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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsPassages From The French And Italian Notebooks - Volume 1 - ROME continued 3
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Passages From The French And Italian Notebooks - Volume 1 - ROME continued 3 Post by :shepherd Category :Nonfictions Author :Nathaniel Hawthorne Date :April 2012 Read :1520

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Passages From The French And Italian Notebooks - Volume 1 - ROME continued 3

April 15th.--Yesterday I went with J----- to the Forum, and descended into the excavations at the base of the Capitol, and on the site of the Basilica of Julia. The essential elements of old Rome are there: columns, single, or in groups of two or three, still erect, but battered and bruised at some forgotten time with infinite pains and labor; fragments of other columns lying prostrate, together with rich capitals and friezes; the bust of a colossal female statue, showing the bosom and upper part of the arms, but headless; a long, winding space of pavement, forming part of the ancient ascent to the Capitol, still as firm and solid as ever; the foundation of the Capitol itself, wonderfully massive, built of immense square blocks of stone, doubtless three thousand years old, and durable for whatever may be the lifetime of the world; the Arch of Septimius, Severus, with bas-reliefs of Eastern wars; the Column of Phocas, with the rude series of steps ascending on four sides to its pedestal; the floor of beautiful and precious marbles in the Basilica of Julia, the slabs cracked across,--the greater part of them torn up and removed, the grass and weeds growing up through the chinks of what remain; heaps of bricks, shapeless bits of granite, and other ancient rubbish, among which old men are lazily rummaging for specimens that a stranger may be induced to buy,--this being an employment that suits the indolence of a modern Roman. The level of these excavations is about fifteen feet, I should judge, below the present street, which passes through the Forum, and only a very small part of this alien surface has been removed, though there can be no doubt that it hides numerous treasures of art and monuments of history. Yet these remains do not make that impression of antiquity upon me which Gothic ruins do. Perhaps it is so because they belong to quite another system of society and epoch of time, and, in view of them, we forget all that has intervened betwixt them and us; being morally unlike and disconnected with them, and not belonging to the same train of thought; so that we look across a gulf to the Roman ages, and do not realize how wide the gulf is. Yet in that intervening valley lie Christianity, the Dark Ages, the feudal system, chivalry and romance, and a deeper life of the human race than Rome brought to the verge of the gulf.

To-day we went to the Colonna Palace, where we saw some fine pictures, but, I think, no masterpieces. They did not depress and dishearten me so much as the pictures in Roman palaces usually do; for they were in remarkably good order as regards frames and varnish; indeed, I rather suspect some of them had been injured by the means adopted to preserve their beauty. The palace is now occupied by the French Ambassador, who probably looks upon the pictures as articles of furniture and household adornment, and does not choose to have squares of black and forlorn canvas upon his walls. There were a few noble portraits by Vandyke; a very striking one by Holbein, one or two by Titian, also by Guercino, and some pictures by Rubens, and other forestieri painters, which refreshed my weary eyes. But--what chiefly interested me was the magnificent and stately hall of the palace; fifty-five of my paces in length, besides a large apartment at either end, opening into it through a pillared space, as wide as the gateway of a city. The pillars are of giallo antico, and there are pilasters of the same all the way up and down the walls, forming a perspective of the richest aspect, especially as the broad cornice flames with gilding, and the spaces between the pilasters are emblazoned with heraldic achievements and emblems in gold, and there are Venetian looking-glasses, richly decorated over the surface with beautiful pictures of flowers and Cupids, through which you catch the gleam of the mirror; and two rows of splendid chandeliers extend from end to end of the hall, which, when lighted up, if ever it be lighted up, now-a-nights, must be the most brilliant interior that ever mortal eye beheld. The ceiling glows with pictures in fresco, representing scenes connected with the history of the Colonna family; and the floor is paved with beautiful marbles, polished and arranged in square and circular compartments; and each of the many windows is set in a great architectural frame of precious marble, as large as the portal of a door. The apartment at the farther end of the hall is elevated above it, and is attained by several marble steps, whence it must have been glorious in former days to have looked down upon a gorgeous throng of princes, cardinals, warriors, and ladies, in such rich attire as might be worn when the palace was built. It is singular how much freshness and brightness it still retains; and the only objects to mar the effect were some ancient statues and busts, not very good in themselves, and now made dreary of aspect by their corroded surfaces,--the result of long burial under ground.

In the room at the entrance of the hall are two cabinets, each a wonder in its way,--one being adorned with precious stones; the other with ivory carvings of Michael Angelo's Last Judgment, and of the frescos of Raphael's Loggie. The world has ceased to be so magnificent as it once was. Men make no such marvels nowadays. The only defect that I remember in this hall was in the marble steps that ascend to the elevated apartment at the end of it; a large piece had been broken out of one of them, leaving a rough irregular gap in the polished marble stair. It is not easy to conceive what violence can have done this, without also doing mischief to all the other splendor around it.

April 16th.--We went this morning to the Academy of St. Luke (the Fine Arts Academy at Rome) in the Via Bonella, close by the Forum. We rang the bell at the house door; and after a few moments it was unlocked or unbolted by some unseen agency from above, no one making his appearance to admit us. We ascended two or three flights of stairs, and entered a hall, where was a young man, the custode, and two or three artists engaged in copying some of the pictures. The collection not being vastly large, and the pictures being in more presentable condition than usual, I enjoyed them more than I generally do; particularly a Virgin and Child by Vandyke, where two angels are singing and playing, one on a lute and the other on a violin, to remind the holy infant of the strains he used to hear in heaven. It is one of the few pictures that there is really any pleasure in looking at. There were several paintings by Titian, mostly of a voluptuous character, but not very charming; also two or more by Guido, one of which, representing Fortune, is celebrated. They did not impress me much, nor do I find myself strongly drawn towards Guido, though there is no other painter who seems to achieve things so magically and inscrutably as he sometimes does. Perhaps it requires a finer taste than mine to appreciate him; and yet I do appreciate him so far as to see that his Michael, for instance, is perfectly beautiful. . . . In the gallery, there are whole rows of portraits of members of the Academy of St. Luke, most of whom, judging by their physiognomies, were very commonplace people; a fact which makes itself visible in a portrait, however much the painter may try to flatter his sitter. Several of the pictures by Titian, Paul Veronese, and other artists, now exhibited in the gallery, were formerly kept in a secret cabinet in the Capitol, being considered of a too voluptuous character for the public eye. I did not think them noticeably indecorous, as compared with a hundred other pictures that are shown and looked at without scruple;--Calypso and her nymphs, a knot of nude women by Titian, is perhaps as objectionable as any. But even Titian's flesh-tints cannot keep, and have not kept their warmth through all these centuries. The illusion and lifelikeness effervesces and exhales out of a picture as it grows old; and we go on talking of a charm that has forever vanished.

