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Chapter 3:


Florence, November 5.—A rainy day. I went, however, to see my friend Bellocq, whom I knew in Madrid as Secretary of the French Embassy there, and who is here Charge d'affaires from France, a bachelor, grown old, and somewhat delabre, but apparently with as much bonhomie as ever. I drove, too, to Greenough's house, but found he had gone to the United States;1 . . . . but I did little else except make inquiries about the cholera at Naples, which threatens to interfere with our plans.

In the evening I went to a regular Italian conversazione, which occurs twice a week at the house of the Marchioness Lenzoni, the last descendant of one branch of the Medici family. Her house is beautifully fitted up with works of art, and is in all respects redolent of the genius of Italy, and. . . . she receives more intellectual society than anybody in Florence. She is, I suppose, about fifty years old, and, like all well-bred Italian women of her class, entirely without affectation or pretension. I found there Micali, the author of ‘Italia avanti il Dominio dei Romani,’—an old man, but very full of life and spirit; Forti, who is distinguishing himself as a political economist; a professor of mathematics, and two or three other agreeable people. . . . I was particularly glad to make the acquaintance of Micali, whose book, which I have valued these twenty years, has, I find, passed through eight or ten editions, notwithstanding its severe and learned character.

November 7.—This morning I went to the gallery . . . . . The Tribune I found—as far as I can recollect—just as I left it eighteen [49] years ago, and I cannot express how much pleasure it gave me. . . . . It is, indeed, a sort of holy place in the arts, and even the least interested visitors speak under their breath, and tread lightly, as they glide about from the monument of one great man's genius to that of another, consecrated already by the testimony of ages.

November 9.—I made a visit to Niccolini, the tragic writer and general scholar, who now, I suppose, ranks the first of his class in Florence. He is about fifty-five years old, with a fine head, but little beauty or dignity of person, and with manners always awkward and sometimes, as I hear, a little savage. I found him disposed to be agreeable, partly, perhaps, because I came from a republic, and he is a republican, or high liberal. . . . . He is engaged now in writing a history of the Suabian power in Italy; but I should think his want of all knowledge of German would be a grave impediment to his success, and that he must rely chiefly on the good proportions and finish of his book as a work of art. He is, however, much in earnest about it, and as he gives up the theatre because, as he says, he believes the opera is to prevail over it more and more, I suppose he will make it all he can.

November 10.—. . . . In the evening I had a long visit from Niccolini, who, I suppose, fancies himself to have inherited the genuine spirit of the old Florentine Republic, and who is, perhaps, as much of a republican as an Italian of the nineteenth century knows how to be. His ‘John of Procida,’ the tragedy on the Sicilian Vespers, shows this plainly enough, and when I alluded to it this evening he told me a curious story about it.

The French Minister here, he said, was so much annoyed by the bitterness with which the French are treated in it, that he complained to the Grand Duke, and had its representation stopped. The severe allusions to French tyranny were, however, no doubt all intended by Niccolini for the Austrians; and Count Bombelles—the same I knew at Berne—was so well aware of this, that, with his characteristic good-humor and plainness, he told his French colleague, ‘I wonder you took so much trouble about Niccolini's tragedy; the letter, to be sure, was addressed to you, but the contents of it were all meant for me.’

November 14.—I brought a letter from Prince John, of Saxony, to the Grand Duke, . . . . in consequence of which I received yesterday, from Count Fossombroni, the Prime Minister, a formal despatch, saying that the Grand Duke would receive me to-day, at twelve, in his cabinet . . . . So to-day I went to the Pitti Palace, and after passing [50] through the regular antechambers and by the noble guards on service, was conducted through a labyrinth of passages,—one of which passed near the kitchens,—until at last I reached a small room where was one ordinary-looking old servant in attendance, out of livery. In two or three minutes he told me the Grand Duke was ready to receive me, and I passed into his cabinet, which I found a large room, excessively encumbered with rich furniture, and containing several tables covered with papers, and a desk, or working-table,. . . . before which was a beautiful bust of the Grand Duchess.

The Grand Duke was standing just by the door to receive me, and carried me at once to a sofa, where we sat down together. He is thirty-nine years old, rather tall, thin, pale, and awkward. He talks French fluently and correctly, but with a strong Italian accent, and a little thickness of voice, which, added to a little real embarrassment, made it somewhat difficult to understand him, until he was en train. The subjects were chosen chiefly by himself, but after talking a little about Saxony, and the princes there, and a little more about Florence and the objects of my visit, he fastened upon the United States, and asked me a great many questions about our manners, and modes of life, our luxury, the amount of the incomes of our rich men, the way in which they are spent, etc. He was generally well enough informed to put his questions well, and always very curious and eager. Indeed, I do not know when I have seen anybody so greedy of matter-of-fact knowledge; and whenever I said anything that struck him he took out his tablets, and made a note of it, as if he meant to seize every occasion to pick up a fact.

