H. C. (Hans Christian) Andersen.

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

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to be seen. I did so a few times, but then he requested that
I would only nudge him when there was something very
unusually fine.

I let him sleep.

At Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, we visited the vil-
lage church de gl'Angeli. Signora would confess.

Our Englishman took a guide to conduct him about alone
to see the curiosities, " for he did not see well in company,"
he said. The monk who escorted him received neither money
nor thanks. " These fellows have nothing else to do ! " said
he, when Signora reproached him for his meanness. From
that moment the connection between them was colder ; from
that moment no quartet was heard in the diligence.

I never before met a person with such a yes, what shall I
call it ? such a thoughtless impudence. Every one must
live for him, every one must conform themselves to his conven-
ience ; he never paid a compliment but it was transformed


into rudeness as it passed his lips. At last I began to think
of the wicked step-mother in the story, who, after her hus-
band's daughter had returned home from the well into which
she had thrown her, and gold and roses sprang out of her
mouth when she spoke, threw her own wicked daughter into
the well ; but when she came up, she was still worse than be-
fore, and at every word a frog or a lizard sprang out of her
mouth. The more I looked at the Englishman, and the more
I heard him speak, the more certain was I that he was own
brother to the step-mother's bad daughter.

How unpleasant did he not make the evening to us in that
peaceful town Spoleto ; where the fire burned so brightly in
the chimney ; where the music sounded so sweetly from the
street ; where the people rejoiced outside the church, " E viva
Madonna! E viva Jesus CAristus/"

We were again in the diligence before sunrise ; and as long
as it was the cold morning I had my place alone. It was dull
weather, but the mountains were beautiful, and many of the
trees were green. One little town after the other rose above
us : each one lay like a sphinx on the mountain, and seemed
to say : " Do you know what lives and moves here ? " We
passed quickly by.

A beggar knelt down on the road before us, and kissed the
ground. We passed by. We met armed soldiers, who sur-
rounded a car on which lay four strong, black-bearded robbers
chained together ; an old crone was with them. She sat at
the back, with her face toward us ; she nodded to us, and
seemed to be merry enough. We drove quickly past we
were in Spoleto.

A horrible looking fellow, in a dirty blue cloak, and with a
little red greasy cap on his uncombed hair, approached our
diligence. I took him for a beggar, and referred him to the
party in the other part of the vehicle ; he went up to one side
and then to the other, but was sent away from both sides.

" That is a passenger," said the vetturino ; " it is a nobile
from Rome ! " But we all protested against having him for
a neighbor. He looked exactly like patient Job, when he
scraped himself with a potsherd.

He then got up beside the vetturino, and my prospect was
now completely cut off.


When at home, and sitting on a soft sofa, we do not dream
of travelling thus in Italy ; we then only see handsome people ;
the sun then shines continually between the vines and cy-
presses ; the body feels no weariness. Even the fresh air that
came to me was infected with the smell of the nobilc's clothes.

At the next station I gave up the coupe to him, sat by the
side of the vetturino, drank in the air, and looked on the
charming mountain scenery.

The road went in a zigzag up Monte Somma ; we had oxen
before the diligence ; the fountains rippled between the large
stone blocks ; some yew-trees were quite green as in spring ;
and where the trees were old and leafless, and the ivy, so fresh
and luxuriant, wound about the trunks and branches, even to
the extremest point, so that the trees appeared in their
richest verdure ; the whole crown of the tree was a swelling

Pretty girls ran alongside the diligence, and offered us fruit.
The ox-driver sang his canzonet, and whistled a merry cho-
rus to it I sprang down from my seat ; my heart exulted at
the picturesque beauty around us.

Down in the clefts of the mountain lay the ruins of two water-
mills ; a large, black bird of prey darted out of the thicket.
All was wild and solitary ; rain clouds hung in the air above
us; mists arose gently from the clefts of the mountains.
Step by step the heavily-loaded diligence moved on.

The vetturino declared that we could not arrive at Terni
in time enough to visit the water-fall. I, who had seen it on
a previous journey, was resigned. The Englishman, on the
contrary, raved ; and this time it was not without reason. He
swore, he stormed, he would see the water-fall.

It was pitch dark when we reached Terni, but the English-
man would have his way. He called for a guide, had two
lanterns lighted, got upon an ass, and ordered them to con-
duct him to the water-fall.

