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remarkably civil, and eager to serve us. What a
blessing to find cleanliness and comfort in a small
village in the Apennines ; a blessing the more valued
because wholly unexpected.

Next morning we left this comfortable house with
regret, and continued to follow the course of the
Metaura to its source. The posts are villages built
on the site of ancient castles. Gualdo ' is particularly
fine, covering the top of a pointed hill, the foot of

1 Gualdo-Tadino, where, in 552, Narses defeated and slew the Ostrogothic
King Totila, and gaif-d possession of Rome.


which is fringed with olive trees ; while the higher
Apennines, with their tops covered with snow, rise
around it. After passing Nocera we descended into
a richly wooded country, whose noble oaks replace
the firs in this otherwise Swiss scenery. Almost
every pointed hill has its ruined castle ; fit haunts
for banditti ! Suddenly two soldiers stopped our
carriage, and told us that as we should be late in
arriving at Foligno we ought to take them as escorts.
They informed us that twenty-five prisoners had
escaped from Perugia, of whom twelve were known
to be hiding in the mountains. Although we sus-
pected that they wanted a job, we resolved to be on
the safe side. Thus escorted, we arrived at Foligno,
through a beautiful valley watered by a stream of
palest green, which gurgled gently over the stones,
and broke now and then into foam. The inn at
Foligno is a perfect contrast to our last night's
lodging in the mountains. It is dirty, noisy, and full
of fleas ; what must it be in summer?

The night is passed, and we are now really in Italy.
A rich broad valley watered by the clear Clitumnus.
The hills form an amphitheatre, in the centre of which,
on broken ground, stands Spoleto with its old castle, 1
and ancient laurels. It was here that Hannibal was
stopped and compelled to raise the siege after the
victory of Thrasymenus. 2

After passing for some hours a country of indescrib-
able beauty, of which no language but the Italian of
Tasso or Metastasio can do justice, we entered the
Vale of Terni. We determined to visit the waterfall
at once. The calcchc produced for the occasion was
quite a curiosity ; it looked as if it had been, a hundred
years ago, the vehicle in which some priest conducted

' This castle was originally founded in pre- Roman times. It was rebuilt in
1364. In 1499 it was inhabited l>y Lacrezia Borgia.

1 Plutarch, in his Life of FabitU Maximus, gives a graphic acount of this

348 THE VALE OF TERNI [ch. xvm

his gouvernante. It had certainly seen its best days ; but,
in spite of its crazy appearance, it was very strong,
otherwise it would have broken twenty times on that
road, full of bumpy rocks, which leads to the cascade.
Along this same way the Austrian General Bianchi
marched his troops and artillery to Naples, thus
gaining two days in his pursuit of Murat. 1 As we
were beginning to ascend, our postilions stopped for us
to admire the view. It was indeed lovely, but farther
on it was still more striking. We overlooked the
Vale of Terni, thickly dotted with villas, while beneath
us the river ran in curves along the fertile valley
which it waters. The road, which descends zig-zag
from an apparently inaccessible rock, was crowded
with mules and peasants, male and female, returning
from market. Our carriage was soon surrounded by
screaming beggars and children, who called out " Ferma,
per l'amor di Dio." We got rid of them at last by
promising to give them something on our return. At
the top of the rock we beheld the head of the cascade.
We left our carriage, and followed our guide through
a wood, where we distinctly heard the roar of the
cascade. The Swiss waterfalls are nothing to this.
The Falls of Terni unite every beauty which belongs
to all the others. 2 In this cataract we behold the
luxuriance of the Pisse-Vache, the height and shoot of

1 April 1815.
2 "How the Giant Element
From rock to rock leaps with delirious bound,
Crushing the cliffs, which, downward worn and rent
With his fierce footsteps, yield in chasms a fearful vent
To the broad column which rolls on and shows
More like the fountain of an infant sea,
Torn from the womb of mountains by the throes
Of a new world, than only thus to be
Parent of rivers, which flow gushingly,
With many windings, through the vale : — Look back !
Lo ! where it comes like an Eternity,
As if to sweep down all things in its track,
Charming the eye with dread, — a matchless cataract."

Childe Harold, Canto iv. stanzas 70-71.


the Staubbach, and the picturesque environments of
the smaller cascades. It is truly sublime.

Narni is situated on a very steep hill, at the foot of
which they attached oxen to our carriage, as horses
could not have drawn us up. The streets of Narni are
as narrow as those of Fossombrone.

