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The Complete Writings of Charles Dudley Warner Volume 2 by Charles Dudley Warner

Part 3 out of 5

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served him, and also from his great size. When he sat down, it
required a dignitary of considerable rank to put on his hat; and when
he arose to speak a few precious words, the effect was visible a good
many yards from where he stood. At the close of the service he went
in great state down the center aisle, preceded by the gorgeous
beadle--a character that is always awe-inspiring to me in these
churches, being a cross between a magnificent drum-major and a verger
and two persons in livery, and followed by a train of splendidly
attired priests, six of whom bore up his long train of purple silk.
The whole cortege was resplendent in embroidery and ermine; and as
the great man swept out of my sight, and was carried on a priestly
wave into his shining carriage, and the noble footman jumped up
behind, and he rolled away to his dinner, I stood leaning against a
pillar, and reflected if it could be possible that that religion
could be anything but genuine which had so much genuine ermine. And
the organ-notes, rolling down the arches, seemed to me to have a very
ultramontane sound.


Perhaps it may not interest you to know how we moved, that is,
changed our apartments. I did not see it mentioned in the cable
dispatches, and it may not be generally known, even in Germany; but
then, the cable is so occupied with relating how his Serenity this,
and his Highness that, and her Loftiness the other one, went outdoors
and came in again, owing to a slight superfluity of the liquid
element in the atmosphere, that it has no time to notice the real
movements of the people. And yet, so dry are some of these little
German newspapers of news, that it is refreshing to read, now and
then, that the king, on Sunday, walked out with the Duke of Hesse
after dinner (one would like to know if they also had sauerkraut and
sausage), and that his prospective mother-in-law, the Empress of
Russia, who was here the other day, on her way home from Como, where
she was nearly drowned out by the inundation, sat for an hour on
Sunday night, after the opera, in the winter garden of the palace,
enjoying the most easy family intercourse.

But about moving. Let me tell you that to change quarters in the
face of a Munich winter, which arrives here the 1st of November, is
like changing front to the enemy just before a battle; and if we had
perished in the attempt, it might have been put upon our monuments,
as it is upon the out-of-cannon-cast obelisk in the Karolina Platz,
erected to the memory of the thirty thousand Bavarian soldiers who
fell in the disastrous Russian winter campaign of Napoleon, fighting
against all the interests of Germany,--"they, too, died for their
Fatherland." Bavaria happened also to fight on the wrong side at
Sadowa and I suppose that those who fell there also died for
Fatherland: it is a way the Germans have of doing, and they mean
nothing serious by it. But, as I was saying, to change quarters here
as late as November is a little difficult, for the wise ones seek to
get housed for the winter by October: they select the sunny
apartments, get on the double windows, and store up wood. The plants
are tied up in the gardens, the fountains are covered over, and the
inhabitants go about in furs and the heaviest winter clothing long
before we should think of doing so at home. And they are wise: the
snow comes early, and, besides, a cruel fog, cold as the grave and
penetrating as remorse, comes down out of the near Tyrol. One
morning early in November, I looked out of the window to find snow
falling, and the ground covered with it. There was dampness and
frost enough in the air to make it cling to all the tree-twigs, and
to take fantastic shapes on all the queer roofs and the slenderest
pinnacles and most delicate architectural ornamentations. The city
spires had a mysterious appearance in the gray haze; and above all,
the round-topped towers of the old Frauenkirche, frosted with a
little snow, loomed up more grandly than ever. When I went around to
the Hof Garden, where I late had sat in the sun, and heard the brown
horse-chestnuts drop on the leaves, the benches were now full of
snow, and the fat and friendly fruit-woman at the gate had retired
behind glass windows into a little shop, which she might well warm by
her own person, if she radiated heat as readily as she used to absorb
it on the warm autumn days, when I have marked her knitting in the

But we are not moving. The first step we took was to advertise our
wants in the "Neueste Nachrichten" ("Latest News ") newspaper. We
desired, if possible, admission into some respectable German family,
where we should be forced to speak German, and in which our society,
if I may so express it, would be some compensation for our bad
grammar. We wished also to live in the central part of the city,--in
short, in the immediate neighborhood of all the objects of interest
(which are here very much scattered), and to have pleasant rooms. In
Dresden, where the people are not so rich as in Munich, and where
different customs prevail, it is customary for the best people, I
mean the families of university professors, for instance, to take in
foreigners, and give them tolerable food and a liberal education.
Here it is otherwise. Nearly all families occupy one floor of a
building, renting just rooms enough for the family, so that their
apartments are not elastic enough to take in strangers, even if they
desire to do so. And generally they do not. Munich society is
perhaps chargeable with being a little stiff and exclusive. Well, we
advertised in the "Neueste Nachrichten." This is the liberal paper
of Munich. It is a poorly printed, black-looking daily sheet, folded
in octavo size, and containing anywhere from sixteen to thirty-four
pages, more or less, as it happens to have advertisements. It
sometimes will not have more than two or three pages of reading
matter. There will be a scrap or two of local news, the brief
telegrams taken from the official paper of the day before, a bit or
two of other news, and perhaps a short and slashing editorial on the
ultramontane party. The advantage of printing and folding it in such
small leaves is, that the size can be varied according to the demands
of advertisements or news (if the German papers ever find out what
that is); so that the publisher is always giving, every day, just
what it pays to give that day; and the reader has his regular
quantity of reading matter, and does not have to pay for advertising
space, which in journals of unchangeable form cannot always be used
profitably. This little journal was started something like twenty
years ago. It probably spends little for news, has only one or, at
most, two editors, is crowded with advertisements, which are inserted
cheap, and costs, delivered, a little over six francs a year. It
circulates in the city some thirty-five thousand. There is another
little paper here of the same size, but not so many leaves, called
"The Daily Advertiser," with nothing but advertisements, principally
of theaters, concerts, and the daily sights, and one page devoted to
some prodigious yarn, generally concerning America, of which country
its readers must get the most extraordinary and frightful impression.
The "Nachrichten" made the fortune of its first owner, who built
himself a fine house out of it, and retired to enjoy his wealth. It
was recently sold for one hundred thousand guldens; and I can see
that it is piling up another fortune for its present owner. The
Germans, who herein show their good sense and the high state of
civilization to which they have reached, are very free advertisers,
going to the newspapers with all their wants, and finding in them
that aid which all interests and all sorts of people, from kaiser to
kerl, are compelled, in these days, to seek in the daily journal.
Every German town of any size has three or four of these little
journals of flying leaves, which are excellent papers in every
respect, except that they look like badly printed handbills, and have
very little news and no editorials worth speaking of. An exception
to these in Bavaria is the "Allgerneine Zeitung" of Augsburg, which
is old and immensely respectable, and is perhaps, for extent of
correspondence and splendidly written editorials on a great variety
of topics, excelled by no journal in Europe except the London
"Times." It gives out two editions daily, the evening one about the
size of the New York "Nation;" and it has all the telegraphic news.
It is absurdly old-grannyish, and is malevolent in its pretended
conservatism and impartiality. Yet it circulates over forty thousand
copies, and goes all over Germany.

But were we not saying something about moving? The truth is, that
the best German families did not respond to our appeal with that
alacrity which we had no right to expect, and did not exhibit that
anxiety for our society which would have been such a pleasant
evidence of their appreciation of the honor done to the royal city of
Munich by the selection of it as a residence during the most
disagreeable months of the year by the advertising undersigned. Even
the young king, whose approaching marriage to the Russian princess,
one would think, might soften his heart, did nothing to win our
regard, or to show that he appreciated our residence "near" his
court, and, so far as I know, never read with any sort of attention
our advertisement, which was composed with as much care as Goethe's
"Faust," and probably with the use of more dictionaries. And this,
when he has an extraordinary large Residenz, to say nothing about
other outlying palaces and comfortable places to live in, in which I
know there are scores of elegantly furnished apartments, which stand
idle almost the year round, and might as well be let to appreciative
strangers, who would accustom the rather washy and fierce frescoes on
the walls to be stared at. I might have selected rooms, say on the
court which looks on the exquisite bronze fountain, Perseus with the
head of Medusa, a copy of the one in Florence by Benvenuto Cellini,
where we could have a southern exposure. Or we might, so it would
seem, have had rooms by the winter garden, where tropical plants
rejoice in perennial summer, and blossom and bear fruit, while a
northern winter rages without. Yet the king did not see it "by those
lamps;" and I looked in vain on the gates of the Residenz for the
notice so frequently seen on other houses, of apartments to let. And
yet we had responses. The day after the announcement appeared, our
bell ran perpetually; and we had as many letters as if we had
advertised for wives innumerable. The German notes poured in upon us
in a flood; each one of them containing an offer tempting enough to
beguile an angel out of paradise, at least, according to our
translation: they proffered us chambers that were positively
overheated by the flaming sun (which, I can take my oath, only
ventures a few feet above the horizon at this season), which were
friendly in appearance, splendidly furnished and near to every
desirable thing, and in which, usually, some American family had long
resided, and experienced a content and happiness not to be felt out
of Germany.

I spent some days in calling upon the worthy frauen who made these
alluring offers. The visits were full of profit to the student of
human nature, but profitless otherwise. I was ushered into low, dark
chambers, small and dreary, looking towards the sunless north, which
I was assured were delightful and even elegant. I was taken up to
the top of tall houses, through a smell of cabbage that was
appalling, to find empty and dreary rooms, from which I fled in
fright. We were visited by so many people who had chambers to rent,
that we were impressed with the idea that all Munich was to let; and
yet, when we visited the places offered, we found they were only to
be let alone. One of the frauen who did us the honor to call, also
wrote a note, and inclosed a letter that she had just received from
an American gentleman (I make no secret of it that he came from
Hartford), in which were many kindly expressions for her welfare, and
thanks for the aid he had received in his study of German; and yet I
think her chambers are the most uninviting in the entire city. There
were people who were willing to teach us German, without rooms or
board; or to lodge us without giving us German or food; or to feed
us, and let us starve intellectually, and lodge where we could.

But all things have an end, and so did our hunt for lodgings. I
chanced one day in my walk to find, with no help from the
advertisement, very nearly what we desired,--cheerful rooms in a
pleasant neighborhood, where the sun comes when it comes out at all,
and opposite the Glass Palace, through which the sun streams in the
afternoon with a certain splendor, and almost next door to the
residence and laboratory of the famous chemist, Professor Liebig; so
that we can have our feelings analyzed whenever it is desirable.
When we had set up our household gods, and a fire was kindled in the
tall white porcelain family monument, which is called here a stove,--
and which, by the way, is much more agreeable than your hideous black
and air-scorching cast-iron stoves,--and seen that the feather-beds
under which we were expected to lie were thick enough to roast the
half of the body, and short enough to let the other half freeze, we
determined to try for a season the regular German cookery, our table
heretofore having been served with food cooked in the English style
with only a slight German flavor. A week of the experiment was quite
enough. I do not mean to say that the viands served us were not
good, only that we could not make up our minds to eat them. The
Germans eat a great deal of meat; and we were obliged to take meat
when we preferred vegetables. Now, when a deep dish is set before
you wherein are chunks of pork reposing on stewed potatoes, and
another wherein a fathomless depth of sauerkraut supports coils of
boiled sausage, which, considering that you are a mortal and
responsible being, and have a stomach, will you choose? Herein
Munich, nearly all the bread is filled with anise or caraway seed; it
is possible to get, however, the best wheat bread we have eaten in
Europe, and we usually have it; but one must maintain a constant
vigilance against the inroads of the fragrant seeds. Imagine, then,
our despair, when one day the potato, the one vegetable we had always
eaten with perfect confidence, appeared stewed with caraway seeds.
This was too much for American human nature, constituted as it is.
Yet the dish that finally sent us back to our ordinary and excellent
way of living is one for which I have no name. It may have been
compounded at different times, have been the result of many tastes or
distastes: but there was, after all, a unity in it that marked it as
the composition of one master artist; there was an unspeakable
harmony in all its flavors and apparently ununitable substances. It
looked like a terrapin soup, but it was not. Every dive of the spoon
into its dark liquid brought up a different object,--a junk of
unmistakable pork, meat of the color of roast hare, what seemed to be
the neck of a goose, something in strings that resembled the rags of
a silk dress, shreds of cabbage, and what I am quite willing to take
my oath was a bit of Astrachan fur. If Professor Liebig wishes to
add to his reputation, he could do so by analyzing this dish, and
publishing the result to the world.