At last, as the conversation grew more interesting to him, he kept his tablets constantly in his hand, and wrote as diligently as a German student at a lecture. On his part, he spoke of the decay of the great fortunes of the nobility in Italy with some tone of regret, though, he said, it would probably at last lead to good; and when we talked about domestic life and the purity of its relations in America, he expressed the bitterest pain at the corruption of the married state in Italy, and added, ‘If we could have in this respect your foundation to build upon, we could still have a great state in Italy. But it is too late. We are quite corrupt in all our domestic relations, and it comes chiefly, I think, from the fact that the infidelity of a husband is not thought to be at all a ground of censure.’

He asked me where I thought it the greatest good fortune for a man to be born. I told him in America. He asked why. And when I replied, that the mass of the community there, by being occupied [51] about the affairs of the state, instead of being confined, as they are elsewhere, to the mere drudgery of earning their own subsistence, are more truly men, and that it is more agreeable and elevating to live among them, he blushed a little, but made no answer.

Just at this moment the Archbishop was announced, and the Prince, saying he should like to talk with me still further, but that he had indispensable business with the Archbishop, asked me if I would go for an instant into an adjoining room and then return to him. I did so, the Archbishop not stopping above two or three minutes.

When I went back he took out his tablets again, and plied me with questions about America till nearly two o'clock, which is his dinnerhour; when, rising and going with me to the door, he thanked me for the information I had given him, and dismissed me. He struck me, on the whole, to have the character often attributed to him, of being an honest, well-meaning man, anxious to get the knowledge that will make him a faithful governor of his people; but, though with a fair and intelligent mind, so greatly wanting in firmness and energy, that it is hardly possible he should not be led and governed by designing men. This is said to be the case now, and he is growing unpopular very fast. When he came to the sovereignty, in 1824, and for six years afterwards, he was greatly loved; but since that time, and especially since the troubles in Italy in 1831-32, that grew out of the French changes of 1830, he has fallen more and more into the hands of those who desire the progress of absolutism, and has become less and less welcome to his people. Where it is all to end, it is not perhaps easy to foresee. His private and domestic character is admitted by all to be good; he lives entirely with his family, and devotes himself most laboriously to the work of government; but after all, if he does not know how to govern, and if his system is opposed to the whole spirit of his time, his good qualities will avail him nothing, and his zealous and voluntary personal labors, by making him responsible for a great deal of what he might otherwise well leave to his ministers, will only run up a heavier account with his people, and one that, in the end, may be the harder to settle. I look upon him, therefore, to be in an unhappy position, and his whole air and manner to-day seemed to me to show that he feels it to be an anxious one. . . . .

November 15.—I passed some time this morning with the Cavaliere Micali, a very lively and courtly little old gentleman, who is as full of knowledge of all sorts, from his Etruscan antiquities down to the commonest gossip of the day, as a man well can be. He carried me from his own house to see the Riccardi Palace. . . . . [52]

On my return home I had a visit from the Marquis dea Torrigiani, second son of the head of the family, a very respectable, modest young man, who travelled a few years ago in the United States. Since he came back he has interested himself in reviving and giving efficiency to some old schools for popular instruction, in which he has partly succeeded, but in which the spirit of the government is substantially against him. Even his own family give him no hearty support, I am told, though they are pleased with it, as a sort of feather in the cap of one of their number. He talks English very well, and has a quiet, gentle manner, which, with his apparent good sense, makes me augur well for his success. . . .

November 16.—I went this morning with Micali to see the Marquis Gaetano Capponi, a member of one of those old Florentine families whose titles have survived their fortunes, but who still relish of the old stock. He is a retired, modest man, remarkable chiefly for his love of Tasso, and for his collection of books relative to Tasso, which, in fact, induced me to visit him. It is a very remarkable collection, comprising every edition of the poet himself of any note whatsoever, and nearly every other one, however inconsiderable; together with whatever has been written and published separately about him. The Marquis is now just about to enter into a discussion concerning the Alberti Manuscripts, as they are called, on which he means to print a pamphlet.

It is a curious subject, and if he will give an historical and plain account of the matter, he will render a very acceptable service to Italian literature . . . . . The facts in the case are, I believe, as follows. The Falconieri Library at Rome, it has always been well known, contained at one time a quantity of Tasso's manuscripts, and when Foppa published, in 1666, his collection of Tasso's Inedita, he intimated in his preface that he had not published the whole contained in that library. Count Alberti, therefore, as he says, sought for this remainder of Tasso's autographs, and found them ten years since, and purchased them of the present Prince Falconieri, making an exact schedule of what he took, and obtaining the Prince's receipt at the bottom of it. It was soon bruited about that Count Alberti was in possession of very curious autograph manuscripts of Tasso, which left no doubt that the mutual attachment between himself and Eleonora of Este was the real cause of his confinement, and that his insanity was feigned at the command of the Duke, to avoid worse consequences. Thereupon the Prince Falconieri, without notice to Count Alberti, reclaimed his manuscripts by process of law, as having [53] been in fact, if not in form, stolen from him; to all which the Count replied by the schedule and receipt, and the matter was quashed. So much the greater, however, was the noise the manuscripts made in the world; the Grand Duke of Tuscany heard of them and entered into treaty for them; they were brought to Florence, and he agreed to give six thousand crowns for them, if they should be found genuine by persons skilled in manuscripts. But here was the rub. Experts beyond all suspicion of unfairness examined them, and declined to pronounce them genuine, without absolutely declaring them to be forgeries; the Grand Duke gave Count Alberti some hundred crowns for his trouble, and from that time–which is now three years—the general opinion has gone against their authenticity.

