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ance to see sights, except where it is notorious they are not worth seeing When Matthews passes by Vicenza with the expression of a hope that there is nothing to see, for if there is he has not seen it, he only provokes us by the carelessness with which he performs his task. It is not safe to assume that any town or even village of Italy possesses nothing worth a visit. We wish it were established as a literary canon that when the author's chief object is to exhibit the workings of his own mind he should choose for his subject some country possessing less claims of its own to interest. Italy is too beautiful to form the background to a fancy portrait.

To avoid the egotism of autobiography, Mrs. Jameson has introduced in her Diary of an Ennuyée an imaginary character, whose feelings and ailments give variety and point to the incidents of travel. But, deservedly popular as this work is, we cannot think the frame' is happy. The supposed writer is no ennuyée,

“’ for she takes the keenest interest in all she sees; and though she is made to complain of fatigue in order to attest the reality of her sufferings, her superhuman activity would defy the imitation of the most robust travellers.

Very similar in plan, but very different in execution, are the French tours published under a 'pseudonyme. In them the author avails himself of his mask to assume the possession of opportunities, pretensions, and accomplishments which it would be preposterous to claim in his own person, to attack whom and what he pleases, and to find shelter from every censure.

If his anecdotes are proved false, he can retort they never were meant to be true ; if his sentiments are reprobated, they are not his own; if his tone is offensive, it was assumed to support the consistency of a fictitious character. It is thus that M. Beyle dictates and vapours under the name of an omniscient, contemptuous young gentleman of aristocratic pretensions and democratic ideas, whom he calls the Comte de Stendhal. He was for some time French Consul at Cività Vecchia, and had seen a good deal of Italian society, though not perhaps of that portion of it of which he speaks most. But Rome, Naples, et Florence' is the result of an early and hurried tour, and though subsequently corrected it bears indelibly the stamp of carelessness and immaturity. His style is rapid and spirited, his observations are pointed and lively; but the supposed writer's assumption of superiority is provoking, and the prolonged mystification is wearisome. As a tour, a work thus written wants authority; as a novel, it lacks incident.

Madame de Staël has endeavoured to unite an instructive tour in Italy with a story of sentiment. The plan had at the time


the merit of novelty, though perhaps the idea may have been remotely suggested by the travels of Anacharsis. But the accessory portion overpowers the principal, and the reader's attention is painfully distracted by two incompatible calls. The growing attachment of Corinne to Lord Nelvil, described, as it is, with all the truth and power of one who painted so well what she had herself so intensely felt, is but awkwardly interwoven with her long and imaginative disquisitions on antiquity and art. In spite of this defect, however, the book was enthusiastically admired. We well remember in early days how completely we were under the enchantress's spell, and how much we regretted that half our illusion was destroyed, when a cynical critic, at that time of undisputed authority, coldly remarked he could not fancy being in love with a woman who had been a 'laquais-de-place. Here is the blot. With Corinne the laquais-de-place, and Corinne the heroine of romance, we cannot fully sympathise at one and the same time, and this is exactly what Mr. Hillard feels when he censures Lord Nelvil for admiring the inconceivable grace' with which Corinne lifts up the curtain at the entrance of St. Peter's. He cannot endure that the hero who is about to view this wonder of the world for the first time should have leisure to admire even the woman he loves. But the error is rather in attempting to divert the reader's attention at this moment of expectation than in supposing Lord Nelvil's admiration could be thus divided. Our younger readers will probably think not even Solomon's temple could engross the thoughts of a lover in all the intoxication of a new-born passion. For our own part, our objection to the incident is of the most matter-of-fact and commonplace character. The massive portière,' which is purposely made as heavy as possible, could not be lifted by any one with grace; and if Lord Nelvil, consumptive though he was, allowed Corinne to lift it at all, we must give him up as a monster of insular inattention. But in truth the task could not have devolved on either of the lovers. Corinne's footman would have forced back the massive barrier a couple of feet to enable them to squeeze through the interstice, as Madame de Staël's footman must have done, or she could not have so far forgotten its weight as to fancy it a curtain of gauze or silk which a fairy might remove. After all, Corinne must not be read as a guide book. Brilliant as are Madame de Staël's descriptions, and full as her pages are of remarks equally just and poetical, her memory is treacherous and her information often inaccurate. She had little perception of the beauties of nature, and of art she was wholly ignorant. She dismisses the frescoes of Raphael with a few sentences ; while she devotes whole pages to the



frigid extravagances of the modern French school with which the heroine's villa at Tivoli, above the great cascade (!), is decorated. • Corinne, however, is unrivalled as a storehouse of


a brilliant sayings, in which the point of the expression brightens into wit, and the poetry of the thought deepens into pathos, and it may be especially recommended to the study of those who do not disdain to shine in borrowed gems. Many years ago a foreign diplomatist at Naples established a reputation by the judicious application of one of these epigrammatic apophthegms, and it was not till some months afterwards that the malice of ill-fortune or of an envious colleague discovered the source of his inspiration.

In many of the older tours, especially of the French school, sentiment--not suggested by external objects but by the author's own circumstances-plays a prominent part; and passages of this kind, like Yorick's sermon, have the advantage of suiting equally well with every text. The President Dupaty, whose voluminous work is an amusing specimen of the taste of the last century, saves himself the trouble of describing the Villa Borghese by summoning in fancy his absent nursery round his knees, and detailing their imaginary gambols beneath the murmuring pines on the delicious turf. M. de Custine, having arrived at a seaport where he wished to avoid the trouble of sight-seeing or of writing a dull and perhaps difficult chapter on freights and exports, supposes bimself wrought up to such a state of feverish anxiety at not receiving letters from the ideal correspondent to whom, by a literary fiction, his narrative is addressed, that all his curiosity respecting external objects is paralyzed.

