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which rise out of the Arno, bright with soft tints of color, mournful places, and to remember how Michael Angelo irregular, picturesque, various, with roofs at every possible for one, with fine Florentine inflation, spoke of them, planelevation, the one sole point necessary being, that no two ning his dome for St. Peter's to be the sister of this dome should have the same level - the outline broken with which to his eyes was perfect, “ piu grande ma non pit loggias, balconies, projecting lines, quaint cupolas, and bella,” and bragging of the Baptistery gates that they were spires; the stream flowing full below, reflecting every fit to be gates of Paradise, is of itself a most notable sig salient point, every window on the high perpendicular line, of the characteristic self-consciousness and self-assertite every cloud on the blue overarching sky; this fair conjunc- of the town. The palaces have the same effect as the tion gives, at the first glance, that gleam of color, light, churches: the Palazzo Strozzi, for example. How strong, sunshine, and warmth, which is conventionally necessary how self-contained (not in our Scotch sense of the world to an Italian town — the sunny South, as we all say with dear northern reader), how invincible, in grave patience indiscriminate fervor. But there are many days in which and stillness, stands that old house like a rock, under it Florence reminds the spectator of everything in the world deep roof, defying time, and storm, and war, and misfort rather than the sunny South ; and neither the mind of her une, yet sad as things eternal ever seem, with a strange people nor the architecture of her streets is of a light de- realization of the transitoriness of everything around! The scrip:ion. Dante, Macchiavelli, Savonarola, Michael-An- flowers they sell on the stone bench round its huge od gelo, are names that give the mind no superficial sensation wall, underneath the huge irons in wbich flags bare of pleasurableness, but represent to us perhaps the most flaunted and torches burned for hundreds of years on tri serious men who have figured on earth — men of a certain umphal occasions — the sheaves of lily of the valley, white mountainous vastness and grandeur, with great light some- lilac, white narcissus, already abundant and scenting all the times dwelling on their heads, but still oftener wrapped in air in the first cold days of April — seem scarcely more great glooms, absorbed in contemplation of the saddest side evanescent than the crowd of men and women who have of nature, their heads striking the stars, their souls en- bloomed and passed and gone into darkness while the old grossed with high questions, and problems such as bave no wall stood fast, without getting so much as a wrinkle, easy solution. We have placed among these a name line chiseled by age upon its rugged stones. The Strozzi which some may think too highly honored ; but the cynic palace is pure Florentine; and so of a less gracious kind philosopher and statesman is as characteristic of the peo- is the Pitti, not a benign or royal place, or in the least ple as the great poet, the great preacher, the great painter, betraying by any smile or triumph the wonderful treasure all toiling in sorrow and pity and wrath between a sub- it holds fast, but grim and strong in a sober greatness

, lime God and a miserable world lost in wickedness. Serious self-concentrated, aware of its own wealth. The old palas death and life can make them, are all these great spirits, ace of the Signoria in the great.market-place is more pictcalled gloomy by superficial spectators who cannot see be- uresque, with its beautiful rugged old tower, stately and neath the gloom the pathetic humanity, the love and yearn- strong, so finely poised between the sky and Florence; ing within ; and so are their houses serious, great walls, half but it also is grave to extremity - smileless and serious. fortress, half prison, with projecting Tuscan roofs, which, The square below of a market morning is brimful of Tus

. like a broad bat over a fair brow, veil the countenance of can figures, in great cloaks, brown and vast, with flaps of the city, so to speak, and convey a perpetual impression of colored lining, green and blue, such as the old painters brooding solemnity, if not of complot and conspiracy. The loved; peasants from the country, sunburnt, olive-colored

