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you have doubtless an Arcadian notion of a vintage, I will not undeceive you by a too minute painting of the un-arcadian labourers, whom, while gathering the fruit, I have often seen pelting one another with bunches of grapes, as they would do in England with turnips; neither will I describe the hands with which they press the grapes into the trough, or the feet with which they squeeze the juice out of the berry. This last operation many children take part in as a preservative against future chilblains; and the time of the vintage is ever a season of rejoicing and holiday in the district in which it is going on.
The remainder of the journey was nearly as tiresome as the first part of it; but at length, from a lofty ridge of hills, we this afternoon looked down on the deserted Campania, above the apparently unbroken surface of which arose the dome of S. Peter's. Then, passing a few ruined antiquities, we crossed the Ponte Molle, found a “lascia passare”* at the Porta del Popolo, and engaged an apartment in the Hotel de la Grande Bretagne, Strada del Babuino.
* The “lascia passare" is an order from the Papal government, which the banker Tarlonia has the goodness to obtain for foreigners who demand it, and by means of which they are permitted to enter the town without having their baggage visited.
Here then I am in Rome; in Rome, still the capital of the world, subdued first by arms, then by religion ! But you, no doubt, conceive all the sublime reflections I might make on this my first arrival in the “ Eternal City.” I leave them, therefore, to your imagination; for, to say the truth, I am far from being in the mood requisite for classical ebullitions. I could have sent you plenty of them a few hours ago : thus reversing the custom of French orators, who publish in the newspapers the speeches they had intended to make: but, a few hours ago, I had not passed the public walks crowded with ROMANS drest in round hats and London cut coats; I had not been questioned by a ROMAN custom-house officer, if I was the “Signore “ Inglese," mentioned in the “ lascia passarre ;" I had not debated, in French, with a ROMAN innkeeper about the price of our lodging, the which debate ended in our engaging to keep it for one week at least at one louis a day; I had not been obliged to turn out of our apartment some ROMAN porters, who demanded an exorbitant price for having carried up our
luggage; and I was not sitting in a Roman room covered with an English carpet, and papered with views of Paris. But such having been, and being the case, I can only wish you a homely-Good night!
Rome, November 4, 1823.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
NOTWITHSTANDING the light manner in which I concluded my last letter, I cannot but feel that a journey to Rome must necessarily faire époque, form an epoch in the life of a thinking man: and that, when looking back on the changes which have successively taken place in his own mind, he will recur to that epoch as to a time of the greatest interest. Though (by comparing the date of this with that of my former letter) you will perceive that I can as yet know but
very little of Rome; yet how different are my present feelings from those which pressed upon me when I crossed the Ponte Milvio, and first beheld the waters of the Tiber and the distant dome of St. Peter's! It is, therefore, more particularly of the different impressions and sensations caused by the sight of each object, than of the object itself, that I shall endeavour to give you an account. With the latter, you are as well acquainted as I am: for he who has perused the many publications of modern tourists, can seek, in every thing he visits, but the verification of what he has read. I myself am well schooled in what I am to expect in Rome: though, from my having so long resided on the continent, I have been unable to meet with many of these publications. In fact, they do not often cross the British Channel: foreigners have but a comparatively small degree of curiosity concerning what so much interests the English, most of whom either have travelled, are travelling, or intend to travel to the objects described. There is, however, one case in which the books of our tourists take a more extensive range: when, having incurred the displeasure of any foreign Sovereign, he forbids their entrance into his territory. Thus it is with Lady Morgan's tour, which is known all over the continent. So natural is this spirit of opposition, that the writer of any work whatever need wish for nothing more than that some Sovereign should forbid its entry into his states; the surest