And, while we are speaking of eating, it may be inferred that the
Germans are good eaters; and although they do not begin early, seldom
taking much more than a cup of coffee before noon, they make it up by
very substantial dinners and suppers. To say nothing of the
extraordinary dishes of meats which the restaurants serve at night,
the black bread and odorous cheese and beer which the men take on
board in the course of an evening would soon wear out a cast-iron
stomach in America; and yet I ought to remember the deadly pie and
the corroding whisky of my native land. The restaurant life of the
people is, of course, different from their home life, and perhaps an
evening entertainment here is no more formidable than one in America,
but it is different. Let me give you the outlines of a supper to
which we were invited the other night: it certainly cannot hurt you
to read about it. We sat down at eight. There were first courses of
three sorts of cold meat, accompanied with two sorts of salad; the
one, a composite, with a potato basis, of all imaginable things that
are eaten. Beer and bread were unlimited. There was then roast
hare, with some supporting dish, followed by jellies of various
sorts, and ornamented plates of something that seemed unable to
decide whether it would be jelly or cream; and then came assorted
cake and the white wine of the Rhine and the red of Hungary. We were
then surprised with a dish of fried eels, with a sauce. Then came
cheese; and, to crown all, enormous, triumphal-looking loaves of
cake, works of art in appearance, and delicious to the taste. We sat
at the table till twelve o'clock; but you must not imagine that
everybody sat still all the time, or that, appearances to the
contrary notwithstanding, the principal object of the entertainment
was eating. The songs that were sung in Hungarian as well as German,
the poems that were recited, the burlesques of actors and acting, the
imitations that were inimitable, the take-off of table-tipping and of
prominent musicians, the wit and constant flow of fun, as constant as
the good-humor and free hospitality, the unconstrained ease of the
whole evening, these things made the real supper which one remembers
when the grosser meal has vanished, as all substantial things do


For a month Munich has been preparing for Christmas. The shop
windows have had a holiday look all December. I see one every day in
which are displayed all the varieties of fruits, vegetables, and
confectionery possible to be desired for a feast, done in wax,--a
most dismal exhibition, and calculated to make the adjoining window,
which has a little fountain and some green plants waving amidst
enormous pendent sausages and pigs' heads and various disagreeable
hashes of pressed meat, positively enticing. And yet there are some
vegetables here that I should prefer to have in wax,--for instance,
sauerkraut. The toy windows are worthy of study, and next to them
the bakers'. A favorite toy of the season is a little crib, with the
Holy Child, in sugar or wax, lying in it in the most uncomfortable
attitude. Babies here are strapped upon pillows, or between pillows,
and so tied up and wound up that they cannot move a muscle, except,
perhaps, the tongue; and so, exactly like little mummies, they are
carried about the street by the nurses,--poor little things, packed
away so, even in the heat of summer, their little faces looking out
of the down in a most pitiful fashion. The popular toy is a
representation, in sugar or wax, of this period of life. Generally
the toy represents twins, so swathed and bound; and, not
infrequently, the bold conception of the artist carries the point of
the humor so far as to introduce triplets, thus sporting with the
most dreadful possibilities of life.

The German bakers are very ingenious; and if they could be convinced
of this great error, that because things are good separately, they
must be good in combination, the produce of their ovens would be much
more eatable. As it is, they make delicious cake, and of endless
variety; but they also offer us conglomerate formations that may have
a scientific value, but are utterly useless to a stomach not trained
in Germany. Of this sort, for the most part, is the famous
Lebkuchen, a sort of gingerbread manufactured in Nurnberg, and sent
all over Germany: "age does not [seem to] impair, nor custom stale
its infinite variety." It is very different from our simple cake of
that name, although it is usually baked in flat cards. It may
contain nuts or fruit, and is spoiled by a flavor of conflicting
spices. I should think it might be sold by the cord, it is piled up
in such quantities; and as it grows old and is much handled, it
acquires that brown, not to say dirty, familiar look, which may, for
aught I know, be one of its chief recommendations. The cake,
however, which prevails at this season of the year comes from the
Tyrol; and as the holidays approach, it is literally piled up on the
fruit-stands. It is called Klatzenbrod, and is not a bread at all,
but and amalgamation of fruits and spices. It is made up into small
round or oblong forms; and the top is ornamented in various patterns,
with split almond meats. The color is a faded black, as if it had
been left for some time in a country store; and the weight is just
about that of pig-iron. I had formed a strong desire, mingled with
dread, to taste it, which I was not likely to gratify,--one gets so
tired of such experiments after a time--when a friend sent us a ball
of it. There was no occasion to call in Professor Liebig to analyze
the substance: it is a plain case. The black mass contains, cut up
and pressed together, figs, citron, oranges, raisins, dates, various
kinds of nuts, cinnamon) nutmeg, cloves, and I know not what other
spices, together with the inevitable anise and caraway seeds. It
would make an excellent cannon-ball, and would be specially fatal if
it hit an enemy in the stomach. These seeds invade all dishes. The
cooks seem possessed of one of the rules of whist,--in case of doubt,
play a trump: in case of doubt, they always put in anise seed. It is
sprinkled profusely in the blackest rye bread, it gets into all the
vegetables, and even into the holiday cakes.

The extensive Maximilian Platz has suddenly grown up into booths and
shanties, and looks very much like a temporary Western village.
There are shops for the sale of Christmas articles, toys, cakes, and
gimcracks; and there are, besides, places of amusement, if one of the
sorry menageries of sick beasts with their hair half worn off can be
so classed. One portion of the platz is now a lively and picturesque
forest of evergreens, an extensive thicket of large and small trees,
many of them trimmed with colored and gilt strips of paper. I meet
in every street persons lugging home their little trees; for it must
be a very poor household that cannot have its Christmas tree, on
which are hung the scanty store of candy, nuts, and fruit, and the
simple toys that the needy people will pinch themselves otherwise to

At this season, usually, the churches get up some representations for
the children, the stable at Bethlehem, with the figures of the Virgin
and Child, the wise men, and the oxen standing by. At least, the
churches must be put in spick-and-span order. I confess that I like
to stray into these edifices, some of them gaudy enough when they
are, so to speak, off duty, when the choir is deserted, and there is
only here and there a solitary worshiper at his prayers; unless,
indeed, as it sometimes happens, when I fancy myself quite alone, I
come by chance upon a hundred people, in some remote corner before a
side chapel, where mass is going on, but so quietly that the sense of
solitude in the church is not disturbed. Sometimes, when the place
is left entirely to myself, and the servants who are putting it to
rights and, as it were, shifting the scenes, I get a glimpse of the
reality of all the pomp and parade of the services. At first I may
be a little shocked with the familiar manner in which the images and
statues and the gilded paraphernalia are treated, very different from
the stately ceremony of the morning, when the priests are at the
altar, the choir is in the organ-loft, and the people crowd nave and
aisles. Then everything is sanctified and inviolate. Now, as I
loiter here, the old woman sweeps and dusts about as if she were in
an ordinary crockery store: the sacred things are handled without
gloves. And, lo! an unclerical servant, in his shirt-sleeves,
climbs up to the altar, and, taking down the silver-gilded cherubs,
holds them, head down, by one fat foot, while he wipes them off with
a damp cloth. To think of submitting a holy cherub to the indignity
of a damp cloth!

One could never say too much about the music here. I do not mean
that of the regimental bands, or the orchestras in every hall and
beer-garden, or that in the churches on Sundays, both orchestral and
vocal. Nearly every day, at half-past eleven, there is a parade by
the Residenz, and another on the Marian Platz; and at each the bands
play for half an hour. In the Loggie by the palace the music-stands
can always be set out, and they are used in the platz when it does
not storm; and the bands play choice overtures and selections from
the operas in fine style. The bands are always preceded and followed
by a great crowd as they march through the streets, people who seem
to live only for this half hour in the day, and whom no mud or snow
can deter from keeping up with the music. It is a little gleam of
comfort in the day for the most wearied portion of the community: I
mean those who have nothing to do.

But the music of which I speak is that of the conservatoire and
opera. The Hof Theater, opera, and conservatoire are all under one
royal direction. The latter has been recently reorganized with a new
director, in accordance with the Wagner notions somewhat. The young
king is cracked about Wagner, and appears to care little for other
music: he brings out his operas at great expense, and it is the
fashion here to like Wagner whether he is understood or not. The
opera of the "Meister-Singer von Nurnberg," which was brought out
last summer, occupied over five hours in the representation, which is
unbearable to the Germans, who go to the opera at six o'clock or
half-past, and expect to be at home before ten. His latest opera,
which has not yet been produced, is founded on the Niebelungen Lied,
and will take three evenings in the representation, which is almost
as bad as a Chinese play. The present director of the conservatoire
and opera, a Prussian, Herr von Bulow, is a friend of Wagner. There
are formed here in town two parties: the Wagner and the conservative,
the new and the old, the modern and classical; only the Wagnerites do
not admit that their admiration of Beethoven and the older composers
is less than that of the others, and so for this reason Bulow has
given us more music of Beethoven than of any other composer. One
thing is certain, that the royal orchestra is trained to a high state
of perfection: its rendition of the grand operas and its weekly
concerts in the Odeon cannot easily be surpassed. The singers are
not equal to the orchestra, for Berlin and Vienna offer greater
inducements; but there are people here who regard this orchestra as
superlative. They say that the best orchestras in the world are in
Germany; that the best in Germany is in Munich; and, therefore, you
can see the inevitable deduction. We have another parallel
syllogism. The greatest pianist in the world is Liszt; but then Herr
Bulow is actually a better performer than Liszt; therefore you see
again to what you must come. At any rate, we are quite satisfied in
this provincial capital; and, if there is anywhere better music, we
don't know it. Bulow's orchestra is not very large,--there are less
than eighty pieces, but it is so handled and drilled, that when we
hear it give one of the symphonies of Beethoven or Mendelssohn, there
is little left to be desired. Bulow is a wonderful conductor, a
little man, all nerve and fire, and he seems to inspire every
instrument. It is worth something to see him lead an orchestra: his
baton is magical; head, arms, and the whole body are in motion; he
knows every note of the compositions; and the precision with which he
evokes a solitary note out of a distant instrument with a jerk of his
rod, or brings a wail from the concurring violins, like the moaning
of a pine forest in winter, with a sweep of his arm, is most
masterly. About the platform of the Odeon are the marble busts of
the great composers; and while the orchestra is giving some of
Beethoven's masterpieces, I like to fix my eyes on his serious and
genius-full face, which seems cognizant of all that is passing, and
believe that he has a posthumous satisfaction in the interpretation
of his great thoughts.

The managers of the conservatoire also give vocal concerts, and there
are, besides, quartette soiries; so that there are few evenings
without some attraction. The opera alternates with the theater two
or three times a week. The singers are, perhaps, not known in Paris
and London, but some of them are not unworthy to be. There is the
baritone, Herr Kindermann, who now, at the age of sixty-five, has a
superb voice and manner, and has had few superiors in his time on the
German stage. There is Frau Dietz, at forty-five, the best of
actresses, and with a still fresh and lovely voice. There is Herr
Nachbar, a tenor, who has a future; Fraulein Stehle, a soprano, young
and with an uncommon voice, who enjoys a large salary, and was the
favorite until another soprano, the Malinger, came and turned the
heads of king and opera habitues. The resources of the Academy are,
however, tolerably large; and the practice of pensioning for life the
singers enables them to keep always a tolerable company. This habit
of pensioning officials, as well as musicians and poets, is very
agreeable to the Germans. A gentleman the other day, who expressed
great surprise at the smallness of the salary of our President, said,
that, of course, Andrew Johnson would receive a pension when he
retired from office. I could not explain to him how comical the idea
was to me; but when I think of the American people pensioning Andrew
Johnson,--well, like the fictitious Yankee in "Mugby Junction,"
"I laff, I du."

There is some fashion, in a fudgy, quaint way, here in Munich; but it
is not exhibited in dress for the opera. People go--and it is
presumed the music is the attraction in ordinary apparel. They save
all their dress parade for the concerts; and the hall of the Odeon is
as brilliant as provincial taste can make it in toilet. The ladies
also go to operas and concerts unattended by gentlemen, and are
brought, and fetched away, by their servants. There is a freedom and
simplicity about this which I quite like; and, besides, it leaves
their husbands and brothers at liberty to spend a congenial evening
in the cafes, beer-gardens, and clubs. But there is always a heavy
fringe of young officers and gallants both at opera and concert,
standing in the outside passages. It is cheaper to stand, and one
can hear quite as well, and see more.



