grass-grown court-yard, whereof the house formed a third
side, and a low terrace-walk, overlooking the garden and the
neighbouring hills, the fourth. I don't believe there was an
uncracked stone in the whole pavement. In the centre was a
melancholy statue, so piebald in its decay, that it looked exactly
as if it had been covered with sticking-plaster, and afterwards
powdered. The stables, coach-houses, offices, were all empty, all
ruinous, all utterly deserted.

Doors had lost their hinges, and were holding on by their latches;
windows were broken, painted plaster had peeled off, and was lying
about in clods; fowls and cats had so taken possession of the out-
buildings, that I couldn't help thinking of the fairy tales, and
eyeing them with suspicion, as transformed retainers, waiting to be
changed back again. One old Tom in particular: a scraggy brute,
with a hungry green eye (a poor relation, in reality, I am inclined
to think): came prowling round and round me, as if he half
believed, for the moment, that I might be the hero come to marry
the lady, and set all to-rights; but discovering his mistake, he
suddenly gave a grim snarl, and walked away with such a tremendous
tail, that he couldn't get into the little hole where he lived, but
was obliged to wait outside, until his indignation and his tail had
gone down together.

In a sort of summer-house, or whatever it may be, in this
colonnade, some Englishmen had been living, like grubs in a nut;
but the Jesuits had given them notice to go, and they had gone, and
THAT was shut up too. The house: a wandering, echoing, thundering
barrack of a place, with the lower windows barred up, as usual, was
wide open at the door: and I have no doubt I might have gone in,
and gone to bed, and gone dead, and nobody a bit the wiser. Only
one suite of rooms on an upper floor was tenanted; and from one of
these, the voice of a young-lady vocalist, practising bravura
lustily, came flaunting out upon the silent evening.

I went down into the garden, intended to be prim and quaint, with
avenues, and terraces, and orange-trees, and statues, and water in
stone basins; and everything was green, gaunt, weedy, straggling,
under grown or over grown, mildewy, damp, redolent of all sorts of
slabby, clammy, creeping, and uncomfortable life. There was
nothing bright in the whole scene but a firefly--one solitary
firefly--showing against the dark bushes like the last little speck
of the departed Glory of the house; and even it went flitting up
and down at sudden angles, and leaving a place with a jerk, and
describing an irregular circle, and returning to the same place
with a twitch that startled one: as if it were looking for the
rest of the Glory, and wondering (Heaven knows it might!) what had
become of it.

In the course of two months, the flitting shapes and shadows of my
dismal entering reverie gradually resolved themselves into familiar
forms and substances; and I already began to think that when the
time should come, a year hence, for closing the long holiday and
turning back to England, I might part from Genoa with anything but
a glad heart.

It is a place that 'grows upon you' every day. There seems to be
always something to find out in it. There are the most
extraordinary alleys and by-ways to walk about in. You can lose
your way (what a comfort that is, when you are idle!) twenty times
a day, if you like; and turn up again, under the most unexpected
and surprising difficulties. It abounds in the strangest
contrasts; things that are picturesque, ugly, mean, magnificent,
delightful, and offensive, break upon the view at every turn.

They who would know how beautiful the country immediately
surrounding Genoa is, should climb (in clear weather) to the top of
Monte Faccio, or, at least, ride round the city walls: a feat more
easily performed. No prospect can be more diversified and lovely
than the changing views of the harbour, and the valleys of the two
rivers, the Polcevera and the Bizagno, from the heights along which
the strongly fortified walls are carried, like the great wall of
China in little. In not the least picturesque part of this ride,
there is a fair specimen of a real Genoese tavern, where the
visitor may derive good entertainment from real Genoese dishes,
such as Tagliarini; Ravioli; German sausages, strong of garlic,
sliced and eaten with fresh green figs; cocks' combs and sheep-
kidneys, chopped up with mutton chops and liver; small pieces of
some unknown part of a calf, twisted into small shreds, fried, and
served up in a great dish like white-bait; and other curiosities of
that kind. They often get wine at these suburban Trattorie, from
France and Spain and Portugal, which is brought over by small
captains in little trading-vessels. They buy it at so much a
bottle, without asking what it is, or caring to remember if anybody
tells them, and usually divide it into two heaps; of which they
label one Champagne, and the other Madeira. The various opposite
flavours, qualities, countries, ages, and vintages that are
comprised under these two general heads is quite extraordinary.
The most limited range is probably from cool Gruel up to old
Marsala, and down again to apple Tea.