" But it is impossible for you to see it with two lanterns."

" Then we can take three," he replied, and rode away.

The guide looked extremely pleased with the whole arrange-
ment ; it was certainly the first time that he ever saw the-
water-fall by such a light


How they managed to place the two or three lanterns by
that gigantic fall I know not ; but the Englishman said, when
he returned, that the water-fall at Terni was not worth the
trouble of going all that way to see ; he had viewed it both
from above and below, but it was a poor affair.

We were to be off again at three o'clock next morning, the
vetturino informed us, for the road was bad, and we had our
longest day's journey to make, and we must reach Nepi before
it was dark, as the country round about there was unsafe.
Another vetturino with his party joined us ; but still we were
not in sufficient force.

The rain poured down in torrents, the road was deep and
heavy, it was quite dark. We heard a deep hollow sound
from the mountains ; it was the herdsmen who blew their
conch-shells to call their flocks together.

We passed the mountainous town of Rocca at day-break.
It is very picturesquely situated ; the country around had
the appearance of the Tyrolean mountains in the summer time.
Every bush, every tree was green ; the rain had refreshed the
grass and leaves. The ivy had entwined itself in rich garlands
around the thick trunks of the trees, and about the cliffs. The
town itself hung like a swallow's nest on the front of the rock.
The yellow Tiber wound its way along in the deep below.

Our Englishman slept ; Signora did the same ; but they
looked the more lively for it when we afterwards descended at
Atricoli, a town, the pavement in which seems to have been
laid down during an earthquake. The inn was so filled with
dirt that I preferred to eat in the stable, where the smell was
at least pure, rather than in the greasy rooms.

The prospect, on the contrary, was splendid in the extreme.
The mountains had a bluish-green tone ; the valleys extended,
deep and fruitful. That splendor and this filthiness ! Yet
it is truly said that nothing is perfect in this world. But in
truth both conditions were here as complete as can be imag-
ined. The Englishman was so also, in his way ; he went pry-
ing about after food amongst the new vetturino's passengers,
and regaled himself with the best pieces that were set before
him. He became rude toward our peaceful ecclesiastic, and
began to speak in an uncivil manner to Signora.


Unpleasant company, bad weather, miserable roads, and
poor horses ; everything was united to make the journey a
penitential one. The sun would not shine into my heart, nor
would it shine upon the landscape around me ; and the extent
of country which we had just passed lay in the most charming
sunshine when I was last here. But nature doubtless thought
thus : " For that party yonder I need not put on my best ; and
the poet has seen how beautiful it can be here. He has sung
my praise, he will not do it better ! " and so she continued in
her rainy, phlegmatic humor.

The vetturino declared that the road was now so bad that
we could not reach Nepi by daylight ; it was too dangerous
to drive there in the dark ; we must, therefore, pass the night
in Civita Castellane.

We passed Monte Soracte, of whose snows Horace has sung ;
and our night quarters lay before us, with old bush-grown
walls, almost covered with creeping plants. The water rushed
in a feathery foam over the cliffs. Civita Castellane is one
of those towns that appear handsome as we pass them, but it
is an uncomfortable place to reside in. We put up at Albergo
Croce di Malta, an old cloister, formerly belonging to the
monks of St. Francis, but now converted into an inn. From
the street we entered at once into the vaulted stable. It ap-
peared as if it had been a chapel before ; a high, steep stair-
case led to the guests' rooms. Cats and fowls sprang about.
The doors hung on one hinge only, or else were entirely with-
out. The women of the house sat and plaited their long hair,
and scarcely knew whether they ought to receive us or not

I went about a little, and looked over the building ; every-
thing was in the greatest disorder : in some of the rooms
there stood beds without bed-clothes ; wet clothes were hung
up on poles ; in others lay broken furniture, or there were jars
ind pots piled up with Heaven knows what. I descended
.nto a narrow yard, inclosed by four dingy piazzas ; in the
middle of the yard was a deep well ; bats flew by dozens over
my head ; a little wooden door stood ajar ; it could neither
be moved backward nor forward. I put my head in ; it was a
cold, damp church. I saw the high windows, but everything
within was veiled in darkness. I was not alone ; I heard


footsteps I stepped aside : two men in black, with broad-
brimmed hats, like those the Jesuits wear, entered the arch-

" Viva Giesu sanguine!" said they, quite softly as they
passed me. I followed slowly after them.

