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which explain themselves, was a very worthy man, and was also extremely well-informed. When I made the agreement, I did not perceive or suspect the chain I was forging for myself. But it is one thing to lodge, to dine, and go to the theatre together, in such a city as Naples, and quite another to be for five or six months shut up together in the room of a little inn, or cabin of a ship, or miserable carriage dragged by mules. A friendship the most robust, might
. well turn pale at the latter, and I abandon it, in fùture, to the most hardy.
This unlucky engagement finished, then, as it ought to finish. At the end of some weeks of patience and mutual sacrifices, neither of the contracting parties were grieved to separate. A false delicacy had restrained us mutually; and when, no longer able to bear the yoke, 1 first reared the standard of rebellion, and quitted my companion at Catania, already, for a long time, had we been deprived of ihat inward content, of that precious and rare independence (a treasure too great to be justly estimated, and too little esteemed) without whose aid, in the palace and the hut, in town or in the country, at home or on journey, every thing that is undertakeu is ill and unhappily done.
My resolution once formed, I thought of nothing but the purchase of a few indispensable books; and when I had before me D'Orville, Brydone, Reidesel, and Borch, I thought myself more conversant with the affairs and wonders of Sicily than ever were Thucydides, Diodorus, or even Cicero himself. Such, for a long time, was my
, confidence in my illustrious guides, that, rather than doubt their good faith or knowledge, I should voluntarily have concluded, if what I saw was in any way different from what they had seen, that some great and disastrous earthquake had actually changed the face of things since the time they made their visits to Sicily. This was pushing confidence a long way, I confess. My error has been since
I a little corrected.
Cicero says, somewhere, that it is astonishing to him that two augurs could meet without laughing. Since I have travelled, and listened to others who have travelled, I am at a great loss to imagine how two travel writers can read each other with any thing like a serious face.
Of all the modern travellers who have written on Sicily, Borch, as far as I know, took the largest space of time for his tour. Departing from Naples, on the 20th of December, 1776, he returned to that city on the 29th of the following July. During this short interval, he must have passed over many leagues. Let us look at the mere outline of his route.
He passed from Naples to the extremity of Calabria, He visited the principal ports, and made many excursions on the land. He proceeded to Messina ; whence, after remaining some time, he went direct to Catania. He ascended Mount Etna, and observed and described all the eruptions, and all the phenomena of the volcano. He
visited, successively, Leontium, Megara, Syracuse, and pushed on as far Cape Pachynum; whence again he sailed with a favourable wind to Malta. After visiting and describing various other places, he returned, with a like favourable wind, to Sicily, where he visited numerous cities and quarters, ending with Palermo, in which city he remained for a long time, and which (to use his own words) he did not quit but with the most lively regret. In a word, he ran through the whole of Sicily, its coasts and isles, and returned to Naples, safe and sound, seven months after his departure.
I take it for granted that, during this race, the author rested sometimes, if it were only to write, to eat, drink, and sleep.
It is not, on that account, the less marvellous, the less admirable, that, in a country where you travel only at the mule's pace, and where the route by sea is as slow as it is precarious, he should make out, within so short a period, from 1,200 do 1,500 miles, in a route encumbered with rocks, filled with torrents, gulphs, and seas, and should compile, during his tour, two bulky volumes, full of observations on its topography, climate, agriculture, natural phenomena, ancient and modern monuments; civil, military, and religious establishments; its laws, manners, and customs ; its history, arts, sciences, letters, and national industry; and, finally, on the character and language of all its provinces. Yet, as all the world knows, the Count de Borch has undertaken and performed all this.
Baron Reidesel and Patrick Brydone have outdone all these wonders. They have traversed land and seas with the rapidity of an
Three or four months were sufficient for them to see all, describe all, and pass judgment on all. Travels are no longer executed in this style, and our present travellers proceed slowly through the ground over which these gentlemen flew.
I also, and it is fit the world should know it, I have seen this celebrated island, I have traversed this so much vaunted Sicily, this isle of the sun, this apcient granary of our old Europe, a granary which, in our days, scarcely suffices to feed very poorly a small population, and in which every man who cannot live on admiration and extacies, or on Ave Marias, will do well, if he believe me, to forbear to penetrate, without bread in his baggage. A few months have sufficed also for ine to visit this famous country, to traverse so many threatening seas, and to dig in so many classic grounds. But, al. though as much convinced as my illustrious predecessors, both of the great interest of the scene, and of the truth of my remarks, I pretend only to have viewed things in passing. I have not laid down a plan for myself so vast as theirs ; I do not cut short the questions that may arrive hereafter, and speak only of what I have actually seen.