The great majority of the streets are as narrow as any thoroughfare
can well be, where people (even Italian people) are supposed to
live and walk about; being mere lanes, with here and there a kind
of well, or breathing-place. The houses are immensely high,
painted in all sorts of colours, and are in every stage and state
of damage, dirt, and lack of repair. They are commonly let off in
floors, or flats, like the houses in the old town of Edinburgh, or
many houses in Paris. There are few street doors; the entrance
halls are, for the most part, looked upon as public property; and
any moderately enterprising scavenger might make a fine fortune by
now and then clearing them out. As it is impossible for coaches to
penetrate into these streets, there are sedan chairs, gilded and
otherwise, for hire in divers places. A great many private chairs
are also kept among the nobility and gentry; and at night these are
trotted to and fro in all directions, preceded by bearers of great
lanthorns, made of linen stretched upon a frame. The sedans and
lanthorns are the legitimate successors of the long strings of
patient and much-abused mules, that go jingling their little bells
through these confined streets all day long. They follow them, as
regularly as the stars the sun.

When shall I forget the Streets of Palaces: the Strada Nuova and
the Strada Balbi! or how the former looked one summer day, when I
first saw it underneath the brightest and most intensely blue of
summer skies: which its narrow perspective of immense mansions,
reduced to a tapering and most precious strip of brightness,
looking down upon the heavy shade below! A brightness not too
common, even in July and August, to be well esteemed: for, if the
Truth must out, there were not eight blue skies in as many
midsummer weeks, saving, sometimes, early in the morning; when,
looking out to sea, the water and the firmament were one world of
deep and brilliant blue. At other times, there were clouds and
haze enough to make an Englishman grumble in his own climate.

The endless details of these rich Palaces: the walls of some of
them, within, alive with masterpieces by Vandyke! The great,
heavy, stone balconies, one above another, and tier over tier:
with here and there, one larger than the rest, towering high up--a
huge marble platform; the doorless vestibules, massively barred
lower windows, immense public staircases, thick marble pillars,
strong dungeon-like arches, and dreary, dreaming, echoing vaulted
chambers: among which the eye wanders again, and again, and again,
as every palace is succeeded by another--the terrace gardens
between house and house, with green arches of the vine, and groves
of orange-trees, and blushing oleander in full bloom, twenty,
thirty, forty feet above the street--the painted halls, mouldering,
and blotting, and rotting in the damp corners, and still shining
out in beautiful colours and voluptuous designs, where the walls
are dry--the faded figures on the outsides of the houses, holding
wreaths, and crowns, and flying upward, and downward, and standing
in niches, and here and there looking fainter and more feeble than
elsewhere, by contrast with some fresh little Cupids, who on a more
recently decorated portion of the front, are stretching out what
seems to be the semblance of a blanket, but is, indeed, a sun-dial-
-the steep, steep, up-hill streets of small palaces (but very large
palaces for all that), with marble terraces looking down into close
by-ways--the magnificent and innumerable Churches; and the rapid
passage from a street of stately edifices, into a maze of the
vilest squalor, steaming with unwholesome stenches, and swarming
with half-naked children and whole worlds of dirty people--make up,
altogether, such a scene of wonder: so lively, and yet so dead:
so noisy, and yet so quiet: so obtrusive, and yet so shy and
lowering: so wide awake, and yet so fast asleep: that it is a
sort of intoxication to a stranger to walk on, and on, and on, and
look about him. A bewildering phantasmagoria, with all the
inconsistency of a dream, and all the pain and all the pleasure of
an extravagant reality!

The different uses to which some of these Palaces are applied, all
at once, is characteristic. For instance, the English Banker (my
excellent and hospitable friend) has his office in a good-sized
Palazzo in the Strada Nuova. In the hall (every inch of which is
elaborately painted, but which is as dirty as a police-station in
London), a hook-nosed Saracen's Head with an immense quantity of
black hair (there is a man attached to it) sells walking-sticks.
On the other side of the doorway, a lady with a showy handkerchief
for head-dress (wife to the Saracen's Head, I believe) sells
articles of her own knitting; and sometimes flowers. A little
further in, two or three blind men occasionally beg. Sometimes,
they are visited by a man without legs, on a little go-cart, but
who has such a fresh-coloured, lively face, and such a respectable,
well-conditioned body, that he looks as if he had sunk into the
ground up to his middle, or had come, but partially, up a flight of
cellar-steps to speak to somebody. A little further in, a few men,
perhaps, lie asleep in the middle of the day; or they may be
chairmen waiting for their absent freight. If so, they have
brought their chairs in with them, and there THEY stand also. On
the left of the hall is a little room: a hatter's shop. On the
first floor, is the English bank. On the first floor also, is a
whole house, and a good large residence too. Heaven knows what
there may be above that; but when you are there, you have only just
begun to go up-stairs. And yet, coming down-stairs again, thinking
of this; and passing out at a great crazy door in the back of the
hall, instead of turning the other way, to get into the street
again; it bangs behind you, making the dismallest and most lonesome
echoes, and you stand in a yard (the yard of the same house) which
seems to have been unvisited by human foot, for a hundred years.
Not a sound disturbs its repose. Not a head, thrust out of any of
the grim, dark, jealous windows, within sight, makes the weeds in
the cracked pavement faint of heart, by suggesting the possibility
of there being hands to grub them up. Opposite to you, is a giant
figure carved in stone, reclining, with an urn, upon a lofty piece
of artificial rockwork; and out of the urn, dangles the fag end of
a leaden pipe, which, once upon a time, poured a small torrent down
the rocks. But the eye-sockets of the giant are not drier than
this channel is now. He seems to have given his urn, which is
nearly upside down, a final tilt; and after crying, like a
sepulchral child, 'All gone!' to have lapsed into a stony silence.

