The sun was nearly down, and the mountains just below him were of a deep purple hue, while those that ran out to the eastward wore the most aerial shade of blue. A few scattered clouds, floating above, soon put on the sunset robe of orange and a band of the same soft color encircled the western horizon. It did not reach half way to the zenith, however; the sky above was blue, of such a depth and transparency, that to gaze upward was like looking into eternity. Then how softly and soothingly the twilight came on! How deep a hush sank on the chesnut glades, broken only by the song of the cicada, chirping its “good-night carol!” The mountains, too, how majestic they stood in their deep purple outlines! Sweet, sweet Italy! I can feel now how the soul may cling to thee, since thou canst thus gratify its insatiable thirst for the Beautiful. Even thy plainest scene is clothed in hues that seem borrowed of heaven! In the twilight, more radiant than light, and the stillness, more eloquent than music, which sink down over the sunny beauty of thy shores, there is a silent, intense poetry that stirs the soul through all its impassioned depths. With warm, blissful tears filling the eyes and a heart overflowing with its own bright fancies, I wander in the solitude and calm of such a time, and love thee as if I were a child of thy soil!
WALK TO SIENA AND PRATOLINO—INCIDENTS IN FLORENCE.
October 16.—My cousin, being anxious to visit Rome, and reach Heidelberg before the commencement of the winter semestre, set out towards the end of September, on foot. We accompanied him as far as Siena, forty miles distant. As I shall most probably take another road to the Eternal City, the present is a good opportunity to say something of that romantic old town, so famous throughout Italy for the honesty of its inhabitants.
We dined the first day, seventeen miles from Florence, at Tavenella, where, for a meagre dinner the hostess had the assurance to ask us seven pauls. We told her we would give but four and a half, and by assuming a decided manner, with a plentiful use of the word “Signora” she was persuaded to be fully satisfied with the latter sum. From a height near, we could see the mountains coasting the Mediterranean, and shortly after, on descending a long hill, the little town of Poggibonsi lay in the warm afternoon light, on an eminence before us. It was soon passed with its dusky towers, then Stagia looking desolate in its ruined and ivied walls, and following the advice of a peasant, we stopped for the night at the inn of Querciola. As we knew something of Italian by this time, we thought it best to inquire the price of lodging, before entering. The padrone asked if we meant to take supper also. We answered in the affirmative; “then,” said he, “you will pay half a paul (about five emits) apiece for a bed.” We passed under the swinging bunch