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Englishman shared the fortunes of the rest pretty equally. There was always the great difference of state which could be got over, — that he was a prisoner, and had to be watched and guarded, and hidden out of sight (which was not always easy, seeing that he was the tallest of the band, and towered a head and shoulders above any of them), while they were "companions," with guns, money, wives, and a certain amount of freedom, always stopping short of the liberty to escape, or to betray their comrades.
The five brigandesses, with their short-cut hair, and dressed like the men, looked so like boys, that it was some time before Mr. Moens found out they were women. They were not a very fascinating quintette of womanhood, though not the bloodthirsty creatures they are often depicted; being just a group of strong-limbed, active, coarse-minded young women, able to bear an immense amount of prismtion and fatigue, but in no way remarkable for devotion, heroism, melancholy, or any other form of tragic sentiment.
One girl though, poor Concetta, the chattel of Cicco Guange, showed immense courage and a kind of Red Indian stolidity of endurance, when her arm was broken by an accidental shot from one of the band. She bore the pain without flinching, not attering a sound of complaint, but merely clenching her teeth together, and hissing through them when they were dressing her wound with a pair of scissors. And even when gangrene set in, and she was compelled to come down into the plains and give herself up to the authorities, and her arm was amputated, "she had so much nerve that she refused chloroform, and neither groaned nor complained. The only sign she gave of suffering was clenching her teeth. When the surgeons left her, she said, 'Remember, I had eighteen napoleons about me when I came here; I must have them again when I am well.'"
Two of the five women belonging to Manzo's band carried guns, the other three revolvers. Their chief office seemed to be, to mend Tent clothing, and to hem batches of new handkerchiefs, when they could get them, — a gayly colored handkerchief being the brigand's gala dress; but for all womanly work of cooking, washing, baking, or the like, they were absolutely useless. The men were generally both butchers and cooks, when they managed to either steal or buy a sheep or a goat, while the peasants do all the rest, — and at a rather larger profit than they could get by dealing with honester folk.
"All the time I was in their hands," says Mr. Moens, " I used to inquire the prices of various articles of food in the towns, and got a very accurate idea of what the brigands paid for them; a pezzo, their term for a ducat, equal to three shillings and fourpence, was the peasants' ordinary price for a loaf weighing two rotoli (equal to about three and a half pounds English); this costs from threepence to sixpence in the towns, according to whether it was made of rye, maize, or wheat, but it made no difference in the price paid by the brigands. A coarse cotton shirt cost them two and a half ducats, or eight shillings and fourpence; and washing one, a ducat, or three shillings and fourpence; each cartridge for a revolver cost the same, and everything else in proportion. From a calculation I made when with them, I do not think that a band consisting of from twenty-five to thirty men would spend less than four thousand pounds a year for absolute
necessaries, and the rest of their spoils would be lent out among their friends in the country at ten per cent interest. I recommended them to try Italian five per cent stock, as being safer than lending money on personal security. But they said they never lost any, and they feared the stock being confiscated by government"
Thus the peasant is the great supporter and the
Ct gainer by brigandage; though on the other 1 it may be said that the risk he runs in carrying on any correspondence with the brigands renders it absolutely necessary that he should be well paid to make it worth his while. Indeed, between the authorities on the one side, with fine and imprisonment, or even death, as the punishment for collusion with the brigands, and the brigands on the other, with a vendetta carried out to the last extreme should any information be given to the authorities, and irreparable damage done to standing crops, to whole villages, and to individuals, should there be persistent refusal to forward supplies, the poor peasant has a difficult time of it very wary walking between his two hard taskmasters is necessary to keep his place in life.
Then the brigands are generally old comrades and countrymen; with numberless small ties of friendship, relationship, and old association among the peasants, — themselves, for the most part, brigands undeveloped. An unlucky thrust with the stiletto has made the one, and the same cause would make the other; public opinion in the plains and villages not bearing hardly on the "companions," but very much the reverse; high payment, defiance of the law, a picturesque uniform when clean and gay, and the repute of deeds of daring (never mind the actual cowardice), being generally sufficient to enlist popular sympathy for any body of men extant.