From St. Luke's we went to San Pietro in Vincoli, occupying a fine position on or near the summit of the Esquiline mount. A little abortion of a man (and, by the by, there are more diminutive and ill-shapen men and women in Rome than I ever saw elsewhere, a phenomenon to be accounted for, perhaps, by their custom of wrapping the new-born infant in swaddling-clothes), this two-foot abortion hastened before us, as we drew nigh, to summon the sacristan to open the church door. It was a needless service, for which we rewarded him with two baiocchi. San Pietro is a simple and noble church, consisting of a nave divided from the side aisles by rows of columns, that once adorned some ancient temple; and its wide, unencumbered interior affords better breathing-space than most churches in Rome. The statue of Moses occupies a niche in one of the side aisles on the right, not far from the high altar. I found it grand and sublime, with a beard flowing down like a cataract; a truly majestic figure, but not so benign as it were desirable that such strength should be. The horns, about which so much has been said, are not a very prominent feature of the statue, being merely two diminutive tips rising straight up over his forehead, neither adding to the grandeur of the head, nor detracting sensibly from it. The whole force of this statue is not to be felt in one brief visit, but I agree with an English gentleman, who, with a large party, entered the church while we were there, in thinking that Moses has "very fine features,"--a compliment for which the colossal Hebrew ought to have made the Englishman a bow.

Besides the Moses, the church contains some attractions of a pictorial kind, which are reposited in the sacristy, into which we passed through a side door. The most remarkable of these pictures is a face and bust of Hope, by Guido, with beautiful eyes lifted upwards; it has a grace which artists are continually trying to get into their innumerable copies, but always without success; for, indeed, though nothing is more true than the existence of this charm in the picture, yet if you try to analyze it, or even look too intently at it, it vanishes, till you look again with more trusting simplicity.

Leaving the church, we wandered to the Coliseum, and to the public grounds contiguous to them, where a score and more of French drummers were beating each man his drum, without reference to any rub-a-dub but his own. This seems to be a daily or periodical practice and point of duty with them. After resting ourselves on one of the marble benches, we came slowly home, through the Basilica of Constantine, and along the shady sides of the streets and piazzas, sometimes, perforce, striking boldly through the white sunshine, which, however, was not so hot as to shrivel us up bodily. It has been a most beautiful and perfect day as regards weather, clear and bright, very warm in the sunshine, yet freshened throughout by a quiet stir in the air. Still there is something in this air malevolent, or, at least, not friendly. The Romans lie down and fall asleep in it, in any vacant part of the streets, and wherever they can find any spot sufficiently clean, and among the ruins of temples. I would not sleep in the open air for whatever my life may be worth.

On our way home, sitting in one of the narrow streets, we saw an old woman spinning with a distaff; a far more ancient implement than the spinning-wheel, which the housewives of other nations have long since laid aside.

April 18th.--Yesterday, at noon, the whole family of us set out on a visit to the Villa Borghese and its grounds, the entrance to which is just outside of the Porta del Popolo. After getting within the grounds, however, there is a long walk before reaching the casino, and we found the sun rather uncomfortably hot, and the road dusty and white in the sunshine; nevertheless, a footpath ran alongside of it most of the way through the grass and among the young trees. It seems to me that the trees do not put forth their leaves with nearly the same magical rapidity in this southern land at the approach of summer, as they do in more northerly countries. In these latter, having a much shorter time to develop themselves, they feel the necessity of making the most of it. But the grass, in the lawns and enclosures along which we passed, looked already fit to be mowed, and it was interspersed with many flowers.

Saturday being, I believe, the only day of the week on which visitors are admitted to the casino, there were many parties in carriages, artists on foot, gentlemen on horseback, and miscellaneous people, to whom the door was opened by a custode on ringing a bell. The whole of the basement floor of the casino, comprising a suite of beautiful rooms, is filled with statuary. The entrance hall is a very splendid apartment, brightly frescoed, and paved with ancient mosaics, representing the combats with beasts and gladiators in the Coliseum, curious, though very rudely and awkwardly designed, apparently after the arts had begun to decline. Many of the specimens of sculpture displayed in these rooms are fine, but none of them, I think, possess the highest merit. An Apollo is beautiful; a group of a fighting Amazon, and her enemies trampled under her horse's feet, is very impressive; a Faun, copied from that of Praxiteles, and another, who seems to be dancing, were exceedingly pleasant to look at. I like these strange, sweet, playful, rustic creatures, . . . . linked so prettily, without monstrosity, to the lower tribes. . . . Their character has never, that I know of, been wrought out in literature; and something quite good, funny, and philosophical, as well as poetic, might very likely be educed from them. . . . The faun is a natural and delightful link betwixt human and brute life, with something of a divine character intermingled.

The gallery, as it is called, on the basement floor of the casino, is sixty feet in length, by perhaps a third as much in breadth, and is (after all I have seen at the Colonna Palace and elsewhere) a more magnificent hall than I imagined to be in existence. It is floored with rich marble in beautifully arranged compartments, and the walls are almost entirely eased with marble of various sorts, the prevailing kind being giallo antico, intermixed with verd antique, and I know not what else; but the splendor of the giallo antico gives the character to the room, and the large and deep niches along the walls appear to be lined with the same material. Without coming to Italy, one can have no idea of what beauty and magnificence are produced by these fittings up of polished marble. Marble to an American means nothing but white limestone.

This hall, moreover, is adorned with pillars of Oriental alabaster, and wherever is a space vacant of precious and richly colored marble it is frescoed with arabesque ornaments; and over the whole is a coved and vaulted ceiling, glowing with picture. There never can be anything richer than the whole effect. As to the sculpture here it was not very fine, so far as I can remember, consisting chiefly of busts of the emperors in porphyry; but they served a good purpose in the upholstery way. There were also magnificent tables, each composed of one great slab of porphyry; and also vases of nero antico, and other rarest substance. It remains to be mentioned that, on this almost summer day, I was quite chilled in passing through these glorious halls; no fireplace anywhere; no possibility of comfort; and in the hot season, when their coolness might be agreeable, it would be death to inhabit them.

Ascending a long winding staircase, we arrived at another suite of rooms, containing a good many not very remarkable pictures, and a few more pieces of statuary. Among the latter, is Canova's statue of Pauline, the sister of Bonaparte, who is represented with but little drapery, and in the character of Venus holding the apple in her hand. It is admirably done, and, I have no doubt, a perfect likeness; very beautiful too; but it is wonderful to see how the artificial elegance of the woman of this world makes itself perceptible in spite of whatever simplicity she could find in almost utter nakedness. The statue does not afford pleasure in the contemplation.