When I came up again, I heard that it had fallen to my lot
to share my room that night either with the nobile or the
Englishman. I protested against the arrangement, and took
refuge with the young priest. He had got a sort of pigeon-
house to sleep in ; and I asked if I might not prepare myself
a bed on some chairs with him.

" But I have some religious ceremonies " he began.

I begged him not to think of me at all, for that matter, as I
should fall asleep directly. I now hastily put together a few
chairs side by side ; the priest, Signora, and her husband, all
three helped me to drag in the bed-clothes it was a horrible
couch ! In the midst of this arrangement came the English-
man ; he was red in the face, and angry because I would not
sleep in his company.

" Will you leave me in this robber hole ? " said he. " Am
I to lie, and be murdered alone ! The door won't lock ; there
is a closet in the room with stairs ! In the adjoining room
there are a monk and a peasant they look most wretched !
Shall I lie there, and be murdered alone ! You are not a
good comrade ; I shall not speak to you during the whole
journey ! "

I thanked him for it.

It was an unpleasant evening ; and on the same evening
but I did not know it then my tragedy, " The Moorish
Girl," was performed for the first time in Copenhagen. The
public were, certainly, much better satisfied that evening than
the author.

Although we were two companies of travellers, who intended
to depart together the next morning, yet all the people in the
inn advised us to take an escort with us to Nepi, where we
expected to arrive at sunrise.

At three o'clock we were all up ; four horses belonging to
the party forming our escort, tramped outside the hotel. The
rain poured down ; our Englishman not ready, and when he


was, he began a scene of abuse with the hostess, and then
with the chambermaid.

At length we set off ; two horsemen rode before, and two
behind. When we reached the gates we met the Roman dili-
gence, which goes by way of Forti to Bologna ; it also was
under escort.

We passed a long bridge, " Ponte del Cujoni," as the vet-
turino called it, and said that under this bridge the rascally
thieves concealed themselves when they saw that travellers
had soldiers with them. How far it was safe to take this way
I dare not venture to determine ; but I certainly regarded the
whole as an agreement between the people at the inn, the
vetturino, and the soldiers, for the latter earned a little money
by it Neither now, previously, nor afterward, have I ever
been attacked in Italy, for we assuredly may travel as safely
here as in England, or France.

It was almost broad day when we arrived at Nepi, a town
which may pass for a first-rate specimen of filthiness and ruin ;
the large palaces appeared as if they were deserted by human
beings, and abandoned to rats and bats. Spiders' webs, cov-
ered with thick dust, hung in every niche and corner. The
rain, however, ceased during our stay here, but the gray
atmosphere hung like a heavy leaden dome above us.

There was a strange solitude amongst the final branches of
the mountains. At length we came to the last station, La
Storta, a little hamlet, a few hours' drive from Rome.

The first and only inn here looks like a common stable ;
the kitchen and guests' room is in one. The walls are painted
with wretched landscapes, just as one sees them in a bad
magic lantern, with thick strokes and gross colors, glowing
and imperfect as in a colored ABC book. All the light
comes in through the door. In the middle of the floor stood
a large, square iron box with fire in it, and by the side of it a
deal table and benches for the guests. Bunches of brackens
hung under the ceiling to attract the flies, probably that they
might not spoil the paintings. Poultry and bottles had their
place on the floor j the smell of cookery filled the room, and
we saw everything in a light tone of smoke from the chimney.
The prospect through the door was bounded by a gravel-pit



and a dung-hill, with living turkeys. The diligence and bag-
gage-wagon filled up the remaining space.

Our Englishman went immediately to the fire-place, looked
at the different dishes, and at once took what was ready, and
what he thought was best ; but the hostess of La Storta turned
on her heel, and in a moment snatched the piece he had taken
out of his hand, her flashing eyes measuring him from top
to toe. He pushed her aside. She asked if he were mad,
and then showed him the meat he had ordered, which was
still quite raw in the pan. He pinched her fat arm, and she
raised her kitchen knife.