Count Alberti, on his side, appeals to the well-known facts touching the Falconieri Library, and to the legal suit, and objects to the persons who examined his manuscripts, that they ought not to have been mere experts in handwriting, but rather men of letters, who should have judged in part, at least, from internal evidence and historical proofs.

On the other hand, it is said that Count Alberti is an adventurer, who had formerly been an officer in the army; that, among other doubtful characteristics and accomplishments, he has that of being able to imitate all sorts of handwriting; that, knowing the history of the Falconieri Library, he went there and found two or three sonnets, and other inconsiderable autograph manuscripts of Tasso; that he then, probably, entered into an arrangement with the Prince to carry on the imposition of making others, which the Prince should seem to sell him by schedule; that the lawsuit was intended merely to give form to the fraud; that the Count has not been frank and open in showing all the manuscripts to those who could best judge, or who had suspicions of their authenticity; that a man of honor could never have received the few hundred crowns given by the Grand Duke, on the ground that the manuscripts were not genuine, because, if they were not, the inference is irresistible that the Count has forged them; and that, finally, the manuscripts which seem on all accounts to be Tasso's do not touch the interesting questions of his life, while all the rest relate to nothing else, and have a most suspicious completeness about them, comprising even several notes of the Princess Eleonora herself. Of this last party,—adverse to the genuineness of the manuscripts,—are now, I am told, all the men of letters in Florence: Niccolini, Capponi, Micali, Becchi, etc., though some of them, like Niccolini, were at first believers in their authenticity, [54] and gave certificates to that effect. I have talked with these four persons and some others about it, and they seem to have no doubt; and, on the other side, I have found only my American friend, Mr. Wilde, who seems to be quite as confident in the opposite opinion. It is a strange and curious matter, no doubt, and probably something like the Shakespeare papers, which Ireland pretended to have found, but managed by an older and much more wary and skilful person.

In the evening we went to the Grand Duke's first ball of the season, given at the Pitti Palace. Nothing could be more unceremonious. It is the only occasion on which he sees strangers, or his own subjects, except for business or in private audiences in his cabinet. . . . . Any strangers who are presented to him by their ministers may come whenever a ball occurs, without further invitation, but Tuscans come only as they are specially invited. . . . . The entrance is by the back part of the palace, which being on the upper side of the hill, we came in on the second story. . . . . We passed through many long winding passages, and one or two fine antechambers, and then came into a large and very high hall, all white, and lighted with waxtapers built up in the form of obelisks, quite round the sides, and as bright as noonday. In this the company assembled . . . . . About half past 8 the Grand Duke and Duchess, with their Court, came in, all dressed simply . . . . . They passed round the room, and the strangers were presented to them, to the number, I should think, of sixty or seventy . . . . . The Grand Duchess is quite handsome, . . . . but she had very few words to say to anybody. . . . . The Grand Duke made some conversation with us, talked about the dress of ladies in America, about steamboats crossing the Atlantic, and seemed quite willing to be agreeable, though he was certainly awkward in his efforts, and preserved, both then and through the whole evening, the same anxious look I had observed yesterday. After the presentations were over the dancing began, and the Duke and Duchess danced nearly every time. A part of the company went into four or five small rooms near the principal one, and lounged or played cards; and between eleven and twelve a larger room was opened, with refreshments, but no regular supper. Soon after midnight the Court disappeared, and we were at home before one o'clock.

Prince Maximilian of Saxony-one of whose daughters is now Duchess Dowager of Tuscany, and another was the first wife of the present Grand Duke——is now here with his pretty young wife, and his sensible, gifted daughter Amelia, to pass the winter. They were, [55] of course, at the ball, and as soon as the Court came into the room, crossed it to us, and shook hands with us, and greeted us as old friends, in the most good-natured manner. We, too, on our part, were very glad to see them, for they were very kind to us last winter.

In the course of the evening I was presented to the Grand Duchess Dowager, and found her as intelligent and agreeable as she is always represented to be, and as all the children of Prince Max really are . . . .

November 18.—. . . . I went by appointment this morning to pay my respects to Prince Max. I found him up four pair of stairs, and passed through, I should think, not less than twelve or fourteen rooms, that looked more like lumber-rooms than like apartments in a palace. But when I reached his suite, I found it richly furnished, as becomes the rank of one who is the father of a king,2 and might at this moment have been a king himself, if he had not voluntarily abdicated. He received me with his little chapeau-de-bras under his arm, which I never saw him without, and led me into the Princess Amelia's parlor, where she was waiting for us. There we sat down and talked about Saxony, which seemed to please the old Prince very much. . . . He talked well and kindly, and the Princess talked with esprit for half an hour, when, in courtly style, they rose and left the room.

