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ruins are a feature, appears to the greatest advantage by a fading light. There is another fine point of view from near Albano, looking down towards Rome, along the old Appian Way, which is a straight line of about fifteen miles, bordered on each side the whole distance with ruined tombs-some of them turned into habitations for the wretched peasantry. If Sterne was so far, I should think this view suggested to him that beautiful passage, “ To die is the great debt due unto nature-tombs and monuments, which should perpetuate our memories, pay it themselves, and the proudest pyramid of them all, which wealth or science has erected, has lost its apex, and stands obtruncated in the traveller's horizon." Along the whole of the Appian Way, which reaches considerably more than a hundred miles, the ruins of once magnificent tombs are to be seen in greater or less profusion. In a columbarium, or receptacle for the ashes of the dead, discovered near Rome whilst we were there, were found all the vases or urns, containing burnt bones, arranged as in a sort of pigeon-house, from whence the name. There are several epitaphs, but the prettiest is one from a mother to her son, who died, I think, at twenty-three. It is in the original, “Quod tu mihi facere debebas, ego tibi facio, mater pia ;" which, literally translated, signifies, What you owed to do for me, I, your affectionate mother, do for you. It will bring to your mind Burke's passage on his son—" I live in an inverted order—they, who should have been to me as posterity, are in the place of ancestors.” Cicero has a passage of still nearer resemblance.
From tombs we will go to a different subject—the Carnival, in the midst of which we arrived. The scene is the Corso, the principal street in Rome, about three-quarters of a mile long, quite straight, with many handsome palaces, some churches and convents, and other public buildings in it. Stages or platforms are crected on each side the street, with
chairs and benches upon them, and from the windows and balconies hangs in great profusion tapestry, as you have seen at fêtes at Paris. About two o'clock for the last eight days the people begin to assemble in carriages and on foot, in masks and without, and in all sorts of characters, and they parade about, amusing themselves as well as they can till the race, which begins and ends just before dark. I saw no humour or fun, except what arose from pelting with sugarplums and comfits. Sometimes there were very hot contests, and in places the ground looked as if there had been a violent hailstorm. It is the English, you must know, who introduced the more vigorous, and, as I think, only amusing warfare ; the noble Romans heretofore having contented themselves with a sort of courteous interchange, as dull as themselves. The most tremendous conflicts used to take place between the Englishmen passing by, and a party of English ladies’-maids, posted in front of the shop of one Samuel Lowe, wine merchant. Samuel Lowe in the “eternal city!” and English ladies’-maids on the soil of Livia, Octavia, and company! What changes! But, as Gibbon somewhere prognosticates the future ascendancy of the negro race, perhaps the Timbuctooians may hereafter figure in London, as we now figure at Rome. We may as easily imagine that, as Julius Cæsar could have imagined the present change. Before the race, the Corso is cleared in an instant, and some eight or ten horses without riders start, all covered with gold leaf, and such trumpery; and, indeed, in spite of Madame de Staël's high-flown description, the whole affair is too trumpery to have any thing more said about it. At night there were masquerades at one of the theatres--very dull. I do not understand the assertion that the English are less fitted for masquerades than foreigners; my experience tells me the exact reverse. At the last masquerade the grandees of Rome attend, dressed up. The ladies, principally in scarlet, looked superb in the boxes. The last day of the Carnival is the most spirited ; and as soon as it is dark commences its funeral, previous to the sombre season of Lent. The funeral is ideal ; but every person in the street, and at the windows, holds one or more lighted tapers in their hands; some have a great many bundled together. It happened to be a very favourable night-dark, still, and clear, and from the purity of the atmosphere the lights are much more brilliant than with us. The scene was highly curious. Even the people, driving about in their carriages, hold lights. The joke is to put out your neighbour's lights, and keep in your own; but it lasted sadly too long, and it was impossible to get away without being covered with wax, as many were. At length darkness resumed her reign, and so ended the silly delight of the degenerate conquerors of the world.
June 12th.. The country is beginning to lose its youthful beauty. We find Florence so very pleasant now, that we have kept pro, longing our stay. The hot weather suits me amazingly, and what with baths, ices, riding in the shade, temperance, and some pleasant people, I have passed the last ten days paradisiacally ; but those who do not know how to manage themselves suffer much. Our thermometer is generally near eighty all night, in a north room to the river. To return to where I left off. During Lent there are no amusements at Rome, public or private; but it is the best time for seeing the place. At the end of Lent comes Holy Week, in the ceremonies of which I took no interest. The music is fine; but I saw none of the effects said to be produced by it, such as tears, &c. The illumination of the exterior of the dome of St. Peter's, which is effected almost instantaneously, is very striking, and the fireworks are more magnificent than any I ever saw, but I was dreadfully tired of the whole business. The simplicity
of our service, performed every Sunday in three small rooms in a private house to a congregation of remarkable propriety of appearance and behaviour, was much more to my taste than any of the ceremonies in St. Peter's.
There are fewer unpleasant objects or circumstances at Florence than in any city I have been in, the towns in England not excepted. Naples is just the reverse, but very fascinating at first. I prefer Rome to both, on account of its interest. If I might have my choice of one statue, it should be the Venus, whose attraction ever heightens by contemplation. Of all the paintings I have seen, I should prefer to possess Raphael's Madonna della Seggiola in the Grand Duke's palace. It is a representation of the Virgin ; and the painter has made her of that merit, which is above all modes and fashions, and which would equally become a palace or a cottage. Existence here, under the most favourable circumstances, is certainly much superior to existence with us. The climate throws a charm round every thing, which is quite indescribable. I can only give you some idea of the brilliancy of the atmosphere, by saying that it is more different from ours than the light from wax is from that from tallow. The sensations too approach much nearer to something exquisite; or as Moore expresses it,
And simply to feel that we breathe, that we live,
Is worth the best joys life elsewhere can give." Virgil attributes the same superiority of atmosphere to Elysium, that Italy seems to me to have over England ; and a. charm, indeed, it is, that almost compensates for the many advantages, which, in other respects, we enjoy.
Published also monthly with the Periodicals, stitched in a wrapper.
BY THOMAS WALKER, M.A.
TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
BARRISTER AT LAW, AND ONE OF THE POLICE MAGISTRATES OF THE METROPOLIS.
PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 12 O'CLOCK, BY H. RENSHAW,
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No. XIII.] WEDNESDAY, AUG. 12, 1835. [Price 3d.
Aristology, or the Art of Dining. | Temper.
Letters from the Continent.
ARISTOLOGY, OR THE ART OF DINING.
According to the Lexicons, the Greek for dinner is Ariston, and therefore, for the convenience of the terms, and without entering into any inquiry, critical or antiquarian, I call the art of dining Aristology, and those who study it, Aristologists. The maxim, that practice makes perfect, does not apply to our daily habits; for, so far as they are concerned, we are ordinarily content with the standard of mediocrity, or something rather below. Where study is not absolutely necessary, it is by most people altogether dispensed with ; but it is only by an union of study and practice, that we can attain any thing like perfection. Anybody can dine, but very few know how to dine, so as to ensure the greatest quantity of health and enjoyment–indeed many people contrive to destroy their health ; and as to enjoyment, I shudder when I think how often I have been doomed to only a solemn mockery of it ;