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VIII

FOREIGN LIFE

"Under the arch of Life, wliere love and death,
Terror and mystery, guard her shrine, I saw
Beauty enthroned ; and though her gaze struck awe,
I drew it in as simply as my breath." - ROSSETTI.

"A good mental condition includes just as much culture as is accessary to the development of the faculties, but not any burden of erudition heavy enough to diminish (as erudition so often does) the promptittide or elasticity of the mind." - HAMERTON, French and English.

"Who thinks the story is all told at twenty? Let them live on and try." - Hitherto.

 

IN June 1857 we left Lime for a long residence abroad. My mother's doctors had declared that being thoroughly imbued with heat in a warm climate was the only way in which her health could be permanently benefited. It was a journey so long prepared for by historical studies, that I imagine few people have gone to Italy with a more thorough knowledge of what they would find there than we possessed.

We took our two old servants, Lea and John (Gidman), abroad with us, and Charlotte Leycester accompanied us to Lucerne, where the family was established for the hot summer months at the Pension Faller, which stands at the end of a long green terrace behind the cathedral cloisters, with a glorious view of Mont Pilate and all the range of mountains on the other side of the lake. George Sheffield came out to Lucerne to accompany me thence to Austria; but as he was very young at the time, and his college examinations were not over, we had to gain his parents' consent to this project by consenting to his having a tutor, and chose for this purpose our common acquaintance Robinson Duckworth, afterwards tutor to Prince Leopold. The arrangement did not answer, though it must be confessed that we treated Duckworth very ill, and were always playing him tricks. One night at Linz, for instance, we were greatly annoyed by finding he would have to sleep in our room, which was a very large one. He went out to listen to the band in the evening, and we spent the time of his absence in drawing the third bed into the middle of the room, and arranging it like a kind of catafalque, with lighted candles at the four corners. We then went to bed ourselves and pretended to be deep in slumber. When Duckworth came in, though two people could just manage to move the heavy bed to its pedestal, it was quite impossible for him alone to move it back again, and he was obliged to go to bed upon it - and most absurd he looked in the morning. I do not think he ever quite forgave us for this trick.

To My MOTHER.

"Constance, July 24. - The Falls of Schaffhausen, with the dashing and roaring emerald water; were quite glorious. We came here from thence by steamer - the entrance to Constance very lovely, and the distant Alps lighted with the most delicate pink hues of sunset. The inn is close to the lake-pier and to the old Council-house. We have walked to the field at Bruhl where Huss was burnt, and since then Duckworth has been serenading the nuns of a Franciscan convent under their windows with airs out of 'Don Giovanni.'"

"July 26. - We were called at four, and my companions went out fishing, and returned dragging an immense pike which they had caught. Meanwhile I had seen the Minster and drawn the Kauf-haus, and was ready to leave with them at nine. We had a delicious journey across the still lake, Sheffield and I sitting quite down in the bow of the boat, where we had nothing before us but the soft blue lake and distant snows, and where we cut through air and water at the same time."

"July 29. - Yesterday we embarked at Donauwörth on the Danube steamer - crowded, filthy, and ceaselessly vibrating - the river the colour of pea-soup, with sandbanks on which we stuck every five minutes. There was no relief to the hideous monotony of the nine hours' voyage, the blackened swamps only changing into barren sandhills, on which a few ragged hops were vainly struggling for existence. But to-day in grand old Ratisbon has made up for yesterday's sufferings. Sheffield and I had great fun in making an expedition to the palace of the Prince of Thurm and Taxis. Numbers of people were out, and we discovered it was to greet the two young princes, who were to return that day from their travels: so we represented them, bowed to the right and left all through the street; and finally being set down at the palace, escaped into the garden and out the other way: what became of the real princes we have not heard. After all our audacity and impertinence in pushing through the Prince's courtyard and intruding upon his garden, we were rather touched by coming upon a placard inscribed – 'The possessor of this garden, who has nothing nearer his heart than the promotion of universal pleasure, bids you - welcome!'"

"August 1. - In early morning we were on board the Danube steamer. Immediately after, three very common-looking men came on board by a boat, and descended at once to the cabin. Soon a neighbour whispered that one of them was the Archduke Albrecht, Governor of Hungary, - and behold, in a few minutes the three strangers emerged, dressed in gorgeous uniforms and glittering with orders. . . . All along the shore were crowds of bowing and curtseying people. At the hotel at Linz the Archduchess and her two daughters were waiting for the Archduke on the balcony of the inn; and their presence brought a splendid band under the window in the evening. This morning the whole family came on board, amid guns firing and crowds of people, to whom we thought the Archduchess would have bowed her head off The presence of royalties gave us a better steamer, and before reaching Vienna the scenery of the Danube improved, especially at the rocks and castle of Durnstein, wbere Richard Cœur-de-Lion was imprisoned."

"A ugust 4. - Vienna would be delightful if it were not for the heat, but the grass is all burnt brown, and the trees almost black. Sheffield and I have driven to the old convent called Klosterneuburg, and in returning saw at Nussdorf the arrival of the Archduke Maximilian and his lovely wife,1 radiant, unaffected, captivating all who saw her."

"August 6. - We have been to the country-palace of Laxenburg - a terrible drive in a sirocco, which made both Sheffield and me as ill as a sea-voyage. Laxenburg was the palace of Maria Theresa, and has an English park, only the grounds are full of gothic temples, &c., and an imitation dungeon fortress, with an imitation prisoner in it, who lifts his hands beseechingly and rattles his chains as you approach. Princess Charlotte was to have her first meeting with all the imperial family in the afternoon, and we waited for the public appearance of the royalties after dinner. We saw them emerge from the palace, and then ran down to the lake to see them embark. The imperial party arrived in carriages at the water's edge, and were set down under some old plane-trees, where their barges were ready, with rowers in sailors' dresses. First came the Empress, looking very lovely and charming, bowing her way to her own boat, which was distinguished by its blue cloth linings. Then came the Emperor, running as hard as he could, to be in time to hand her in: then sweet-looking Princess Charlotte, with a radiantly happy and not at all a shy expression; the mother of the Empress; Princess Marguerite; the Queen of Saxony; and the Archduchess Albrecht. All these entered the imperial boat, which was followed by another with three old countesses, and then all the court ladies in other boats. The Emperor and the Archdukes Leopold and Heinrich rowed themselves. There could hardly be a prettier scene - no crowd, no staring, and sunset on the water as the little fleet glided in among the cypress-covered islets. The last I saw of them was one of the princesses seizing hold of the old countesses' boat, and rocking it violently to give them a good fright.

"Throughout our travels we have perpetually fallen in with two solitary ladies. Yesterday one of them said to Duckworth, 'I beg your pardon, perhaps I ought not to ask, but the melancholy gentleman (meaning me) must have had a very severe disappointment; was it recent? - he seems to take on very much. Well, my idea is one must always be crossed three times before love runs smooth.' Duckworth asked where they were going. 'Oh, where is it?' said the younger lady; 'I quite forget the name of the place; something very long, I know.' - 'Oh, Constantinople, my dear, that's the name, and then we go to a place they call Smyrna, and then to Algeria; for you see we've been to Rome and Naples, and if you don't mind travelling, it's just the same thing whether you go to one place or another.'"

"Aussee in Styria, August 8. - The last thing Sheffield and I did together was to go to the Capuchin vault, where all the sovereigns of the House of Hapsburg lie in gorgeous sarcophagi and coffins: amongst them Maria Theresa, and the husband by whose grave she came to pray every Friday in this dark vault. In one corner was the little Archduchess Sophia, only dead two months, her coffin heaped still witlI the white garlands deposited by her father and mother, who are out of mourning for her.

"After parting with my companions, I went by train to Modling, and drove through the Wienerwald to Heiligenkreutz,2 a gigantic monastery on the edge of a perfectly desolate moor, but in itself magnificent, with a quadrangle larger than 'Tom Quad' at Oxford. Daylight was waning, and I hastened to get the Sacristan to show me the 'Heilige Partikel,' which is kept in a venerable old leather case, and set in a huge golden cross covered with jewels. There are beautiful cloisters, and several chapels of the fourteenth century, and in one of them a fountain, so large that its sound is that of a waterfall. From Baden I crossed the Simmering pass to Bruck-an-der-Mur. Here all the travellers who descended from the train drew diligence tickets by turns, and as mine was only No. 11, I came in for the rickety board by the driver! What a road it was, in which the heavy wheels alternately sank into quagmires of deep mud, or jolted over the piles of stones which were thrown down to fill them up. The dank marshy plain was covered with driving white fog, from which one could only take refuge in the fumes of bad tobacco around one.

"When at length it was my turn to change, it was into an old car with leathern curtains, and horses so feeble that the passengers were obliged to get out and plod through the thick mud at every incline. I had a German companion, who smoked all night in my face.

"All through the night a succession of these cars was kept up, the company being turned out every two hours in some filthy village street, while another wretched old carriage was searched for and brought out. The taverns at which we stopped were most miserable. In the only one I entered the old landlady came out in her nightgown, and seizing my straw hat from my head, placed it on the top of her own top-knot, exclaiming, 'Schöne Strohhut.' Not till midday did we arrive here, and then found the inn full and the hills shrouded in mist - the 'Mountains of the Dead,' as the surroundings of this lonely lake are called, appalling in their white winding-sheets."

"Salzburg, August 14. - During my first days in the Salzkammergut, I might have been inside a kitchen boiler, so thick and white was the steam. But the landlord at Ischl said it was not likely to clear, and, wearied of waiting and longing to see something, I went off to the Traunsee, where, to my surprise, the mist suddenly gave way, the sun appeared, and in a few minutes the heavy veil rolled back, and the beautiful blue lake and high forest-clad mountains were disclosed as if by magic. In a few minutes after shivering, we were all complaining of heat again, and then luxuriating in the cool breeze as we steamed slowly under the great purple Traunstein. At Gmünden3 we dined at the little inn, served by ladies in gold helmets, with great silver chains round their necks. I drove on to the fall in an Einspanner. It is a miniature Schaffhausen, and the colour of the water most beautiful. On the following day an old Colonel Woodruffe and his wife took me with them to Hallstadt, where we were rowed by women in crimson petticoats down the lovely lake to the village. The scenery is magnificent - jagged mountains melting into beautiful chestnut woods which reach to the water's edge, and at the end of the lake the little town, with its picturesque wooden houses and beautiful gothic chapel. The population consists of nine hundred Roman Catholics and nine hundred Protestants, who live together most amicably. No vehicle can enter the town, for the streets are narrow gullies, with staircases from one house to another.

"My new friends left me at Hallstadt, and early next morning I was up, and in the forest, to see the Wildbach waterfall, an exquisite walk, through green glades carpeted with cyclamen and columbines, with great masses of moss-grown rock tossed about amongst the trees, and high mountains rising all around. The goats were just getting up and coming out of their sheds, ringing their little bells as they skipped about amongst the rocks, and the flowers were all glistening with dew - no human being moving, except the goatherds directing their flocks up the mountain paths. I reached the waterfall, in its wild amphitheatre of rock, before the sun, and saw the first rolling away of the morning mist, and the clear mountain torrent foaming forth in its place; while far beyond was the great snowy Dachstein.

"At nine, a little boat took me to the Gosauswang at the other end of the lake, and while I was waiting there for an Einspanner; four travellers came up, one of whom - a pleasant-looking clergyman – introduced himself as Mr. Clements, the Rector of Upton St. Leonards, and informed me that his companions were his brother, just returned from Australia, and the two young Akers of Prinknash.

