1 AUGUST 1840, Page 17


Tuts volume is a series of letters to a junior sister, descriptive of a tour in Italy, written by an observing and accomplished young lady, with an imagination verging to the poetical, but well-disci- plied. The letters contain a Iitithful account of the impressions which the country, the people, the antiquities, and the arts of so

renowned a region \vould be likely to make on a female such as we have described ; and ;doom(' in nice touches of description, that bring the scei.e clmractcri,tically befbre the reader. Intermingled with these things are historical notices prompted by the occasion ; as a sketcl. of the progress of architecture, an account of time order of the Jesuits,—embracing the spirit rather than the body of the subjects they treat of, and showing an acquaintance with the topics not resulting from a cramming for the tour. The publication of this portion of the letters will be found useful to the young or unin- formed; anti they contribute to maintain the naturalness of the correspondence, by preserving the chain unbroken. In a critical sense, however, they will be found somewhat in the way for ad- vanced readers; since they treat of subjects upon which a novel light could only be thro,,vn by enlarged experience and penetratino. thought.

The route of Miss TAYLOR was from Geneva across 'Mount Cenis to Turin and Genoa ; thence to Pisa and Florence, and after- wards to Rome, where the correspondence breaks off. Should this volume be favourably received, the remainder of the tour, em- bracing Naples, Bologna, Venice, and the other cities of the North of Italy, will appear. As an example of Miss TAmmon's descriptive style, we will take what appears to us a very striking sketch—


Amid now you must imagine us wrapped in all our warmest apparel, every cloak and boa in requisition, slowly pursuing our way up the steep side of the nmuntain. On the approach to Lansde-b.mrg, surrounded as it is on every side by inaccessible heights, you might imagine yourself at the world's end. There seems no outlet ; ranges on ranges it Alps cross and intersect each other, and the eye is bewildered in the vain attempt to follow them • the highest ate covered with snmv, and glaciers descend limn them into the willies.

The road begins to rise immediately from this village, and is carried in ter- races, supported on solid masonry., to the summit of the mountain, six thou- sand feet above the level of time sea. As we mtseended, the valley looked beau- tiful, scattered with little hamlets and cottages : we long watched the spire of the village we had just telt, ns it seemed by the frequent winding .of the road to eh:owe its position the landscape. We soon entered the region of sillier, which lily in masses pure and white nu the green slopes, glittering in the Omits: the small mounteiu-streams were frozen aS they ran, the ice assuming beautiful and grotesqne htrms, or hanging from the projecting points of rock in pendants of the clearest crystal. All trace of human habitation was lost, except that here and there we saw it little chdlet perched on some distant moontam-side, the bright green spot of pasture-land on which it stood looking like an oasis in the desert of snow. How picturesque are these chdlets, standing aloof from the world heneath—the link connecting mankind with these Alpine solitudes: During the winter-months they are deserted, hut early in the spring the herds- man collects his flocks of cattle and goats, and, forsaking the valley, ascends to his eyrie on the mountains : there he lives during the summer, watching- his flocks, and from the produce of his dairy laying by the stores fur the winter. Here is another—


The sun rose gloriously, revealing the wide Cauntragna of Rome, which stretched around us as Ilk :LS the eye could reach—a vast desert. Surely no- thing on earth can be inure imposing than the approach to Rome. For many

miles in every direction the city is encompassed by barren tracts of country scattered with ruins; the far-spreading waste lies in death-like silence, and the few human beings whom you meet are like spectres mourning over the destruction around. It is as if the curse of Hessen was on the country ; as if, in sinking, the mighty empress of the world had drawn into the vortex that engulfed her the whole surrounding country, leaving it, like herself, a vast and desolate ruin. As we advanced across this lonely Campagna, as every step brought us nearer to Rome, what thoughts crowded on our tnemory The contrast of former glory and present desolation presses upon the heart, and teaches a lesson which philosophy might vainly strive to inculcate.

The Campagna is thinly peopled, owing to its being infected with malaria,

which gives rise to a spectes of low fever. The effects of this are dreadful during the sumtner-months; hundreds of the poorer inhabitants are annually swept off by it ; all who call do so, fly from its fatal influence to the mountains, but poverty compels many to remain. These dwell in miserable hovels, and are principally shepherds, whose sallow faces and emaciated forms strongly excite compassion. They wear a curious dress of sheep-skin, with the wool outside, generally dyed a dark mahogony colour ; and in addition to this, have often a kind of apron of goat-skin. Otte of these picturesque figures we saw sitting on the side of a gentle slope, watching his flocks as they browsed below : his with was seated near him, in her bright scarlet hoddice and green petticoat, with a pendant headdress of white bum and silver bodkin, spinning thread from a long distaff, the spindle whirling quickly at her side, while playful children sported arouud them : it was a group for an artist.


