’We went to the house or chapel in which the holy image was kept—a frightful, ugly black figure of Holy Mary, dressed in her usual way; and after we had stared at the figure, and some of our party had bowed down to it, we were shown a great many things which were called holy relics, which consisted of thumb-nails, and fore-nails, and toe-nails, and hair, and teeth, and a feather or two, and a mighty thigh-bone, but whether of a man or a camel I can’t say; all of which things, I was told, if properly touched and handled, had mighty power to cure all kinds of disorders. And as we went from the holy house we saw a man in a state of great excitement: he was foaming at the mouth, and cursing the holy image and all its household, because, after he had worshipped it and made offerings to it, and besought it to assist him in a game of chance which he was about to play, it had left him in the lurch, allowing him to lose all his money. And when I thought of all the rubbish I had seen, and the purposes which it was applied to, in conjunction with the rage of the losing gamester at the deaf and dumb image, I could not help comparing the whole with what my poor brother used to tell me of the superstitious practices of the blacks on the high Barbary shore, and their occasional rage and fury at the things they worshipped; and I said to myself, If all this here doesn’t smell of fetish, may I smell fetid.
’At this place the priest left us, returning to Naples with his subordinate, on some particular business I suppose. It was, however, agreed that he should visit us at the Holy City. We did not go direct to the Holy City, but bent our course to two or three other cities which the family were desirous of seeing; but as nothing occurred to us in these places of any particular interest, I shall take the liberty of passing them by in silence. At length we arrived at the Eternal City: an immense city it was, looking as if it had stood for a long time, and would stand for a long time still; compared with it, London would look like a mere assemblage of bee-skeps; however, give me the bee-skeps with their merry hum and bustle, and life and honey, rather than that huge town, which looked like a sepulchre, where there was no life, no busy hum, no bees, but a scanty sallow population, intermixed with black priests, white priests, gray priests; and though I don’t say there was no honey in the place, for I believe there was, I am ready to take my Bible oath that it was not made there, and that the priests kept it all for themselves.
A cloister—Half English—New acquaintance—Mixed liquors—Turning Papist—Purposes of charity—Foreign religion—Melancholy—Elbowing and pushing—Outlandish sight—The figure—I don’t care for you—Merry-andrews—One good—Religion of my country—Fellow of spirit—A dispute—The next morning—Female doll—Proper dignity—Fetish country.