"As soon as they were gone off in their boat, my little carriage came, and I had a glorious drive, up the banks of the torrent Gosau, to open mountain -pastures, backed by a magnificent range of bare rocky peaks. There is only a footpath from the 'Schmidt' to the Vorder See, set in the loveliest of forests, and backed by noble rugged peaks and snowy glaciers. The colour of the lake was indescribable, but oftenest like a rainbow seen through a prism - the purple, green, and dear blue melting into each other, and the whole transparent as crystal, showing all the bright stones and pebbles in the immense depths and reflecting all the snow-peaks beyond. When I returned to the inn, the Clements' party had arrived, and finding they were going the same way, I engaged to travel with them to Innsbruck.

"On Friday we all went again to the Vorder See, and then, taking a woodcutter as guide, scrambled on for two hours through woods and rocks to the Hinter See,4 which is like a turquoise set in the mountains.

"We returned together to Ischl, and left in a carriage next day. At the end of St. Wolfgang Lake we engaged a boat and crossed to the curious old gothic church which contains the shrine of St. Wolfgang, and his rocky bed projecting through the pavement of a chapel, upon which the peasants throw kreutzers through a grating. We did not arrive at Salzburg till dark. What a fine old town it is - but what most interested me was seeing here an old lady in black walking to church with a lady behind her. It was the Kaiserin Caroline, widow of the Emperor Francis I., grand-daughter-in-law of Maria Theresa, niece of Marie Antoinette, sister-in-law of Marie Louise!"

"Reichenhall, A ugust 26. - From Salzburg we visited the mines of Hallein, into which we descended in full miner's costume - thick white trousers, smock-frock, cap, and a leathern apron behizid. The guide gave us each a light, and marshalled us in single file through the narrow dark passages. On the summit of the first descent, we were all made to sit down upon our leathern aprons, to put our legs round each others' heads, hold a rope, and then slide off like a train into the dark abyss - alarming at first, and then very amusing. After three slides, we reached a black lake like the Styx, with lamps glittering like stars on faraway rocks. Here a boat moved by invisible hands came soundlessly gliding towards us: we stepped in, and in death-like silence, without oars or rowers, floated across the ghastly waters. On the opposite bank a wooden horse was waiting, on which we were made to sit, each behind the other, and, when we were mounted, rushed away with the speed of a whirl-wind through the dark unearthly passages. At last, what looked like a twinkling star appeared in the distance, and it gradually increased till we emerged in open daylight. It is a most extraordinary expedition, but as the. salt is all black, there is no beauty. We went on to Berchtesgaden and the Königsee and Obersee, but the wet weather only cleared enough to show us the beauties of the myrtle-green water."

It was a most wearisome journey then - two days of twelve hours in a carriage - to Innsbruck, where I parted with my companions. Hence a terrible long diligence journey of seventeen hours brought me to Botzen. The driver beguiled the way by telling me the history of his life - how when quite young he had given up smoking, and constantly put by all the money he should have spent on tobacco, in the hope of using it in revisiting Naples and the Island of Ischia, where he had been in boyhood as a soldier; but that two years before these designs had been cut short, because one day, when he returned with his diligence from Verona, he found his house burnt to the ground, and nothing saved except six silver spoons which his wife had carried off in her apron.

From Botzen I went to Meran and Trafoi, whence I walked across the Stelvio to the Baths of Bormio; but this part of the tour was not enjoyable, as my sufferings were always so great from bad weather, and hunger owing to want of money. Still less pleasant were the immense journeys afterwards by Finstermuntz and the Great Arlberg, along horrible roads and in wretched diligences, which, in these days of luxurious railway travelling, we should think perfectly unendurable. At Wesen, on the Lake of Wallenstadt, I had the happiest of meetings with my dear mother and her old servants, and vividly does the impression come back to me of the luxurious sense of rest in the first evening, and of freedom from discomfort, privation, and want.

LA MADONNA DEL SASSO, LOCARNO.5

We crossed the Bernardino to Locarno, where we were joined by mother's widowed niece, Mrs. Charles Stanley, and by her friend Miss Cole. There were many circumstances which made me see the whole of North Italy through jaundiced eyes at this time, so that Milan, Venice, and even beautiful Verona, became more associated in my mind with mental and bodily fatigue than with any pleasure.One of the happiest recollections which comes back to me is an excursion alone with my sweet mother to the old deserted convent of Chiaravalle near Milan, and the grave of the enthusiast Wilhelmina. At Venice we had much pleasure in sight-seeing with Miss Louisa Cole, and her cousins Mr. and Miss Warre, the latter of whom afterwards married Froude the historian.

At Padua we engaged two vetturino carriages, in one of which our companions travelled, and in the other my mother and I with our two old servants. The first day's journey, through the rich plain of the vintage in October, was very pleasant, meeting the immense wains and waggons laden with grapes, and the merry peasants, who delighted to give us large ripe bunches as we passed. But we had a perilous passage of the swollen Po, on which our carriage was embarked in a large boat, towed with ropes by numbers of men in smaller boats. In our long journey in our roomy excellent carriage - our home for about three weeks - we were provided with a perfect library of books, for my mother was quite of the opinion of Montaigne when he said, "Je ne voyage sans livres, n'y en paix, n'y en guerre. C'est la meilleure munition j'aye trouvé à cet humain voyage." So we studied the whole of Arnold, Gibbon, Ranke, and Milman at this time. The slower the mode of travel, the greater its variety. In the middle of the day the vetturini rested often in some picturesque town, where there were churches, convents, and pictures to sketch or visit; sometimes in quiet country inns, near which we wandered in country lanes, and collected the wild-flowers of the district. How vividly the recollections of these quiet weeks come back to me of the charm of our studies and the weekly examination upon them: of the novel which my mother and I used afterwards to tell each other alternately, in which the good characters lived at a place called "Holmhurst," but somehow contrived to have always some link with the scenes through which we were travelling: of our early luncheon of bread and preserved apricots: of our arrival in the evenings at rooms which had always a wholesome barn-like smell, from the fresh straw under the carpets: of the children, who scampered along by the sides of the carriage calling out "Tà-tà" - as short for Carità: of my mother screaming at Ferrara as she ran away from a white spectral figure, with eyes gleaming out of holes in a peaked hood and rattling a money-box - a figure to which we became well accustomed afterwards as a Frate della Misericordia: of the great castle of Ferrara, whose picturesque outlines seemed so strangely familiar till I recollected where I had seen them - at the bottom of willow-patterned washing-basins.

IN S APOLLINARE NUOVO, RAVENNA.6

Ravenna was at this time reached by a wearisome journey through marshy flats overgrown by a dark-berried plant much used in the making of dye: we afterwards imported it to Hurstmonceaux. The Stanleys, whom we seldom contradicted, had greatly opposed our going thither, so that our journey to Ravenna had the charm of eating forbidden fruit; but I was able to silence their angry reproaches afterwards for having "taken my mother into so unhealthy a climate" by finding in Gibbon the remark that Ravenna, though situated in the midst of foetid marshes, possesses one of the most salubrious climates in Italy! My mother was even more enchanted with the wonderful old city than myself, .especially with the peerage of martyrs in the long palm-bearing procession in the mosaics of S. Apollinare Nuovo, and with the exquisite and ever-varied loveliness of the Pineta.

Deeply interesting was the historical journey afterwards along the shores of the Adriatic - the sunset on the Metaurus - the proud ruins of Roman Rimini, where also we went to see the soft lustrous picture known as "the winking Virgin," and accidentally met the father of the painter in the church - the Rubicon and Pesaro; Sinigaglia and Fano; and the exquisitely beautiful approach to Ancona, with the town climbing up the steep headland crowned by the cathedral, and the blue sea covered with shipping. In many ways Ancona has always seemed to me more beautiful than Naples. I have seen much of all these towns since, but there is nothing now like the halcyon days of vetturino travelling, with the abundant time for seeing and digesting everything, and the quiet regular progression, without fuss or fatigue, or anything to mar mental impressions.

From Ancona we went to Loreto, a lovely drive then, through ranges of hills, sweeping one behind another like files of an advancing army, and crested sometimes by the picturesque roofs, domes, and towers of an old town; sometimes clothed to their summits with olives and pines, vineyards and mulberry-gardens. Here and there a decayed villa stood by the roadside in its overgrown garden, huge aloes and tall cypresses rising from its tangled grass and periwinkles. Very lovely was the ascent to Osimo, thronged with the students of the old university town in their black cloaks, amongst whom was the Cardinal-bishop, going for a walk in crimson stockings, sash, and gloves, with two footmen in cocked hats strutting behind him.

LORETO.7

Nothing can be grander than the situation of Loreto, and the views from it over the surrounding country - the walls overlooking a wide sea-view as well. A building like a huge castle, with massive semicircular towers, dominates the town, and is the fortress which guards the holy of holies - the Santa Casa. We were called at five. to go to the church. It was still pitch dark, but many pilgrims had already arrived, and waited with us in a corridor till the doors were opened. The scene inside was most singular - the huge expanse quite dark, except where a blaze of light under the dome illuminated the marble casing of the Santa Casa, or where a solitary lamp permitted a picture or an image to loom out of the chaos. The great mass of pilgrims knelt together before the shrine, but here and there a desolate figure, with arms outstretched in agonising prayer, threw a long weird shadow down the pavement of the nave, while others were crawling on hands and knees round the side walls of the house, occasionally licking up the sacred dust with their tongues, which left a bloody trail upon the floor. At either door of the House, the lamplight flashed upon the drawn sword of a soldier, keeping guard to prevent too many people pressing in together, as they ceaselessly passed in single file upon their knees, to gaze for a few seconds upon the rugged walls of unplastered brick, blackened with soot, which they believed to be the veritable walls of the cottage at Nazareth. Here, in strange contrast, the negress statue, attributed to St. Luke, gleams in a mass of diamonds. At the west end of the House was the window by which the angel entered! The collection of jewels and robes in the sacristy was enormous, though the priests lamented bitterly to us over the ravages of the Revolution, and that now the Virgin had only wardrobe sufficient to allow of her changing her dress once instead of three times every day of the year.

We travelled afterwards through a country seldom visited now - by hill-set Macerata and Recanati, and picturesque Tolentino with its relics of S Nicolas, into the central Apennines, where Sabbatarianism doomed us to spend a most miserable Sunday at the unspeakably wretched inn of La Muccia. From Foligno we made an excursion to Assisi, then filled with troops of stately Franciscan monks all "fossidenti;" and by the Clitumnus temple, Spoleto, and Narni to Terni. At Civita Castellana the famous robber chief Gasparoni was imprisoned at this time, this year being the thirty-third of his imprisonment. Miss Cole and I obtained an order to visit him and his band, tall gaunt forms in a large room in the casfie. The chieftain had a long white beard: we bought a little knitted cap of his workmanship. There was a ghastly sensation in being alone for a few minutes with this gang of men, who had all been murderers, and mostly murderers of many.

MACERATA.8

Breathlessly interesting was the first approach to Rome - the characteristic scenery of the Campagna, with its tufa quarries, and its crumbling towers and tombs rising amidst the withered thistles and asphodels; its strange herds of buffaloes; then the faint grey dome rising over the low hills, and the unspoken knowledge about it, which was almost too much for words; lastly, the miserable suburb and the great Piazza del Popolo.

I never shall forget the ecstasy of awaking the next morning in the Hotel d'Angleterre, and feeling that the longed-for desire of many years was realised. We engaged apartments in the upper floor of the Palazzo Lovati in the Piazza del Popolo - cold dreary rooms enough, but from my mother's bedroom there was a lovely view to St. Peter's across the meadows of S. Angelo.

