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** Embosomed by the hills, whose forms around
One of the circumstances which gives the traveller ra. ther painful assurance of his approach to the northern confines of Italy, is that he finds himself once more ensconced within that most comfortless of all locomotives, except the lettiga of Sicily,--a Diligence. The straggling, untrimmed horses, and harlequin-looking postilions bobbing up and down most pitifully; the constant cracking of the whip, and the lurching and shivering of the clumsy fabric, are but the exterior graces which the vehicle boasts. At night, the roof within is often hung with baskets of provisions, and countless hats and bon. nets which dangle most disturbingly in the face of the sleeping passenger ; and when he has, at length, lost himself in a pleasant dream, and commenced an imaginary colloquy with some fair object left at the place of his last sojourn, a sudden jolt pitches him upon his neighbor, or an abrupt stoppage of the ponderous machine, rouses him to a sense of stiffened joints, yawning ostlers, and an execrating conducteur. It is, however, well that one leaving the dreamy atmosphere of the South, should be thus initiated into a more practical habit, and have the radiant mists of imagination dissipated from his brain. The Diligence is an excellent preparatory symbol of the more utilitarian regions and prosaic localities, towards which his pilgrimage tends. From the corner of one of these minature arks--despite the grumbling of an old lady by my side, the nap of whose lap-dog I disturbed, and the angry chattering of a parrot, whose pendant cage was vi. brating overhead-I succeeded, one afternoon, in withdrawing myself sufficiently, to look from the window over the surrounding fields. They presented a broad level plain, covered with fresh green grain, which a band of women, whose heads were enveloped in red cotton handkerchiefs, were assiduously reaping. The air was still, and the sky cloudy. A few trees, chiefly small poplars and mulberries, rose here and there along the road. And yet, meagre as was the natural scenery, it was a spot abounding in interest. Thirty-eight years before, it was the arena where contending armies battled for the posses. sion of Italy, and men were mown down as the grain, then waving over their graves, fell beneath the sickles of the reapers. It was the plain of Marengo. Near yonder plantation of vines, Desaix took up his position. Across these fields the French line stretched imposingly away. And when the Austrians were so incautiously pursuing their success, it was in the midst of this now deserted level, that Napoleon met his brave ally, who, rushing forward
at his bidding, met, almost immediately, his death. It was hence, too, that the brave Melas, then more than eighty years of age, considering the day won, and overcome with fatigue, retired to Alexandria, only to hear in a few hours, of his army's defeat. After this celebrated battle, Turin became the metropolis of the French depart. ment of the Po, and fourteen years after was restored to Sardinia. It is not surprising that the young mind of Alfieri was greatly impressed on entering this city. Its broad, clean streets radiating from a common centre; its airy arcades forming, like the passages of the French metropolis, most agreeable promenades, and its cheerful as. pect may well captivate a stranger's eye. One scarcely realizes, at Turin, that he is within the precints of an Italian city. There is a modern look about the buildings, an elegance in the shops and caffés, and altogether an air of life and gayety, which brings Paris forcibly to mind. Indeed, the proximity of this capital to France, 'neutralizes, in no small degree, its Ausonian characteristics. The language is a mixture of French and Italian ; and Goldoni found the taste here so strong for the French stage, that, during his visit to Turin, he composed his comedy of Moliere, to avail himself of the attraction of that author's name.
There are few finer public squares in Europe than
the Piazza del Castello, and no beautiful prospect of its kind than that from the church of La Superga, where the bones of the Sardinian kings repose. The small number of paupers, and the frequent instances of manly beauty among the military officers, are peculiarly striking. Sometimes, beneath the porches,
a procession of nuns, poorly but neatly clad, is encountered, with garlands and tapers, headed by a fat priest chanting the burial service. The neighborhood of the Alps is disagreeably indicated by the number of women seen in the streets with goitres. They come, for the most part, from the base of Mt. Cenis and Susa, where this disease is very common, and still attributed by the common people, to the chill the throat constantly receives from the extreme coldness of the water. We are reminded of old Gonzalo's query in the Tempest :- Who would believe that there were Mountaineers dew-lapp'd like bulls, whose throats had hanging at them wallets of flesh ? Turin is the coldest city in Italy. The circumadjacent mountains are scarcely ever entirely free from
As one looks upon them, frequently surmounted by variegated clouds, or, in dull weather, bathed with the yellow gleam of the struggling sunbeams playing on their white scalps, with here and there a dark streak where the snow has melted away, the appropriateness of the name of this section of Italy becomes more apparent-pie di monte-foot of the mountains.
I found an unusual number of priests reading in the University library, and not a few peasants seated at the reading desks—a note-worthy and pleasant circumstance. It is interesting, when wandering about the precincts of this institution, to remember that it was the scene of that mis-education, of which Alfieri has drawn so vivid a pic. ture in his autobiography. It was here that so many of his young days were wasted in wearisome sickness; where he was bribed or threatened into labors for his stu.
pid but powerful school mate ; where he looked so long upon the adjacent theatre, which he was only allowed to enter five or six times a year, during carnival; and where he suffered so long from the tyranny of a capricious and pampered valet. In Turin, the stern tragedian first knew the sweet delights of poetry in his stolen and secret communion with Ariosto and Metastasio. Here he laid the foundation of those dissipated habits which, he had the rare moral courage to vanquish—suddenly vaulting from the low level of a life of pleasure, to the most determined and assiduous career that genius and industry ever achieved. Here, too, his ardent soul first experienced the delicious excitements of music, horsemanship, and love—those inspiring resources of his after years.
The exhibition of the stranger's passport at Turin, is sufficient to introduce him to the Royal Gallery. It is interesting chiefly for its specimens of the Vandyck school—those expressive portraits which have so long for ned the study of artists, and ever charmed that large portion of the curious who delight in observing the human face divine.' . There is one of Carlo Dolce's most characteristic Madonnas, full of the mildness, soft coloring, and timid execution which belong to his heads. That class of woman's admirers, who would fain make the standard of her attractiveness proportionate to the absence of any strong traits, should collect the female faces portrayed by this artist. A short time spent in contemplating such an array, would convince them of the absolute necessity of elevating their ideal of the sex, if they would have the spell of their graces perpetuated. But the picture which