In the streets of shops, the houses are much smaller, but of great
size notwithstanding, and extremely high. They are very dirty:
quite undrained, if my nose be at all reliable: and emit a
peculiar fragrance, like the smell of very bad cheese, kept in very
hot blankets. Notwithstanding the height of the houses, there
would seem to have been a lack of room in the City, for new houses
are thrust in everywhere. Wherever it has been possible to cram a
tumble-down tenement into a crack or corner, in it has gone. If
there be a nook or angle in the wall of a church, or a crevice in
any other dead wall, of any sort, there you are sure to find some
kind of habitation: looking as if it had grown there, like a
fungus. Against the Government House, against the old Senate
House, round about any large building, little shops stick so close,
like parasite vermin to the great carcase. And for all this, look
where you may: up steps, down steps, anywhere, everywhere: there
are irregular houses, receding, starting forward, tumbling down,
leaning against their neighbours, crippling themselves or their
friends by some means or other, until one, more irregular than the
rest, chokes up the way, and you can't see any further.

One of the rottenest-looking parts of the town, I think, is down by
the landing-wharf: though it may be, that its being associated
with a great deal of rottenness on the evening of our arrival, has
stamped it deeper in my mind. Here, again, the houses are very
high, and are of an infinite variety of deformed shapes, and have
(as most of the houses have) something hanging out of a great many
windows, and wafting its frowsy fragrance on the breeze.
Sometimes, it is a curtain; sometimes, it is a carpet; sometimes,
it is a bed; sometimes, a whole line-full of clothes; but there is
almost always something. Before the basement of these houses, is
an arcade over the pavement: very massive, dark, and low, like an
old crypt. The stone, or plaster, of which it is made, has turned
quite black; and against every one of these black piles, all sorts
of filth and garbage seem to accumulate spontaneously. Beneath
some of the arches, the sellers of macaroni and polenta establish
their stalls, which are by no means inviting. The offal of a fish-
market, near at hand--that is to say, of a back lane, where people
sit upon the ground and on various old bulk-heads and sheds, and
sell fish when they have any to dispose of--and of a vegetable
market, constructed on the same principle--are contributed to the
decoration of this quarter; and as all the mercantile business is
transacted here, and it is crowded all day, it has a very decided
flavour about it. The Porto Franco, or Free Port (where goods
brought in from foreign countries pay no duty until they are sold
and taken out, as in a bonded warehouse in England), is down here
also; and two portentous officials, in cocked hats, stand at the
gate to search you if they choose, and to keep out Monks and
Ladies. For, Sanctity as well as Beauty has been known to yield to
the temptation of smuggling, and in the same way: that is to say,
by concealing the smuggled property beneath the loose folds of its
dress. So Sanctity and Beauty may, by no means, enter.

The streets of Genoa would be all the better for the importation of
a few Priests of prepossessing appearance. Every fourth or fifth
man in the streets is a Priest or a Monk; and there is pretty sure
to be at least one itinerant ecclesiastic inside or outside every
hackney carriage on the neighbouring roads. I have no knowledge,
elsewhere, of more repulsive countenances than are to be found
among these gentry. If Nature's handwriting be at all legible,
greater varieties of sloth, deceit, and intellectual torpor, could
hardly be observed among any class of men in the world.

MR. PEPYS once heard a clergyman assert in his sermon, in
illustration of his respect for the Priestly office, that if he
could meet a Priest and angel together, he would salute the Priest
first. I am rather of the opinion of PETRARCH, who, when his pupil
BOCCACCIO wrote to him in great tribulation, that he had been
visited and admonished for his writings by a Carthusian Friar who
claimed to be a messenger immediately commissioned by Heaven for
that purpose, replied, that for his own part, he would take the
liberty of testing the reality of the commission by personal
observation of the Messenger's face, eyes, forehead, behaviour, and
discourse. I cannot but believe myself, from similar observation,
that many unaccredited celestial messengers may be seen skulking
through the streets of Genoa, or droning away their lives in other
Italian towns.

