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[177] for those who come here are rarely the empty and idle travellers who lounge through Europe to lose time that hangs heavy on their hands at home, since Rome is not a common city, but one whose attractions require at least a moderate share of knowledge to understand and enjoy . . . .

These cultivated strangers settle down into coteries of their own, generally determined by their nationality. Thus the Germans, the English, and French have their separate societies,—preserving in the forms of their intercourse and in their general tone the national character that marks them at home; except when, perhaps, two or three times in the week all the strangers in Rome, with a few of the best of the Italians, a quantity of cardinals, bishops, and ecclesiastics of all names and ranks, are brought together at a kind of grand rout, called a conversazione, or accademia . . . . . Nothing can be more amusing than one of these farrago societies which I have seen at the Duchess of Devonshire's and Count Funchal's, the Portuguese Ambassador,—the east and west, the north and the south, . . . . all brought together to be pushed about a couple of hours or more in an endless suite of enormous rooms, and then wait for their carriages in a comfortless antechamber,—all national distinctions half broken down by the universal use of French, even among persons of the same country, and more than half preserved by the bad accent with which it is spoken,—the confusion of the Tower of Babel produced without a miracle or an object. . . . . Rome is still as much the capital as it was in the times of Hadrian or Leo X. . . . .

Among the Germans there is the family of Bunsen, who has married an English woman, and is himself full of good learning and talent; the family of Mad. de Humboldt (in conversation called the Mad. de Stael of Germany), who collects about her every evening the best of her nation, especially the artists Thorwaldsen, Lund, Schadow, etc., and to whose society I owe some of the pleasantest hours I have passed in Rome; Niebuhr, the Prussian Minister, who, after all I have heard in Germany of his immense learning and memory, has filled me with admiration and astonishment every time I have seen him; . . . . Baron Eckhardtstein, who has travelled all over Europe with profit, and was distinguished as an officer in the last war; Baron Ziegenhorn, now in the midst of a course of travels appalling for their length and objects to any but a German. But the person who has excited the most attention among the Germans, and who really deserves it, is the Crown Prince of Bavaria, a young man of about thirty, who has been living here in a very simple, unostentatious


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