WRANGLE AT AN ITALIAN CUSTOM HOUSE.)
FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION.
1 Trip to the Sunny South'
IN MARCH, 1885,
PARIS, MACON, GENEVA, MENTONE, SAN REMO, MONTE
CARLO, MONACO, ITALY, GENOA, TURIN, LEGHORN,
PISA, NAPLES, ROME, REGGIO, SICILY, MESSINA,
CATANIA, SYRACUSE, MALTA, GIBRALTAR.
L. S. D.,
A uthor of frc., &c.
DEDICATED TO MY FRIEND, J. P. G.
PRINTED BY E. GRIFFITH AND SON, HAMILTON STREtT.
The idea of writing a short narrative of a
trip to the Mediterranean suggested itself by the
numerous enquiries as to "where did you go?"
11 what did you see that afforded most interest ? "
// is difficult to compress into half-an-hour,
with any degree of clearness, what can be seen
in six weeks, and covering 5,000 miles.
I beg my friends to accept this broken and
disjointed attempt at description. I have tried
to say a little about most that I visited, whether
they treated me well or badly.
L. S. D.
tfebington, April, iS8j.
TRIP TO THE SUNNY SOUTH.'
|RY a sea trip, if you can manage it,"
was the last prescription I had from
Dr. Banks, "it will do you more
good than any medicine." This was about the
beginning of February. I found a companion
in the same humour as myself, and it was
agreed that we should make for the Mediter-
ranean, going overland.
Armed with passport, pistols, powder (Keat-
ing's insect), candles, soap, Bradshaw's Conti-
nental and Baedeker's Guides, and other
requisites too numerous to mention, on the
i8th of February we started from Birkenhead
After a day in London, we booked and
registered our luggage for Paris, and swept
through beautiful Kent, with its hills and
valleys and hop fields, like a garden in early
" Trip to the Sunny South."
The chops in the channel were very dis-
agreeable, and made us feel quiet, and look
very green and uncomfortable.
The steamer ran us alongside the railway
pier at Calais. After luncheon we took train ;
were then backed through some of the principal
streets, to attach some more carriages. As we
sped along we soon came across the old familiar
blue blouse and baggy trousers of the French
peasant, busy with his spring cultivation.
Leaving Boulogne and Amiens, reached Paris
early in the evening.
At the searching room I met with my first
trouble. Knowing, from experience, the quality
of French tobacco and cigars would not satisfy
an Englishman I had also been charged for
the credit of my own country not to forsake the
pipe was provided with a box of each, both
of which were broken into. This would not
satisfy the Frenchmen ; they gathered round
my portmanteau in a troop, turned out all my
sundries, and finally agreed to let me off with a
fine of eighteen francs. My friend managed to
pass, by good luck ; they seized his parcel of
candles, which he described as "flambeaux" in
his hurry to pick up his French, but afterwards
" Trip to the Sunny South."
corrected to " bougie," which were carefully ex-
amined, and he was allowed to go scot free.
We spent Saturday and Sunday here, visited the
Madelene, Champs Elysees, Arch de Triomph,
and the Louvre Galleries. Here we met one of
those bland, sleek gentlemen, a guide courier
and interpreter, with his small cane, gloves, and
well-polished hat, so seductive, so suggestive
and polite. We engaged him for two hours,
at two francs per hour, to take us over the
Picture Galleries. He badly wanted to shew
us the sights of Paris by night, but this we
declined. We sauntered through the well-known
gay thoroughfares, the Avenue de L'Opera,
Boulevard des Capucines, Boulevard de Italians,
the Palais Royal, with tasteful and tempting
shops of gloves, fancy nic-nacs, flowers, lace,
and millinery, and tempting confectionery estab-
lishments. The prices they ask, and get, are
fabulous, still they seem to find buyers ; every
one appears to be doing well ; you scarcely ever
see a shop to let.
On Saturday evening we did not think the
performance of" La Favorita " did much credit
to the company at the Grand Opera House.
As regards the decorations of the house, I con-
8 " Trip to the Sunny South"
sider them too massive, too gorgeous, too heavy,
and too much gold; but the grand staircase and
promenade crush room are the finest I have seen.
Sunday in Paris is not a day of rest, or even
recreation. The butchers and bakers, grocers
and drapers open their shops and push their
trade. They are all particular in the way they
do their business ; the barber and the butcher
are provided with a neat office, desk, stove, and
a large account book.
