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Recollections Of My Childhood And Youth by George Brandes

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was going to Rome to place himself at the service of the Pope, and who
was actuated by the purest enthusiasm; I was struck by the fact that
this second Jesuit, too, seemed to be a worthy man. It taught me how
independent individual worth is of the nature of one's convictions.

Most of the Italians I had so far been acquainted with were simple
people, my landlord and his family, and those who visited them, and I
sometimes heard fragments of conversation which revealed the common
people's mode of thought to me. In one house that I visited, the
mistress discovered that her maid was not married to her so-called
husband, a matter in which, for that matter, she was very blameless,
since her parents had refused their consent, and she had afterwards
allowed herself to be abducted. Her mistress reproached her for the
illegal relations existing. She replied, "If God wishes to plunge anyone
into misery, that person is excused."--"We must not put the blame of
everything upon God," said the mistress.--"Yes, yes," replied the girl
unabashed; "then if the Devil wishes to plunge a person into misery, the
person is excused."--"Nor may we put the blame of our wrongdoing on the
Devil," said the mistress.--"Good gracious," said the girl, "it must be
the fault of one or other of them, everybody knows that. If it is not
the one, it is the other."

At the house of the Blanchettis, who had come to Rome, I met many Turin
and Roman gentlemen. They were all very much taken up by an old Sicilian
chemist of the name of Muratori, who claimed that he had discovered a
material which looked like linen, but was impervious to bullets, sword-
cuts, bayonet-thrusts, etc. Blanchetti himself had fired his revolver at
him at two paces, and the ball had fallen flat to the ground. There
could be no question of juggling; Muratori was an honourable old
Garibaldist who had been wounded in his youth, and now went about on
crutches, but, since we have never heard of its being made practical use
of, it would seem that there was nothing in it.

I did not care to look up all the Italians to whom I had introductions
from Villari. But I tried my luck with a few of them. The first was Dr.
Pantaleoni, who had formerly been banished from the Papal States and who
left the country as a radical politician, but now held almost
conservative views. He had just come back, and complained bitterly of
all the licentiousness. "Alas!" he said, "we have freedom enough now,
but order, order!" Pantaleoni was a little, eager, animated man of
fifty, very much occupied, a politician and doctor, and he promised to
introduce me to all the scholars whose interests I shared. As I felt
scruples at taking up these gentlemen's time, he exclaimed wittily: "My
dear fellow, take up their time! To take his time is the greatest
service you can render to a Roman; he never knows what to do to kill

The next man I went to was Prince Odescalchi, one of the men who had
then recently risen to the surface, officially termed the hero of the
Young Liberals. Pantaleoni had dubbed him a blockhead, and he had not
lied. He turned out to be a very conceited and frothy young man with a
parting all over his head, fair to whiteness, of strikingly Northern
type, with exactly the same expressionless type of face as certain of
the milksops closely connected with the Court in Denmark.


There were a great many Scandinavians in Rome; they foregathered at the
various eating-houses and on a Saturday evening at the Scandinavian
Club. Some of them were painters, sculptors and architects, with their
ladies, there were some literary and scientific men and every
description of tourists on longer or shorter visits to the Eternal City.
I held myself aloof from them. Most of them had their good qualities,
but they could not stand the test of any association which brought them
into too close contact with one another, as life in a small town does.
They were divided up into camps or hives, and in every hive ruled a lady
who detested the queen bee of the next one. So it came about that the
Scandinavians lived in perpetual squabbles, could not bear one another,
slandered one another, intrigued against one another. When men got drunk
on the good Roman wine at the _osterie_, they abused one another
and very nearly came to blows. Moreover, they frequently got drunk, for
most of them lost their self-control after a few glasses. Strangely
enough, in the grand surroundings, too much of the Northern pettiness
came to the surface in them. One was continually tempted to call out to
the ladies, in Holberg's words: "Hold your peace, you good women!" and
to the men: "Go away, you rapscallions, and make up your quarrels!"

There were splendid young fellows among the artists, but the painters,
who were in the majority, readily admitted that technically they could
learn nothing at all in Rome, where they never saw a modern painting;
they said themselves that they ought to be in Paris, but the authorities
in Christiania and Copenhagen were afraid of Paris: thence all bad and
dangerous influences proceeded, and so the painters still journey to
Rome, as their fathers did before them.


Towards the middle of November the Pope opened the Vatican. But in face
of the enormous conflux of people, it was not easy to get a
_permesso_ from the consul, and that could not be dispensed with. I
had just made use of one for the Vatican sculpture collection, one day,
when I felt very unwell. I ascribed my sensations at first to the
insufferable weather of that month, alternately sirocco and cold sleet,
or both at once; then I was seized with a dread of the climate, of Rome,
of all these strange surroundings, and I made up my mind to go home as
quickly as possible. The illness that was upon me was, without my
knowing it, the cause of my fear. The next day I was carried downstairs
by two vile-smelling labourers and taken by Vilhelm Rosenstand the
painter, who was one of the few who had made friends with me and shown
me kindness, to the Prussian hospital on the Tarpeian Rock, near the

Here a bad attack of typhoid fever held me prisoner in my bed for some
few months, after a compatriot, who had no connection whatever with me,
had been so inconsiderate as to inform my parents by telegraph how ill I
was, and that there was little hope for me.

The first month I was not fully conscious; I suffered from a delusion of
coercion. Thus it seemed to me that the left side of my bed did not
belong to me, but to another man, who sometimes took the place; and that
I myself was divided into several persons, of which one, for instance,
asked my legs to turn a little to the one side or the other. One of
these persons was Imperialist, and for that reason disliked by the
others, who were Republicans; nevertheless, he performed great
kindnesses for them, making them more comfortable, when it was in his
power. Another strangely fantastic idea that held sway for a long time
was that on my head, the hair of which had been shorn by the hospital
attendant rather less artistically than one cuts a dog's, there was a
clasp of pearls and precious stones, which I felt but could not see.

Afterwards, all my delusions centred on food.

I was very much neglected at the hospital. The attendance was wretched.
The highly respected German doctor, who was appointed to the place, had
himself an immense practice, and moreover was absolutely taken up by the
Franco-Prussian war. Consequently, he hardly ever came, sometimes stayed
away as long as thirteen days at a stretch, during all which time a
patient who might happen to be suffering, say, from constipation, must
lie there without any means of relief. My bed was as hard as a stone,
and I was waked in the night by pains in my body and limbs; the pillow
was so hard that the skin of my right ear was rubbed off from the
pressure. There were no nurses. There was only one custodian for the
whole hospital, a Russian fellow who spoke German, and who sometimes had
as many as fourteen patients at a time to look after, but frequently
went out to buy stores, or visit his sweetheart, and then all the
patients could ring at once without any one coming. After I had passed
the crisis of my illness, and consequently began to suffer terribly from
hunger, I was ordered an egg for my breakfast; I sometimes had to lie
for an hour and a half, pining for this egg. Once, for three days in
succession, there were no fresh eggs to be had. So he would bring for my
breakfast nothing but a small piece of dry bread. One day that I was
positively ill with hunger, I begged repeatedly for another piece of
bread, but he refused it me. It was not malice on his part, but pure
stupidity, for he was absolutely incapable of understanding how I felt.
And to save fuel, he let me suffer from cold, as well as from hunger;
would never put more than one wretched little stick at a time into the
stove. Everything was pinched to an incredible extent. Thus it was
impossible for me to get a candle in the evening before it was
absolutely dark, and then never more than one, although it made my eyes
water to try to read. Candles and firing, it appears, were not put down
in the bill. And yet this hospital is kept up on subscriptions from all
the great Powers, so there must be someone into whose pockets the money
goes. Most of us survived it; a few died who possibly might have been
kept alive; one was preserved for whom the Danish newspapers have
beautiful obituaries ready.

Over my head, in the same building, there lived a well-known German
archaeologist, who was married to a Russian princess of such colossal
physical proportions that Roman popular wits asserted that when she
wished to go for a drive she had to divide herself between two cabs.
This lady had a great talent for music. I never saw her, but I became
aware of her in more ways than one: whenever she crossed the floor on
the third story, the ceiling shook, and the boards creaked, in a manner
unbearable to an invalid. And just when I had settled myself off, and
badly wanted to sleep, towards eleven o'clock at night, the heavy lady
above would sit down at her grand piano, and make music that would have
filled a concert hall resound through the place.

After a month had passed, the doctor declared that I had "turned the
corner," and might begin to take a little food besides the broth that up
till then had been my only nourishment. A little later, I was allowed to
try to get up. I was so weak that I had to begin to learn to walk again;
I could not support myself on my legs, but dragged myself, with the help
of the custodian, the four or five steps from the bed to a sofa.

Just at this time I received two letters from Copenhagen, containing
literary enquiries and offers. The first was from the editor of the
_Illustrated Times_, and enquired whether on my return home I would
resume the theatrical criticisms in the paper; in that case they would
keep the position open for me. I gave a negative reply, as I was tired
of giving my opinion on a Danish drama. The second letter, which
surprised me more, was from the editor of the, at that time, powerful
_Daily Paper_, Steen Bille, offering me the entire management of
the paper after the retirement of Molbech, except so far as politics
were concerned, the editor naturally himself retaining the latter. As
Danish things go, it was a very important offer to a young man. It
promised both influence and income, and it was only my profound and
ever-increasing determination not to give myself up to journalism that
made me without hesitation dictate a polite refusal. I was still to weak
to write. My motive was simply and solely that I wished to devote my
life to knowledge. But Bille, who knew what power in a little country
like Denmark his offer would have placed in my hands, hardly understood
it in this way, and was exceedingly annoyed at my refusal. It gave the
first impulse to his altered feeling toward me. I have sometimes
wondered since whether my fate in Denmark might not have been different
had I accepted the charge. It is true that the divergence between what
the paper and I, in the course of the great year 1871, came to
represent, would soon have brought about a split. The Commune in Paris
caused a complete _volte face_ of the liberal bourgeoisie in
Denmark, as elsewhere.


While I was still too weak to write, I received a letter from Henrik
Ibsen (dated December 20, 1870), which impressed me greatly. Henrik
Ibsen and I had been on friendly terms with one another since April,
1866, but it was only about this time that our intimacy began to emit
sparks, an intimacy which was destined to have a very widening influence
upon me, and which is perhaps not without traces on the stages of his
poetical progress.

Ibsen thought I had already recovered, and wrote to me as to a
convalescent. He complained bitterly of the conquest of Rome by the
Italians: Rome was now taken from "us men" and given over to the
"politicians"; it had been a spot sacred to peace, and was so no
longer.--This assertion was at variance with my religion. It seemed to
me unpermissible to desire, for aesthetic reasons, to see the
restoration of an ecclesiastical regime, with its remorseless system of
oppression. Human happiness and intellectual progress were worth more
than the retention of the idylls of naivete. I replied to him by
declaring my faith in freedom and soon he outdid me in this, as in other

But there was one other part of the letter that went to my heart and
rejoiced me. It was where Ibsen wrote that what was wanted was a revolt
in the human mind, and in that I ought to be one of the leaders. These
words, which were in exact agreement with my own secret hope, fired my
imagination, ill though I was. It seemed to me that after having felt
myself isolated so long, I had at last met with the mind that understood
me and felt as I did, a real fellow-fighter. As soon as I was once more
fit to use my pen, I wrote a flaming reply in verse (headed, The
Hospital in Rome, the night of January 9, 1871). In it I described how
solitary I had been, in my intellectual fight and endeavour, and
expressed my contentment at having found a brother in him.


Among the Danes, and there were not many of them, who frequently came to
see me at the hospital, I must mention the kind and tactful musician
Niels Ravnkilde, whom I had known when I was a child. He had been living
in Rome now for some twenty years. He was gentle and quiet, good-
looking, short of stature, modest and unpretending, too weak of
character not to be friends with everyone, but equipped with a natural
dignity. When a young music master in Copenhagen, he had fallen in love
with a young, wealthy girl, whose affections he succeeded in winning in
return, but he was turned out of the house by her harsh, purse-proud
father, and in desperation had left Denmark to settle down in Rome. As
his lady-love married soon after and became a contented wife and mother,
he remained where he was. He succeeded in making his way.