November 19.—. . . . This evening, as in duty bound, we went to pay our respects to the Saxon princesses. We found the Princess Louise waiting for us, looking very prettily, but most simply dressed; and soon afterwards the old Prince Max came in with the Princess Amelia. They were extremely kind, . . . . and talked pleasantly, after the fashion of princesses, about small matters that could compromise nobody . . . . .

November 20.—. . . . In the evening we drove out to Fiesole, where Mr. Thompson of New York has been living two years, in a very nice, comfortable villa. . . . . . At table, I happened to sit next to the Princess Galitzin, and it is a long time since I have talked with any lady who had at once so much good sense and so much brilliancy in her conversation. After dinner, while I was near her, Bartolini gave us an interesting account of his residence at Elba, with Bonaparte, whose sculptor he was, and who was so kind to him, both then and previously, that he is still a thorough Bonapartist. One of the works Bonaparte ordered from him was a series of very large marble vases, in which to place lights, for the purpose of illuminating a terrace where he walked in the nights; and Bartolini was at Carrara, employed [56] about them, when Bonaparte made his escape and began the adventures of the famous Hundred Days. . . . .

November 22.—I went this morning to see the Marquis Gino Capponi, a person of great distinction here by the antiquity of his family, by his fortune, and by his personal talents; but who, having the taint of liberalism upon him, is frowned upon by the Court, and lives in a sort of morose retirement. . . . . I found him living in a magnificent palace, one of the finest in this city of grand palazzos, and though nobody else occupies it but his aged mother, I found him in the true Italian fashion, perched up in the fourth story, and actually ascended an hundred and twelve steps to reach him.

He is nearly fifty years old, a widower, and with no children except married daughters,—a tall, fine specimen of a noble Italian, with frank and striking manners, and altogether a picturesque and dignified appearance. His conversation was strong and bold, tinctured with politics throughout; and though he lives with men of letters like Niccolini and Becchi, and affects, and I dare say desires, to give himself up to literature, yet still his cabinet was full of newspapers, and all his talk redolent of public affairs. He was once in great favor with the Grand Duke, and used to be much consulted by him; but since the change in Court politics in 1830-32, the Marquis Capponi withdrew himself rather violently from the government, and is seen now only as a matter of ceremony at the palace. If, however, the time should come when liberal principles again shall prevail in Tuscany, I doubt not he would exercise a controlling influence in its affairs. He savors most strongly of the noble old stock of the Italians in Italy's best days, and while he is very frank, free, and winning in conversation, has all the air and bearing of one born to command.

In a letter to Mr. Prescott, written six weeks later, Mr. Ticknor thus sums up his experiences in Florence:—

. . . . The society I found still more changed, but not for the better. Of foreign, there was a good deal; but we cared little about it, for it was merely fashionable. Of Italian there was very little. The Marchioness Lenzoni——who, besides being the last descendant of one branch of the Medicis, owns and carefully preserves at Certaldo the house which Boccaccio possessed, and where he died—opened her saloon twice a week, and received the principal Florentine nobility, as well as the men of letters, and I met there Buonarotti, the head of Michel Angelo's family, and the head of the administration of [57] justice for Tuscany,—an eminent and respectable man, whom I was glad to visit in the great artist's house, and to find surrounded with his memorials, and possessing a good many of his characteristic manuscripts. I also knew there, and at their own houses, Micali, the author of ‘Italia avanti i Romani,’—a lively, courtly old gentleman, of good fortune, who values himself as much on his fashionable distinctions as on his considerable literary fame; Niccolini, the tragic writer,—a rather savage republican, who fancies himself to have sympathies with all Americans, and who is really an interesting person; as well as some others of less note, whose names you would not recognize.

But I missed the old Countess d'albany's house. No such exists now in Florence; and what made it more striking, I was offered for lodging-rooms the very suite of apartments in her palazzo over that in which I used to visit her; the very suite, too, that was occupied by Alfieri, and where I passed a forenoon once in looking over his library and manuscripts. Au reste, she has not left any odor of sanctity behind her among the Florentines. In the latter part of her life she fell under the influence of a Frenchman by the name of Fabre,— you remember Dido's conjugium vocat, hoc proetexit nomine culpam,— and when she died she left him all her property; so the Palazzo Alfieri, as it is called, is turned into a lodging-house, and all Alfieri's books and manuscripts are carried off to the South of France, except a duplicate copy of his Tragedies, which Monsieur Fabre gave to the Laurentian Library. This annoys the Italians, and so much the more, because Alfieri, not in legal, but in poetical form, by a sonnet, had signified his wish that his library should be deposited in his native city of Asti; and I remember Tassi, who was his private secretary, told me, when he showed me the books, that at Mad. d'albany's death they would go to Asti. But it has turned out otherwise; and the Italians console themselves for their loss by abusing the wife of the Pretender; a satisfaction which, I assure you, some of the principal men in Florence enjoyed one night at Madame Lenzoni's in great perfection, at the end of a rather active and agreeable soiree.