. churches, except perhaps the warm, familiar, curtained ele- The Piazza has a curious significant appearance, quite gance of the Annunziata, are, like the city, solemn, with a novel to English eyes, with its crowd, almost entirely dim greatness of half-light, which adds to their size and made up of men. The hum of this crowd as you stand effect, but somewhat chills' the eye accustomed to Gothic and listen in the beautiful Orcagna loggia, with Bentevariety of light and shade. They are places in which it is nuto's Perseus, slim and splendid, slaying the monster, over easier to imagine a great mediæval audience listening, ab- your head, is as strange as the scene; a hum all male, sorbed, to a great sermon - intent on the strain of burn- deep and strong, with scarcely one piping treble in all its ing words which came from lips such as those of Savo- stern body of sound. The assemblage, and the strange, narola — than to realize the presence of devout worshippers deep hum of it, strikes the unaccustomed eye and ear with of a gorgeous ceremonial of devotion, celestial music, rich wonder and half alarm, as if it must mean something But vestments, and clouds of incense. The oldest of Florentine it means nothing - except that so many contadini bave churches indeed — Dante's “bel San Giovanni,” the old come in from all the glimmering white 'villages between Baptistery in which all the old Florentines, for hundreds of this and the Apennines, and are telling their news and years, had their baptism — is scarcely beautiful at all with hearing it, and transacting their business, in their deep out, a round strange erection, without either majesty or voices. There, though you would not think it, in the midgrace of outline; but within has a charm of solemnity, al- dle of the great square, amid doubtless a deeper hum from most of sadness, like some old mother brooding over the a still more serious crowd, Savonarola was burnt in the memory of generations of her children who have passed face of day four hundred years ago

a notable recollect away — old, old, meditative still, lost in a deep and silent tion enough. Not a joyful sight for any

city to see; her mournfulness. The great round of the walls, so unimpres- best offered up a sacrifice to her worst, the voice of rightsive outside, has within a severe and lofty grandeur. eousness quenched in flames and smoke, while the unrightStanding at the door on a sunny summer morning not long eous sat high and uttered judgment. This, too, the old ago, what thoughts gleamed across one's mind! °The vast city has seen more than once in her career; and, like other great walls rising up dimly in that twilight coolness which places, has gathered up the relics of the men she slew, is so grateful in a warm country the vast roof tapering and worshipped them, and bewailed herself for their loss yet further up, with one cold pale star of light in the centre, -after having slain them. But that, indeed, is not pecula few figures dwarfed by its greatness, standing like ghosts iar to Florence as her gravity is, and self-love, and splenabout the pavement below – one or two kneeling in the did self-sufficiency. The spectator feels how completely in deep stillness ; while outside all was light and sound in the day of her splendor, while real strength remained to the Piazza, and through the opposite doors a white span of her, the proud old city stood upon her greatness, believing sunny pavement appeared dazzling and blazing. Not herself more noble, more beautiful, more richly decked, much less impressive than the Pantheon at Rome, most more full of might and genius, than any other city or 08eloquent of all sermons in stone, is the great silent round tion – Florence against the world. of the old Baptistery, with all its associations of birth and We can scarcely suppose that the resemblance of baptism, solemn as life and death.

Romola

to her city is entirely intentional on the part of And so is the Cathedral across the way, massive and the author of “ Romola ;" for there are points in this grand, in large lines, like a royal Juno among buildings; character, lofty as it is, which are not lovable

, and

which But, like the Baptistery, dark and still and solemn,

musing do not belong to the highest ideal

. Romola is, the reader in mighty emptiness and sadness. To see those beautiful, remembers, the daughter of an old philosopher, brought up

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jy him upon books and the pagan tradition, which those in She is Florence personified ; proud, nothing doubting, if lays, as a little in our own, had returned upon the tracks not her own, yet her father's " right to be remembered," of Christianity to boast itself more perfect in high stoi. feeling it natural that all things in heaven and earth cism, courage, and moral greatness than the passionate should give way to that just ambition. This is the foundaand imperfect religion of the time. Old Bardo dei Bardi tion upon which her character is built. She is never was one of the scholars of the age, devoted soul and life to throughout the story on a level with any one she encounthe study of that great literature of the past which in his ters, unless, perhaps, it is the sovereign presence of Savoeyes was superior to anything of the present, to the foolish

even in the first warn crowds of ordinary human creatures round, and all the of love, to Tito, who is her opposite, not her complement. Fulgar transactions of living and dying. So, too, his young She stoops to bim, as long as he does well, with ineffable daughter was trained to think, brought up in a proud tenderness and self-subduing; but the moment he has seelusion, a little leavened by the painful humility of committed his deadly sin against her, rises at once to ber knowing that she was but a woman and could never carry old attitude, fatally above bim, clad as with invincible out her father's work as her brother could have done, who armor in that “ strength of scorn" which had been her had declined to sacrifice his existence to the old scholar, earliest conception of moral grandeur. Though she is and had been bitterly repudiated by the father, and temporarily brought under the influence of Savonarola, scarcely less condemned by Romola herself. Thus Ro- and for a while, recognizing even in spite of herself the mola's attitude from the very first is one altogether sepa- greatness of his work and his aims, bows her proud head rated from ordinary life, above it, innocently yet proudly to his command, and even accepts, deeply against her will, contemptuous of it, and of common Christianity, common the confessor he gives her, there is no real change wrought existence — raised upon a pedestal of seclusion, learning, in her. She is proudly pitiful