In one of these upper rooms are some works of Bernini; two of them, Aeneas and Anchises, and David on the point of slinging a stone at Goliath, have great merit, and do not tear and rend themselves quite out of the laws and limits of marble, like his later sculpture. Here is also his Apollo overtaking Daphne, whose feet take root, whose, finger-tips sprout into twigs, and whose tender body roughens round about with bark, as he embraces her. It did not seem very wonderful to me; not so good as Hillard's description of it made me expect; and one does not enjoy these freaks in marble.

We were glad to emerge from the casino into the warm sunshine; and, for my part, I made the best of my way to a large fountain, surrounded by a circular stone seat of wide sweep, and sat down in a sunny segment of the circle. Around grew a solemn company of old trees,--ilexes, I believe,-- with huge, contorted trunks and evergreen branches, . . . . deep groves, sunny openings, the airy gush of fountains, marble statues, dimly visible in recesses of foliage, great urns and vases, terminal figures, temples, --all these works of art looking as if they had stood there long enough to feel at home, and to be on friendly and familiar terms with the grass and trees. It is a most beautiful place, . . . . and the Malaria is its true master and inhabitant!

April 22d.--We have been recently to the studio of Mr. Brown (now dead), the American landscape-painter, and were altogether surprised and delighted with his pictures. He is a plain, homely Yankee, quite unpolished by his many years' residence in Italy; he talks ungrammatically, and in Yankee idioms; walks with a strange, awkward gait and stooping shoulders; is altogether unpicturesque; but wins one's confidence by his very lack of grace. It is not often that we see an artist so entirely free from affectation in his aspect and deportment. His pictures were views of Swiss and Italian scenery, and were most beautiful and true. One of them, a moonlight picture, was really magical,-- the moon shining so brightly that it seemed to throw a light even beyond the limits of the picture,--and yet his sunrises and sunsets, and noontides too, were nowise inferior to this, although their excellence required somewhat longer study, to be fully appreciated. I seemed to receive more pleasure front Mr. Brown's pictures than from any of the landscapes by the old masters; and the fact serves to strengthen me in the belief that the most delicate if not the highest charm of a picture is evanescent, and that we continue to admire pictures prescriptively and by tradition, after the qualities that first won them their fame have vanished. I suppose Claude was a greater landscape-painter than Brown; but for my own pleasure I would prefer one of the latter artist's pictures,--those of the former being quite changed from what he intended them to be by the effect of time on his pigments. Mr. Brown showed us some drawings from nature, done with incredible care and minuteness of detail, as studies for his paintings. We complimented him on his patience; but he said, "O, it's not patience,--it's love!" In fact, it was a patient and most successful wooing of a beloved object, which at last rewarded him by yielding itself wholly.

We have likewise been to Mr. B------'s (now dead) studio, where we saw several pretty statues and busts, and among them an Eve, with her wreath of fig-leaves lying across her poor nudity; comely in some points, but with a frightful volume of thighs and calves. I do not altogether see the necessity of ever sculpturing another nakedness. Man is no longer a naked animal; his clothes are as natural to him as his skin, and sculptors have no more right to undress him than to flay him.

Also, we have seen again William Story's Cleopatra,--a work of genuine thought and energy, representing a terribly dangerous woman; quiet enough for the moment, but very likely to spring upon you like a tigress. It is delightful to escape to his creations from this universal prettiness, which seems to be the highest conception of the crowd of modern sculptors, and which they almost invariably attain.

Miss Bremer called on us the other day. We find her very little changed from what she was when she came to take tea and spend an evening at our little red cottage, among the Berkshire hills, and went away so dissatisfied with my conversational performances, and so laudatory of my brow and eyes, while so severely criticising my poor mouth and chin. She is the funniest little old fairy in person whom one can imagine, with a huge nose, to which all the rest of her is but an insufficient appendage; but you feel at once that she is most gentle, kind, womanly, sympathetic, and true. She talks English fluently, in a low quiet voice, but with such an accent that it is impossible to understand her without the closest attention. This was the real cause of the failure of our Berkshire interview; for I could not guess, half the time, what she was saying, and, of course, had to take an uncertain aim with my responses. A more intrepid talker than myself would have shouted his ideas across the gulf; but, for me, there must first be a close and unembarrassed contiguity with my companion, or I cannot say one real word. I doubt whether I have ever really talked with half a dozen persons in my life, either men or women.

To-day my wife and I have been at the picture and sculpture galleries of the Capitol. I rather enjoyed looking at several of the pictures, though at this moment I particularly remember only a very beautiful face of a man, one of two heads on the same canvas by Vandyke. Yes; I did look with new admiration at Paul Veronese's "Rape of Europa." It must have been, in its day, the most brilliant and rejoicing picture, the most voluptuous, the most exuberant, that ever put the sunshine to shame. The bull has all Jupiter in him, so tender and gentle, yet so passionate, that you feel it indecorous to look at him; and Europa, under her thick rich stuffs and embroideries, is all a woman. What a pity that such a picture should fade, and perplex the beholder with such splendor shining through such forlornness!

We afterwards went into the sculpture-gallery, where I looked at the Faun of Praxiteles, and was sensible of a peculiar charm in it; a sylvan beauty and homeliness, friendly and wild at once. The lengthened, but not preposterous ears, and the little tail, which we infer, have an exquisite effect, and make the spectator smile in his very heart. This race of fauns was the most delightful of all that antiquity imagined. It seems to me that a story, with all sorts of fun and pathos in it, might be contrived on the idea of their species having become intermingled with the human race; a family with the faun blood in them, having prolonged itself from the classic era till our own days. The tail might have disappeared, by dint of constant intermarriages with ordinary mortals; but the pretty hairy ears should occasionally reappear in members of the family; and the moral instincts and intellectual characteristics of the faun might be most picturesquely brought out, without detriment to the human interest of the story. Fancy this combination in the person of a young lady!

I have spoken of Mr. Gibson's colored statues. It seems (at least Mr. Nichols tells me) that he stains them with tobacco juice. . . . Were he to send a Cupid to America, he need not trouble himself to stain it beforehand.

April 25th.--Night before last, my wife and I took a moonlight ramble through Rome, it being a very beautiful night, warm enough for comfort, and with no perceptible dew or dampness. We set out at about nine o'clock, and, our general direction being towards the Coliseum, we soon came to the Fountain of Trevi, full on the front of which the moonlight fell, making Bernini's sculptures look stately and beautiful, though the semicircular gush and fall of the cascade, and the many jets of the water, pouring and bubbling into the great marble basin, are of far more account than Neptune and his steeds, and the rest of the figures. . . .