We took the banks of the river as far as the
Hotel de Ville, now re-built in a grand style
after being burnt down by the Communists.
The interior of Notre Dame is lost for want of
light ; we went in and were disappointed. This
is also the fault with many of the fine Cathedrals
in Italy. They say a church should have that
weird and gloomy solemn appearance to sober
the minds of the worshippers; if this be so, why
store up their costly paintings and sculpture in
places where they cannot be seen ? Pilgrims
visit these grand old churches, and fall into
ecstacy over a Raphael or a Guido that they
can scarcely discern.
I admired the column of the Bastile when
in Paris five years ago ; I admired it again,
Trip to the Sunny South."
not only for the historical reminiscences, but
as the finest column in Paris, which graces the
spot where stood for ages the infamous prison
of the Bastile.
Wherever you go it is <; Liberty, equality,
and fraternity " the Republican motto. The
Parisians have repaired or rebuilt the ravages
of the Communists (excepting the Tulleries
Palace), but now there appears to be nothing
new going on, no extension of the improve-
ments commenced by Napoleon III. They live
a life of pleasure, and at the present seem to
have no further ambition.
An early breakfast on Monday morning,
and we left Paris by Lyons and Marseilles
railway, traversing the valley of the Seine
through the forest of Fontainbleau. Although
it was very picturesque we failed to see the
giant oak or elm, as in old England. Proceed-
ing south we were soon in the great wine
growing district of France. Miles, even
hundreds of miles, of broad valleys of vines,
with the wine growers' pretty chateaus and
dome shape wine presses and stores. Every
station bears the name of some well-known
brand. We broke our journey at Macon, a
Trip to the Sunny South."
scant town on the Rhone, the birthplace of
Lamartine, the dramatist and author.
Always in travelling through France (more
particularly in Italy) take care to be in time to
register your luggage, a quarter of an hour being
required previous to departure of train. Though
we arrived five minutes before departure of train
at Macon we had to wait four hours, as our
luggage had not been registered.
The next day we were on our way to the
borders of Switzerland, and had the first view
of the snowy mountains of Jura through
picturesque valleys of Derbyshire style but
bolder and much more extensive pretty vil-
lages, and thriving-looking factories and water
mills. We had some difficulties at the railway
junctions, as we found our pure English
language was not much appreciated ; however,
we reached Geneva in the evening, a city
built at the foot of the lake of Geneva (Lac
Leman), its gardens, villas, and grand hotels
nestling on the shores of the placid waters ;
its dainty shops of jewellery and watches
of exquisite design and taste ; its wide
streets of varied styles of architectural beauty,
with lines of shady trees and fountains;
" Trip to the Sunny South" u
its institutions of learning ; its conservatoires of
music and art, with a very fine modern theatre ;
and the Hotel de Ville, famous for -its con-
ventions and treaties. The principle city in
Switzerland a city that any Englishman would
be happy and contented to live in. They
have a good government the best appointed
republic in the world, light taxation. The
people are clean, sober, industrious, and well-
educated. The. shops look thriving, and the
We took a trip up the lake by steamer to
Xyon, one of those very interesting little towns of
Swiss type. A fierce little stream rushes down
through the town, on its way turning wheels for
flour mills, mechanic's shops, little factories for
making that ingenious Swiss wood work we so
often see at home in our shops. We had in Nyon
examples of old Swiss architecture, little bridges,
nooks and corners, turrets and gables, curious
windows and balconies, and those little fanciful
additions which would appear to have been the
sudden impulsive thought of the builder stuck on
at an hour's notice. All the world knows that
Geneva is famed for its watches. They make
them so small, and yet so perfect, that they are
12 " Trip to the Sunny South."
worn in a finger ring. By touching a spring the
outer portion of the ring flies open, and displays
this perfect pigmy watch. They have also cluster
diamond brooches which have internal works
which continually keep the diamonds in agitation
to give them additional brilliancy.
The grand hotel, Beau Kivage, I can recom-
mend. They look well after your comfort. It
stands near the Pont de Mont Blanc, and has the
best view of that grand mountain peak, Mount
Blanc. It was in this hotel that the Duke of
Brunswick lived and died. A very fine monu-
ment has been erected in his memory in the
gardens opposite. An amusing incident occurred
at this hotel. My friend and I were sitting in
the reading-room, adjoining the dining-room,
waiting for breakfast, as were also a lady and
gentleman whom we took to be Germans
they never spoke except in German or French.