At all events, saith the best authority, "pray that your flight be
not in winter;" and it might have added, don't go south if you desire
warm weather. In January, 1869, I had a little experience of hunting
after genial skies; and I will give you the benefit of it in some
free running notes on my journey from Munich to Naples.

It was the middle of January, at eleven o'clock at night, that we
left Munich, on a mixed railway train, choosing that time, and the
slowest of slow trains, that we might make the famous Brenner Pass by
daylight. It was no easy matter, at last, to pull up from the dear
old city in which we had become so firmly planted, and to leave the
German friends who made the place like home to us. One gets to love
Germany and the Germans as he does no other country and people in
Europe. There has been something so simple, honest, genuine, in our
Munich life, that we look back to it with longing eyes from this land
of fancy, of hand-organ music, and squalid splendor. I presume the
streets are yet half the day hid in a mountain fog; but I know the
superb military bands are still playing at noon in the old Marian
Platz and in the Loggie by the Residenz; that at half-past six in the
evening our friends are quietly stepping in to hear the opera at the
Hof Theater, where everybody goes to hear the music, and nobody for
display, and that they will be at home before half-past nine, and
have dispatched the servant for the mugs of foaming beer; I know that
they still hear every week the choice conservatoire orchestral
concerts in the Odeon; and, alas that experience should force me to
think of it! I have no doubt that they sip, every morning, coffee
which is as much superior to that of Paris as that of Paris is to
that of London; and that they eat the delicious rolls, in comparison
with which those of Paris are tasteless. I wonder, in this land of
wine,--and yet it must be so,--if the beer-gardens are still filled
nightly; and if it could be that I should sit at a little table
there, a comely lass would, before I could ask for what everybody is
presumed to want, place before me a tall glass full of amber liquid,
crowned with creamy foam. Are the handsome officers still sipping
their coffee in the Caf Maximilian; and, on sunny days, is the crowd
of fashion still streaming down to the Isar, and the high, sightly
walks and gardens beyond?

As I said, it was eleven o'clock of a clear and not very severe
night; for Munich had had no snow on the ground since November. A
deputation of our friends were at the station to see us off, and the
farewells between the gentlemen were in the hearty fashion of the
country. I know there is a prejudice with us against kissing between
men; but it is only a question of taste: and the experience of
anybody will tell him that the theory that this sort of salutation
must necessarily be desirable between opposite sexes is a delusion.
But I suppose it cannot be denied that kissing between men was
invented in Germany before they wore full beards. Well, our goodbyes
said, we climbed into our bare cars. There is no way of heating the
German cars, except by tubes filled with hot water, which are placed
under the feet, and are called foot-warmers. As we slowly moved out
over the plain, we found it was cold; in an hour the foot-warmers,
not hot to start with, were stone cold. You are going to sunny
Italy, our friends had said: as soon as you pass the Brenner you will
have sunshine and delightful weather. This thought consoled us, but
did not warm our feet. The Germans, when they travel by rail, wrap
themselves in furs and carry foot-sacks.

We creaked along, with many stoppings. At two o'clock we were at
Rosenheim. Rosenheim is a windy place, with clear starlight, with a
multitude of cars on a multiplicity of tracks, and a large, lighted
refreshment-room, which has a glowing, jolly stove. We stay there an
hour, toasting by the fire and drinking excellent coffee. Groups of
Germans are seated at tables playing cards, smoking, and taking
coffee. Other trains arrive; and huge men stalk in, from Vienna or
Russia, you would say, enveloped in enormous fur overcoats, reaching
to the heels, and with big fur boots coming above the knees, in which
they move like elephants. Another start, and a cold ride with
cooling foot-warmers, droning on to Kurfstein. It is five o'clock
when we reach Kurfstein, which is also a restaurant, with a hot
stove, and more Germans going on as if it were daytime; but by this
time in the morning the coffee had got to be wretched.

After an hour's waiting, we dream on again, and, before we know it,
come out of our cold doze into the cold dawn. Through the thick
frost on the windows we see the faint outlines of mountains.
Scraping away the incrustation, we find that we are in the Tyrol,
high hills on all sides, no snow in the valley, a bright morning, and
the snow-peaks are soon rosy in the sunrise. It is just as we
expected,--little villages under the hills, and slender church spires
with brick-red tops. At nine o'clock we are in Innsbruck, at the
foot of the Brenner. No snow yet. It must be charming here in the

During the night we have got out of Bavaria. The waiter at the
restaurant wants us to pay him ninety kreuzers for our coffee, which
is only six kreuzers a cup in Munich. Remembering that it takes one
hundred kreuzers to make a gulden in Austria, I launch out a Bavarian
gulden, and expect ten kreuzers in change. I have heard that sixty
Bavarian kreuzers are equal to one hundred Austrian; but this waiter
explains to me that my gulden is only good for ninety kreuzers. I,
in my turn, explain to the waiter that it is better than the coffee;
but we come to no understanding, and I give up, before I begin,
trying to understand the Austrian currency. During the day I get my
pockets full of coppers, which are very convenient to take in change,
but appear to have a very slight purchasing, power in Austria even,
and none at all elsewhere, and the only use for which I have found is
to give to Italian beggars. One of these pieces satisfies a beggar
when it drops into his hat; and then it detains him long enough in
the examination of it, so that your carriage has time to get so far
away that his renewed pursuit is usually unavailing.

The Brenner Pass repaid us for the pains we had taken to see it,
especially as the sun shone and took the frost from our windows, and
we encountered no snow on the track; and, indeed, the fall was not
deep, except on the high peaks about us. Even if the engineering of
the road were not so interesting, it was something to be again amidst
mountains that can boast a height of ten thousand feet. After we
passed the summit, and began the zigzag descent, we were on a sharp
lookout for sunny Italy. I expected to lay aside my heavy overcoat,
and sun myself at the first station among the vineyards. Instead of
that, we bade good-by to bright sky, and plunged into a snowstorm,
and, so greeted, drove down into the narrow gorges, whose steep
slopes we could see were terraced to the top, and planted with vines.
We could distinguish enough to know that, with the old Roman ruins,
the churches and convent towers perched on the crags, and all, the
scenery in summer must be finer than that of the Rhine, especially as
the vineyards here are picturesque,--the vines being trained so as to
hide and clothe the ground with verdure.

It was four o'clock when we reached Trent, and colder than on top of
the Brenner. As the Council, owing to the dead state of its members
for now three centuries, was not in session, we made no long tarry.
We went into the magnificent large refreshment-room to get warm; but
it was as cold as a New England barn. I asked the proprietor if we
could not get at a fire; but he insisted that the room was warm, that
it was heated with a furnace, and that he burned good stove-coal, and
pointed to a register high up in the wall. Seeing that I looked
incredulous, he insisted that I should test it. Accordingly, I
climbed upon a table, and reached up my hand. A faint warmth came
out; and I gave it up, and congratulated the landlord on his furnace.
But the register had no effect on the great hall. You might as well
try to heat the dome of St. Peter's with a lucifer-match. At dark,
Allah be praised! we reached Ala, where we went through the humbug
of an Italian custom-house, and had our first glimpse of Italy in the
picturesque-looking idlers in red-tasseled caps, and the jabber of a
strange tongue. The snow turned into a cold rain: the foot-warmers,
we having reached the sunny lands, could no longer be afforded; and
we shivered along till nine o'clock, dark and rainy, brought us to
Verona. We emerged from the station to find a crowd of omnibuses,
carriages, drivers, runners, and people anxious to help us, all
vociferating in the highest key. Amidst the usual Italian clamor
about nothing, we gained our hotel omnibus, and sat there for ten
minutes watching the dispute over our luggage, and serenely listening
to the angry vituperations of policemen and drivers. It sounded like
a revolution, but it was only the ordinary Italian way of doing
things; and we were at last rattling away over the broad pavements.

Of course, we stopped at a palace turned hotel, drove into a court
with double flights of high stone and marble stairways, and were
hurried up to the marble-mosaic landing by an active boy, and, almost
before we could ask for rooms, were shown into a suite of magnificent
apartments. I had a glimpse of a garden in the rear,--flowers and
plants, and a balcony up which I suppose Romeo climbed to hold that
immortal love-prattle with the lovesick Juliet. Boy began to light
the candles. Asked in English the price of such fine rooms. Reply
in Italian. Asked in German. Reply in Italian. Asked in French,
with the same result. Other servants appeared, each with a piece of
baggage. Other candles were lighted. Everybody talked in chorus.
The landlady--a woman of elegant manners and great command of her
native tongue--appeared with a candle, and joined in the melodious
confusion. What is the price of these rooms? More jabber, more
servants bearing lights. We seemed suddenly to have come into an
illumination and a private lunatic asylum. The landlady and her
troop grew more and more voluble and excited. Ah, then, if these
rooms do not suit the signor and signoras, there are others; and we
were whisked off to apartments yet grander, great suites with high,
canopied beds, mirrors, and furniture that was luxurious a hundred
years ago. The price? Again a torrent of Italian; servants pouring
in, lights flashing, our baggage arriving, until, in the tumult,
hopeless of any response to our inquiry for a servant who could speak
anything but Italian, and when we had decided, in despair, to hire
the entire establishment, a waiter appeared who was accomplished in
all languages, the row subsided, and we were left alone in our glory,
and soon in welcome sleep forgot our desperate search for a warm

The next day it was rainy and not warm; but the sun came out
occasionally, and we drove about to see some of the sights. The
first Italian town which the stranger sees he is sure to remember,
the outdoor life of the people is so different from that at the
North. It is the fiction in Italy that it is always summer; and the
people sit in the open market-place, shiver in the open doorways,
crowd into corners where the sun comes, and try to keep up the
beautiful pretense. The picturesque groups of idlers and traffickers
were more interesting to us than the palaces with sculptured fronts
and old Roman busts, or tombs of the Scaligers, and old gates.
Perhaps I ought to except the wonderful and perfect Roman
amphitheater, over every foot of which a handsome boy in rags
followed us, looking over every wall that we looked over, peering
into every hole that we peered into, thus showing his fellowship with
us, and at every pause planting himself before us, and throwing a
somerset, and then extending his greasy cap for coppers, as if he
knew that the modern mind ought not to dwell too exclusively on hoary
antiquity without some relief.

Anxious, as I have said, to find the sunny South, we left Verona that
afternoon for Florence, by way of Padua and Bologna. The ride to
Padua was through a plain, at this season dreary enough, were it not,
here and there, for the abrupt little hills and the snowy Alps, which
were always in sight, and towards sundown and between showers
transcendently lovely in a purple and rosy light. But nothing now
could be more desolate than the rows of unending mulberry-trees,
pruned down to the stumps, through which we rode all the afternoon.
I suppose they look better when the branches grow out with the tender
leaves for the silk-worms, and when they are clothed with grapevines.
Padua was only to us a name. There we turned south, lost mountains
and the near hills, and had nothing but the mulberry flats and
ditches of water, and chilly rain and mist. It grew unpleasant as we
went south. At dark we were riding slowly, very slowly, for miles
through a country overflowed with water, out of which trees and
houses loomed up in a ghastly show. At all the stations soldiers
were getting on board, shouting and singing discordantly choruses
from the operas; for there was a rising at Padua, and one feared at
Bologna the populace getting up insurrections against the enforcement
of the grist-tax,--a tax which has made the government very
unpopular, as it falls principally upon the poor.

Creeping along at such a slow rate, we reached Bologna too late for
the Florence train, It was eight o'clock, and still raining. The
next train went at two o'clock in the morning, and was the best one
for us to take. We had supper in an inn near by, and a fair attempt
at a fire in our parlor. I sat before it, and kept it as lively as
possible, as the hours wore away, and tried to make believe that I
was ruminating on the ancient greatness of Bologna and its famous
university, some of whose chairs had been occupied by women, and upon
the fact that it was on a little island in the Reno, just below here,
that Octavius and Lepidus and Mark Antony formed the second
Triumvirate, which put an end to what little liberty Rome had left;
but in reality I was thinking of the draught on my back, and the
comforts of a sunny clime. But the time came at length for starting;
and in luxurious cars we finished the night very comfortably, and
rode into Florence at eight in the morning to find, as we had hoped,
on the other side of the Apennines, a sunny sky and balmy air.