But, after all, the peasants are really as criminal as the brigands themselves, for it is from them and the vetturmi that these gentlemen gain their knowledge of the goings and comings of rich travellers, — foreign and nome-bred, — and that if there were no such scouts and spies among the unsuspected, the career of the real criminals would soon be brought to a standstill. Information to begin with, and food to follow,—with the reward of enormous prices for all they do, — the peasants are the main-stays and supports of brigandage, and against them as the taproot should the vigilance and the vengeance of government be directed.
Mr. Moens says but little concerning the presumed political connection between the brigands and Rome, and the ex-king. Certainly no part of his ransom, he believes, went either to Rome, or to any part of the province of Salerno. He saw it himself paid and distributed, each man present at the time of the capture getting his share, and a certain percentage kept back for the general expenses of the band. But he was told by them that Apulia was the headquarters of brigandage, and that there they had » general named Crocco, who they said was in com munication with Rome. He asked how many men this Crocco had under him, and was answered, " A thousand men and many captains, as well as s^ hundred men in the Basilicata." They also told him that, in 1861, Spanish generals came to lead, those fighting for Francis the Second against VictorEmmanuel, and that one of them, named Borjes, had' an enormous black beard, which they said he always held in his left hand when he drank milk, of which he was very fond. Their sympathies go decidedly with Bomba, in preference to H R6 Galantuomo; for once when the conversation was becoming dangerously personal concerning Mr. Moens's ears, and "his beard with his chin attached," to turn the subject he asked Manzo, the captain, what they would do with Victor Emmanuel if they caught him? "They all chuckled at such an idea, and Mnnzo declared that he would have ten millions of ducats and then kill him. To Francis the Second, if they caught him, they said they would give a good dinner and then release him."
One of the most curious things in this account is to trace the gradual hardening of the system, and the elimination of all British-bred fastidiousness, as the unfortunate captive became more and more familiar with hardship. The day after their capture, Mr. Aynsley and Mr. Moens were offered a little piece of hard sausage called supersato ; but after discussing its digestible qualities they gave it back, tellin" the brigands that it would not agree with them. They laughed, and the captain said, " They will like it by and by ": which truly came to pass. Mr. Moens never heard the last of this. It must have seemed strange to men who are thankful for a handful of Indian corn daily, who rejoice over a tough sheep or a lean and scraggy goat, and to whose palates anything that will keep body and soul together comes as acceptable food, if not as delicious luxury. A bit of supersato was a luxury to the brigands; and when their prisoners declined it, they felt much as we should feel if a pauper declined roast beef and plum-pudding on the plea of indigestibility. As time went on, and starvation became a daily companion, nature broke up the pretty mosaic work of civilization and the culinary art; and raw onions, raw cabbage, dry hard bread only too dry to be mouldy, a Done of half-raw meat, garlic, entrails, and even the rancid grease used for greasing their boots, all these things passed the ordeal of English taste, and were welcomed as means whereby to live. It is strange how quickly even the most highly civilized man resolves into the savage again when fairly under the harrow.
As a rule, Mr. Moens was treated tolerably well by the brigands, as has been said; but he had two tormentors, Pepino and Scope, and when left under their charge, fared ill enough. Manzo was the captain of the whole force, and was a bandit of somewhat more likeness to the popular ideal than the rest. He was handsome, fairly good tempered, prompt, and, in his own way, generous; always kind to his captives when not half maddened by disappointments respecting the arrival of the money, when there would be highly unpleasant scenes, and threats of ears and head, and the like, which did not tend to reassure the Englishman; though he generally answered, " As you please," and took the thing with perfect coolness. Manzo was not a man to be trifled with, either by his prisoners or his men. Indeed, from his men he exacted an obedience that left no question of a divided command.