, tender, visiting like a queen and ignorance, knowing nothing, as is so often the case, of the poor who want caring for, impressing all who cross her the world which she disdains. The character thus formed path, and receiving, everywhere a visionary worship, but captivates many imaginations incapable of perceiving, or never once descending into any kind of human equality. no willing to perceive, tbat the loftiness of tone wbich may So gravely and persistently is this attitude maintained, thus be attained can only be gained in conjunction with a that we are compelled to believe that the author intended Darrowness which is fatal to true grandeur. Romola is it so, and felt in the crushing loftiness and grandeur of her " beautiful, graceful, high-minded, and sweet in her reserved creation nothing that was not consistent with the highest and maidenly calm — innocent herself as an angel, but ideal. Romola towers over everybody else as she moves without that fragrance of innocence which makes the through the streets of Florence, simple indeed, but with a childlike soul believe in others as in itself. She knows simplicity which has nothing to do with the simpleness of herself pure, noble, and true; but the world which she ordinary humanity - a figure not angelic but Olympian, sees from the great barred windows of the old high prison- a daughter of the gods, conscious of her lineage; in her palace, is not, she knows, true and noble and pure, but a early stage as contemptuous of the common horde as a common thing, which she has been taught to despise, demi-god should be — in her later, moved to such pity and which is beneath her, a thing to be greatly contemptuous lofty service of them as Pallas herself might condescend, of

. Here and there is one figure, who, like herself, is in an emergency great enough to call fortå her efforts, tó raised above it, keeping his skirts apart from its touch, afford. disdaining the rascal multitude ; but with that multitude Such is the noble, lofty, limited, narrow, and splendid

itself the girl has no sympathy. It is not that she thinks being whom George Eliot has placed for us in those lofty i too highly of her individual acquirements -- for in respect streets of Florence, whom we can see passing to and fro

to these, indeed, she is kept on a safe level of humility – in her veiled and stately beauty, attracting a reverential or is vain of a beauty of which she is scarcely conscious. observation everywhere, never misconstrued or unappreThere is no vanity in her; but vanity itself is a venial and ciated as, alas I real greatness often is. How well she buman imperfection in comparison with the lofty narrow suits the arrogant, serious place, “with her way of walksense of a vague but great superiority, which is in the very ing like a procession,” as poor Monna Brigida says I and air she breathes. Sirangely enough, though all the world when we see the forlorn noble figure, pitiless and comfortappreciates the forbidding character of that spiritual pride less, arrested in the wintry glory of the early morning, on says,

am holier than thou, a great portion of the her sombre flight out of Florence – turning her back upon world are deeply impressed by the intellectual self-asser- the beautiful city, with all its spires and bouse-tops gilded tion which claims to be nobler, loftier than the rest of by the rising sun- facing the blank road before her, upon humanity; and the reader has no reason to suppose that which that early light has just burst forth, and feeling an the great writer who created Romola intended to suggest awe in her desolate soul" of the impalpable golden glory any defect in the nature so loftily limited, so proudly nar- and the long shadow of herself which was not to be es

caped,” — it is as if the very soul of the grave, self-concenIn the earliest scene which presents this beautiful trated town were passing away from it. But Romola, in Creature to us, the key-note of her character is clearly her Christianized state, under the influence of Savonarola, struck and indicated. She is answering her father's bitter is not so perfect an image as in her previous development. apprehensions of being forgotten, his scholarly petty mur- Sbe is not adapted for Christianity. Self-sacrifice, in the wurings and repinings over the probable substitution of classic sense, like that of Iphigenia, would be completely some other name for bis, and his assertion of his “right | natural to her ; but self-renunciation is not natural, and to be remembered.”