We ascended the Capitoline Hill, and I felt a satisfaction in placing my hand on those immense blocks of stone, the remains of the ancient Capitol, which form the foundation of the present edifice, and will make a sure basis for as many edifices as posterity may choose to rear upon it, till the end of the world. It is wonderful, the solidity with which those old Romans built; one would suppose they contemplated the whole course of Time as the only limit of their individual life. This is not so strange in the days of the Republic, when, probably, they believed in the permanence of their institutions; but they still seemed to build for eternity, in the reigns of the emperors, when neither rulers nor people had any faith or moral substance, or laid any earnest grasp on life.

Reaching the top of the Capitoline Hill, we ascended the steps of the portal of the Palace of the Senator, and looked down into the piazza, with the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in the centre of it. The architecture that surrounds the piazza is very ineffective; and so, in my opinion, are all the other architectural works of Michael Angelo, including St. Peter's itself, of which he has made as little as could possibly be made of such a vast pile of material. He balances everything in such a way that it seems but half of itself.

We soon descended into the piazza, and walked round and round the statue of Marcus Aurelius, contemplating it from every point and admiring it in all. . . . On these beautiful moonlight nights, Rome appears to keep awake and stirring, though in a quiet and decorous way. It is, in fact, the pleasantest time for promenades, and we both felt less wearied than by any promenade in the daytime, of similar extent, since our residence in Rome. In future, I mean to walk often after nightfall.

Yesterday, we set out betimes, and ascended the dome of St. Peter's. The best view of the interior of the church, I think, is from the first gallery beneath the dome. The whole inside of the dome is set with mosaic-work, the separate pieces being, so far as I could see, about half an inch square. Emerging on the roof, we had a fine view of all the surrounding Rome, including the Mediterranean Sea in the remote distance. Above us still rose the whole mountain of the great dome, and it made an impression on me of greater height and size than I had yet been able to receive. The copper ball at the summit looked hardly bigger than a man could lift; and yet, a little while afterwards, U----, J-----, and I stood all together in that ball, which could have contained a dozen more along with us. The esplanade of the roof is, of course, very extensive; and along the front of it are ranged the statues which we see from below, and which, on nearer examination, prove to be roughly hewn giants. There is a small house on the roof, where, probably, the custodes of this part of the edifice reside; and there is a fountain gushing abundantly into a stone trough, that looked like an old sarcophagus. It is strange where the water comes from at such a height. The children tasted it, and pronounced it very warm and disagreeable. After taking in the prospect on all sides we rang a bell, which summoned a man, who directed us towards a door in the side of the dome, where a custode was waiting to admit us. Hitherto the ascent had been easy, along a slope without stairs, up which, I believe, people sometimes ride on donkeys. The rest of the way we mounted steep and narrow staircases, winding round within the wall, or between the two walls of the dome, and growing narrower and steeper, till, finally, there is but a perpendicular iron ladder, by means of which to climb into the copper ball. Except through small windows and peep-holes, there is no external prospect of a higher point than the roof of the church. Just beneath the ball there is a circular room capable of containing a large company, and a door which ought to give access to a gallery on the outside; but the custode informed us that this door is never opened. As I have said, U----, J-----, and I clambered into the copper ball, which we found as hot as an oven; and, after putting our hands on its top, and on the summit of St. Peter's, were glad to clamber down again. I have made some mistake, after all, in my narration. There certainly is a circular balcony at the top of the dome, for I remember walking round it, and looking, not only across the country, but downwards along the ribs of the dome; to which are attached the iron contrivances for illuminating it on Easter Sunday. . . .

Before leaving the church we went to look at the mosaic copy of the "Transfiguration," because we were going to see the original in the Vatican, and wished to compare the two. Going round to the entrance of the Vatican, we went first to the manufactory of mosaics, to which we had a ticket of admission. We found it a long series of rooms, in which the mosaic artists were at work, chiefly in making some medallions of the heads of saints for the new church of St. Paul's. It was rather coarse work, and it seemed to me that the mosaic copy was somewhat stiffer and more wooden than the original, the bits of stone not flowing into color quite so freely as paint from a brush. There was no large picture now in process of being copied; but two or three artists were employed on small and delicate subjects. One had a Holy Family of Raphael in hand; and the Sibyls of Guercino and Domenichino were hanging on the wall, apparently ready to be put into mosaic. Wherever great skill and delicacy, on the artists' part were necessary, they seemed quite adequate to the occasion; but, after all, a mosaic of any celebrated picture is but a copy of a copy. The substance employed is a stone-paste, of innumerable different views, and in bits of various sizes, quantities of which were seen in cases along the whole series of rooms.

We next ascended an amazing height of staircases, and walked along I know not what extent of passages, . . . . till we reached the picture-gallery of the Vatican, into which I had never been before. There are but three rooms, all lined with red velvet, on which hung about fifty pictures, each one of them, no doubt, worthy to be considered a masterpiece. In the first room were three Murillos, all so beautiful that I could have spent the day happily in looking at either of them; for, methinks, of all painters he is the tenderest and truest. I could not enjoy these pictures now, however, because in the next room, and visible through the open door, hung the "Transfiguration." Approaching it, I felt that the picture was worthy of its fame, and was far better than I could at once appreciate; admirably preserved, too, though I fully believe it must have possessed a charm when it left Raphael's hand that has now vanished forever. As church furniture and an external adornment, the mosaic copy is preferable to the original, but no copy could ever reproduce all the life and expression which we see here. Opposite to it hangs the "Communion of St. Jerome," the aged, dying saint, half torpid with death already, partaking of the sacrament, and a sunny garland of cherubs in the upper part of the picture, looking down upon him, and quite comforting the spectator with the idea that the old man needs only to be quite dead in order to flit away with them. As for the other pictures I did but glance at, and have forgotten them.

The "Transfiguration" is finished with great minuteness and detail, the weeds and blades of grass in the foreground being as distinct as if they were growing in a natural soil. A partly decayed stick of wood with the bark is likewise given in close imitation of nature. The reflection of a foot of one of the apostles is seen in a pool of water at the verge of the picture. One or two heads and arms seem almost to project from the canvas. There is great lifelikeness and reality, as well as higher qualities. The face of Jesus, being so high aloft and so small in the distance, I could not well see; but I am impressed with the idea that it looks too much like human flesh and blood to be in keeping with the celestial aspect of the figure, or with the probabilities of the scene, when the divinity and immortality of the Saviour beamed from within him through the earthly features that ordinarily shaded him. As regards the composition of the picture, I am not convinced of the propriety of its being in two so distinctly separate parts,--the upper portion not thinking of the lower, and the lower portion not being aware of the higher. It symbolizes, however, the spiritual short-sightedness of mankind that, amid the trouble and grief of the lower picture, not a single individual, either of those who seek help or those who would willingly afford it, lifts his eyes to that region, one glimpse of which would set everything right. One or two of the disciples point upward, but without really knowing what abundance of help is to be had there.