One day " Guange, who had been a soldier in the Italian army, and who had become a brigand merely for having been away from his regiment one day without leave, was having an altercation with one of his comrades, and, like these people, wished to have the last word. Manzo told him to be quiet, and just because he did not obey at once, he rushed at him, knocked him down, and kept hitting him and rubbing his face on the stones. Still Guange would not in: quiet, until Manzo had pounded his face into a jelly, it being quite bruised, and bleeding
freely. Even his gums were cut badly from the grinding against the ground. Manzo looked a perfect demon when excited; he curled up his lips, and showed all his teeth, and roared at his victim, jerking out his words. The implicit obedience generally shown to him by the members of his band wu extraordinary. They lored him on account of his unselfishness as regards food, he being always willing to give away his own share, and they feared him because he had shown on one or two occasions that he did not scruple to shoot any of them on the spot if they refused to obey orders."
When the "order of release" came for the prisoner in the shape of the last instalment of ransom, Manzo sent round the hat, in order that Mr. Moens should " go to Naples like a gentleman," and made up a sum of seventeen and a lialf napoleons, besides rings and other keepsakes. But this was not a rery large, percentage on a ransom of thirty thousand ducats; and the Englishman took all he could get, and asked for more, getting some things he wanted, bat not others. He got Generoso's ring and knife, — the knife that had already taken the lives of two men, — giving in exchange the small penknife with which he had whittled out a spoon, and carved a cross, and made many other little matters, to the intense admiration and amazement of the brigand*; but he just missed by an accident a very thick and long gold chain, for which he asked Manzo, and which he would have had, but that the gentleman was called away while he was taking it off to present to him. He jjot five rings in all, which Manzo's mother made him show two peasants after he was free; and which she evidently considered reflected great dignity on her as the mother of one who had shown such princely generosity.
But if times were more tolerable when Manzo was with his band, they were very intolerable when Mr. Moens was left with only a guard, while the captain was off, either on a foraging expedition, or looking after those eternal instalments which, though paid, could not be "lifted" because of the soldiery. When with Pepino's band especially, things went hard with him. As they were to have no share in his expected ransom, they looked upon him as a nuisance, and grudged every morsel of food they were obliged to give him. Pepino stole his drinking-cup, his capuce or hood, in fact all he could lay his hands on; and they half starved him; making a point of speaking to him with the utmost brutality, and constantly threatening his life with their pistols, guns, and knives.
One great game in which they indulged wa» thrusting their Knives quickly between his body and his arms. Their captive says, " I never allowed myself to show the slightest fear, and always told them that it was nothing to die, it was soon over, and that the next world was far better. They all have the most abject fear of death, and I always tried to impress them with the idea that Englishmen never fear to die, and that, if they wished it, thev were perfectly welcome to take my life, as it woufd save me and my friends so much trouble. I felt sure that in a short time they would discontinue trying to frighten me, when they found out that I only laughed at their attempts, and ridiculed them for their fear of death."
It was the only thing to make them respect him, though another time it was a chance whether the English spirit would lead to good or evil for him. They were going up a very steep ascent, when Generoso, who was immediately behind Mr. Moens,
"kept hitting and poking me with the barrel of his gun, because I did not ascend as quickly as he wished, though I was close behind the man before me. At last I turned round in a pretended rage, and with my stick in both hands, raised it over his head. He shrunk back and brought his gun up to his shoulder with an oath. Two or three ran up. I caught hold of him, but at the same time they abused me, and seemed quite taken back at the idea of a ricattato threatening one of themselves. I told them I walked as well as they did, and I would not be bullied, so it was no use attempting it, — that they might kill me if they wished, and the sooner the better. I found this answer capitally, and I was never touched again while on the march, and it was from this moment that they began to respect me a little for my apparent disregard of death; and when we arrived at the camp-fire, it was immediately narrated how I had threatened to kill a companion, this being the term they always use when speaking of each other."