• Nevertheless, father,” she says, “it i there is a certain constraint in her labors, which ought to is a great gift of the gods to be born with a hatred and be of love, into which she enters, with only pity in her at contempt of all injustice and meanness. Yours is a higher best, not love. Indeed there is nothing more remarkable bot never to have lied and truckled, than to have shared in the creation of this woman than the kind of love of bonors won by dishonor. There is strength ip scorn as which she is made capable. The fountains of divine charity there is in the martial fury by which men become insen- are not in her ; but

those of a noble individual passion gible to wounds.” We might say this was strange lan: might and ought to have been, one would have imagined. mange for a girl of eighteen, were it not very certain that But Romola's love is never true love. It is a sudden, surthere are few things youth' adopts more easily, or holds prised, and passionate admiration for a creature unlike

herself which seizes her -- an enthusiasm for the image of fe or rights, and “ the strength of scorn." But there is no joy and brightness which suddenly lights up her lite, in to feel her beautiful Romola to be a victim to youth's de still, dim Florentine house

, full of dry books and tedious hesive innocent grandeur of self-contemplation, Sut a grav studies, is as the coming in of Apollo himself, the god of ity which precludes all possibility of humor, a stately set- sunshine and gladness. Her love is more like the love of ting forth of the position as most real and most noble. man than of woman; it is scarcely loftier or deeper than

which

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is his love for her beauty ; indeed, the love of Tito is al- over him. Even the terrible candor with which his good most a more elevated sentiment than that of Romola, in so gifts are allowed, gives us an impression of cruel satisfaefar that he is unfeignedly conscious of her superiority to

tion in the writer, an air almost of triumphant revenge, as him. And as it arises in a warm and bright flood of self- by elaborate powerful touch after touch she shows how delusion, so it dies again with a suddenness and complete- poor is all this lovely surface of gentleness, how miserable ness most alien to the character of that immortal thing. even the sweetness and genial grace of nature in conjunc. There is little or no struggle in its ending; it is annihi- tion with that ignominy of lying, and subtle selfish preferdated like a thing of earth, slain almost at a blow. Of ence of the pleasant to the undesirable. The gleams in all those gnawings and heart-rendings by which Love, him of a better man, which are freely and almost fiercely wounded and deceived, makes its painful going known to shown to us, would be used by almost any other writer 3 many a lesser being, there is scarcely a trace in Romola. with whom we are acquainted as a means of softening our She feels the blank in her soul, the destruction of her condemnation of the criminal; but are employed by hopes, bitterly enough; but of those sickenings of purpose, George Eliot, on the contrary, to heighten his guilt, a costhose yearnings of heart, those stings of tender habit and clusion which hy sheer omnipotence of genius she compels association, those prejudices of nature which are detached the reader to accept so long as he is under her power. 80 hardly and painfully, each by repeated and separate She does not deceive us about him, does not attempt to a effort, from the being, and which make the death even of a paint him all black, with the primitive vigor of early art secondary affection so hard a struggle, she knows notbing. scorns to conceal from us that at his worst moment her : She is above all the vicissitudes, the waverings, the subtle smooth villain would step out of his way to do a natura reminders with which nature, mixing herself up in the act of kindness that cost him nothing, and could allow struggle, so often gets the better of the sufferer, when he himself to be hindered even in his most momentous affairs had hoped that the worst of the conflict was over. When by the claims of helplessness; but she never permits us to Romola finds that the reflection of her own ideal has died accept these gentle acts as a set-off against his wickedness. 21 out of the beautiful eyes of her young husband, when he The other mode of treatment is a great deal more famildeceives and betrays her hopes, she is able to drop him iar to the world. How often have we been called upon to like a stone. There is no impossibility in the severance; note those broken reflections of the image of God which she can do it, and does it with little pause of deliberation, should make us, as gentler philosophers say, pity, not altoyet with no after-spring of reviving tenderness. Such a gether condemn, the sinner? But Tito's kindnesses, poor sudden resolution to escape from the unworthy is natural traitor, are, on the contrary, set before us with a certain enough, and has moved many a true lover; but seldom has bitter indignation, as that completest of all disguises, the Love thus been able to take wing, to detach itself alto. mask which nature herself lends to make guilt more dan gether from the soul, to be called back by no relentings, gerous. He has no credit, but the reverse, for his good no failure of strength and courage, no softer, pitiful plead- natural disposition, his desire to give pain to no one, to ing of the outraged heart. This is, we cannot but think, please all. His deference of mind to his betters, and aba failure in art, as well as a lessening of nature, a denial sence of pride, and even the momentary movements toof immortality in the affections which strikes the mind wards a real repentance, which touch his mind, and in one almost more painfully than even a speculative denial of case, at least, impel him to action, though too late — all immortal existence itself.

