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different aspect; the bright hues have disappeared, the shadows are deepened, and though the outline and distribution remain with slight deviation, yet, the colouring is different; its richness is lowered to a soberer tone, a fainter and more faded tint
prevails, and the general effect becomes of a character almost opposite. It is impossible, in reading Eustace, to escape from a feeling of distrust;—not that you suspect him of conscious error, but because his imagination and feelings betray their workings in all that he says and does. With Simond, we feel ourselves safe; every suspicion of exaggeration is put aside by the simplicity of his narrative; and although we may sometimes regret the absence of classical illustration, and an evident want of science touching matters of art, we are content to miss these desirable adjuncts, in the presence of the higher qualities of good sense, sound knowledge, and keen observation. He describes well, has a good eye for natural beauty, and exhibits much discrimination in his estimates of personal, national, and political character. His very first paragraph gives promise of an excellent book, and bespeaks confidence in the traveller who takes in so much at a glance, and starts with such spirit and vigour. He dates from Lago Maggiore, Oct. 8, 1817.
• It is difficult to find a greater contrast in landscape, climate, language, and manners, than that which occurs upon crossing the Simplon. From the depth of the Valais, its narrow territory and narrow skies,- for such they appear as you proceed between the two parallel screens of lofty Alps,—you emerge at once into light and boundless space in Italy. From the banks of the Rhone, often frozen in October, you find yourself on the sunny side of the mountains, where winter is rarely felt; instead of dingy and poor villages, a boorish population and dirty inns, you alight at Duomo d'Ossola, a clean little town, the streets of which are strewn with fragments of white marble chipped off by the chisel of sculptors, whose hammers resounding on all sides remind you that you are arrived in the country of the fine arts. The inn is comparatively a palace, and its accommodations perfect. Travellers should, however, beware of hasty judgements ; for this is the finest part of Italy, contrasted with the worst part of Switzerland, or at all events the least agreeable. The vast meadows extending in front of Duomo d'Ossola were grazed by innumerable cattle, in fine order, ranging at large, after the third crop of hay. It seemed to be Holland, without its marshes, transported to the side of the Alps. The rugged rampart, apparently inaccessible, yet so commodiously traversed, was already softening in the blue haze of distance. On the tufted sides of gentle hills, we saw, peeping through trees, the fat-roofed country-houses of rich Milanese, resembling castles with battlements, and the square towers of village churches.'
The Borromæan Isles of the Lago Maggiore are well de. picted; and a minute description is given of the singularly interesting and impressive monument erected by the people of
Milan, in memory of Charles Borromeo, their Cardinal-archbishop in the sixteenth century. The statue of that admirable prelate is 66 feet high, and it is raised on a granite pedestal, 46 feet from the ground, giving altogether an altitude of 112 feet. The extremities, head, hands, and feet, are cast, and the drapery is of hammered copper. The execution is excellent, but it may be questioned whether the general effect is adequate to the colossal proportions. The interior is accessible, and the frame-work which supports the gigantic figure, supplies an irregular ladder, by which those who have a fancy for such feats, may reach the head, and look forth from its eyes on the surrounding scenery. Milan itself obtains high praise for its neatness and architectural beauty; but the more interesting details of this section, relate to the celebrated painting of the Last Supper. It may be recollected, that Eustace, who lost no opportunity of abusing the French, charges them with making the hall in which was Leonardo's master-piece, a store-room
of artillery', and with using the picture itself as a target for * the soldiers to fire at’; affirming, moreover, that 'the heads were their favourite marks, and that of our Saviour in preference to others.' Much of this accusation is gratuitous, and the whole has received a fair portion of that high colouring which characterizes Mr. E.'s style and manner.
