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MALTA—APPEARANCE OF LA VALETTA. 273

Tuesday Evening, 8th March.—Arrived at Malta, that "military hot-house," as it has been not inaptly called. The appearance which it presents from the sea is always new and inviting. We had to-day rather a different aspect; and I thought La Valetta resembled a town chiselled out of the rock, to which the skilful hand of the lapicidehad but just given the finishing touch. Malta is famous for vases cut from the same soft porous stone; and I could easily have fancied that the clean yellow cast of the houses and churches, rising over this the most precipitous part of the island, was devised by a sculptor, and executed con amore! Let not my faith be quarrelled with, I have no wish to impose it upon others; he who proposed cutting Mount Athos into a monument for the son of Philip, had, perhaps, an imagination equally lively.

We have yet ten days to remain in quarantine, {thirty being the allotted number instead of twenty-five as we supposed,) unless the situation of the Cambrian induce the Board of Health to shorten our durance.

Thursday, 10th March.—To-day Captain Hamilton read a letter from the admiral, ap

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proving of the capture of the pirates, and stating his intention to represent the conduct of all concerned in a favourable light to the Admiralty. The Dock people are removing such of the Cambrian's stores as are not liable to communicate infection. This is preparatory to her being hove down.

Tuesday, 15th March.—We were released from quarantine—a most joyful circumstance. To be cooped up in our "winged citadel" at sea is nothing; we expect no other, and our minds are made up to the endurance; but to be so imprisoned in harbour, with the prospect of an augmented society before us—with the power of roaming at pleasure from place to place—" from flower to flower," just as inclination prompts; all in sight, yet all withheld, is realizing the fable of Tantalus, and tempting us to wish the right honourable Board of Health a hearty ducking!

As soon as I could make it convenient to land I set out in pursuit of lodgings; there is indeed a place appropriated to the officers of a man of war during repairs of this nature. It is called the Lofts, and it might as well have been called the Lights, for- it is very low and

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PREACH AT THE CHAPEL OF THE PALACE. 275

very dark; but "lucus <J Non lucendo" is not in these days so remarkable a cognomen! "Things change their titles as our manners turn;" and of a surety, never age^ in comparison with another, has proved itself so mutable as this.

Friday, 18th March.—The account of our expedition against the pirates I find in the Malta Gazette, a weekly (also a weakly) paper, reserved entirely for the promulgation of the edicts of government. It is said likewise that Ibrahim Pacha has landed 6,000 men at Modon, near Navarin. The information was brought by a Maltese vessel.

Sunday, 20th March.—Preached at the Chapel of the Palace, on the subject of Conversation. Malta, like all other places where time hangs heavy upon peoples' hands, is noted for its propensity to scandal; and the zeal with which the affairs of others are canvassed in preference to their own. My observations made a little stir—a slight sensation, and— were forgotten ere night-fall!

Tuesday, 2%d March.—To-day the Cambrian was hove down, and all the fair and the young and the high-born honoured us with a 276 MALTA—EXCURSION TO CIVITA VECCHIA.

visit. She (that is the ship) lay with her keel out of water, and exhibited her wounds to the admiring damsels. Let us hope that the Cambrian will never be insensible to the commiseration and interest shewn in her misfortunes!

Thursday, 24th March.—Rode with my friend Cleugh to Civita Vecchia, a distance of eight miles from Valetta. A high wind and dusty roads were no less a torment than the crowds of importunate Ciceroni who beset us on our arrival, and pursued us with the most determined coolness in spite of many urgent entreaties, and certain formidable menaces. Civita Vecchia was anciently the capital of Malta, and the chief residence of the Grand Masters. It contains some magnificent houses, now unoccupied; courts of justice which retain nothing of their original character but the usual emblems above the entrance. There is a strong fortification here, but it is also neglected; and its gates serve to enclose a warren of lazy, dirty monks, and a cathedral church of great beauty; the interior possesses a chastity of ornament quite surprising for a Catholic country. The catacombs are said to be worth EFFECTS OF A HIGH WIND. 277

seeing, but this I was obliged to defer until another opportunity.

Dined with Cleugh, and spent the evening at Sir Harry Neale's, where a pretty married lady (whom I strongly suspect of being a Blue /) told me, with a look expressing an indefinable compound of coquetry, simplicity, and pedantry, that the Sirocco wind, of which we were speaking, "would annul salt:"—fine words these, "prave 'ords as you shall see in a summer's day/'

Ibrahim Pacha's fleet is said to be dispersed by a storm—which is likely; for the wind has blown with extreme violence of late, insomuch that the same pretty lady above mentioned protested that it "had almost blown her out of bed!"

Saturday, 26th March.—Dined with Major General Sir Manley Power, to whose civilities I confess myself much indebted. I learnt the result of the trial, and the story of a number of Greek pirates, who, about a year ago, were captured by the Naiad. They had boarded a Maltese merchantman, murdered seventeen of her crew in cold blood, and scuttled the ship. The evidence against them was clear and de

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