H. C. (Hans Christian) Andersen.

A poet's bazaar : a picturesque tour in Germany, Italy, Greece, and the Orient online

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through the streets, which were already still, and he soon stood
before the Bronze Hog, which he bent down over, kissing its
bright snout ; and he got on its back.

"Thou blessed animal," said he, " how I have longed for
thee ! We must ride a little to night ! "

The Bronze Hog remained immovable, and the fresh water
welled from its mouth. The little boy sat there like a jockey
until some one pulled him by the clothes. He looked around,
it was Bellissima, the little, naked, shorn Bellissima. The
dog had crept out of the house and followed the little boy
without his having observed it. Bellissima barked as if it
would say, " You see I am with you, why will you sit there ? "
No fiery dragon could have frightened the boy more than
the little dog in that place. Bellissima in the street, and with-
out being dressed, as the old mother called it ! what would be
the consequence ? The dog was never allowed to go out in the
winter time without being clothed in a little sheep-skin, which
was cut and sewed to fit it. The skin was to be bound fast
about the neck and belly with red ribbons, and it had bells.
The dog looked almost like a little kid when it had this
habit on in the winter time, and was permitted to trip out
with Signora. Bellissima was with him, and not dressed ;
what would be the result ? All his wild fancies had vanished,
yet the boy kissed the Bronze Hog, and took Bellissima in
his arms. The animal trembled with cold, and therefore the
boy ran as fast as he could.



58 A POET'S BAZAAR.

" What are you running with there ? " cried two gendarmes
whom he met ; and Bellissima barked.

" Where have you stolen that pretty dog from ? " they asked,
and ;ook it from him.

" O ! give it me again ! " whimpered the boy.

" If you have not stolen it, you can tell them at home that
they can get the dog at the guard-house." They named the
place, and away they went with Bellissima.

Here was sorrow and trouble. He knew not whether he
should spring into the Arno, or go home and confess all.
They would certainly kill him, he thought. " But I would
willingly be killed ! I will die, and then I shall go to Jesus
and Madonna ; " and he went home with the thought of
being killed.

The door was locked ; he could not reach the knocker ;
there was no one in the street, but there was a loose stone ; he
took it up and hammered away at the door. " Who is that ? "
cried a voice from within.

"It is me!" said he. " Bellissima is lost! let me in,
and kill me ! "

They were so frightened, particularly Signora, for poor
Bellissima! She looked directly to the wall where the dog's
vestment always hung, and the little sheep-skin was there.

" Bellissima in the guard-house ! " she cried quite aloud ;
"you wicked child ! How did you get him out! He will be
frozen to death ! That delicate animal among the coarse
soldiers."

The old man was obliged to be off directly. The wife
wailed, and the boy cried. All the people in the house mus-
tered together, the painter too ; he took the boy between his
knees, questioned him, and by bits and scraps he got the
whole story about the Bronze Hog and the gallery it was not
easy to understand. The painter, however, consoled the little
fellow, and spoke kindly to the old woman ; but she was not
satisfied before " father " came with Bellissima, who had been
amongst the soldiers. There was such joy, and the painter
patted the poor boy, and gave him a handful of pictures.

O, they were splendid pieces, comic heads ! but, above all
there was the Bronze Hog itself to the life. O, nothing could



THE BRONZE HOG.



59



be more glorious ! With a few strokes, it stood there on paper,
and even the house behind it was shown.

" O, how I wish I could draw and paint ! then I could
obtain the whole world for myself."

The first leisure moment that the little fellow had next day,
he seized a pencil, and on the white side of one of the
pictures he attempted to copy the drawing of the Bronze
Hog, and he succeeded ! A little crooked, a little up and
down, one leg thick and another thin, but yet it was not to
be misunderstood ; he himself exulted over it. The pencil
would not go just as straight as it should do, he could per-
ceive ; but next day there stood another Bronze Hog by the
side of the first, and it was a hundred times better ; the third
was so good that every one might know it.

But the glove-making went badly on, the town errands
went on slowly, for the Bronze Hog had taught him that all
pictures could be drawn on paper, and the city of Florence
is a whole picture-book, if one will but turn the leaves over.
On the Piazza della Trinitk there stands a slender pillar, and
on the top of this stands the Goddess of Justice, with her
eyes bound, and the scales in her hand.