April 27th.--To-day we have all been with Mr. Akers to some studios of painters; first to that of Mr. Wilde, an artist originally from Boston. His pictures are principally of scenes from Venice, and are miracles of color, being as bright as if the light were transmitted through rubies and sapphires. And yet, after contemplating them awhile, we became convinced that the painter had not gone in the least beyond nature, but, on the contrary, had fallen short of brilliancies which no palette, or skill, or boldness in using color, could attain. I do not quite know whether it is best to attempt these things. They may be found in nature, no doubt, but always so tempered by what surrounds them, so put out of sight even while they seem full before our eyes, that we question the accuracy of a faithful reproduction of them on canvas. There was a picture of sunset, the whole sky of which would have outshone any gilded frame that could have been put around it. There was a most gorgeous sketch of a handful of weeds and leaves, such as may be seen strewing acres of forest-ground in an American autumn. I doubt whether any other man has ever ventured to paint a picture like either of these two, the Italian sunset or the American autumnal foliage. Mr. Wilde, who is still young, talked with genuine feeling and enthusiasm of his art, and is certainly a man of genius.

We next went to the studio of an elderly Swiss artist, named Mueller, I believe, where we looked at a great many water-color and crayon drawings of scenes in Italy, Greece, and Switzerland. The artist was a quiet, respectable, somewhat heavy-looking old gentleman, from whose aspect one would expect a plodding pertinacity of character rather than quickness of sensibility. He must have united both these qualities, however, to produce such pictures as these, such faithful transcripts of whatever Nature has most beautiful to show, and which she shows only to those who love her deeply and patiently. They are wonderful pictures, compressing plains, seas, and mountains, with miles and miles of distance, into the space of a foot or two, without crowding anything or leaving out a feature, and diffusing the free, blue atmosphere throughout. The works of the English watercolor artists which I saw at the Manchester Exhibition seemed to me nowise equal to these. Now, here are three artists, Mr. Brown, Mr. Wilde, and Mr. Mueller, who have smitten me with vast admiration within these few days past, while I am continually turning away disappointed from the landscapes of the most famous among the old masters, unable to find any charm or illusion in them. Yet I suppose Claude, Poussin, and Salvator Rosa must have won their renown by real achievements. But the glory of a picture fades like that of a flower.

Contiguous to Mr. Mueller's studio was that of a young German artist, not long resident in Rome, and Mr. Akers proposed that we should go in there, as a matter of kindness to the young man, who is scarcely known at all, and seldom has a visitor to look at his pictures. His studio comprised his whole establishment; for there was his little bed, with its white drapery, in a corner of the small room, and his dressing-table, with its brushes and combs, while the easel and the few sketches of Italian scenes and figures occupied the foreground. I did not like his pictures very well, but would gladly have bought them all if I could have afforded it, the artist looked so cheerful, patient, and quiet, doubtless amidst huge discouragement. He is probably stubborn of purpose, and is the sort of man who will improve with every year of his life. We could not speak his language, and were therefore spared the difficulty of paying him any compliments; but Miss Shepard said a few kind words to him in German. and seemed quite to win his heart, insomuch that he followed her with bows and smiles a long way down the staircase. It is a terrible business, this looking at pictures, whether good or bad, in the presence of the artists who paint them; it is as great a bore as to hear a poet read his own verses. It takes away all my pleasure in seeing the pictures, and even remakes me question the genuineness of the impressions which I receive from them.

After this latter visit Mr. Akers conducted us to the shop of the jeweller Castellani, who is a great reproducer of ornaments in the old Roman and Etruscan fashion. These antique styles are very fashionable just now, and some of the specimens he showed us were certainly very beautiful, though I doubt whether their quaintness and old-time curiousness, as patterns of gewgaws dug out of immemorial tombs, be not their greatest charm. We saw the toilet-case of an Etruscan lady,--that is to say, a modern imitation of it,--with her rings for summer and winter, and for every day of the week, and for thumb and fingers; her ivory comb; her bracelets; and more knick-knacks than I can half remember. Splendid things of our own time were likewise shown us; a necklace of diamonds worth eighteen thousand scudi, together with emeralds and opals and great pearls. Finally we came away, and my wife and Miss Shepard were taken up by the Misses Weston, who drove with them to visit the Villa Albani. During their drive my wife happened to raise her arm, and Miss Shepard espied a little Greek cross of gold which had attached itself to the lace of her sleeve. . . . Pray heaven the jeweller may not discover his loss before we have time to restore the spoil! He is apparently so free and careless in displaying his precious wares,--putting inestimable genes and brooches great and small into the hands of strangers like ourselves, and leaving scores of them strewn on the top of his counter,--that it would seem easy enough to take a diamond or two; but I suspect there must needs be a sharp eye somewhere. Before we left the shop he requested me to honor him with my autograph in a large book that was full of the names of his visitors. This is probably a measure of precaution.

April 30th.--I went yesterday to the sculpture-gallery of the Capitol, and looked pretty thoroughly through the busts of the illustrious men, and less particularly at those of the emperors and their relatives. I likewise took particular note of the Faun of Praxiteles, because the idea keeps recurring to me of writing a little romance about it, and for that reason I shall endeavor to set down a somewhat minutely itemized detail of the statue and its surroundings. . . .

We have had beautiful weather for two or three days, very warm in the sun, yet always freshened by the gentle life of a breeze, and quite cool enough the moment you pass within the limit of the shade. . . .

In the morning there are few people there (on the Pincian) except the gardeners, lazily trimming the borders, or filling their watering-pots out of the marble-brimmed basin of the fountain; French soldiers, in their long mixed-blue surtouts, and wide scarlet pantaloons, chatting with here and there a nursery-maid and playing with the child in her care; and perhaps a few smokers, . . . . choosing each a marble seat or wooden bench in sunshine or shade as best suits him. In the afternoon, especially within an hour or two of sunset, the gardens are much more populous, and the seats, except when the sun falls full upon them, are hard to come by. Ladies arrive in carriages, splendidly dressed; children are abundant, much impeded in their frolics, and rendered stiff and stately by the finery which they wear; English gentlemen and Americans with their wives and families; the flower of the Roman population, too, both male and female, mostly dressed with great nicety; but a large intermixture of artists, shabbily picturesque; and other persons, not of the first stamp. A French band, comprising a great many brass instruments, by and by begins to play; and what with music, sunshine, a delightful atmosphere, flowers, grass, well-kept pathways, bordered with box-hedges, pines, cypresses, horse-chestnuts, flowering shrubs, and all manner of cultivated beauty, the scene is a very lively and agreeable one. The fine equipages that drive round and round through the carriage-paths are another noticeable item. The Roman aristocracy are magnificent in their aspect, driving abroad with beautiful horses, and footmen in rich liveries, sometimes as many as three behind and one sitting by the coachman.