Perhaps the Cappuccini, though not a learned body, are, as an
order, the best friends of the people. They seem to mingle with
them more immediately, as their counsellors and comforters; and to
go among them more, when they are sick; and to pry less than some
other orders, into the secrets of families, for the purpose of
establishing a baleful ascendency over their weaker members; and to
be influenced by a less fierce desire to make converts, and once
made, to let them go to ruin, soul and body. They may be seen, in
their coarse dress, in all parts of the town at all times, and
begging in the markets early in the morning. The Jesuits too,
muster strong in the streets, and go slinking noiselessly about, in
pairs, like black cats.

In some of the narrow passages, distinct trades congregate. There
is a street of jewellers, and there is a row of booksellers; but
even down in places where nobody ever can, or ever could, penetrate
in a carriage, there are mighty old palaces shut in among the
gloomiest and closest walls, and almost shut out from the sun.
Very few of the tradesmen have any idea of setting forth their
goods, or disposing them for show. If you, a stranger, want to buy
anything, you usually look round the shop till you see it; then
clutch it, if it be within reach, and inquire how much. Everything
is sold at the most unlikely place. If you want coffee, you go to
a sweetmeat shop; and if you want meat, you will probably find it
behind an old checked curtain, down half-a-dozen steps, in some
sequestered nook as hard to find as if the commodity were poison,
and Genoa's law were death to any that uttered it.

Most of the apothecaries' shops are great lounging-places. Here,
grave men with sticks, sit down in the shade for hours together,
passing a meagre Genoa paper from hand to hand, and talking,
drowsily and sparingly, about the News. Two or three of these are
poor physicians, ready to proclaim themselves on an emergency, and
tear off with any messenger who may arrive. You may know them by
the way in which they stretch their necks to listen, when you
enter; and by the sigh with which they fall back again into their
dull corners, on finding that you only want medicine. Few people
lounge in the barbers' shops; though they are very numerous, as
hardly any man shaves himself. But the apothecary's has its group
of loungers, who sit back among the bottles, with their hands
folded over the tops of their sticks. So still and quiet, that
either you don't see them in the darkened shop, or mistake them--as
I did one ghostly man in bottle-green, one day, with a hat like a
stopper--for Horse Medicine.

On a summer evening the Genoese are as fond of putting themselves,
as their ancestors were of putting houses, in every available inch
of space in and about the town. In all the lanes and alleys, and
up every little ascent, and on every dwarf wall, and on every
flight of steps, they cluster like bees. Meanwhile (and especially
on festa-days) the bells of the churches ring incessantly; not in
peals, or any known form of sound, but in a horrible, irregular,
jerking, dingle, dingle, dingle: with a sudden stop at every
fifteenth dingle or so, which is maddening. This performance is
usually achieved by a boy up in the steeple, who takes hold of the
clapper, or a little rope attached to it, and tries to dingle
louder than every other boy similarly employed. The noise is
supposed to be particularly obnoxious to Evil Spirits; but looking
up into the steeples, and seeing (and hearing) these young
Christians thus engaged, one might very naturally mistake them for
the Enemy.

Festa-days, early in the autumn, are very numerous. All the shops
were shut up, twice within a week, for these holidays; and one
night, all the houses in the neighbourhood of a particular church
were illuminated, while the church itself was lighted, outside,
with torches; and a grove of blazing links was erected, in an open
space outside one of the city gates. This part of the ceremony is
prettier and more singular a little way in the country, where you
can trace the illuminated cottages all the way up a steep hill-
side; and where you pass festoons of tapers, wasting away in the
starlight night, before some lonely little house upon the road.

On these days, they always dress the church of the saint in whose
honour the festa is holden, very gaily. Gold-embroidered festoons
of different colours, hang from the arches; the altar furniture is
set forth; and sometimes, even the lofty pillars are swathed from
top to bottom in tight-fitting draperies. The cathedral is
dedicated to St. Lorenzo. On St. Lorenzo's day, we went into it,
just as the sun was setting. Although these decorations are
usually in very indifferent taste, the effect, just then, was very
superb indeed. For the whole building was dressed in red; and the
sinking sun, streaming in, through a great red curtain in the chief
doorway, made all the gorgeousness its own. When the sun went
down, and it gradually grew quite dark inside, except for a few
twinkling tapers on the principal altar, and some small dangling
silver lamps, it was very mysterious and effective. But, sitting
in any of the churches towards evening, is like a mild dose of

With the money collected at a festa, they usually pay for the
dressing of the church, and for the hiring of the band, and for the
tapers. If there be any left (which seldom happens, I believe),
the souls in Purgatory get the benefit of it. They are also
supposed to have the benefit of the exertions of certain small
boys, who shake money-boxes before some mysterious little buildings
like rural turnpikes, which (usually shut up close) fly open on
Red-letter days, and disclose an image and some flowers inside.