The gentlemen had opened the door of the
dining-room, and continually grumbled in Ger-
man at the delay, whereupon my friend said to
me, " The old buck is in a hurry for his break-
fast." Not the slightest notice was taken of the
remark by either lady or gentleman, but when
shortly after they were seated opposite us at
" Trip to the Sunny South." 13
breakfast they spoke in the purest English. They
charge at Geneva one shilling and ninepence
for a pint of Bass, but you can get fifty good
cigars for four francs, three farthings each.
They are rather particular about money at
Geneva. At one of the cafes, when given a
half sovereign in payment it was refused as bad
money, so we gave them Swiss instead.
As the object of our journey was to find a
warmer and more sunny blime, we left Geneva in
the early morning. In railway travelling on the
Continent they think nothing of turning out at
four or five in the morning. You have to do this,
or lose half a day. Through winding valleys we
began to ascend slowly for Mont Cenis. By
mid-day we were amongst the snow. All through
this part of France you see the long lines or
avenues of poplar trees, stretching for miles along
the great roads constructed by the first Napoleon.
There is still the one he made over the Alps to
take his troops over to Moscow. The railway
follows the same valley up to Modane. Modane,
a small town near the mouth of the Mont Cenis
tunnel, was nearly buried in snow. It was here
that we were suddenly robbed of forty-five
minutes of our existence. The one side of the
14 " Trip to the Sunny South."
clock is 12 noon and the other 12.45, Paris and
Roman time. The tunnel is about nine miles
long, and you are forty-five minutes in passing
through. It strikes the Alps at an altitude of
4000 feet. The Italian side is very wild and bold
as you emerge from the mountain a very deep
gorge ; villages perched up on the precipitous
mountain side one had been swept away last
winter by an avalanche, and the inhabitants
We arrived at Turin in the evening. I have
not much to say about this city. It was the
capital of Italy, and Victor Emanuel had his
government here after he was made King of
Italy and removed to Rome. They have erected
a fine monumental structure to his memory.
The streets are all straight, and cross each
other at right angles. The principal streets of
shops have piazzas, which give the place a
heavy, gloomy appearance, a striking contrast
to Geneva. The place bristled with soldiers
and swaggering Italians, with their long black
hair, and togas thrown over their shoulders.
Our stay was short.
The next evening we were in Genoa, "Genoa
the Superb ;'' here it is called Geneva; Turin,
" Trip to the Sunny South." 15
is Torino; Leghorn, Lavorna ; Naples, Napoli ;
and Rome, Roma. Genoa has a history like
Venice, and has held a prominent position in
the history of Europe. The long streets of
palaces of its nobles, rich in statuary, pictures,
and antiquities. It has wealthy nobles, who
still cling to this fine city. These palaces are
thrown open to the public and tourists to view
the pictures and statuary. The Duke of Galliera
has lately given twenty million francs to improve
We took a liking to Genoa, and stayed
nearly three days, and saw the place thoroughly.
Had a guide, viewed the city from an elevated
position, so that we might have the first sight
of the Mediterranean.
Genoa is rich in the abundance of the marble
used in its buildings, all the houses in the prin-
cipal streets being built entirely of marble. The
interior portions are of white marble, such as the
wide steps, balustrading, and columns of the
ducal palaces. The elevations are very lofty, and
uniformly six stories, that carries them much
higher than the principal buildings in London.
In the lower parts of the city you are well in the
shade ; if the rays of the sun ever penetrated to
1 6 " Trip to the Sunny South."
the ground it would only be for a few minutes,
the streets are so narrow and the buildings so
lofty that, looking up, you can only perceive a
narrow streak of blue sky. It is a bustling
place, and there appears to be plenty of business
going on. There is a street with . nothing but
filagree goods, another for Genoese velvet, a
Bourse, and a shipping office street.
We visited the Palazzio Durazzo, which is
one of the show places open to visitors. Among
the paintings at this Palace we saw the Magde-
line, by Titian; Flagellation of Christ, by
Carracci ; Portrait of Vandyke, by himself;
Cleopatra and Sleeping Child, both by Guido ;
a wonderful picture in Mosaic of a tiger bought
at Milan for 5,000 francs. We saw the Palazzo
Doria where Verdi is at present living, and then
visited the beautiful Gardens of Rozazza, from
where a delightiful panoramic view of Genoa,
with the blue Mediterranean, is obtained. A
tablet to the memory of Dan O'Connell is in-
serted in the wall of the Hotel Trombetta.