He gradually became a favourite teacher of music among the ladies of the
Roman aristocracy, who sometimes invited him to their country-houses in
the Summer. He was on a good footing with the native maestros most in
request, who quickly understood that the modest Dane was no dangerous
rival. Graceful as Ravnkilde was in his person, so he was in his art;
there was nothing grand about him. But he was clever, and had a natural,
unaffected wit. His difficult position as a master had taught him
prudence and reserve. He was obligingness personified to travelling
Scandinavians, and was proud of having, as he thought, made the
acquaintance in Rome of the flower of the good society of the Northern
countries. Even long after he had come to the front, he continued to
live in the fourth storey apartment of the Via Ripetta, where he had
taken up his abode on his arrival in Rome, waited upon by the same
simple couple. His circumstances could not improve, if only for the
reason that he sent what he had to spare to relatives of his in
Copenhagen, who had a son who was turning out badly, and lived by
wasting poor Ravnkilde's savings. After having been the providence of
all Danish travellers to Rome for thirty years, certain individuals who
had influence with the government succeeded in obtaining a distinction
for him. The government then gave him, not even the poor little
decoration that he ought to have had twenty years before, but--brilliant
idea!--awarded him the title of _Professor_, which in Italian, of
course, he had always been, and which was a much more insignificant
title than _Maestro_, by which he was regularly called.

Ravnkilde wrote my letters at the hospital for me, and the day I came
out we drove away together to the French restaurant to celebrate the
occasion by a dinner.

I went from there up to Monte Pincio in a glorious sunshine, rejoiced to
see the trees again, and the people in their Sunday finery, and the
lovely women's faces, as well as at being able to talk to people once
more. It was all like new life in a new world. I met a good many
Scandinavians, who congratulated me, and a young savant, Giuseppe
Saredo, who, as professor of law, had been removed from Siena to Rome,
and with whom, at the house of dall'Ongaro at Florence, I had had some
delightful talks. We decided that we would keep in touch with one


It was only this one day, however, that happiness and the sun shone upon
me. On the morrow pains in my right leg, in which there was a vein
swollen, made me feel very unwell. So ignorant was the doctor that he
declared this to be of no importance, and gave me a little ointment with
which to rub my leg. But I grew worse from day to day, and after a very
short time my leg was like a lump of lead. I was stretched once more for
some months on a sick-bed, and this weakened me the more since very
heroic measures were used in the treatment of the complaint, a violent
attack of phlebitis. The leg was rubbed every day from the sole of the
foot to the hip with mercury ointment, which could not be without its
effect on my general health.

Still, I kept up my spirits finely. Among the Scandinavians who showed
me kindness at this time I gratefully remember the Danish painters
Rosenstand and Mackeprang, who visited me regularly and patiently, and
my friend Walter Runeberg, the Finnish sculptor, whose cheerfulness did
me good.

Other Scandinavians with whom I was less well acquainted came to see me
now and again, but they had one very annoying habit. It was customary at
that time for all letters to be addressed, for greater security, to the
Danish consulate, which served the purpose of a general Scandinavian
consulate. Anyone who thought of coming to see me would fetch what
letters had arrived for me that day and put them in his pocket to bring
me. The letters I ought to have had at ten o'clock in the morning I
generally received at seven in the evening. But these gentlemen often
forgot to pay their visit at all, or did not get time, and then it would
happen that after having gone about with the letters in their pockets
for a few days, they took them back to the consulate, whence they were
sent to me, once, three days late. As my whole life on my sick-bed was
one constant, painful longing for letters from home, the more so as my
mother, all the time I was in bed, was lying dangerously ill, I felt
vexed at the thoughtless behaviour of my compatriots.

However, I had not travelled so far to meet Northmen, and I learnt far
more from the one Italian who sat by my bedside day after day, Giuseppe
Saredo. It was amusing to note the difference between his ways and the
Northmen's. He did not come in; he exploded. At six o'clock in the
evening, he would rush in without knocking at the door, shouting at one
and the same time Italian to the people of the house, and French to me.
He talked at a furious rate, and so loudly that people who did not know
might have fancied we were quarrelling, and he changed his seat once a
minute, jumped up from the easy chair and seated himself half in the
window, began a sentence there and finished it sitting on my bed. And
every second or third day he either himself brought books to entertain
me or sent large parcels by a messenger.

He had risen to be professor at the University of the the capital,
without ever having been either student or graduate. His family were too
poor for him to study. For many years, when a lad, he had never eaten
dinner. His occupation, when at last he began to get on, was that of
proof-reader in a printing establishment, but he tried to add to his
income by writing melodramas for the boulevard theatres in Turin.

He thought he had written over fifty. He told me: "The manager generally
came to me on a Sunday, when we were at liberty, and said: 'We must have
a new play for next Sunday.' On Monday the first act was finished, on
Tuesday the second, etc.; and every act was delivered as it was written,
and the parts allotted. Sometimes the last act was only finished on
Saturday morning, which, however, would not prevent the piece being
played on Sunday evening." In a number of the _Revue des deux
Mondes_ for 1857 we found Saredo mentioned among the melodramatists
of Italy. This must have been ferreted out privately, since he always
wrote these melodramas anonymously, he having determined, with naive
conceit, "not to stain his future reputation." When he was twenty-one,
he tried to raise himself from this rank to that of a journalist, and
succeeded; he sent all sorts of articles to three newspapers. From his
twenty-first to his twenty-fourth year he wrote for the daily papers,
and wrote gay accounts of the volatile lives of young Italian
journalists with the ladies of the theatres. Then he fell in love with
the lady who later became his wife (known as a novelist under the
pseudonym of Ludovico de Rosa), and from that time forth never looked at
another woman. All his life he cherished a great admiration for his wife
and gratitude towards her.

When he had commenced his legal work, he strained every nerve to the
utmost, and obtained his professorships in the various towns through
competition, without having followed the usual University path. "I have
always had the most unshaken faith in my star," he said one day, "even
when, from hunger or despair, thoughts of suicide occurred to me. When I
broke my black bread, I said to myself: 'The day will come when I shall
eat white.'"

Like all Italians at that time, Saredo detested and despised modern
France. As far as reconquered Rome was concerned, he regarded her with
sorrowful eyes. "There are only nobility, ecclesiastics, and workmen
here," he said; "no middle classes, no industry and no trade. Absurd
tariff laws have up till now shut off the Papal States from the
surrounding world. And what a government! A doctor, who after his second
visit did not make his patient confess to a priest, lost his official
post, if he happened to hold one, and was in any case sent to prison for
five months. A doctor who did not go to Mass a certain number of times
during the week was prohibited practising. The huge number of tied-up
estates made buying and selling very difficult. The new government has
struck the nobility a fatal blow by abolishing entailed property and
lands. The calling in of the ecclesiastical property by the State is
giving the towns a chance to breathe."

Whenever I revisited Italy, I saw Saredo. His heroism during the
inquiries into the irregularities in Naples in 1900-1901 made his name
beloved and himself admired in his native country. He died in 1902, the
highest life official in Italy; since 1897 he had been President of the


I came under an even greater debt of gratitude than to Saredo, to the
good-natured people in whose house I lay ill. I was as splendidly looked
after as if I had made it a specified condition that I should be nursed
in case of illness.

My landlady, Maria, especially, was the most careful nurse, and the best
creature in the world, although she had the physiognomy of a regular
Italian criminal, when her face was in repose. The moment she spoke,
however, her features beamed with maternal benevolence. After the
hospital, it was a decided change for the better. I was under no one's
tyranny and did not feel as though I were in prison; I could complain if
my food was bad, and change _trattoria_, when I myself chose.
Everything was good.

As long as I was well, I had taken hardly any notice of the people in
the house, hardly exchanged a word with them; I was out all day, and
either hastily asked them to do my room, or to put a little on the fire.
It was only when I fell ill that I made their acquaintance.

Let me quote from my notes at the time:

Maria is forty, but looks nearly sixty. Her husband is a joiner, a
stout, good-looking man, who works all day for his living, and has a
shop. Then there is Maria's niece, the nineteen-year-old Filomena, a
tall, handsome girl. Every evening they have fine times, laugh, sing,
and play cards. On Sunday evening they go out to the fair (_alla
fiera_) and look at the things without buying. Others have to pay a
lire to go in, but they go in free, as they know some of the people. On
festival occasions Maria wears a silk dress.

There is a crucifix over my bed, an oleograph of the Madonna and child
and a heart, embroidered with gold on white, horribly pierced by the
seven swords of pain, which were supposed to be nails; on the centre of
the heart, you read, partly in Latin, partly in Greek letters:


All the same, Maria is very sceptical. Yesterday, on the evening of my
birthday, we had the following conversation:

_Myself_: "Here you celebrate your saints' day; not your birthday;
but, you know, up in the North we have not any saints"--and, thinking it
necessary to add a deep-drawn religious sigh, I continued: "We think it
enough to believe in God." "Oh! yes," she said slowly, and then, a
little while after: "That, too, is His own business." "How?" "Well," she
said, "You know that I am dreadfully ignorant; I know nothing at all,
but I think a great deal. There are these people now who are always
talking about the Lord. I think it is all stuff. When I married, they
said to me: 'May it please the Lord that your husband be good to you.' I
thought: If I had not been sensible enough to choose a good husband, it
would not help me much what should please the Lord. Later on they said:
'May it please the Lord to give you sons.' I had some, but they died
when they were little ones. Then I thought to myself: 'If my husband and
I do not do something in the matter, it won't be much use for the Lord
to be pleased to give them to us. Nature, too, has something to say to
it. (_Anche la natura e una piccola cosa_.) You have no idea, sir,
how we have suffered from priests here in the Papal State. Everyone had
to go to Confession, and as of course they did not wish to confess their
own sins, they confessed other people's,--and told lies, too,--and in
that way the priests knew everything. If the priest had heard anything
about a person, he or she would get a little ticket from him: 'Come to
me at such and such a time! 'Then, when the person went, he would say:
'Are you mad to live with such and such a person without being
married!'--and all the while he himself had a woman and a nest full of
children. Then he would say: 'I won't have you in my parish,' and he
would publish the poor thing's secret to the whole world. Or, if he were
more exasperated, he would say: 'Out of the Pope's country!' and send
for a few carabineers; they would take one to a cart and drive one to
the frontier; there, there were fresh carabineers, who took one farther
--and all without trial, or any enquiry. Often the accusation was false.
But we were ruled by spies, and all their power was based on the
confessional, which is nothing but spying. Shortly before Easter, a
priest came and counted how many there were in the house. If afterwards
there were one who did not go to mass, then his name was stuck up on the
church door as an infidel, in disgrace. It is many years now since I
have been to any confessor. When I die, I shall say: 'God, forgive me my
sins and my mistakes,' and shall die in peace without any priest."

Whatever we talk about, Maria always comes back to her hatred of the
priests. The other day, we were speaking of the annoyance I had been
subjected to by a compatriot of mine, K.B., who came to see me, but
looked more particularly at a large _fiasco_ I had standing there,
containing four bottles of Chianti. He tasted the wine, which was very
inferior, declared it 'nice,' and began to drink, ten glasses straight
off. At first he was very polite to me, and explained that it was
impossible to spend a morning in a more delightful manner than by
visiting the Sistine Chapel first, and me in my sick-room afterwards,
but by degrees he became ruder and ruder, and as his drunkenness
increased I sank in his estimation. At last he told me that I was
intolerably conceited, and started abusing me thoroughly. Lying
defenceless in bed, and unable to move, I was obliged to ring for Maria,
and whisper to her to fetch a few gentlemen from the Scandinavian Club,
who could take the drunken man home, after he had wasted fully six hours
of my day. I managed in this way to get him out of the door. He was
hardly gone than Maria burst out: "_Che porcheria!_" and then
added, laughing, to show me her knowledge of languages: "_Cochonnerie,
Schweinerei!_" She has a remarkable memory for the words she has
heard foreigners use. She knows a number of French words, which she
pronounces half like Italian, and she also knows a little Russian and a
little German, having, when a young girl, kept house for a Russian
prince and his family.