Just without the city gate, on the Albara road, is a small house,
with an altar in it, and a stationary money-box: also for the
benefit of the souls in Purgatory. Still further to stimulate the
charitable, there is a monstrous painting on the plaster, on either
side of the grated door, representing a select party of souls,
frying. One of them has a grey moustache, and an elaborate head of
grey hair: as if he had been taken out of a hairdresser's window
and cast into the furnace. There he is: a most grotesque and
hideously comic old soul: for ever blistering in the real sun, and
melting in the mimic fire, for the gratification and improvement
(and the contributions) of the poor Genoese.

They are not a very joyous people, and are seldom seen to dance on
their holidays: the staple places of entertainment among the
women, being the churches and the public walks. They are very
good-tempered, obliging, and industrious. Industry has not made
them clean, for their habitations are extremely filthy, and their
usual occupation on a fine Sunday morning, is to sit at their
doors, hunting in each other's heads. But their dwellings are so
close and confined that if those parts of the city had been beaten
down by Massena in the time of the terrible Blockade, it would have
at least occasioned one public benefit among many misfortunes.

The Peasant Women, with naked feet and legs, are so constantly
washing clothes, in the public tanks, and in every stream and
ditch, that one cannot help wondering, in the midst of all this
dirt, who wears them when they are clean. The custom is to lay the
wet linen which is being operated upon, on a smooth stone, and
hammer away at it, with a flat wooden mallet. This they do, as
furiously as if they were revenging themselves on dress in general
for being connected with the Fall of Mankind.

It is not unusual to see, lying on the edge of the tank at these
times, or on another flat stone, an unfortunate baby, tightly
swathed up, arms and legs and all, in an enormous quantity of
wrapper, so that it is unable to move a toe or finger. This custom
(which we often see represented in old pictures) is universal among
the common people. A child is left anywhere without the
possibility of crawling away, or is accidentally knocked off a
shelf, or tumbled out of bed, or is hung up to a hook now and then,
and left dangling like a doll at an English rag-shop, without the
least inconvenience to anybody.

I was sitting, one Sunday, soon after my arrival, in the little
country church of San Martino, a couple of miles from the city,
while a baptism took place. I saw the priest, and an attendant
with a large taper, and a man, and a woman, and some others; but I
had no more idea, until the ceremony was all over, that it was a
baptism, or that the curious little stiff instrument, that was
passed from one to another, in the course of the ceremony, by the
handle--like a short poker--was a child, than I had that it was my
own christening. I borrowed the child afterwards, for a minute or
two (it was lying across the font then), and found it very red in
the face but perfectly quiet, and not to be bent on any terms. The
number of cripples in the streets, soon ceased to surprise me.

There are plenty of Saints' and Virgin's Shrines, of course;
generally at the corners of streets. The favourite memento to the
Faithful, about Genoa, is a painting, representing a peasant on his
knees, with a spade and some other agricultural implements beside
him; and the Madonna, with the Infant Saviour in her arms,
appearing to him in a cloud. This is the legend of the Madonna
della Guardia: a chapel on a mountain within a few miles, which is
in high repute. It seems that this peasant lived all alone by
himself, tilling some land atop of the mountain, where, being a
devout man, he daily said his prayers to the Virgin in the open
air; for his hut was a very poor one. Upon a certain day, the
Virgin appeared to him, as in the picture, and said, 'Why do you
pray in the open air, and without a priest?' The peasant explained
because there was neither priest nor church at hand--a very
uncommon complaint indeed in Italy. 'I should wish, then,' said
the Celestial Visitor, 'to have a chapel built here, in which the
prayers of the Faithful may be offered up.' 'But, Santissima
Madonna,' said the peasant, 'I am a poor man; and chapels cannot be
built without money. They must be supported, too, Santissima; for
to have a chapel and not support it liberally, is a wickedness--a
deadly sin.' This sentiment gave great satisfaction to the
visitor. 'Go!' said she. 'There is such a village in the valley
on the left, and such another village in the valley on the right,
and such another village elsewhere, that will gladly contribute to
the building of a chapel. Go to them! Relate what you have seen;
and do not doubt that sufficient money will be forthcoming to erect
my chapel, or that it will, afterwards, be handsomely maintained.'
All of which (miraculously) turned out to be quite true. And in
proof of this prediction and revelation, there is the chapel of the
Madonna della Guardia, rich and flourishing at this day.