Her husband, a little thick man, ran up, held her round the
waist, and lifted her from the floor. She waved the knife
about, and a broad stream of words flowed through the house.
The Englishman's face was red as fire ; he seized a rush
chair, and held it before him.

We, however, managed to get peace restored, and then he
began to eat. He ate as much as three persons.

" I shall eat for two," said he. " I shall eat, for I am vexed ;
eat, yet only pay three paoli."

The hostess, however, demanded six paoli ; the vetturino,
whose boarder the Englishman was at 'all meals, complained
aloud. We took the vetturino's part, and the Englishman
loaded the poor fellow with abuse.

" He shall have no drink money ! " said he. " I am dis-
pleased with him ; I am dissatisfied with the food ; dissatisfied
with the company ! "

" With the company ? " asked Signora.

" Certainly," said he, " you are always chattering. Snur-r-r
how it clatters ! and your husband is stupid ; he is dumb,
he has no education, no refinement 1 "

" No education ! " replied Signora. She became quite pale,
put her arms a-kimbo ; " no refinement ! Husband, take
your academical certificate out of your pocket, and show him
that you have education."

Her little husband was just as pale as herself ; he said not
a word ; his eyes stared wildly around. He took out his
pocket-book, and unfolded a paper which he held out before
the Englishman.


" Read," said Signora, " read if you can ! my husband
not a man of education ! Englishman, look at me ! It is you
who are an uncultivated fellow ; and you say you have lived
with princes 1 Oxen and dogs have been your companions,

" I don't read," shouted the Englishman in the midst of
her speech, and struck the paper, set his arms a kimbo just
like Signora, and imitated the gobbling of a turkey-cock.

All at once the hostess stood by the side of Signora ; she
raised herself on one foot, her eyes glistened, she held a dish
of cauliflower in her hand, and the contents flew over the
Englishman's head. The hens on the floor fluttered wildly
about : I laughed, some of the company drummed on the
table with their fingers, and two ladies belonging to another
vetturino's party flew to a side door.

From that moment no one spoke to the Englishman ; he
got into the diligence, and pretended to sleep.

From La Storta begins the Campagna of Rome, a large
grass-grown church-yard that is the picture it presents. No
house ; but the ruins of tombs without names, lie by the way-
side. The shepherds drive their flocks of sheep amongst the
high thistles.

" Nero's grave ! " cried the vetturino, as he pointed to a
monument close by the road. We drove past. I discerned the
cupola of St. Peter's ; O ! how my heart beat at the thought
of seeing Rome again. I knew that green Monte Mario. We
rolled over Ponte Molle, and were inclosed by the white walls
of the vineyards, until we stopped outside Porta del Popolo.

The passports were delivered, we received our bulletta ; a
soldier got up alongside the other vetturino, whilst the officer
bade us follow to the custom-house. We followed.

" Not to the custom-house," was the first word our English
man said. He shouted it out of the diligence; he ordered
them to drive him to a hotel, for he would not be dragged
about at a soldier's orders.

u To the custom-house," we all cried, and the vetturino
drove thither.

In the Englishman's portmanteau there was found a number
cf wax-candle ends. *' I have brought them from the inns


I have slept in ; they stand in the account, and are paid for,
and I take with me what belongs to me."
Here we took leave.



ROME is certainly the only city in which a stranger without
family or acquaintance can settle and be, as it were, at home.
A tranquil mind may live here as solitary and lonely as it can
wish, and the most troubled spirit will find change enough,
for not a day passes here but it brings something new to the
eye and to the thoughts.

A man ought to live a whole year in Rome to be able
rightly to conceive the picture of this first city of the world,
which receives its peculiar coloring from each successive sea-
son of the year. It is just as interesting to see Rome at har-
vest time, when the dancing girls come from the vine fields,
as it is to view it in the days of the Carnival, when the merry
maskers fill the streets. One must be in Rome when the
snow lies on the mountains, and the sentinel stands on his
post with the fire-pot before him, whilst the bare-legged boys
put their feet on the ice and say it burns. One must be in
Rome in the glowing summer heat, when the cooling fountain
attracts the singing crowd about it in the evening.