"I feel," she said to me, "that I could have learnt both French and
German easily, if I could have _compared_ them in a book. But I can
neither read nor write. These wretched priests have kept us in
ignorance. And now I am old and good for nothing. I was forty a little
while ago, and that is too old to learn the alphabet. Do you know,
signore, how it originally came about that I did not believe, and
despised the priests? I was twelve years old, and a tall girl, and a
very good-looking girl, too, though you cannot see that, now that I am
old and ugly." (You can see it very plainly, for her features are haughty
and perfectly pure of line; it is only that her expression, when she
sits alone, is sinister.) "I lost my father when I was five years old.
About that time my mother married again, and did not trouble herself any
more about me, as she had children with her new husband. So I was left
to myself, and ran about the streets, and became absolutely
ungovernable, from vivacity, life, and mischief, for I was naturally a
very lively child. Then one day I met a mule, alone; the man had left
it; I climbed up, and seated myself upon it, and rode about, up and down
the street, until a dog came that frightened the mule and it kicked and
threw me over its head. There I lay, with a broken collar-bone, and some
of the bone stuck out through the skin. Then a doctor came and wanted to
bind it up for me, but I was ashamed for him to see my breast, and would
not let him. He said: 'Rubbish! I have seen plenty of girls.' So I was
bound up and for six weeks had to lie quite still. In the meantime a
priest, whom they all called Don Carlo--I do not know why they said Don
--came to see me, and when I was a little better and only could not move
my left arm, he said to me one day, would I go and weed in his garden,
and he would give me money for it. So I went every day into the garden,
where I could very well do the work with one arm. He came down to me,
brought me sweets and other things, and asked me to be his friend. I
pretended not to understand. He said, too, how pretty I was, and such
things. Then at last one day, he called me into his bedroom, and first
gave me sweets, and then set me on his knee. I did not know how to get
away. Then I said to him: 'It is wrong, the Madonna would not like it.'
Do you know, sir, what he replied? He said: 'Child! there is no Madonna
(_non c'e Madonna_) she is only a bridle for the common people'
(_e un freno per il populo basso_). Then I was anxious to run
away, and just then my mother passed by the garden, and as she did not
see me there, called, 'Anna Maria! Anna Maria!' I said: 'Mother is
calling me,' and ran out of the room. Then mother said to me: 'What did
the priest say to you, and what did he do to you? You were in his
bedroom.' I said: 'Nothing'; but when my mother went to confession,
instead of confessing her sins, she said over and over again to him:
'What have you done to my daughter? I will have my daughter examined, to
see what sort of a man you are.' He declared: 'I will have you shot if
you do' (_una buona schioppettata_). So mother did not dare to go
farther in the matter. But she would not believe me."

Here we were interrupted by the Russian woman from next door coming in;
she is married, more or less, to a waiter, and she complained of his
volatility, and cried with jealousy. "Once I was just as weak," said
Maria. "When I was newly married I was so jealous of my husband, that I
could neither eat nor drink if any one came to me and said: 'This
evening he is with such and such a one.' If I tried to eat, I was sick
at once. I am just as fond of him as I was then, but I am cured now. If
I saw his infidelity with my own eyes, I should not feel the least bit
hurt about it. Then, I could have strangled him."


Italian Landladies--The Carnival--The Moccoli Feast--Filomena's Views

Filomena sings lustily from early morning till late at night, and her
name suits her. The Greek Philomela has acquired this popular form, and
in use is often shortened to Filome.

The other day I made her a present of a bag of English biscuits. Her
face beamed as I have never besides seen anything beam but the face of
my _cafetiere_--he is a boy of twelve--when now and again he gets a
few _soldi_ for bringing me my coffee or tea. Anyone who has only
seen the lighting up of Northern faces has no conception,--as even
painters admit,--of such transfiguration. Yes, indeed! Filomena's tall
figure and fresh mountain blood would freshen up the Goldschmidtian
human race to such an extent that they would become better men and women
in his next books.

I have seen a little of the Carnival. This morning Filomena came to my
room, to fetch a large Italian flag which belongs there. "I am going to
wave it on Thursday," she said, and added, with blushing cheeks, "then I
shall have a mask on." But this evening she could not restrain herself.
For the first time during the five months I have lived here, and for the
first time during the month I have been ill, she came in without my
having called or rung for her. She had a red silk cap on, with a gold
border. "What do you say to that, sir!" she said, and her clear laughter
rang through the room. It revived my sick self to gaze at ease at so
much youth, strength and happiness; then I said a few kind words to her,
and encouraged by them she burst into a stream of eloquence about all
the enjoyment she was promising herself. This would be the first
carnival she had seen; she came from the mountains and was going back
there this Spring. She was in the seventh heaven over her cap. She
always reminds me, with her powerful frame, of the young giantess in the
fairy tale who takes up a peasant and his plough in the hollow of her

Filomena is as tall as a moderately tall man, slenderly built, but with
broad shoulders. She impresses one as enjoying life thoroughly. She has
herself made all she wears--a poor little grey woollen skirt with an
edging of the Italian colours, which has been lengthened some nine
inches at the top by letting in a piece of shirting. A thin red-and-
black-striped jacket that she wears, a kind of loose Garibaldi, is
supposed to hide this addition, which it only very imperfectly does. Her
head is small and piquant; her hair heavy, blue-black; her eyes light
brown, of exquisite shape, smiling and kind. She has small, red lips,
and the most beautiful teeth that I remember seeing. Her complexion is
brown, unless she blushes; then it grows darker brown. Her figure is
unusually beautiful, but her movements are heavy, so that one sees at
once she is quite uneducated. Still, she has a shrug of the shoulders,
ways of turning and twisting her pretty head about, that are absolutely

I have sent Filomena into the town to buy a pound of figs for me and one
for herself. While she is away, I reflect that I cannot sufficiently
congratulate myself on my excellent landlady, and the others. As a rule,
these Roman lodging-house keepers are, judging by what one hears,
perfect bandits. When F., the Norwegian sculptor, lay dangerously ill,
the woman in whose house he was did not even speak to him; she went out
and left him alone in the house. When the Danish dilettante S. was at
death's door, his landlady did not enter his room once a day, or give
him a drink of water, and he was obliged to keep a servant. V.'s
landlady stole an opera-glass, a frock-coat, and a great deal of money
from him. Most foreigners are swindled in a hundred different ways; if
they make a stain on the carpet, they must pay for a new one. Maria
looks after me like a mother. Every morning she rubs me with the
ointment the doctor has prescribed. When I have to have a bath, she
takes me in her arms, without any false shame, and puts me in the water;
then takes me up and puts me to bed again; after my sojourn in the
hospital, I am not very heavy. What I am most astonished at is the
indulgent delicacy of these people. For instance, Maria has forbidden
her good-natured husband, whom, like Filomena, I like to call _Zio_
(uncle), to eat garlic (the favourite food of the Romans) while I am
ill, that I may not be annoyed in my room by the smell. I have only to
say a word, and she and her niece run all my errands for me. Indeed, the
other day, Maria exclaimed, quite indignantly: "Sir, do not say
'_when_ you go into the town, will you buy me this or that?' Are we
robbers, are we scoundrels? Only say, 'go,' and I will go." I never say
to her: "Will you do me a favour?" without her replying: "Two, sir."
Yes, and she heaps presents upon me; she and Filomena bring me, now a
bundle of firewood, now a glass of good wine, now macaroni, etc. All the
Danes who come here are astonished, and say: "You have got deucedly good
people to look after you."

Maria's greatest pleasure is talking. She has no time for it in the day.
In the evening, however, she tidies my room slowly, entertaining me all
the time. When she has quite finished, at the time of day when others
are drowsy or go to bed, she still likes to have just a little more
conversation, and she knows that when I see she has put the last thing
into its place, her task for the day is ended, and I shall dismiss her
with a gracious _Buona sera, bon riposo!_ To put off this moment as
long as possible, she will continue to hold some object in her hand,
and, standing in the favourite position of the Romans, with her arms
akimbo, and some toilet article under her arm, will hold a long
discourse. She sometimes looks so indescribably comic that I almost
choke with suppressed laughter as we talk.

To-day is the first day of the Carnival. So even Filomena has been out
this evening in tri-coloured trousers.

... I am interrupted by the inmates of all the floors returning from the
Carnival, all talking at once, and coming straight in to me to show me
their dress. Amongst them from the Carnival, all talking at once, and
coming straight in to me to show me their dress. Amongst them are guests
from the mountains, tall, dark men, in exceedingly fantastic garb. They
tell me how much they have enjoyed themselves. Filomena has naively made
me a present of a few burnt almonds with sugar upon them, that she has
had in her trouser pockets, and informs me with impetuous volubility how
she has talked to all the people she met, "who do not know her and whom
she does not know." She has had one of my white shirts on, which she had
embroidered all over with ribbons till it looked like a real costume.
She is beaming with happiness. The tambourine tinkles all the evening in
the street; they are dancing the tarantella to it down below, and it is
difficult to go to sleep. Maria stays behind, when the others have gone,
to finish her day's work. It is a sight for the gods to see her doing it
with a gold brocade cap on her head, and in red, white and green

None of them guess what a torment it is to me to lie and hear about the
Carnival, which is going on a few streets from where I am lying, but
which I cannot see. When shall I spend a Winter in Rome again? And no
other Carnival will be to compare with this one after the Romans for ten
years have held altogether aloof from it, and one hardly even on
_Moccoli Eve_ saw more than two carriages full of silly Americans
pelting one another with confetti, while the porters and the French
soldiers flung jibes and dirt at each other. Now Rome is free,
jubilation breaks out at all the pores of the town, and I, although I am
in Rome, must be content to see the reflection of the festival in a few
ingenuous faces.

It is morning. I have slept well and am enjoying the fresh air through
the open windows. Heavens! what a lovely girl is standing on the balcony
nearly opposite, in a chemise and skirt! I have never seen her there
before. Olive complexion, blue-black hair, the most beautiful creature;
I cannot see her features distinctly. Now they are throwing something
across to her from the house next door to us, on a piece of twine; I
think they are red flowers. They almost touch her, and yet she cannot
catch them, and laughing stretches out both hands a second, a third and
fourth time, equally unsuccessfully. Why, it is our Filomena, visiting
the model the other side the street. She gives up the attempt with a
little grimace, and goes in.

Loud voices are singing the Bersagliere hymn as a duet under my window.
Verily, things are alive in _Purificazione_ to-day. The contagion
of example affects a choir of little boys who are always lying outside
the street door, and they begin to sing the Garibaldi march for all they
are worth. Our singers at the theatre at home would be glad of such
voices. The whole street is ringing now; all are singing one of Verdi's

I am sitting up in bed. At the side of my bed, Filomena, with her black,
heavy hair well dressed, and herself in a kind of transitional toilette;
her under-garment fine, the skirt that of a festival gown, on account of
the preparations for the Carnival; her top garment the usual red jacket.
She is standing with her hand on her hip, but this does not make her
look martial or alarming.

_I_--You ate _magro_ to-day? (It was a fast day.)

_She_--Good gracious! _Magro_ every day just now!

_I_--Do you know, Filomena, that I eat _grasso_?

_She_--Yes, and it is your duty to do so.


_She_--Because you are ill, and you must eat meat; the Pope himself
ate meat when he was ill. Religion does not mean that we are to injure
our health.

_I_--How do you know, Filomena, what Religion means?

_She_--From my Confessor. I had a little headache the other day,
and he ordered me at once to eat meat.

_I_--The worst of it is that I have no Confessor and do not go to
church. Shall I be damned for that?

_She_--Oh! no, sir, that does not follow! Do you think I am so
stupid as not to see that you others are far better Christians than we?
You are good; the friends who come to see you are good. The Romans, on
the other hand, who go to church one day, kill people the next, and will
not let go about the streets in peace.

I am quite sorry that she is to go home at Easter; I shall miss her face
about the house. But I have missed more.

Late evening. They have come back from the Carnival. Filomena came in
and presented me with an object the use of which is an enigma to me. A
roll of silver paper. Now I see what it is, a Carnival cap. My Danish
friend R. declares she has got it into her head that when I am better I
shall marry her, or rather that Maria has put it into her head. I
thought I would see how matters stood. I began talking to Maria about
marriages with foreigners. Maria mentioned how many girls from Rome and
Capri had married foreigners, but added afterwards, not without
significance, addressing me: "It is not, as you believe, and as you said
once before, that a girl born in a warm country would complain of being
taken to a cold one. If she did, she would be stupid. But a Roman girl
will not do for a foreign gentleman. The Roman girls learn too little."

