Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Volume 15, No. 86, February, 1875 online

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February, 1875

Vol. XV, No. 86






THE LOST BABY. by Clara G. Dolliver.

THREE FEATHERS. by William Black.

FEVER. by H.C. Wood, Jr., M.D.

SONNET. by Charlotte F. Bates.


CORN. by Sidney Lanier.

GENTLEMAN DICK. by W. Mackay Laffan.

A SINGULAR FAMILY. by Clelia Lega Weeks.

by Ita Aniol Prokop.





Books Received.







One branch of the little river which encompasses Assisi is the
Clitumnus, the delight of philosophers and poets in the Augustan age.
Near its source stands a beautiful little temple to the divinity of the
stream. Although the ancients resorted hither for the loveliness of the
spot, they did not bathe in the springs, a gentle superstition holding
it sacrilege for the human body to lave itself in a stream near its

[Illustration: THE FALLS OF TERNI.]

They came by the Via Flaminia, the old high-road from Rome to Florence,
which crosses the modern railroad hard by. Following its course, which
takes a more direct line than the devious Tiber, past Spoleto on its
woody castellated height, the traveler reaches Terni on the tumultuous
Nar, the wildest and most rebellious of all the tributaries. It was to
save the surrounding country from its outbreaks that the channel was
made by the Romans B.C. 271, the first of several experiments which
resulted in these cascades, which have been more sung and oftener
painted than any other in the world. The beauty of Terni is so hackneyed
that enthusiasm over it becomes cockney, yet the beauty of hackneyed
things is as eternal as the verity of truisms, and no more loses its
charm than the other its point. But one must not talk about it. The
foaming torrent rages along between its rocky walls until spanned by the
bridge of Augustus at Narni, a magnificent viaduct sixty feet high,
thrown from ridge to ridge across the ravine for the passage of the
Flaminian Way - a wreck now, for two of the arches have fallen, but
through the last there is a glimpse of the rugged hillsides with their
thick forests and the turbulent waters rushing through the chasm. Higher
still is Narni, looking over her embattled walls. It is one of the most
striking positions on the way from Florence to Rome, and the next half
hour, through savage gorges and black tunnels, ever beside the tormented
waters of the Nar until they meet the Tiber, swollen by the tributes of
the Paglia and Chiana, is singularly fine.

[Illustration: ORVIETO.]

Where the Paglia and Chiana flow together, at the issue of the charming
Val di Chiana, stands Orvieto on its steep and sudden rock, crowned with
one of the triumphs of Italian Gothic, the glorious cathedral. After
toiling up the ladder-like paths which lead from the plain to the summit
of the bluff, and passing through the grand mediæval gateway along the
slanting streets, where even the peasants dismount and walk beside their
donkeys, seeing nothing within the whole small compass of the walls save
what speaks of the narrowest and humblest life in the most remote of
hill-fastnesses, a few deserted and dilapidated palaces alone telling of
a period of importance long past, nothing can describe the effect of
coming out of this indigence and insignificance upon the silent,
solitary piazza where the incomparable cathedral rears its front,
covered from base to pinnacle with the richest sculpture and most
brilliant mosaic. The volcanic mass on which the town is built is over
seven hundred feet high, and nearly half as much in circumference: it
would be a fitting pedestal for this gorgeous duomo if it stood there
alone. But it is almost wedged in among the crooked streets, a few paces
of grass-grown stones allowing less than space enough to embrace the
whole result of proportion and color: one cannot go far enough off to
escape details. An account of those details would require a volume, and
one has already been written which leaves no more to be said;[1] yet
fain would we take the reader with us into that noble nave, where the
"glorious company of the apostles" stands colossal in marble beside the
pillars whose sculptured capitals are like leafy branches blown by the
wind; where the light comes rich and mellow through stained glass and
semilucent alabaster, like Indian-summer sunshine in autumn woods; where
Fra Angelico's and Benozzo Gozzoli's angelic host smile upon us with
ineffable mildness from above the struggle and strife of Luca
Signorelli's "Last Judgment," the great forerunner of Michael Angelo's.
It added greatly to the impressiveness that there was never a single
human being in the cathedral: except one afternoon at vespers we had it
all to ourselves. There is little else to see in the place, although it
is highly picturesque and the inhabitants wear a more complete costume
than any other I saw in Italy - the women, bright bodices, striped skirts
and red stockings; the men, jaunty jackets and breeches, peaked hats and
splendid sashes.