these, we are taught to feel, do but blacken his sins; for We have been drawn into criticism against our will out how does he dare to have so much that is good in conjune 23 of the lighter subject with which we started, and the tion with so much that is evil? A certain reproach to reader, we trust, will forgive the digression out of sympa- nature, calling of shame upon the agencies which have thy with that strong attraction of genius which makes an made the man so good yet so bad, seems to breathe secretly has imaginary being often more real to us than even such a out of the tremendous picture, with a suppressed wrath splendid fact as Florence with all her wealth and loveli. which would be almost Dantesque, had Dante ever ness. Having gone so far, we will go still a little further, taken the trouble to divest his sentences of identity, and drawn by the same force ; for Romola, with her loftiness spend his wrath upon an imaginary being. The force of and her narrowness, could never show to us as she does genius in this wonderful impersonation is incontestable; without the figure beside her, a still greater masterpiece of but to our mind the pain in it is so great as to carry it be art than she, and doing (may we say it?) an equal violence yond the legitimate field of Art. A touch of pity would to nature. Tito, the beautiful, bright young adventurer, have restored the balance; but the total absence of pity who commences his career before our eyes with more in moves us, the moment we are outside the charmed circle clination towards good than evil, and who retains through of the enchantress, and free to think, with a quick revuldhe bis tortuous ways so many of the goodnesses of nature, sion of feeling. We feel that it is not so much Tito who the charm of a sweet disposition, and an unfeigned lowli- has done all this wrong, but that his creator, vindictive, ness of self-estimation, is one of those unique figures in like an avenging god, forced him into it, by way of justi; art which seize upon the imagination, and affect us like fying the penalties which already in some old record of the sudden revelation of a new species. The only thing predestination had been foreordained. that interferes with our admiration of the skill and force We do not know whether the author has meant to make with which he is developed is the very force of the feeling any protestation against the common superficial judgment is something cruel in the determination which gives him great figures: the man with every superficial charm, even his first impulse the wrong way, instead of the right. We to the subtle superficiality of disposition and “ goodness of feel that Tito is, in some sort, the victim of his own crea

nature," yet a traitor and born betrayer of all trust and tor, of some remorseless theory or recollection in her mind honor; the woman without any attraction of the super which impels her to repeated demonstration of the insuffi- ficial sort except her beauty – proud, self-concentrated, ciency of amiable qualities and superficial goodnesses of inaccessible, kind because of duty and a high compassion

, disposition, to stem the strong current of self-regard with never from fellow-feeling and tender human impulse, yet which, she would have us believe, these gentle gifts are

noble, pure, and ineffably true. Is it a paradox ? or does closely allied. The weak soul, drawn from lie to lie by she mean to teach us over again the very old but never oue first fatal swerve from truth and honor, has been the convincing lesson, that what is pleasant is always to be subject of many a story; but few writers have treated this kind of sinner without a certain pity in their reprobation, she presents herself in sweet graces of external softness and we know none who has ventured to make so good, so

and amiability, in gentleness and pleasantness? If so, we gentle-hearted, so kind a villain. It is perhaps for this doubt much the truth as well as the force of a lesson which reason that we feel an involuntary protestation arise in should an angel from heaven preach it, humanity would

not and ought not to believe. " It is perhaps this unex. the way of evil, and has no pity nor relentings of purpose pressed sentiment which gives to the mass of readers a

certain awe of this book, which they know is a great book, solemnity and reverence which an imaginative and serious and of which all their instructors speak to them with en- people is so ready to give to the early dead. We do not thusiasm, but which never bas gained — never, we believe, recollect the procession any more than the name of the is likely to gain — that general and common love which is dead lady; but it would be impossible to forget the aspect often foolishly conferred, but which always responds to of the city — grave, mournful, and reflective, under a the highest inspirations of genius. Romola has no sym- clouded sky'; the Arno gray and hushed, with that propathy with them, nor consequently have they with her. found sympathy which nature sometimes shows, the reflecThey are too little and she is too elevated to afford that tions on his still bosom all subdued out of their usual color ground for union which fellow-feeling gives. Whether and brightness ; the air tbrilling with the slow solemnity this supreme superiority and demi-god elevation above of funeral bells"; the passers-by hushed in voice and footcommon things is really the highest ideal of art, is a ques- step; the distant hills veiled and mournful; and all Flortion which may be open to individual taste and liking; ence holding its breath in a hush of natural solemnity. but there cannot be any doubt that when an author volun- This aspect of the town from the bridge — all sunless, tarily chooses, instead of the universal crowd of his fel- gray, and still, the dim air possessed by the vibration of low-creatures, that audience fit though few to which some the tolling, most mournful of all sounds — remains in our great writers prefer to address themselves, he must accept mind like