CIVITA CASTELLANA9

Naturally one of my first visits was to Mrs. Hare and my sister, whom I found established in the first floor of the Palazzo Parisani, which occupies two sides of the little Piazza S. Claudio, a dismal little square, but which my sister regarded with idolatry, asserting that there was no house half so delightful as the Palazzo Parisani, no view which could be compared in interest to that of the Piazza S. Claudio. Making acquaintance with my sister at this time was to me like the perpetual reading of an engrossing romance, for nobody ever was more amusing, no one ever had more power of throwing an interest into the commonest things of life. She did not colour her descriptions, but she saw life through a prism, and imparted its rays to others. Her manner, her dress, all her surroundings were poetical. If one went to dine with her, the dinner was much the same as we had at home, but some picturesquely hung grapes, or a stalk of finocchio, or some half-opened pomegranates, gave the table an air which made it all seem quite different.

"Italima" liked my coming and going, and was very angry if I did not come, though she never professed any maternal affection for me. I often found myself in difficulties between my two mothers. My adopted mother would sometimes take an alarm that I was going too often to Italima, and would demand my presence just on the particular occasion when "Italima" had counted upon it; in which case I always gave way to her. And indeed, as a rule, I always spent all my time with my mother, except about two evenings in the week, when I went to Italima and the Palazzo Parisani. On rare occasions, also, I went out "into the world" with Italima and my sister, to balls at the Palazzo Borghese, and at the Palazzo di Spagna, where old Queen Christina of Spain was then living, an interesting historic figure to me as the sister of the Duchesse de Bern and great-niece of Marie Antoinette. She was very hospitable, and her parties, approached through an avenue of silver candelabra representing palm-trees - spoils from the Spanish convents - were exceedingly magnificent. At her suppers on Fridays, one side of the room was laid for "maigre," the other for "gras," and when the doors were opened, there was a general scrimmage to reach the delicious viands on the "maigre" table. After each of her receptions, it was the rule that five cards should be left by each guest - for herself, for her husband the Duc de Rianzares (who had been a common soldier), for her master of the household, for her equerry, and for her lady-in-waiting. The principal balls were those given by Princess Borghese, at which many cardinals were present, but would sit down to whist in a room apart from the dancers. A great feature of the Borghese parties at this time was the Princess-mother, who always sat in a conspicuous place in the anteroom, and to whom. all the guests were expected to pay their court. By birth she was Adèle de la Rochefoucauld, and she was the mother of three princes - Marc-Antonio Borghese, Aldobrandini, and Salviati. She was "sage, souple, et avide des biens," as Voltaire says of Mazarin, and it was she who - probably most unjustly - had then the reputation of having poisoned the beautiful Princess Guendolina, first wife of Marc-Antonio, with all her sons, in order that her own son might marry her niece, Thérèse10 de la Rochefoucauld, which he afterwards did. A conspicuous figure was the beautiful young Princess del Drago, one of the daughters of Queen Christina's second marriage, whose husband had a most fiendish face. I often saw the blind Duke of Sermoneta, celebrated for his knowledge of Dante, and his witty canonical brother, Don Filippo Caiëtani, generally known as "Don Pippo." The then Duchess of Sermoneta was "Margherita," née Miss Knight, a most ghastly and solemn woman to outsiders, but much beloved by those who knew her intimately.

The Prince of Piombino, who lived in exile or seclusion after the change of government in Rome, was then flourishing in his immense palace in the Corso, and his children, then young married people, were the life of all the parties. Of these, Rudolfo, Duke of Sora, had married the saint-like Agnese, only surviving child of Donna Guendolina Borghese, who was supposed only by absence to have escaped the fate of her mother and brothers. Of his sisters, Donna Carolina was the clever, brilliant Princess Pallavicini, and Donna Giulia had married the Duke of Fiano, who lived in the neighbouring palace, and by marrying her had broken the heart of Mademoiselle Judith Falconnet.11

One of the Romans whom I saw most frequently was the Princess Santa Croce, living in the old historical palace which has the reputation of being the only haunted house in Rome, where two statues of cardinals come down from their pedestals and rattle their marble trains up and down the long galleries. The Princess was one of the daughters of Mr. Scully in Ireland. He had three, of whom two were beautiful, clever, and brilliant, but the third was uninteresting. The two elder Miss Scullys went out into the world, and were greatly admired and much made of; but the youngest stayed at home like Cinderella, and was never known at all except as "the Miss Scullys' younger sister." Many people wished to marry the elder Miss Scullys; but they said "No, for we have a presentiment that we are to marry dukes, and therefore we will wait." But no dukes came forward, and at length old Mr. Scully died, leaving his daughters three great fortunes; and being Roman Catholics, without any particular call or claim, they determined to visit Rome before they settled in life. They took many introductions with them, and on their arrival the good looks, cleverness, and wealth of the elder sisters created quite a sensation; but people asked them, Roman-fashion, "what was their vocation," for in Rome all Catholic ladies are expected to have decided this. Then they said they had never thought of it, and they went to spend a week in the convent of the Trinità de' Monti to consider it. When the day came on which the three Miss Scullys were to declare their vocation, all Rome was interested, and the "great world" thronged the parlours of the Trinità de' Monti to hear it; but the expectants were petrified when the two elder Miss Scullys came out, for they had found their vocation, and it was a convent! No doubt whatever was felt about the youngest "of course she would follow her sisters." But no; she had found her vocation, and it was marriage! and the youngest Miss Scully, additionally enriched by half the fortunes of her two elder sisters, went out into the world, and in three weeks she had accepted the great Roman Prince of Santa Croce, who claims descent from Valerius Publicola. I often used to watch with interest the Princess Santa Croce, who went to confess and pray at the convent of the Villa Lante (which Roman princesses are wont to frequent), for the two portresses who opened the doors were her two elder sisters, the proud Miss Scullys: it was the story of Cinderella in real life. I was at Rome years afterwards (1864) when the Princess Santa Croce died. All the princesses lie in state after death, but by old custom, the higher their rank, the lower they must lie, and the Princess Santa Croce was of such excessively high rank, that she lay upon the bare boards.

I think that it was towards the middle of our stay in Rome that I received a summons to a private audience of Pius IX. Italima and my sister went with me. We went in evening dress to the Vatican in the middle of the day, and were shown into a gallery where a number of Monsignori were standing. Amongst them was Monsignore Talbot, who asked me if I did not feel very much agitated. I said "No," and he answered, "But every one must be agitated when they are about to stand in the presence of the Vicar of Christ." - and at that moment he drew aside a portière, and we found ourselves at one end of a long hall, at the other end of which a sturdy figure with a beneficent face, in what looked like a white dressing-gown, was standing leaning his hand upon a table: it was Pius IX. We had been told beforehand that, as we had asked for a private audience, we must perform all the genuflections, three at the doorway, three in the middle of the room, and three at the feet of the Pope, and the same in returning; and . Italima had declared that the thought of this made her so nervous that we must do all the talking. But Italima had often been to the Pope before, and she was so active and agile, that by the time my sister and I got up from the third genuflection in the doorway, she was already curvetting in the centre of the hall, and we heard the beautiful voice of the Pope, like a silver bell, say, "E come sta Ia figlia mia - e come sta la cara figlia mia," and by the time we were in the middle of the apartment she was already at the feet of the Pope. Eventually my sister and I arrived, and flung ourselves down, one on each side of Italima, at the feet of the Pope, who gave us his ring to kiss, and his foot, or rather a great raised gold cross upon his white slipper. "E questa la figlia?" he said, pointing to my sister, "Si, Sua Santità," said Italima. "Ed e questo il figlio?" he said, turning to me. "Si, Sua Santità," said Italima. Then my sister, who thought it was a golden opportunity which she would never have again, and which was not to be lost, broke through all the rules of etiquette, and called out from the other side of the dais, clasping her hands, "Ma, Sua Santità, il mio fratello e stato Protestant."

Then the Pope turned to me and spoke of the great privilege and blessing of being a Catholic, but said that from what he had heard of me he felt that I did not deserve that privilege, and that therefore he could not wish that I should enjoy its blessings. He said much more, and then that, before I left, I should make him a "piccolo piccolino promessino" (the least little bit of a promise in the world), and that I should remember all my life that I had made it at the feet of Pius IX. I said that I should wish to do whatever Sua Santità desired, but that before I engaged to make a promise I should like to know what the promise was to be about. "Oh," said the Pope, smiling, "it is nothing so very difficult; it is only something which a priest in your own Church might ask: it is that you will say the Lord's Prayer every morning and evening." "Yes," I replied, "I shall be delighted to make Sua Santità the promise; but perhaps Sua Santità is not aware that the practice is not unusual in the Church of England." Then, almost severely for one so gentle, the Pope said, "You seem to think the promise a light one; I think it a very serious one; in fact, I think it so serious, that I will only ask you to promise to use one petition - 'Fiat voluntas tua, O Deus, in terris ut in coelo,' and remember that you have promised that at the feet of Pius IX." Then he blended his farewell very touchingly into a beautiful prayer and blessing ; he blessed the things - rosaries, &c. - which my sister had brought with her; he again gave us his ring and the cross on his foot to kiss, and while he rang the little bell at his side, we found our way out backwards - quite a geometrical problem with nine genuflections to be made on the way.

I was often in the convent of the Tnnita' when I was at Rome in 1857, for visitors are allowed there at certain hours, and a great friend of my sister's, Adèle, Madame Davi.doff, was then in the convent, having been sent to Rome on an especial mission to the Pope on matters connected with the French convents of the Sacré Cœur. Madame Davidoff ("Madame" only "in religion," as "a spouse of Christ") was daughter of the Maréchale Sebastiani, the stepmother of the murdered Duchesse de Praslin, and was grand-daughter of the Duchesse de Grammont, who founded the Sacré Cœur. Her own life had been very romantic. One winter there was a very handsome young Count Schouvaloff in Rome, whom my sister knew very well. She had been one day in the convent, and Madame Davidoff had accompanied her to the outer door, and was standing engrossed with last words, leaning against the green baize door leading into the church. Suddenly a man appeared, coming through the inner door of the convent, evidently from visiting the Abbess. "Mais c'est le Comte Schouvaloff!" said Madame Davidoff to my sister, and pushing the baize door behind her, suddenly disappeared into the church, while Schouvaloff seeing her suddenly vanish, rushed forward to my sister exclaiming, "Oh, c'est elle - c'est elle! Oh, mon Adèle, mon Adèle!" He had been on the eve of marriage with her, when she had thought herself suddenly seized by a conventual vocation, had taken the veil, and he had never seen her since. The next day Count Schouvaloff left Rome. He went into retreat for some time at the Certosa of Pavia, where total silence is the rule of daily life. He took orders, and in a few years, having a wonderful gift for preaching, was sent on a mission to Paris but the shock of returning to the scenes of his old life was too much for him, and in a few days after reaching Paris he died.

When I knew Madame Davidoff, she still possessed an extraordinary charm of conversation and manner, and the most exuberant eloquence of any person I have ever seen. Her one object was conversion to the Roman Catholic faith, and into that she threw all her energies, all her charm and wit, and even her affections. Her memory was as prodigious as that of Macaulay, and she knew all the controversial portions of the great Catholic writers by heart. What was more extraordinary still was, that having many "cases" going on at the same time (for people used to go to visit her and sit round her anteroom like patients at a fashionable dentist's), she never confounded one with another in her mind, never lost time, and always went on exactly where she left off. But her love of ruling made Madame Davidoff less popular within the walls of her convent than with the outside world; and after her return to Paris, the means which she often took to attain the ends to which she devoted her life brought such trouble to the convent of the Sacré Cœur, that the nuns refused to keep her amongst them, and she afterwards lived in the world, giving frequent anxiety to her sister, the Marquise de Gabriac, and to Lord Tankerville and Lady Malmesbury, her cousins. During my first visit at Rome, I saw Madame Davidoff often, and, after a courteous expression of regret that I was sure to be eternally damned, she would do her best to convert me. I believe my dear mother underwent great qualms on my visits to her. But her religious unscrupulousness soon alienated me, and I had a final rupture with her upon her urging me to become a Roman Catholic secretly, and to conceal it from my adopted mother as long as she lived. Other Roman Catholics who made a vehement effort for my perversion were Monsignor Talbot and Monsignor Howard, the latter of whom I had known as a very handsome dashing young guardsman a few years before, but who afterwards became a Cardinal. There was a most ridiculous scene when they came to the Palazzo Lovati, where Monsignor Howard made so violent a harangue against Protestantism that Monsignor Talbot was obliged to apologise for him. Roman Catholics with whom we were intimate from circumstances were the ex-Jew Mr. Goldsmid and his wife. Mr. Goldsmid had been converted by the Père Ratisbon, whose own conversion was attributed partially to the image of the Virgin in the Church of Andrea delle Fratte, and partly to the prayers of M. de la Ferronays, which are believed to have endowed the image with speech.