As this is strictly a chapter of travel and weather, I may not stop
to say how impressive and beautiful Florence seemed to us; how
bewildering in art treasures, which one sees at a glance in the
streets; or scarcely to hint how lovely were the Boboli Gardens
behind the Pitti Palace, the roses, geraniums etc, in bloom, the
birds singing, and all in a soft, dreamy air. The next day was not
so genial; and we sped on, following our original intention of
seeking the summer in winter. In order to avoid trouble with baggage
and passports in Rome, we determined to book through for Naples,
making the trip in about twenty hours. We started at nine o'clock in
the evening, and I do not recall a more thoroughly uncomfortable
journey. It grew colder as the night wore on, and we went farther
south. Late in the morning we were landed at the station outside of
Rome. There was a general appearance of ruin and desolation. The
wind blew fiercely from the hills, and the snowflakes from the flying
clouds added to the general chilliness. There was no chance to get
even a cup of coffee, and we waited an hour in the cold car. If I
had not been so half frozen, the consciousness that I was actually on
the outskirts of the Eternal City, that I saw the Campagna and the
aqueducts, that yonder were the Alban Hills, and that every foot of
soil on which I looked was saturated with history, would have excited
me. The sun came out here and there as we went south, and we caught
some exquisite lights on the near and snowy hills; and there was
something almost homelike in the miles and miles of olive orchards,
that recalled the apple-trees, but for their shining silvered leaves.
And yet nothing could be more desolate than the brown marshy ground,
the brown hillocks, with now and then a shabby stone hut or a bit of
ruin, and the flocks of sheep shivering near their corrals, and their
shepherd, clad in sheepskin, as his ancestor was in the time of
Romulus, leaning on his staff, with his back to the wind. Now and
then a white town perched on a hillside, its houses piled above each
other, relieved the eye; and I could imagine that it might be all the
poets have sung of it, in the spring, though the Latin poets, I am
convinced, have wonderfully imposed upon us.

To make my long story short, it happened to be colder next morning at
Naples than it was in Germany. The sun shone; but the northeast
wind, which the natives poetically call the Tramontane, was blowing,
and the white smoke of Vesuvius rolled towards the sea. It would
only last three days, it was very unusual, and all that. The next
day it was colder, and the next colder yet. Snow fell, and blew
about unmelted: I saw it in the streets of Pompeii.

The fountains were frozen, icicles hung from the locks of the marble
statues in the Chiaia. And yet the oranges glowed like gold among
their green leaves; the roses, the heliotrope, the geraniums, bloomed
in all the gardens. It is the most contradictory climate. We
lunched one day, sitting in our open carriage in a lemon grove, and
near at hand the Lucrine Lake was half frozen over. We feasted our
eyes on the brilliant light and color on the sea, and the lovely
outlined mountains round the shore, and waited for a change of wind.
The Neapolitans declare that they have not had such weather in twenty
years. It is scarcely one's ideal of balmy Italy.

Before the weather changed, I began to feel in this great Naples,
with its roaring population of over half a million, very much like
the sailor I saw at the American consul's, who applied for help to be
sent home, claiming to be an American. He was an oratorical bummer,
and told his story with all the dignity and elevated language of an
old Roman. He had been cast away in London. How cast away? Oh! it
was all along of a boarding-house. And then he found himself shipped
on an English vessel, and he had lost his discharge-papers; and
"Listen, your honor," said he, calmly extending his right hand, "here
I am cast away on this desolate island with nothing before me but
wind and weather."



Ravenna is so remote from the route of general travel in Italy, that
I am certain you can have no late news from there, nor can I bring
you anything much later than the sixth century. Yet, if you were to
see Ravenna, you would say that that is late enough. I am surprised
that a city which contains the most interesting early Christian
churches and mosaics, is the richest in undisturbed specimens of
early Christian art, and contains the only monuments of Roman
emperors still in their original positions, should be so seldom
visited. Ravenna has been dead for some centuries; and because
nobody has cared to bury it, its ancient monuments are yet above
ground. Grass grows in its wide streets, and its houses stand in a
sleepy, vacant contemplation of each other: the wind must like to
mourn about its silent squares. The waves of the Adriatic once
brought the commerce of the East to its wharves; but the deposits of
the Po and the tides have, in process of time, made it an inland
town, and the sea is four miles away.

In the time of Augustus, Ravenna was a favorite Roman port and harbor
for fleets of war and merchandise. There Theodoric, the great king
of the Goths, set up his palace, and there is his enormous mausoleum.
As early as A. D. 44 it became an episcopal see, with St.
Apollinaris, a disciple of St. Peter, for its bishop. There some of
the later Roman emperors fixed their residences, and there they
repose. In and about it revolved the adventurous life of Galla
Placidia, a woman of considerable talent and no principle, the
daughter of Theodosius (the great Theodosius, who subdued the Arian
heresy, the first emperor baptized in the true faith of the Trinity,
the last who had a spark of genius), the sister of one emperor, and
the mother of another,--twice a slave, once a queen, and once an
empress; and she, too, rests there in the great mausoleum builded for
her. There, also, lies Dante, in his tomb "by the upbraiding shore;"
rejected once of ungrateful Florence, and forever after passionately
longed for. There, in one of the earliest Christian churches in
existence, are the fine mosaics of the Emperor Justinian and
Theodora, the handsome courtesan whom he raised to the dignity and
luxury of an empress on his throne in Constantinople. There is the
famous forest of pines, stretching--unbroken twenty miles down the
coast to Rimini, in whose cool and breezy glades Dante and Boccaccio
walked and meditated, which Dryden has commemorated, and Byron has
invested with the fascination of his genius; and under the whispering
boughs of which moved the glittering cavalcade which fetched the
bride to Rimini,--the fair Francesca, whose sinful confession Dante
heard in hell.

We went down to Ravenna from Bologna one afternoon, through a country
level and rich, riding along toward hazy evening, the land getting
flatter as we proceeded (you know, there is a difference between
level and flat), through interminable mulberry-trees and vines, and
fields with the tender green of spring, with church spires in the
rosy horizon; on till the meadows became marshes, in which millions
of frogs sang the overture of the opening year. Our arrival, I have
reason to believe, was an event in the old town. We had a crowd of
moldy loafers to witness it at the station, not one of whom had
ambition enough to work to earn a sou by lifting our traveling-bags.
We had our hotel to ourselves, and wished that anybody else had it.
The rival house was quite aware of our advent, and watched us with
jealous eyes; and we, in turn, looked wistfully at it, for our own
food was so scarce that, as an old traveler says, we feared that we
shouldn't have enough, until we saw it on the table, when its quality
made it appear too much. The next morning, when I sallied out to hire
a conveyance, I was an object of interest to the entire population,
who seemed to think it very odd that any one should walk about and
explore the quiet streets. If I were to describe Ravenna, I should
say that it is as flat as Holland and as lively as New London. There
are broad streets, with high houses, that once were handsome, palaces
that were once the abode of luxury, gardens that still bloom, and
churches by the score. It is an open gate through which one walks
unchallenged into the past, with little to break the association with
the early Christian ages, their monuments undimmed by time, untouched
by restoration and innovation, the whole struck with ecclesiastical
death. With all that we saw that day,--churches, basilicas, mosaics,
statues, mausoleums,--I will not burden these pages; but I will set
down is enough to give you the local color, and to recall some
of the most interesting passages in Christian history in this out-
of-the-way city on the Adriatic.

Our first pilgrimage was to the Church of St. Apollinare Nuova; but
why it is called new I do not know, as Theodoric built it for an
Arian cathedral in about the year 500. It is a noble interior,
having twenty-four marble columns of gray Cippolino, brought from
Constantinople, with composite capitals, on each of which is an
impost with Latin crosses sculptured on it. These columns support
round arches, which divide the nave from the aisles, and on the whole
length of the wall of the nave so supported are superb mosaics,
full-length figures, in colors as fresh as if done yesterday, though
they were executed thirteen hundred years ago. The mosaic on the
left side--which is, perhaps, the finest one of the period in
existence--is interesting on another account. It represents the city
of Classis, with sea and ships, and a long procession of twenty-two
virgins presenting offerings to the Virgin and Child, seated on a
throne. The Virgin is surrounded by angels, and has a glory round
her head, which shows that homage is being paid to her. It has been
supposed, from the early monuments of Christian art, that the worship
of the Virgin is of comparatively recent origin; but this mosaic
would go to show that Mariolatry was established before the end of
the sixth century. Near this church is part of the front of the
palace of Theodoric, in which the Exarchs and Lombard kings
subsequently resided. Its treasures and marbles Charlemagne carried
off to Germany.


We drove three miles beyond the city, to the Church of St. Apollinare
in Classe, a lonely edifice in a waste of marsh, a grand old
basilica, a purer specimen of Christian art than Rome or any other
Italian town can boast. Just outside the city gate stands a Greek
cross on a small fluted column, which marks the site of the once
magnificent Basilica of St. Laurentius, which was demolished in the
sixteenth century, its stone built into a new church in town, and its
rich marbles carried to all-absorbing Rome. It was the last relic of
the old port of Caesarea, famous since the time of Augustus. A
marble column on a green meadow is all that remains of a once
prosperous city. Our road lay through the marshy plain, across an
elevated bridge over the sluggish united stream of the Ronco and
Montone, from which there is a wide view, including the Pineta (or
Pine Forest), the Church of St. Apollinare in the midst of
rice-fields and marshes, and on a clear day the Alps and Apennines.

I can imagine nothing more desolate than this solitary church, or the
approach to it. Laborers were busy spading up the heavy, wet ground,
or digging trenches, which instantly filled with water, for the whole
country was afloat. The frogs greeted us with clamorous chorus out
of their slimy pools, and the mosquitoes attacked us as we rode
along. I noticed about on the bogs, wherever they could find
standing-room, half-naked wretches, with long spears, having several
prongs like tridents, which they thrust into the grass and shallow
water. Calling one of them to us, we found that his business was
fishing, and that he forked out very fat and edible-looking fish with
his trident. Shaggy, undersized horses were wading in the water,
nipping off the thin spears of grass. Close to the church is a
rickety farmhouse. If I lived there, I would as lief be a fish as a

The interior of this primitive old basilica is lofty and imposing,
with twenty-four handsome columns of the gray Cippolino marble, and
an elevated high altar and tribune, decorated with splendid mosaics
of the sixth century,--biblical subjects, in all the stiff
faithfulness of the holy old times. The marble floor is green and
damp and slippery. Under the tribune is the crypt, where the body of
St. Apollinaris used to lie (it is now under the high altar above);
and as I desired to see where he used to rest, I walked in. I also
walked into about six inches of water, in the dim, irreligious light;
and so made a cold-water Baptist devotee of myself. In the side
aisles are wonderful old sarcophagi, containing the ashes of
archbishops of Ravenna, so old that the owners' names are forgotten
of two of them, which shows that a man may build a tomb more enduring
than his memory. The sculptured bas-reliefs are very interesting,
being early Christian emblems and curious devices,--symbols of sheep,
palms, peacocks, crosses, and the four rivers of Paradise flowing
down in stony streams from stony sources, and monograms, and pious
rebuses. At the entrance of the crypt is an open stone book, called
the Breviary of Gregory the Great. Detached from the church is the
Bell Tower, a circular campanile of a sort peculiar to Ravenna, which
adds to the picturesqueness of the pile, and suggests the notion that
it is a mast unshipped from its vessel, the church, which
consequently stands there water-logged, with no power to catch any
wind, of doctrine or other, and move. I forgot to say that the
basilica was launched in the year 534.

