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Some of us lately saw the remains of the Wall of Servius Tullius, recently dug out, just where Dionysius Halicarnassus said it would be found, if they would remove the houses standing over it in his time. A few days ago we took a learned young German, who has been two years here looking up antiquities in the pay of the Prussian government, and went with him over the Forum and the adjacent localities. A great deal has been excavated, and much is now certain and settled that was in fierce contest when I went over the same ground with Bunsen twenty years ago. . . . .

Going outside of the city there are two marvellous things to see that were not to be seen in our time. One is the Appian Way,—regina viarum,—which has been opened, quite out to Albano, and its tombs uncovered farther than we have yet driven . . . . . The other is the Catacombs, where a great deal of work has lately been done, and very extraordinary remains of the early Christians and their art discovered. We passed two hours in one the other day under the leading and lecturing of de Rossi, a learned and enthusiastic man, who has made many of the excavations and will publish a book about them. Whewell was of the party, and we were all greatly surprised at what we saw. . . . .

As I am in the category of changes in Rome, I will give you another class of them,—I mean those that relate to ecclesiastical affairs and manners. The manners of the higher clergy, and probably of all classes of the clergy, are become more staid; perhaps their characters are improved, for I hear fewer stories to their discredit. The first time I was invited to the Borgheses' in 1836, was on a Sunday evening, and the first thing I saw when I entered was seven Cardinals, four at one table, three at another, with their red skull-caps and pieds de perdrix, playing at cards. Similar exhibitions I witnessed all the season through, there and elsewhere. But this year I have not seen a single Cardinal at a card-table. The Pope is known to disapprove it, and that is enough . . . . . Indeed, though ecclesiastics of all the higher ranks go into fashionable society still, and even to balls, their numbers are smaller, and they go early and leave soon. The Pope's favor can hardly be had else; for however much—the people generally may dislike him,—or rather his ministers,—those near his person are sincerely attached to him, and all admit him to be a man of irreproachable character, and to be striving above everything else, by his own strict observances and by corresponding requirements of others, to advance the Catholic religion.

We have every way an agreeable time here; generally a merry one.

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William Whewell (1)
Servius Tullius (1)
Pellegrino Rossi (1)
German (1)
Carl Josias Bunsen (1)
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1836 AD (1)
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