a picture, never to be forgotten. Florence, with the natural penalty. The soul which is like a star and the sun blazing on her red roofs, catching the white Camdwells apart may commune indeed with its celestial fellows panile, the brown and rugged grace of the old tower that in some starry language, with deeper satisfaction than the crowns the Palace of the Signoria, the low defiant strength common tongue can give, but must not complain if it is of the Podesta’s fatal palace, where Bernardo del Nero left outside of the kindly babble of mere humanity. The and many another noble Florentine besides died, in the greater is inconsistent with the lesser fame - we leave caprices of an ever-changing Government - gives no imto the reader to decide which the greater and which the pression of sadness to the gazer who stands upon the sunny lesser is.

heights of Bellosguardo, or on San Miniato among the This, however, is a very long digression out of Florence, graves. But nevertheless there is no light-minded or light-. to which “ Romola” serves as a very superb guide-book, hearted glitter of facile beauty or airy grace to be looked not to be equalled by any Murray known to man. Nobody for in the city of Dante. It is grave, as that man was, who has read this great romance. will fail to remember who to find the veracious way again, when he had lost it, where the Piagnoni made their bonfire of vanities ; or will had to make that solemn giru wonderful parable among have much difficulty in imagining to themselves the aspect so many parables ! — by Hell and by Heaven. of the streets in which the white-robed angelic boys of Nothing can well be more different than the effect proSavonarola's flock, with a touch of mischief in their de- duced upon the mind of the stranger by that enchanted lightful rampant piety, such as no one can portray with a city and home of dreams, called Venice among men. That brighter or tenderer hand, despoiled poor Monna Brigida. the Florentine should live the life of ordinary men, work Florence is very much now what she was then, a town and sorrow, and suffer tedium and weariness like the rest unchanged – though the new life of Italy betrays itself in of us, is natural. But in Venice the whole place is magthe new lines of streets, out of doors, so to speak, beyond ical — a city past reasoning about, past accounting for – the old limits, which increase without injuring either to incredible in her origin, in her greatness, and in her decay. the eye or the mind the old stronghold of history, of art, How she came about at all out of those low mud-banks of human conflict and passion. Thanks to the solid force that lie opaque and dull, with gleaming lines of water of buildings which were made for centuries, there is no about them under the moon as we glide onward ; how, continual demolition or addition in the heart of Florence having come into being, she should be, not rude and rough to thrust away any pleasant associations or any sad ones, like other marine creatures exposed to all the assault of or to bring the new into perplexing and painful juxtaposi- winds and waves, but rich and glorious, unfretted by salttion with the old. The Florence of to-day is still the ness of the sea, uninjured by creeping damps and mists ; Florence of the Medici; as the Casa Buonarotti, still in- how her walls should be marble, and her every line adorned habited and put to pleasant human uses by the family, is and rich with daintiest work, such as no lándward city, Michael-Angelo's house, where that great genius sat in his surrounded by firm paths and solid earth, can boast of; closet, jammed up in six feet of space between one wall how, in that resourceless place, without an acre of corn and another, and planned his noblest conceptions in less land or a garden of herbs, dependent for every supply, for space than a modern housemaid requires for her dusters every meal, upon the world without, such wealth should and brushes, not to speak of a modern butler and all the have grown and accumulated; and how, thus having luxuries of the pantry. But in the town there is no want grown, vanquished the impossible, made and adorned herof space for all the exigencies of the day. Florence is as self like the most magnificent of brides, she should have fit to live in now as it was in the fifteenth century. There fallen away again, and dropped into poverty, downfall, and is nothing heterogeneous in its growth and expansion decay are things for which no one can account, wonders nothing contradictory to modern progress in its noble of man's strength and weakness beyond all human power streets; for the fault of the great city was never to be short-of penetration. But so it is. A miraculous city stands sighted of the future, indifferent to posterity, or disposed there, made out of nothing, out of slimy mud oozing with to live from hand to mouth. It is no frivolous pleasure- salt and damp, the dismallest marshy wilderness turned place, no haunt for sight-seers