A little weary with the good but damp old Christians, we ordered our
driver to continue across the marsh to the Pineta, whose dark fringe
bounded all our horizon toward the Adriatic. It is the largest
unbroken forest in Italy, and by all odds the most poetic in itself
and its associations. It is twenty-five miles long, and from one to
three in breadth, a free growth of stately pines, whose boughs are
full of music and sweet odors,--a succession of lovely glades and
avenues, with miles and miles of drives over the springy turf. At
the point where we entered is a farmhouse. Laborers had been
gathering the cones, which were heaped up in immense windrows,
hundreds of feet in length. Boys and men were busy pounding out the
seeds from the cones. The latter are used for fuel, and the former
are pressed for their oil. They are also eaten: we have often had
them served at hotel tables, and found them rather tasteless, but not
unpleasant. The turf, as we drove into the recesses of the forest,
was thickly covered with wild flowers, of many colors and delicate
forms; but we liked best the violets, for they reminded us of home,
though the driver seemed to think them less valuable than the seeds
of the pine-cones. A lovely day and history and romance united to
fascinate us with the place. We were driving over the spot where,
eighteen centuries ago, the Roman fleet used to ride at anchor.
Here, it is certain, the gloomy spirit of Dante found congenial place
for meditation, and the gay Boccaccio material for fiction. Here for
hours, day after day, Byron used to gallop his horse, giving vent to
that restless impatience which could not all escape from his fiery
pen, hearing those voices of a past and dead Italy which he, more
truthfully and pathetically than any other poet, has put into living
verse. The driver pointed out what is called Byron's Path, where he
was wont to ride. Everybody here, indeed, knows of Byron; and I
think his memory is more secure than any saint of them all in their
stone boxes, partly because his poetry has celebrated the region,
perhaps rather from the perpetuated tradition of his generosity. No
foreigner was ever so popular as he while he lived at Ravenna. At
least, the people say so now, since they find it so profitable to
keep his memory alive and to point out his haunts. The Italians) to
be sure, know how to make capital out of poets and heroes, and are
quick to learn the curiosity of foreigners, and to gratify it for a
compensation. But the evident esteem in which Byron's memory is held
in the Armenian monastery of St. Lazzaro, at Venice, must be
otherwise accounted for. The monks keep his library-room and table
as they were when he wrote there, and like to show his portrait, and
tell of his quick mastery of the difficult Armenian tongue. We have
a notable example of a Person who became a monk when he was sick; but
Byron accomplished too much work during the few months he was on the
Island of St. Lazzaro, both in original composition and in
translating English into Armenian, for one physically ruined and


The pilgrim to Ravenna, who has any idea of what is due to the genius
of Dante, will be disappointed when he approaches his tomb. Its
situation is in a not very conspicuous corner, at the foot of a
narrow street, bearing the poet's name, and beside the Church of San
Francisco, which is interesting as containing the tombs of the
Polenta family, whose hospitality to the wandering exile has rescued
their names from oblivion. Opposite the tomb is the shabby old brick
house of the Polentas, where Dante passed many years of his life. It
is tenanted now by all sorts of people, and a dirty carriage-shop in
the courtyard kills the poetry of it. Dante died in 1321, and was at
first buried in the neighboring church; but this tomb, since twice
renewed, was erected, and his body removed here, in 1482. It is a
square stuccoed structure, stained light green, and covered by a
dome,--a tasteless monument, embellished with stucco medallions,
inside, of the poet, of Virgil, of Brunetto Latini, the poet's
master, and of his patron, Guido da Polenta. On the sarcophagus is
the epitaph, composed in Latin by Dante himself, who seems to have
thought, with Shakespeare, that for a poet to make his own epitaph
was the safest thing to do. Notwithstanding the mean appearance of
this sepulcher, there is none in all the soil of Italy that the
traveler from America will visit with deeper interest. Near by is
the house where Byron first resided in Ravenna, as a tablet records.

The people here preserve all the memorials of Byron; and, I should
judge, hold his memory in something like affection. The Palace
Guiccioli, in which he subsequently resided, is in another part of
the town. He spent over two years in Ravenna, and said he preferred
it to any place in Italy. Why I cannot see, unless it was remote
from the route of travel, and the desolation of it was congenial to
him. Doubtless he loved these wide, marshy expanses on the Adriatic,
and especially the great forest of pines on its shore; but Byron was
apt to be governed in his choice of a residence by the woman with
whom he was intimate. The palace was certainly pleasanter than his
gloomy house in the Strada di Porta Sisi, and the society of the
Countess Guiccioli was rather a stimulus than otherwise to his
literary activity. At her suggestion he wrote the "Prophecy of
Dante;" and the translation of "Francesca da Rimini" was "executed at
Ravenna, where, five centuries before, and in the very house in which
the unfortunate lady was born, Dante's poem had been composed." Some
of his finest poems were also produced here, poems for which Venice
is as grateful as Ravenna. Here he wrote "Marino Faliero," "The Two
Foscari," "Morganti Maggiore," "Sardanapalus," "The Blues," "The
fifth canto of Don Juan," " Cain," "Heaven and Earth," and "The
Vision of Judgment." I looked in at the court of the palace,--a
pleasant, quiet place,--where he used to work, and tried to guess
which were the windows of his apartments. The sun was shining
brightly, and a bird was singing in the court; but there was no other
sign of life, nor anything to remind one of the profligate genius who
was so long a guest here.


Very different from the tomb of Dante, and different in the
associations it awakes, is the Rotunda or Mausoleum of Theodoric the
Goth, outside the Porta Serrata, whose daughter, Amalasuntha, as it
is supposed, about the year 530, erected this imposing structure as a
certain place "to keep his memory whole and mummy hid" for ever. But
the Goth had not lain in it long before Arianism went out of fashion
quite, and the zealous Roman Catholics despoiled his costly
sleeping-place, and scattered his ashes abroad. I do not know that
any dead person has lived in it since. The tomb is still a very
solid affair,--a rotunda built of solid blocks of limestone, and
resting on a ten-sided base, each side having a recess surmounted by
an arch. The upper story is also decagonal, and is reached by a
flight of modern stone steps. The roof is composed of a single block
of Istrian limestone, scooped out like a shallow bowl inside; and,
being the biggest roof-stone I ever saw, I will give you the
dimensions. It is thirty-six feet in diameter, hollowed out to the
depth of ten feet, four feet thick at the center, and two feet nine
inches at the edges, and is estimated to weigh two hundred tons.
Amalasuntha must have had help in getting it up there. The lower
story is partly under water. The green grass of the inclosure in
which it stands is damp enough for frogs. An old woman opened the
iron gate to let us in. Whether she was any relation of the ancient
proprietor, I did not inquire; but she had so much trouble in,
turning the key in the rusty lock, and letting us in, that I presume
we were the only visitors she has had for some centuries.

Old women abound in Ravenna; at least, she was not young who showed
us the mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Placidia was also prudent and
foreseeing, and built this once magnificent sepulcher for her own
occupation. It is in the form of a Latin cross, forty-six feet in
length by about forty in width. The floor is paved with rich
marbles; the cupola is covered with mosaics of the time of the
empress; and in the arch over the door is a fine representation of
the Good Shepherd. Behind the altar is the massive sarcophagus of
marble (its cover of silver plates was long ago torn off) in which
are literally the ashes of the empress. She was immured in it as a
mummy, in a sitting position, clothed in imperial robes; and there
the ghastly corpse sat in a cypress-wood chair, to be looked at by
anybody who chose to peep through the aperture, for more than eleven
hundred years, till one day, in 1577, some children introduced a
lighted candle, perhaps out of compassion for her who sat so long in
darkness, when her clothes caught fire, and she was burned up,--a
warning to all children not to play with a dead and dry empress. In
this resting-place are also the tombs of Honorius II., her brother,
of Constantius III., her second husband, and of Honoria, her

There are no other undisturbed tombs of the Caesars in existence.
Hers is almost the last, and the very small last, of a great
succession. What thoughts of a great empire in ruins do not force
themselves on one in the confined walls of this little chamber!
What a woman was she whose ashes lie there! She saw and aided the
ruin of the empire; but it may be said of her, that her vices were
greater than her misfortunes. And what a story is her life! Born to
the purple, educated in the palace at Constantinople, accomplished
but not handsome, at the age of twenty she was in Rome when Alaric
besieged it. Carried off captive by the Goths, she became the not
unwilling object of the passion of King Adolphus, who at length
married her at Narbonne. At the nuptials the king, in a Roman habit,
occupied a seat lower than hers, while she sat on a throne habited as
a Roman empress, and received homage. Fifty handsome youths bore to
her in each hand a dish of gold, one filled with coin, and the other
with precious stones,--a small part only, these hundred vessels of
treasure, of the spoils the Goths brought from her country. When
Adolphus, who never abated his fondness for his Roman bride, was
assassinated at Barcelona, she was treated like a slave by his
assassins, and driven twelve miles on foot before the horse of his
murderer. Ransomed at length for six hundred thousand measures of
wheat by her brother Honorius, who handed her over struggling to
Constantius, one of his generals. But, once married, her reluctance
ceased; and she set herself to advance the interests of herself and
husband, ruling him as she had done the first one. Her purpose was
accomplished when he was declared joint emperor with Honorius. He
died shortly after; and scandalous stories of her intimacy with her
brother caused her removal to Constantinople; but she came back
again, and reigned long as the regent of her son, Valentinian III.,--
a feeble youth, who never grew to have either passions or talents,
and was very likely, as was said, enervated by his mother in
dissolute indulgence, so that she might be supreme. But she died at
Rome in 450, much praised for her orthodoxy and her devotion to the
Trinity. And there was her daughter, Honoria, who ran off with a
chamberlain, and afterward offered to throw herself into the arms of
Attila who wouldn't take her as a gift at first, but afterward
demanded her, and fought to win her and her supposed inheritance.
But they were a bad lot altogether; and it is no credit to a
Christian of the nineteenth century to stay in this tomb so long.

Near this mausoleum is the magnificent Basilica of St. Vitale, built
in the reign of Justinian, and consecrated in 547, I was interested
to see it because it was erected in confessed imitation of St. Sophia
at Constantinople, is in the octagonal form, and has all the
accessories of Eastern splendor, according to the architectural
authorities. Its effect is really rich and splendid; and it rather
dazzled us with its maze of pillars, its upper and lower columns, its
galleries, complicated capitals, arches on arches, and Byzantine
intricacies. To the student of the very early ecclesiastical art, it
must be an object of more interest than even of wonder. But what I
cared most to see were the mosaics in the choir, executed in the time
of Justinian, and as fresh and beautiful as on the day they were
made. The mosaics and the exquisite arabesques on the roof of the
choir, taken together, are certainly unequaled by any other early
church decoration I have seen; and they are as interesting as they
are beautiful. Any description of them is impossible; but mention
may be made of two characteristic groups, remarkable for execution,
and having yet a deeper interest.

In one compartment of the tribune is the figure of the Emperor
Justinian, holding a vase with consecrated offerings, and surrounded
by courtiers and soldiers. Opposite is the figure of the Empress
Theodora, holding a similar vase, and attended by ladies of her
court. There is a refinement and an elegance about the empress, a
grace and sweet dignity, that is fascinating. This is royalty,--
stately and cold perhaps: even the mouth may be a little cruel, I
begin to perceive, as I think of her; but she wears the purple by
divine right. I have not seen on any walls any figure walking out of
history so captivating as this lady, who would seem to have been
worthy of apotheosis in a Christian edifice. Can there be any doubt
that this lovely woman was orthodox? She, also, has a story, which
you doubtless have been recalling as you read. Is it worth while to
repeat even its outlines? This charming regal woman was the daughter
of the keeper of the bears in the circus at Constantinople; and she
early went upon the stage as a pantomimist and buffoon. She was
beautiful, with regular features, a little pale, but with a tinge of
natural color, vivacious eyes, and an easy motion that displayed to
advantage the graces of her small but elegant figure. I can see all
that in the mosaic. But she sold her charms to whoever cared to buy
them in Constantinople; she led a life of dissipation that cannot be
even hinted at in these days; she went off to Egypt as the concubine
of a general; was deserted, and destitute even to misery in Cairo;
wandered about a vagabond in many Eastern cities, and won the
reputation everywhere of the most beautiful courtesan of her time;
reappeared in Constantinople; and, having, it is said, a vision of
her future, suddenly took to a pretension of virtue and plain sewing;
contrived to gain the notice of Justinian, to inflame his passions as
she did those of all the world besides, to captivate him into first
an alliance, and at length a marriage. The emperor raised her to an
equal seat with himself on his throne; and she was worshiped as
empress in that city where she had been admired as harlot. And on
the throne she was a wise woman, courageous and chaste; and had her
palaces on the Bosphorus; and took good care of her beauty, and
indulged in the pleasures of a good table; had ministers who kissed
her feet; a crowd of women and eunuchs in her secret chambers, whose
passions she indulged; was avaricious and sometimes cruel; and
founded a convent for the irreclaimably bad of her own sex, some of
whom liked it, and some of whom threw themselves into the sea in
despair; and when she died was an irreparable loss to her emperor.
So that it seems to me it is a pity that the historian should say
that she was devout, but a little heretic.



The splendid and tiresome ceremonies of Holy Week set in; also the
rain, which held up for two days. Rome without the sun, and with
rain and the bone-penetrating damp cold of the season, is a wretched
place. Squalor and ruins and cheap splendor need the sun; the
galleries need it; the black old masters in the dark corners of the
gaudy churches need it; I think scarcely anything of a cardinal's
big, blazing footman, unless the sun shines on him, and radiates from
his broad back and his splendid calves; the models, who get up in
theatrical costumes, and get put into pictures, and pass the world
over for Roman peasants (and beautiful many of them are), can't sit
on the Spanish Stairs in indolent pose when it rains; the streets are
slimy and horrible; the carriages try to run over you, and stand a
very good chance of succeeding, where there are no sidewalks, and you
are limping along on the slippery round cobble-stones; you can't get
into the country, which is the best part of Rome: but when the sun
shines all this is changed; the dear old dirty town exercises, its
fascinations on you then, and you speedily forget your recent misery.