The discomfort of Perugia was luxury to what we found at Orvieto, and it
was no longer May but December, when it is nearly as cold north of Rome
as with us; and Rome was drawing us with her mighty magnet. So, one
wintry morning, soon after daybreak, we set out in a close carriage with
four horses, wrapped as if we were going in a sleigh, with a
_scaldino_ (or little brazier) under our feet, for the nearest
railway station on our route, a nine hours' drive. Our way lay through
the snow-covered hills and their leafless forest, and long after we had
left Orvieto behind again and again a rise in the road would bring it
full in sight on its base of tufa, girt by its walls, the Gothic lines
of the cathedral sharp against the clear, brightening sky. At our last
look the sun was not up, but broad shafts of light, such as painters
throw before the chariot of Phoebus, refracted against the pure æther,
spread like a halo round the threefold pinnacles: a moment more and
Orvieto was hidden behind a higher hill, not to be seen again. All day
we drove among the snow-bound hills and woods, past the Lake of Bolsena
in its forbidding beauty; past small valleys full of naked fruit trees
and shivering olives, which must be nooks of loveliness in spring; past
defiant little towns aloft on their islands of tufa, like Bagnorea with
its single slender bell-tower; past Montefiascone with its good old
story about Cardinal Fugger and the native wine.

[Illustration: CIVITÀ BAGNOREA.]

We stopped to lunch at Viterbo, a town more closely connected with the
history of the Papacy than any except Rome itself, and full of legends
and romantic associations: it is dirty and dilapidated, and has great
need of all its memories. Being but eight miles from Montefiascone, we
called for a bottle of the fatal Est, which we had tasted once at
Augsburg, where the host of the Three Moors has it in his cellar, in
honor perhaps of the departed Fugger family, whose palace has become his
hotel: there we had found it delicious - a wine as sweet as cordial, with
a soul of fire and a penetrating but delicate flavor of its own - how
different from the thin, sour stuff they brought us in the long-necked,
straw-covered flask, nothing to attest its relationship to the generous
juice at the Three Moors except the singular, unique flavor! After this
little disappointment we left Viterbo, and drove on through the same
sort of scenery, which seemed to grow more and more beautiful in the
rosy light of the sinking sun. But it is hard to tell, for nothing makes
a journey so beautiful as to know that Rome is the goal. As the last
rays were flushing the hill-tops we came in sight of Orte, with its
irregular lines of building clinging to the sides of its precipitous
cliff in such eyrie-wise that it is difficult to say what is house and
what is rock, and whether the arched passages with which it is pierced
are masonry or natural grottoes; and there was the Tiber - already the
yellow Tiber - winding through the valley as far as eye could follow.
Here we waited for the train, which was ten minutes late, and tried to
make up for lost time by leaving our luggage, all duly marked and ready,
standing on the track. We soon began to greet familiar sites as we
flitted by: the last we made out plainly was Borghetto, a handful of
houses, with a ruined castle keeping watch on a hill hard by: then
twilight gathered, and we strained our eyes in vain for the earliest
glimpse of Mount Soracte, and night came down before we could descry the
first landmarks of the Agro Romano, the outposts of our excursions, the
farm-towers we knew by name, the farthest fragments of the aqueducts.
But it was not so obscure that we could not discern the Tiber between
his low banks showing us the way, the lights quivering in the Anio as
the train rushed over the bridge; and when at length we saw against the
clear night-sky a great dark barrier stretching right and left, we knew
that the walls of Rome were once more before us: in a moment we had
glided through with slackening speed, and her embrace enfolded us again.