Much, the lower classes certainly do not learn. Before I came, Filomena
did not know what ink was. Now I have discovered that she does not know
what a watch is. She reckons time by the dinner and the Ave Maria. Not
long ago her uncle spent a week in trying to teach this great child to
make and read figures, but without success. Not long ago she had to
write to her mother in the mountains, so went to a public writer, and
had it done for her. She came in to me very innocently afterwards to
know whether the right name and address were upon it. I told her that
she could very well have let me write the letter. Since then, all the
people in the house come to me when there is anything they want written,
and ask me to do it for them.

The news of my skill has spread. Apropos of letters, I have just read
the four letters that I received to-day. Filomena is perpetually
complaining of my sweetheart's uncontrollable passion as revealed in
this writing madness. She imagines that all the letters I receive from
Denmark are from one person, and that person, of course, a woman. She
herself hardly receives one letter a year.

I have (after careful consideration) committed a great imprudence, and
escaped without hurt. I had myself carried down the stairs, drove to the
Corso, saw the Carnival, and am back home again. I had thought first of
driving up and down the Corso in a carriage, but did not care to be
wholly smothered with confetti, especially as I had not the strength to
pelt back. Nor could I afford to have the horses and carriage decorated.
So I had a good seat in a first-floor balcony engaged for me, first row.
At 3 o'clock I got up, dressed, and was carried down. I was much struck
by the mild Summer air out of doors (about the same as our late May),
and I enjoyed meeting the masked people in the streets we passed
through. The few but rather steep stairs up to the balcony were a
difficulty. But at last I was seated, and in spite of sickness and
weakness, enjoyed the Carnival in Rome on its most brilliant day. I was
sitting nearly opposite to the high box of Princess Margharita, from
which there was not nearly so good a view as from my seat. This was what
I saw: All the balconies bedecked with flags; red, white and green
predominating. In the long, straight street, the crowd moving in a tight
mass. In between them, an up and a down stream of carriages, drawn at a
walking pace by two horses, and forced at every moment to stop. The
streets re-echoed with the jingle of the horses' bells, and with shouts
of glee at a magnificently decorated carriage, then at some unusually
beautiful women, then at a brisk confetti fight between two carriages,
or a carriage and a balcony. And this air, re-echoing with the ring of
bells, with shouting, and with laughter, was no empty space. Anyone
reaching the Corso, as I had done, after the play had only been going on
for an hour and a half, found themselves in the midst of a positive
bombardment of tiny little aniseed balls, or of larger plaster balls,
thrown by hand, from little tin cornets, or half-bushel measures, and
against which it is necessary to protect one's self by a steel wire mask
before the face. For whilst some gentle young ladies almost pour the
confetti down from their carriages, so that it falls like a soft shower
of rain, many of the Romans fling it with such force that without a mask
the eyes might suffer considerably. The brim of one's hat, and every
fold in one's clothes, however, are full of little balls. Most people go
about with a huge, full bag by their side, others on the balconies have
immense baskets standing, which are hardly empty before they are re-
filled by eager sellers. All the ladies standing in the windows, who
were disguised as Turkish ladies, or workwomen from the port, had a deep
wooden trough, quite full, brought outside their windows, and into this
supply dipped continually--in the street, which had been covered with
soil for the sake of the horse-racing, was a crowd of people in fancy
dress, many of them having great fun, and being very amusing. One old
woman in a chemise was amongst the best. A young fellow, dressed
entirely in scarlet, more particularly amused himself by putting the
officers of the National Guard, who were walking about to keep order,
out of countenance. When they were looking especially stern, he would go
up to them and tickle them on the cheeks, and talk baby talk to them,
and they had to put the best face they could on it. The street life and
the pedestrians, however, did not attract much attention. All the
interest was centred on the carriages, and the games between them and
the windows and balconies. The people in carriages were all in fancy
dress. Amongst them one noticed charming groups of Roman ladies in light
cloaks of red silk with a red steel wire mask before their faces,
through which one could catch a glimpse of their features; there was a
swarm of delightful figures, certainly half of them in men's clothes,
armed young sailors, for instance. Fine, happy faces! And the young men,
how handsome! Not flashing eyes, as people affectedly say, but happy
eyes; a good, healthy physique, an expression which seemed to say that
they had breathed in sunshine and happiness and all the beatitude of
laziness, all the mild and good-humoured comfort of leisure, all their
lives long. One party had a colossal cart with outriders and postilions,
and hung in the yards and stood on the thwarts of a large cutter poised
upon it, in becoming naval officers' dress, flinging magnificent
bouquets to all the beautiful ladies who drove past. The bouquets would
have cost several lire each, and they flung them by the hundred, so they
must have been young fellows of means. The throwing of confetti is
merely bellicose and ordinary. Infinitely more interesting is the
coquettish, ingratiating, genuinely Italian flinging backwards and
forwards of bouquets. The grace and charm of the manner in which they
are flung and caught, nothing can surpass; there may be real passion in
the way in which six or seven bouquets in succession are flung at one
and the same lady, who never omits to repay in similar coin. One
carriage was especially beautiful; it had a huge square erection upon
it, entirely covered with artificial roses and greenery, which reached
almost to the second storey of the houses, and upon it, in two rows,
facing both sides of the streets, stood the loveliest Roman girls
imaginable, flinging bouquets unceasingly. Most of the carriages have
tall poles sticking up with a crossway bar at the top, and there are
bouquets on every bar, so there is a constant supply to draw from.
Beautiful Princess Margharita was, of course, the object of much homage,
although her balcony was on the second floor. One form this took was
very graceful. A few young gentlemen in blue and white drove slowly
past; one of them had a large flat basket filled with lovely white
roses; he stuck a long halberd through the handle and hoisted the basket
up to the Princess, being richly rewarded with bouquets. One wag hit
upon an idea that was a brilliant success. At five o'clock he sent a
bladder, in the shape of a huge turkey, up in the flickering sunlight.
It was so fixed up as to move its head about, with an expression of
exceedingly ridiculous sentimentality, now to the right, now caressingly
to the left, as it ascended. The whole Corso rang again with laughter
and clapping. The horse-racing at the end was not of much account. The
horses start excited by the rocket let off at their tails, and by all
the sharp pellets hanging around about them, to say nothing of the
howling of the crowd. At six o'clock I was at home and in bed.

K.B. has been here to see me; Filomena hates and despises him from the
bottom of her heart since the day that he got drunk on my wine. When he
was gone she said: "_Brutta bestia_, I forgot to look whether he
was clean to-day." She and Maria declare that he is the only one of all
my acquaintances who does not wear clean linen. This point of
cleanliness is a mild obsession of Filomena's just now. She prides
herself greatly on her cleanliness, and asks me every day whether she is
clean or not. She is a new convert to cleanliness, and renegades or
newly initiated people are in all religions the most violent. When I
came to the house, her face was black and she washed her hands about
once a day. R--- then remarked about her--which was a slight
exaggeration--that if one were to set her up against the wall, she would
stick fast. She noticed with unfeigned astonishment how many times I
washed myself, and asked for fresh water, how often I had clean shirts,
etc. This made a profound impression on her young mind, and after I came
back from the hospital she began in earnest to rub her face with a
sponge and to wash herself five or six times a day, likewise to wash the
handkerchiefs she wears round her neck. Maria looks on at all this with
surprise. She says, like the old woman in Tonietta, by Henrik Hertz: "A
great, strong girl like that does not need to wash and splash herself
all over like an Englishwoman." The lectures she has given me every time
I have wanted to wash myself, on the harm water does an invalid, are
many and precious. Whenever I ask for water I might be wanting to commit
suicide; it is only after repeated requests that she brings it, and then
with a quiet, resigned expression, as if to say: "I have done my best to
prevent this imprudence: I wash my hands of all responsibility."
Filomena, in her new phase of development, is quite different. She looks
at my shirt with the eyes of a connoisseur, and says: "It will do for
to-morrow; a clean one the day after to-morrow!" or, "Did you see what
beautiful cuffs the tall, dark man (M. the painter) had on yesterday?"
or, "Excuse my skirt being so marked now, I am going to have a clean one
later in the day," or, "Is my cheek dirty? I don't think so, for I have
washed myself twice to-day; you must remember that I am very dark-
complexioned, almost like a Moor." Or else there will be a triumphal
entry into my room, with a full water-can in her hand, one of the very
large ones that are used here. "What is that, Filomena? What am I to do
with that?" "Look, sir, it is full." "Well, what of that?" "It is the
waiter's water-can; it has been standing there full for ten days
(scornfully): he is afraid of water; he only uses it for his coffee."
She has forgotten how few months it is since she herself was afraid of

She came in while I was eating my supper, and remarked: "You always read
at your meals; how can you eat and read at the same time? I do not know
what reading is like, but I thought it was more difficult than that. It
is a great misfortune for me that I can neither read nor write.
Supposing I were to be ill like you, how should I pass away the time!
There was no school at Camarino, where I was born, and I lived in the
country till I was eighteen, and learnt nothing at all. We were nine
brothers and sisters; there was seldom any food in the house; sometimes
we worked; sometimes we lay on the ground. It is unfortunate that I
cannot read, for I am not at all beautiful; if I could only do
something, I should be able to get a husband."

"Don't you know any of the letters, Filomena?"

"No, sir." "Don't trouble about that. You are happier than I, who know a
great deal more than you. You laugh and sing all day long; I neither
laugh nor sing." "Dear sir, you will laugh, and sing as well, when you
get home. Then your little girl (_ragazza_) who is so _appassionato_
that she writes four letters a day, will make _fete_ for you, and I
think that when you go to the _osteria_ with your friends you laugh.
It is enough now for you to be patient." As she had spoken about getting
a husband, I asked: "Are your sisters married?" "They are all older than
I, and married." (Saving her pride in the first part of her reply.) After
a few minutes' reflection she went on: "I, for my part, will not have a
husband under thirty; the young ones all beat their wives." Shortly
afterwards, I put an end to the audience. We had had a few short
discussions, and I had been vanquished, apparently by her logic, but
chiefly by reason of her better mastery of the language, and because I
defended all sorts of things in joke. At last I said: "Have you noticed,
Filomena, that when we argue it is always you who silence me? So you can
see, in spite of all my reading, that you have better brains than I." This
compliment pleased her; she blushed and smiled, without being able to find
a reply.

She realises the Northern ideal of the young woman not spoilt by novel-
reading. Nor does she lack intelligence, although she literally does not
know what North and South mean; she is modest, refined in her way, and
happy over very little. For the moment she is engaged in making the
little dog bark like mad by aggravatingly imitating the mewing of a cat.

Later. The boy from the cafe brings me my supper. What has become of
Filomena? I wonder if she is out? I cannot hear her having her evening
fight with the boy in the passage. She likes to hit him once a day for

Maria comes in. "Do you hear the cannon, sir? What do you think it is?"
I reply calmly: "It is war; the Zouaves (papal troops) are coming."
Maria goes out and declares the reply of the oracle in the next room.
Some cannon salutes really were being fired. Maria hurries down into the
street to hear about it and Filomena comes in to me. "I am afraid," she
says. "Do you mean it?" She was laughing and trembling at the same time.
I saw that the fear was quite real. "Is it possible that you can be so
afraid? There is not really any war or any Zouaves, it was only a joke."
That pacified her. "I was afraid, if you like," said she, "when the
Italians (the Romans never call themselves Italians) marched into Rome.
One shell came after another; one burst on the roof of the house
opposite." "Who are you for, the Pope or Vittorio?" "For neither. I am a
stupid girl; I am for the one that will feed and clothe me. But I have
often laughed at the Zouaves. One of them was standing here one day,
taking pinch after pinch of snuff, and he said to me: 'The Italians will
never enter Rome.' I replied: 'Not if they take snuff, but they will if
they storm the town.'" "Do you think that the Pope will win?" "No, I
think his cause is lost. Perhaps there will even come a time when no one
goes to churches here." _She_: "Who goes to church! The girls to
meet their lovers; the young men to see a pretty shop-girl. We laugh at
the priests." "Why?" "Because they are ridiculous: if it thunders, they
say at once that it is a sign from God. The sky happens to be flaming
red, like it was last October. That was because the Italians entered
Rome in September. Everything is a sign from God, a sign of his anger,
his exasperation. He is not angry, that is clear enough. If he had not
wanted the Italians to come in, they would not have come, but would all
have died at once." She said this last with great earnestness and
pathos, with an upward movement of her hand, and bowed her head, like
one who fears an unknown power. Maria returned, saying people thought
the shots meant that Garibaldi had come. Said I: "There, he is a brave
man. Try to be like him, Filomena. It is not right for a big strong girl
to tremble." _She_: "I am not strong, but still, I am stronger than
you, who have been weakened so much by your illness,--and yet, who
knows, you have been much better the last few days. Shall we try?" I
placed my right hand in hers, first tested her strength a little, and
then found to my surprise that her arm was not much stronger than that
of an ordinary lady; then I bent my fingers a little, and laid her very
neatly on the floor. I was sitting in bed; she was on her knees in front
of the bed, but I let her spring up. It was a pretty sight; the blue-
black hair, the laughing mouth with the fine, white teeth, the brown,
smiling eyes. As she got up, she said: "You are well now; I am not sorry
to have been conquered."