With express reference to these allegations, M. Simond 'examined the pic
ture closely', and, to give his own language, * certainly discovered a number of round holes like balls, plugged up with something like putty, and likewise dents in the wall, apparently the effect of brickbats thrown against it, fragments of which still remained in some of the holes. As to when and by whom the mischief was done, a woman who has lived next door for the last seventeen years, told me, that she had heard of soldiers firing at the picture before her time; that a soldier of the sixth regiment of French hussars had told her that he himself with others had done so, not knowing what it was, when guarding prisoners confined in the hall; and that these prisoners, men of all nations, threw stones and brickbats against it by way of amusement. When Bonaparte came to Milan, he called to see the picture, and finding the place still used as a place of confinement,
shrugged his shoulders and stamped with his foot,” the woman said ; and ordering the prisoners away, had a door, which she shewed me near the picture, walled up, and a balustrade, or low wooden partition, drawn across the room before it for protection.'
This splendid achievement of genius and skill was in a state of wretched decay. With all his ability, Da Vinci was not less whimsical than ingenious; and, among his various essays and experiments, he chose to try, in the instance of this production, the effect of oil, in preference to the more durable process of fresco. The consequence has been lamentable. A great portion
has scaled off from the wall, and that which still adheres, has become of a blackened hue. As, however, we may have occasion to enter more particularly on this subject at some future time, we shall only state further, that every precaution has been taken against increased injury, and that an admirable copy in Mosaic was in advanced progress at the time of our Author's visit. The Cathedral of Milan remained in much the same state as at the departure of the French, who, if they were severe in their exactions, at least spent the money to the advantage of those among whom it was levied ; while the Austrians, though contented with a lighter tribute, are parsimonious in their local expenditure.
Accustomed as we have been to the arts, affectations, and pedantries of book-making, we feel it quite refreshing to handle a book distinguished by nothing more decidedly, than by the absence of all such annoyances. M. Simond does not think it necessary to give the history, past, present, and to come, of every city at which he may find it convenient to halt: he describes only what he has seen, and he made good use of his eyes. If he passed rapidly along a country, he describes it cursorily; if he paused upon any remarkable locality, he is more distinct and detailed in his observation. Verona, Vicenza, Padua, supply only a few indications, while he is on his way to Venice; but his description of the fallen queen of the Adriatic is altogether the best we have seen. The Brenta, the favourite stream of Lord Byron, who was then occupying a villa on its banks, is designated as a muddy stream, winding through a low, alluvial, unhealthy level. Along the dike which restrains the overflow of its waters, the travellers hastened, without any disposition to stop, until they reached Fusina, where they hired a gondola, and launched forth on the lagune.
· Not a breath of wind ruffled the surface of this shallow sea; and gliding on swiftly, we reached the celebrated city of Venice, but unfortunately not the best side of it, in less than one hour. A confused heap of very old buildings, shabbily fine, with pointed windows, half Gothic, half Grecian, out of which dirty beds were thrust for the benefit of air, and once or twice dirtier utensils emptied of their contents. Half-rotten piles supported blocks of marble, richly carved, serving as landing-places to these miserable hovels, the walls of which, out of the perpendicular, seemed nodding to each other across the narrow canals. Through one of these we pushed on rapidly, turning several sharp corners in succession, from canal to canal, which resembled narrow lanes under water, with scarcely any dry communications from house to house. A few gondolas, generally smaller than ours, passed us. No noisy trade was heard, no cries, 'no rattling of carriages of course; not so much as the sound of a footstep disturbed the universal stillness. We might have fancied ourselves in the cata
combs of all the fishes of the Adriatic, rather than in a town inhabited by men, but for the few heads that we saw here and there popping out of dark holes to look at us. Emerging at last from the maze of narrow canals, we found ourselves in the great one, which traverses the town in an easy curve, the very line of beauty. It is wider than the great canal of Amsterdam (nearly 300 feet), but is rendered peculiarly striking, from the circumstance of most of the buildings on either side being marble palaces ;-no quays, no terraces, no landingplace before them; they plunge at once into the briny deep, which, however, is here very shallow: splendid marble stairs with marble balustrades lead up at once from the water to the hall-door. There it was that crowds of gondolas, manned with smart gondolieri, carrying lighted torches at night, used formerly to draw up, as elsewhere carriages and horses. We landed thus in style, and were ushered into one of these magnificent edifices,--sadly fallen, indeed, from its former greatness, being now an inn,—the Ålbergo della Gran Bretagna. Through a lower hall of immense size, and paved with marble, we reached the double flight of the ground stair-case, the walls of which were adorned with good historical fresco paintings, and the marble balustrade beautifully carved. The landing-place up stairs was another immense hall or gallery, divided into two by the stair-case. These princely antichambers, each sixty-nine feet long by thirty-two, with ceilings proportionably high, gilt and painted, and adorned with crystal lustres, gave entrance to the various apartments by a number of doors.
