« AnteriorContinuar »
I began by lamenting, on his account, love!_not he; he took a wiser course, that General Evans (for so it was), entered into his schemes, made calcu. would return, and receive no more vo- lations for him, in the most friendly lunteers—but that I had great satis- manner, of expenses, in detail the faction in assuring him, that his youth never thought of, by the day, friends had fully acquiesced in his by the week, by the month, by the wishes, and that they would procure year,
And all this was done during him a commission in our own army, a walk they took together, when the and without doubt he would soon see father said they might as well go and military service. This was an unex- look for a house for him and his wife pected blow to his pertinacity, for it to live in. “ Of course, said he, you took him in the very place where he must choose one according to our calhad prepared no defence. He looked culations; and you will not think of the cold fit, when he should have as- entertaining, or even visiting your sumed the hot, and stammered out friends A, B, C, D, &c., and I darethanks to his friends; but that, in fact, say you'll be very happy. Love, my he had made up his mind to join Ge- dear boy, is every thing, though it be neral Evans in his glorious career, not handsomely lodged,"—and just and of course he could not exactly yet then, in a narrow passage, that could make up his mind to fight on the other neither be called street, lane, or aveside. But he would think of it, and nue, the father suddenly stopped (not in a short time acquaint me with his arrested by the perfumed air of Cudecision. I laughed in his face, ex- pid's roses), in front of a low house, posed to him the humbug he had been not remarkable for neatness, nor even practising, perhaps upon himself, and cleanliness, but that the operation certainly upon others, and showed him of the latter was going on. For there, so clearly that I knew all the turnings at the door, was a laborious mother of his own mind, that in the end he washing her two dirty children, pad. laughed too, and said, with a little re- dling at her feet, and the end of a cramaining air of humbug, that perhaps dle just peeped in at the back-ground. it would be better, or at least more ho- “There, now, my dear boy,” said he, nourable in him now, as the case stood, "the rent of just such a house would exin bis turn to acquiesce in the wishes actly suit your means." of his friends, and that he therefore another word about the matter," said would make a sacrifice of his own de. the shamed youth, “ I see it won't do." sires to theirs. The rest is easily And so they went homewards, and told. " Cedunt arma toga."
in the way took another lodging, the I will furnish you, Eusebius, with an- cold fit being pretty strong upon him other example. You know my excellent —and he told me since that for a year friend B. He was in life a practical or two, whilst he lived in really philosopher, and many a delightful "single blessedness,” he never saw a proof of it will I, one of these days, pretty face, that would otherwise have give you, for he loved to be open in fascinated bim, but he saw in the all his thoughts and actions to his back ground of the picture, the very friends. Well, then, he had a son in scene his father had pointed out to London, in employment that brought him, and then involuntarily set himhim in a moderate income, even for self running through the catalogue of a single man, but he was young, and items of daily, weekly, monthly, and there were hopes of progressive im- yearly expenses, and at such times provement. The youth fell in love the two following lines of the modern with the daughter of the womau viih poet were constantly ringing in his whom he lodged-this was a very lot fit-and of this there is almost always
“ Love in a hut, with water and a crust, sure to be a cold fit, but it comes fre
Is-Love, forgive us !_cinders, ashes, quently too late, when the remedy
dust." taken has proved worse than the dis
The good father had ever en- Now, my dear, Eusebius, you will couraged candour, and bis children endeavour to deter your friend, the were as open-hearted and minded as Tourist Youth, in what manner you he was himself, so that the affair was please ; but I will comply with your soon communicated. And what, think request as well as I can; for many you, the father did ?-oppose his son's years have passed since my trayels,
66 Don't say
and I was robbed of my notes—and sticks, mere dots, and as it seemed all my travel now is by the fire-side, over them the dim beings that could and all my speculation into it-and so not enter the regions of fiery punishwas I employed when this letter of ment; and I thought of a deluded yours, with so strange a demand, people, vain prayers to saints, and reached me — and had far other priests and purgatory,—the double, thoughts and imaginations than of scarlet kingdoms of Pope and Popery, sitting down to write an account of above and below—then, by easy tranmatters of fact, and they of times so sition, of Italy—and as if all the vision long since gone. You, in your con- had been a preparation, and an omen, fabulations with me, fly off into all your letter, Eusebius, was put into my vagaries, and so will I, after your own hands.