Near Otricoli we obtained our first view of the Tiber,
as it wound gently through a broad valley. The road
to Borghetto, in the country of the Sabines, is very
bad. We slept at Civita Castellana, in a wretched inn,
for which we paid enormously.

We set off early next morning and passed through
a deserted and uncultivated country on our way to
Rome. There were patrols the whole length of the
road. From the top of a hill beyond Baccano we first
saw the sea, and then the dome of St. Peter's. It
happened to be a lovely day. Wild fig trees were
in the hedges, olives were scattered about, and here
and there some evergreen oaks. Ever and anon a
ruined villa made a sad contrast to the surrounding
gardens and groves. At last we came to the Tiber,
having passed, every half mile or so along the road,
the leg or arm of a man nailed to a post, as a warning
to malefactors. 'Twas thus the Pope had done justice
to some of the assassins who infested the roads. We
also met numbers of wretched-looking people being
escorted by soldiers who were taking them to their
parishes, to get rid of them out of Rome. This may
perhaps account for the fact that we have not as yet
met many beggars in Rome.

As we entered the City, by the Porta del Popolo, we
found a note from Canova, who had secured us very
good lodgings at La Grande-Bretagne, in which we
established ourselves after three nights' and thirty-two
days' constant travelling.

• Lady Jersey and all her clique are here, but we
have sent out our letters, and I am quite ready for

35° CANOVA'S STUDIO [ch. xviii

Our first visit next morning was to Canova's atelier}
He was not at home, but had left a very civil message,
and called upon us while we were out. I had no idea
of the extent of Canova's talents until I came to Rome.
It is not one thing, but numbers, that attest his genius.
He has just finished a group of Mars and Venus which
is perfectly lovely. Perhaps the hands of the Venus
are slightly an exaggeration of potele, and the fingers
taper too much. I ventured to ask him if he had ever
seen any hands like that in Nature ? He replied,
"Yes, those of the Princess Borghese." He told me
that his idea of the Mars and Venus came into his
mind at Dover, while waiting for the packet boat.

Canova speaks bad French, and, when perfectly at
ease, he loves to indulge in his Venetian patois. He
says that he was only once in love, and that his
timidity then, as always, got the better of his passion ;
so that he never could screw up his courage to
propose marriage. He now considers this a most
happy circumstance, and rejoices in his single blessed-
ness. I am told that the lady with whom he was in
love was a German, and not very handsome, but full
of wit and talent. He says that he longs for the
presence of a woman in his atelier — some one for whom
he could feel a passion. This would give him new
ideas. His naivete is very attractive. He seems to
think you do him a favour in listening to him, and he
shares with deep pleasure your enjoyment of his works.
He shows them to you in the most favourable lights,
has no mock modesty in disclaiming your praises, and
regards your enthusiasm as a tribute, not to himself,
but to his art. He has a very fine countenance, and,
though not tall, is robust. He is very much afraid of
hot rooms, as, indeed, are all the Italians. He says hot
rooms always give him a cold. As his atelier is without

' Canova's studio still stands at 16 Via S. Giacomo, not far from the Piazza
del Popolo. It will soon be pulled down by the Municipality. It was here
that he executed his celebrated statue of Pauline Borghese.

•i8i6] ST. PETER'S 351

a fire, and he is there from morning till night, I can well
imagine how dangerous a hot room would be to him.

December 16. — Canova this evening introduced me
to the Duchesse de Fiano, almost the only house
he visits. After staying half an hour, he com-
plained of the heat, and departed, but he was very
amiable while he stayed. He tells me that permission is
very soon to be given to excavate the ground in Rome,
for the purpose of discovering antiquities. If any are
found, the Government is to have the first option of
purchasing them. He has just begun to write to
Metternich, to recommend the Cavaliere Fonbroni as
Director of the Austrian Academy.