She soon stood on the paper, and it was the glover's little
boy who had placed her there. The collection of pictures
increased ; but everything in it was as yet but still-life ; when
one day Bellissima hopped about before him. " Stand still, "
said he ; " you shall be beautiful, and be amongst my pictures ! "
but Bellissima would not stand still, so he must be bound ;
his head and tail were fastened ; he barked and jumped : the
string must be tightened when in came Signora !

" You wicked boy ! the poor animal ! " was all that she
could say : and she pushed the boy aside, kicked him with her
foot, and turned him out of her house ; he, the most ungrateful
rascal, the naughtiest child ! and crying, she kissed her lit-
tle half strangled Bellissima.

Just then the painter came up the stairs, and here is the
point on which the story turns.

In the year 1834 there was an exhibition in the Academia
della Arte in Florence ; two paintings placed by the side of
each other drew a number of spectators to them. The small-



6O A FOETUS BAZAAR.

est painting represented a merry little boy, who sat drawing;
he had for his model a little, white, nicely-clipped pug-dog,
but the animal would not stand still, and was therefore bound
fast with pack-thread, and that both by the head and tail ; there
was life and truth in it that must appeal to every one. The
painter was, as they said, a young Florentine who had been
found in the streets when a little boy. He had been brought
up by an old glover and had taught himself drawing. A
painter, now famous, had discovered this talent, the boy hav-
ing been turned away because he had bound his mistress's
favorite, the little pug-dog, and made it his model.

The glover's boy had become a great painter. The picture
proved it ; but it was particularly shown in the larger one by
its side. Here was but a single figure, a ragged but beautiful
boy, who sat and slept in the street ; he leaned up against
the Bronze Hog in the street Porta Rossa. 1 All the spec-
tators knew the place. The child's arm rested on the swine's
head ; the little boy slept soundly, and the lamp by the image
of the Madonna cast a strong, effective light on the child's
pale, sweet face. It was a magnificent picture ; a large gilt
frame encircled it, and on the corner of the frame hung a
laurel wreath, but between the green leaves, a black ribbon
entwined itself, from which a long crape veil hung down.

The young artist was just then dead !



IV.

TRAVELLING WITH THE VETTURINO.

THE most general mode of travelling through Italy is with
the Vetturino ; he arranges the whole, but then one must stop
where he will, eat what he orders to be placed on the table,
and sleep in the place he pleases to choose for us. Dinner
and lodging are always included in the agreement ; but the
iourney always lasts twice as long as when one travels by
post ; it is also quite characteristic that, after having agreed

1 The Bronze Hog is a cast ; the original is antique and of marble ,
it is placed at the entrance to the gallery in Palazzo degli Uffizi.



TRAVELLING WITH THE VETTURINO. 6 1

with the man, we do not give him money in hand, but he, on
the contrary, gives us ; for he is sure that we shall not run
away from him ; but we cannot be so certain with respect to
him, for if a higher price be offered him than that we have
agreed to give, he takes the highest bidder, and lets us remain
behind with what he has put into our hands.

The time of departure is generally before sunrise ; but as
the vetturino has his passengers to fetch from different places
in the town, and as all do not belong to the class of early
risers, some are to be awakened when he comes ; others stand
busy packing up, so that it is late in the morning before the
last passenger can be got into the carriage. Now I belong to
those who get up in the middle of the night, when I have to
travel early in the morning ; so I was up here likewise, and
had everything ready to leave Florence, and to travel by way
of Terni to Rome, a journey which, with the vetturino, lasts
six whole days. The road over Siena is, however, shorter.
I knew them both, and chose the most interesting, although
the longest. The vetturino was to start at three o'clock ; I
was ready an hour earlier, and stood staring at my portman-
teau and travelling-bag.

I had my things taken down-stairs that they should not
wait for me. The clock struck half-past two, but no carriage
came ; the clock struck four, there was a rumbling in the
street ; there came a vetturino, but he drove past ; there
came another ; he also drove past, and all was still !

The clock struck one quarter, and then another. The
church-bells rang to prayers, the bells of the hotels rang for
the waiters. Carriages enough came through the street, but
none to me. The clock struck five, then six I was certain
that they had forgotten me and then came the carriage.
Within, sat a stout Englishman : he was asleep when the vet-
turino had called for him. There was also a Roman lady ;
she had been on a visit to her daughter, who resided in Flor-
ence, and their leave-taking had lasted an hour, so the vet-
turino said, adding, we should now be off at a gallop, as soon
^s I had got in.