Garibaldi's daughter has a fine house in the
Via Sarroti. In the front of this house still
hangs the memorial wreaths of Italy's patriot.
The church of La Annunciata, built by Piola,
Trip to the Sunny South." 17
in 1530, perhaps the finest, we say, with the
exception of churches in Rome, as to the internal
decoration, being entirely of polished and gilded
marble ; in gilded carving and statuary, gor-
geous, yet beautiful. The cathedral, an imposing
structure of black and white marble, was built
200 years B.C., and was formerly the Temple of
Janus. In the cathedral they shew you the
charger on which the head of John the Baptist
was carried into the presence of Herod ; also
the chains which are said to have been worn by
St. John are shewn. A number of beautiful
marble pillars at the west entrance were brought
by the Knights of St. John from the Holy Land.
The diabolical act of the dancing Jewish maiden
perpetually prevents all of her sex ever entering
into this sacred chapel, containing the bones of
Funerals here are very imposing, headed by
a band of music, priests carrying huge crosses,
dazzling gilded hearses, followed by a long
procession. One \ve witnessed, and we were
told it was only a common funeral.
The campo santa or cemetery, three miles
from Genoa, is very interesting and beautiful.
The monuments of the deceased are sculptural
1 8 " Trip to the Sunny South."
representations, with their friends in attitudes
of prayer and sorrow.
The market place, in front of the Carlo
Felice Theatre, was a busy throng, even on
Sunday morning. The country people in their
smart and gay-coloured costumes a Babel of
tongues all pressing us to buy as we strolled
through the motley crowd. There is a novelty,
even a charm, about the scene, and in the bright
dark eyes and dusky skin of the weather-beaten
old men. Although it is February, we seem to
have our Summer vegetables and fruit ; oranges
and lemons are in season ; artichokes, endive,
leek, garlic, peas, beans, and cauliflowers, are
offered in abundance. The Carlo Felice Theatre
is one of the finest in Italy, with a stage running
back 145 feet from the footlights.
The drive from Nice to San Remo is con-
sidered the finest in Europe. Originally it was
a mule path, known as the Cornice road, but
Napoleon I. converted it into a fine road. The
railway has taken a straighter line, and you are
continually passing through short tunnels, with
glimpses of the sea. Along the whole distance
from Genoa to Mentone, known as the Reviera,
are villages surrounded by orange and lemon
"Trip to the Sunny South" ig
groves and olive trees they seem to grow almost
without cultivation. The first week in March the
time I am writing oranges and lemons are ripe
and at their best, and the new blossom is just
beginning to appear. If you want an orange in
prime condition you must pluck it from a tree,
in March. In our journey from Genoa to Men-
tone we passed through Bordighera where are
forests of palm trees, and it is from here that
the palms used on festive occasions are sent to
St. Peter's, at Rome. You might say that
Mentone and San Remo were taken by the
English, you meet more of them than any other
race, and a very exclusive set they are when
here. The French and Germans are below
Mentone is not a place to attract fashionable
and gay visitors, they have no public gardens,
no places of amusement, most visitors are sup-
posed to be invalids. They have a promenade
by the sea and a pavilion, but you never see
many people about. I think they must all go to
Monte Carlo or Nice when they want to see a
little life. Mentone is hemmed in and sheltered
from the north and east by the French Alps
(Alps Maratimes) ; they form a bold back ground
2O " Trip to the Sunny South."
with bristling spurs, and valleys, and ravines
down to the shores of the Mediterranean. It
seems a strange contrast to have the wild snow-
clad mountains in the back ground with peas
five feet in pod, and oianges and lemons in
galore. The old town of Mentone which, up to
a few years ago, belonged to Italy, consists of
tall houses and narrow streets. Some of these
streets are looped together with stonework to
give them firmness should an earthquake take
place, which gives them a peculiar appearance.
Since it came into the hands of the French, and
became a sanatorium for lung diseases, a new
town of large hotels and pretty villas around the
bay and up the hill side has sprung up.
The French seem to possess an exquisite
taste in building their villas that you never see
in England. It is not the architecture alone,
but the work, the little extra finish, ornamental
steps, balconies, balustrading, the vases, sta-
tuettes bearing lamps, all adding to its happy
appearance. They are all cemented outside,
some perfectly white and others tinted with
distemper. The climate never seems to dis-
colour or destroy their freshness.