The first view of St. Peter's, as seen from behind
some shabby houses, did not impress me. Indeed, 1
asked the name of the church, as I did not feel sure
that it was St. Peter's. But when we arrived at the
Piazza, all my doubts vanished. That beautiful
colonnade and the fountains most gracefully lead the
eye to the lofty facade. It was not until we were close
to the church that we realised its height. There is
too much ornamentation, both without and within.
On my expressing this feeling to Signor Re, he agreed
with me, and said that the church of St. Peter's had
contributed to a decline of the Arts, by encouraging a
taste for redundant ornament, which only the vastness
of this building could in any way excuse. In the
interior of St. Peter's we saw paintings in mosaic,
which imitate paintings so well that I was completely
satisfied to look at a copy of the Transfiguration, and
to believe it to be the original returned from Paris. !
The breadth of the dome takes off from its height as
seen from the Piazza, but within the building its effect
is sublime. Although, on the morning of Christmas
Day, thousands of people entered St. Peter's, they
were lost in its immense space. Behind the High

' I should not have thought so if I bad then seen that inimitable picture,
which I have since seen in u gOl »l light. (Note \>y Lady Shelley.)

352 CHRISTMAS DAY [ch. xviii

Altar the church was hung with crimson silk, and two
chairs, draped with white silk, were prepared for the
Pope. On each side leading to the High Altar stood
a row of the Garde Noble, richly dressed in scarlet,
and wearing caps with white feathers. The Garde
Suisse, in armour, lined the rest of the church.
Presently the Pope arrived. He was borne in a chair
on men's shoulders. His approach was announced
by a chorus of voices, which became louder as the
Pontiff advanced up the church. This had a fine
effect. The procession was dignified, and well con-
ducted. When the Pope was seated on his chair, the
Cardinals advanced and, one by one, kissed his hand.
They were followed by the Bishops, who embraced
his knee ; then came the priests, who kissed his feet.
The ceremony of pulling up his petticoats struck me
as ludicrous. Mass began with the ceremonies
observed when the Pope officiates in person. Pius VII.
is a venerable-looking man, with black hair, although
seventy-four years of age. Cardinal Gonsalvo, the
Pope's assistant, both looked and acted very well. In
spite of every endeavour, I feel it impossible to
associate my religious feeling with the ceremonies of
the Roman Catholic Church. Shelley, who was
placed behind the Cardinals, heard them talking
together while upon their knees, although apparently
praying devoutly. The sun shone bright, and threw a
thousand picturesque lights upon the ceremony. When
the Pope elevated the Host, a sudden gleam burst
forth, which to the people appeared miraculous, but
was simply produced by the sudden raising and
lowering of a closed blind, a manoeuvre which I plainly
saw. The only difference between the Christmas
ceremonies and those of Holy Week is that the
Benediction is bestowed from the balcony of St.
Peter's. This has an effect similar to that which we
saw at Vertus, when the soldiers all fell on their
knees. The music at St. Peter's was not striking, and


that which I heard in the Sistine Chapel was almost

On Christmas Day we went in the evening to the
Santa Maria Maggiore. The church was entirely
hung with red cloth, and finely illuminated. As we
came out of the dark church, we beheld Rome bathed
in all the glories of a setting sun. The transition from
dark to light was most impressive. On our return
from St. Peter's, we received a visit from Count
Apponyi, and in the evening we went to his reception.
Cardinal Gonsalvo, the great man here, has shown us
many little attentions. In short, I had various
triumphs during the evening. Next day 1 visited
Canova at his studio. Afterwards I went to the
Vatican, and gazed at the Apollo, which is marvellous.

I am not pleased with the colossal statues at the
entrance of the Capitol. The statue of Marcus
Aurelius, though fine, is much out of the per-
pendicular, and, if not attended to, is in danger of
falling. On reaching the summit of this building, a
panorama, probably unrivalled in the world, presented
itself. Senor Re, who accompanied us, is an excellent
cicerone, and gave us a lesson in Roman history while
describing the ancient and modern geography of the
city. The evening was so clear that we could
distinguish the houses at Tivoli, eighteen miles off!
On Christmas Day Madame Apponyi was good
enough to take me to St. Peter's. On our tickets was
printed an intimation to the effect that, as the grilles
had been removed, ladies were requested to come
dressed in a manner appropriate to a religious
ceremony. On my inquiring the meaning of this, I
was told that ladies attended last year with bare
necks ! In the evening we went into a cafe, and drank
coffee, the universal beverage. We were much
amused by the gaiety of the people. The master of the
house carried many saucers on his head, and dealt them
out quickly, upon a marble table, like a pack of cards.
i— 23

354 MARCHESA TORLONlA [ch. xvm

In the evening I went to a ball at the Marchesa
Torlonia's. I happened to arrive an hour too soon.
This confusion of hours is due to the Italian
mode of counting time, in accordance with sunset,
which is always twenty-four. The same thing
happened to me with Canova, who arrived to take
me to the Duchesse de Fiano's at half-past six,
instead of seven ; I had not even begun to dress.
On my arrival at the Marchesa Torlonia's we found
that the Pope had forbidden the ball, which was
not considered proper for Christmas Day. This
naturally caused annoyance ; but I think the Pope
was right. It appears that the Marchesa had already
received a hint of this, but she was determined to
disregard it, until obliged to obey by an official
order. It seems that the old-established rule, of
not dancing during Advent, had already been
broken at a ball given to Prince Leopold. This the
Marchesa, I suppose, took as a precedent.

