Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 449 pages of information about Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals.

“In cases like this there is no redress.  The soldier receives his orders to see that all hats are off in this religion of force, and the manner is left to his discretion.  If he is a brute, as was the case in this instance, he may strike it off; or, as in some other instances, if the soldier be a gentleman, he may ask to have it taken off.  There was no excuse for this outrage on all decency, to which every foreigner is liable and which is not of infrequent occurrence.  The blame lies after all, not so much with the pitiful wretch who perpetrates this outrage, as it does with those who gave him such base and indiscriminate orders.”


JUNE 17, 1830—­FEBRUARY 2, 1831

Working hard.—­Trip to Genzano.—­Lake of Nemi.—­Beggars.—­Curious festival of flowers at Genzano.—­Night on the Campagna.—­Heat in Rome.—­ Illumination of St. Peter’s.—­St. Peter’s Day.—­Vaults of the Church.—­ Feebleness of Pope.—­Morse and companions visit Naples, Capri, and Amalfi.—­Charms of Amalfi.—­Terrible accident.—­Flippancy at funerals.—­ Campo Santo at Naples.—­Gruesome conditions.—­Ubiquity of beggars.—­ Convent of St. Martino.—­Masterpiece of Spagnoletto.—­Returns to Rome.—­ Faints portrait of Thorwaldsen.—­Presented to him in after years by John Taylor Johnston.—­Given to King of Denmark.—­Reflections on the social evil and the theatre.—­Death of the Pope.—­An assassination.—­The Honorable Mr. Spencer and Catholicism.—­Election of Pope Gregory XVI.

During all these months Morse was diligently at work in the various galleries, making the copies for which he had received commissions, and the day’s record almost invariably begins with “At the Colonna Palace all day”; or, “At the Vatican all day”; or wherever else he may have been working at the time.

The heat of the Roman summer seems not yet to have inconvenienced him, for he does not complain, but simply remarks:  “Sun almost vertical,... houses and shops shut at noon.”  He has this to say of an Italian institution:  “Lotteries in Rome make for the Government eight thousand scudi per week; common people venture in them; are superstitious and consult cabaliste or lucky numbers; these tolerated as they help sell the tickets.”

While working hard, he occasionally indulged himself in a holiday, and on June 16 he, in company with three other artists, engaged a carriage for an excursion to Albano, Aricia, and Genzano, “to witness at the latter place the celebrated festa infiorata, which occurs every year on the 17th of June.”

After spending the night at Albano, which they found crowded with artists of various nationalities and with other sight-seers, “We set out for Genzano, a pleasant walk of a little more than a mile through a winding carriage-road, thickly shaded with fine trees of elm and chestnut and ilex.  A little fountain by the wayside delayed us for a moment to sketch it, and we then continued our way through a straight, level, paved road, shaded on each side with trees, into the pretty village of Genzano.”

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Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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