May 1st.--This morning, I wandered for the thousandth time through some of the narrow intricacies of Rome, stepping here and there into a church. I do not know the name of the first one, nor had it anything that in Rome could be called remarkable, though, till I came here, I was not aware that any such churches existed,--a marble pavement in variegated compartments, a series of shrines and chapels round the whole floor, each with its own adornment of sculpture and pictures, its own altar with tall wax tapers before it, some of which were burning; a great picture over the high altar, the whole interior of the church ranged round with pillars and pilasters, and lined, every inch of it, with rich yellow marble. Finally, a frescoed ceiling over the nave and transepts, and a dome rising high above the central part, and filled with frescos brought to such perspective illusion, that the edges seem to project into the air. Two or three persons are kneeling at separate shrines; there are several wooden confessionals placed against the walls, at one of which kneels a lady, confessing to a priest who sits within; the tapers are lighted at the high altar and at one of the shrines; an attendant is scrubbing the marble pavement with a broom and water, a process, I should think, seldom practised in Roman churches. By and by the lady finishes her confession, kisses the priest's hand, and sits down in one of the chairs which are placed about the floor, while the priest, in a black robe, with a short, white, loose jacket over his shoulders, disappears by a side door out of the church. I, likewise, finding nothing attractive in the pictures, take my departure. Protestantism needs a new apostle to convert it into something positive. . . .

I now found my way to the Piazza Navona. It is to me the most interesting piazza in Rome; a large oblong space, surrounded with tall, shabby houses, among which there are none that seem to be palaces. The sun falls broadly over the area of the piazza, and shows the fountains in it;--one a large basin with great sea-monsters, probably of Bernini's inventions, squirting very small streams of water into it; another of the fountains I do not at all remember; but the central one is an immense basin, over which is reared an old Egyptian obelisk, elevated on a rock, which is cleft into four arches. Monstrous devices in marble, I know not of what purport, are clambering about the cloven rock or burrowing beneath it; one and all of them are superfluous and impertinent, the only essential thing being the abundant supply of water in the fountain. This whole Piazza Navona is usually the scene of more business than seems to be transacted anywhere else in Rome; in some parts of it rusty iron is offered for sale, locks and keys, old tools, and all such rubbish; in other parts vegetables, comprising, at this season, green peas, onions, cauliflowers, radishes, artichokes, and others with which I have never made acquaintance; also, stalls or wheelbarrows containing apples, chestnuts (the meats dried and taken out of the shells), green almonds in their husks, and squash-seeds,--salted and dried in an oven,--apparently a favorite delicacy of the Romans. There are also lemons and oranges; stalls of fish, mostly about the size of smelts, taken from the Tiber; cigars of various qualities, the best at a baioccho and a half apiece; bread in loaves or in small rings, a great many of which are strung together on a long stick, and thus carried round for sale. Women and men sit with these things for sale, or carry them about in trays or on boards on their heads, crying them with shrill and hard voices. There is a shabby crowd and much babble; very little picturesqueness of costume or figure, however, the chief exceptions being, here and there, an old white-bearded beggar. A few of the men have the peasant costume,--a short jacket and breeches of light blue cloth and white stockings,--the ugliest dress I ever saw. The women go bareheaded, and seem fond of scarlet and other bright colors, but are homely and clumsy in form. The piazza is dingy in its general aspect, and very dirty, being strewn with straw, vegetable-tops, and the rubbish of a week's marketing; but there is more life in it than one sees elsewhere in Rome.

On one side of the piazza is the Church of St. Agnes, traditionally said to stand on the site of the house where that holy maiden was exposed to infamy by the Roman soldiers, and where her modesty and innocence were saved by miracle. I went into the church, and found it very splendid, with rich marble columns, all as brilliant as if just built; a frescoed dome above; beneath, a range of chapels all round the church, ornamented not with pictures but bas-reliefs, the figures of which almost step and struggle out of the marble. They did not seem very admirable as works of art, none of them explaining themselves or attracting me long enough to study out their meaning; but, as part of the architecture of the church, they had a good effect. Out of the busy square two or three persons had stepped into this bright and calm seclusion to pray and be devout, for a little while; and, between sunrise and sunset of the bustling market-day, many doubtless snatch a moment to refresh their souls.

In the Pantheon (to-day) it was pleasant looking up to the circular opening, to see the clouds flitting across it, sometimes covering it quite over, then permitting a glimpse of sky, then showing all the circle of sunny blue. Then would come the ragged edge of a cloud, brightened throughout with sunshine, passing and changing quickly,--not that the divine smile was not always the same, but continually variable through the medium of earthly influences. The great slanting beam of sunshine was visible all the way down to the pavement, falling upon motes of dust, or a thin smoke of incense imperceptible in the shadow. Insects were playing to and fro in the beam, high up toward the opening. There is a wonderful charm in the naturalness of all this, and one might fancy a swarm of cherubs coming down through the opening and sporting in the broad ray, to gladden the faith of worshippers on the pavement beneath; or angels bearing prayers upward, or bringing down responses to them, visible with dim brightness as they pass through the pathway of heaven's radiance, even the many hues of their wings discernible by a trusting eye; though, as they pass into the shadow, they vanish like the motes. So the sunbeam would represent those rays of divine intelligence which enable us to see wonders and to know that they are natural things.

Consider the effect of light and shade in a church where the windows are open and darkened with curtains that are occasionally lifted by a breeze, letting in the sunshine, which whitens a carved tombstone on the pavement of the church, disclosing, perhaps, the letters of the name and inscription, a death's-head, a crosier, or other emblem; then the curtain falls and the bright spot vanishes.

