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[176] with his sister for his health. I always had a plate at their table, and generally met somebody that interested or instructed me: such as Sir William Cumming, a Scotchman of talent; the famous Azzelini, who was with Bonaparte in Egypt, and gave me once a curious account of the shooting the prisoners and poisoning the sick at Jaffa; Miss Lydia White, the fashionable blue-stocking; and many others of the same sort, so that the two or three days in the week I dined there were very pleasantly passed.

On the 28th of February Mr. Ticknor left Naples and returned to Rome.

To Elisha Ticknor.

Rome, March 3, 1818.
. . . . My visit at Naples, on which I was absent from this city just a month, was every way pleasant and interesting. The weather in particular — which is of great importance in a place like Naples, where almost everything you desire to see is outside of the city—was, with the exception of one or two days, only delightful. It was what the Italians call their first spring, and the almond-trees were in blossom, the orange-trees burdened with fruit. . . . . . ‘Hic felix illa Campania,’ said Pliny, and the form of the expression is no vain vaunt, for a more beautiful country I have never yet seen. As I stood at sunset, one evening, on the height of Camaldoli, and saw the whole of the beautiful Gulf of Naples, with all its harbors and islands stretched out beneath me like a chart, while the solemn bareness of Vesuvius and the snow-clad tops of the distant Apennines closed in the prospect behind and on my left like a panorama, the thought involuntarily rose that this must be a spot singularly chosen and favored of Heaven: so various is the scenery, so luxuriant the soil, so gay and graceful the landscape. But these, when you go into Naples itself, seem to be the very seals of Heaven's displeasure.


Society in Rome is certainly a remarkable thing, different from society in every other part of the world. Among the Romans themselves the elegant and cultivated class is really so small, the genuine character, civilization, and refinement of the country are so worn out and degraded, that, even in their own capital, they are not able, and do not pretend to give a tone to society and intercourse. The strangers, however, that throng here every winter from all the ends of Christendom, more than supply this want of domestic cultivation and talent;

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