These camp-fires on the mountains are the really picturesque circumstance of a brigand's life, and when lying round them the only time when he is picturesque; for his uniform, which looks well enough ,when new, soon gets* torn and dirty, and incomplete, — this article being left behind in a sudden flight, — that article failing as a legacy to an accommodating peasant who has taken it to wash or to repair, and on whose hands the unexpected appearance of troops finally throws the dangerous treasures, — while, as for the gay foppery of rings and chains and colored scarves and kerchiefs, and all the rest of the stock adornments, they exist certainly, but they appear only on rare festal days, when the times are considered safe, and finery and jollity not out of season. But these times are very rare; the main object of a brigand's life being to procure food, either by " tithes in kind," levied in unfriendly districts, or by exchange and barter when the peasants are of a more commercial and obliging frame of mind, or as future ransom-monev in the shape of defenceless wayfarers with families who respect their ears, and would rather not have their heads sent to them in B paper parcel, while their bodies feed the wolves on the mountains.
But round the fires at night, — then Salvator Rosa lives again, and the brigand of the drama and the studio is in some sense realized. Swarthy men lying in every attitude round the blazing pile, their guns in their hands, their dark faces gleaming in the light, while hooded sentinels watch silently under the shadow of the rocks and through the long vista of the darkened trees, overhead the sky glittering with stars, and the old mountain echoes ringing to the sound of song and laughter, — seen just as a picture the thing is well enough, and full of admirable material for artists and the like, but that is all. Any group of men, from soldiers to settlers, bivouacking in the open air, affords the same combination of light and line; and one need not go to melodramatic thieves even for studies after Salvator Rosa.
The dresses of the two bands, Manzo's and Pepino Cerino's, were sensible and wise-like enough, and with far more simplicity and less finery than is the current notion of a brigand's wardrobe. Manzo's men had long jackets, of stout brown cloth the color of withered leaves, with a most useful and generous arrangement of pockets, — one pocket especially, in the back, being not unlike a pantomime clown's. Mr. Moens has seen a pair of trousers, two shirts, three or four pounds of bread, a bit of dirty bacon,
cheese, and other things brought out thence, one by one, when a search was made for any missing article; in fact, it is the sack, or hand-bag, of modern days, sewed inside the coat, and not carried outside. The waistcoats, of dark-blue cloth, were buttoned at the side, but had showy gilt buttons down the centre, and they, too, had an arrangement of pockets of great use, for in the lower were kept spare cartridges, balls, gunpowder, knives, tec, while above went the watch in one, and percussion caps in the other. The trousers were of dark-blue cloth like the waistcoat, and were cut like other men's trousers. Cerino's band were in dark-blue coats and trousers, with bright green waistcoats adorned with small silver buttons; and they all, had belts for cartridges, &c, and all had hoods attached by a button to their jackets, which, however, were often lost in the woods, and always at a premium when retained. They had wide-awakes; and one which Manzo gave to Mr. Moens as being rather more sightly than his own, had inside it the label of Chnstv of Gracechurch Street, who happened to be the Englishman's own batter when at home.
But the blessing of blessings to the brigands in the way of clothing is the capote, the large-hooded cloak worn in Italy by peasants, and familiar to all who have travelled on the Continent as a general article of dress everywhere, with certain slight modifications of cut. Manzo gave Mr. Moens one of these capotes, but as time went on, and these and other things became scarcer, he had to share it at night with Pavone, one of the band, who had a habit of snoring, and who was not quite as fragrant as a bottle of eau-de-Cologne.