* * * * *

Have taken my second flight. I have been at the Moccoli fete, had myself
carried and driven there and back, like last time. Saredo had taken a
room on the Corso; I saw everything from there, and now I have the
delightful impressions of it all left. What exuberant happiness! What
jubilation! What childlike gaiety! It is like going into a nursery and
watching the children play, hearing them shout and enjoy themselves like
mad, as one can shout and enjoy things one's self no longer.

I arrived late and only saw the end of the processions; far more
carriages, wilder shouting, more madness,--bacchantic, stormy,--than
last time. The whole length of the Corso was one shriek of laughter. And
how many lovely faces at the windows, on the balconies and verandas!
Large closed carriages with hidden music inside and graceful ladies on
the top. As _i preti_ (the Catholic papers) had said that all who
took part in the Carnival were paid by the government, a number of men
and women, in the handsomest carriages--according to the _Nuova
Roma_ for to-day, more than 20,000--had the word _pagato_ (paid)
fastened to their caps, which evoked much amusement. Then the lancers
cleared the street at full galop for the horse races (_barberi_),
and at once an immense procession of Polichinelli and ridiculous
equestrians in Don Quixote armour organised itself and rode down the
Corso at a trot in parody. Then came the mad, snorting horses. Then a
few minutes,--and night fell over the seven heights of Rome, and the
Corso itself lay in darkness. Then the first points of light began to
make their appearance. Here below, one little shimmer of light, and up
there another, and two there, and six here, and ten down there to the
left, and hundreds on the right, and then thousands, and many, many
thousands. From one end of the great long street to the other, from the
first floor to the roof of every house and every palace, there is one
steady twinkling of tiny flames, of torches, of large and small lights;
the effect is surprising and peculiar. As soon as the first light
appeared, young men and girls ran and tried to blow each other's candles
out. Even the children took part in the game; I could see into several
houses, where it was going on briskly. Then, from every side-street
decorated carriages began to drive on to the Corso again, but this time
every person held a candle in his hand. Yes, and that was not all! at
least every other of the large waggons--they were like immense boxes of
flowers--had, on poles, or made fast, Bengal fire of various colours,
which lighted up every house they went past, now with a red, now with a
green flare. And then the thousands of small candles, from every one in
the throng, from carriages, balconies, verandas, sparkled in the great
flame, fighting victoriously with the last glimmer of daylight. People
ran like mad down the Corso and fanned out the lights in the carriages.
But many a Roman beauty found a better way of lighting up her features
without exposing herself to the risk of having her light put out.
Opposite me, for instance, on the second floor, a lovely girl was
standing in a window. In the shutter by her side she had fixed one of
those violent red flares so that she stood in a bright light, like
sunlight seen through red glass, and it was impossible not to notice
her. Meanwhile, the people on the balconies held long poles in their
hands, with which they unexpectedly put out the small candles in the
carriages. You heard incessantly, through the confusion, the shouts of
individuals one to another, and their jubilation when a long-attempted
and cleverly foiled extinguishing was at length successful, and the
clapping and shouts of _bravo!_ at an unusually brightly lighted
and decorated carriage. The pickpockets meanwhile did splendid business;
many of the Danes lost their money.

At eight o'clock I was in bed again, and shortly afterwards the people
of the house came home for a moment. Filomena looked splendid, and was
very talkative. "_Lei e ingrassato_," she called in through the
door. It is her great pleasure that the hollows in my cheeks are
gradually disappearing. She was now ascribing a special efficacy in this
direction to Moccoli Eve.

* * * * *

At half-past ten in the morning, there is a curious spectacle in the
street here. At that time Domenico comes and the lottery begins.
Lotteries are forbidden in Rome, but Domenico earns his ten lire a day
by them. He goes about this and the neighbouring streets bawling and
shouting until he has disposed of his ninety tickets.

Girls and women lean out through the windows and call out the numbers
they wish to have--in this respect they are boundlessly credulous. They
do not believe in the Pope; but they believe that there are numbers
which they must become possessed of that day, even at the highest price,
which is two soldi. The soldi are thrown out through the window, and
each one remembers her own number. Then Domenico goes through all the
numbers in a loud voice, that there may be no cheating. A child draws a
number out of the bag, and Domenico shouts: "Listen, all Purificazione,
No. 34 has won, listen, Purificazione, 34 ... 34." The disappointed
faces disappear into the houses. All those who have had 33, 35 and 36
rail against unjust Fate, in strong terms.

At the first rattle of the lottery bag, Filomena rushes in here, opens
the window, and calls for a certain number. If anyone else wants it, she
must manage to find two soldi in her pocket. If I fling a few soldi from
my bed towards the window, this facilitates the search. However, we
never win. Filomena declares that I have indescribable ill-luck in
gambling, and suggests a reason.

* * * * *

She was again singing outside. I called her, wanting to know what it was
she kept singing all the time. "They are songs from the mountains," she
replied, "all _canzone d'amore_." "Say them slowly, Filomena. I
will write them down." I began, but was so delighted at the way she
repeated the verses, her excellent declamatory and rhythmic sense, that
I was almost unable to write. And to my surprise, I discovered that they
were all what we call ritornellos. But written down, they are dull
larvae, compared with what they are with the proper pronunciation and
expression. What is it Byron says?:

I love the language, that soft bastard Latin,
Which melts like kisses from a female mouth,
And sounds as if it should be writ on satin.

I shall really feel a void when Filomena goes away. The unfortunate part
of it is that her dialect pronunciation is so difficult to make out, and
that she swallows so many syllables in order to make the metre right, as
there are generally too many feet, and it is only the delicacy of her
declamation that makes up for the incorrectness of the rhymes and the
verses. For instance, she constantly says _lo_ instead of _il_
(_lo soldato_), and she can never tell me how many words there are
in a line, since neither she nor Maria knows what a single word, as
opposed to several, is, and because it is no use spelling the word to
her and asking: "Is that right?" since she cannot spell, and does not
recognise the letters. Saredo tells me that a driver who once drove him
and his wife about for five days in Tuscany sang all day long like
Filomena, and improvised all the time. This is what she, too, does
continually; she inserts different words which have about the same
meaning, and says: "It is all the same" (_c'e la stessa cosa_). On
the other hand, she always keeps to the metre, and that with the most
graceful intonation; never a faulty verse:

Fior di giacinto!
La donna che per l'uomo piange tanto--
Il pianto delle donne e pianto finto.

Amore mio!
Non prendite le fiori di nessuno,
Se vuoi un garofletto, lo do io.

Fior di limone!
Limone e agra, e le fronde son' amare,
Ma son' piu' amare le pene d'amor'.

Lo mi' amore che si chiama Peppe,
Lo primo giuocatore delle carte
Prende 'sto cuore e giuoca a tre-sette.


Flower of the hyacinth!
The woman who weeps so much for the man's sake--
Yet, the complaint of women is a feigned one.

My love!
Do not accept flowers from anyone.
If thou wilt have a wall-flower, I will give it thee.

Flower of the lemon!
The lemon is sharp, and its leaves are bitter;
But more bitter are the torments of love.

My beloved, whose name is Peppe,
He is the first to play cards,
He has taken this heart and is playing a game of Three to Seven with

In this way I wrote out some scores.

* * * * *

Spent an hour teaching Filomena her large letters up to N, and making
her say them by rote, and with that end in view have divided them into
three portions--ABCD--EFG--ILMN. She manages all right, except that she
always jumps E and L. Lesson closed: "Were you at church to-day,
Filomena?" "No, I have nothing to confess." "Did you go to church last
Sunday?" "No, I have not been for six weeks now. I have committed no
sin. What wrong do I do? I have no love affair, nothing." "What used you
to confess?" "A few bad words, which had slipped out. Now I do nothing
wrong." "But one can go wrong, without committing any sin, when one is
high-minded, for instance." "I am not high-minded. If you, on the other
hand, were to imagine yourself better than the friends who come to visit
you, that would be quite natural; for you are better."

* * * * *

The day has been long. This evening the girl had errands to do for me.
She came in here after her Sunday walk in the Campagna. I said: "Shall
we read?" (Just then a band of young people passed along the street with
a harmonica and a lot of castanets, and commenced a song in honour of
Garibaldi. With all its simplicity, it sounded unspeakably affecting; I
was quite softened.) She replied: "With pleasure." I thought to myself:
"Now to see whether she remembers a word of what I said to her
yesterday." But she went on at once: "Signore, I have been industrious."
She had bought herself an ABC and had taught herself alone not only all
the large letters, but also all the little ones, and had learnt them all
off by heart as well. I was so astonished that I almost fell back in the
bed. "But what is this, Filomena? Have you learnt to read from someone
else?" "No, only from you yesterday. But for five years my only wish has
been to learn to read, and I am so glad to be able to." I wanted to
teach her to spell. "I almost think I can a little." And she was already
so far that--without spelling first--she read a whole page of two-letter
spellings, almost without a mistake. She certainly very often said: "Da
--ad," or read _fo_ for _of_, but her progress was amazing.
When she spells, she takes the words as a living reality, not merely as
words, and adds something to them, for instance, _s--a, sa; l--i, li;
r--e, re; salire alle scale_, (jump down the stairs.) "Filomena, I
could teach you to read in three weeks." _She_: "I have always
thought it the greatest shame for a man or woman not to be able to
read." I told her something about the progress of the human race, that
the first men and women had been like animals, not at all like Adam and
Eve. "Do you think I believe that Eve ate an apple and that the serpent
could speak? _Non credo mente_. Such things are like _mal'occhi_
(belief in the evil eye)." And without any transition, she begins,
_sempre allegra_, as she calls herself--to sing a gay song. Just
now she is exceedingly delighted with a certain large red shawl. There
came a pedlar to the door; she sighed deeply at the sight of the
brilliant red; so I gave it her.

She is a great lover and a connoisseur of wine, like myself. We taste
and drink together every dinner-time. As she always waits upon me, I
often give her a little cake and wine while I am eating. Now we have
begun a new wine, white Roman muscat. But I change my wine almost every
other day. Filomena had taken the one large bottle and stacked up
newspapers round it on the table, so that if K.B. came he should not see
it. It so happened that he came to-day, whilst I was dining and she
eating with me. There was a ring; she wanted to go. "Stay; perhaps it is
not for me at all; and in any case, I do not ask anyone's permission for
you to be here." He came in, and said in Danish, as he put his hat down:
"Oh, so you let the girl of the house dine with you; I should not care
for that." Filomena, who noticed his glance in her direction, and his
gesture, said, with as spiteful a look, and in as cutting a voice as she
could muster: "_Il signore prende il suo pranzo con chi lui pare e
piace._" (The gentleman eats with whomsoever he pleases.) "Does she
understand Danish?" he asked, in astonishment. "It looks like it," I
replied. When he had gone, her _furia_ broke loose. I saw her
exasperated for the first time, and it sat very comically upon her. "Did
you ask him whom _he_ eats with? Did he say I was ugly? Did you ask
him whether his _ragazza_ was prettier?" (She meant a Danish lady,
a married woman, with whom she had frequently met K.B. in the street.)

She said to me yesterday: "There is one thing I can do, sir, that you
cannot. I can carry 200 pounds' weight on my head. I can carry two
_conchas_, or, if you like to try me, all that wood lying there."
She has the proud bearing of the Romans.