Holy Week is a vexation to most people. All the world crowds here to
see its exhibitions and theatrical shows, and works hard to catch a
glimpse of them, and is tired out, if not disgusted, at the end. The
things to see and hear are Palm Sunday in St. Peter's; singing of the
Miserere by the pope's choir on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in
the Sistine Chapel; washing of the pilgrims' feet in a chapel of St.
Peter's, and serving the apostles at table by the pope on Thursday,
with a papal benediction from the balcony afterwards; Easter Sunday,
with the illumination of St. Peter's in the evening; and fireworks
(this year in front of St. Peter's in Montorio) Monday evening.
Raised seats are built up about the high altar under the dome in St.
Peter's, which will accommodate a thousand, and perhaps more, ladies;
and for these tickets are issued without numbers, and for twice as
many as they will seat. Gentlemen who are in evening dress are
admitted to stand in the reserved places inside the lines of
soldiers. For the Miserere in the Sistine Chapel tickets are also
issued. As there is only room for about four hundred ladies, and a
thousand and more tickets are given out, you may imagine the
scramble. Ladies go for hours before the singing begins, and make a
grand rush when the doors are open. I do not know any sight so
unseemly and cruel as a crowd of women intent on getting in to such a
ceremony: they are perfectly rude and unmerciful to each other. They
push and trample one another under foot; veils and dresses are torn;
ladies faint away in the scrimmage, and only the strongest and most
unscrupulous get in. I have heard some say, who have been in the
pellmell, that, not content with elbowing and pushing and pounding,
some women even stick pins into those who are in the way. I hope
this latter is not true; but it is certain that the conduct of most
of the women is brutal. A weak or modest or timid woman stands no
more chance than she would in a herd of infuriated Campagna cattle.
The same scenes are enacted in the efforts to see the pope wash feet,
and serve at the table. For the possession of the seats under the
dome on Palm Sunday and Easter there is a like crush. The ceremonies
do not begin until half-past nine; but ladies go between five and six
o'clock in the morning, and when the passages are open they make a
grand rush. The seats, except those saved for the nobility, are soon
all taken, and the ladies who come after seven are lucky if they can
get within the charmed circle, and find a spot to sit down on a
campstool. They can then see only a part of the proceedings, and
have a weary, exhausting time of it for hours. This year Rome is
more crowded than ever before. There are American ladies enough to
fill all the reserved places; and I fear they are energetic enough to
get their share of them.

It rained Sunday; but there was a steady stream of people and
carriages all the morning pouring over the Bridge of St. Angelo, and
discharging into the piazza of St. Peter's. It was after nine when I
arrived on the ground. There was a crowd of carriages under the
colonnades, and a heavy fringe in front of them; but the hundreds of
people moving over the piazza, and up the steps to the entrances,
made only the impression of dozens in the vast space. I do not know
if there are people enough in Rome to fill St. Peter's; certainly
there was no appearance of a crowd as we entered, although they had
been pouring in all the morning, and still thronged the doors. I
heard a traveler say that he followed ten thousand soldiers into the
church, and then lost them from sight: they disappeared in the side
chapels. He did not make his affidavit as to the number of soldiers.
The interior area of the building is not much greater than the square
of St. Mark in Venice. To go into the great edifice is almost like
going outdoors. Lines of soldiers kept a wide passage clear from the
front door away down to the high altar; and there was a good mass of
spectators on the outside. The tribunes for the ladies, built up
under the dome, were of course, filled with masses of ladies in
solemn black; and there was more or less of a press of people surging
about in that vicinity. Thousands of people were also roaming about
in the great spaces of the edifice; but there was nowhere else
anything like a crowd. It had very much the appearance of a large
fair-ground, with little crowds about favorite booths. Gentlemen in
dress-coats were admitted to the circle under the dome. The pope's
choir was stationed in a gallery there opposite the high altar. Back
of the altar was a wide space for the dignitaries; seats were there,
also, for ambassadors and those born to the purple; and the pope's
seat was on a raised dais at the end. Outsiders could see nothing of
what went on within there; and the ladies under the dome could only
partially see, in the seats they had fought so gallantly to obtain.

St. Peter's is a good place for grand processions and ceremonies; but
it is a poor one for viewing them. A procession which moves down the
nave is hidden by the soldiers who stand on either side, or is
visible only by sections as it passes: there is no good place to get
the grand effect of the masses of color, and the total of the
gorgeous pageantry. I should like to see the display upon a grand
stage, and enjoy it in a coup d,oeil. It is a fine study of color
and effect, and the groupings are admirable; but the whole affair is
nearly lost to the mass of spectators. It must be a sublime feeling
to one in the procession to walk about in such monstrous fine
clothes; but what would his emotions be if more people could see him!
The grand altar stuck up under the dome not only breaks the effect of
what would be the fine sweep of the nave back to the apse, but it
cuts off all view of the celebration of the mass behind it, and, in
effect, reduces what should be the great point of display in the
church to a mere chapel. And when you add to that the temporary
tribunes erected under the dome for seating the ladies, the entire
nave is shut off from a view of the gorgeous ceremony of high mass.
The effect would be incomparable if one could stand in the door, or
anywhere in the nave, and, as in other churches, look down to the end
upon a great platform) with the high altar and all the sublime
spectacle in full view, with the blaze of candles and the clouds of
incense rising in the distance.

At half-past nine the great doors opened, and the procession began,
in slow and stately moving fashion, to enter. One saw a throng of
ecclesiastics in robes and ermine; the white plumes of the Guard
Noble; the pages and chamberlains in scarlet; other pages, or what
not, in black short-clothes, short swords, gold chains, cloak hanging
from the shoulder, and stiff white ruffs; thirty-six cardinals in
violet robes, with high miter-shaped white silk hats, that looked not
unlike the pasteboard "trainer-caps" that boys wear when they play
soldier; crucifixes, and a blazoned banner here and there; and, at
last, the pope, in his red chair, borne on the shoulders of red
lackeys, heaving along in a sea-sicky motion, clad in scarlet and
gold, with a silver miter on his head, feebly making the papal
benediction with two upraised fingers, and moving his lips in
blessing. As the pope came in, a supplementary choir of men and
soprano hybrids, stationed near the door, set up a high, welcoming
song, or chant, which echoed rather finely through the building. All
the music of the day is vocal.

The procession having reached its destination, and disappeared behind
the altar of the dome, the pope dismounted, and took his seat on his
throne. The blessing of the palms began, the cardinals first
approaching, and afterwards the members of the diplomatic corps, the
archbishops and bishops, the heads of the religious orders, and such
private persons as have had permission to do so. I had previously
seen the palms carried in by servants in great baskets. It is,
perhaps, not necessary to say that they are not the poetical green
waving palms, but stiff sort of wands, woven out of dry, yellow,
split palm-leaves, sometimes four or five feet in length, braided
into the semblance of a crown on top,--a kind of rough basket-work.
The palms having been blessed, a procession was again formed down the
nave and out the door, all in it "carrying palms in their hands," the
yellow color of which added a new element of picturesqueness to the
splendid pageant. The pope was carried as before, and bore in his
hand a short braided palm, with gold woven in, flowers added, and the
monogram "I. H. S." worked in the top. It is the pope's custom to
give this away when the ceremony is over. Last year he presented it
to an American lady, whose devotion attracted him; this year I saw it
go away in a gilded coach in the hands of an ecclesiastic. The
procession disappeared through the great portal into the vestibule,
and the door closed. In a moment somebody knocked three times on the
door: it opened, and the procession returned, and moved again to the
rear of the altar, the singers marching with it and chanting. The
cardinals then changed their violet for scarlet robes; and high mass,
for an hour, was celebrated by a cardinal priest: and I was told that
it was the pope's voice that we heard, high and clear, singing the
passion. The choir made the responses, and performed at intervals.
The singing was not without a certain power; indeed, it was marvelous
how some of the voices really filled the vast spaces of the edifice,
and the choruses rolled in solemn waves of sound through the arches.
The singing, with the male sopranos, is not to my taste; but it
cannot be denied that it had a wild and strange effect.

While this was going on behind the altar, the people outside were
wandering about, looking at each other, and on the watch not to miss
any of the shows of the day. People were talking, chattering, and
greeting each other as they might do in the street. Here and there
somebody was kneeling on the pavement, unheeding the passing throng.
At several of the chapels, services were being conducted; and there
was a large congregation, an ordinary church full, about each of
them. But the most of those present seemed to regard it as a
spectacle only; and as a display of dress, costumes, and
nationalities it was almost unsurpassed. There are few more
wonderful sights in this world than an Englishwoman in what she
considers full dress. An English dandy is also a pleasing object.
For my part, as I have hinted, I like almost as well as anything the
big footmen,--those in scarlet breeches and blue gold-embroidered
coats. I stood in front of one of the fine creations for some time,
and contemplated him as one does the Farnese Hercules. One likes to
see to what a splendor his species can come, even if the brains have
all run down into the calves of the legs. There were also the pages,
the officers of the pope's household, in costumes of the Middle Ages;
the pope's Swiss guard in the showy harlequin uniform designed by
Michael Angelo; the foot-soldiers in white short-clothes, which
threatened to burst, and let them fly into pieces; there were fine
ladies and gentlemen, loafers and loungers, from every civilized
country, jabbering in all the languages; there were beggars in rags,
and boors in coats so patched that there was probably none of the
original material left; there were groups of peasants from the
Campagna, the men in short jackets and sheepskin breeches with the
wool side out, the women with gay-colored folded cloths on their
heads, and coarse woolen gowns; a squad of wild-looking Spanish
gypsies, burning-eyed, olive-skinned, hair long, black, crinkled, and
greasy, as wild in raiment as in face; priests and friars, Zouaves in
jaunty light gray and scarlet; rags and velvets, silks and serge
cloths,--a cosmopolitan gathering poured into the world's great place
of meeting,--a fine religious Vanity Fair on Sunday.

There came an impressive moment in all this confusion, a point of
august solemnity. Up to that instant, what with chanting and singing
the many services, and the noise of talking and walking, there was a
wild babel. But at the stroke of the bell and the elevation of the
Host, down went the muskets of the guard with one clang on the
marble; the soldiers kneeled; the multitude in the nave, in the
aisles, at all the chapels, kneeled; and for a minute in that vast
edifice there was perfect stillness: if the whole great concourse had
been swept from the earth, the spot where it lately was could not
have been more silent. And then the military order went down the
line, the soldiers rose, the crowd rose, and the mass and the hum
went on.

It was all over before one; and the pope was borne out again, and the
vast crowd began to discharge itself. But it was a long time before
the carriages were all filled and rolled off. I stood for a half
hour watching the stream go by,--the pompous soldiers, the peasants
and citizens, the dazzling equipages, and jaded, exhausted women in
black, who had sat or stood half a day under the dome, and could get
no carriage; and the great state coaches of the cardinals, swinging
high in the air, painted and gilded, with three noble footmen hanging
on behind each, and a cardinal's broad face in the window.



Everybody who comes to Naples,--that is, everybody except the lady
who fell from her horse the other day at Resina and injured her
shoulder, as she was mounting for the ascent,--everybody, I say, goes
up Vesuvius, and nearly every one writes impressions and descriptions
of the performance. If you believe the tales of travelers, it is an
undertaking of great hazard, an experience of frightful emotions.
How unsafe it is, especially for ladies, I heard twenty times in
Naples before I had been there a day. Why, there was a lady thrown
from her horse and nearly killed, only a week ago; and she still lay
ill at the next hotel, a witness of the truth of the story. I
imagined her plunged down a precipice of lava, or pitched over the
lip of the crater, and only rescued by the devotion of a gallant
guide, who threatened to let go of her if she didn't pay him twenty
francs instantly. This story, which will live and grow for years in
this region, a waxing and never-waning peril of the volcano, I found,
subsequently, had the foundation I have mentioned above. The lady
did go to Resina in order to make the ascent of Vesuvius, mounted a
horse there, fell off, being utterly unhorsewomanly, and hurt
herself; but her injury had no more to do with Vesuvius than it had
with the entrance of Victor Emanuel into Naples, which took place a
couple of weeks after. Well, as I was saying, it is the fashion to
write descriptions of Vesuvius; and you might as well have mine,
which I shall give to you in rough outline.