The whip cracked, we rolled over tne Arno, and then we
stopped. It was outside a cloister ; some ecclesiastics came



62 A POETS BAZAAR.

out ; a young, pale brother of the Camaldolese order as-
cended the coupl with me. He was an Englishman, and
knew a little French, but it was not possible to get into con-
versation with him ; he read his prayer-book continually,
smote his breast, crossed himself, and kept closing his eyes as
if he would have nothing to do with either trees, mountains,
or sun, much less with such a heretic as myself. Every peo-
ple's, nay, every sect's different manner of approaching God
is sacred to me ; I feel myself perplexed by the thought that
my presence makes them less free in their approach to God.
It was thus also here by the side of this, the most zealous
Catholic I had hitherto met ; but as I by degrees observed
how entirely he lived within himself and his forms, I also be-
came free ; and as he once closed his prayer-book and stole
a glance at nature, my great holy Bible, I pointed to its beau-
tiful writings and the sentences which might be read there.
God had strewn ashes on the green heads of the olive-trees
which here stretched forth the rich fruit of their gray-green
branches. The vines held each other fast, though the world
had robbed them of their heavy grapes, and the wind now
plundered them of their red-brown leaves. " Be humble, if
even you give rich fruit to the world ! " preached the olive
trees. " Keep together in unity, if even the world rob you of
all ! " said the vine. Thus I read in my Bible : what the
brother of the Camaldolese read I know not ; but the Bible
can be read in many ways. In the interior of the diligence,
the conversation proceeded in a much more lively manner.
The Englishman spoke French with La Romana, and she
laughed and translated into Italian for her spouse a little
gentleman who was dressed like an abbot what the English-
man said to her. A young priest was the fourth person, and
they composed the party.

We came to Incisa. The young priest and the little thin
man jumped out of the diligence, and then came Signora ;
the Englishman followed her with still more difficulty, as he
had ladies' fur boots on his feet, a large blue cape over his
shoulders, and a thick woolen neckerchief about his thin red
whiskers. There was something of a courtier's consciousness
and a chandler's carriage about him ; my English priest clothed



TRAVELLING WITH THE VETTURINO. 63

in black, with his boots over his smalls, very frozen-looking
and devout, wandered away directly to the church ; we others

accompanied Sir , who led La Romana up the broad, dirty

stairs to the salle-b-manger, which presented four not over
white walls, a brick floor, some rush chairs, and a table, the
cloth on which, was in color as though it had been washed in
coffee-water. The Englishman entertained us by telling about
all the royal saloons he had been in, of two princes who had
sat by his bedside when he lay ill in Florence ; and now he
was so modest as to travel with the vetturino, and that with-
out having servants with him ; for " one was not in Italy for
one's servants' pleasure ! "

Signora bowed at every great name he mentioned, and re-
peated it to her little husband, who bowed still lower, and
looked at the young priest, who bowed obediently as he did.

Now came the dishes, which all of us, except the Briton,
had ordered. The Englishman peered closely into them,
seized a fork, and without any ceremony took the best piece
he saw. " It is good," said he, and we all bowed politely.
The company did it because of his distinction ; I on account
of his originality.

The Signora now took some small baked fruit cakes, which
her daughter had made for her. She presented two of the
richest to our guest, as we at the table called him. " I will
put by these cakes until evening," said he ; " they are deli-
cious ; " and he folded them up in paper, put the little parcel
into his pocket, and bowed. " But yet one ought to taste
them," he reminded himself; and so he took a piece from
Signora. " It is excellent, superb ! " and he took another
piece.

Signora bowed, and laughed aloud. I think she also began
to find him original.

