Farewell, mill, and castle, and Porter! We went at such a pace that the wind nearly blew my hat off. Right and left, villages, towns, and vineyards flew past in a twinkling; behind me the two painters were seated in the carriage, before me were four horses and a gorgeous postilion, while I, seated high up on the box, bounced into the air from time to time.
It had happened thus: Arrived at B., while we were as yet in the outskirts a tall, thin, crusty gentleman in a green plush coat came to meet us, and, with many obeisances to the two painters, conducted us into the village, where, beneath the tall linden beside the post-station, stood a fine carriage with four post-horses. Herr Lionardo meanwhile insisted that I had outgrown my clothes, and in a trice he produced another suit from his portmanteau, and I had to put on a beautiful new dress-coat and vest; very fine to see, but they were too long and too wide for me, and absolutely fluttered about me. And I also had a brand-new hat, which shone in the sunlight as if it had been smeared with fresh butter. Then the crusty stranger gentleman took the bridles of the two horses which the painters had been riding, the painters themselves got into the carriage, I mounted upon the box, and we started, just as the postmaster poked his head out of the window, in his nightcap. The postilion blew his horn merrily, and we were off for Italy.
I led a magnificent existence up there, like a bird in the air, except that I did not need to fly. I had absolutely nothing to do but to sit on the box day and night, and bring out food and drink to the carriage from the inns, for the painters never alighted, and in the daytime they shut the carriage windows close, as if the sun would have killed them; only now and then Herr Guido put his pretty head out of the carriage window and chatted kindly with me, laughing the while at Herr Lionardo, who always seemed to dislike these talks. Once or twice I nearly fell into disgrace with my master—the first time because on a clear starry night I began to play the fiddle up there on my box, and then because of my sleeping. It was strange! I longed to see all that I could of Italy, and opened my eyes wide every fifteen minutes. And yet, after I had gazed steadily about me for a while, the sixteen trotting feet before me would grow indistinct and dreamy, my eyes would gradually close, and at last I would fall into a slumber so profound and invincible that it was impossible to rouse me. Then day or night, rain or sunshine, Tyrol or Italy, it was all the same; I swayed first to the right, then to the left, then backward—nay, sometimes my head nodded down so low that my hat dropped off, and Herr Guido screamed aloud.