Views a-foot eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 434 pages of information about Views a-foot.

Owing to the mountain storms, which imposed on us the expense of a carriage-journey to Rome, we shall be prevented from going further.  One great cause of this is the heavy fee required for passports in Italy.  In most of the Italian cities, the cost of the different vises amounts to $4 or $5; a few such visits as these reduce our funds very materially.  The American Consul’s fee is $2, owing to the illiberal course of our government, in withholding all salary from her Consuls in Europe.  Mr. Brown, however, in whose family we spent last evening very pleasantly, on our requesting that he would deduct something from the usual fee, kindly declined accepting anything.  We felt this kindness the more, as from the character which some of our late Consuls bear in Italy, we had not anticipated it.  We shall remember him with deeper gratitude than many would suppose, who have never known what it was to be a foreigner.

To-morrow, therefore, we leave Rome—­here is, at last, the limit of our wanderings.  We have spent much toil and privation to reach here, and now, after two weeks’ rambling and musing among the mighty relics of past glory, we turn our faces homeward.  The thrilling hope I cherished during the whole pilgrimage—­to climb Parnassus and drink from Castaly, under the blue heaven of Greece (both far easier than the steep hill and hidden fount of poesy, I worship afar off)—­to sigh for fallen art, beneath the broken friezes of the Parthenon, and look with a pilgrim’s eye on the isles of Homer and of Sappho—­must be given up, unwillingly and sorrowfully though it be.  These glorious anticipations—­among the brightest that blessed my boyhood—­are slowly wrung from me by stern necessity.  Even Naples, the lovely Parthenope, where the Mantuan bard sleeps on the sunny shore, by the bluest of summer seas, with the disinterred Pompeii beyond, and Paestum amid its roses on the lonely Calabrian plain—­even this, almost within sight of the cross of St. Peter’s, is barred from me.  Farewell then, clime of “fame and eld,” since it must be!  A pilgrim’s blessing for the lore ye have taught him!

CHAPTER XLII.

Palo.—­The sea is breaking in long swells below the window, and a glorious planet shines in the place of the sunset that has died away.  This is our first resting-place since leaving Rome.  We have been walking all day over the bare and dreary Campagna, and it is a relief to look at last on the broad, blue expanse of the Tyrrhene Sea.

When we emerged from the cool alleys of Rome, and began to climb up and down the long, barren swells, the sun beat down on us with an almost summer heat.  On crossing a ridge near Castel Guido, we took our last look of Rome, and saw from the other side the sunshine lying like a dazzling belt on the far Mediterranean.  The country is one of the most wretched that can be imagined.  Miles and miles of uncultivated land, with scarcely a single habitation, extend on either side of the road, and the few shepherds who watch their flocks in the marshy hollows, look wild and savage enough for any kind of crime.  It made me shudder to see every face bearing such a villainous stamp.

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