The hostess now brought him his breakfast, and that dis-
appeared like our dishes. For dessert the Englishman gave
us a bravura, Signora clapped her hands, and cried " Bravo ! "
her husband also. The waiter let fall the plate from sheer
astonishment, and the Englishman's rush-chair broke down ;
it was too crazy for an Englishman under excitement Signora
now made a sign, and her husband sang so softly, and in such



64 A POET'S BAZAAR.

a dying cadence, so ethereally I may say, that I at last could
only see by his trembling lips, that he was still amusing us
with his song. It met with immense applause. We then got
into the diligence again. My praying English priest now
appeared, and crept up with me ; his breakfast had been the
air and the little prayer-book : he prayed still. The whip
cracked, three voices within the carriage rose in melody, and
away we went again. Toward evening we had rain, but the
rain-drops soon turned into snow-flakes, which were thawed
directly on the wet, clayey road. We got but slowly forward ;
it was dark, and there was not a house where we could ge;
our lantern lighted. Signora moaned in dismal fear of rob-
bers, and her spouse from dread of being overturned ; the
Englishman railed at the coachman, and the coachman at the
horses, and so it continued in the same progression until a
light at length shone in the distance. We were near a soli-
tary inn, where we went up into the guests' room through a
stable, half frozen and hungry. It was a most intolerable
time before a few sticks and twigs could be brought to blaze
in the chimney ; but at the moment they did blaze, the Eng-
lishman came with his sheets, and formed a screen with them
around the fire-place. " They must be dried," said he, and
so the sheets got the whole warmth. The rest of the com-
pany put up with it, and I also was obliged to be satisfied.
The Englishman and I were to sleep in one room together.
I entered, and found him standing on my counterpane which
he had spread out on the floor, having elevated his bed with
two of my pillows, which he had appropriated to his own use
without ceremony.

" I do not like to lie with my head low ! " said he.

" Nor I, either ! " I replied. " With your permission," and I
took them from him. He looked amazed.

He was an insupportable sleeping companion ; he wanted
so much waiting on that at last I was obligea to go to bed to
get rid of him. I pretended to sleep ; but I saw with half
closed eyes, that he prepared his midnight meal on a rickety
rush-chair by the bed.

I had been up a long while next morning, the horses were
already before the diligence, and we still waited for the Ehg



TRAVELLING WITH THE VETTURIXC. 65

lishman. He could never be ready. Signora had also just
begun her toilet.

" It goes on slowly," said her husband, " for she weeps from
anxiety to see her daughter."

At length we drove off.

I again sat with my godly neighbor, who crossed himself,
read his prayer-book and fasted.

We were obliged to stop in Arezzo, for both the priests must
pray, and Signora said she must absolutely go to confession.

From hence all around was olive woods. One group of
trees disclosed itself after the other. The olive-tree resem-
bles the willow most ; but the branches do not shoot forth in
stiff twigs ; they bend more, the leaf is less, and the trunk it-
self looks as if a giant hand had torn it half up from the
ground, turned it round, and then let it stand waving in the
storm.

The old town of Castellone, situated on a rock, rises above
the gray-green olive woods ; it is one of the dirtiest, but also
most picturesque towns in Italy. I know not how to de-
scribe it better than by saying that it looks as if it had taken
the houses, nooks, and corners that were much too miserable-
looking in other towns, and thrown them here behind the
old wall, above and over which they, however, protrude.
These small hanging gardens are in reality but scraps of
terraces, which they have fastened like balconies under a
window, or over a door of the house, where one least expected
to see them. A part of the town wall forms a sort of forum
for the people. The square here was quite filled with all
sorts of persons ; the steep road up to the gate of the town
also swarmed with pedestrians and persons riding ; but there
were no church-bells ringing, no flags waving, otherwise I
should have thought it was some great feast. From all the
by-ways, and even on the high-road, there were swarms of
men and swine great grunting herds.

A heavy cloud hung over our heads, and some fine drops
fell. The travellers extended their umbrellas which were
almost all of a yellow-green, and so colossal that one could
only see the green roof, and the hind part of the ass, when
a monk or a village donna rode before us. There was such



66 A POETS BAZAAR.

a screaming, and grunting, and hilarity, the nearer we ap-
proached the inn which lies close to the road by the gates
of the town. There was a swine market in Castellone.

Signora stepped backward out of the diligence just as a
whole herd of swine was driven past ; half the drove ran
under the diligence ; it looked like the waves of " the Black
Sea," and Signora trod on the Black Sea, and rocked on it,
like a travestied Venus Anadyomene. She screamed, the
waves screamed, and the drover screamed. It was a perilous
moment for Signora.

