« 이전계속 »
purpose of extracting information, satisfying curiosity, or ascertaining his opinions on politics or religion, objects so intrinsically selfish, that the very idea of them is sufficient to repel any thing like the cordial and frank interchange of feeling. This is perhaps one reason why our people have such a passion for rapid journeys. One of the chief pleasures of a pilgrimage is unknown to them; and it is not wonderful that men should wish to fly through that worst of solitudes, the desert of a crowd. In the old world, however, and especially in its southern regions, it is deemed but natural that those who are thrown together within the precincts of the same vessel or carriage, should maintain that kindly intercourse which so greatly enhances the pleasures and lessens the inconvenience of travel. In the present instance, a score of people were collected on board the same craft, and destined to pass several days in company, strangers to each other, yet alike endowed with common susceptibilities and wants; what truer philosophy than to meet freely on the arena of our common humanity ? Fortunately, we had all been long enough abroad, to be prepared to adopt this course, and accordingly, it was interesting to remark, how soon we were at ease, and on the friendly footing of old acquaintances. There was a general emulation to be disinterested. One vied with the other in offices of courtesy, and even the incorrigible demon of the mal sur mer was speedily exorcised by the magic wand of sympathy. I was impressed, as I had often been before, by the fact that the claims of a foreigner seemed to be graduated, in the estimation of the natives, by the distance of his coun
try. Delano and myself, when known to be Americans, soon became the special recipients of kindness; and the ten days at sea passed away like a few hours. We walked the deck, when it was sufficiently calm, with our fair companions, in friendly converse ; and leaned over the side, at sun-set, to sturly the gorgeous cloud-pictures of the western sky. We traced together the beautiful sce. nery of the is'es in the Bay of Naples, and the night air echoed with the chorus of our songs. Aud when blessed by the moonlight, which renders transcendant the beauty of these regions, our vigils were interrupted only by the rising sun. Even when the motion of the vessel interfered with our promenade, forming a snug circle under the lee, we beguiled many an evening with those gamesome trifles, so accordant with the Italian humor and vivacity. Two of these sports, I remember, were prolific occasions of mirth. The president appoints to each of the party a procuratore, or advocate, and then proposes certain queries or remarks to the different individuals. It is a law of the game, that no one shall reply, except through his advocate. But as the conversation becomes animated, it is more and more difficult to observe the rule; many are taken off their guard by the ingenuity of the president, and commit themselves by a gratuitous reply, or neglect of their clients, and are accordingly obliged to pay a for. feit. Another is called dressing the bride. The presi. dent assigns to a'l some profession or trade, and after a preliminary harangue. which affords abundant opportuni. ty for the display of wit, calls upon his hearers to make a contribution to the bridal vestments, appropriate to their
several occupations. As these are any thing but adapted to furnish such materials, the gifts are incongruous in the extreme; and the grotesque combination of apparel, thus united upon a single person, is irresistibly ludicrous. The point of the game is, to keep from laughing, which, from the ridiculous images and odd associations present. ed to the fancy, at the summing up of the bridal adorn. ments, is next to impossible. The consequence is, a series of penances, which, by the ready invention of the leader, who is generally selected for his quick parts, in their turn augment the fun to which this curious game gives birth.
On arriving at our destination, we were condemned to perform a quarantine of fourteen days, according to the absurd practice but too prevalent in Mediterranean ports. Seldom, however, are such annunciations so complacently received by voyagers wearied with the confinement of ship-board, and eager for the freedom and variety of the shore. In spite of the exclamations of disappointment which were uttered, it was easy to trace a certain contentment on many of the countenances of the group, the very reverse of that expression with which the unwilling prisoner surrenders himself to the pains of du
The truth was, that for several days the inter. course of some of the younger of our party had been verging upon something more interesting than mere acquaintance. Angelica had fairly charmed more than one of the youthful spirits on board ; and there was an evident unwil. lingness on their part to resign the contest, just as it had reached a significant point of interest. Being fond of
acting the spectator, I had discovered a fund of quiet amusement in observing the little drama which was enacting, and nothing diverted me more than the apparent perfect unconsciousness of the actors that their by-play could be noted, and its motives discerned. My sympathies were naturally most warmly enlisted in behalf of poor Delano, notwithstanding that, after exhibiting the most incontestible symptoms of love, he had the assurance to affect anger toward me, because I detected mean. ing in his assiduous attentions to the little syren.
The place of our confinement consisted of a paved square, or rather oblong, surrounded with stone buildings. Within the narrow limits of this court, were continually moving to and fro the occupants of the adjacent rooms, stepping about with the utmost caution, now and then starting at the approach of some fellow-prisoner, and crying largo ! as the fear of contact suggested an indefinite prolongation of their imprisonment. Occasionally old acquaintances would chance to meet, and in the joy of mutual recognition, forget their situation, hasten to. ward each with extended hands, and perhaps be prevented from embracing only by the descending staff of the watchful guard. It was diverting to watch these maneuvres, through our grated windows; and every evening we failed not to be amused at the in-gathering, when the chief senti. nel, armed with a long bamboo, made the circuit of the yards, and having collected us, often with no little difficulty, like so many stray sheep, ushered us with as much gravity as our sarcasms would permit, to our several quarters, and locked us up for the night. The variety of nations and individuals thus congregated within such narrow bounds, was another cause of diversion. Opposite our rooms, a celebrated prima donna sat all day at her embroidery, singing, sotto voce, the most familiar opera airs. Over the fence of the adjoining court, for hours in the afternoon, leaned a Spanish cavalier, one of the adherents of Don Carlos, whom misfortunes had driven into exile. A silent figure, in a Greek dress, lounged at the door beneath us, and at the extremity of the court, a Turk sat all the morning, in grave contemplation. With this personage we soon opened a parley in Italian, and I was fond of eliciting his ideas and marking his habits. He certainly deserved to be ranked among nature's philoso. phers. After breakfast, he regularly locked the door upon his wives, and took his station upon the stone seat, where, hour after hour, he would maintain so motionless a position, as to wear the semblance of an image in Eastern costume. His face was finely formed, and its serious aspect and dark mustaches were relieved by a quiet meekness of manner. He appeared to consider himself the passive creature of a higher power, and deemed it the part of true wisdom to fulfil the requisite functions of nature, and, for the rest, take things as they came, nor attempt to stem the tide of fate, except by imperturbable grav ty, and perpetual smoking. He assured me that he considered this a beautiful world, but the Franks (as he called all Europeans,) made a vile place of it, by their wicked customs and silly bustle. According to his theory, the way to enjoy life, was to go through its appointed offices with tranquil dignity, make no exertion that could possibly be avoided, and repose quies.