Read with Filomena for an hour and a half. She can now spell words with
three letters fairly well. This language has such a sweet ring that her
spelling is like music. And to see the innocent reverence with which she
says _g-r-a, gra_,--it is what a poet might envy me. And then the
earnest, enquiring glance she gives me at the end of every line. It is
marvellous to see this complete absorption of a grown-up person in the
study of _a-b, ab_, and yet at the same time there is something
almost great in this ravenous thirst for knowledge, combined with
incredulity of all tradition. It is a model such as this that the poets
should have had for their naive characters. In Goethe's _Roman Elegies_,
the Roman woman's figure is very inconspicuous; she is not drawn as a
genuine woman of the people, she is not naive. He knew a Faustina, but
one feels that he afterwards slipped a German model into her place.
Filomena has the uncompromising honesty and straightforwardness of an
unspoilt soul. Her glance is not exactly pure, but free--how shall I
describe it? Full, grand, simple. With a _concha_ on her head, she would
look like a caryatid. If I compare her mentally with a feminine character
of another poet, Lamartine's Graziella, an Italian girl of the lower
classes, like herself, I cannot but think Graziella thin and poetised,
down to her name. The narrator, if I remember rightly, teaches her to
read, too; but Graziella herself does not desire it; it is he who
educates her. Filomena, on the contrary, with her anxiety to learn, is
an example and a symbol of a great historic movement, the poor, oppressed
Roman people's craving for light and knowledge. Of Italy's population of
twenty-six millions, according to the latest, most recent statistics,
seventeen millions can neither read nor write. She said to me to-day:
"What do you really think, sir, do you not believe that the Holy Ghost
is _una virtu_ and cannot be father of the child?" "You are right,
Filomena." "That is why I never pray." "Some day, when you are very
unhappy, perhaps you will pray." "I have been very unhappy; when I was
a child I used to suffer horribly from hunger. I had to get up at five
o'clock in the morning to work and got eight _soldi_ for standing all day
long in a vineyard in the sun and digging with a spade, and as corn was
dear and meat dear, we seven children seldom had a proper meal. Last year,
too, I was hungry often, for it was as the proverb says: 'If I eat, I
cannot dress myself, and if I dress myself I cannot eat.' (What a sad and
illuminating proverb!) Sir, if there were any Paradise, you would go
there, for what you do for me. If I can only read and write, I can earn
twice as much as I otherwise could. Then I can be a _cameriera_,
and bring my mistress a written account of expenditure every week."

Filomena knows that Saredo is a professor at the University. But she
does not know what a professor or a University is. She puts her question
like this: "Probably my idea of what a university is, may not be quite

No one comes now. An invalid is very interesting at first, and arouses
sympathy. If he continue ill too long, people unconsciously think it
impossible for him to get well, and stay away. So the only resource left
me all day is to chat with Filomena, to whom Maria has entrusted the
nursing of me. Every evening I read with her; yesterday she had her
fourth lesson, and could almost read straight off. Her complexion and
the lower part of her face are like a child's; her undeveloped mental
state reveals itself, thus far, in her appearance. I told her yesterday,
as an experiment, that there were five continents and in each of them
many countries, but she cannot understand yet what I mean, as she has no
conception of what the earth looks like. She does not even know in what
direction from Rome her native village, Camerino, lies. I will try to
get hold of a map, or a globe. Yesterday, we read the word
_inferno_. She said: "There is no hell; things are bad enough on
earth; if we are to burn afterwards, there would be two hells." "Good
gracious! Filomena, is life so bad? Why, you sing all day long." "I sing
because I am well; that is perfectly natural, but how can I be content?"
"What do you wish for then?" "So much money (_denari_) that I
should be sure of never being hungry again. You do not know how it
hurts. Then there is one other thing I should like, but it is
impossible. I should like not to die; I am so horribly afraid of death.
I should certainly wish there were a Paradise. But who can tell! Still,
my grandmother lived to be a hundred all but three years, and she was
never ill for a day; when she was only three years from being a hundred
she still went to the fields like the rest of us and worked, and was
like a young woman (_giovanotta_). Mother is forty-two, but
although she is two years older than my aunt, she looks quite young.
_Chi lo sa!_ Perhaps I may live to be a hundred too, never be ill--
I never have been yet, one single day,--and then go in and lie down on
the bed like she did and be dead at once."

"She really is sweet!" said R. this evening. The word does not fit. Her
laugh, her little grimaces, her witticisms, quaint conceits and gestures
are certainly very attractive, but her mode of expression, when she is
talking freely, is very unreserved, and if I were to repeat some of her
remarks to a stranger, he would perhaps think her coarse or loose. "We
shall see what sort of a girl you bring home to us when you are well
again, and whether you have as good taste as our Frenchman. Or perhaps
you would rather visit her? I know how a fine gentleman behaves, when he
visits his friend. She is often a lady, and rich. He comes, knocks
softly at the door, sits down, and talks about difficult and learned
things. Then he begs for a kiss, she flings her arms round his neck;
_allora, il letto rifatto, va via."_ She neither blushes nor feels
the slightest embarrassment when she talks like this. "How do you know
such things, when you have no experience?" "People have told me; I know
it from hearsay. I myself have never been in love, but I believe that it
is possible to love one person one's whole life long, and never grow
tired of him, and never love another. You said the other day (for a
joke?) that people ought to marry for a year or six months; but I
believe that one can love the same person always."

In such chat my days pass by. I feel as though I had dropped down
somewhere in the Sabine Mountains, been well received in a house--Maria
is from Camarino, too,--and were living there hidden from the world
among these big children.

Yesterday, Uncle had his National Guard uniform on for the first time.
He came in to show himself. I told him that it suited him very well,
which delighted him. Filomena exhibited him with admiration. When Maria
came home later on, she asked the others at once: "Has the
_signore_ seen him? What did he say? Does not he want to see him

Written down a score of ritornellos; I have chosen the best of them.
Many of them are rather, or very, indecent. But, as Filomena says: "You
do not go to Hell for singing _canzone_; you cannot help what they
are like." The indecent ones she will only say at a terrific rate, and
not a second time. But if one pay attention, they are easy to
understand. They are a mixture of audacity and simple vulgarity. They
all begin with flowers. She is too undeveloped to share the educated
girl's abhorrence of things that are in bad taste; everything natural,
she thinks, can be said, and she speaks out, quite unperturbed. Still,
now she understands that there are certain things--impossible things--
that I do not like to hear her say.

I was sitting cutting a wafer (to take powders with) into oblates.
_She_: "You must not cut into consecrated things, not even put the
teeth into it. The priest says: 'Thou shalt not bite Christ.'"
Unfortunately, she has not any real impression of religion, either of
its beauty or its underlying truth. None of them have any idea of what
the New Testament is or contains; they do not know its best-known
quotations and stories. Religion, to them, is four or five rigmaroles,
which are printed in our _Abecedario_, the Creed, the Ave Maria,
the various Sacraments, etc., which they know by heart. These they
reject, but they have not the slightest conception of what Christianity
is. If I quote a text from the New Testament, they have never heard it.

But they can run the seven cardinal virtues, and the seven other
virtues, off by rote. One of these last, that of instructing the
ignorant, is a virtue which the priesthood (partly for good reasons)
have not practised to any remarkable extent in this country.

Yesterday Maria came home in a state of great delight, from a
_trattoria_, where a gentleman had spoken _tanto bene, tanto
bene_ against religion and the Pope and the priests; there were a few
_Caccialepri_ present (a derogatory expression for adherents of the
priests), who had just had to come down a peg or two. When she had
finished, to my astonishment, she said to me, _exactly this_: "It
is Nature that is God, is it not so?"

An expression almost symbolical of the ignorance and credulity of the
Romans is their constant axiom, _Chi lo sa?_ (Who knows?) I said to
Maria the other day, after she had said it for the fourth time in a
quarter of an hour: "My good Maria! The beginning of wisdom is not to
fear God, but to say _Perche_? (why?), instead of _Chi lo sa_?"

Yesterday, while I was eating my dinner, I heard Filomena's story. She
came to Rome last December: "You think I came because Maria wanted to
help mother. I came to Rome because there was a man who wanted to marry
me." "What was his name?" "His name was Peppe." _"Lo mi' amore, che si
chiama Peppe."_... "Ah, I do not love him at all. No, the thing is
that at Camerino all the men beat their wives. My sister, for instance,
has always a black eye, and red stripes on her back. My friend Marietta
always gets beaten by her husband, and the more he beats her, the more
she loves him: sometimes she goes away from him for a few days to her
sister, but she always goes back again." "What has that to do with our
friend Peppe?" "Well, you see, mother knew that Peppe's brother beat his
wife all day and all night; so she would not give me to him." "Yes, it
was bad, if it were a family failing." "So one evening father said to
me: 'Your aunt has written to us from Rome, to ask whether you will pay
her a visit of a few days.' And he showed me a false letter. Aunt cannot
write and knew nothing about any letter. I did not want to, much, said I
would not, but came here all the same, and found that I was to stay
here, and that mother did not want me to have Peppe. So I began to cry,
and for five whole days I cried all the time and would neither eat nor
drink. Then I thought to myself: It is all over between Peppe and me.
Shall I cry myself to death for a man? So I left off crying, and very
soon forgot all about him. And after a week's time I did not care
anything about the whole matter, and sang and was happy, and now I want
to stay in Rome always."

Last night I got up for a little, read with Filomena, and determined to
go in and have supper with the family in their little room. Filomena
opened the door wide, and called out along the corridor:
_"Eccolo!"_ and then such a welcome as there was for the invalid,
now that he had at last got up! and I was obliged to drink two large
beer-glasses of the home-grown wine. First Maria told how it was that I
had always had everything so punctually whilst I was ill. It was because
Filomena had made the little boy from the _cafe_ believe that I was
going to give him my watch when I got well, if he never let anything get
cold. So the boy ran as though possessed, and once fell down the stairs
and broke everything to atoms. "He is delirious," said Filomena one day,
"and talks of nothing but of giving you his watch." "How can he be so
ill," said the boy suspiciously, "when he eats and drinks?" "Do you want
the watch or not?" said Filomena, and off the lad ran. I let the others
entertain me. Maria said: "You told Filomena something yesterday about
savages; I know something about them, too. Savage people live in China,
and the worst of all are called Mandarins. Do you know what one of them
did to an Italian lady? She was with her family over there; suddenly
there came a Mandarin, carried her off, and shut her up in his house.
They never found her again. Then he had three children by her; but one
day he went out and forgot to shut the door; she ran quickly out of the
house, down to the water, and saw a ship far away. Do you know what the
mandarin did, sir, when he came home and found that his wife was gone?
He took the three children, tore them through the middle, and threw the
pieces out into the street." It reminded one of Lucidarius, and other
mediaeval legends. Then our good _zio_, the honest uncle, began,
and told Maria and Filomena the history of Napoleon I., fairly
correctly. He had heard it from his master Leonardo, who taught him his
trade; the man had taken part in five of the campaigns. The only
egregious mistake he made was that he thought the Austrians had
gradually poisoned the Duke of Reichstadt, because he threatened to
become even more formidable than his father. But that the old grenadier
might easily have believed. The thing that astonished me was that the
narrative did not make the slightest impression upon either Maria or
Filomena. I asked Filomena if she did not think it was very remarkable.
But she clearly had a suspicion that it was all lies, besides, what has
happened in the world before her day is of as little importance to her
as what goes on in another planet; finally, she abominates war.
_Zio_ concluded his story with childlike self-satisfaction: "When I
learnt about all this, I was only an apprentice; now I am _mastro

These last few days that I have been able to stumble about the room a
little, I have had a feeling of delight and happiness such as I have
hardly experienced before. The very air is a fete. The little black-
haired youngsters, running about this picturesquely steep street, are my
delight, whenever I look out of the window. All that is in front of me:
the splendours of Rome, the Summer, the art of Italy, Naples in the
South, Venice in the North, makes my heart beat fast and my head swim. I
only need to turn round from the window and see Filomena standing behind
me, knitting, posed like a living picture by Kuechler to feel, with
jubilation: I am in Rome. Saredo came to-day at twelve o'clock, and saw
me dressed for the first time. I had put on my nicest clothes. I called
Filomena, had three dinners fetched, and seated between him and her, I
had my banquet. I had just said: "I will not eat any soup to-day, unless
it should happen to be _Zuppa d'herba_." Filomena took the lid off
and cried: _"A punto."_ This is how all my wishes are fulfilled
now. I had a fine, light red wine. It tasted so good that if the gods
had known it they would have poured their nectar into the washtub.
Filomena poured it out, singing:

L'acqua fa mare,
Il vino fa cantare;
Il sugo della gresta
Fa gira' la testa.