If sometimes I seem to have done otherwise, it was only where to judge fairly it appeared to me necessary only to have eyes. Thus, where I could not procure bread for myself, I concluded that bread, if it could be found at all, was still scarce there: and wherever I saw
pothing but oppression, degradation, misery, and monks, I concluded that the people might be in a better condition. It cannot be too often repeated--Men are, every where, what government makes them.
Pedantic quotations, and measurements by lines and hair-breadths, have not entered into my plan: at least, I have used them very sparingly. Since we have been accustomed to publish travels in Greece, Egypt, Italy, and Sicily, this scholastic lumber has but too much passed from book to book. There is not a temple standing, not a temple lost, not a god, a marble, not a stone, which has not been quoted, described, praised, baptized, debaptized and measured in every way. I shall not describe monuments which are not to be found: it is enough, without doubt, to speak of those which still exist.
To admire every thing, and admire nothing, are systems equally faulty. The character of the tour is fixed before the journey is begun; and before the traveller sets nut, his work is three-fourths written, Whether it proceed from singularity of feeling, or prudence, I have not set out on my travels with ready-made decisions. The name, the fame, the general infatuation respecting a thing, has not made me admire what I have not found admirable ; nor has general censure ever caused me to blame that which I have found worthy of praise. If I deceive myself, I bona fide deceive myself, without meaning to deceive others. “I do not know why I should vex myself,” said Figaro, very pleasantly, For me, I say, I do not know why I should madden myself to please others.
SIC I L Y,
FROM NAPLES TO PALERMO.
-. packet had been, for a long time back, under orders to receive the hereditary prince, who was preparing to sail for Palermo, not precisely, like us, to witness the
festival of Santa Rosalia, but to restrain, by his presence, and a certain number of bayonets shipped off before him, a spirit of discontent which had displayed itself in Sicily.
In the humble vessel which bore us to the former country of Archimedes, were several other passengers, the most remarkable of whom were Prince and a Princess of Palermo itself, high and puissant personages; who, however, had it not been for the superb liveries, and the dirty stockings of their valets, might have passed anywhere for honest and plain people. The princess was rosy and robust; the prince, pale and slender. Their name was made up of some dozen of vowels. It has unfortunately escaped my memory. I believe, however, it commenced with Cala ; and finished (most cer. tainly) with Malatalata, which, as the prince himself made me remark, were of Siculo-Greco-Saracen origin. During the seventy-two hours of our passage, the prince and princess remained shut up in their state-room, never quitted their beds, nor changed their posture. The latter was singular enough: the bed of the princess was over that of the prince: her high
ness lay in a negligent posture; and the prince was stiff and straight in his bed. This double attitude, I was assured, was a duty imposed by their rank; and I ceased to wonder at the coldness of the one, or the freedom of the other.
Their suite consisted of three valets and the waiting-woman of the princess. These four persons were scarcely sufficient to discharge the duties of their office. Their entire duties, however, consisted in conveying glasses of lemonade, which the prince and princess swallowed continually, as if the ambition was, who should swallow the most. This singular contention surprised me more than even the etiquette of their attitudes. But my surprise was increased when, on casting my eyes on their stock of provisions, I could see only some baskets of lemons, and a large barrel of ice. Their highnesses had plenty of ice, but not a loaf of bread.
Portici, Resina, Herculaneum. Unfolding itself, as in a supurb and beauteous panorama, this animated picture presented first its two new cities, rearing their heads upon the site which was formerly covered by the ancient and celebrated Herculaneum. Of its ancient grandeur, there remains now only one solitary vestige; although, notwithstanding the 1700 years of its ruins, and the six inundations of lava with which it is covered, it would have been recovered from its tomb, if it were true that, in the calculation of princes, personal interest never outweighed the public advantage. The sight of the little city of Resina, situated at the foot of Vesuvius, and on one of the three roads which lead to the crater of the volcano, recalled to us the journey we had made to those interesting scenes just before our departure from Naples.
Vesuvius-Vesuvian Fountains. In fact, we had ascended Vesuvius in the night of the 5th of July, 1819; which happened to be the most favourable time for observing, in all its force, one of the longest eruptions ever known. The lava, which had never ceased to flow since the 23d of the preceding October, had just then opened to itself a new passage, across the very margin of the crater itself. By a still more fortunate chance, we met at Resina with M. Gimbernat of Barcelona, the celebrated mineralogist, to whom is owing the very curious discovery of the Vesuvian Fountains, produced by the condensation of the yolcanic vapours.
The author of this ingenious experiment had mentioned it to us at Naples; and while supper was preparing for us on the