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[367]
‘As midnight drew on,’ he writes, ‘I grew weary of gazing at the same endless diversity of grain-fields, vineyards, rows of trees, &c., though the bright moon was now shining; and, shutting out the chill night-air, I disposed myself on my old great-coat and softest carpet-bag for a drowse, having ample room at my command if I could but have brought it into a straight line. But the road was hard, the coach a little the uneasiest I ever hardened my bones upon, and my slumber was of a disturbed and dubious character, a dim sense of physical discomfort shaping and coloring my incoherent and fitful visions. For a time I fancied myself held down on my back while some malevolent wretch drenched the floor (and me) with filthy water; then I was in a rude scuffle, and came out third or fourth best, with my clothes badly torn; anon I had lost my hat in a strange place, and could not begin to find it; and at last my clothes were full of grasshoppers and spiders, who were beguiling their leisure by biting and stinging me. The misery at last became unbearable and I awoke. But where? I was plainly in a tight, dark box that needed more air; I soon recollected that it was a stage-coach, wherein I had been making my way from Ferrara to Padua. I threw open the door and looked out. Horses, postilions, and guard were all gone; the moon, the fields, the road were gone: I was in a close court-yard, alone with Night and Silence; but where? A church clock struck three; but it was only promised that we should reach Padua by four, and I, making the usual discount on such promises, had set down five as the probable hour of our arrival. I got out to take a more deliberate survey, and the tall form and bright bayonet of an Austrian sentinel, standing guard over the egress of the court-yard, were before me. To talk German was beyond the sweep of my dizziest ambition, but an Italian runner or porter instantly presented himself. From him I made out that I was in Padua of ancient and learned renown (Italian Padova), and that the first train for Venice would not start for three hours yet. I followed him into a convenient cafe, which was all open and well lighted, where I ordered a cup of chocolate, and proceeded leisurely to discuss it. When I had finished, the other guests had all gone out, but daylight was coming in, and I began to feel more at home. The cafe tender was asleep in his chair; the porter had gone off; the sentinel alone kept awake on his post. Soon the welcome face of the coach-guard, whom I had borne company from Bologna, appeared; I hailed him, obtained my baggage, hired a porter, and, having nothing more to wait for, started at a little past four for the Railroad station, nearly a mile distant; taking observations as I went. Arrived at the depot, I discharged my porter, sat down and waited for the place to open, with ample leisure for reflection. At six o'clock I felt once more the welcome motion of a railroad car, and at eight was in Venice.’

At Venice, amid a thousand signs of decay, he saw one, and only one, indication of progress. It was a gondola with the word Om-

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