The Germ eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 346 pages of information about The Germ.

{4}I should here say, that in the catalogue for the year just over, (owing, as in cases before mentioned, to the zeal and enthusiasm of Dr. Aemmester) this, and several other pictures, have been more competently entered.  The work in question is now placed in the Sala Sessagona, a room I did not see—­under the number 161.  It is described as “Figura mistica di Chiaro dell’ Erma,” and there is a brief notice of the author appended.

The next day I was there again; but this time a circle of students was round the spot, all copying the “Berrettino.”  I contrived, however, to find a place whence I could see my picture, and where I seemed to be in nobody’s way.  For some minutes I remained undisturbed; and then I heard, in an English voice:  “Might I beg of you, sir, to stand a little more to this side, as you interrupt my view.”

I felt vext, for, standing where he asked me, a glare struck on the picture from the windows, and I could not see it.  However, the request was reasonably made, and from a countryman; so I complied, and turning away, stood by his easel.  I knew it was not worth while; yet I referred in some way to the work underneath the one he was copying.  He did not laugh, but he smiled as we do in England:  “Very odd, is it not?” said he.

The other students near us were all continental; and seeing an Englishman select an Englishman to speak with, conceived, I suppose, that he could understand no language but his own.  They had evidently been noticing the interest which the little picture appeared to excite in me.

One of them, and Italian, said something to another who stood next to him.  He spoke with a Genoese accent, and I lost the sense in the villainous dialect.  “Che so?” replied the other, lifting his eyebrows towards the figure; “roba mistica:  ‘st’ Inglesi son matti sul misticismo:  somiglia alle nebbie di la.  Li fa pensare alla patria,

        “E intenerisce il core
  Lo di ch’ han detto ai dolci amici adio.”

“La notte, vuoi dire,” said a third.

There was a general laugh.  My compatriot was evidently a novice in the language, and did not take in what was said.  I remained silent, being amused.

“Et toi donc?” said he who had quoted Dante, turning to a student, whose birthplace was unmistakable even had he been addressed in any other language:  “que dis-tu de ce genre-la?”

“Moi?” returned the Frenchman, standing back from his easel, and looking at me and at the figure, quite politely, though with an evident reservation:  “Je dis, mon cher, que c’est une specialite dont je me fiche pas mal.  Je tiens que quand on ne comprend pas une chose, c’est qu’ elle ne signifie rein.”

My reader thinks possibly that the French student was right.


The Bothie of Toper-na-fuosich:  a Long-vacation Pastoral.  By Arthur Hugh Clough.  Oxford:  Macpherson.  London:  Chapman and Hall.—­1848

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The Germ from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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