Of the palaces of Rome I scarcely know what to say ; one so much re- sembles another that the same description may serve for all: their chief, in- deed their only attraction. lies in the pictures they contain. The exterior of these buildings is generally imposing: one suite of apartments is usually fur- nished with great magnificence, frequently hung with paintings, and sometimes contains choice pieces of sculpture; whilst the rest of the palace is neglected, and wears it deserted appearance. The entrance is often disagreeable ; you drive into a court-yard, and ascend a flight of marble stairs at once magnifi- cent and dirty ; you meet, half-way up perhaps, a miserable beggar, who sup- plicates your charity—mu wretched contrast to the splendour around him. When admitted, after ringing two or three times, you enter a lofty, spacious, and very dirty littll; here a velvet canopy may ovet hang the chair of state, and liveried servants indolently loiter about, scenting to have nothing better to do than to gaze at strangers; from this you turn to It colder's little stallor tailor's board, whilst a cardinal, followed by a numerous train, sweeps along the distant end of the hall. All this we saw in the Barberini Palace. Even the state- rooms of these palaces have a comfortless appearance: I never in au of them found a pleasant one, in which I could have sat down to write, or read, or work ; all were gloomy and grand, with massive furniture—great couches mid chairs, looking as hard as the marble of which the floors were formed.


Leaving St. Peter's, we walked to see the mallutiictory of mosaic. It differs front the pietra-dura ha this, that while stones are employed in the Florentine mosaic, the material used in the Roman is a cot»position of lead, tin, anti glass, smelted and mixed with colours: of this there are said to be eighteen thousand shades. We walked through a long room lined with cases, in which this is arranged, to the workshops. Here we watched the progress of the mosais. manutitcture for SOMC time. In an iron frame is placed a stone, the size of the intended picture ; and on it is spread, inch by inch, a kind of toast ic, which when dry becomes as hard mao flint. While yet soft, the workman inserts in it the small pieces of which the mosaic is formed, cut and ground with the utmost nicety to the shape required. The thne necessary for the completion of these pictures is of course great, and the expense proportionate, SOMC costing nearly 5,000/.

When the copyist has faithfully executed his task, there is still much to be done : the lawsuit: is laid on a table, amid the interstices are filled with a pe- culiar sort of wax, prepared for this purpose ; the surfice is then ground per- fectly smooth, and the whole polished. The subjects generally chosen RTC the finest pictures of the old masters; anti it is wonderful to see the beautiful copies produced by such mechanical means. We may talk as we please about the capability which some people possess of adorning a subject, but there seem to be only two sources of real interest in any thing,—its own intrinsic quali- ties, and such as it derives from association. The one is a matter of perception, dependent upon seizing the actual essentials of the thing as they exist ; the other must be attained by knowledge skimming the cream of history. Both these points seem well realized in the following description of Aletella's tomb, " the stern round tower of other days," which 13vaoN has commemorated in the Fourth Canto of Chi/de Has-old; but, in endeavouring to " adorn" it by things not essential, he extends conjecture through the best part of four stanzas, which are heavy, front being bottomed on the unreal.


Before we returned home to.day we visited time tomb of Cecilia 'Melons— a large round tower, built with so much regard to strength, that you would never imagine it designed for the grave of a woman. Nothing more is known of her for whom it was erected, than that she was the wile of Crassus, the opulent Triumvir. The Gaetani faultily, during the civil wirs of the middle ages, fortified themselves within this tower, and added the embattled cornice at time top : the walls are of immense thickness, and there was apparently, no en- trance until they were broken into, when a sarcoplmgns was found, which now stands in time court of the Farnese Palace. There is something in this lonely monument an in accordaece with time scene around, that it fiXe3 the attention. It stands at a considerable distance from the city, in the midst of the Cain- pagna : the waving of the long grass, the hum of time passing insect, or the wind sweeping mournfully along, are the only sounds which fall upon the ear ; and the noble aqueducts, the scattered ruins of villages or tombs, with here and there a peasant tending his scanty flocks, are the only sights which meet the eye. All is still as the grave we look upon ; and the vast Campagna, st retching everywhere around in melancholy grandeur, seems itself a mighty sepulchre.