[Illustration: THE TIBER, FROM ORTE.]

[Illustration: BORGHETTO.]


The Tiber, winding as it does like a great artery through the heart of
Rome, is seldom long either out of sight or mind. One constantly comes
upon it in the most unexpected manner, for there is no river front to
the city. There is a wide open space on the Ripetta - a street which runs
from the Piazza del Popolo, at the head of the foreign quarter, to
remoter parts - where a broad flight of marble steps descends to the
level of the flood, and a ferry crosses to the opposite bank: looking
over at the trees and fields, it is like the open country, yet beyond
are St. Peter's and the Vatican, and the whole of what is known as the
Leonine City. But one cannot follow the Tiber through the streets of
Rome as one may the Seine in Paris: in the thickly-built quarters the
houses back upon the stream and its yellow waves wash their foundations,
working wrath and woe from time to time, as those who were there in the
winter of 1870 will recollect. Sometimes it is lost to sight for half a
mile together, unless one catches a glimpse of it through the
carriage-way of a palace. From the wharf of the Ripetta it disappears
until you come upon it again at the bridge of St. Angelo, the Ælian
bridge of ancient Rome, which is the most direct passage from the
fashionable and foreign quarter to the Trastevere. It must be confessed
that the idle sense of mere pleasure generally supersedes recollection
and association after one's first astonishment to find one's self among
the historic places subsides; yet how often, as our horses' hoofs rang
on the slippery stones, my thoughts went suddenly back to the scene when
Saint Gregory passed over, chanting litanies, at the head of the whole
populace, who formed one vast penitential procession, and saw the
avenging angel alight on the mausoleum of Adrian and sheath his sword in
sign that the plague was stayed; or to that terrible day when the
ferocious mercenaries of the Constable de Bourbon and the wretched
inhabitants given over to sack and slaughter swarmed across together,
butchering and butchered, while the troops in the castle hurled down
what was left of its classic statues upon the heads of friend and foe,
and the Tiber was turned to blood!

[Illustration: THE CASTLE OF ST. ANGELO.]

[Illustration: ISLAND OF THE TIBER.]

