In the evening we had a specimen of the genuine Italian villeggiatura that was curious.
Mad. Lenzoni, as the lady of the land, opens her saloon every evening to all her tenants who are of condition to be received in it; a great pleasure to them, and the only one of the sort, no doubt, that they get in the year. . . . . . As soon as the clock struck eight they appeared; the Florence lawyer, the schoolmaster, the priest of the upper and the priest of the lower villages, the doctor, his wife and her sister.
They were all respectable people, who came in their every-day dresses and in the simplest manner, to enjoy themselves at the great lady's conversazione. But it was all done in a very businesslike way. As soon as they came in, two or three packs of well-used cards were produced, and everybody played except Mad. Lenzoni, the doctor,—who from fatigue slept a good deal,—and ourselves.
But there was talk enough besides, and things went on evidently according to a very settled system until ten o'clock, when they all went together, . . . . having passed an evening very much to their satisfaction, I think, though one in which not the slightest refreshment was offered to them . . . .
Lenzoni had a good deal of fever in the night, and being too unwell to get up this morning, we took our breakfast by ourselves, and then went to her chamber and made our adieus to the kind old lady in her bed, which was covered with the letters the post had just brought her. . . . .
Few persons visited the old Etruscan
and medieval towns in the western part of Tuscany
forty years ago; but Mr. Ticknor
stopped to enjoy the remarkable and interesting antiquities of San Gimignano
and Volterra, and did not reach Pisa
until the 23d of May.
Pisa, May 24.—Carmignani, the principal jurist in this part of Italy,—to whom I had a letter,—came to see me this morning.
He is about sixty years old, plain in his person, simple in his manners, and very frank in his conversation, at least on political subjects.
He was much acquainted with Mazzei, who left him his literary executor; but he does not seem to have valued him very highly, except as an extremely amusing person who had seen much of the world, and passed through a great many remarkable adventures from the time he fled from the Inquisition in Pisa, about 1770, to the time when he quietly returned there in 1800.
He died, I think, about