At one time the presses of Paris and Brussels produced a variety of cleverly-written volumes which, for want of a better name, we must call philosophical tours. These rarely condescend to particulars; they might be produced by hasty travellers who guessed rather than gathered their information (M. de Custine tells us he guessed his four volumes on Russia), and after visiting the country found little to modify. Madame de Genlis, in her otherwise dull Memoirs, gives, as the production of a young friend, a lively caricature of this style of writing. It is a sketch by anticipation of the tour of a common literary acquaintance wbo was just leaving Paris for Rome. The burst of emotion on the first sight of the plains of Italy, accompanied by a marginal note to the effect that the author made the descent of the Alps in the dark and asleep, is very humorously conceived. The entrance into Rome over the desert of the Campagna brings forth a sentimental chapter, professing to combine Gibbon and Montesquieu, and ‘fusing poetry, history, and philo




sophy in the glowing crucible of genius.' The succeeding chapter is intended to present a marked contrast: biting, satirical, and gay, it concludes with “ anecdotes un peu libres sur les dames Romaines,' all of which are to be collected at Paris. In the Holy Week the author is to hold a dialogue with an Indian chief in the Sistine Chapel-no doubt you will suppose, says Madame de Genlis' correspondent, in order that the enlightened author may instruct the savage. Quite the reverse. The savage's keen irony, withering sarcasm, and cogent logic are to lay prostrate all the author's feeble defences of Christianity.

In these days, indeed, a change has taken place, and so far for the better that the reaction has brought us to the least dangerous of two extremes. Instead of finding the opinions of Voltaire put into the mouth of a savage, we shall more probably find the language of Voltaire employed to give point to the sentiments of St. Dunstan. The covert insinuation of atheism has given way to the open, though often, we suspect, affected profession of a dreamy sentimental bigotry. And if the brilliant statesman and man of letters can obtain followers by promulgating theories of papal virtues and papal rights, which in the last century would have raised doubts of his sanity, it is not strange that bigotted, perhaps ambitious, ecclesiastics should profess a blind and omnivorous credulity which has no parallel since the invention of printing. In his four heavy 8vos, the Abbé Gaume notices every legend, however extravagant, every relic however absurd, which comes within his observation. He believes every iota. According to his view of passing events, the world is governed by a divinely-inspired delegate, who reigns on the seven hills, assisted by a hierarchy of sages and saints, and but feebly opposed by a malignant influence called heresy. As a sample of the true mode of reading the past with the eye of faith, he tells us that it is an heretical figment to represent Galileo as impeded in his physical researches by the Inquisition. The truth is, that the philosopher foolishly and arrogantly endeavoured to support his theories, some of which have been since confuted, and all of which were then doubtful, by proofs derived from Scripture. The Holy Office saw at once how dangerous to the authority of Scripture, and how injurious to the progress of science, this unphilosophical mode of arguing might prove, and firmly but mildly repressed this explosion of the mathematician's bigotry by requiring him to reside for a time under the roof of his particular friend the Archbishop of Siena.

But in truth, it is not one of the least curious subjects of speculation in looking back on the labours of successive generations of tourists, to observe with what differently coloured spectacles the traveller provides himself at different periods. In the less important matters of literature and art public feeling has greatly changed of late. In the beginning of the century Eustace found 'a classical tour' the most attractive title he could take for his work, and he followed Addison in collecting all the passages of the classics which refer to the objects he visits. Forsyth takes credit for refusing to visit the tomb of an early pope at Grotta Ferrata, or to see anything at Tusculum but Cicero; Villa d'Este he treats as an object of ridicule. Göthe will not enter the magnificent convent at Assisi, and is persecuted (of course a philosopher in the year 1786 found it necessary to be persecuted) because he insists on preferring to visit the Temple of Minerva. Beckford compares Mecherino's pavement to “ hobgoblin tapestry,' and speaks of Siena Cathedral as being generally considered a piece of elaborate absurdity. In these days the ancients can barely find toleration on their own peculiar ground, and their modern followers are proscribed. Palladio's architecture, once held to be the model of grace and beauty, makes the devotees of Gothic art positively sick; and painting, which is now supposed to be admirable only in its infancy, loses all its interest as it approaches the softness, the fullness, and the truth of nature. Where shall we be at the next oscillation of the pendulum ? If we cannot make our taste comprehensive enough to discern beauty in all its forms, let us at least remember that our judgments will not be more respected by our successors than those of our predecessors are by us, and let us try to learn the lesson of toleration.


Of the statistical tour, containing information on all social and political matters, the professed specimens are few. The time, labour, and patience required for such researches are more than the amateur will choose or the professional author can afford to give. In French, the most considerable attempt of the kind with which we are acquainted is the 'Etudes Statisques sur Rome,' by the Comte de Tournon. His work was published only in 1831, though his design was conceived and much of his materials collected when Rome was a department of France and he governed it as its · Préfet.' The information he has gathered is most useful, and the skill with which he has mapped the country and divided his subject will considerably lighten the labours of future inquirers. In English, Mr. Whiteside's is the only work of the kind which we have seen of late years. But his stay in the country was too short, and he travelled at a time when Englishmen insisted on preferring the visions of a hopeful imagination to the evidence of their senses. He was obliged to collect his information from chance informants at coffee-houses

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