, but the most real of cities, into one of the noblest towns in Europe. The slimy mudadapted to all national uses of daily life and work. And þanks are bid away under solid marble, the desolate there is no town we know which'impresses itself more swamps made into not only a habitable place, but the deeply upon the imagination, or lends itself more power- brightest, most sunshiny and dazzling of places inhabited; fully to heighten the effect of any novel sight or notable strangesťunlooked-for result, which would be one of the event. As we write, such a scene rises up in our mind greatest wonders of the world were it not so far back, and one of those moments of strangely vivid impression which were not Venice so entirely an accepted fact, known and live in the soul without any special reason – a mere recol-worshipped for centuries ! To be sure we take no note lection, yet more truly felt than many of intinitely deeper nowadays, and the Doges and magnificent Senators took importance. This particular scene belongs to the Florence no note, of the generations of true founders who must of some fifteen years ago, which is as much a different age bave buried themselves, with their piles and stakes, upon to ourselves, and to the world in Italy at least, as is the the mud-banks, to lay a feasible foundation for the place, time of Romola. It was the day of a public funeral — w

we founding it, as every great human city is founded, upon do not remember of whom a member of the archducal human blood and sacrifice. But there stands the city of family then reigning -a Tady who had been popular St. Mark, miraculous, a thing for giants to wonder at, and among the Florentines, and who, young and guiltless of fairies to copy if they could. The wonder leaps upon the

was honored by them with that tender natural | traveller all at once, arriving over the broad plains of Italy,

any harm,

through fields of wheat and gardens of olive, through vine- | lous air ? Could any one be startled if, out of the dark yards and swamps of growing rice, across broad rivers boat softly pushed to the open doorway, some friend from and monotonous flats of richest land, by the Euganean the everlasting silence should all at once step forth mountains dark upon the pale sky of evening, and the low

“ And strike a sudden hand in mine, swamps gleaming under the new-risen moon.

The means

And ask a thousand things of home?' of arrival, indeed, are commonplace enough, with shrieking locomotives and stifling carriages, and all the well- Tears gather unthought of in the pilgrim's eyes, who knows known circumstances of the Iron Way; when, lol in a he is dreaming wildly, yet is glad to dream and feel still in moment, you step out of the commonplace railway station, his waning life that touch of youth, that thrill of the imposcommonest and least lovely of all things, into the lucid sible, that nearness to all miracles and wonders. We knop stillness of the Water City, into the waiting gondola, into no other place which retains after the first glance this vis poetry and wonderland. The moon rising above shines ionary charm. upon pale palaces dim and splendid, and breaks in silver And how strange it is while feeling this to remember, as arrows and broad gleams of whiteness upon the ripple and one does, suddenly, with blank amaze, that Venice has to soft glistening movement of the canal, still

, yet alive with poet! She has been celebrated by strangers, but never in a hundred reflections, and a soft pulsation and twinkle of her own musical tongue by a son of her own. All the great life. The lights glitter above and below, every star and songs of Italy have come from other regions ; not only the every lamp doubled; and the very path by which you are “ Divine Comedy,” which would be out of place among to travel lives, and greets you with soft gleams of liquid those gleaming watery ways, but even the lighter storied motion, with soft gurgle of liquid sound. And then comes strains of the “ Decameron,” the love-sonnets which would the measured sweep of the oars, and you are away, along the have chimed so sweetly to the measure of the waves. Musilent, splendid road, all darkling, yet alight, the poorest sic is everywhere about, but articulate verse nowhere

. smoky oil-lamp making for itself a hundred twinkling stars Ah, oui, tous les Fenitians chantent," says in bad French, in the little facets of the wavelets, ripplets, which gleam far and with a certain Teutonic contempt, the German waitbefore you, shining and twinkling like so many fairy fore- ing-maid, sniffing disdainfully with broad Teutonic nose a: runners preparing