May 8th.--This morning my wife and I went to breakfast with Mrs. William Story at the Barberini Palace, expecting to meet Mrs. Jameson, who has been in Rome for a month or two. We had a very pleasant breakfast, but Mrs. Jameson was not present on account of indisposition, and the only other guests were Mrs. A------ and Mrs. H------, two sensible American ladies. Mrs. Story, however, received a note from Mrs. Jameson, asking her to bring us to see her at her lodgings; so in the course of the afternoon she called on us, and took us thither in her carriage. Mrs. Jameson lives on the first piano of an old palazzo on the Via di Ripetta, nearly opposite the ferry-way across the Tiber, and affording a pleasant view of the yellow river and the green bank and fields on the other side. I had expected to see an elderly lady, but not quite so venerable a one as Mrs. Jameson proved to be; a rather short, round, and massive personage, of benign and agreeable aspect, with a sort of black skullcap on her head, beneath which appeared her hair, which seemed once to have been fair, and was now almost white. I should take her to be about seventy years old. She began to talk to us with affectionate familiarity, and was particularly kind in her manifestations towards myself, who, on my part, was equally gracious towards her. In truth, I have found great pleasure and profit in her works, and was glad to hear her say that she liked mine. We talked about art, and she showed us a picture leaning up against the wall of the room; a quaint old Byzantine painting, with a gilded background, and two stiff figures (our Saviour and St. Catherine) standing shyly at a sacred distance from one another, and going through the marriage ceremony. There was a great deal of expression in their faces and figures; and the spectator feels, moreover, that the artist must have been a devout man,--an impression which we seldom receive from modern pictures, however awfully holy the subject, or however consecrated the place they hang in. Mrs. Jameson seems to be familiar with Italy, its people and life, as well as with its picture-galleries. She is said to be rather irascible in her temper; but nothing could be sweeter than her voice, her look, and all her manifestations to-day. When we were coming away she clasped my hand in both of hers, and again expressed the pleasure of having seen me, and her gratitude to me for calling on her; nor did I refrain from responding Amen to these effusions. . . .

Taking leave of Mrs. Jameson, we drove through the city, and out of the Lateran Gate; first, however, waiting a long while at Monaldini's bookstore in the Piazza de' Spagna for Mr. Story, whom we finally took up in the street, after losing nearly an hour.

Just two miles beyond the gate is a space on the green campagna where, for some time past, excavations have been in progress, which thus far have resulted in the discovery of several tombs, and the old, buried, and almost forgotten church or basilica of San Stefano. It is a beautiful spot, that of the excavations, with the Alban hills in the distance, and some heavy, sunlighted clouds hanging above, or recumbent at length upon them, and behind the city and its mighty dome. The excavations are an object of great interest both to the Romans and to strangers, and there were many carriages and a great many visitors viewing the progress of the works, which are carried forward with greater energy than anything else I have seen attempted at Rome. A short time ago the ground in the vicinity was a green surface, level, except here and there a little hillock, or scarcely perceptible swell; the tomb of Cecilia Metella showing itself a mile or two distant, and other rugged ruins of great tombs rising on the plain. Now the whole site of the basilica is uncovered, and they have dug into the depths of several tombs, bringing to light precious marbles, pillars, a statue, and elaborately wrought sarcophagi; and if they were to dig into almost every other inequality that frets the surface of the campagna, I suppose the result might be the same. You cannot dig six feet downward anywhere into the soil, deep enough to hollow out a grave, without finding some precious relic of the past; only they lose somewhat of their value when you think that you can almost spurn them out of the ground with your foot. It is a very wonderful arrangement of Providence that these things should have been preserved for a long series of coming generations by that accumulation of dust and soil and grass and trees and houses over them, which will keep them safe, and cause their reappearance above ground to be gradual, so that the rest of the world's lifetime may have for one of its enjoyments the uncovering of old Rome.

The tombs were accessible by long flights of steps going steeply downward, and they were thronged with so many visitors that we had to wait some little time for our own turn. In the first into which we descended we found two tombs side by side, with only a partition wall between; the outer tomb being, as is supposed, a burial-place constructed by the early Christians, while the adjoined and minor one was a work of pagan Rome about the second century after Christ. The former was much less interesting than the latter. It contained some large sarcophagi, with sculpture upon them of rather heathenish aspect; and in the centre of the front of each sarcophagus was a bust in bas-relief, the features of which had never been wrought, but were left almost blank, with only the faintest indications of a nose, for instance. It is supposed that sarcophagi were kept on hand by the sculptors, and were bought ready made, and that it was customary to work out the portrait of the deceased upon the blank face in the centre; but when there was a necessity for sudden burial, as may have been the case in the present instance, this was dispensed with.

The inner tomb was found without any earth in it, just as it had been left when the last old Roman was buried there; and it being only a week or two since it was opened, there was very little intervention of persons, though much of time, between the departure of the friends of the dead and our own visit. It is a square room, with a mosaic pavement, and is six or seven paces in length and breadth, and as much in height to the vaulted roof. The roof and upper walls are beautifully ornamented with frescos, which were very bright when first discovered, but have rapidly faded since the admission of the air, though the graceful and joyous designs, flowers and fruits and trees, are still perfectly discernible. The room must have been anything but sad and funereal; on the contrary, as cheerful a saloon, and as brilliant, if lighted up, as one could desire to feast in. It contained several marble sarcophagi, covering indeed almost the whole floor, and each of them as much as three or four feet in length, and two much longer. The longer ones I did not particularly examine, and they seemed comparatively plainer; but the smaller sarcophagi were covered with the most delicately wrought and beautiful bas-reliefs that I ever beheld; a throng of glad and lovely shapes in marble clustering thickly and chasing one another round the sides of these old stone coffins. The work was as perfect as when the sculptor gave it his last touch; and if he had wrought it to be placed in a frequented hall, to be seen and admired by continual crowds as long as the marble should endure, he could not have chiselled with better skill and care, though his work was to be shut up in the depths of a tomb forever. This seems to me the strangest thing in the world, the most alien from modern sympathies. If they had built their tombs above ground, one could understand the arrangement better; but no sooner had they adorned them so richly, and furnished them with such exquisite productions of art, than they annihilated them with darkness. It was an attempt, no doubt, to render the physical aspect of death cheerful, but there was no good sense in it.

We went down also into another tomb close by, the walls of which were ornamented with medallions in stucco. These works presented a numerous series of graceful designs, wrought by the hand in the short space of (Mr. Story said it could not have been more than) five or ten minutes, while the wet plaster remained capable of being moulded; and it was marvellous to think of the fertility of the artist's fancy, and the rapidity and accuracy with which he must have given substantial existence to his ideas. These too--all of them such adornments as would have suited a festal hall--were made to be buried forthwith in eternal darkness. I saw and handled in this tomb a great thigh-bone, and measured it with my own; it was one of many such relics of the guests who were laid to sleep in these rich chambers. The sarcophagi that served them for coffins could not now be put to a more appropriate use than as wine-coolers in a modern dining-room; and it would heighten the enjoyment of a festival to look at them.

