Every house opening on the Corso was covered with bright streamers, pennons, and flags of every size, shape, color, and hue—red, blue, white, green, gold, purple, yellow, and pink. Every window was festooned with flowers, banners, and like array. Every shop was converted into gorgeous saloons, decorated with trees, garlands, evergreens, resplendent in silver, crimson, and gold, filled with hundreds of anxious spectators. Every nook and corner was made bright by the sparkle of beautiful eyes, merry smiles and happy faces. Thousands jostled on every side in representation of monkeys, lions, tigers, soldiers, clowns, maniacs. Satanic deities and every other deity credited to countless ages, helped to swell the crowd wedging themselves between line upon line of carriages four abreast. The general bombardment commenced on all sides was truly an exciting scene. Grand assaults were made upon houses and carriage with alike furious resistance; missiles of bonbons rose in the air, volley upon volley; storms of flowers. Those seated in windows and balconies made desperate onsets upon the passing carriages. Hand to hand encounters now became general; monkeys assailed lions; mamelukes returned the fire of gipsies; a grand hurly-burly arose from every point in sight. Clouds fell from upper balconies upon each side of the street as the crowds poured on in incessant streams which became at intervals one moving mass of dust, white as snow. Beautiful ladies, maidens and children, mingled in the gay scene—all intent upon the same enjoyment. It is impossible to convey the faintest idea of this grand display which is kept up from early morning until half-past four o’clock, when the street is cleared as by magic. How such a concourse of carriages and people get into the adjoining nooks and piazzas in such a short time is astonishing, while thousands still cling to the sidewalks of the Corso. A chariot race is the next proceeding, when, within the space of a few moments, the horses are in their places—the signal given—the distance of the Corso gained—the race won.
This is the first day’s outline of sport, which is followed in successive order until the end of the season. Having already lengthened this letter in twofold proportion, I must take room to say that the festive scene instantly ceases as the solemn notes of Ave Maria rises from the hundreds of steeples—the requiem for the departing carnival.
I will not distract your attention with the palaces of the Caesars, the Cenci, St. Angelo, and the remains of antiquity still to be seen here, but trust that when we meet again every wish that you formerly expressed regarding our stay in Rome will be realized a thousandfold.
Looking at the volume of this letter I feel quite ashamed, but trust that absence and distance will help to plead my cause. Gerald seems quite confident that his suggestion will also speak loudly in my favor, and perhaps he is right. At least I hope so. Remember me kindly to every one of the family, I shall mention none particularly. Gerald expresses a wish not to be forgotten by you. Now, dearest Mary, if this truly formidable missive weary you, please deal gently with Gerald and
Your Loving Rosamond.