A really excellent Roman Catholic priest of whom I saw much was Monsignor Pellerin, Bishop in Cochin-China. His conversation was liberal and beautiful, and he had the simplicity of a mediæval saint. He was at that time about to return to China, with a great probability of martyrdom. On his last day in Rome he celebrated mass in the Catacombs in the Chapel of Santa Cecilia, a most touching sight even to those who were not of his faith. On taking leave, he gave me a small silver crucifix, which I treasured for a long time, then it disappeared: I always thought that Lea made away with it, in the fear that it might make me a Roman Catholic. l heard of the close of Monsignor Pellerin's self-sacrificing life in China several years later.

Amongst the English we had many pleasant friends, especially the George Cavendishes and the Greene Wilkinsons, who had a great fortune left to them for opening a pew-door to an old gentleman: it used to be said that they ought to take "Pro Pudor" as their motto.

But no notice of our familiar society at Rome can be complete which does not speak of "Auntie" - Miss Paul - the sister of "Italima," who lived her own life apart in two rooms in a corner of the Parisani Palace, where she saw and observed everything, and was very ready to make her quaint original remarks upon what she had observed when she joined the rest of the family, which was only in the evenings. I never saw "Auntie" otherwise than desperately busy, sometimes with immense rolls of embroidery, sometimes with charcoal-drawing, often with extraordinary and most incomprehensible schemes for recovering the very large fortune she had once possessed, and which she had lost in "the Paul Bankruptcy." Italima was not at all kind to her, but this did not affect her in the least: she went her own way, and when she was most soundly abused, it only seemed to amuse her. My sister she absolutely adored, and then and afterwards used to think it perfect happiness to sit and watch her for hours, not being able to hear a word she said on account of her deafness. I was exceedingly fond of "Auntie," and used to delight to escape from the ungenial atmosphere of Italima's great drawing-room to the busy little den in the corner of the palace, where I was always a welcome visitor, and always found something amusing going on.

When we arrived in Rome, my sister Esmeralda was supposed to be partially engaged to Don Emilio Rignano, eldest son of the Duke Massimo, whom she had known well from childhood. Emilio at one time passed every evening at the Palazzo Parisani; but during this winter Donna Teresa Doria appeared in the world, and the old Duchess Massimo, who hated Anglo-Roman alliances, by a clever scheme soon compelled her son to consent to an engagement with her. Having learnt this, Esmeralda refused ever to receive Emilio again. On the day before his marriage, however, he found her in the Church of S. Claudio, and tried to make her marry him at once by the easy Roman form, "Ecco il mio marito - Ecco la mia moglie," but she would not listen to him. Then, when she drove to the Villa Borghese, he pursued the carriage, regardless of the people in the street. His hat fell off, but he would not stop: he seemed to have lost his senses.

At a marriage in high life in Rome, the guests are often asked, not to the actual ceremony, but to St. Peter's afterwards, to see the bridal pair kiss the foot of the famous statue. When the Duke and Duchess Rignano entered St. Peter's, they were piteous to see: they would not look at each other. Old Lady Rolle was there, standing by the statue, and when they came near she said audibly, "What a wicked scene! what a sinful marriage!" And Emilio heard her, gave her one look of agony, and flung himself down on the pavement in front of the statue.

As Duchess Rignano, Teresa Doria was wretched. We saw her afterwards at Genoa, in the old Doria Palace, with her mother, whose death was hastened by the sight of her daughter's woe and her own disappointed ambition. Before long the Duchess Teresa was separated from her husband. Her tragical fate was a good thing for her sisters the second sister, Guendolina, made a happy marriage with the Conte di Somaglia in the Marchi, and the youngest, Olimpia, was allowed to remain long unmarried. This last daughter of the house of Doria was described by her mother as so very small when she was born, that they swathed her in flannel and laid her in the sun, in the hope that it would make her grow like a plant. I was one day at the house of Mrs. de Selby, cousin of Princess Doria, when her servant threw open the door and announced in a stentorian voice, allo Romano - "La sua Eccellenza l'illustrissima Principessina la Donna Olimpia di Doria," - and there marched in a stately little maiden of eight years old!

Cardinal Antonelli obtained an order for my sister and me to visit the Madre Makrina, the sole survivor of the Polish nuns who were martyred for their faith in the terrible persecution at Minsk. The nuns were starved, flogged to death, buried alive, subjected to the most horrible cruelties. Three escaped and reached Vienna, where two of them disappeared and never were heard of again. After a series of unparalleled adventures and escapes, the Abbess, the Madre Makrina, arrived in Rome. Pope Gregory XVI. received her kindly, but made her tell her whole story once for all in the presence of sixty witnesses, who all wrote it down at once to ensure accuracy, and then he shut her up, for fear she should be turned into a saint and object of pilgrimage. It was not generally known what had become of the Madre Makrina - it was a mystery in Rome - but we were able to trace her to the tiny convent of the Monacche Polacche, which has since been destroyed by the Sardinian Government, but which then stood near the Arch of Gallienus, nearly opposite the Church of S. Eusebio. Italima wished to go with us, but we could only obtain an order for two. When we rang the convent bell and had shown our permit through the grille, a portress from within drew a bolt which admitted us to a little room - den rather - barred with iron, and with an iron cage at one side, behind which the portress, a very fat old woman, reappearing, asked us many questions about ourselves, the Pope, the state of Rome generally. At last we got tired and said, "But shall we not soon see the Madre Makrina?" - "Io sono la Madre Makrina," said the old woman, laughing. Then we said, "Oh, do tell us the story of Minsk." - "No," she replied, "I promised at the feet of Pope Gregory XVI. that I would never tell that story again: the story is written down, you can read it, but I cannot break my promise." - "How dreadfully you must have suffered at Minsk," we said. "Yes," she answered, and, going backwards, she pulled up her petticoats and showed us her legs, which were enormously fat, yet, a short distance above the ankles, were quite eaten away, so that you could see the bones. "This" she said, "was caused by the chains I wore at Minsk." The Madre Makrina, when we took leave, said, "I am filled with wonder as to how you got admittance. I have never seen any one before since I came here, and I do not suppose I shall ever see any one again, so I will give you a little memorial of your visit!" and she gave me a tiny crucifix and medal off her chain. I have it still.

When the Emperor Nicholas came to Rome, he went to pay his respects to the Pope, who received him very coldly. "You are a great king," said Pius IX. "You are one of the mightiest monarchs in the world, and I am a feeble old man, the servant of servants; but I cite you to meet me again, to meet me before the throne of the Judge of the world, and to answer there for your treatment of the nuns at Minsk."

But of the gathering up of reminiscences of Roman life there is no end, and, after all, my normal life was a quiet one with my mother, driving with her, sketching with her, sitting with her in the studio of the venerable Canevari,12 who was doing her portrait, spending afternoons with her in the Medici gardens, in the beautiful Villa Wolkonski, or in the quiet valley near the grove and grotto of Egeria.

In the mornings we generally walked on the Pincio, and there often noticed a family of father, mother, and daughter working on the terrace, as the custom then was, at rope-making. One day a carriage passed and re-passed with a solitary gentleman in it, who at last, as if he could no longer restrain himsell, jumped out and rushed towards the group exclaiming, "C'est elle! c'est elle!" Then he became embarrassed, retired, and eventually sent his servant to beg that the mother would bring some of her cord to his house the next morning. She obeyed, and on entering his apartment was struck at once by a portrait on the wall. "That is the picture of my daughter," she said. "No," he replied, "that is the portrait of my dead wife." He then proceeded to say that he must from that time consider himself affianced to her daughter, for that in her he seemed to see again his lost wife, and he insisted on establishing the old woman and her daughter in comfortable lodgings, and hiring all kinds of masters for the latter, saying that he would go away and leave her to her studies, and that in a year he should come back to marry her, which he did. In England this would be a very extraordinary story, but it was not thought much of at Rome.

VALMONTONE.13

I have always found that the interests of Rome have a more adhesive power than those of any other place, and that it is more difficult to detach oneself from them; and even in this first winter, which was the least pleasant I have spent there - the conflicting requirements of my two mothers causing no small difficulty - I was greatly distressed when my mother, in her terror of Madame Davidoff and Co., decided that we must leave for Naples on the twenty-third of February. What an unpleasant companion I was as we drove out of the Porta S. Giovanni in the large carriage of the vetturino Constantino, with - after the custom of that time - a black Spitz sitting on the luggage behind to guard it, which he did most efficaciously. I remember with a mental shiver how piteously the wind howled over the parched Campagna, and how the ruins looked almost frightful in the drab light of a sunless winter morning. But though the cold was most intense, for the season really was too early for such a journey, our spirits were revived by the extreme picturesqueness of the old towns we passed through. In Valmontone, where the huge Doria palace is, we met a ghastly funeral, an old woman carried by the Frati della Misericordia on an open bier, her withered head nodding to and fro with the motion, and priests - as Lea said - gibbering before her." Here, from the broad deserted terrace in front of the palace, we looked over the mountains, with mists drifting across them in the wind; all was the essence of picturesqueness, raggedness, ignorance, and filth. By Frosinone and Ceprano - then the dreary scene of the Neapolitan custom-house - we reached San Germano, where the inn was in those days most wretched. In our rooms we were not only exposed to every wind that blew, but to the invasions of little Marianina, Joannina, and Nicolina, who darted in every minute to look at us, and to the hens, who walked about and laid their eggs under the bed and table. Most intensely, however, did we delight in the beauties of the glorious ascent to Monte Cassino and in all that we saw there.

How well I remember the extreme wretchedness of our mid-day halting-places in the after journey to Capua, and wonder how the pampered Italian travellers of the present day would put up with them; but in those days we did not mind, and till it was time to go on again, we drew the line of old crones sitting miserably against the inn wall, rocking themselves to and fro in their coloured hoods, and cursing us in a chorus of

"Ah, vi pigli un accidente
Voi che non date niente,"

if we did not give them anything.

ROCCA JANULA, ABOVE SAN GERMANO.14

While we were at Naples, every one was full of the terrible earthquake which in December had been devastating the Basilicata. Whole towns were destroyed. It was as after a deep snow in England, which covers fields and hedges alike; you could not tell in the mass of débris whether you were walking over houses or streets. The inhabitants who escaped were utterly paralysed, and sat like Indian Brahmins with their elbows on their knees, staring in vacant despair. Hundreds were buried alive, who might have been extricated if sufficient energy had been left in the survivors. Others, buried to the middle, had the upper part of their bodies burnt off by the fire which spread from the ruined houses, and from which they were unable to escape. Thousands died afterwards from the hunger and exposure.