(Water is bad for one;
Wine makes one sing;
The juice of the grape
Makes the head swim.)

To-morrow I may go out. After Sunday, I shall leave off dining at home.
On Sunday Filomena goes to Camerino.



Reflections on the Future of Denmark--Conversations with Giuseppe
Saredo--Frascati--Native Beauty--New Susceptibilities--Georges
Noufflard's Influence--The Sistine Chapel and Michael Angelo--Raphael's
Loggias--A Radiant Spring.


Saredo said to me one day: "I am not going to flatter you--I have no
interest in doing so; but I am going to give you a piece of advice,
which you ought to think over. Stay in Italy, settle down here, and you
will reach a far higher position than you can possibly attain in your
own country. The intellectual education you possess is exceedingly rare
in Italy; what I can say, without exaggeration, is that in this country
it is so extraordinary that it might be termed an active force. Within
two years you would be a power in Italy, at home, you will never be more
than a professor at a University. Stay here! Villari and I will help you
over your first difficulties. Write in French, or Italian, which you
like, and as you are master of the entire range of Germanic culture,
which scarcely any man in Italy is, you will acquire an influence of
which you have not the least conception. A prophet is never honoured in
his own country. We, on the other hand, need you. So stay here! Take Max
Mueller as an example. It is with individuals as with nations; it is only
when they change their soil that they attain their full development and
realise their own strength."

I replied: "I am deaf to that sort of thing. I love the Danish language
too well ever to forsake it. Only in the event of my settlement in
Denmark meeting with opposition, and being rendered impossible, shall I
strap on my knapsack, gird up my loins, and hie me to France or Italy; I
am glad to hear that the world is not so closed to me as I had formerly

My thoughts were much engaged on my sick-bed by reflections upon the
future of Denmark. The following entry is dated March 8, 1871:

What do we mean by _our national future_, which we talk so much
about? We do not purpose to extend our borders, to make conquests, or
play any part in politics. For that, as is well comprehensible, we know
we are too weak. I will leave alone the question as to whether it is
possible to live without, in one way or another, growing, and ask: What
do we want? _To continue to exist_. How exist? We want to get
Slesvig back again, for as it is we are not _existing_; we are
sickening, or else we are living like those lower animals who even when
they are cut in pieces, are quite nimble; but it is a miserable life. We
are in a false position with regard to Germany. The centripetal force
that draws the individual members of one nationality together, and which
we in Denmark call Danishness, that which, further, draws nationalities
of the same family together, and which in Denmark is called
_Scandinavianism_, must logically lead to a sympathy for the
merging of the entire race, a kind of _Gothogermanism_. If we seek
support from France, we shall be behaving like the Poles, turning for
help to a foreign race against a nation of our own. I accuse us, not of
acting imprudently, but of fighting against a natural force that is
stronger than we. We can only retard, we cannot annihilate, the
attraction exerted by the greater masses on the lesser. We can only hope
that we may not live to feel the agony.

Holland and Denmark are both threatened by Germany, for in this
geography is the mighty ally of Germany. The most enlightened Dane can
only cherish the hope that Denmark, conquered, or not conquered, will
brave it out long enough for universal civilisation, by virtue of the
level it has reached, to bring our independence with it. As far as the
hope which the majority of Danes cherish is concerned (including the
noble professors of philosophy), of a time when Nemesis (reminiscence of
theology!), shall descend on Prussia, this hope is only an outcome of
foolishness. And even a Nemesis upon Prussia will never hurt Germany,
and thus will not help us.

But the main question is this: If we--either through a peaceable
restoration of Slesvig, or after fresh wars, or through the dawning of
an era of peace and civilisation--regain our integrity and independence,
shall we exist then? Not at all. Then we shall sicken again. A country
like Denmark, even including Slesvig, is nowadays no country at all. A
tradesman whose whole capital consists of ten rigsdaler is no tradesman.
The large capitals swallow up the small. The small must seek their
salvation in associations, partnerships, joint-stock companies, etc.

Our misfortune lies in the fact that there is no other country with
which we can enter into partnership except Sweden and Norway, a little,
unimportant state. By means of this association, which for the time
being, is our sheet-anchor, and which, by dint of deploying enormous
energy, might be of some importance, we can at best retard our
destruction by a year or two. But the future! Has Denmark any future?

It was France who, to her own unspeakable injury, discovered, or rather,
first proclaimed, the principle of nationality, a principle which at
most could only give her Belgium and French Switzerland, two neutral
countries, guaranteed by Europe, but which gave Italy to Piedmont,
Germany to Prussia, and which one day will give Russia supremacy over
all the Slavs.

Even before the war, France was, as it were, squeezed between bucklers;
she had no possible chance of gaining anything through her own precious
principle, and did not even dare to apply it to the two above-mentioned
points. While she fearfully allowed herself to be awarded Savoy and
Nice, Prussia grew from nineteen million inhabitants to fifty millions;
and probably in a few years the Germans of Austria will fall to Germany
as well. Then came the war, and its outcome was in every particular what
Prevost-Paradol, with his keen foresight, had predicted: "Afterwards,"
he wrote, "France, with Paris, will take up in Europe the same position
as Hellas with Athens assumed in the old Roman empire; it will become
the city of taste and the noble delights; but it will never be able to
regain its power." It has, in fact, been killed by this very theory of
nationality; for the only cognate races, Spain and Italy, are two
countries of which the one is rotten, the other just entered upon the
convalescent stage. Thus it is clear that Germany will, for a time,
exercise the supreme sway in Europe. But the future belongs neither to
her nor to Russia, but, if not to England herself, at any rate to the
Anglo-Saxon race, which has revealed a power of expansion in comparison
with which that of other nations is too small to count. Germans who go
to North America, in the next generation speak English. The English have
a unique capacity for spreading themselves and introducing their
language, and the power which the Anglo-Saxon race will acquire cannot
be broken in course of time like that of ancient Rome; for there are no
barbarians left, and their power is based, not on conquest, but on
assimilation, and the race is being rejuvenated in North America.

How characteristic it is of our poor little country that we always hear
and read of it as "one of the oldest kingdoms in the world." That is
just the pity of it. If we were only a young country! There is only one
way by which we can rejuvenate ourselves. First, to merge ourselves into
a Scandinavia; then, when this is well done and well secured, to
approach the Anglo-Saxon race to which we are akin. Moral: Become an
Anglo-Saxon and study John Stuart Mill!

And I studied Mill with persevering attention, where he was difficult,
but instructive, to follow, as in the _Examination of Hamilton's
Philosophy_, which renews Berkeley's teachings, and I read him with
delight where, accessible and comprehensible, he proclaims with
freshness and vigour the gospel of a new age, as in the book _On
Liberty_ and the one akin to it, _Representative Government_.


During the months of February and March, my conversations with Giuseppe
Saredo had been all I lived for. We discussed all the questions which
one or both of us had at heart, from the causes of the expansion of
Christianity, to the method of proportionate representation which Saredo
knew, and correctly traced back to Andrae. When I complained that, by
reason of our different nationality, we could hardly have any
recollections in common, and by reason of our different languages, could
never cite a familiar adage from childhood, or quote a common saying
from a play, that the one could not thoroughly enjoy the harmony of
verses in the language of the other, Saredo replied: "You are no more a
Dane than I am an Italian; we are compatriots in the great fatherland of
the mind, that of Shakespeare and Goethe, John Stuart Mill, Andrae, and
Cavour. This land is the land of humanity. Nationality is milk, humanity
is cream. What is there in all the world that we have not in common? It
is true that we cannot enjoy together the harmony of some Northern
verses, but we can assimilate together all the great ideas, and we have
for each other the attraction of the relatively unknown, which fellow-
countrymen have not."

He very acutely characterised his Italian compatriots: "Our intelligence
amounts to prudence and common sense. At a distance we may appear self-
luminous; in reality we are only passivity and reflected light.
Solferino gave us Lombardy, Sadowa gave us Venice, Sedan gave us Rome.
We were just active enough to take advantage of fortunate circumstances,
and passively clever enough not to wreck our advantage by stupidity. In
foreign novels we are scoundrels of the deepest dye, concocters of
poisons and wholesale swindlers. In reality we are indifferent and
indolent. _Dolce far niente_, these words, which, to our shame, are
repeated in every country in Italian, are our watchword. But things
shall be different, if it means that the few amongst us who have a
little share of head and heart have to work themselves to death--things
shall be different. Massimo d'Azeglio said: 'Now we have created an
Italy; there remains to create Italians.' That was a true saying. Now we
are creating the new people, and what a future there is before us! Now
it is we who are taking the leadership of the Latin race, and who are
giving back to our history its brilliance of the sixteenth century. At
present our Art is poor because we have no popular type; but wait! In a
few years Italy will show a profile no less full of character than in
the days of Michael Angelo, and Benvenuto Cellini."


Then the moment arrived when all abstract reflections were thrust aside
once more by convalescence. I was well again, after having been shut up
for over four months. I still felt the traces of the mercury poisoning,
but I was no longer tied to my bed, and weak though I was, I could walk.

And on the very first day,--it was March 25th--armed with a borrowed
stick (I possessed none, having never used a stick before), and equipped
with a little camp-stool, I took the train to Frascati, where there was
a Madonna Fete.

It was life opening out before me again. All that I saw, witnessed to
its splendour. First, the scenery on the way, the Campagna with its
proud ruins, and the snow-covered Sabine Mountains, the whole
illuminated by a powerful Summer sun; the villas of old Romans, with
fortress-like thick walls, and small windows; then the fertile lava
soil, every inch of which was under vineyard cultivation. At last the
mountains in the neighborhood of Frascati. A convent crowned the highest
point; there, in olden days, the first Italian temple to Jupiter had
stood, and there Hannibal had camped. Underneath, in a hollow, like an
eagle's nest, lay Rocca di Papa. By the roadside, fruit-trees with
violet clusters of blossoms against a background of stone-pines,
cypresses, and olive-groves.

I reached Frascati station. There was no carriage to be had up to the
town, so I was obliged to ascend the hill slowly on foot, a test which
my leg stood most creditably. In the pretty market-place of Frascati,
with its large fountain which, like Acqua Paola, was divided into three
and flung out a tremendous quantity of water, I went into an
_osteria_ and asked for roast goat with salad and Frascati wine,
then sat down outside, as it was too close within. Hundreds of people in
gay costumes, with artificial flowers and silver feathers in their
headgear, filled the square in front of me, crowded the space behind me,
laughed and shouted.

The people seemed to be of a grander type, more lively, animated and
exuberant, than at the fair at Fiesole. The women were like Junos or
Venuses, the men, even when clad in abominable rags, looked like
Vulcans, blackened in their forges; they were all of larger proportions
than Northern men and women. A Roman beau, with a riding-whip under his
arm, was making sheep's eyes at a young local beauty, his courtship
accompanied by the whines of the surrounding beggars. A _signora_
from Albano was lecturing the waiter with the dignity of a queen for
having brought her meat that was beneath all criticism, yes, she even
let the word _porcheria_ escape her. A brown-bearded fellow came
out of the inn with a large bottle of the heavenly Frascati wine, which
the landlords here, even on festival occasions, never mix with water,
and gave a whole family, sitting on donkeys, to drink out of one glass;
then he went to two little ones, who were holding each other round the
waist, sitting on the same donkey; to two youths who were riding
another; to a man and wife, who sat on a third, and all drank, like the
horsemen in Wouwerman's pictures, without dismounting.

I got into an old, local omnibus, pulled by three horses, to drive the
two miles to Grotta Ferrata, where the fair was. But the vehicle was
hardly about to start up-hill when, with rare unanimity, the horses
reared, behaved like mad, and whirled it round four or five times. The
driver, a fellow with one eye and a grey cap with a double red camelia
in it, being drunk, thrashed the horses and shouted, while an old
American lady with ringlets shrieked inside the omnibus, and bawled out
that she had paid a franc beforehand, and now wanted to get out. The
road was thronged with people walking, and there was just as many riding
donkeys, all of them, even the children, already heated with wine,
singing, laughing, and accosting everybody. Many a worthy woman
supported her half-drunk husband with her powerful arm. Many a
substantial _signora_ from Rocca di Papa sat astride her mule,
showing without the least bashfulness her majestic calves.