The want of society—intellectual, agreeable society—is very much felt by foreigners, not only in Florence, but throughout Italy. I have sometimes thought that it is even felt by the Italians themselves, especially when I have found persons of the first distinction—as far as rank and family are concerned—living in the most cheerless manner, sometimes in an upper story, and sometimes in a remote corner of one of their vast, gloomy, and uncomfortable palaces, without fires in winter, without carpets, and without convenient furniture; and [58] this, too, by no means the result of their poverty, but of indolent habits and perverted tastes, which, while they prevent their possessors from making an effort for better things, do not prevent them from feeling there are such things, and being partly ashamed that they do not enjoy them. No doubt the fortunes of the highest class have been impaired, even within the last twenty years, and men who could once receive in state are now obliged to sell their galleries and rent their palaces. This has been eminently the case at Venice and Bologna, and partly so at Florence. But this will not account for the state of social life throughout Italy; still less for the low state of intellectual culture, especially among Italian women.

Being anxious to establish his family for the winter, Mr. Ticknor left Florence on the 1st of December, and arrived in Rome on the 5th. They took up their quarters that same day in a large and delightful apartment on the southwestern slope of the Monte Pincio, where they had a broad view of the city, and the sunshine to brighten them all day; and they had no reason to regret the choice during the five months they stayed there.


December 5.—I think we were very fortunate in securing at once such good lodgings; and, to make us feel still more at home, my old friend, Mr. Bunsen,3 the Prussian Minister, came in the evening and made us a most agreeable visit. He is much changed since I knew him before, is grown stout and round, and become the father of nine children; but he is just as full of learning, activity, and warmhearted kindness as ever. It was a great pleasure to see him.

December 8.—. . . . The evening we spent at the Prussian Minister's, Mr. Bunsen's, whose wife is an English lady. There was a large party, consisting chiefly of Germans and English. I was introduced to many, but remember few, except Wolff, the sculptor, some of whose beautiful works were in the tasteful rooms; Lepsius, who is now distinguishing himself in Egyptian antiquities; Kestner, the Hanoverian Minister, and son of Werther's Albert and, Charlotte; Plattner, who has been in Rome above thirty years; Gerhard, the famous archaeologist, etc. It was, like all such soirees, agreeable in proportion as you fall in with agreeable people. To me it was pleasant because I made a good many interesting acquaintances. [59]

December 9.—To-day there was a great fete and dinner in honor of the birthday of Winckelmann, held at the Villa Albani, under the auspices and presidency of Bunsen. He had invited me to it, when I was still in Florence, and he called to-day and took me out in his carriage. The villa is neglected, but its palazzo, a fine building, is well preserved; the collection of antiques—stolen, literally stolen by the French—has been replaced, and the whole is much in the state in which it was when Winckelmann lived there, under the patronage of the well-known Cardinal Albani.

Between three and four o'clock about ninety persons were collected, chiefly Germans, with a few English and Italian, and among them were the Russian Charge d'affaires; Kestner, the Hanoverian Minister; Thorwaldsen; Visconti; Dr. Carlyle, brother to the obscure writer for the Reviews; Wolff; Plattner; all the principal German artists, etc. Gerhard went round with all of us, and lectured on the Gallery and its most interesting monuments very agreeably; after which we went up stairs, and at five o'clock sat down to an excellent dinner in a truly magnificent hall, all built of brilliant marbles.

Bunsen presided; Thorwaldsen was vice-president, at the other end of the table; toasts were drank, speeches were made, both in German and Italian, by the president, by Gerhard, Visconti, etc.; and there was a delightful choir of young Germans, who sang with effect several ancient Latin hymns and choruses, a part of the Carmen Seculare of Horace, and some national German airs. There was a good deal of the German enthusiasm about it, and this enthusiasm rose to its height when Bunsen—at nearly the end of the feast— went round to the neighborhood of Thorwaldsen, and making a speech, and a very happy one, took a wreath of laurel, which was supposed by chance to be near, as one of the ornaments of the occasion, and placed it on Thorwaldsen's head. It was a fine scene. The venerable artist resisted the honor just so far as was graceful, and no further, though taken by surprise entirely, for the speech was so shrewdly adjusted that its full purport was not intelligible till the wreath was on his temples. But everybody felt it was well placed, and a burst of applause followed which must have gratified him.

He is a noble, gentle-looking old man, with an abundance of white hair flowing upon his shoulders in a very striking manner. I talked with him a good deal to-day, both before dinner and after, and found him as full of simplicity as he is of genius. He has a great deal of feeling, too, and was much moved when I spoke of meeting him twenty years ago at Mad. de Humboldt's; for she was not only one [60] of the remarkable persons of her time, but a very important friend and patron to him when he needed friends.4

December 10.—I went this morning to see the Princess Gabrielli.5 In personal appearance she is less changed than I expected to find her. In the extremely winning frankness and sincerity of her character she is not changed at all. During an hour that I sat with her she told me the most extraordinary succession of facts about her own family that I ever listened to. Her father, Lucien Bonaparte, is now in England, poor; . . . . the Prince Musignano6—Charles—is suing his father and mother for his wife's dowry; Queen Caroline7 is quarrelling with Joseph and Jerome for the inheritance she claims from Madame Mere; the Princess of Canino is in Tuscany, furiously jealous of her husband, and yet refusing to join him in England. One of her daughters8 is Mrs. Wyse, who threw herself into the Serpentine River in St. James's Park, a few years ago; . . . . one son is exiled to America for having been concerned in a murder; another is now in the castle of St. Angelo, under sentence of death, as the principal who committed it; and so on, and so on.