We sat down to table in the inn. There was such ordering
and shouting by the Englishman, that the whole house was
convinced he was a disguised prince, and that he would give
the attendants royal veils. They heard only him, they ran
only for him, were abused and kicked, and to all that he said
and did they smiled and bowed ; but he gave them no veils.
" For I am very dissatisfied ! " said he ; "I am dissatified
with the food, with the house, and the attendance 1 " The
abashed waiters bowed still deeper, and both the priests took
their hats off when he got into the diligence.

It was so narrow and uncomfortable within ; it was so hung
round with boxes and cases that every one was obliged to be
very circumspect, if he would travel with the slightest com-
fort ; the whole of the packages belonged to the Englishman,
and yet, as he boasted, he paid the least of us all. He had
taken the best place, and if a box or a package came too
near him it was pushed over to the others. " For those
things trouble one," said he ; and it is true they did ; but
all the things were his own, even the large case which he had
fixed behind Signora's neck.

At Lago di Perugia we left .the Tuscan, and entered the Pa-
pal territory. The Custom-house looked Hke a deserted sta-
ble, but it it is finely situated on the side of a mountain in the
midst of an olive grove, from the terraces of which we look
down to the sea. The sun cast strong red rays on the trees ,
pretty peasant girls with white veils over their shoulders drove
their cattle along, and I rejoiced at the sight of this living
picture, whilst the officers of the customs examined the con-
tents of our portmanteaus.






TRAVELLING WITH THE VETTURINO. <5"

r

It was dark before we got away. The road was heavy and
our horses exhausted. We proceeded at a very slow pace ;
the vetturino said that the road here was not safe, that is to
say, we had no robbers to fear, but thieves might cut off our
baggage from behind the diligence. Signora wept aloud.

AVe now took it in turns to walk two behind at a time, to
keep a lookout. It was a heavy, clayey forest-road, only
lighted by the miserable flame of our carriage-lantern, and
in addition we had also to go up hill. The horses panted,
the Englishman growled, and Signora sighed from the deepest
depths of her heart.

Late in the evening we reached the village of Pasignore,
which is regarded by all travellers as a genuine robber-hole.

Two stout, masculine looking girls, strong, and florid com-
plexioned, each of whom looked like a robber's bride, waited
upon us in the inn. We got a soup to which we gave a
taste by putting in much salt, pepper, and cheese ; we also
got some boiled, and then some small fried fish, each as large
as a finger. The wine was sour as vinegar, the grapes mouldy,
and the bread as hard as a stone.

The beds were all as broad as they were long ; they seemed
to be arranged for four persons lengthwise and four cross-
wise.

The rain poured down in torrents the whole night.

As we were leaving the inn in the morning, having to de-
scend the steep stone stairs which passed almost perpendic-
ularly through two floors, our buttoned-up and overcoated
Englishman trod on something I know not what and
rolled from the topmost step very gracefully down the whole
stairs, step for step ; but this did not put him in better
humor.

The road to Perugia goes upward. We had got oxen
for leaders to our conveyance ; they went but slowly, and it
seemed as if we should never reach the good city, which is
more famed for the potter's son than for all its bishops. 1

At length we arrived there.

The passage in the hotel was crowded with armorial shields ;

1 Perugia, as it is well known, is the place where Raphael received
instruction.



68 A POET'S BAZAAR.

one was hung up for ever}- prince who had passed a night
here. The Danish wild-men were also here ; they seemed to
interest Signora, particularly when she heard from me that
they were my countrymen ; and she asked me quite naively, if
they went dressed in that manner in our cold land.

The cold, chilly, praying Camaldolese monk left us here.
He bade none of us farewell.

At last I had a good place ; the whole coupe was mine ; I
could sit alone and gaze well pleased at the fine mountains ;
this place was, in fact, too little for two persons.

We were now to be off again ; our stout Englishman wad-
dled up to me : he too would enjoy the prospect.

I assured him that the place was not large enough for him.
" It is unpleasant ! " said he, and held on fast, although he
continued to agree with me that there was not room for two ;
he therefore proposed to me that I should creep into the dili-
gence ; but I told him that it was just for the sake of enjoying
nature alone that I had chosen this place.

" I will also remain here for the sake of enjoying nature,"
said he.

We had only driven a short distance when he shut his eyes,
and begged me to nudge him when there was anything pretty



Online LibraryH. C. (Hans Christian) AndersenA poet's bazaar : a picturesque tour in Germany, Italy, Greece, and the Orient → online text (page 6 of 31)