When the poor captive was ill, as he was once, — so ill that he thought they would have " to dig a shallow hole to put his body in," he gave Pavone an uncomfortable night by " hitting him to stop his snoring, rolling myself round, and so dragging the covering from him, and groaning from the pain I suffered; but I must say for all that he was most forbearing." This bad fit of illness (diarrhoea) was cured by some cheese made of cow's milk. Lorenzo, another brigand, cured himself of fever by drinking a good-sized bottle of castor-oil at one pull, and about ninety times as much quinine as would lie on a franc. Ihis somewhat heroic remedy cut down in a day a fever which had lasted a fortnight
One of the causes which lengthened the captivity of Mr. Moens, was the belief of the brigands that he was a highly influential personage, related to Lord Palmerston, and of such importance that the Italian government would pay his ransom, whatever the amount asked. Wherefore, they fixed it originally at a hundred thousand ducats for himself and Mr. Aynsley, equal to seventeen thousand pounds; then after a few minutes' conversation with Sentonio, "a tall, clumsy ruffian with black eyes, hair, and beard," it was reduced to half, namely, fifty thousand ducats; but finally they accepted thirty thousand, which was a considerable reduction from the first demand. Many and great were the difficulties, not about raising the sum, but about transmitting it. The laws against paying ransom to the brigands, or trafficking with them in any way, are very severe; and as the capture of an English milord, a relation of Lord Palmerston, and the friend of the Italian government, had created immense excitement, the whole country was scoured by soldiery, to the imminent risk of the poor captive's life, when they came to shots with the brigands. For, as he says, they always seem to take special aim at him, as he was the tallest of the party; and lie was thus in even more than equal danger with the rest of a bullet through the heart. Their activity added to the prolongation of his captivity; for the brigands would not let him go without the money, and the money could not be Drought up to the band; and so the whole thing was a game at cross-purposes and checked intentions, and an immense amount of suffering, mental and physical.
It was a tremendous moment for both Mr. Moens and his then fellow-captive, Mr. Aynsley, when they drew lota as to which should be set free to go and raise the ransom. Mr. Moens held the pieces of wood which were to decide the lots, and Mr. Aynsley drew. When he drew the fortunate longer one of the two, "I must confess I felt as if I had been drawing for my life and I had lost," says Mr. Moens. A minute afterwards, the report of a gun — the bullet whizzing over the prisoner's head — told the band that the soldiers were upon them. Mr. Aynsley had met them, almost immediately after leaving the brigands, and they started in hot pursuit. No good was done; no good ever was done by the soldiers; only poor Mr. Moens slipped and fell in the general flight, nearly broke his arm, nearly got drowned, and was nearly shot; but finally escaped all these close chances to which his would-be rescuers subjected him, thanking God for his safety, but "feeling anything but charitably disposed towards the rulers who ought years ago to have cleared their country from these ruffians, instead of leaving them alone till they carried off an Englishman."
He never had any very good chance of escape save once; when, if he would have shot two sleeping men, and one other awake and at a distance, he might perhaps have got away. Scope was the one at a distance, he having moved away two or three yards from his gun in order to get into the sun while he was freeing his shirt of vermin. For the brigands, who rarely change their clothes, and never wash themselves, are, as might be expected, overrun with vermin to a most disgusting extent. Mr. Moens was inside a cave. Sentonio and Pavonc had laid their carcasses across the entrance, and Scope, as was said, had moved off to a little distance. Two guns, one single, the other doublebarrelled, lay within reach of his arm; he might seize one and kill the two sleeping men, and Scope too, h' he threatened to move. It was a temptation, and he pondered over it, — but his mind and heart revolted from a double, perhaps triple murder; his life was in no immediate danger; he fully believed that the ransom would be finally all settled; and, to turn away his thoughts, he opened the little book of Psalms he had with, him, when his eye fell upon the passage, "Deliver me from blood - guiltiness, O Lord! The words spoke home; he resolutely put the temptation behind him, amused himself with picking out the grains of wheat and rye from some ears he had plucked, and then a herd of cattle passing near woke the sleepers, and destroyed his ouly available chance of escape.
This same Pavone was a double murderer; for the first crime he had been imprisoned three years; but, repeating the amiable weakness, he had been afraid to face the authorities, and so took to the woods. His wife and children were in prison, that being the practice of the Italian government concerning the families of brigands. He would have given himself up to release them, but that he was
afraid of Manzo's vengeance against members of his family, all of whom would be murdered on the first opportunity if he had deserted. Else it is not an uncommon thing for the minor members of a band to give themselves up when they have amused a certain sum of money, whereby thev can be well fed while in prison for their term. This they call "retiring from business "; and a very pleasant and profitable retiring it is.
