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have, I trust, shewn myself sufficiently independent of received notions and generally accredited opinions to avoid any similar imputation. What Catholic can deny that abuses have existed, and do still exist, in Catholic DISCIPLINE? Against the DOCTRINE of the Church I have said nothing. In the title-page I have announced myself to be “ an English Catholic:” that I hold to be a sufficient declaration of my belief in all the doctrines of the Catholic Church. No man declares himself to be “ an English Catholic," unless he conscientiously adopts the creed of that religion; and in that creed seeks consolation for the loss of those civil rights—the proud inheritance of every Englishman, but from which he is debarred by his “ tolerant” fellow-countrymen.
Rome, 27th October, 1823.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
WE quitted Leghorn on the 22d of this month, after having passed there all the summer season since June. The town itself is small, but well built and clean: some quarters of it are quiet and retired from the bustle of trade. As we went to Leghorn for the sake of sea-bathing, we should have done better had we taken an apartment within the walls of the town: we should have been much nearer the baths than when settled in Villa G-, one of the many habitations prepared for the reception of désæuvrés bathers. This villa we hired of an « English “ gentleman;" but to transact business with
gentlemen,” particularly when English, is a difficult matter; for, as the rules and etiquette of politeness may be inconvenient to those
passing a bargain, they are, on that account, the more strictly exacted by the gentleman houseletter; who, though he may have learnt the foreign manner of asking high prices, takes advantage of his being an Englishman to refuse all thoughts of abatement. We therefore made a bad bargain, and engaged our villa for four months, at two piastre a day—as the “ English
gentleman” perceived there were thirty-one days in July and August.
All this while you do not, perhaps, know the exact meaning of the word villa. The following explanation which I heard a French femmede-chambre-not fille-de-chambre, as Sterne has it-give to some English children, is a precise definition of the sense attached to the word. You are aware of the peculiar pronunciation with which the French speak Italian, and of their always dropping the final letter.
She said, “ Une maison de campagne s'appelle une ville, et “ une ville s'appelle une shitte.”* This is something like the story of the two English sailors in one
* For villa and città.
of the ports of France. One of them had been ashore, and, on returning to his comrade, cried out, “ Jack, do you know what they call cab“ bage? why they call it shoe ;* and d-mn 'em, “ why can't they call it cabbage ?”
In this villa we experienced all the inconveniences attendant on an Italian country-house, placed, as those at Leghorn generally are, in the centre of a kitchen garden. Adjoining was the small cabin for the numerous family of the gardener: these rose at day-break, and made, with no little degree of noise, their preparations for appearing at the market of the town. Once or twice a week, but always on the hottest days, they opened a certain subterraneous cavern near the house, and carried to the cabbages under our window the manure it afforded. On Sun. days and festivals they collected their friends, and either played at bowls on the even spot round the house, or, on more particular occasions, procured half a dozen geese, which they suspended by their legs to the transverse beam of the gateway in front of our door ; then, armed with a rusty old sword, each one in succession endeavoured to give a successful cut at the neck of the tortured bird, which, its head being once severed, belonged to him who had the skill to perform the feat; another goose was then fastened upon its place, and ainsi de suite. Add to these nuisances the incessant hum-drum tune, chaunted by the voices—not the most melodious -of the gardening girls, who, while at work, improvised to it verses, generally on the subject to them the most interesting—that of a courtship with a sailor. In the chorus, the sailor is supposed to answer,
* For choux. I once greatly amused a Frenchwoman by asking her, “ Savez vous qu'en Angleterre on appelle les sou-. « liers des choux ?"
“ Lavora bella, fatti la dote;
Such are the pleasures of Leghorn villas ; yet how much might I make you envy my garden, geese, and subterranean perfumes, by giving you the usual description of these Italian peasant girls improvising a romance, as they sung, in sweet chorus, the tune to which the words were adapted.
Nevertheless, the summer passed more agree
* Work hard, gain your dower; if it please God, I will marry you.