Whilst we were at Naples my mother lost her gold watch. We believed it to have been stolen as we were entering the Museo Borbonico, and gave notice to the police. They said they could do nothing unless we went to the King of the Thieves, who could easily get it back for us: it would be necessary to make terms with him. So a ragazaccio15 was sent to guide us through one of the labyrinthian alleys on the hill of St. Elmo to a house where we were presented to the King of Thieves. He mentioned his terms, which we agreed to, and he then said, "If the watch has been stolen anywhere within twelve miles round Naples, you shall have it in twenty-four hours." Meanwhile the watch was found by one of the custodes of the Museo at the bottom of that bronze vase in which you are supposed to hear the roaring of the sea; my mother had been stooping down to listen, and the watch had fallen in. But the story is worth mentioning, .as the subserviency of the police to the King of the Thieves was characteristic of public justice under Ferdinand II.

To MY SISTER.

"Sorrento, March 7, 1858. - Some people say Sorrento is the most beautiful place in the world, and I believe that even my town-loving sister, if she could gaze over the golden woods in the sunset of this evening, and see the crimson smoke float over dark Vesuvius and then drift far over the blue sea, would allow it to be more inspiring than the Piazza S. Claudio! Then to-day the mother and her three companions have been riding on donkeys to the lovely Vigna Sersale through a fringe of coronilla and myrtle, anemones and violets. . . . It is a comfort here to be free from the begging atmosphere of Naples, for in Sorrento people do not beg; they only propose 'mangiare maccaroni alla sua salute.'"

CAPRI.16

"April 4. - We have had a charming cruise in the 'Centaur' - the sea like glass, the view clear. Captain Clifford sent his boat to fetch us, and we sat on deck in arm-chairs, as if on land. In tiny fishing-boats, lying flat on our backs, we entered the Grotta Azurra (of Capri), like a magical cavern peopled with phantoms, each face looking livid as the boats floated over the deep blue water. Then we scrambled up to the fortress-palace of Tiberius, our ascent being enlivened by a tremendous battle between the midshipmen and the donkey-women, who finally drew their stilettos!

"Amalfi is most romantic and lovely. We were there ten days, and spent the mornings in drawing amongst the purple rocks and sandy bays, and the afternoons in riding up the mountain staircases to the Saracenic rock-built castles and desolate towns.

"The mother thinks I have grown dreadfully worldly under your influence, and that my love for wild-flowers is the only hopeful sign remaining!"

PÆSTUM.17

From Salerno we made a glorious expedition to Pæstum, but on our return found our servant, John Gidman, alarmingly ill in conseqence of a sunstroke while fallen asleep on the balcony at Amalfi. His sufferings were dreadful, and he remained between life and death for a long time, and I believe was only eventually saved by the violent bleedings (so often inveighed against) of an Italian doctor. This delayed us long at the dull Salerno, and afterwards at La Cava, where I comforted mysdf by much drawing at Salvator Rosa's grotto in the valley below the old Benedictine convent.

In May our companions returned to England, and having no one but ourselves to consider, we planned to make our own northern vetturino journey as interesting as possible. I think it was a description in "Dennis" which made us take the route by Viterbo and Orvieto, but we went there and saw it with enthusiasm, as afterwards Perugia - to which we zigzagged back across the Apennines, and Cortona, where the hill was redolent with great wild yellow roses, and where I drew the tomb of S. Margherita in the monastery, to the great delight of the monks, who regaled us with snuff and wine.

Whilst we were at Florence, living in the Casa Iandelli, I made a delightful excursion to Vallombrosa, driving in a little carriage to Pelago, and thence riding on a cart-horse up the forest-clothed mountain by the rough track which emerges on a bright green lawn, then covered with masses of lilies and columbine, and other spring flowers of every description. All around the dark forests swept down from the mountains towards the convent, where the hospitable monks entertained me with a most excellent dinner, and the abbot showed the manuscripts.

VALLOMBROSA.

On my return, I found my mother so convulsed with laughter that it was long before she was able to explain the cause of it. At last she showed me a letter in her hand, which was a violent declaration of love and proposal of marriage from one Giorgio Rovert - "bello – possidente - avocato" - who was even then waiting at Siena to know if his "fiamme d'amore" was responded to, and if he might hasten to Florence to throw himself at the feet of the object of his adoration. For some time we were utterly bewildered, but at length recollected that at Rome a young man had constantly followed the cousin who was with us, had lifted the heavy curtains for her at the entrance of the churches, found her places in a mass-book, &c., and we concluded that he must have tracked her to the Palazzo Lovati, inquired of the porter who lived there, and hearing it was "Mrs. Hare," had followed us to Florence. Lady Anne S. Giorgio coming in soon after to see us, undertook to answer the letter, and did so most capitally; but Giorgio Rovert did not break his heart, and within three weeks we heard of him as proposing to old Lady Dillon!

The Lady Anne S. Giorgio I have mentioned began at this time to fill a great part in our life. She was a Roman Catholic, and used to say that she had become so (at sixteen) on account of the poor apology which she found made for Protestantism in Robertson's "Charles V.," which she had been reading. After she was a widow, she became a member of a Tertiary Order which binds its votaries to forsake the vanities of the world, to wear a cross, and be dressed in black. She used to be very anxious for my conversion, and have special prayers to that intent on St. Augustine's Day. She read through Madame de Sévigné every year, and her library of books excited the astonishment of her poorer neighbours, who said, "O la Contessa e tanto buona; legge sempre; prega sempre; e tanto buona," for they cannot understand any one reading anything but religious books.

Lady Anne was one of the daughters of that beautiful Lady Oxford whose offspring were named "the Harleian Miscellany." Lady Oxford lived at Genoa with her daughters, leaving Lord Oxford in England, and during her Italian life had many strange adventures, and one of a most terrible kind, the story of which was related to me by Dr. Wellesley, who was present at the time, but I will omit it. Of the weird stories of the other sisters I will say nothing, but Lady Anne in her youth was engaged to a young Italian, who, with the ugly name of Boggi, was yet of a very good family. However, before they could be married, Boggi died, and the Harleys returned to England. While there, Lady Anne wished to marry her music-master, but her family would not hear of it, and by the harshness of their opposition made her life miserable. Having striven vainly for some years to win the consent of her family, Lady Anne wrote to Madame Boggi, the mother of her late betrothed, with whom she had always kept up a communication, to say that she was in wretched health and spirits, that she required change terribly, and that she was very unhappy because her family violently opposed her marriage with a very excellent young Italian - but she did not say who he was. Madame Boggi replied by saying that nothing could give her greater happiness than having her dearest Annie with her, and imploring her to come out to her at once. The Harley family consented, thinking that the change might cure Lady Anne's heartache, and she went out to Madame Boggi, who had always said that she looked upon her as a daughter because she was once engaged to her dead son.

While Lady Anne was with Madame Boggi, she heard that her Italian lover had returned to Italy to join his friends, but that he had been stopped by illness at some place in the north of Italy, and was lying in a very critical condition. I cannot say how Lady Anne persuaded Madame Boggi, but she did persuade her to consent to her going off to nurse her lover, and, unmarried girl as she was, she nursed him through all his illness. He died, but his brother, who came to him when he was dying, was so touched by Lady Anne's devotion, that he afterwards proposed to her, and she married him.

The husband of Lady Anne was only a "cavaliere." They were dreadfully poor, and lived at a little farm somewhere in the hills above Spezia where two boys and a girl were born. But Lady Anne did not mind poverty; she fattened her chickens and pigs for market, she studied botany and all the ologies by herself, and she taught her children. After she became a widow, she heard one day that her father, Lord Oxford, from whom she had been separated from childhood, was passing through Italy, and she threw herself in his way upon the staircase in the inn at Sarzana. When he found who she was, he was delighted both with her and her children. He said, "I have done nothing for: you hitherto, and I can do nothing for you after my death, for my affairs are arranged and they cannot be altered; but whatever you ask me to do now shall be granted." "Then," said Lady Anne, "you have always looked down upon me and despised me, because my husband was a simple 'cavaliere.' You are going to Rome: get me created a Countess in my own right, and then you will despise me no more. And Lord Oxford went to Rome, and, by his personal influence with the Pope, to whom he had great opportunities of being useful, his daughter Anne was created a Countess in her own right, and her sons became titular Counts and her daughter a Countess.

It was in this summer of 1858, while we were at Florence, that Lady Anne came to "Italima" (for she had known my father intimately in her palmy days) and said, "You know how I have lived like a hermit in my 'tenuto,' and meanwhile here is Carolina grown up, and Carolina must marry somebody, and that somebody you must find, for you are almost the only person I know." And, to her surprise, Italima was able to answer, "It is really very odd, but Mrs. de Selby, the cousin of the Princesses Doria and Borghese, was here this morning, and she said, 'Here is Roberto, and I want to find somebody for him to marry. I do not want a fortune, we have plenty of money, but it must be a girl of good family,. and if she is partly English so much the better,'"

We went to the betrothal dinner of Robert selby and Carolina di S. Giorgio, and afterwards we ran about the Torrigiani gardens in the still summer evening, and made round our straw hats wreaths of the fireflies, which, when they are once fixed, seldom fly away. Carolina was afterwards a great friend of ours, and most entertaining and clever. She could imitate an old priest scolding and taking snuff so exactly, that if you shut your eyes you thought one must be in the room; and she used to create for herself little dramas and tragedies, in which she was as pathetic as she was at other times comic. As a mother she was most unfortunate. Several of her children were poisoned by eating "fungi" at a trattoria outside the Porta del Popolo, and she herself nearly died from the same cause. After Robert Selby's death she married again, and went to live at Leghorn.

I was very sorry afterwards that during this visit we never saw Mrs. Browning, who died in 1861, before we were at Florence again . We used to hear much of her - of her peculiar appearance, with her long curls, and (from illness) her head always on one side; of the infinite charm of her conversation; of her interest in spiritualism; how she would endeavour to assert her belief in it in her little feeble voice, upon which Browning would descend in his loud tones; but they were perfectly devoted to each other.

Another person whom we often saw at Florence was the foolish wife of our dear old Landor, who never ceased to describe with fury his passionate altercations with her, chiefly caused apparently by jealousy. Landor was still living at Bath at this time.

In the Cascine at Florence we found the same old flower-woman who had been there when I was a baby in the Prato, where I was taught to walk. She used to drive to the Cascine with her flowers in a smart carriage with a pair of horses, and would smile and kiss her hands to us as we passed. It was contrary to good Florentine manners not to accept the flowers which she offered to every one she saw when she arrived where the carriages were waiting, but they were never paid for at the time; only a present was sent occasionally, or given by foreigners when they left Florence, and she came to the station to see them off and present a farewell bouquet. I merely mention these customs because they are probably dying out, perhaps are already extinct

My cousin Lady Normanby was at this time resident in her beautiful Florentine villa, with its lovely garden of roses and view over Florence, and she was very kind to us.

We were at Florence this year during the festival of Corpus Domini, and saw that curious procession, chiefly consisting of little boys in white dominos, and brown monks and brothers of the Misericordia; but, following the Archbishop under his canopy, came the Grand Duke on foot, with all the male members of the Corsini and Guicciardini families, and the young Archdukes in white satin trains.

We saw also the Foundling Hospital, where all the children were brought up and nursed by goats, and where, when the children cried, the goats ran and gave them suck.

About the 10th of June we settled at Lucca baths, in the pleasant little Casa Bertini, a primitive house more like a farm-house than a villa, on the steep hillside above the Grand Duke's palace, possessing a charming little garden of oleanders and apple-trees at the back, with views down into the gorge of the river, and up into the hilly cornfields, which were always open to us. Very delightful were the early mornings, when the mother, with book and camp-stool, wandered up the hill-path, fringed with flowers, to the Bagni Caldi. Charming too the evenings, when, after "merenda" at four o'clock in the garden, we used to go forth, with all the little society, in carriages or on horseback, till the heavy dews fell, and drove us in by the light of the fireflies. A most pleasant circle surrounded us. Close by, in a large cool villa with a fountain, was the gentle invalid Mrs. Greville (née Locke), singing and composing music, with her pleasant companion Miss Rowland. Just below, in the hotel of the villa, "Auntie" was living with the George Cavendishes, and in the street by the river the pretty widow, Mrs. Francis Colegrave, with her children, Howard and Florence, and her sister Miss Chichester.

