Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I.
of resuscitating summer; while the lemon-coloured butterfly, whose name I have forgotten, ventures out, before any others of her kind can brave the parting breath of winter’s last storms; stoutest to resist cold, and steadiest in her manner of flying.  The present season is yellow indeed, and nothing is to be seen now but sun-flowers and African marygolds around us; one bough besides, on every tree we pass—­one bough at least is tinged with the golden hue; and if it does put one in mind of that presented to Proserpine, we may add the original line too, and say,

    Uno avulfo, non deficit alter[F].

[Footnote F: 
    Pluck one away, another still remains.

The sure-footed and docile mule, with which in England I was but little acquainted, here claims no small attention, from his superior size and beauty:  the disagreeable noise they make so frequently, however, hinders one from wishing to ride them—­it is not braying somehow, but worse; it is neighing out of tune.

I have put nothing down about eating since we arrived in Italy, where no wretched hut have I yet entered that does not afford soup, better than one often tastes in England even at magnificent tables.  Game of all sorts—­woodcocks in particular.  Porporati, the so justly-famed engraver, produced upon his hospitable board, one of the pleasant days we passed with him, a couple so exceedingly large, that I hesitated, and looked again, to see whether they were really woodcocks, till the long bill convinced me.

One reads of the luxurious emperors that made fine dishes of the little birds brains, phenicopter’s tongues, &c. and of the actor who regaled his guests with nightingale-pie, with just detestation of such curiosity and expence:  but thrushes, larks, and blackbirds, are so very frequent between Turin and Novi, I think they might serve to feed all the fantastical appetites to which Vitellius himself could give encouragement and example.

The Italians retain their tastes for small birds in full force; and consider beccafichi, ortolani, &c. as the most agreeable dainties:  it must be confessed that they dress them incomparably.  The sheep here are all lean and dirty-looking, few in number too; but the better the soil the worse the mutton we know, and here is no land to throw away, where every inch turns to profit in the olive-yards, vines, or something of much higher value than letting out to feed sheep.

Population seems much as in France, I think:  but the families are not, in either nation, disposed according to British notions of propriety; all stuffed together into little towns and large houses, entessees, as the French call it; one upon another, in such a strange way, that were it not for the quantity of grapes on which the poor people live, with other acescent food enjoined by the church, and doubtless suggested by the climate, I think putrid fevers must necessarily carry off crowds of them at once.

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Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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