Of the whole Bonaparte family the Princess Gabrielli is, in short, the only one who can now be said to be in an eligible position in society, or personally happy, and she owes the whole of this to her good sense, to freedom from all ambition, and to her truly simple, kind, and religious character. Au reste, she lives perfectly retired in her palace, with her husband and her little boy; her daughters are in a convent for their education; she receives no society and goes nowhere, but is made happy, I doubt not, as she assured me she is, by her domestic relations and her religious duties. Certainly nobody could be more cheerful, bright, and agreeable than she was this morning; but though the Gabrielli family is rich, and her husband is now the head of it, and possesses the estates of his house, everything in her noble and beautiful palace looked neglected and comfortless. I was sorry to see it, for though this is the way in which almost all ladies of her rank in Rome live, yet one educated as she has been should not have sunk into it. [61]

December 11.—. . . . The evening I passed at the Princess Borghese's, who receives every evening, but has grande reception only once a week. Guards of honor were stationed at the gates of her palazzo, the court was splendidly lighted, and a row of thirty or forty servants was arranged in the antechamber, while within was opened a noble suite of rooms richly furnished, and a company collected just as it is in one of the great salons of Paris. The Princess, indeed, is a Frenchwoman, granddaughter of the Duke de la Rochefoucauld, who wrote travels in the United States; and the Prince, though of Italian blood, lived at Paris for thirty years and until about two years ago, when he came to the title and estates and removed to Rome. I brought them letters, but I knew them formerly, both at Florence and Paris, . . . . and they received me most kindly.9

The Prince Borghese is now, I suppose, fifty-five years old, very simple, direct, and, as we should say, hearty in his manners; the Princess about forty-five, with the remains of much beauty, with a good deal of grace and elegance, and that sort of good-breeding which puts a stranger immediately at his ease. She presented me to her eldest son, the Prince of Sulmona, and to his wife, a daughter of Lord Shrewsbury, one of the most beautiful creatures I ever looked upon; to her second son, who has the title of Don Camillo Borghese; and to her only daughter, the Viscountess Mortemart, who with her husband, an intellectual Frenchman, is passing the winter in Rome. . . . .

The rooms filled between nine and ten o'clock. There were a few cardinals, . . . . two or three foreign ministers, half a dozen English, and the rest were Roman nobility,—the Chigis, Gaetanos, the Piombinos, etc. I talked with some of them; but, except one of the Gaetanos, I found none of them disposed or able to go beyond very common gossip.

December 13.—The evening I passed at the French Minister's, the Marquis de Latour-Maubourg, who holds a soiree once a week. He is a quiet, gentlemanlike person, whom I have seen once or twice before; graver than Frenchmen generally are, and, I should think, of very good sense. The company was much like that at the Princess Borghese's, but the tone somewhat less easy and agreeable, for the Ambassador evidently cares little about it, and the Marchioness has not come to Rome, on account of the cholera. He lives in one wing of the Colonna Palace, and has two or three fine reception-rooms . . . . [62]

December 14.—I passed a couple of hours this forenoon at Mr. Bunsen's. He lives very agreeably, but not showily, in the Caffarelli Palace, which stands on one of the summits of the ancient Capitol, and has, on two sides, the Tarpeian Rock for the limits of its gardens and territories. In his neighborhood he has erected one building for the Archaeological Academy, which has existed at Rome, through his means, since 1829; and another building for the sick Protestants, who are not received into the hospitals of the city, and whom he formerly used to have treated in a wing of his own palace; while, within the palace itself, he has made arrangements for Protestant worship in German, French, and Italian.

Besides all this, he is the most active person in whatever of literary enterprise there is in Rome, and a truly learned man in the wide German sense of the word. I went with him this morning over his academy and hospital, and received a sort of regular learned lecture from him on whatever can be seen from the windows of his palace, or from the roof of his hospital, which comprehends a view of all the seven hills, and nearly the whole neighborhood of the city. It was very interesting, the more so from the place where it was given; and the explanations of the Tarpeian Rock, and some portions of the Capitol itself, were extremely curious and satisfactory. . . .

December 15.—We gave the whole morning to the Museum of the Vatican; and, after all, it seems as if we had hardly made an impression on this wilderness of statues, to say nothing of the bas-reliefs and inscriptions. One of the difficulties in the case is, that when you get into the hall of the Muses, or the cabinet of the Laocoon and Apollo, you remain, and forget the multitude of other things that are worth seeing.