And is not the vision in many fashion, tell you what waking dreams respects descriptive of Italy? It is a I was indulging, and what visions I land of a golden age, of fabled deities saw in the hot coals, when you start that walked the groves, and lingered led me by your pen and ink questions; about the fountains. The land of and in faith I think they may not be Poetry, the brightest, ancient, and unapt to the subject of your requests. revered of noble souls, high action, I had looked till imagination center- and romance. But it has been sadly ing sight, had subtracted all that could shaken-evil have been the changes, measure space. Fairer scenes than and worse they are. There are falsi. poets' “ Fairy Land” opened to the fying “ Eustaces," and many more view ; illumined palaces, gardens, ter- than “ Forty Thieves;" a population races, and glistening rocks, and my- of robbers or cheats, and, to wind up riads of star-like happy beings wan- all, it is the fountain-head of supersti. dering over regions brighter, infinitely tion, where crimes multiply, for pardon brighter, than any this world's sun is bought for money-of blaspliemy ever shone upon. Then the whole and impiety, for Popery reigus there. shook, and as with the sudden move- How like you the phillipic? I have ment of a magic glass, there was a heard more vehement from yourself, change, but it was perfect. I beheld Eusebius, on the same subject. Yours the enchanted land of Ariosto, figures has been the flash of indignant genius of larger size-knights and ladies, —mine is but a sketch from nature. the cliff and tower of polished steel, “ Experto crede Roberto.” It is a and the great magician issuing from strange time, after the lapse of so the gates, his shield uncovered. The many years, to call upon me for my coals again subside; they shake-in- adventures ; and I am almost tempted stant is the change. I am inclosed in to answer in the words of the celea theatre of caverns, receding into im- brated Knife-grinder,mense distances, and all illuminated
“ Story, God bless
I have none to as with ten thousand lamps. I was
tell, sir." the happy Aladdin-suddenly there is But I will tell you, as well as I a slight noise-it is the “ Open Sesa- can remember, what I found Italy me!" the caverns grow darker, and in in the year 18—; and since you rush the “ Forty Thieves." Is there more particularly wish me to give an no escape? The coals again shake- account of my falling in with the there is another and an awful change banditti in Calabria, I will begin with —there is a black incrustation around that adventure. In Italy it would be a horrid gulph, all red, with caverns common-place-here it may have some and abysses, from whose depth shook interest. At whatever inn you stop forked flames, visions such as Dante in Italy, you are sure to find a number saw, and drew in his Inferno; and of persons about it, wrapped up in over this fiery abyss was one, a huge brown cloaks, and half their faces hid, figure foreshortened, falling headlong apparently mere idlers. These are, in into the oven of perdition, and with in general, either robbers or emissaout, dimly seen, and partly in blue ries of robbers, who find out all it may light, were fiends or angels that had be requisite for the fraternity to know accompanied the condemned to the about travellers, particularly their very verge, either to hurl him deeper, time of leaving and the road they are or to save. Another movement, and the going. It must be here observed, and gulf is closed, and over it were dark the observation is to be remembered in arches, in which were a few burning all places during this narrative, that I speak of Italy many years ago. Things ed up, and at the same instant, there may be now on a better footing. It was a cry of many voices, the word I is to be hoped so. My friend and my know not, but it sounded like “sdrucself had arrived at Salerno, on our way ciate," and was quickly repeated-and to Pæstum, to visit the beautiful re. at the same time I saw seven dark mains of ancient temples there. We figures, one in front, and three on had letters from French gentleman each side, and seven carbines all with whom we happened to travel levelled at us in the caleche. It is from Capua to Naples, to a friend re- very strange, but certain it is, that I sident near Salerno. We found him felt no fear, and perfectly recollect and another French gentleman, and his the disagreeable sensation of rising, beautiful and agreeable daughter, and after long sitting in the cold, and did an Italian nobleman and his family, not make so much haste to move as all resident together. I believe they the occasion required. My friend were, for to us it was afterwards pretty seemed equally insensible to danger, clearly made out, under the surveil- for as he alighted, in allusion to the lance of the police. They seemed banditti descending from the moununder much restraint, perhaps fear tains, cried out to me with a facetious would not be an improper term, and I air, “Tantæne animis cælestibus iræ.” have since thought they must at that When we were out of the carriage time have been cognizant of, if not they crowded about us, and I think parties in some of the Carbonari more very soon joined them. They plots, even then hatching. They instantly bade us strip; and as we did were remarkably attentive to us, and not show much alacrity in the opera. did all they could to dissuade us from tion, they hastened it, sometimes by the attempt-recommending, if deter- pulling roughly at our clothes, and then mined to go, that we should go by making a terrific noise, and threatenwater. However, we still persisted, ing us with their carbines. I had a scal and left Salerno before dawn in a attached to my watch which I greatly caleche, which held myself