From the bridge of St. Angelo the river is lost again for a long
distance, although one can make one's way to it at various points - where
at low water the submerged piers of the Pons Triumphalis are to be seen,
where the Ponte Sisto leads to the foot of the Janiculum Hill, and on
the opposite bank the orange-groves of the Farnesina palace hang their
golden fruit and dusky foliage over the long garden-wall upon the
river - until we come to the Ponte Quatro Capi (Bridge of the Four Heads)
and the island of the Tiber. This is said to have been formed in the
kingly period by the accumulation of a harvest cast into the stream a
little way above, which the current could not sweep away: it made a
nucleus for alluvial deposit, and the island gradually arose. Several
hundred years afterward it was built into the form of a ship, as bridges
and wharves are built, with a temple in the midst, and a tall obelisk
set up in guise of its mast. In mediæval days a church replaced the
heathen fane, and now it stands between its two bridges, a huddle of
houses, terraces and gardens, whence one looks down on the fine mass of
the Ponte Rotto (Broken Bridge), whose shattered arches pause in
mid-stream, and across to the low arch of the Cloaca Maxima and the
exquisite little circular temple of Vesta. From here down, the river is
in full view from either side until it passes beyond the walls near the
Monte Testaccio - on one side the Ripa Grande (Great Bank or Wharf), a
long series of quays, on the other the Marmorata or marble landing,
where the ships from the quarries unload. Here, on each side, all sorts
of small craft lie moored, not betokening a very extensive commerce from
their size and shape, but quaint and oddly rigged, making a very good
fore-or back-ground, according as one looks at the picture. The
Marmorata is at the foot of the Aventine, the most lonely and unvisited
of the Seven Hills. From among the vegetable-gardens and cypress-groves
which clothe its long flank rise large, formless piles, whose
foundations are as old as the Eternal City, and whose superstructures
are the wreck of temples of the kingly and republican periods, and
palaces and villas of imperial times, and haughty feudal abodes, only to
be distinguished from one another by the antiquary amid their
indiscriminate ruin and the tangle of wild-briers and fern, ivy and
trailers with which they are overgrown. On the summit no trace of
ancient Rome is to be seen. There are no dwellings of men on this
deserted ground: a few small and very early Christian churches have
replaced the temples which once stood here, to be in their turn
neglected and forsaken: they stand forlornly apart, separated by
vineyards and high blank walls. On the brow of the hill is the esplanade
of a modern fort, and within its quiet precincts are the church and
priory of the Knights of Malta - nothing but a chapel and small villa as
abandoned as the rest. After toiling up a steep and narrow lane between
two walls, our carriage stopped at a solid wooden gateway, and the
coachman told us to get out and look through the keyhole. We were
aghast, but he insisted, laughing and nodding; so we pocketed our pride
and peeped. Through an overarching vista of dark foliage was seen, white
and golden in a blaze of sunshine, the cupola of St. Peter's, which is
at the farthest end of the city, two miles at the least as the crow
flies. When the gate was opened we entered a sweet little garden full of
violets, traversed by an alley of old ilex trees, through which appeared
the noble dome, and which led from the gate to a terrace overhanging the
Tiber - I will not venture to guess how far below - more like two than one
hundred feet; perhaps still farther. On the edge of the terrace was an
arbor, and here we sank down enchanted, to drink in the view of the
city, which spread out under our eyes as we had never seen it from any
other point. But the custodino's wife urged us to come into the Priorato
and see the view from the upper story. We followed her, reluctant to
leave the sunshine and soft air, up a stiff winding staircase, through
large, dark, chilly, long-closed apartments, until we reached the top,
where there was a great square room occupying the whole floor. She flung
open the windows, and never did such a panorama meet my eyes. There were
windows on every side: to the north, one looked across the city to St.
Peter's, the Vatican, the Castle of St. Angelo, the Tiber with its great
bends and many bridges, and to lonely, far-away Soracte; westward, on
the other side of the river, rose the Janiculum with its close-wedged
houses, grade on grade, and on its summit the church of San Pietro in
Montorio and the flashing cataract of the Acqua Paola fountain, the
stone-pines of the Villa Dolia cresting the ridge above; eastward, the
Palatine, a world of ruins in a world of gardens, lay between us and the
Coliseum, and over them and the wall, the aqueducts, the plain, the eye
ranged to the snow-capped Sabine Hills, on whose many-colored
declivities tiny white towns were dotted like browsing sheep; southward,
we gazed down upon the Pyramid of Cestius, upon the beautiful Protestant
cemetery with its white monuments and dark cypresses where lie Shelley
and Keats, upon the stately Porta San Paolo, a great mediæval gateway
flanked with towers, and beyond, the Campagna, purple, violet,
ultramarine, oceanic, rolling out toward the Alban Hills, which
glittered with snow, rising sharply like island-peaks and sloping down
like promontories into the plain; and over all the sun and sky and
shadows of Italy.

[Illustration: CUPOLA OF ST. PETER'S.]


The prospect from the Priorato surpasses anything in Rome - even the
wonderful view from the Janiculum, even the enchanting outlook from the
Pincian Hill. But the last was at our very doors: we could go thither in
the morning to watch the white mist curl up from the valleys and hang
about the mountain-brows, and at noon, when even in January the cool
avenues and splashing fountains were grateful, and at sunset, when the
city lay before us steeped in splendor. That was the view of our daily
walks - the beloved view of which one thinks most often and fondly in
remembering Rome.

[Illustration: SORACTE.]