In the evening there was a great concert given by the Duchess Torlonia, who, since her husband's death, is the head of the banking-house. . . . She gave her fete to-night in a vast palace she owns near St. Peter's. As we drove to it we found ourselves already within its reach, as it were, when we had arrived at the Bridge of St. Angelo; for the bridge itself was lighted with torches on both sides, and horse-guards were stationed in the middle,—a show which we had all the way through the Trastevere. . . . . . Meeting the Prince Borghese in one of the rooms, I sat down and had a very agreeable talk with him and the Russian Charge d'affaires. . . . . We came out very early, and drove through the darkling streets on this side of the Tiber to the Capitol hill, where we passed a very sensible and agreeable hour, with a small party, at Mrs. Bunsen's. . . . . [63]

December 17.—We passed a good deal of a bright, lovely forenoon on the Palatine hill, the original nucleus of Rome, and its most splendid centre in its most splendid days; the spot where Virgil has placed Evander's humble dwelling, four hundred years before the supposed age of Romulus, and the spot where Nero began the Aurea Domus, which threatened, as the epigram in Suetonius intimates (Nero, c. 31), to fill the whole city, but now, all alike, a heap of undistinguishable ruins. It is in vain to ask for one monument, or to try to verify one record or recollection;—the house where Augustus lived forty years can be as little marked as that of Romulus; and all reminiscences of Cicero, who dwelt here in the midst of his future enemies—Clodius and Catiline,—of Mecaenas, of Agrippa, and of Horace, are vain and fruitless. The truth is, probably, that, having been the residence of the Emperors from the time of Augustus till the irruption of the Goths and the capture of the city, it was so full of wealth and works of art, that it was particularly exposed to plunder and violence. We walked about in the Farnese Gardens, and saw on all sides, and especially on the declivities of the hill towards the Aventine and the Caelian, huge substructions, into one of which we descended, and were shown, with a miserable taper, frescos and arabesques, which, if not of much merit, prove how much care and ornament were bestowed on the most obscure parts of these luxurious palaces and temples . . . .

December 18.—We went to church this morning, and find it more and more grateful to be allowed to have regular Sundays, though the preaching is Calvinistic, and clumsily so. But last winter we had not even this. After church we walked in the Villa Borghese . . . . .

December 20.—. . . . We visited, this morning, the remains of the Theatre of Marcellus, and of the Portico of Octavia. There is, after all, not a great deal to be seen of them; but the antiquarians are much interested about them always, because the marble plan at the Capitol shows so distinctly what they were; and everybody feels interested in what bears the name of Octavia, the sister of Augustus, whom Shakespeare has so well described in a few lines, and in Marcellus, whom Virgil has immortalized in still fewer.10 The Theatre was begun by Julius Caesar (Dio Cass., 53-30, p. 725, and 43, 49, p. 376), but was finished by Augustus, and dedicated, A. u. c. 741, to the memory of Marcellus, who had been dead ten years (Plin., 8, 23; Suet. Aug., 29). . . . .

The Portico, which Augustus built afterwards, for the accommodation [64] and shelter of the people frequenting the Theatre, was a wide range of buildings, including two or three temples, of which remains are found now in two churches in the neighborhood, and several columns and inscriptions in the streets. No doubt, originally, everything here was in the most magnificent style, as well as on the grandest plan; for Pliny enumerates some of the finest works of Grecian art as having stood here, and among the rest, the very Cupid which Cicero (VI. contra Verrem) reproaches Verres with having stolen, and which was the work of Praxiteles. Now, however, so little remains,—it is all so scattered,—and it is scattered through such a filthy and squalid part of the city, that it requires a very decided antiquarian taste to enjoy it.11 . . . .

December 23.—I went to see Cardinal Fesch this morning, and sat an hour with him. He is now seventy-four years old, and is somewhat, though not much, changed since I saw him nineteen years ago. Indeed, he is uncommonly hale and well-preserved for his years; dresses with ecclesiastical precision and niceness, and has the most downright good-natured ways with him, as he always had. He talked a vast deal of nonsense about the cholera and cordons; undertook to be learned about the plagues of ancient and modern times, but succeeded only in making a clumsy and awkward display of scraps of knowledge which . . . . he knew not how to put together; and finally he told me of a plan he has now in progress, for establishing an academy of sculpture and design in Ajaccio, in Corsica; but I could not find out that he had any further present purpose in relation to the matter than to erect a building, and fill it with casts and the refuse pictures of his own admirable gallery. However, if his vanity gets excited, his legacies may be worth something.12 . . . .

In the evening we had a visit from the kind Chevalier Kestner, after which I passed an hour quietly and agreeably at the Princess Borghese's, where I met the Chigis, Lord Stuart de Rothesay, and only one or two other persons. Lord Stuart, who was thirteen years British Ambassador at Paris, remembered me, and reminded me of a conversation I had with him eighteen years ago, which surprised me very much, as I never saw him but once. [65]

December 25.—A rainy, windy, and stormy Christmas, but the first really disagreeable day we have had since we crossed the Alps, above three months ago. . . . . We went comfortably enough to St. Peter's, and having good places there by the kindness of Mr. Kestner, saw the grand mass performed by the Pope, to great advantage . . . .