We made Mentone a centre, and stayed here.
" Trip to the Sunny South." 21
Nice, Monaca, Monte Carlo, and San Remo are
only a few miles distant. Nice has long been
famous for its annual fetes, and even more so of
late. Our Royal Prince was present at the
last Carnival. In going through Covent Garden
Market we wonder where the Spring flowers
come from the violets, the roses, &c. It is
Nice and the neighbourhood that sends them.
There are large shops with heaps of flowers
where they pack them very carefully and send
them to London and Paris. You can buy a
small assortment for two or three francs, and
send them to England at a very small cost. I
was almost forgetting to mention that it is the
flowers that form one of the principal features in
making up the display at the Carnival. We
were a fortnight too late to witness this display,
but in Mentone we saw the Battle of Flowers,
a small affair compared with that of Nice, but
still characteristic. Along the streets was a
profuse display of bunting, lining the parapets
with flags on Venetian masts, a gaily decorated
grand stand or tribune on each side of the road,
filled with ladies and children, each provided with
a large basket or hamper of flowers. At two
o'clock the mayor opens the fair, or rather two
22 " Trip to the Sunny South."
or three gendarmes come galloping along fol-
lowed by the mayor, the band strikes up and the
battle commences; ladies, gentlemen, and child-
ren dressed in fancy costumes; carriages dressed
even to the spokes of the wheels ; coachmen
decorated even to their whips ; some with masks
and trunk hose; boys on donkeys; gay carriages
with fashionable residents; and visitors following
each other in rapid succession ; the spectators
defending and the occupants of the chariots
attacking, not forgetting to give their particular
friend a bob in the eye with a bunch as they
sweep past. The battle lasted about two hours,
and the roadway was covered with flowers by
the time they had exhausted their supply. We
were told some of the carriages cost 50 and
even 100 to decorate and supply with flowers
Monte Carlo and Monaco are only three and
four miles from Mentone, a lovely walk along the
coast. Monaco is the old town, built on a pen-
insular rock raised some hundreds of feet above
the sea, where Prince Grimaldi has his palace,
and a curious little kingdom it is ; he can see it
all from his bed-room window. He lives in state,
and has an army of eight. The sergeant was
" Trip to the Sunny South." 23
busy drilling his last recruit when we were there.
There are only two streets in this little town,
and they are very narrow. There is not room
to build another house, but they have built on the
table land adjoining, and this is what is called
Monte Carlo, one of the most beautiful spots in
the world. I can never forget the two days we
were here, because they were faultless days, the
sky was blue and so was the Mediterranean, as
blue as ever I had seen it painted. A gentle
slope of high table land with the Maratime Alps
for a back ground. Portions of the approaches
or lower parts of the mountains are covered with
sombre-looking olive groves, while the lower
ground, sloping down to the sea, is laid out as
ornamental gardens rare specimens of shrub-
bery of distant lands, semi-tropical plants, such
as palm and aloes, evergreen shady bowers,
fountains and cascades. The walks and borders
are so clean and perfect that you could not find
a scrap of paper or a loose pebble. The name
of Monte Carlo, in my mind, was associated with
sharpers, cut throats, and other pests such as we
see in England associated with the turf, where
you would require to look after the safety of your
pocket, but in this respect we were quite mis-
24 " Trip to the Sunny South"
taken, every thing is quiet and orderly there-
there is a gendarme at every point. The Grand
Casino is a magnificent building, situated in
the Gardens. Strangers or visitors are only
admitted, i.e., no inhabitants of the town or
neighbourhood. All the visitor has to do is to
enter his or her name in a book, and state the
hotel where he or she is staying. Everywhere
is free, no fees are expected. There is a fine
reading room, plentifully supplied with news-
papers and periodicals from all nations. There
is a large crush room or promenade, where you
may enjoy the weed. Leading from this is a very
gorgeous concert room a constant orchestra of
over 100 musicians are always kept ; perfor-
mances of high-class music are given twice a day.
The other a greater portion of the buildings-
is where the tables are, eight in number. The
gaming business commences at eleven in the
morning and finishes at eleven at night. The
tables are presided over by croupiers, who pay
and receive the money and spin the wheel of
fortune or deal the cards. The players are^stand-