But it is in riding that one grows to feel most familiar with the Tiber
and all his Roman children, whether it be strolling somewhat sulkily in
a line with his banks by the Via Flaminia or the Via Cassia, impatient
to get away from their stones and dust to the soft, springing turf; or
hailing him from afar as a guide after losing one's self in the endless
undulations of the open country; or cantering over daffodil-sheeted
meadows beside the Anio at the foot of the grassy heights on which
Antemnæ stood; or threading one's way doubtfully among the ravines which
intersect the course of the little Cremera as one goes to Veii. The last
is a most beautiful and interesting expedition, for, what with the
distance - more than twelve miles - and the difficulty of finding the way,
it is quite an enterprise. As one turns his horse's head away from the
river, off the high-road, to the high grassy flats, the whole Campagna
seems to lie before one like a vast table-land, with nothing between
one's self and Soracte as he lifts his heavy shoulder from the
plain - not half hidden by intervening mountains, as from some points of
view, but majestic and isolated, thirty miles away to the north. But
here, as in every other part of the Campagna, one cannot go far without
finding hillocks and hollows, long steep slopes and sudden little dells,
and, stranger still, unsuspected tracts of woodland, for the general
effect of the Roman landscape is quite treeless. So there is a few
miles' gallop across the trackless turf, sometimes asking the way of a
solitary shepherd, who looms up against the sky like a tower, sometimes
following it by faint landmarks, few and far between, of which we have
been told, and hard to find in that waste, until we pass a curious
little patriarchal abode shaped like a wigwam, where, in the midst of
these wide pastures dwells a herdsman surrounded by his family, his
cattle, his dogs, his goats and his fowls - the beautiful animals of the
Campagna, long-haired, soft-eyed, rich-colored, like the human children
of the soil. Then we strike the Cremera, and exploring begins among its
rocky gullies, up and down which the spirited, sure-footed horses
scramble like chamois. Thick woods of cork-oak clothe their sides, and
copses of a deciduous tree which I never saw in its summer dress of
green, but which keeps its dead leaves all through the winter, a full
suit of soft, pale brown contrasting with the dark evergreens. Among
these woods grow all the wild-flowers of the long Roman spring from
January to May - flowers that I never saw in bloom at the same time
anywhere else. On banks overcanopied by faded boughs nodded myriads of
snowdrops; farther on we held our horses' heads well up as they slipped,
almost sitting, down the damp rocky clefts of a gorge whose sides were
purple with violets, mingling their delicious odor, the sweetest and
most sentimental of perfumes, with the fresh, geranium-like scent of the
cyclamen, which here and there flung back its delicate pinkish petals
like one amazed: then came acres of anemones - not our pale wind-shaken
flower, but brave asters of half a dozen superb kinds. Up and down these
passes we forced our way through interlacing branches, which drooped too
low, until we had crossed the ridges on either side the Cremera, and
gained the valley at the head of which is Isola Farnese, the
rock-fortress supposed to occupy the site of the citadel of Etruscan
Veii. It is not really an island, in spite of its name; only a bold
peninsula, round whose base two rivulets flow and nearly meet. It is
called a village, and so it is, with quite a population, but the great
courtyard of the fifteenth-century castle contains them all, and the
huts, pig-pens, kennels and coops which they seem to inhabit
indiscriminately. Except where the bluff overlooks the valley,
everything is closed and shut in by rocks and gorges, through one of
which a lovely waterfall drips from a covert of boughs and shrubbery and
wreathing ferns and creepers into a little stream, which with musical
clamor rushes at a picturesque old mill: through another the road from
the castle passes through a narrow issue to the outer world. And this
stranded and shipwrecked fortress in the midst of so wild a scene is all
that exists to mark where Veii stood, the powerful city which kept Rome
at bay for ten years, and fell at length by stratagem! Its site was
forgotten for nearly two thousand years, but in this century the
discovery of some tombs revealed the secret.

[Illustration: VEII, FROM THE CAMPAGNA.]

[Illustration: TIVOLI.]

The scenery differs entirely on different sides of Rome. Here there is
not a ruin, not a vestige, except a few low heaps of stone-or brickwork
hidden by weeds: on the other, toward Tivoli, much of the beauty is due
to the work of man - the stately remnants of ancient aqueduct, temple and
tomb; the tall square towers of feudal barons, round which cluster low

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