At Grotta Ferrata, the long, long street presented a human throng of
absolute density without the slightest crush, for no one stuck his
elbows into his neighbour's sides. The eye could only distinguish a mass
of red, yellow and white patches in the sunlight, and in between them a
few donkeys' heads and mules' necks. The patches were the kerchiefs on
the women's heads. Folk stood with whole roast pigs in front of them on
a board, cutting off a piece with a knife for anyone who was hungry;
there were sold, besides, fruits, knives, ornaments, provisions, and
general market wares. One _osteria_, the entrance to which was hung
all over with sausages, onions and vegetables, in garlands, had five
huge archways open to the street. Inside were long tables, at which
people sat, not on benches, but on trestles, round bars supported by two
legs, and ate and drank in the best of good spirits, and the blackest
filth, for the floor was the black, sodden, trampled earth. Just over
the way, arbours had been made from trees, by intertwining their
branches and allowing them to grow into one another; these were quite
full of gay, beautiful girls, amongst them one with fair hair and brown
eyes, who looked like a Tuscan, and from whom it was difficult to tear
one's eyes away.

After having inspected the courtyard of an old monastery, the lovely
pillars of which rejoiced my heart, I sat down a little on one side in
the street where the fair was, on my little camp-stool, which roused the
legitimate curiosity of the peasant girls. They walked round me, looked
at me from behind and before, and examined with grave interest the
construction of my seat. In front of me sat an olive and lemon seller.
Girls bargained with him as best they could in the press, others stood
and looked on. I had an opportunity here of watching their innate
statuesque grace. When they spoke, the right arm kept time with their
speech. When silent, they generally placed one hand on the hip, bent,
but not clenched. There were various types. The little blonde, blue-eyed
girl with the mild Madonna smile, and absolutely straight nose, and the
large-made, pronounced brunette. But the appearance of them all was such
that an artist or a poet could, by a slight transformation, have
portrayed from them whatever type of figure or special characteristic he
required. In my opinion, the form Italian beauty took, and the reason of
the feeling one had in Italy of wading in beauty, whereas one hardly
ever saw anything in the strict sense of the word beautiful in
Copenhagen, and rarely in Paris, was, that this beauty was the beauty of
the significant. All these women looked to be unoppressed, fullblown,
freely developed. All that makes woman ugly in the North: the cold, the
thick, ugly clothes that the peasant women wear, the doublet of
embarrassment and vapidity which they drag about with them, the strait-
waistcoat of Christiansfeldt morality in which they are confined by the
priests, by protestantism, by fashion, by custom and convention--none of
this oppressed, confined or contracted women here. These young peasant
girls looked as if they had never heard such words as "You must not," or
"You shall not," and as here in Italy there is none of the would-be
witty talk, the grinning behind people's backs, which takes the life out
of all intrepidity in the North, no one thought: "What will people say?"
Everyone dressed and deported himself with complete originality, as he,
or rather as she, liked. Hence eyes were doubly brilliant, blood coursed
twice as red, the women's busts were twice as rounded and full.


From this time forth I had a strange experience. I saw beauty
everywhere. If I sat at the window of a cafe on the Corso on a Sunday
morning, as the ladies were going to Mass, it seemed to me that all the
beauty on earth was going past. A mother and her three daughters went
by, a mere grocer's wife from the Corso, but the mother carried herself
like a duchess, had a foot so small that it could have lain in the
hollow of my hand, and the youngest of the three daughters was so
absolutely lovely that people turned to look after her; she might
perhaps have been fifteen years of age, but there was a nobility about
her austere profile, and she had a way of twisting her perfect lips into
a smile, that showed her to be susceptible to the sweetest mysteries of
poetry and music. My long illness had so quickened the susceptibility of
my senses to impressions of beauty that I lived in a sort of

In the Scandinavian Club I was received with endless expressions of
sympathy, courteous remarks, and more or less sincerely meant
flatteries, as if in compensation for the suffering I had been through.
All spoke as though they had themselves been deeply distressed, and
especially as though Copenhagen had been sitting weeping during my
illness. I certainly did not believe this for a moment, but all the same
it weighed down a little, the balance of my happiness, and the first
meetings with the Northern artists in these glorious surroundings were
in many respects very enjoyable. The Scandinavian Club was in the
building from which you enter the Mausoleum of Augustus, a colossal
building in the form of a cross, several storeys in height. A festival
had been got up on the flat roof for a benevolent object one of the
first evenings in April. You mounted the many flights of stairs and
suddenly found yourself, apparently, in an immense hall, but with no
roof save the stars, and brilliantly illuminated, but with lights that
paled in the rays of the Italian moon. We took part in the peculiarly
Italian enjoyment of watching balloons go up; they rose by fire, which
exhausted the air inside them and made them light. Round about the moon
we could see red and blue lights, like big stars; one balloon ignited up
in the sky, burst into bright flames, and looked very impressive.

Troops of young women, too, were sitting there, and dazzled anew a young
man who for a second time had given the slip to the old gentleman with
the scythe. There was one young servant girl from the country, in
particular, a child of thirteen or fourteen, to whom I called the
attention of the painters, and they went into ecstasies over her. The
type was the same as that which Raphael has reproduced in his Sistine
Madonna. Her clear, dark blue eyes had a look of maidenly shyness, and
of the most exquisite bashfulness, and yet a look of pride. She wore a
string of glass beads round her lovely neck. We ordered two bottles of
wine to drink her health, and, while we were drinking it, the rotunda
was lighted up from a dozen directions with changing Bengal fire. The
ladies looked even handsomer, the glass lamps dark green in the gleam,
the fire-borne balloons rose, the orchestra played, the women smiled at
the homage of their friends and lovers--all on the venerable Mausoleum
of Augustus.


I made the acquaintance that evening of a young and exceedingly engaging
Frenchman, who was to become my intimate friend and my travelling
companion. He attracted me from the first by his refined, reserved, and
yet cordial manner.

Although only thirty-five years of age, Georges Noufflard had travelled
and seen surprisingly much. He was now in Italy for the second time,
knew France and Germany, had travelled through Mexico and the United
States, had visited Syria, Egypt, Tunis, and Algiers to the last oasis.
When the conversation touched upon Art and Music, he expressed himself
in a manner that revealed keen perception, unusual knowledge, and a very
individual taste.

The following morning, when we met on the Corso, he placed himself at my
disposal, if he could be of use to me; there was nothing he had arranged
to do. He asked where I was thinking of going; as he knew Rome and its
neighbourhood as well as I knew my mother's drawing-room, I placed
myself in his hands. We took a carriage and drove together, first to the
baths of Caracalla, then to the Catacombs, where we very nearly lost our
way, and thought with a thrill of what in olden times must have been the
feelings of the poor wretches who fled there, standing in the dark and
hearing footsteps in the distance, knowing that it was their pursuers
coming, and that they were inevitably going to be murdered, where there
was not even room to raise a weapon in their own defence. Next we drove
to _San Paolo fuori le mure_, of the burning of which Thorwaldsen's
Museum possesses a painting by Leopold Robert, but which at that time
had been entirely re-built in the antique style. It was the most
beautiful basilica I had ever seen. We enjoyed the sight of the
courtyard of the monastery nearly 1,700 years old, with its fine
pillars, all different, and so well preserved that we compared, in
thought, the impressions produced by the two mighty churches, San Paolo
and San Pietro. Then we dined together and plunged into interminable
discussions until darkness fell. From that day forth we were
inseparable. Our companionship lasted several months, until I was
obliged to journey North. But the same cordial relations continued to
subsist between us for more than a quarter of a century, when Death
robbed me of my friend.

Georges Noufflard was the son of a rich cloth manufacturer at Roubaix,
and at an early age had come into possession of a considerable fortune.
This, however, was somewhat diminished through the dishonesty of those
who, after the death of his father, conducted the works in his name. He
had wanted to become a painter, but the weakness of his eyes had obliged
him to give up Art; now he was an Art lover, and was anxious to write a
book on the memorials and works of art in Rome, too great an
undertaking, and for that reason never completed; but at the same time,
he pursued with passion the study of music, played Beethoven, Gluck and
Berlioz, for me daily, and later on published books on Berlioz and
Richard Wagner.

As a youth he had been an enthusiast such as, in the Germanic countries,
they fancy is impossible elsewhere, to such an extent indeed as would be
regarded even there as extraordinary. At seventeen years of age he fell
in love with a young girl who lived in the same building as himself. He
was only on terms of sign language with her, had not even secured so
much as a conversation with her. None the less, his infatuation was so
great that he declared to his father that he wished to marry her. The
father would not give his consent, and her family would not receive him
unless he was presented by his father. The latter sent him to America
with the words: "Forget your love and learn what a fine thing
industrialism is." He travelled all over the United States, found all
machinery loathsome, since he had not the most elementary knowledge of
the principles of mechanics, and no inclination for them, and thought
all the time of the little girl from whom they wished to separate him.
It did not help matters that the travelling companion that had been
given him lived and breathed in an atmosphere of the lowest debauchery,
and did his best to initiate the young man into the same habits. On his
return home he declared to his father that he persisted in his choice.
"Good," said his father, "Asia Minor is a delightful country, and so is
Northern Africa; it will also do you good to become acquainted with
Italy." So he set off on his travels again, and this time was charmed
with everything he saw. Then his father died, and he became pretty much
his own master and free to do as he liked. Then he learned that the
father of the girl had been guilty of a bank fraud. His family would not
receive hers, if, indeed, herself. So he gave up his intention; he did
not wish to expose her to humiliation and did not wish himself to have a
man of ill-fame for his father-in-law; he set off again on his travels,
and remained a long time away. "The proof that I acted wisely by so
doing," he said in conclusion, "is that I have completely forgotten the
girl; my infatuation was all fancy."

When he commenced by telling me that for three years he had loved, and
despite all opposition, wished to marry a girl to whom he had never
spoken, I exclaimed: "Why, you are no Frenchman!" When he concluded by
telling me that after remaining constant for three years he had
abandoned her for a fault that not she, but her father, had committed, I
exclaimed: "How French you are, after all!"

While mutual political, social, and philosophical interests drew me to
Giuseppe Saredo, all the artistic side of my nature bound me to Georges
Noufflard. Saredo was an Italian from a half-French part,--he was born
at Savona, near Chambery,--and his culture was as much French as
Italian; Noufflard was a Frenchman possessed by such a love for Italy
that he spoke the purest Florentine, felt himself altogether a
Southerner, and had made up his mind to take up his permanent abode in
Italy. He married, too, a few years afterwards, a lovely Florentine
woman, and settled down in Florence.

What entirely won my heart about him was the femininely delicate
consideration and unselfish devotion of his nature, the charm there was
about his manner and conversation, which revealed itself in everything
he did, from the way in which he placed his hat upon his head, to the
way in which he admired a work of art. But I could not have associated
with him day after day, had I not been able to learn something from him.
When we met again ten years later, it turned out that we had nothing
especially new to tell each other. I had met him just at the right

It was not only that Noufflard was very well and widely informed about
the artistic treasures of Italy and the places where they were to be
found, but his opinions enriched my mind, inasmuch as they spurred me on
to contradiction or surprised me and won my adherence. Fresh as Julius
Lange's artistic sense had been, there was nevertheless something
doctrinaire and academic about it. An artist like Bernini was horrible,
and nothing else to him; he had no sympathy for the sweet, half-sensual
ecstasy of some of Bernini's best figures. He was an enemy of
eighteenth-century art in France, saw it through the moral spectacles
which in the Germanic countries had come into use with the year 1800. It
was easy for Noufflard to remain unbiased by Northern doctrines, for he
did not know them; he had the free eye of the beauty lover for every
revelation of beauty, no matter under what form, and had the
intellectual kinship of the Italianised Frenchman for many an artist
unappreciated in the North. On the other hand, he naturally considered
that we Northmen very much over-estimated our own. It was impossible to
rouse any interest in him for Thorwaldsen, whom he considered absolutely
academic. "You cannot call him a master in any sense," he exclaimed one
day, when we had been looking at Thorwaldsen bas-reliefs side by side
with antiques. I learnt from my intimacy with Noufflard how little
impression Thorwaldsen's spirit makes on the Romance peoples. That
indifference to him would soon become so widespread in Germany, I did
not yet foresee.

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