Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

attempt made to lead it over the narrow pass, or slipping in the mud that covered the broken path, stumbled, and rolled down the slimy, steep bank into the deep water below. The horse regained the path, but-without its rider. No sign appeared on the surface to point out whether she was carried down by the stream, or remained on the spot where the horse fell. None of the party could swim: the thoughtless despair of the relation urged him into the river, from which he himself was with difficulty saved.

On the next morning bills were posted up, offering five louis to those who should discover the body. The indignation of natives and strangers was justly excited by this offer, so unsuited to the occasion. It was, however, attributed to an Englishman, who imagined that he should bring himself into notice, and render himself useful by proposing, to the unthinking grief of Miss B-'s relation, a sum which was, two days afterwards, disavowed by the proclamation of a reward of fifty louis. Before this last offer had been published, a friend of mine asked a boatman on the Tiber, why he did not seek for the body?“ Let the water carry it to England; they will then have it for nothing," was the reply.*

Small castst of the poor girl were immediately made, and eagerly bought up by foreigners and Romans. I

I went this morning to visit the spot where the misfortune happened: it was with difficulty that I on foot was able to pass along the broken, shelving path-or rather bank of the river-till I reached the place, where, six feet below me, two sticks were placed in the form of a small cross, which, fixed in the mud, indicated the place where the horse had rolled down. Lithographic prints are making of the spot. From this account it

* In the month of September following the body was seen floating directly over the spot where she first fell into the Tiber. On being brought to shore, it was found to be little altered: the dress was in the same state as at the time of the catastrophe; the features were also unchanged, except by some bruises on the face. It was presumed that the weight of the horse had, in falling on it, pressed it deep into the mud, where it had remained buried, until the rains and current wash. ing away the slime that covered it, it again rose to the surface.

+ These are, however, but very imperfect likenesses of her whom they are intended to represent.

# These latter thought the subject well suited for poetic embellishments; and the first canto of a long tirade was given to me by a poet; who had, however, the judgment not to publish his inspirations.

appears

that no blame can be attached to any person in particular, but that the whole party suffered themselves to be led into a dangerous path, with which they all seem to hate been equally unaequainted. was regret more general than that shewn by all classes of persons for this

But never

“ lovely being, scarcely formed or moulded... “ A ROSE with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.”

[blocks in formation]

LETTER XII.

13th April, 1824.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

Driving, a few days since, througlı the Piazza di Spagna, I saw a crowd collected before the door of an armourer: I was unable to approach, and passed on.

These people were not, however, assembled without cause. А young Englishman had objected to a charge made by the armourer; and throwing down what he considered as the fair price, was carrying off the object of the dispute. A scuffle ensued: the son of the shopman hastened to the aid of his father, but was arrested by another Englishman, the companion of the first. Irritated at this interruption, the younger tradesman struck, with a knife he held in his hand, at the person who had hold of him. Having repeated the blow three or four times, and seeing his victim fall, he fled from the shop. The wounds were dangerous; much blood had flowed before help could be brought, and Mr. —'s life was for a long time doubted of. I have never heard that the assassin was taken: he was long reported to be concealed in a number of intricate passages pierced under the Villa de Medici* and the garden attached to it.

This scuffle was, it would appear, one of those disputes brought on by the haughty manner in which the English generally treat foreign shopkeepers. A few days after, a Scotchman, lately arrived at Rome, being offended with his tailor, caught the man by the collar, exclaiming, “The “d-dimpartinent scoundrel! I'll”— Hold,' said a friend who accompanied him, 'hold, they have got knives you know.'-"Ah! have they?"

• This villa, belonging to the Crown of France, is a royal academy of painting and sculpture, to which a few students, particularly distinguished at Paris, are sent by the French government, which maintains them at Rome for a fixed time. I visited an exposition of the works of these young artists ; which were not, however, calculated to give a high opinion of their talents.

« ForrigeFortsett »