your way. Not a sound less musical and the soft harmonies that rise from the floating choir in the harmonious than the soft plash of the water against the gondola outside the window. All Venetians sing; and Do marble steps and gray walls, the soft lave and wash against doubt there are humble popular poets here as elsewhere in your boat, the wild strange cry of the boatmen, as they | Italy - - a hundred nameless song-makers, who supply the round with magical precision each sharp corner, or the wants of the people; but no voice great enough to bare singing of some wandering boatful of musicians on the been heard beyond the lagoons has risen out of Veniee Grand Canal, disturbs the quiet. Across the flat Lido proper, except in tones of statecraft and diplomacy – in from the Adriatic comes a little breath of fresh wind, cool roar of cannon, or in the painter's still language, the poetry yet silken soft, touching your cheek with a caress; and of Art. Even kind old Goldoni, with his lively dramas, is when, out of a maze of narrow water-lanes you shoot out a Chiozziote; and our own Byron is the greatest poetical into the breadth and glorious moonlight of the Grand Ca- recollection which one hears of along the noble poetic nal, and see the lagoon go widening out, a plain of daz- course of that canal-highway, every house of which, rezling silver, into the distance, and great churches and pal- flected with all its lights in the dancing water, is of itself a aces standing up pale against the light, our Lady of Salva- poem. And it is the hand of a stranger which has placed tion and St. George the Greater guarding the widening in Venice the soft, visionary figure to which we have channel, what words can the wondering stranger use to already referred - the beautiful vision of Consuelo. Never describe the novel, beautiful scene ? On this side, half in did princely visitor leave bebind him a more worthy gift; gloom, if gloom can be amid all these reflections more though Consuelo is no great Venetian lady, no princess of minute and varied of artificial light, lie the palace and the a reigning family, no glorious type of the magnificence of cathedral, which are the centre of all; the great Campanile, Venice, as perhaps the highest illustration of Venice ought the winged lion on his column, the gay moving crowds, and to be. In such a point we cannot traffic with Genius, but bright windows, and pleasant groups in the brightest of must accept its work under its own conditions. Consuelo, public squares. Alas I the long line of great houses that indeed, though the sweetest, is but one of many spells lead up to the Piazzetta are all hotels nowadays, and in which the great French romancist has woven about Venice

, babited by Goths and Gauls, and Huns and Vandals, the and we have from her hand other pictures of languishing very barbarian hordes of ancient times — stout Englishmen ladies in palaces and gondolas, of life which is but a dream who yawn and gaze and find “nothing to do” in Venice; of love and languor and heart-tearing vicissitudes of emo and, let us hope, respectable Frenchmen and Germans, who tion, such as are apt to fatigue, if not to sicken, our northare as stupid, though their groans are not so audible to us, ern souls. But Consuelo is not one of those voluptuons nor perhaps their desire for "something to do " so strong patrician beauties. The Venice she represents is that This is Venice : a miraculous place, at which the heart which toils, and rows, and browns in the fierce sun — not leaps ; surely the very place where our dreams are all liv- that whib is lulled in the invisible seclusion of the gondola, ing, waiting for us the place we have never been able to by soft rocking of the waters, by drowsy chant of song, into come at in all these years the land of visions, the city of all the dreams of idleness. The romance of her history is the blest. In general, the unknown has no sooner become long, and mystical, and strange, dealing with wonders and the known than straightway the magic fails, and the loveli- mysteries which we have no intention to enter into, and est scenes drop into flatness and calm of reality the moment which injure the perfection of the tale in point of art, though, our insatiable eyes have fathomed and taken possession of they never fail to carry on the reader in a strange trance of them. But the charm of Venice is so great that you may interest like the prolonged and endless stories of the “ Ara: glide about its canals for days without feeling that obnox- bian Nights." It is only its beginning which is Venetian ; ious seizure of reality, that conviction that you are on the but that beginning is enough for our purpose; and places same earth, and are the same creature with the same cares, permanently one of the most delightful figures in modern that you were a short time ago while still you had the hope fiction within one of the most beautiful of scenes. of being transfigured by the new thing before you. No; Consuelo is a musician. She is a child of the streets, the still for the moment you are transfigured,

- not on earth at daughter of a vagabond singer, a Spanish woman who all, but in a place of visions, a country new and strange,

earned her bread by her guitar and her voice in cafes, and where wonders dwell. Over that broad sheet of silver public

places, giving to her child neither training nor trayonder, widening blue and pale into the unseen depths

, dition beyond the very rudiments of such law and sell-recould any one wonder if, through the stillness, with soft sob straint as make existence possible. Consuelo has no repuof the gurgling water about its bows, some ship of souls tation to guard, no prejudices of honor to get over, but has should suddenly come in sight

, with angel faces, " long all the freedom of the very lowest social class, and all the loved and lost awhile,” smiling at us through the miracu knowledge which is acquired unawares by children brought

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