An amusing member of the society at the Bagni, living in a cottage full of curiosities, was Mrs. Stisted, the original of Mrs. Ricketts in "The Daltons." She had set her heart upon converting the Duke of Parma to Protestantism, and he often condescended to controversy with her. One day she thought she had really succeeded, but driving into Lucca town next day, to her horror she met him walking bare-headed in a procession with a lighted candle in his hand. Then and there she stopped her carriage and began to upbraid him. When he returned to the Bagni, he went to see her and to reprove her. "There cannot," he said, "be two sovereigns at Lucca; either I must be Duke or you must be Queen," and ever after she was called the Queen of the Bagni. Colonel Stisted had a number of curious autographs, the most interesting being the MS. of the "Lines to an Indian air" – "I rise from dreams of thee" – found in the pocket of Shelley after he was drowned.

Living beneath us all this summer were the Grand Ducal family, and we saw them constantly. They were greatly beloved, but the Grand Duchess-Dowager, who was a Sardinian princess, was more popular than the reigning Grand Duchess, who was a Neapolitan Bourbon, and ultimately brought about the ruin of the family by her influence. The Grand Duchess-Dowager was the step-mother of the Grand Duke, and also his sister-in-law, having been sister-in-law of his first wife. The Hereditary Grand Duke was married to her niece, a lovely Saxon princess, who died soon afterwards: it was said that he treated her very ill, and that his younger brother protected her. We were at a very pretty ball which was given on the festa of S. Anna, her patroness. The Grand Ducal family generally went out at the same hour as ourselves. In the middle of the day nothing stirred except the scorpions, which were a constant terror. One was found in my bath in the morning, and all that day we were in fearful expectation, as the creatures never go about singly; but in the evening we met the companion coming upstairs. There were also quantities of serpents, which in the evening used frequently to be seen crossing the road in a body going down to the river to drink.

PONTE ALLA MADDALENA, LUCCA.18

Every Friday afternoon we had a reception in our hill-set garden, and our maid set out tea and fruit, &c., in the summer-house. At the gate a basket was held, into which every one dropped a story as they entered, and they were all read aloud after tea. One day, one of these stories, a squib on Ultra-Protestants written by the younger Miss Cavendish, led to a great fracas with the George Cavendishes, Admiral and Mrs. Cavendish being perfectly furious with my gentle mother, who of all people was the most innocent, as she could not have an idea of what was in the stories till they were read aloud. Well do I remember coming round the corner of the villa, and finding the Admiral storming at her as she sat upon her donkey, with "My daughters shall never enter your house again - they shall never enter it again!" and her sweet smile as she replied, "Then, Admiral Cavendish, I have only to thank you so very much for having so often allowed them to come to me hitherto" - and the Admiral's subdued look afterwards.

AUGUSTUS J C HARE: FROM A PORTRAIT BY CANEVARI

There was a little school established by the Grand Duchess just below us, whither my mother sometimes went in the mornings. The children were taught Scripture dialogues. One little girl would say to another, "Oh, cara mia, cara amica mia, I have such a wonderful thing to tell you," and then would narrate how a babe was born in Bethlehem, &c., upon which the hearer would exclaim, "O Gran Dio"in her amazement, and on one occasion, with a cry of "O cielo!" pretended to faint away with astonishment in the most natural way imaginable.

A long excursion from Lucca was that to Galicano, where a hermit with a reputation of great sanctity was living under an overhanging cliff in the mountains. He hid himself on our approach, but our large party hunted him, and eventually unearthed him - an old dirty man in a brown gown, with a chain of huge beads at his girdle. We wanted to see the miraculous image of which he was guardian, but he would not show it unless we were Catholics, and was much puzzled by my protesting that we were, and my mother that we were not. However, at last he consented to exhibit it, on condition that we all knelt, and that the ladies took off their bonnets. We returned home much later than was expected, and so, as we found afterwards, escaped seven bandits, who had been lying in wait for us, and at last gave us up. The whole of the road from Lucca to Galicano had then black crosses at intervals, commemorating the murders committed there.

This summer at Lucca was altogether the greatest halt in my life I have ever known. We seemed so removed from the world, and I was more free from family snubbings than I had ever been before. But, all through the time we were there, I had been far from well, and the doctor who was consulted declared that I could not survive the seventies of an English winter. In spite of this, my mother never flinched in her determination to return, for having once taken the impression (without the remotest reason) that I had a tendency to Roman Catholicism, she had a far greater terror of what she considered as danger to my soul than of any danger to my body.

When we left the Bagni di Lucca on the 2nd of August, I left it in despair. Behind us was a quiet, peaceful, and a far from useless life, encircled by troops of friends, and supplying the literary and artistic occupations in which I began to feel that I might possibly in time be able to distinguish myself. Before me was the weary monotony of Hurstmonceaux, only broken by visits from or to relations, by most of whom I was disliked and slighted, if not positively ill-treated. I also felt sure that all the influence of my aunts would be used with my easily guided mother to force upon me the most uncongenial of employments, which she was only too certain to allow them to advocate as "especially desirable for Augustus, because they were uncongenial!" I was at this time also in more than usual disgrace, because disgust at the sham Christians, sham Evangelicals, sham Protestants, with whom for years I had been thrown, had induced me to avow my horror of Ordination. In every way I felt myself unfitted for it. I wrote at this time - "'Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no depth of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and, because they had no root, they withered away.' If you want to know about my past religious 'impressions,' that is just my story." Still the declaration of my determination not to take Orders, dreaded and put off for years, cost me acutest suffering from the pain and disappointment which I knew it inflicted upon my mother.

When we left Casa Bertini and descended the steep hill to our carriages, we found that the whole society had been amusing themselves by dressing in mourning, and were waiting to sing "a dirge" of their own composition, as we drove away. But we had one or two more happy days. On the morning after our arrival at Lucca town, we were astonished by sounds of loud singing in the passage, and going out, found all those we had so recently parted from at the Bagni singing in chorus some more verses which they had composed as "a serenade," and bringing for us a picture of the Ponte alla Maddalena, painted on a stone out of the river. We quickly determined to spend the day in going with them to Pisa, and making an excursion to the Gombo, where the Pisan pines end in the sands by the seashore - and we did not return till midnight. It was the custom at Lucca for those who drew to make little sketches in the travellers' book at the hotel, and I had amused myself by doing one the day before, and inscribing it "View from the Walls of Lucca," though it was a wretched performance. When we came back, we found a most lovely drawing opposite, inscribed - "View from the Walls of Lucca as it really is." The Grand Duke's artist had been at the hotel in the interval.

We travelled then with delicious slowness, only rolling onwards through the most glorious scenery in the cool mornings and evenings, and resting in the heat of mid-day, while, as at this time we only took our carriage from place to place, we had no scruple in halting for days at Pietra Santa, with its glorious views over the mountains, and old convents embosomed in olives and cypresses; in making excursions to Serravezza and to dismal Carrara; in lingering at La Spezia, where the avenue of oleanders was in full blaze of bloom, and driving thence to Porto Venere with its marble church and wonderful views along the cliffs - blue, green, yellow, and coral-red, descending abruptly into the sea.

PIETRA SANTA.19

To MY AUNT ELEANOR PAUL.

"Lucca, August 3, 1858. - Once upon a time there was a lady advanced in years, who had an only child. They were sick and sorrowful, and the tempests of the world beat upon them. Driven from home, they wandered hither and thither, seeking rest and finding none, till at length one day they arrived, wearied and wayworn, at the entrance of a mountain valley. 'Alas!' they whispered, 'what place is this?' - 'Take courage,' answered the trees and fountains; 'rejoice,' shouted the flowers, 'for this is the Happy Valley, where those who enter rest from all sickness and trouble: this is the place where people may have a halt in life, and where care and anxiety do not exist.' And when they heard these words, the countenances of the weary lady and her son were glad, and the flowers and the trees and the fountains laughed and shouted for joy in the ceaseless golden sunshine. For two months the .strangers rested in the Happy Valley, and then once more the tempest howled to receive them, and the voices of the unseen sternly bade them depart; and slowly and sadly they arose, and went out again into the wilderness, where every solitary flower, every mountain and stream, seemed only an echo from a lost and beautiful past.

"Oh, my auntie, do you know who the mother and son were, and what was the Happy Valley to which they looked back with so much loving regret?"

"La Spezia, August 8. - We have been to Carrara. Do you know, my auntie, that once upon a time there lived in tile mountains of Carrara a race of funny little people called Fanticelle? They were the hobgoblins of the marble rocks, and were very merry, very useful, and highly respected by every one. Each marble had its own Fante; one was dressed in red, another in yellow, and others in stripes of various colours; but the Fante of the white marble wore only a simple dress as white as snow, and was greatly despised in consequence by her companions, who were so fashionably attired. Daily the poor white Fante was snubbed and insulted, and at last, when the ancient Romans came to make quarries, and cut and hacked her to pieces, and carried her remains away in carts, all the other Fanti smiled in their cold satire and said, 'It only served the vulgar creature right, for she did not even know how to dress herself, and sitting upon the mountain with nothing on but her night-dress was really quite indecorous.'

"But when some years had passed, the great guardian spirit came to the mountains, and, stretching forth his wings, he gathered all the Fanti beneath them, and said, 'Now, my children, you shall go forth to see the world, and, when you return, you shall each say what is most highly esteemed by the lovers of art, and what it is that the children of men consider most beautiful and best.'

"Thus the Fanti of Carrara flew forth to see the world! They alighted first in the square at Genoa. All around were huge and stately palaces, and in the centre the statue of a hero, with the world lying captive at his feet. But what the Fanti remarked most was that in the most magnificent chambers of every palace, and even upon the statue of the great Columbus himself, sat the semblance of their despised sister the white Fante, as if enshrined and honoured. 'Alas!' exclaimed the Fanti, 'what degraded notions have these Genoese; let us examine places better worth our notice.' So they came to Spain, and visited the Albambra, but in every court, and even on the Fountain of Lions itself they found the image of the white Fante seated before them. Thence they passed on to London, to Paris, to Berlin, to Vienna, but it was ever the same. In every gallery of statues, over the hearth of every palace, upon the altar of every church, it seemed as if the white Fante was reigning. 'Ah,' they exclaimed, 'can all men be thus degraded? can all good taste be banished from the earth? Let us see one more city nearer home, and from that let .us form our judgment, for the inhabitants of these northern cities are not worthy to be ranked with mankind.'

"So the Fanti came to Milan, and beneath the wings of the great guardian spirit, rejoicing in their approaching triumph, they entered its vast square. And behold the spirit drew back his wings, and they beheld a mighty and an awful vision! Before them stood their sister, the Fante of the milk-white rocks, but no longer humble, no longer to be restrained even within the bounds of the greatest palace upon earth. Majestic in beauty, invincible in power, she raised her mighty wings to heaven in the aisles of a vast cathedral, and mounted higher and higher as by an aërial staircase, tilt far above all human things, she flung her snow-white tresses into the azure sky!

"Then the Fanti of the coloured robes bowed their heads and trembled, and acknowledged in penitence and humility - 'Truly the Fante of the white rocks is the most beautiful thing in the world!'

"Who can go to Carrara, my auntie, and not feel this?"