Great care was taken that Mr. Moens should never see any of the peasants who came up to transact their small business with the brigands. It was a matter of indifference whether they saw him or not, but he was not to see them, so that he might not be able to recognize and thus bear witnesi against them, to the result of twenty years' inipritonment for them if detected. He had to sit out of the way, pull his capote over his face, lie on hi« back, go through all sorts of voluntary methods of blindness, when the bread, and the meat, and the ciceri (a curious kind of pea, only one in _a pod, and the name of which every one was obliged to pronounce on the night of the Sicilian vi-sperj, when those who did not give it the fall Sicilian accent were set down as French and killed), the milk, and the washing, and the rosolio came up, and mi mi-v was chinked out, and the band kept from starving, for that day at least. It was the one point of honor, also of common-sense precaution, with the brigands.
Gambling is the favorite brigand amusement; and they gamble, as they do all things, to exce«. Manzo lost seventy napoleons at one toss; and the private shares of ransom-moneys change hands twenty times before finally dispersed and disbursed in the plains. They wished Mr. Moens to play with them, but he, shrewdly suspecting that it would be a case of "Heads I win, tails you lose," tried the experiment with confetti. They lost, and laughed in his face when he asked them to pay up; on which he took the hint, and declined the heavier stakes. The day when the last of his ransom was paid, there was great gambling going on, and in a short time the money was nearly all in the hands of four men, the captain, Gcneroso, Andrea, and Pasquale.
On the whole, now that the danger is past, the money gone, and no real damage done to any one, it is an experience scarcely to oe much regretted. The cars of Mr. Moens were saved, his limbs were saved, his life was saved; and for the "compliment" of a few thousands he has had an experience and an adventure of startling magnitude in these prosaic times of ours. He has seen what no other Englishman of the time has seen, and has done what no one else has done, and has written a bright and charming book as the result, with one piece of advice as the moral, very patent to the reader, namely. Do not travel with much luggage, whether consisting of photographic plates or not, and do not travel in brigand-haunted places at all, with luggage or without. The heavy baggage was in part the cause of the Englishman s disaster.
Continentals do not understand our love of work and turmoil, and the only facts that seem to have at all shaken the belief of the brigand* that they had captured a milord were the blackened state of his hands from his manipulation of photographic chemicals, and his flannel trousers, like those which Italian prisoners wear. But they got over these two shocks, pursued the even tenor of their faith, stuck to their text, and did not abate in their demands until the very last.
A DEED OF DARKNESS
When, after a forced absence (from political motives) of fifteen years, I was enabled in 1848 to go back to my own country, one of the first persons to welcome my return was an old fellow-student, whose name had not so much as once met my eye or my ear for the last twelve years, and whose existence I had wellnigh forgotten.
Curzio and I were of about the same age, had been at school and college at the same time in Genoa, had, without being very intimate, sown some of our wild oats together, and were actually embarked in the same political boat when it capsized. How he managed to Keep afloat while I sunk, and by what concourse of circumstances we came to lose sight of each other for so long, are matters irrelevant to my purpose. Suffice it to say, that Curzio called on the morrow of my arrival, and looked so pleased to see me, spoke of old timca so feelingly, and of myself so affectionately, that his genial warmth told upon me instantly, and I came up to his temperature in no time. In looks he was scarcely altered, but his manner and conversation were singularly improved. He talked well and a good deal, for which he humorously apologized by saying that he had been gagged all his life and that he must now make up for lost opportunities. Meeting after so long a separation in such eventful times, we ran no risk of lacking topics of conversation. We spent a few hours together very agreeably, at the end of which we both made the very pleasant discovery that we had never been such good friends as we were now.
"You must come and see me in my wilds," said he, as he was leaving.
"Of course I shall, as soon as I have a little leisure," said I.