December 26.—. . . . I dined in a gentlemen's party, at Mr. Jones the Bankers, with Mr. Harper,13 Dr. Bowring,14 and a Mr. Greg,15 whom I found a very intelligent Englishman of fortune, who means, as Dr. Bowring says, to stand for the next Parliament, for Lancaster. There were two or three other persons present, but the conversation was in the hands of those I have mentioned, and was very spirited. It turned on English reform and American slavery, and such exciting topics as necessarily produced lively talk. We sat long at table, and then I carried Dr. Bowring to Mr. Trevelyan's,16 where there was a small party of English, but none so interesting as himself and his wife.

January 2, 1837.—. . . . In the evening we went for a short time to the Princess Massimo's. We brought letters to her, but did not deliver them until lately, because they have been in great affliction, on account of the dangerous illness of one of the family. She is a Princess of Saxony, own cousin to the unfortunate Louis XVI., and married to the head of that ancient house which has sometimes claimed to be descended from Fabius Maximus. When she is well, and her family happy, she receives the world one or two evenings every week, but now her doors are shut. She is old enough to have a good many grandchildren, and we found her living quite in the Roman style.

We passed up the grand, cold, stone staircases, always found in their palaces, through a long suite of ill-lighted, cheerless apartments, and at last found the Princess, with two rather fine-looking daughters, sitting round a table, the old Prince playing cards with some friends at another, with Italian perseverance, while one of her sons, attached to the personal service of the Pope, was standing with two or three other ecclesiastics near a moderate fire, whose little heat was carefully cut off from the company by screens; for the Italians look upon a direct radiation of warmth from the fireplace as something quite disagreeable. The whole appearance of the room was certainly not princely; still less did it speak of the grandeur of ancient Rome. [66]

But we were very kindly and pleasantly received, and passed an hour agreeably. The rest of the evening we spent at Mrs. Trevelyan's. . . .

January 9.—A course of lectures, to be delivered thrice a week, was begun this morning at the Archaeological Institute. It is to be delivered by Bunsen, on the Topography of Rome; Gerhard, on Painted Vases; and Lepsius, on Egyptian Monuments. The lecture to-day was by Bunsen, on the writers upon the Topography of Rome, merely introductory, but curious and interesting.

January 11.—Some of the principal ladies of Rome are now going from house to house, to ask contributions for making arrangements in relation to the cholera. The Princess Borghese—whose duties lay in our quarter—came yesterday to us, but we were out, and she left a note asking us to send to her palazzo any assistance we are disposed to give. . . . . In the evening I met her at the Austrian Ambassador's, blazing with diamonds such as I have not seen out of Saxony, and little looking as if she had been begging all day, and receiving sums, as she told me, as low as half a paul.17 This morning I went to carry my little contribution, and was shown by her directly to the breakfast-room, that, as she said, I might see her whole family. It was a cheerful and interesting sight. Beside the beautiful Princess of Sulmona, the fine, striking Viscountess de Mortemart, the three sons, and the son-in-law, there were the chaplain, the tutor, the physician, and one or two other members of a great house, all round a long, highly polished oak table, covered with a substantial dejeuner à la fourchette, served chiefly on silver. They all seemed happy, and were very pleasant; and I could not help contrasting it with the scenes of heartless show I witnessed in the Princess Pauline's days, in the same rooms. It was one of those scenes of the real interieur of a great house that strangers rarely chance upon, and I enjoyed its simplicity, heartiness, and good taste very much. . . . .

In the evening we went to Prince Musignano's,—Charles Bonaparte,—who lives in a beautiful little villa just by the Porta Pia, built by Milizia, the well-known writer on Architecture, and a part of the inheritance from the Princess Pauline to Joseph's children.18 I know nothing of the sort in the neighborhood of Rome so pretty and tasteful. But the evening was awkward and dull . . . . . The ladies were all on one side of the room, and the gentlemen in the middle or on the other side.

1 Horatio Greenough, the American sculptor.

2 The Regent having succeeded to the throne in the previous summer.

3 See Vol. I. pp. 177, 178.

4 Wife of Wilhelm von Humboldt. See Vol. I. pp. 177, 178.

5 Whom Mr. Ticknor had known as Princess Prossedi, eldest daughter of Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino. See Vol. I. p. 182.

6 Half-brother to the Princess Gabrielli.

7 Caroline Bonaparte, sister of Napoleon I., once Queen of Naples as wife of Murat.

8 Half-sister to the Princess Gabrielli. She did not lose her life by the escapade here mentioned.

9 See Vol. I. p. 256.

10 Antony and Cleopatra, Act II. Sc. 2, and Aeneid, Book VI. v. 884.

11 Mr. Ticknor made ample and careful memoranda of his visits to ancient remains and modem collections, and of the lectures he heard from Bunsen, Gerhard, and Lepsius.

12 There is a College Fesch at Ajaccio, a high school for boys, of which one wing contains pictures—said to be eight hundred in number—from Cardinal Fesch's collection, given by Joseph Bonaparte in 1842, and hardly one good painting among them.

13 Charles Carroll Harper, of Baltimore.

14 Sir John Bowring.

15 William R. Greg, author of ‘Enigmas of Life,’ etc.

16 Since Sir Walter Calverley Trevelyan, Bart.

17 Five cents of American money.

18 The Princess Musignano was the daughter of Joseph Bonaparte.

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