This edifice had belonged to a noble family now extinct, the Farsetti.
The place of St. Mark, with its barbaresque magnificence, its architectural vagaries, and its deeply interesting reminiscences, is distinctly described. The church, with its unaccountable mixture of Greek, Gothic, Morisco, and something else which is neither the one nor the other of these; the Ducal palace, suggesting the idea of a 'huge chest of drawers of old
fashioned inlaid work, with small feet under it'; the granite columns bearing the Lion of St. Mark, looking—such is the profane illustration of our Author-not very unlike a colossal
chimney-sweeper, crawling out of a chimney-top'; all these, with the other curiosities of Venice, pass successively under review, and, so far as description is concerned, with much ability: but when M. Simond ventures beyond this, to criticism on the arts, he generally fails. It is, however, but fair to say, that there is no affectation in his remarks on such subjects; he gives himself no dilettanti airs; and when he ventures an opinion, he starts it on its own merits, and at his proper risk. Still, he is evidently no artist, and, like all men practically ignorant of art, is not aware of the danger of getting out of his depth. Few have acquitted themselves with credit in this trial of skill, and most have made themselves rather ridiculous by their exhibitions
in this way. Forsyth himself, clever and tranchant as he was, is by no means an unerring guide, and his bold strokes frequently make us exceedingly nervous.
The road to Bologna was wretched; and the whole valley of the Po, towards its embouchure, exhibited a miserable scene, with ruined mansions, dirty cottages, and unceasing mendicancy. Bologna itself appeared surcharged with beggars, though, on the whole, the general aspect of things, both moral and material, was altered for the better. In this part of Italy, as well as in most of the southern divisions of Europe, the metayer system of farming prevails; and the utmost fairness of division, and entire confidence between landlord and tenant, apparently exist. Apropos of this favourable representation of the state of society, M. Simond introduces an interesting illustration of the simple and patriarchal manners still prevalent in some of the districts of Italy.
• There is at the foot of Monte Rosa, in the district of Varello, a small borough, of 12,000 inhabitants, called Alagna, where there has not been a criminal trial, not even a civil suit, for the last 400 years. In case of any wrong committed, or any very blameable conduct, the guilty person, marked by public reprobation, is soon compelled to leave the country:
The authority of fathers, like that of the patriarchs, continues absolute all their lives; and, at their death, they dispose of their property as they please, by verbally imparting their last will to one or two friends, whose report of it is reckoned sufficient : no objection was ever made to such a testiment, and a notorial act is a thing unknown at Alagna. Not long since, a man died worth 40001. sterling,-a very great fortune there; he bequeathed a trifle only to his natural her. The latter soon after met accidentally, at the neighbouring town of Varello, a lawyer of his acquaintance, and learned from him that he was legally entitled to the whole property thus unkindly denied to him, and of which, with his assistance, he might obtain possession very shortly. The disinherited man at first declined the offer, but, upon being strongly urged, said he would reflect upon it.
it. For three days after this conversation, he appeared very thoughtful, and owned to his friends he was about to take an important determination. At last it was taken, and, calling on his legal adviser, he told him, “ the thing proposed had never been done at Alagna, and he would not be the first to do it!")
The people of this community are described as a fine race, retaining many of their antique usages, and exhibiting marks of a northern origin in language and manners. Their property consists chiefly of cattle; and, like the Tyrolese and Savoyards, they visit richer countries as pedlars and image-merchants. The Revolution ruined them, mainly through the effects of the conscription. They had come to a resolution not to serve personally, and their whole common-purse was exhausted by the bounty to substitutes.