The Torlonias are bourgeois. His father was a
laquais de place who, nobody knows how, made
a fortune, turned banker, and becoming enormously
rich, bought palaces and villas. He obtained a
marquisate, and later on a dukedom ; meanwhile,
he continued his business as banker. He gives
fetes, receives all Rome, and last night all London
too. It was, however, a bad London assembly.

December 26. — Canova took me into his sanctum,
and worked before me for some time. We then
went to the Vatican, where we passed two hours,
and saw the pictures which had been returned from
Paris. Thence we went to the Forum, and spent
some time at the Coliseum, which is far finer than
that at Verona. Its picturesqueness is enhanced by
the quantity of evergreens which adorn its ruins,
through which we had peeps of landscape.

After dinner we went to the Duchess of Devon-
shire's, where I saw some etchings by Mr. Williams,


who has invented an instrument of ivory with several
points, by which the process is rendered much quicker
and answers extremely well. It is on a soft ground,
and cut with aqua fortis.

On our return home I found a note from Cardinal
Gonsalvo, to say that the Pope would receive me
in the garden of the Vatican, and that Shelley might
accompany me.

December 29, 18 16. — We arrived at the Vatican
punctually at three o'clock, the hour fixed for our
reception. The gardens are beautiful, but, as the
day was cold, we were shown into the pavilion. In
about a quarter of an hour the Pope came, attended
by his Court. On his entrance I ought to have
kissed his hand. Unfortunately I was not then aware
of this ceremonial, so I merely made a curtsey. The
Pope received me very graciously, and then led us
into an inner room, the door of which was closed
upon us, so we remained alone with him.

Having motioned us to be seated, the Pope began
a very animated conversation in Italian. He speaks
very little French. He is a venerable-looking man,
and converses very freely on politics and art. He
started off at once by saying that the Court of France
is displeased that he should have given Lucien
Bonaparte 1 permission to reside in Rome. The Pope
said that he acted out of compassion for a Prince
who had been driven from place to place, until he
became a mere wreck, both in body and in mind.

The Pontiff then spoke of Pauline Borghese, and

1 Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino (1775— 1840). In 1803, a f' er tne
marriage which displeased his brother Napoleon, Lucien was compelled to
leave France. lie settled in Rome. After the l'eace of Tilsit, Napoleon
had an interview with him, and offered him a kingdom, if he would look
upon it in all respects as a province of the Empire. As -Lucien refused.
Napoleon ordered him to quit the Continent. In 1810, he embarked for
America, but was captured by an English cruiser, and landed in England,
where, for some time, he was kept under surveillance at Ludlow Castle. He
afterwards Ixm^ht a house near London, where he remained until the
Restoration of the Bourbons in 1814, when he returned to Rome.


described her statue to me very naively. He then
described Canova's statue of Napoleon, and said
that the ladies of Paris were so angry at its nudity,
that it had to be concealed. I am bound to say that
on these subjects the old gentleman talked very oddly
for a Pope, and with marvellous naivete.

Our interview lasted three-quarters of an hour,
and after I had kissed the Pope's hand, we returned
home quite pleased with our reception. The Pope's
niece, a nun, had been waiting in the outer room,
and went in when we left him.

We dined with the French Ambassador, the Count
de Blacas. Prince Henry of Prussia was there, and
the Prince of Saxe-Gotha, by whom I sat at dinner.
On my other side sat Prince Altieri. There were
about fifty people present.

Next day we visited the Thermes of Caracalla,
Titus, Diocletian, and Nero; the latter is now the
church of the Madonna delle Angeli.

I cannot describe the effect made on me by the
Pantheon, which surpasses all previous conceptions.

On the day that Shelley dined with the Cardinal
Gonsalvo, I dined with Lady Westmorland. The
dinner itself was magnificent. There were fifty
servants out of livery ; and each person was waited on
by two men in livery ; and yet the dinner was dull !