and friend, valued, not for its intrinsic worth, but and the driver, as is customary with as a family relic. This I endeavourthose carriages, was behind. We had ed to conceal, and put it as quietly proceeded some five or six miles, ere as I could into the carriage, but in so we came to that part of the road where doing, the noise of the chain and seals most of the robberies take place, the was heard by one of the banditti. He very spot, I imagine, where Mr and Mrs came up to me, first took the watch, Hunt were shot ; and where a friend and then very deliberately levelled his of mine, a year or two after, passingcarbine close to my head. I was just saw a man lying across the road with going to rush in upon him, when the his throat cut; on which occasion the captain of the gang struck down the driver whipped on, and could not be carbine, and forbade him to do the induced to stop. It was not light deed. The man at once remonstrated enough to allow me to give a descrip- with the captain, that I ought to be tion of the spot; and as it became shot for the attempt at concealment, lighter, I had little leisure or inclina- and again levelled his piece at me; tion for a survey. I perfectly recol- the other promptly again struck down lect being in deep thought, with my the carbine, and dragged the man away eyes half closed, and my head upon my with him. This was a narrow escape. breast, shunning the cold, grey, com- My coat, waistcoat, and pantaloons, fortless look of the dawn, always dis- were taken off and removed—a pair of agreeable when the earth looks black; laced boots were not so easily undone, and, if inhabited, you could imagine and this delay seemed likely to prothe human race had retired to holes, duce some rough usage, but it was not for habitations were not distinguish. so. My very shirt was taken from able. It was after a sudden look at me, and in fact I had nothing whatthis discomfort, that I had again bent ever of my dress but a pair of balf down my head, and in fancy was call- stockings and my hat. In this state ing up the brighter vision of home far I could not but be amused at the cool. away, and anticipating the pleasure ness of my friend, who, thinking my of showing my portfolio of sketches to Italian, though not very good, more my eager friends,-it was just at this likely to be understood by them than moment the carriage stopped. I looke his own, requested me to ask the ban
ditti for a little key of his, that belonged and the robbee. I could now well disto a Bramah lock, and could be of no tinguish the dress of my seeming comuse to them. In my simplicity I did rades; their brown cloaks and ornaso, and was near getting rough usage mented vests, well beset with murderfor my request-one of the fellows ous arms, and their peaked hats; and roared at me as if he had been a beast, could distinguish and speculate upon and handled his carbine in a manner their features, and, not seeing any I did not like.
Perhaps my bad Ita- strong marks of fraternity between us, lian sounded very like impudence. and being in my undress, before such After this, however, I took courage, great company, I thought it best not and as I felt it very cold, in as much to be too familiar, and declined the facetiousness as might be, and very honour of their further acquaintance, politely, I told one of them that as the and very quietly attached myself to the weather was cold I should be extremely row by my friend's side, without being obliged if he would be so kind as to very particular about falling gracegive me my shirt. He did so, and I fully ; but I must say that ņ did not was putting it on when another, pro- shamefully put my face to the ground, bably the one who owed me a spite for and perhaps, Eusebius, did little more not being suffered to shoot me, tore it than many of my betters, who do not out of my hands with the greatest vio. know how to stand quite upright in the lence, and I never saw it more. At presence of a great man, and I had this time there was a great outcry of many very great men to notice my belamentations' not far from me, and I haviour. The operation of robbing found that two carriages full of Italians all, and packing up their plunder, took had been stopped, and if there was not up a very considerable time, perhaps much wool there was a great cry. an hour and twenty minutes, or perThese were robbed, but not stripped as haps the time appeared longer than it we were, and some of them were really was ; for, independent of the beaten with the butt-end of the car. disagreeable circumstance itself, the bines and dragged about. They were morning was cold, and an additional, all ordered “faccia a terra," the usual or rather, a blanket was much desired. proceeding of the banditti. It is thus: I have often wondered how it was that all immediately prostrate themselves in a situation of such peril, when it with their faces to the ground, pretty was by no means certain any minute much as I have heard of fowls being that I might not have a shot through sewed with their beaks to a chalked me,—I say, Eusebius, that I have often line. I was standing among the rob- wondered at the absence of what may bers, wondering what would come be called fear. I reasoned upon the next, and, having nothing that could thing at the time, but could not make be taken from me, not very much con- much of it. As I was stooping during cerned, pretty much like the penniless the occupation of the banditti, not viator, who whistled “ coram latrone knowing indeed if we should be taken viator"-when turning round I saw a to the mountains, or dismissed, I may long row of Italians “ faccia a terra," safely say that the greater part of the as if pinned by their noses to the earth, time was taken up by speculations as and my friend, the last of the row, in to the manner in which I should treat a less degrading position, and modestly many of the subjects with which I had bending