We were for a few days at Turin. The society there was then, as it is still, the very climax of stagnation. One of its most admired ornaments was a beautiful young Contessa la Marmora. She did nothing all day, absolutely nothing, but sit looking pretty, with her chin leaning on her hand. Her mother-in-law was rather more energetic than herself, and hoping to rouse her, left a new "Journal des Modes" upon her table. Some days after, she asked what she thought of it. "Alas!" said the young Countess, with her beautiful head still leaning upon her hand, "I have been so much occupied, that I never have found time to look into it." In all my acquaintance since with Italian ladies, I have always found the same, that they are all intensely occupied, but that it is in doing - nothing!

Since the dreadful epidemic at court, which swept away at once the Queen, the Queen-Dowager, and the Duke of Genoa, the King had never received, and as his eldest daughter, Madame Clotilde, was not old enough to do so, there were no court parties. At the opera all the young ladies sat facing the stage, and the old ladies away from it; but when the ballet began there was a general change; the old ladies moved to the front, and the young ones went behind.

IL VALENTINO, TURIN.20

A great contrast to the Italians at Turin was Mr. Ruskin, whom we saw constantly. He was sitting all day upon a scaffold in the gallery, copying bits of the great picture by Paul Veronese. My mother was very proud of my drawings at this time, and gave them to him to look at. He examined them all very carefully and said nothing for some time. At last he pointed out one of the cathedral at Perugia as "the least bad of a very poor collection." One day in the gallery, I asked him to give me some advice. He said, "Watch me." He then looked at the flounce in the dress of a maid of honour of the Queen of Sheba for five minutes, and then he painted one thread: he looked for another five minutes, and then he painted another thread.21 At the rate at which he was working he might hope to paint the whole dress in ten years: but it was a lesson as to examining what one drew well before drawing it. I said to him, "Do you admire all Paul Veronese' s works as you do this?" He answered, "I merely think that Paul Veronese was ordained by Almighty God to be an archangel, neither more nor less; for it was not only that he knew how to cover yards of canvas with noble figures and exquisite colouring, it was that it was all right. If you look at other pictures in this gallery, or any gallery, you will find mistakes, corrected perhaps, but mistakes of every form and kind; but Paul Veronese had such perfect knowledge, he never made mistakes."

The Charles Bunsens were at Turin, and we dined with them. With Mrs. C. Bunsen was her brother, whom we thought a very dull, heavy young man. Long afterwards he became very well known as the French Ambassador, Waddington.

We saw Mr. Ruskin again several times in the Vaudois, whither we went from Turin, and stayed for several days at La Tour, riding on donkeys to the wild scene of the Waldensian battle in the valley of Angrogna, and jolting in a carriage to the beautiful villages of Villar and Bobbio - "une vraie penitence," as our driver expressed it, though the scenery is lovely. My mother was charmed to find an old woman at La Tour who had known Oberlin very well and had lived in his parish.

Amongst the endless little out-of-the-way excursions which my mother, Lea, and I have made together in little chars-à-banc, one of those I remember with greatest pleasure is that from Vergogna up the Val Anzasca. The scenery was magnificent: such a deep gorge, with purple rocks breaking through the rich woods, and range upon range of distant mountains, with the snows of Monte Rosa closing them in. We stayed at a charming little mountain inn at Ponte Grande, where everything was extraordinarily cheap, and wandered in the meadows filled with globe-ranunculus and over-shadowed by huge chestnut-trees. In the evening the charcoal-burners came down from the mountains, where we had watched the smoke of the fires all day amongst the woods, and serenaded us under our windows, singing in parts, with magnificent voices, most effective in the still night. We were afterwards at Domo d'Ossola for a Sunday for the extraordinary fete of the imaginary Santa Filomena - kept all day with frantic enthusiasm, cannons firing, bells ringing, and processions of girls in white, chaunting as they walked, pouring in from all the country parishes in the neighbourhood.

To MRS. HARE (ITALIMA).

"Lausanne, Sept 3, 1858. - At Martigny we found Galignani which we had not seen for some days, and you will imagine my distress at the sad news about Mr. Landor with which they were filled.22 Dear Mr. Landor! I had always hoped and intended to be near him and watch over the last years of this old, old friend. I feel certain that there is much, which the world does not know, to be said on his side. I have known Mrs. Y. for years . . . and always prophesied that she would be the ruin of Mr. Landor some day. For the poems, no excuse can be offered except that he was so imbued with the spirit of the classical authors, that when he wished to write against Mrs. Y., he thought, 'How would Horace have written this?' and wrote accordingly, only that Horace would have said things a great deal worse.

VILLAR, IN THE VAUDOIS.23

'Some thought far worse of him, and judged him wrong;
But verse was what he had been wedded to,
And his own mind did like a tempest strong
Come to him thus, and drove the weary wight along.'24

Whatever his faults are, I am sure you will feel that we who have known him well must draw a veil for ourselves over the failings of his old age, and remember only the many kind words of the dear old man, so tender in heart and so fastidious in taste, the many good and generous acts of his long life, and how many they are.

"How much we have been struck with the pale blue of the Swiss lakes compared with the deep blue of those of Italy."

To MY AUNT, ELEANOR PAUL.

"Dijon, Sept 12, 1858. - We found Fribourg quite up to our expectations, quite worth coming all the way round by Switzerland to visit. And the organ, how magnificent it is! We went in the evening to hear it, when all the beautiful gothic church was wrapped in darkness, except the solitary gleam of light in the organ-loft, and we all sat long in breathless expectation. When the music came, it was like a story. One seemed to be sitting far up the nave of some great cathedral, and to hear from the distant choir the choristers chaunting a litany, answering one another, and then swelling and joining in a universal chorus.. Then, while they were singing, it was as if .a great storm arose, the hail rattled and the rain .splashed against the windows, the thunder crashed overhead, and the wind howled around. And then a mighty earthquake convulsed and shook the church to its very foundations. But always, in the pauses of the storm, the sweet silvery voices of the choristers were heard above the roaring of the elements, and when the storm subsided, they joined in thanksgiving, which died away in the faint echoes of the surrounding hills. And all this was the organ!

"We came by Morat to Neuchâtel. It is a pretty, though not a striking place; but the view of the vast mass of Mont Blanc and of all the Oberland Alps in the rose-coloured glow is magnificent. The mother made inquiries after many old acquaintances,25 to find most of them dead, and those who were still living old, old ladies of ninety and of one hundred.

."Did you ever hear of Doubs? We came through it yesterday, and it certainly seemed to us the most melancholy, ill-fated village we had ever seen. Some time ago there lived there a boy, whose stepmother was very cruel to him - so cruel that his whole aim and object in life was to obtain money enough to set up for himself and escape from her tyranny. At last he succeeded, and leaving his father's house with his heart full of bitterness, he invested his savings in a partnership with the owner of the village café, where he kept the accounts. One day his partner accused him of not giving him a fair share of the profits. This made him perfectly frantic - so furious that he determined to avenge himself by nothing less than the total destruction of his native place! He began by setting fire to his café, but the alarm was scarcely given when it was discovered that almost every other house was in flames. The inhabitants hurried from their beds, and were barely able to save themselves, their houses, cattle, and goods perishing at one blow. Only a few houses and the church escaped, in which the fugitives took refuge, and were beginning to collect their energies, when, after ten days, the fire broke out again in the night, and the rest of the village was consumed with all it contained, including a child of four years old. Between the two fires cholera had broken out, so that numbers perished from pestilence as well as exposure. The author of all the misery was taken and transported, but the town is only now beginning to rise again from its ruins, and the people to raise their spirits."

On reaching Paris, we found Italima and my sister at the HôteI d'Oxford et Cambridge. Greatly to my relief my mother decided that, as she was in perfect health and well supplied with visitors, it was an admirable opportunity for my remaining abroad to learn French this I was only too thankful for, as it put off the evil day of my return to England, and encountering the family wrath about my refusal to take Orders. With my sister I spent an amusing day at Versailles on a visit to the Marquis and Marquise du Prât, the latter a daughter of the Duc de Grammont, and a very pretty, lively person. They lived in an ideal house of the ancienne régime, where the chairs, picture-frames, carpets, even the antimacassars, were carved or worked with the shields, crests, and mottoes of the family.

After my sister left, the intrigues of Madame Davidoff, whom, in compliance with my mother's wishes, I had refused to visit, brought about my acquaintance with the Vicomte de Costa le Cerda, a Franco-Spaniard and ardent Catholic, who constituted himself my cicerone, and amongst other places took me to séances of the Académie de France, of which he was a member; and I should have been much interested in seeing all the celebrated philosophers, politicians, physicians, geologists, &c., if I had not been so ignorant of French literature that I had scarcely heard of any one of them before. The Marquis de Gabriac26 (I forget how his office entitled him to do so) sent me a medal which enabled me to visit all profane, and the Archbishop of Paris a permission to enter all religious, institutions. Using the latter, I went with De Costa to the Benedictines, Ursulines, Carmelites, Petites Sœurs des Pauvres, and the Œuvre de la Compassion for bringing up little homeless boys. On Sundays I heard Père Félix, the philosophic Bourdabue of the nineteenth century, preach with his musical voice to vast enthralled audiences in Nôtre Dame.27

NOTRE DAME, PARIS.28

Capital were the French lessons I received from the excellent M. Nyon, to whom I have always felt indebted. After Italima left Paris, I lodged with a Madame Barraud, who rented a small apartment at the back of a court in the Rue des Saints-Pères. Here my wretched little room looked out upon a blank wall, and was as thoroughly uncomfortable as it was possible to be. The weather soon became bitterly cold, and, to prevent being starved, I had to sit almost all day in the one poor uncarpeted sitting-room with old Madame Barraud herself, who was a most extraordinary character. Without the slightest apparent reason, a sudden suspicion would seize her, and she would rush off to the kitchen. In another minute she would return, wringing her hands, and would fling herself down in a chair with - "Oh, que je suis malheureuse! Oh, que je suis malheureuse! C'est une fille abominable cette Marie - cette tortue! elle ne sait pas le service du tout," and then, before she had time to take breath, she would run off to investigate the causes of a fresh noise in the kitchen. You were never safe from her. Every moment that old woman would dart in like a whirlwind, just to wipe off one speck of dust she had discovered on the mirror, or to smooth some crease she suspected in the tablecloth ; and almost before you could look up she was vanishing with her eternal refrain of "que je suis misérable! que je suis malheureuse!"

The one subject of discussion till twelve o'clock was the déjeûner from twelve to six the dinner, and after that the dejêuner of the next morning. Matters, however, were rather improved when Mademoiselle Barraud was at home - a thoroughly sensible, sterling person, who was generally absent on professional duties, being one of the first music-mistresses of the day. Sometimes Madame and Mademoiselle had friends in the evening, when it was amusing to see specimens of the better sort of third-class Parisians.

I made very few friends at Paris, but the persons I saw oftenest were the Marquise du Pregnier and her old mother, who remembered the Reign of Terror and had lost both her parents by the guillotine. Occasionally I went in the evening to the salon of Madame Mohl, wife of Julius MohI, the great Orientalist, but herself an Englishwoman, who had in early life been intimate with Chateaubriand and present at his touching last hours, when his friend Madame Recamier, beautiful to the end, sat watching him with her blind eyes. Madame Mohl was a most extraordinary-looking person, like a poodle, with frizzled hair hanging down over her face and very short skirts. Her salon, at 120 Rue de Bac, especially on Friday evenings, was at that time quite one of the social features of Paris. One savant used to drop in after the other and sit round her talking in a circle, and with a finesse d'esprit all her own, she would address each in turn in her quick .sharp voice, always saying something pungent or clever. Politics were the chief topic, and though I remember Madame Mohl once saying that "political society was not what could be called a nourishing occupation," there were no refreshments, however late the company stayed, but tea and biscuits. She had always had a sort of salon, even when, as Miss Clarke, she lived with her old mother in a very small apartment in the Abbaye-aux-Bois. Ticknor speaks of her there as keeping a little bureau d'esprit all her own, à la français.