The traveller from the North, who, as he rolls into the city,
thinks that he shall see a place that will remind him of
Nuremberg, or of some still more ancient city, is not a little
surprised at the animated sight, the beautiful regularity, the
highly modern buildings that present themselves to his view.
We at once see a large handsome place, with obelisk and
fountain, elegant hotels, noble terraces with newly carved
statues and bass-reliefs; young odor-spreading acacias form
zigzag avenues one above the other. All the great world roll
past in splendid equipages ; English ladies and Roman dan-
dies display themselves on horseback. The only thing that
could disturb this modern picture would be, if a couple of
the cardinals' red-painted, clumsy carriages were to come


past, with the coachman and footman in perukes and three-
cornered hats.

Toward the gate of the city are three streets, called Bab-
buino, II Corso, and Ripetta ; the middle one is II Corso, in
which, during the Carnival, horse-races and driving take
place. It is a fine street, with broad-flagged foot-pavement,
shops, churches, and, above all, plenty of passers by. Let us
drive through it, turn into one of the side-streets on the left,
and we are then in the so-called Spanish Place.

They tell us that the Tiber once rose so high that it car-
ried a boat up to this place ; suddenly the water sank, and
the boat remained there, just where the fountain now is.
Michael Angelo, who was ordered to make a drawing for this
fountain, took his design from the stranded boat : so we now
see, in the centre of the round basin, a stone boat out of which
the water flows.

Behind the fountain rises a flight of stone stairs ; they are
as broad as a street, and as high as the neighboring houses.
It is the so-called Spanish Stairs, which lead to the French
cloister for nuns, to the French academy, as well as to the
finest and most frequented promenades.

These stairs once bore a disreputable name, in consequence
of the midnight assaults that took place there. Now that
lamps have been erected, and a soldier set on guard, such
things are no longer heard of; and yet the lamps burn dimly,
and the soldier always sits, in the evening, in his watch-box.
During the day this place swarms with beggars with withered
limbs : some hop like frogs, using their hands to spring on ;
others lie down at full length, and show their decrepit limbs. 1

From the topmost step of the stairs, by the walled balus-
trade, we have a prospect over half of Rome, with its towers
and cupolas ; but we will not look at it now ; we will follow
the street before us : it is Via Felice ; and here two kings
nave their dwellings. Where are those palaces situated ?
See, there to the left, the smallest house of them all, penned

1 The first who, during my renewed visit to Rome, addressed me with
kn " exccllenza," was just the very character I have drawn in The Impro-
visatorc, under the name of Uncle Beppo : he lay here still, with his grin-
ning face*



in amongst these poor houses, and itself the poorest of them
all ; two windows without glass, only iron bars across, a door
with a knocker, and the inscription " Villa Malta." This is
the King of Bavaria's palace in Rome. Let us enter ; yes,
the miserable entrance is soon forgotten we are in a splen-
did garden, where large laurel hedges line the walk on either
side ; the pine-trees lift their green screen around the little
dwelling, from which we look out over the seven-hilled city to
the blue Sabine and Albanian mountains.

The other king's dwelling lies to the right in the same
street, and looks something more like a palace than the for-
mer, though the windows are a little irregular. A dark pas-
sage with stone steps leads up to the rooms, which have only
bricked floors ; but the walls there are covered with glorious
images and paintings.

This is Thorwaldsen's dwelling.

We follow the street we are in, and stand in a large square,
so perfectly Roman that nothing can be more peculiar to
Rome. We see a part of the Capuchin cloister, we notice old
ruined walls, we behold a row of wretched, small, market
town-houses, and behind these, one of the most splendid pal-
aces, inclosing a treasury of paintings and sculpture. To the
right we have shops, genuine Roman shops, ornamented with
laurels, garlands of red and white sausages, pyramids of
cheese, mosaic work of figs and oranges, whole organs of can-
dles, and everything as tastefully arranged as if there were
some great feast going forward.

The lamp before the image of Madonna at the cornei
burns day and night ; a canopy hangs above it ; a little altar
is beneath, and on this stand flower-pots with waving silk rib-
bons, whilst the wall itself is covered round about with votive
tablets ; these are small pictures, representing all the sick-
nesses and all the misfortunes Madonna has cured and saved
men from. We see the runaway horses she stopped in their

Online LibraryH. C. (Hans Christian) AndersenA poet's bazaar : a picturesque tour in Germany, Italy, Greece, and the Orient → online text (page 7 of 31)