"I cannot take a put off," he replied; "ripe grapes cannot wait; you must really contrive to come within the week. I have something like a vintage to tempt you, a rarity not to be disdained now-a-days."
That it was a rarity I knew to my cost, for this was the second year that, owing to the oidium, my vineyards had not yielded a single grape. In short, he insisted with so much good grace on my naming a day, that I named it.
The little town of the Riviera of Genoa, in which Curzio lived, was three hours' walk from that in which I had pitched my tent for the time being. It stood half-way up a hill crowned by ilex and olive, and — shall I be permitted to add, that it commanded a beautiful view of land and sea? I know that descriptions of natural scenery arc rococo in our sensational days, and I would fain not be behind my time. I was received with the utmost cordiality by the master and the mistress of the house. The lady was a brunette, full of character, and I made speedily great friends with a bevy of black-eyed, curly-headed little fellows, who had none of the squeamish bashfulness of their age. My host had convoked for the occasion the ban and arriere ban of the notabilities of the neighborhood, and there was a pretty large number present. Let me not forget to say, that my old schoolfellow was mayor of the town, doctor of the parish, and the largest land-owner therein: three qualifications which combfcicd to make him socially, as he was intellectually, the first personage of the place.
The vineyard whose golden riches were destined to fall under our knives and scissors was scarcely half an hour distant from Curzio's house in the
town. It was nearly noon when we proceeded to it en masse, and began our harvest. It is merry work and a pretty sight this gathering of grapes, especially when enlivened, as it was in the present case, by the never-ceasing prattle and gladdening turbulence of a dozen joyous small busybodies taking their share, and more than their share, in it. There is something intoxicating in the process. It seems as though the gentle stimulant virtually contained in the juicy fruit asserted its exhilarating powers beforehand.
My host told me the lucky chance to which was owing the relative preservation of this vineyard from the prevalent disease. The first year he had been as great a sufferer as his neighbors: only one vine, which grew against his house, had, by a strange exception, brought forth healthy fruit. What might be the cause of this phenomenon? By dint of seeking, it recurred to his memory that one day, from the window of his laboratory, below which grew the vine, he had let fall by chance a bagful of sulphur, which spread itself over the whole plant. Acting upon this datum, he had tried sulphur next year on his vineyard amid the sneers of all round, and the present fine vintage was the result.
"They ought to raise a statue to you," said I.
"I should be well contented if they would only profit by my experience," answered my friend, " but they won't; I am sure they won't for twenty years to come. They are the slaves of routine and habit; everything in the shape of novelty, however beneficial, including the statutes and self-government, is a dead letter to them."
After expatiating at some length and with some warmth on this theme, he suddenly paused, then added, with some compunction, " I would not prejudice you too much against these good folks, for good they are, and have many excellent points. A more docile, sober, much-enduring population can hardly be met with; there is a natural mildness in their blood which renders deeds of violence impossible to them. Crime, one may say, is unknown in these parts; only do not speak to them of progress,: they are impervious to it."
He spoke well and willingly, as I have already remarked, and as I derived both pleasure and instruction from what he said, I managed to remain by his side during all the process of the vintage. A thorough practical man, familiar with the best methods of local cultivation, perfectly acquainted with the strength and the weakness of the population among which he had spent his life, Curzio was for me an invaluable cicerone on the somewhat new ground on which I was treading. Foi?,if in my long sojourn abroad I had learned some things of foreign countries, I had also unlearned much about my own, which I had a very actual interest to learn again. .And I must say that most of the information I gleaned from my friend was afterwards fully confirmed by subsequent personal experience. But to return to our vintage.
What .with cutting grapes, and what with doing ample honor to an excellent dinner served on the grass, the day was on the wane before we knew where we were. Our Amphytrion, however, would not hear of our going home without my first seeing his Ucceliiera. This was situated on a little eminence close by, perhaps a hundred paces above the vineyard in which we had been working,—a spot famous for catching birds of passage. Catching birds of passage is a favorite sport, I ought rather to say a passion, with all classes in Italy, and it was