One night when I was shown into her salon, I found, to my horror, that I was not only the first to arrive, but that the old lady was so engrossed in administering a violent scolding to her husband, that she was promenading the drawing-room half undressed, with her strange locks still in curl-papers. It was a most ridiculous scene, and my premature appearance not a little embarrassing to them both. I retreated into the passage till Madame Mohl was "done up," though that operation was not accomplished till many other guests had arrived.

M. Julius Mohl was the greatest contrast to his quicksilver wife. He used to be called "Ce bourru bienfaisant," from his rough exterior and genuine kindness of heart. He was really ten years younger than his wife, though she considered sixty-eight the right age for a woman to attain to, and never to her last day alIowed that she had passed that limit.

Madame Mohl was fond of describing how, when she was at Paris in her childhood, her elder sister, Mrs. Frewen, was taken by their mother and grandmother to the chapel royal at the Tuileries, where Marie Antoinette was then living in a kind of half-captivity. She was a very little girl, and a gendarme thought she would be crushed, and lifted her upon his shoulders, on which she was just opposite the King and Queen. She remembered, as in a picture, how on one side of them were first Madame Royale, then Madame Elizabeth, then the little Dauphin.

The cause which led to Mrs. Frewen seeing Marie Antoinette at that time was in itself very curious. She was returning from the south with her mother (Mrs. Clarke) and her grand-mother. They reached Bordeaux, where they were to embark for England in a "smack." Their luggage was already on board; but, on the night before starting, the grandmother had a vivid dream that the smack was lost with all on board. In the morning she declared that nothing on earth should induce her to go in it. .The daughter remonstrated vigorously about expense, but the old lady stood firm. They were able to take off their smaller things, but ah their larger luggage had to be left. The smack went down on the Goodwin Sands and all was lost ; so the family came to Paris.29

Of all the evenings I spent at Paris, the most interesting was one with the Archbishop, who kindly invited me to his old country chateau of Issy, once a palace of the Prince de Condé, and very magnificent. The Archbishop, however, only inhabited the porter's lodge, and all the rest was left deserted. The Archbishop was playing at bagatelle with his chaplains when we entered, upon which he seated himself opposite to us (De Costa went with me) in an arm-chair. He was a fine old man with grey hair, dressed in cardinal's robes and crimson stockings, with the chain of a Grand Almoner of France round his neck. There was only one light in the high dark room, a lamp closd to his shoulder, which threw a most picturesque light over him, like a Rembrandt portrait. He inquired about my visits to the different "religious" in Paris, and spoke regretfully of the difficulties encountered by the Petites Sœurs des Pauvres. Then he talked to De Costa about his medical studies and about phrenology. This led him to the great Napoleon, of whose habits he gave a very curious account. He said that he believed his strange phrenological development was caused by his extraordinary way of feeding - that he never was known to take a regular meal, but that he had a spit on which a chicken was always roasting at a slow fire, and that whenever he felt inclined he took a slice. When demolished, the chicken was instantly replaced. It was the same with sleep: he never went to bed at regular hours, only when he felt sleepy. We had been warned that the Archbishop himself went to bed at nine, as he always rose at four; so at nine I got up and kissed his ring, as we always did then to the cardinals at Rome, but the kind old man insisted on coming out after us into the passage, and seeing that we were well wrapped up in our greatcoats.

In October, Aunt Kitty (Mrs. Stanley) came for a few days to Paris, and going about with Arthur.Stanley was a great pleasure.

To MY MOTHER.

"Paris, Oct. 19, 1858. - I have been much disturbed by my dearest mother's writing twice to Aunt Kitty to urge upon me the duty of instantly deciding upon some situation. It seems so useless to make oneself miserable in the interval because situations and professions do not drop from the clouds whenever one chooses to call for them. You know how I have dreaded the return to England, simply because I knew how wearing the family onslaught would be directly I arrived, and that all peace would be at an end, and it certainly was not likely to mend matters to write to complain to the Stanleys of how grievously I had disappointed you, and that therefore I must decide instantly! If my mother will consider, she will see that it is no question of exerting oneself. I know exactly what there is to be had and what there is not, and we both know how extremely improbable it is that I could get anything without some knowledge of modern languages, at least of French. This therefore is evidently the first point, and whilst one is employed all day long in struggling and striving to attain it, is it not rather hard to see letters from England about waste of time, want of effort, &c.?

"Were I to take an office in London now, the pay might possibly be as much as £60 a year, without any vacation, or any hope of advance in life, and even in the most miserable lodgings it would be difficult to live in London under £200 a year. However, if my mother hears of anything which she wishes me to take, I will certainly take it.

"Aunt Kitty has been very kind, and I have enjoyed going about with Arthur. Yesterday we went to the Conciergerie, where, by help of the Archbishop's letter and an order from the Préfecture of Police, we contrived to gain admittance. It is in the centre of Louis the Ninth's palace, of which it was once the dungeon, and has been very little altered. The room in which Marie Antoinette was confined for two months before her execution has scarcely been changed at all. There are still the heavy barred doors, the brick floor, the cold damp smell, the crucifix which hung before the window and kneeling before which she received the viaticum, the place where the bed stood, upon which the Queen could not lie down without being watched by the guards - who never took their eyes off - from the wicket opposite. Opening out of the Queen's prison is the small narrow chamber in which Robespierre was confined for one day, but where he never slept - brought there at eight, tried at eleven, executed at four. This opens into a large room, now the chapel, once the prison of Madame Elizabeth, and afterwards the place in which the Girondists held their last dreadful banquet before execution, when they sang the Marseillaise around the dead man on the table, and are said to have composed 'Mourir pour la Patrie.'

THE PONT NEUF, PARIS.30

"To-day Arthur and I went by rail to Versailles, and took a little carriage thence to Port Royal. The country was lovely, the forest red and golden with autumnal tints. In a wooded valley, with a green lawn winding through it like a river, watered by a little brooklet, are the remains of Port Royal, the farmhouse where Racine and Pascal lived and wrote, the dovecot and fountain of Mère Angélique, the ruins of the church, the cemetery and cross, and 'the Solitude' where the nuns sat in solemn council around a crucifix in the middle of the woods. In the house is a collection of old pictures of the celebrities connected with the place. Arthur, of course, peopled the whole place in imagination and description with the figures of the past, and insisted on our 'walking in procession' (of two) down the ruined church.

"We went on to Dampierre, a fine old chateau of the Duc de Luynes, with green drives and avenues; and then to Chevreuse, where we climbed up the hill to the ruined castle with machicolated towers and a wide view over the orange-coloured woods, where the famous Madame de Chevreuse lived."

"Nov. 8. - The cold is almost insupportable! Parisians are so accustomed to their horrible climate, that Madame Barraud cannot understand my feeling it, and I have great difficulty in getting even the one little fire we have, and am occupied all day in shutting the doors, which every one else makes a point of leaving open. Madame Barraud describes her own character exactly when she stands in the middle of the room and says with a tragic voice, 'Je suis juste, Monsieur, je suis bonne; mais, Monsieur, je suis sévère!' She is excellent and generous on all great occasions, but I never knew any one who had such a power of making people uncomfortable by petty grievances and incessant fidgetting. Though she will give me fifty times more food than I wish, nothing on earth would induce her to light the fire in my bedroom, even in the most ferocious weather, because it is not 'son habitude.' 'La bonne Providence m'a donné un caractere,' she said the other day, recounting her history. 'Avec ce caractère j'ai fait un manage de convenance avec M. Barraud: avec ce caractère, étant veuve, j'ai pris ma petite fille de douze ans, et je suis venue a Paris pour faire jouer son talent: avec ce caractère, quand les fils de mon mari m'ont fait des mauvaises tournées, je n'ai rien dit, mais je les ai quittés pour toujours, parceque je n'ai pas voulu voir le nom de mon mari paraître dans des querelles: je suis bonne, Monsieur, je suis juste, c'est ma nature; mais, Monsieur, je suis sévère; et je ne les reverrais jarnais.' Just now she is possessed with the idea - solely based upon her having a new pair of shoes - that Marie, the maid, certainly has a lover concealed somewhere, and she constantly goes to look for him under the kitchen-table, in the cupboard, &c. She hangs up the chicken or goose for the next day's dinner in the little passage leading to my room, and in the middle of the night I heat stealthy footsteps, and a murmur of 'Oh, qu'il est gras! Oh, qu'il sera délicieux!' as she pats it and feels it all over."

PORT ROYAL.31

At the end of November I returned to England. Two years after, when we were in Paris on our way to Italy, I went to the Rue des Saints-Pères. Madame Barraud was dead then, and her daughter, left alone, was lamenting her so bitterly that she was quite unable to attend to her work, and sat all day in tears. She never rallied. When I inquired, as we returned through Paris, Mademoiselle Barraud had followed her mother to the grave; constantly as she had been scolded by her, wearisome as her life seemed to have been made, the grief for her loss had literally broken her heart.

During the winter we were absent at Rome, our house of Lime was lent to Aunt Esther (Mrs. Julius Hare) and Mrs. Alexander. Two cabinets contained all our family MSS., which Aunt Esther knew that I valued beyond everything else. Therefore, she forced both the cabinets open and destroyed the whole - all Lady Jones's journals and letters from India, all Bishop Shipley's letters - every letter, in fact, relating to any member of the Hare family. She replaced the letters to my adopted mother from the members of her own family in the front of the cabinets, and thus the fact they had nothing behind them was never discovered till we left Hurstmonceaux, two years after. When asked about it, Aunt Esther only said, "Yes, I did it: I saw fit to destroy them." It was a strange and lasting legacy of injustice to bequeath, and I think I cannot be harsh in saying that only a very peculiar temperament could construe such an act into "right-doing."


1 Princess Charlotte of Belgium.

2 Since well known from the tragic death of the Crown Prince Rudolph.

3 Now a crowded resort of royalty.

4 In 1895 I retain the lakes of Gosan in recollection as amongst the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

5 From "Northern Italy."

6 From "Central Italy."

7 From "Central Italy."

8 From "Central Italy."

9 From "Days near Rome."

10 Teresa, Princess Borghese. survived by two years the ruin of her house, and died July 1894.

11 Whose beautiful tomb, by Miss Hosmer, is in the Church of S. Andrea delle Fratte at Rome.

12 Whose fine portrait of himself is in the Uffizi at Florence.

13 From "Days near Rome."

14 From "Southern Italy."

15 The familiar term expressing "a rascal of a boy."

16 From "Southern Italy."

17 From "Southern Italy."

18 From "Central Italy."

19 From "Central Italy."

20 From "Northern Italy."

21 Ruskin, in his "Praetenta," describes his father's astonishment when he brought the maid of honour's petticoat, parrot, and blackamoor home, as the best fruit of his summer at the court of Sardinia.

22 Walter Savage Landor was tried for libel at the suit of a lady, to whom he had once shown great kindness, but of whom he had afterwards written abusively. He fled from England to evade the severe fine imposed upon him, which, however, was afterwards paid.

23 From "Northern Italy."

24 Wordsworth, Lines written in Thomson's ''Castle of Indolence."

25 She had passed some time at Neuchâtel with her father in iSi8, and had seen much of the society there.

26 The Marquise de Gabriac was daughter of the Maréchale Sebastiani, and only sister of Madame Davidoff.

27 He died at LilIe, July 1891, aged 85.

28 From "Paris."

29 This story of the dream was only told me by the Duchess Wilbelmine of Cleveland in 1887.

30 From "Paris."

31 From "Days near Paris."