The splendour and variety of the Genoese churches, can hardly be
exaggerated. The church of the Annunciata especially: built, like
many of the others, at the cost of one noble family, and now in
slow progress of repair: from the outer door to the utmost height
of the high cupola, is so elaborately painted and set in gold, that
it looks (as SIMOND describes it, in his charming book on Italy)
like a great enamelled snuff-box. Most of the richer churches
contain some beautiful pictures, or other embellishments of great
price, almost universally set, side by side, with sprawling
effigies of maudlin monks, and the veriest trash and tinsel ever

It may be a consequence of the frequent direction of the popular
mind, and pocket, to the souls in Purgatory, but there is very
little tenderness for the BODIES of the dead here. For the very
poor, there are, immediately outside one angle of the walls, and
behind a jutting point of the fortification, near the sea, certain
common pits--one for every day in the year--which all remain closed
up, until the turn of each comes for its daily reception of dead
bodies. Among the troops in the town, there are usually some
Swiss: more or less. When any of these die, they are buried out
of a fund maintained by such of their countrymen as are resident in
Genoa. Their providing coffins for these men is matter of great
astonishment to the authorities.

Certainly, the effect of this promiscuous and indecent splashing
down of dead people in so many wells, is bad. It surrounds Death
with revolting associations, that insensibly become connected with
those whom Death is approaching. Indifference and avoidance are
the natural result; and all the softening influences of the great
sorrow are harshly disturbed.

There is a ceremony when an old Cavaliere or the like, expires, of
erecting a pile of benches in the cathedral, to represent his bier;
covering them over with a pall of black velvet; putting his hat and
sword on the top; making a little square of seats about the whole;
and sending out formal invitations to his friends and acquaintances
to come and sit there, and hear Mass: which is performed at the
principal Altar, decorated with an infinity of candles for that

When the better kind of people die, or are at the point of death,
their nearest relations generally walk off: retiring into the
country for a little change, and leaving the body to be disposed
of, without any superintendence from them. The procession is
usually formed, and the coffin borne, and the funeral conducted, by
a body of persons called a Confraternita, who, as a kind of
voluntary penance, undertake to perform these offices, in regular
rotation, for the dead; but who, mingling something of pride with
their humility, are dressed in a loose garment covering their whole
person, and wear a hood concealing the face; with breathing-holes
and apertures for the eyes. The effect of this costume is very
ghastly: especially in the case of a certain Blue Confraternita
belonging to Genoa, who, to say the least of them, are very ugly
customers, and who look--suddenly encountered in their pious
ministration in the streets--as if they were Ghoules or Demons,
bearing off the body for themselves.

Although such a custom may be liable to the abuse attendant on many
Italian customs, of being recognised as a means of establishing a
current account with Heaven, on which to draw, too easily, for
future bad actions, or as an expiation for past misdeeds, it must
be admitted to be a good one, and a practical one, and one
involving unquestionably good works. A voluntary service like
this, is surely better than the imposed penance (not at all an
infrequent one) of giving so many licks to such and such a stone in
the pavement of the cathedral; or than a vow to the Madonna to wear
nothing but blue for a year or two. This is supposed to give great
delight above; blue being (as is well known) the Madonna's
favourite colour. Women who have devoted themselves to this act of
Faith, are very commonly seen walking in the streets.

There are three theatres in the city, besides an old one now rarely
opened. The most important--the Carlo Felice: the opera-house of
Genoa--is a very splendid, commodious, and beautiful theatre. A
company of comedians were acting there, when we arrived: and soon
after their departure, a second-rate opera company came. The great
season is not until the carnival time--in the spring. Nothing
impressed me, so much, in my visits here (which were pretty
numerous) as the uncommonly hard and cruel character of the
audience, who resent the slightest defect, take nothing good-
humouredly, seem to be always lying in wait for an opportunity to
hiss, and spare the actresses as little as the actors.

But, as there is nothing else of a public nature at which they are
allowed to express the least disapprobation, perhaps they are
resolved to make the most of this opportunity.

There are a great number of Piedmontese officers too, who are
allowed the privilege of kicking their heels in the pit, for next
to nothing: gratuitous, or cheap accommodation for these gentlemen
being insisted on, by the Governor, in all public or semi-public
entertainments. They are lofty critics in consequence, and
infinitely more exacting than if they made the unhappy manager's

The TEATRO DIURNO, or Day Theatre, is a covered stage in the open
air, where the performances take place by daylight, in the cool of
the afternoon; commencing at four or five o'clock, and lasting,
some three hours. It is curious, sitting among the audience, to
have a fine view of the neighbouring hills and houses, and to see
the neighbours at their windows looking on, and to hear the bells
of the churches and convents ringing at most complete cross-
purposes with the scene. Beyond this, and the novelty of seeing a
play in the fresh pleasant air, with the darkening evening closing
in, there is nothing very exciting or characteristic in the
performances. The actors are indifferent; and though they
sometimes represent one of Goldoni's comedies, the staple of the
Drama is French. Anything like nationality is dangerous to
despotic governments, and Jesuit-beleaguered kings.