There came a day when the Tramontane ceased to blow down on us the
cold air of the snowy Apennines, and the white cap of Vesuvius, which
is, by the way, worn generally like the caps of the Neapolitans,
drifted inland instead of toward the sea. Warmer weather had come to
make the bright sunshine no longer a mockery. For some days I had
been getting the gauge of the mountain. With its white plume it is a
constant quantity in the landscape: one sees it from every point of
view; and we had been scarcely anywhere that volcanic remains, or
signs of such action,--a thin crust shaking under our feet, as at
Solfatara, where blasts of sulphurous steam drove in our faces,--did
not remind us that the whole ground is uncertain, and undermined by
the subterranean fires that have Vesuvius for a chimney. All the
coast of the bay, within recent historic periods, in different spots
at different times, has risen and sunk and risen again, in simple
obedience to the pulsations of the great fiery monster below. It
puffs up or sinks, like the crust of a baking apple-pie. This region
is evidently not done; and I think it not unlikely it may have to be
turned over again before it is. We had seen where Herculaneum lies
under the lava and under the town of Resina; we had walked those
clean and narrow streets of Pompeii, and seen the workmen picking
away at the imbedded gravel, sand, and ashes which still cover nearly
two thirds of the nice little, tight little Roman city; we had looked
at the black gashes on the mountain-sides, where the lava streams had
gushed and rolled and twisted over vineyards and villas and villages;
and we decided to take a nearer look at the immediate cause of all
this abnormal state of things.

In the morning when I awoke the sun was just rising behind Vesuvius;
and there was a mighty display of gold and crimson in that quarter,
as if the curtain was about to be lifted on a grand performance, say
a ballet at San Carlo, which is the only thing the Neapolitans think
worth looking at. Straight up in the air, out of the mountain, rose
a white pillar, spreading out at the top like a palm-tree, or, to
compare it to something I have seen, to the Italian pines, that come
so picturesquely into all these Naples pictures. If you will believe
me, that pillar of steam was like a column of fire, from the sun
shining on and through it, and perhaps from the reflection of the
background of crimson clouds and blue and gold sky, spread out there
and hung there in royal and extravagant profusion, to make a highway
and a regal gateway, through which I could just then see coming the
horses and the chariot of a southern perfect day. They said that the
tree-shaped cloud was the sign of an eruption; but the hotel-keepers
here are always predicting that. The eruption is usually about two
or three weeks distant; and the hotel proprietors get this
information from experienced guides, who observe the action of the
water in the wells; so that there can be no mistake about it.

We took carriages at nine o'clock to Resina, a drive of four miles,
and one of exceeding interest, if you wish to see Naples life. The
way is round the curving bay by the sea; but so continuously built up
is it, and so inclosed with high walls of villas, through the open
gates of which the golden oranges gleam, that you seem never to leave
the city. The streets and quays swarm with the most vociferous,
dirty, multitudinous life. It is a drive through Rag Fair. The
tall, whitey-yellow houses fronting the water, six, seven, eight
stories high, are full as beehives; people are at all the open
windows; garments hang from the balconies and from poles thrust out;
up every narrow, gloomy, ascending street are crowds of struggling
human shapes; and you see how like herrings in a box are packed the
over half a million people of Naples. In front of the houses are the
markets in the open air,--fish, vegetables, carts of oranges; in the
sun sit women spinning from distaffs or weaving fishing-nets; and
rows of children who were never washed and never clothed but once,
and whose garments have nearly wasted away; beggars, fishermen in red
caps, sailors, priests, donkeys, fruit-venders, street-musicians,
carriages, carts, two-wheeled break-down vehicles,--the whole tangled
in one wild roar and rush and babel,--a shifting, varied panorama of
color, rags,--a pandemonium such as the world cannot show elsewhere,
that is what one sees on the road to Resina. The drivers all drive
in the streets here as if they held a commission from the devil,
cracking their whips, shouting to their horses, and dashing into the
thickest tangle with entire recklessness. They have one cry, used
alike for getting more speed out of their horses or for checking
them, or in warning to the endangered crowds on foot. It is an
exclamatory grunt, which may be partially expressed by the letters
"a-e-ugh." Everybody shouts it, mule-driver, "coachee," or
cattle-driver; and even I, a passenger, fancied I could do it to
disagreeable perfection after a time. Out of this throng in the
streets I like to select the meek, patient, diminutive little
donkeys, with enormous panniers that almost hide them. One would
have a woman seated on top, with a child in one pannier and cabbages
in the other; another, with an immense stock of market-greens on his
back, or big baskets of oranges, or with a row of wine-casks and a
man seated behind, adhering, by some unknown law of adhesion, to the
sloping tail. Then there was the cart drawn by one diminutive
donkey, or by an ox, or by an ox and a donkey, or by a donkey and
horse abreast, never by any possibility a matched team. And,
funniest of all, was the high, two-wheeled caleche, with one seat,
and top thrown back, with long thills and poor horse. Upon this
vehicle were piled, Heaven knows how, behind, before, on the thills,
and underneath the high seat, sometimes ten, and not seldom as many
as eighteen people, men, women, and children,--all in flaunting rags,
with a colored scarf here and there, or a gay petticoat, or a scarlet
cap,--perhaps a priest, with broad black hat, in the center,--driving
along like a comet, the poor horse in a gallop, the bells on his
ornamented saddle merrily jingling, and the whole load in a roar of

But we shall never get to Vesuvius at this rate. I will not even
stop to examine the macaroni manufactories on the road. The long
strips of it were hung out on poles to dry in the streets, and to get
a rich color from the dirt and dust, to say nothing of its contact
with the filthy people who were making it. I am very fond of
macaroni. At Resina we take horses for the ascent. We had sent
ahead for a guide and horses for our party of ten; but we found
besides, I should think, pretty nearly the entire population of the
locality awaiting us, not to count the importunate beggars, the hags,
male and female, and the ordinary loafers of the place. We were
besieged to take this and that horse or mule, to buy walking-sticks
for the climb, to purchase lava cut into charms, and veritable
ancient coins, and dug-up cameos, all manufactured for the demand.
One wanted to hold the horse, or to lead it, to carry a shawl, or to
show the way. In the midst of infinite clamor and noise, we at last
got mounted, and, turning into a narrow lane between high walls,
began the ascent, our cavalcade attended by a procession of rags and
wretchedness up through the village. Some of them fell off as we
rose among the vineyards, and they found us proof against begging;
but several accompanied us all day, hoping that, in some unguarded
moment, they could do us some slight service, and so establish a
claim on us. Among these I noticed some stout fellows with short
ropes, with which they intended to assist us up the steeps. If I
looked away an instant, some urchin would seize my horse's bridle;
and when I carelessly let my stick fall on his hand, in token for him
to let go, he would fall back with an injured look, and grasp the
tail, from which I could only loosen him by swinging my staff and
preparing to break his head.

The ascent is easy at first between walls and the vineyards which
produce the celebrated Lachryma Christi. After a half hour we
reached and began to cross the lava of 1858, and the wild desolation
and gloom of the mountain began to strike us. One is here conscious
of the titanic forces at work. Sometimes it is as if a giant had
ploughed the ground, and left the furrows without harrowing them to
harden into black and brown stone. We could see again how the broad
stream, flowing down, squeezed and squashed like mud, had taken all
fantastic shapes,--now like gnarled tree roots; now like serpents in
a coil; here the human form, or a part of it,--a torso or a limb,--in
agony; now in other nameless convolutions and contortions, as if
heaved up and twisted in fiery pain and suffering,--for there was
almost a human feeling in it; and again not unlike stone billows. We
could see how the cooling crust had been lifted and split and turned
over by the hot stream underneath, which, continually oozing from the
rent of the eruption, bore it down and pressed it upward. Even so
low as the point where we crossed the lava of 1858 were fissures
whence came hot air.

An hour brought us to the resting-place called the Hermitage, an
osteria and observatory established by the government. Standing upon
the end of a spur, it seems to be safe from the lava, whose course
has always been on either side; but it must be an uncomfortable place
in a shower of stones and ashes. We rode half an hour longer on
horseback, on a nearly level path, to the foot of the steep ascent,
the base of the great crater. This ride gave us completely the wide
and ghastly desolation of the mountain, the ruin that the lava has
wrought upon slopes that were once green with vine and olive, and
busy with the hum of life. This black, contorted desert waste is
more sterile and hopeless than any mountain of stone, because the
idea of relentless destruction is involved here. This great
hummocked, sloping plain, ridged and seamed, was all about us,
without cheer or relaxation of grim solitude. Before us rose, as
black and bare, what the guides call the mountain, and which used to
be the crater. Up one side is worked in the lava a zigzag path,
steep, but not very fatiguing, if you take it slowly. Two thirds of
the way up, I saw specks of people climbing. Beyond it rose the cone
of ashes, out of which the great cloud of sulphurous smoke rises and
rolls night and day now. On the very edge of that, on the lip of it,
where the smoke rose, I also saw human shapes; and it seemed as if
they stood on the brink of Tartarus and in momently imminent peril.

We left our horses in a wild spot, where scorched boulders had fallen
upon the lava bed; and guides and boys gathered about us like
cormorants: but, declining their offers to pull us up, we began the
ascent, which took about three quarters of an hour. We were then on
the summit, which is, after all, not a summit at all, but an uneven
waste, sloping away from the Cone in the center. This sloping lava
waste was full of little cracks,--not fissures with hot lava in them,
or anything of the sort,--out of which white steam issued, not unlike
the smoke from a great patch of burned timber; and the wind blew it
along the ground towards us. It was cool, for the sun was hidden by
light clouds, but not cold. The ground under foot was slightly warm.
I had expected to feel some dread, or shrinking, or at least some
sense of insecurity, but I did not the slightest, then or afterwards;
and I think mine is the usual experience. I had no more sense of
danger on the edge of the crater than I had in the streets of Naples.

We next addressed ourselves to the Cone, which is a loose hill of
ashes and sand,--a natural slope, I should say, of about one and a
half to one, offering no foothold. The climb is very fatiguing,
because you sink in to the ankles, and slide back at every step; but
it is short,--we were up in six to eight minutes,--though the ladies,
who had been helped a little by the guides, were nearly exhausted,
and sank down on the very edge of the crater, with their backs to the
smoke. What did we see? What would you see if you looked into a
steam boiler? We stood on the ashy edge of the crater, the sharp
edge sloping one way down the mountain, and the other into the
bowels, whence the thick, stifling smoke rose. We rolled stones
down, and heard them rumbling for half a minute. The diameter of the
crater on the brink of which we stood was said to be an eighth of a
mile; but the whole was completely filled with vapor. The edge where
we stood was quite warm.

We ate some rolls we had brought in our pockets, and some of the
party tried a bottle of the wine that one of the cormorants had
brought up, but found it anything but the Lachryma Christi it was
named. We looked with longing eyes down into the vapor-boiling
caldron; we looked at the wide and lovely view of land and sea; we
tried to realize our awful situation, munched our dry bread, and
laughed at the monstrous demands of the vagabonds about us for money,
and then turned and went down quicker than we came up.

We had chosen to ascend to the old crater rather than to the new one
of the recent eruption on the side of the mountain, where there is
nothing to be seen. When we reached the bottom of the Cone, our
guide led us to the north side, and into a region that did begin to
look like business. The wind drove all the smoke round there, and we
were half stifled with sulphur fumes to begin with. Then the whole
ground was discolored red and yellow, and with many more gay and
sulphur-suggesting colors. And it actually had deep fissures in it,
over which we stepped and among which we went, out of which came
blasts of hot, horrid vapor, with a roaring as if we were in the
midst of furnaces. And if we came near the cracks the heat was
powerful in our faces, and if we thrust our sticks down them they
were instantly burned; and the guides cooked eggs; and the crust was
thin, and very hot to our boots; and half the time we couldn't see
anything; and we would rush away where the vapor was not so thick,
and, with handkerchiefs to our mouths, rush in again to get the full
effect. After we came out again into better air, it was as if we had
been through the burning, fiery furnace, and had the smell of it on
our garments. And, indeed, the sulphur had changed to red certain of
our clothes, and noticeably my pantaloons and the black velvet cap of
one of the ladies; and it was some days before they recovered their
color. But, as I say, there was no sense of danger in the adventure.

