Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

myself ignorant of many of the manners and “ customs of the Italians, which I had attempted,

though without sufficient success, to make my“ self acquainted with. Yet one who had left

England when a child; who had been edu“cated on the Continent; who spoke fluently the “ language of the country; who could have con“ cealed his prejudices in favour of England, “ if any such had possessed him; who made long

stays in each town; who sought to mingle “ with the natives, and who did mingle with " them more than most of his countrymen; who “professed the same religion, which, though it

may be little thought of by the Italians, still “ serves as a rapprochement ; such a person must “ have gained much information which neces“ sarily escapes the observation of an ordinary “ English traveller; while his foreign and reli“ gious education and ideas must have enabled “ him to see with less astonishment, and at

once to understand, customs and CEREMONIES, “ which, on account of their novelty, arrest the 6 misconstruing attention of most English tra66 vellers."

What arguments can more indisputably prove my right to present to the public my Observa

66

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

tions on Italy? I next went on to make excuses for the familiarity of the style in which I have addressed MY DEAR FRIEND,” (who, I do assure the reader, is no “ imaginary creature of the “ brain,”) and for the Gallicisms which may be found in the letters, and “which may be easily “accounted for in one who has spoken and read 6 more in French than in his native tongue; and s who, while writing, had often recourse to the “ dictionary to find the English for a French 66 word.”

Such had been the most successful of my trials at a Preface; and so far had I proceeded, when, having run over the best of Beranger's songs, I returned to his preface, which, in the usual way, I had deferred till after reading that to which it had been, by the author, intended as an introduction. I was at once struck by the similarity of our situations, and by the poo songster's complaints of the difficulty under which he had laboured while composing a grand preface to announce to the world what might be more clearly expressed in two lines, “qu' ayant écrit des chansons, j'ai pris le parti de les faire imprimer—that having written some

[ocr errors]

songs, he had determined to have them “ printed.”

“ And why,” thought I, immediately, “why may not I myself, in this manner, avoid all “prefatory difficulty, and, like Beranger, merely

say, that HAVING WRITTEN SOME LETTERS ON “ ITALY, I HAVE RESOLVED TO HAVE THEM 66 PRINTED ?”

Paris, 21st April, 1826.

PREFACE.

AFTER the foregoing declaration, the reader could scarce expect that a preface would be inflicted upon him: in deference to his just remonstrances, I shall make it as short as possible.

The MS. of the work now offered to the public, I had submitted to the perusal of a Catholic friend; and, on asking his opinion of it, I was astonished to hear him say, alluding to the manner in which I had spoken of some of the religious ceremonies and customs countenanced or permitted by the Italian clergy,) that “ I should be supposed to have written for the “ Protestants, with a view to obtain their appro66 bation.” No: such motives cannot be attributed to me. Throughout the whole work I

« ForrigeFortsett »