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[366]

Anecdotes are precious for biographical purposes. This is a little story, but the reader may infer from it something respecting Horace Greeley's manners, habits, and character. The morning of June the twentieth found the diligence rumbling over the beautiful plain of Piedmont towards Turin. Horace Greeley was in Italy. One of the first observations which he made in that enchanting country was, that he had never seen a region where a few sub-soil plows, with men qualified to use and explain them, were so much wanted! Refreshing remark! The sky of Italy had been overdone. At length, a traveler crossed the Alps who had an eye for the necessities of the soil.

Mr. Greeley spent twenty-one days in Italy, paying flying visits to Turin, Genoa, Pisa, Florence, Padua, Bologna, Venice, Milan, and passing about a week in Rome. At Genoa, he remarked that the kingdom of Sardinia, which contains a population of only four millions, maintains sixty thousand priests, but not five thousand teachers of elementary knowledge; and that, while the churches of Genoa are worth four millions of dollars, the school-houses would not bring fifty thousand. ‘The black-coated gentry fairly overshadow the land with their shovel-hats, so that corn has no chance of sunshine.’ Pisa, too, could afford to spend a hundred thousand dollars in fireworks to celebrate the anniversary of its patron saint; but can spare nothing for popular education. At Florence, the traveler passed some agreeable hours with Hiram Powers, felt that his Greek Slave and Fisher Boy were not the loftiest achievements of that artist, defied antiquity to surpass his Proserpine and Psyche, and predicted that Powers, unlike Alexander, has realms still to conquer, and will fulfil his destiny. At Bologna the most notable thing he saw was an awning spread over the centre of the main street for a distance of half a mile, and he thought the idea might be worth borrowing. On entering Venice his carpet-bags were searched for tobacco; and he remarks, that when any tide-waiter finds more of that noxious weed about him than the chronic illbreeding of smokers compels him to carry in his clothes, he is welcome to confiscate all his worldly possessions. Before reaching Venice, another diligence-incident occurred, which the traveler may be permitted himself to relate

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