The Theatre of Puppets, or Marionetti--a famous company from Milan-
-is, without any exception, the drollest exhibition I ever beheld
in my life. I never saw anything so exquisitely ridiculous. They
LOOK between four and five feet high, but are really much smaller;
for when a musician in the orchestra happens to put his hat on the
stage, it becomes alarmingly gigantic, and almost blots out an
actor. They usually play a comedy, and a ballet. The comic man in
the comedy I saw one summer night, is a waiter in an hotel. There
never was such a locomotive actor, since the world began. Great
pains are taken with him. He has extra joints in his legs: and a
practical eye, with which he winks at the pit, in a manner that is
absolutely insupportable to a stranger, but which the initiated
audience, mainly composed of the common people, receive (so they do
everything else) quite as a matter of course, and as if he were a
man. His spirits are prodigious. He continually shakes his legs,
and winks his eye. And there is a heavy father with grey hair, who
sits down on the regular conventional stage-bank, and blesses his
daughter in the regular conventional way, who is tremendous. No
one would suppose it possible that anything short of a real man
could be so tedious. It is the triumph of art.

In the ballet, an Enchanter runs away with the Bride, in the very
hour of her nuptials, He brings her to his cave, and tries to
soothe her. They sit down on a sofa (the regular sofa! in the
regular place, O. P. Second Entrance!) and a procession of
musicians enters; one creature playing a drum, and knocking himself
off his legs at every blow. These failing to delight her, dancers
appear. Four first; then two; THE two; the flesh-coloured two.
The way in which they dance; the height to which they spring; the
impossible and inhuman extent to which they pirouette; the
revelation of their preposterous legs; the coming down with a
pause, on the very tips of their toes, when the music requires it;
the gentleman's retiring up, when it is the lady's turn; and the
lady's retiring up, when it is the gentleman's turn; the final
passion of a pas-de-deux; and the going off with a bound!--I shall
never see a real ballet, with a composed countenance again.

I went, another night, to see these Puppets act a play called 'St.
Helena, or the Death of Napoleon.' It began by the disclosure of
Napoleon, with an immense head, seated on a sofa in his chamber at
St. Helena; to whom his valet entered with this obscure

'Sir Yew ud se on Low?' (the ow, as in cow).

Sir Hudson (that you could have seen his regimentals!) was a
perfect mammoth of a man, to Napoleon; hideously ugly, with a
monstrously disproportionate face, and a great clump for the lower-
jaw, to express his tyrannical and obdurate nature. He began his
system of persecution, by calling his prisoner 'General
Buonaparte;' to which the latter replied, with the deepest tragedy,
'Sir Yew ud se on Low, call me not thus. Repeat that phrase and
leave me! I am Napoleon, Emperor of France!' Sir Yew ud se on,
nothing daunted, proceeded to entertain him with an ordinance of
the British Government, regulating the state he should preserve,
and the furniture of his rooms: and limiting his attendants to
four or five persons. 'Four or five for ME!' said Napoleon. 'Me!
One hundred thousand men were lately at my sole command; and this
English officer talks of four or five for ME!' Throughout the
piece, Napoleon (who talked very like the real Napoleon, and was,
for ever, having small soliloquies by himself) was very bitter on
'these English officers,' and 'these English soldiers;' to the
great satisfaction of the audience, who were perfectly delighted to
have Low bullied; and who, whenever Low said 'General Buonaparte'
(which he always did: always receiving the same correction), quite
execrated him. It would be hard to say why; for Italians have
little cause to sympathise with Napoleon, Heaven knows.

There was no plot at all, except that a French officer, disguised
as an Englishman, came to propound a plan of escape; and being
discovered, but not before Napoleon had magnanimously refused to
steal his freedom, was immediately ordered off by Low to be hanged.
In two very long speeches, which Low made memorable, by winding up
with 'Yas!'--to show that he was English--which brought down
thunders of applause. Napoleon was so affected by this
catastrophe, that he fainted away on the spot, and was carried out
by two other puppets. Judging from what followed, it would appear
that he never recovered the shock; for the next act showed him, in
a clean shirt, in his bed (curtains crimson and white), where a
lady, prematurely dressed in mourning, brought two little children,
who kneeled down by the bedside, while he made a decent end; the
last word on his lips being 'Vatterlo.'

It was unspeakably ludicrous. Buonaparte's boots were so
wonderfully beyond control, and did such marvellous things of their
own accord: doubling themselves up, and getting under tables, and
dangling in the air, and sometimes skating away with him, out of
all human knowledge, when he was in full speech--mischances which
were not rendered the less absurd, by a settled melancholy depicted
in his face. To put an end to one conference with Low, he had to
go to a table, and read a book: when it was the finest spectacle I
ever beheld, to see his body bending over the volume, like a boot-
jack, and his sentimental eyes glaring obstinately into the pit.
He was prodigiously good, in bed, with an immense collar to his
shirt, and his little hands outside the coverlet. So was Dr.
Antommarchi, represented by a puppet with long lank hair, like
Mawworm's, who, in consequence of some derangement of his wires,
hovered about the couch like a vulture, and gave medical opinions
in the air. He was almost as good as Low, though the latter was
great at all times--a decided brute and villain, beyond all
possibility of mistake. Low was especially fine at the last, when,
hearing the doctor and the valet say, 'The Emperor is dead!' he
pulled out his watch, and wound up the piece (not the watch) by
exclaiming, with characteristic brutality, 'Ha! ha! Eleven minutes
to six! The General dead! and the spy hanged!' This brought the
curtain down, triumphantly.