more in the attitude of the furnished my portfolio, and which, by Venus de Medici, only a little more the by, were left behind at Salerno. bending ; and if less graceful, in some- I studied, over and over again, all what better comfort, for he had con- sorts of effects, and had to my own trived to put on his great coat, which mind composed and manufactured piche in turn had purloined from the rob- tures on a large scale. I have since bers, as he found it hanging over the then, on more
occasions than one, been wheel of the carraige. In spite of in situations of some danger, and have the possible, nay probable danger, I invariably found the same absence of could not but fancy there was some- what may be called fear. You know, thing very whimsical in my position. my dear Eusebius, though I am a It did not verify the old saying, great discerner of things in the fire, “show me your company and I will that I am no « fire-eater," nor do I tell you what you are ;" for nothing pretend to have more courage than is can be more opposite than the robber the common and fair proportion; I do not, therefore, ascribe it to that cause, charged us more than he should have for when danger has been over, I have done, but he did so because we must found myself on one occasion trembling have them. But, to the very great credit like a leaf, but not till then ; and it of Salerno, I must not omit to say that was owing to my not trembling till it several persons came to us offering any was over that I was enabled, under money we might want. We were at God's mercy, to save my life. I now a large inn, I forget its name; but, like think this is a wise intention of nature all of the country, it was very dirty. that diverts the thoughts from the too I recollect having been shown into a close contemplation of danger through large room: we ordered dinner and the imagination, if there is nothing to went out; on our return we were shown do; and, if there be need of action, by into the same-at one end of which concentrating the whole mind upon the was our table and dinner on it; but on act of self-protection, which it views entering the room, to our surprise we even in the minutest circumstances of saw some eight or ten beds on the floor the act to be done, and with great ra- on each side the room, and night-cappidity of thought, which is thus hur- ped heads popping up to look at us as ried away as it were from the hideous
we passed up the room : it was their siness of the peril. But I think, Euse- esta. This did not increase our appebius, we have in all conscience been tite, but when we reached our table long enough in this state of humility we found the chairs occupied by fowls, and uncertainty ; it is time, therefore, who were perched upon the backs and that I should dismiss the scene. The in the seats, and bars of the legs; and banditti moved off—and seeing their fowls they might well be termed, for backs about thirty or forty yards from they were very offensive, and defensive us, we thought it time to re-assume too, for they were at their siesta, and our dignity,
would not very easily be disturbed, “ Cælumque tueri,
for, knocked off one perch, they soon Et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus." found another equally inconvenient for
We left our Italian copartners in us. It made very little difference, for robbery to scramble off after their own to eat was impossible ; but it was a fashion, without offering or receiving strange and ominous instinct in the consolation. We had not been robbed poor creatures to crowd about a table to any great amount, only a few pounds, upon which ere long they would all and our watches, &c. They took a be served up, and their heads under camera lucida, thinking it was gold, their wings; with them 'tis but the I suppose, for they left the case in change of a letter, an a for an o, from the carriage; and I make no doubt the roost to the roast. But I have that they took our clothes under the graver matters than puns to tell of, impression that English travellers con- Eusebius ; and now I must tell
I ceal their money in them. It was said would not for the world have had you at that time that they were very shy with us; you would have tossed about of ill-using Englishmen, and that the your indignant ire after a pretty farobbers on this coast had received much shion, at the next scene I must tell you English money, and had styled them. of. You would have done your best selves King Ferdinand's men. How to take the very Head of the Police that may have been I know not, and by the throat, and have tossed him, only report the common talk of the strangled first, out of his windowtime. We again mounted our caleche; and we should have been all murdered our driver had a cloak which he lent for the act of justice. It was necesme, and my friend his own great coat, sary that we should make a report of so we returned to Salerno without our robbery to the Police—so to the the desire of having the windows of Police we went. Imagine us now in the town closed, as at the entry of a tolerably large and light room, with Coventry by the Lady Godiva. Safe- a chair or two for furniture, and desks ly lodged in our inn, we had nothing railed off from the other part of the to do but to go to bed and send for room. Imagine an ill-tempered, soura tailor; and here I cannot but cha- looking big rascal, about fifty years of racterise the low tradesmen of that age, scowling, when not at us, at the country,—when we came to pay, and, walls, at his clerk, at his own indeed, had paid for our clothes, at every thing.
There were this the man fairly acknowledged he had man, his clerk, and ourselves. Our