Madame Apponyi called to take me to the Opera.
The ballet was the most ridiculous thing imaginable ;
it was all burlesque, and that in the worst style.
The dresses were such as would scarcely be tolerated
at a country fair, and yet the Italians seem passion-
ately fond of these ballets ! The music of the opera
was badly executed.

From the Duke of Wellington to Lady Shelley

" Mont St. Martin, Decetnber, 18, 1816.

" Many thanks, my dear Lady Shelley, for your
letter of the 25th November, which I received a few


days ago at Bruxelles, to which place it had followed
me. I went there to pay my respects to the King
and Prince of Orange, and to see the Princess ; and
I stayed four or five days in a constant fete, and
returned about ten da}^s ago.

1 am very sorry indeed for poor Julie. 1 She was in
every way a delightful person, and I agree with you in
thinking that she alone was worth the whole family of
the Zichys' together : and I could even throw her old
mother into the bargain, who had no merit what-
ever, excepting to have been so closely related to so
charming a creature. I know no person so popular
as she was ; and I am convinced she is universally

" I was certain you would like the society of
Vienna, and I see that I did not form an erroneous
opinion. The best people there are naturally attached
to the English, and disposed to receive them well, and
to live upon easy terms with them ; and even Prince
Charles's folly has not been able to get the better
of this disposition. 2 To do him justice, however, I
must say that he does everything in his power to
make his home agreeable to his countrymen who
go to Vienna ; and the Ambassador can always do
a great deal to render a place agreeable to those who
go abroad pour passer le temps.

" 1 am delighted to find that you are thinking of
your return, and I will certainly meet you at Paris.
I propose to go there at the end of this month, and
to stay till the spring ; or till you come. There are
numbers of English at Paris, and still more going
there. I have here at this moment on their way
Lord and Lady Conyngham and their daughter, Sir
James and Lady L. Erskine, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd, etc.
I amuse them with bad hunting, but excellent coursing,
of which I wish you were here to partake.

" I am very anxious to learn how you will have

1 See pp. 323-4.

2 Sir Charles Stewart (l 778 — 1854), Ambassador at Vienna, was created
Baron Stewart after the Congress. He had been a distinguished soldier,
was Wellington's Adjutant-General in the Peninsula, and was severely
wounded at Kuhn. On the death of Lord Castlereaph, he succeeded as
Marquis of Londonderry. He was a pall-bearer at Wellington's funeral.
The point of the Duke's allusion is lost to us, but evidenily Lord Stewart bore
the sobriquet of " Prince."

358 LADY SHELLEY'S REPLY [ch. xvhi

been received by Queen Willis. 1 I should imagine
not very graciously, though I cannot understand
what objection she can have to you.

" I have not heard from Calantha very lately. She
told me that an answer had been written to 'Glenarvon,'
but she did not say by whom. She did not think it
good. I think she would have mentioned it if she
had imagined the answer to have been written by
Lord Byron. God bless you, my dear Lady Shelley.
Remember me kindly to Shelley and believe me ever

" Yours most sincerely,

" Wellington."

[The following letter, although written at Naples, is
inserted immediately after the Duke's letter, to which
it is an answer.]

From Lady Shelley to the Duke of Wellington

" NAPLES, January 1817.

" My dear Duke,

" We are at last arrived at Naples, the end of
our pilgrimage, and henceforward every step we take
will bring us nearer to you and to England. The
certainty of your being at Paris delights us. Shelley
has promised me, in spite of his impatience to return
home, three weeks, at least, of your society.

" We travelled day and night from Vienna to Venice,
where we stayed a few days. We then visited Verona,
passed the Furlo, and arrived at Rome on 23rd Decem-
ber in time for the ceremonies of Christmas. I had
an audience of the Saint Pere, with whom I had a
conversation which will, I think, amuse you. During
the fortnight we spent in the Eternal City we were
occupied, from daylight until dark, sightseeing. In
spite of every prediction that we should be robbed,
and perhaps murdered on the road, we arrived here
without any contretemps.

" I now begin once more to breathe after the rapidity
and fatigue, mental and physical, of our journey. I
am enchanted with the beauty of Naples, which far
surpasses all the descriptions which 1 had heard. I
have found here excellent accounts of my children,

Online LibraryFrances (Winckley) ShelleyThe diary of Frances lady Shelley (Volume 1) → online text (page 28 of 33)