We would gladly have stayed much longer; but it was drawing towards sunset, and the evening, though bright, was unusually cool, so we drove home; and on the way, Mr. Story told us of the horrible practices of the modern Romans with their dead,--how they place them in the church, where, at midnight, they are stripped of their last rag of funeral attire, put into the rudest wooden coffins, and thrown into a trench,--a half-mile, for instance, of promiscuous corpses. This is the fate of all, except those whose friends choose to pay an exorbitant sum to have them buried under the pavement of a church. The Italians have an excessive dread of corpses, and never meddle with those of their nearest and dearest relatives. They have a horror of death, too, especially of sudden death, and most particularly of apoplexy; and no wonder, as it gives no time for the last rites of the Church, and so exposes them to a fearful risk of perdition forever. On the whole, the ancient practice was, perhaps, the preferable one; but Nature has made it very difficult for us to do anything pleasant and satisfactory with a dead body. God knows best; but I wish he had so ordered it that our mortal bodies, when we have done with them, might vanish out of sight and sense, like bubbles. A person of delicacy hates to think of leaving such a burden as his decaying mortality to the disposal of his friends; but, I say again, how delightful it would be, and how helpful towards our faith in a blessed futurity, if the dying could disappear like vanishing bubbles, leaving, perhaps, a sweet fragrance diffused for a minute or two throughout the death-chamber. This would be the odor of sanctity! And if sometimes the evaporation of a sinful soul should leave an odor not so delightful, a breeze through the open windows would soon waft it quite away.

Apropos of the various methods of disposing of dead bodies, William Story recalled a newspaper paragraph respecting a ring, with a stone of a new species in it, which a widower was observed to wear upon his finger. Being questioned as to what the gem was, he answered, "It is my wife." He had procured her body to be chemically resolved into this stone. I think I could make a story on this idea: the ring should be one of the widower's bridal gifts to a second wife; and, of course, it should have wondrous and terrible qualities, symbolizing all that disturbs the quiet of a second marriage,--on the husband's part, remorse for his inconstancy, and the constant comparison between the dead wife of his youth, now idealized, and the grosser reality which he had now adopted into her place; while on the new wife's finger it should give pressures, shooting pangs into her heart, jealousies of the past, and all such miserable emotions.

By the by, the tombs which we looked at and entered may have been originally above ground, like that of Cecilia Metella, and a hundred others along the Appian Way; though, even in this case, the beautiful chambers must have been shut up in darkness. Had there been windows, letting in the light upon the rich frescos and exquisite sculptures, there would have been a satisfaction in thinking of the existence of so much visual beauty, though no eye had the privilege to see it. But darkness, to objects of sight, is annihilation, as long as the darkness lasts.

May 9th.--Mrs. Jameson called this forenoon to ask us to go and see her this evening; . . . . so that I had to receive her alone, devolving part of the burden on Miss Shepard and the three children, all of whom I introduced to her notice. Finding that I had not been farther beyond the walls of Rome than the tomb of Cecilia Metella, she invited me to take a drive of a few miles with her this afternoon. . . . The poor lady seems to be very lame; and I am sure I was grateful to her for having taken the trouble to climb up the seventy steps of our staircase, and felt pain at seeing her go down them again. It looks fearfully like the gout, the affection being apparently in one foot. The hands, by the way, are white, and must once have been, perhaps now are, beautiful. She must have been a perfectly pretty woman in her day,--a blue or gray eyed, fair-haired beauty. I think that her hair is not white, but only flaxen in the extreme.

At half past four, according to appointment, I arrived at her lodgings, and had not long to wait before her little one-horse carriage drove up to the door, and we set out, rumbling along the Via Scrofa, and through the densest part of the city, past the theatre of Marcellus, and thence along beneath the Palatine Hill, and by the Baths of Caracalla, through the gate of San Sebastiano. After emerging from the gate, we soon came to the little Church of "Domine, quo vadis?" Standing on the spot where St. Peter is said to have seen a vision of our Saviour bearing his cross, Mrs. Jameson proposed to alight; and, going in, we saw a cast from Michael Angelo's statue of the Saviour; and not far from the threshold of the church, yet perhaps in the centre of the edifice, which is extremely small, a circular stone is placed, a little raised above the pavement, and surrounded by a low wooden railing. Pointing to this stone, Mrs. Jameson showed me the prints of two feet side by side, impressed into its surface, as if a person had stopped short while pursuing his way to Rome. These, she informed me, were supposed to be the miraculous prints of the Saviour's feet; but on looking into Murray, I am mortified to find that they are merely facsimiles of the original impressions, which are treasured up among the relics of the neighboring Basilica of San Sebastiano. The marks of sculpture seemed to me, indeed, very evident in these prints, nor did they indicate such beautiful feet as should have belonged to the hearer of the best of glad tidings.

Hence we drove on a little way farther, and came to the Basilica of San Sebastiano, where also we alighted, and, leaning on my arm, Mrs. Jameson went in. It is a stately and noble interior, with a spacious unencumbered nave, and a flat ceiling frescoed and gilded. In a chapel at the left of the entrance is the tomb of St. Sebastian,--a sarcophagus containing his remains, raised on high before the altar, and beneath it a recumbent statue of the saint pierced with gilded arrows. The sculpture is of the school of Bernini,--done after the design of Bernini himself, Mrs. Jameson said, and is more agreeable and in better taste than most of his works. We walked round the basilica, glancing at the pictures in the various chapels, none of which seemed to be of remarkable merit, although Mrs. Jameson pronounced rather a favorable verdict on one of St. Francis. She says that she can read a picture like the page of a book; in fact, without perhaps assuming more taste and judgment than really belong to her, it was impossible not to perceive that she gave her companion no credit for knowing one single simplest thing about art. Nor, on the whole, do I think she underrated me; the only mystery is, how she came to be so well aware of my ignorance on artistical points.

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Passages From The French And Italian Notebooks - Volume 1 - ROME continued 4 Passages From The French And Italian Notebooks - Volume 1 - ROME continued 4

Passages From The French And Italian Notebooks - Volume 1 - ROME continued 4
In the basilica the Franciscan monks were arranging benches on the floor of the nave, and some peasant children and grown people besides were assembling, probably to undergo an examination in the catechism, and we hastened to depart, lest our presence should interfere with their arrangements. At the door a monk met us, and asked for a contribution in aid of his church, or some other religious purpose. Boys, as we drove on, ran stoutly along by the side of the chaise, begging as often as they could find breath, but were constrained finally to give up the pursuit. The great

Passages From The French And Italian Notebooks - Volume 1 - ROME continued 2 Passages From The French And Italian Notebooks - Volume 1 - ROME continued 2

Passages From The French And Italian Notebooks - Volume 1 - ROME continued 2
After leaving him, we went to the Piazza de' Termini, near the Baths of Diocletian, and found our way with some difficulty to Crawford's studio. It occupies several great rooms, connected with the offices of the Villa Negroni; and all these rooms were full of plaster casts and a few works in marble,--principally portions of his huge Washington monument, which he left unfinished at his death. Close by the door at which we entered stood a gigantic figure of Mason, in bag-wig, and the coat, waistcoat, breeches, and knee and shoe buckles of the last century, the enlargement of these unheroic