Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

stony, uneven shore, and exposed, during summer, to the maľ aria of the Pontine Marshes.

Here we paid five pauls to save our luggage from being visited—whether by a Roman or Neapolitan custom-house, I already forget.

The road after Terracina winds, for a distance, along the sea-shore. Our carriage stopping for a short time, the soldiers of a neighbouring post, half a mile off, turned out to know what hindered it from advancing. We had several times been requested to proceed at foot's pace, while a soldier on each side of the carriage accompanied us for a short space of road, where-as they pretended—we were liable to be attacked by robbers. We had always refused to take escorts; being told that they served to attract the brigands, by an appearance of having something worth defending; and that, if we took infantry, they would be the first routed. An escort of two or three horsemen is, indeed, said to be of service; not in fighting for the traveller, but in running away, and alarming the nearest military posts.

We soon reached the gateway that marks the limits of the two states. On the Roman side of a small ditch the land was uncultivated; on the opposite bank fine crops flourished, and invited across. We passed the boundary, and entered the territory which I hope to inhabit for some years. From hence the country gradually improves, till the dirty village of Mala di Gaeta is found in a situation more beautiful than any I know. Adjoining the inn-one of the best in Italy, except those in the principal towns--is a grove of orange trees that reaches to the shore, covered with many remains of the Villa of Cicero. On one of these ruins, which rose above the surface of the tranquil sea, I was soon seated, and occupied in sketching the scenery on my right: the weather being rather hazy, I was unable to descry the Mount Vesuvius on my left. out of the garden, I gathered a basket-full of oranges, for which I paid at the rate of eight for a grano – rather more than one farthing. We staid so long at Gaeta, that it was late when we reached S. Agata; an uncomfortable place on the top of a high mountain.

In the Neapolitan state the road is much more guarded than in the Roman territory; for, in the former, the posts of Austrian soldiers are nearer to each other, and mounted patroles watch the intermediate space.

On going Almost every peaceable--at least in appearance peaceable—inhabitant of the country about S. Agata carries, at all times, a gun behind his back.

A good road brought us, this morning, to the miserable fortified place from which I date. We shall, this evening, continue our journey to Naples, and traverse, without further fear of brigands, the twenty miles that remain. In fact, the only danger is to those who travel after sunset: the most convenient time for robbing, being that when there is sufficient daylight to search a carriage, but too little for the track of the thieves to be followed. We have, however, now no more to fear from them. Adieu.

[ocr errors]

LETTER XVI.

Naples, May 25, 1824.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

To resume where I left off.

The drive from Capua afforded “no adventure, no “ sentiment," but was as uninteresting as might have been anticipated. The road began to be bordered by occasional houses ten miles before we reached the suburbs of Naples. Three different custom-houses, at thirty paces from one another, delayed our entry into the town: the officers of each post came out, and addressed to us the usual question -“ if we had any thing for “the Dogana?" On our answering that we had not, they, without moving from the place, looked up at us with a rather doubtful, embarrassed air; reiterated the question; and at length, by the help of the coachman, gave us to uuderstand what caused their hesitation. The matter was then soon settled: a few carlini* gained us their entire confidence, dispelled their doubts, took from us the air of smugglers, and opened to us the gates of the city.

On entering the suburb, two different roads offered themselves to our choice. By following that on the left-which is newly made, and good -we might, owing to the détour it makes, have enjoyed a beautiful view of the bay, of the mountains that enclose it, and of the town extended on the shore below. But our voiturier

no inconsiderate admirer of picturesque views; they could not blind him when opposed to his more immediate interest. He chose the shorter road, and descended suddenly into the Strada di Toledo—the center of lazzeroni and macaroni : such, at least, was the idea I then had of this magnificent street. But, as yet, I have been unable to discover these far-famed lazzeroni: I recollect that the first time I walked

was

* Ten grani make one lino, ten carlini one docato. twelve earlini one piastra. About five piastre-according to the ex. changemake one pound sterling.

« ForrigeFortsett »