We descended by a different route, on the south side of the mountain,
to our horses, and made a lark of it. We went down an ash slope,
very steep, where we sank in a foot or little less at every step, and
there was nothing to do for it, but to run and jump. We took steps
as long as if we had worn seven-league boots. When the whole party
got in motion, the entire slope seemed to slide a little with us, and
there appeared some danger of an avalanche. But we did n't stop for
it. It was exactly like plunging down a steep hillside that is
covered thickly with light, soft snow. There was a gray-haired
gentleman with us, with a good deal of the boy in him, who thought it
great fun.

I have said little about the view; but I might have written about
nothing else, both in the ascent and descent. Naples, and all the
villages which rim the bay with white, the gracefully curving arms
that go out to sea, and do not quite clasp rocky Capri, which lies at
the entrance, made the outline of a picture of surpassing loveliness.
But as we came down, there was a sight that I am sure was unique. As
one in a balloon sees the earth concave beneath, so now, from where
we stood, it seemed to rise, not fall, to the sea, and all the white
villages were raised to the clouds; and by the peculiar light, the
sea looked exactly like sky, and the little boats on it seemed to
float, like balloons in the air. The illusion was perfect. As the
day waned, a heavy cloud hid the sun, and so let down the light that
the waters were a dark purple. Then the sun went behind Posilipo in
a perfect blaze of scarlet, and all the sea was violet. Only it
still was not the sea at all; but the little chopping waves looked
like flecked clouds; and it was exactly as if one of the violet,
cloud-beautified skies that we see at home over some sunsets had
fallen to the ground. And the slant white sails and the black specks
of boats on it hung in the sky, and were as unsubstantial as the
whole pageant. Capri alone was dark and solid. And as we descended
and a high wall hid it, a little handsome rascal, who had attended me
for an hour, now at the head and now at the tail of my pony, recalled
me to the realities by the request that I should give him a franc.
For what? For carrying signor's coat up the mountain. I rewarded
the little liar with a German copper. I had carried my own overcoat
all day.



The day came when we tired of the brilliancy and din of Naples, most
noisy of cities. Neapolis, or Parthenope, as is well known, was
founded by Parthenope, a siren who was cast ashore there. Her
descendants still live here; and we have become a little weary of
their inherited musical ability: they have learned to play upon many
new instruments, with which they keep us awake late at night, and
arouse us early in the morning. One of them is always there under
the window, where the moonlight will strike him, or the early dawn
will light up his love-worn visage, strumming the guitar with his
horny thumb, and wailing through his nose as if his throat was full
of seaweed. He is as inexhaustible as Vesuvius. We shall have to
flee, or stop our ears with wax, like the sailors of Ulysses.

The day came when we had checked off the Posilipo, and the Grotto,
Pozzuoli, Baiae, Cape Misenum, the Museum, Vesuvius, Pompeii,
Herculaneum, the moderns buried at the Campo Santo; and we said, Let
us go and lie in the sun at Sorrento. But first let us settle our

The Bay of Naples, painted and sung forever, but never adequately,
must consent to be here described as essentially a parallelogram,
with an opening towards the southwest. The northeast side of this,
with Naples in the right-hand corner, looking seaward and
Castellamare in the left-hand corner, at a distance of some fourteen
miles, is a vast rich plain, fringed on the shore with towns, and
covered with white houses and gardens. Out of this rises the
isolated bulk of Vesuvius. This growing mountain is manufactured
exactly like an ant-hill.

The northwest side of the bay, keeping a general westerly direction,
is very uneven, with headlands, deep bays, and outlying islands.
First comes the promontory of Posilipo, pierced by two tunnels,
partly natural and partly Greek and Roman work, above the entrance of
one of which is the tomb of Virgil, let us believe; then a beautiful
bay, the shore of which is incrusted with classic ruins. On this bay
stands Pozzuoli, the ancient Puteoli where St. Paul landed one May
day, and doubtless walked up this paved road, which leads direct to
Rome. At the entrance, near the head of Posilipo, is the volcanic
island of "shining Nisida," to which Brutus retired after the
assassination of Caesar, and where he bade Portia good-by before he
departed for Greece and Philippi: the favorite villa of Cicero, where
he wrote many of his letters to Atticus, looked on it. Baiae,
epitome of the luxury and profligacy, of the splendor and crime of
the most sensual years of the Roman empire, spread there its temples,
palaces, and pleasure-gardens, which crowded the low slopes, and
extended over the water; and yonder is Cape Misenum, which sheltered
the great fleets of Rome.

This region, which is still shaky from fires bubbling under the thin
crust, through which here and there the sulphurous vapor breaks out,
is one of the most sacred in the ancient world. Here are the Lucrine
Lake, the Elysian Fields, the cave of the Cumean Sibyl, and the Lake
Avernus. This entrance to the infernal regions was frozen over the
day I saw it; so that the profane prophecy of skating on the
bottomless pit might have been realized. The islands of Procida and
Ischia continue and complete this side of the bay, which is about
twenty miles long as the boat sails.

At Castellamare the shore makes a sharp bend, and runs southwest
along the side of the Sorrentine promontory. This promontory is a
high, rocky, diversified ridge, which extends out between the bays of
Naples and Salerno, with its short and precipitous slope towards the
latter. Below Castellamare, the mountain range of the Great St.
Angelo (an offshoot of the Apennines) runs across the peninsula, and
cuts off that portion of it which we have to consider. The most
conspicuous of the three parts of this short range is over four
thousand seven hundred feet above the Bay of Naples, and the highest
land on it. From Great St. Angelo to the point, the Punta di
Campanella, it is, perhaps, twelve miles by balloon, but twenty by
any other conveyance. Three miles off this point lies Capri.

This promontory has a backbone of rocky ledges and hills; but it has
at intervals transverse ledges and ridges, and deep valleys and
chains cutting in from either side; so that it is not very passable
in any direction. These little valleys and bays are warm nooks for
the olive and the orange; and all the precipices and sunny slopes are
terraced nearly to the top. This promontory of rocks is far from
being barren.

>From Castellamare, driving along a winding, rockcut road by the bay,-
-one of the most charming in southern Italy,--a distance of seven
miles, we reach the Punta di Scutolo. This point, and the opposite
headland, the Capo di Sorrento, inclose the Piano di Sorrento, an
irregular plain, three miles long, encircled by limestone hills,
which protect it from the east and south winds. In this amphitheater
it lies, a mass of green foliage and white villages, fronting Naples
and Vesuvius.

If nature first scooped out this nook level with the sea, and then
filled it up to a depth of two hundred to three hundred feet with
volcanic tufa, forming a precipice of that height along the shore, I
can understand how the present state of things came about.

This plain is not all level, however. Decided spurs push down into
it from the hills; and great chasms, deep, ragged, impassable, split
in the tufa, extend up into it from the sea. At intervals, at the
openings of these ravines, are little marinas, where the fishermen
have their huts' and where their boats land. Little villages,
separate from the world, abound on these marinas. The warm volcanic
soil of the sheltered plain makes it a paradise of fruits and

Sorrento, ancient and romantic city, lies at the southwest end of
this plain, built along the sheer sea precipice, and running back to
the hills,--a city of such narrow streets, high walls, and luxuriant
groves that it can be seen only from the heights adjacent. The
ancient boundary of the city proper was the famous ravine on the east
side, a similar ravine on the south, which met it at right angles,
and was supplemented by a high Roman wall, and the same wall
continued on the west to the sea. The growing town has pushed away
the wall on the west side; but that on the south yet stands as good
as when the Romans made it. There is a little attempt at a mall,
with double rows of trees, under that wall, where lovers walk, and
ragged, handsome urchins play the exciting game of fives, or sit in
the dirt, gambling with cards for the Sorrento currency. I do not
know what sin it may be to gamble for a bit of printed paper which
has the value of one sou.

The great ravine, three quarters of a mile long, the ancient boundary
which now cuts the town in two, is bridged where the main street, the
Corso, crosses, the bridge resting on old Roman substructions, as
everything else about here does. This ravine, always invested with
mystery, is the theme of no end of poetry and legend. Demons inhabit
it. Here and there, in its perpendicular sides, steps have been cut
for descent. Vines and lichens grow on the walls: in one place, at
the bottom, an orange grove has taken root. There is even a mill
down there, where there is breadth enough for a building; and
altogether, the ravine is not so delivered over to the power of
darkness as it used to be. It is still damp and slimy, it is true;
but from above, it is always beautiful, with its luxuriant growth of
vines, and at twilight mysterious. I like as well, however, to look
into its entrance from the little marina, where the old fishwives arc
weaving nets.

These little settlements under the cliff, called marinas, are worlds
in themselves, picturesque at a distance, but squalid seen close at
hand. They are not very different from the little fishing-stations
on the Isle of Wight; but they are more sheltered, and their
inhabitants sing at their work, wear bright colors, and bask in the
sun a good deal, feeling no sense of responsibility for the world
they did not create. To weave nets, to fish in the bay, to sell
their fish at the wharves, to eat unexciting vegetables and fish, to
drink moderately, to go to the chapel of St. Antonino on Sunday, not
to work on fast and feast days, nor more than compelled to any day,
this is life at the marinas. Their world is what they can see, and
Naples is distant and almost foreign. Generation after generation is
content with the same simple life. They have no more idea of the bad
way the world is in than bees in their cells.


The Villa Nardi hangs over the sea. It is built on a rock, and I
know not what Roman and Greek foundations, and the remains of yet
earlier peoples, traders, and traffickers, whose galleys used to rock
there at the base of the cliff, where the gentle waves beat even in
this winter-time with a summer swing and sound of peace.

It was at the close of a day in January that I first knew the Villa
Nardi,--a warm, lovely day, at the hour when the sun was just going
behind the Capo di Sorrento, in order to disrobe a little, I fancy,
before plunging into the Mediterranean off the end of Capri, as is
his wont about this time of year. When we turned out of the little
piazza, our driver was obliged to take off one of our team of three
horses driven abreast, so that we could pass through the narrow and
crooked streets, or rather lanes of blank walls. With cracking whip,
rattling wheels, and shouting to clear the way, we drove into the
Strada di San Francisca, and to an arched gateway. This led down a
straight path, between olives and orange and lemon-trees, gleaming
with shining leaves and fruit of gold, with hedges of rose-trees in
full bloom, to another leafy arch, through which I saw tropical
trees, and a terrace with a low wall and battered busts guarding it,
and beyond, the blue sea, a white sail or two slanting across the
opening, and the whiteness of Naples some twenty miles away on the

The noble family of the Villa did not descend into the garden to
welcome us, as we should have liked; in fact, they have been absent
now for a long time, so long that even their ghosts, if they ever
pace the terrace-walk towards the convent, would appear strange to
one who should meet them; and yet our hostess, the Tramontano, did
what the ancient occupants scarcely could have done, gave us the
choice of rooms in the entire house. The stranger who finds himself
in this secluded paradise, at this season, is always at a loss
whether to take a room on the sea, with all its changeable
loveliness, but no sun, or one overlooking the garden, where the sun
all day pours itself into the orange boughs, and where the birds are
just beginning to get up a spring twitteration. My friend, whose
capacity for taking in the luxurious repose of this region is
something extraordinary, has tried, I believe, nearly every room in
the house, and has at length gone up to a solitary room on the top,
where, like a bird on a tree he looks all ways, and, so to say,
swings in the entrancing air. But, wherever you are, you will grow
into content with your situation.

At the Villa Nardi we have no sound of wheels, no noise of work or
traffic, no suggestion of conflict. I am under the impression that
everything that was to have been done has been done. I am, it is
true, a little afraid that the Saracens will come here again, and
carry off more of the nut-brown girls, who lean over the walls, and
look down on us from under the boughs. I am not quite sure that a
French Admiral of the Republic will not some morning anchor his
three-decker in front, and open fire on us; but nothing else can
happen. Naples is a thousand miles away. The boom of the saluting
guns of Castel Nuovo is to us scarcely an echo of modern life. Rome
does not exist. And as for London and New York) they send their
people and their newspapers here, but no pulse of unrest from them
disturbs our tranquillity. Hemmed in on the land side by high walls,
groves, and gardens, perched upon a rock two hundred feet above the
water, how much more secure from invasion is this than any fabled
island of the southern sea, or any remote stream where the boats of
the lotus-eaters float!

There is a little terrace and flower-plat, where we sometimes sit,
and over the wall of which we like to lean, and look down the cliff
to the sea. This terrace is the common ground of many exotics as
well as native trees and shrubs. Here are the magnolia, the laurel,
the Japanese medlar, the oleander, the pepper, the bay, the
date-palm, a tree called the plumbago, another from the Cape of Good
Hope, the pomegranate, the elder in full leaf, the olive, salvia,
heliotrope; close by is a banana-tree.

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