There is not in Italy, they say (and I believe them), a lovelier
residence than the Palazzo Peschiere, or Palace of the Fishponds,
whither we removed as soon as our three months' tenancy of the Pink
Jail at Albaro had ceased and determined.

It stands on a height within the walls of Genoa, but aloof from the
town: surrounded by beautiful gardens of its own, adorned with
statues, vases, fountains, marble basins, terraces, walks of
orange-trees and lemon-trees, groves of roses and camellias. All
its apartments are beautiful in their proportions and decorations;
but the great hall, some fifty feet in height, with three large
windows at the end, overlooking the whole town of Genoa, the
harbour, and the neighbouring sea, affords one of the most
fascinating and delightful prospects in the world. Any house more
cheerful and habitable than the great rooms are, within, it would
be difficult to conceive; and certainly nothing more delicious than
the scene without, in sunshine or in moonlight, could be imagined.
It is more like an enchanted place in an Eastern story than a grave
and sober lodging.

How you may wander on, from room to room, and never tire of the
wild fancies on the walls and ceilings, as bright in their fresh
colouring as if they had been painted yesterday; or how one floor,
or even the great hall which opens on eight other rooms, is a
spacious promenade; or how there are corridors and bed-chambers
above, which we never use and rarely visit, and scarcely know the
way through; or how there is a view of a perfectly different
character on each of the four sides of the building; matters
little. But that prospect from the hall is like a vision to me. I
go back to it, in fancy, as I have done in calm reality a hundred
times a day; and stand there, looking out, with the sweet scents
from the garden rising up about me, in a perfect dream of

There lies all Genoa, in beautiful confusion, with its many
churches, monasteries, and convents, pointing up into the sunny
sky; and down below me, just where the roofs begin, a solitary
convent parapet, fashioned like a gallery, with an iron across at
the end, where sometimes early in the morning, I have seen a little
group of dark-veiled nuns gliding sorrowfully to and fro, and
stopping now and then to peep down upon the waking world in which
they have no part. Old Monte Faccio, brightest of hills in good
weather, but sulkiest when storms are coming on, is here, upon the
left. The Fort within the walls (the good King built it to command
the town, and beat the houses of the Genoese about their ears, in
case they should be discontented) commands that height upon the
right. The broad sea lies beyond, in front there; and that line of
coast, beginning by the light-house, and tapering away, a mere
speck in the rosy distance, is the beautiful coast road that leads
to Nice. The garden near at hand, among the roofs and houses: all
red with roses and fresh with little fountains: is the Acqua Sola-
-a public promenade, where the military band plays gaily, and the
white veils cluster thick, and the Genoese nobility ride round, and
round, and round, in state-clothes and coaches at least, if not in
absolute wisdom. Within a stone's-throw, as it seems, the audience
of the Day Theatre sit: their faces turned this way. But as the
stage is hidden, it is very odd, without a knowledge of the cause,
to see their faces changed so suddenly from earnestness to
laughter; and odder still, to hear the rounds upon rounds of
applause, rattling in the evening air, to which the curtain falls.
But, being Sunday night, they act their best and most attractive
play. And now, the sun is going down, in such magnificent array of
red, and green, and golden light, as neither pen nor pencil could
depict; and to the ringing of the vesper bells, darkness sets in at
once, without a twilight. Then, lights begin to shine in Genoa,
and on the country road; and the revolving lanthorn out at sea
there, flashing, for an instant, on this palace front and portico,
illuminates it as if there were a bright moon bursting from behind
a cloud; then, merges it in deep obscurity. And this, so far as I
know, is the only reason why the Genoese avoid it after dark, and
think it haunted.

My memory will haunt it, many nights, in time to come; but nothing
worse, I will engage. The same Ghost will occasionally sail away,
as I did one pleasant autumn evening, into the bright prospect, and
sniff the morning air at Marseilles.

The corpulent hairdresser was still sitting in his slippers outside
his shop-door there, but the twirling ladies in the window, with
the natural inconstancy of their sex, had ceased to twirl, and were
languishing, stock still, with their beautiful faces addressed to
blind corners of the establishment, where it was impossible for
admirers to penetrate.

The steamer had come from Genoa in a delicious run of eighteen

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