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elements than man'sthan man's——" I wasn't
exactly sure what, but there was no need of the
word, for a gust of wind had just flattened my
umbrella in my face as I issued forth, and left
me breathless, as the door closed behind me.


I SIT in Rome, in a gloomy chamber of an
albergo giving upon Conductor-street, which is
all French in its window hangings, French in its
flaming paper, French (and luxurious) in its
spring mattress, bluntly English in its strip
of carpet: otherwise generally denationalised
in its appointments and decorations. There
is nothing curule about the chairs, which,
though perhaps uncomfortable as a form of seat,
would have been classical and consoling; and the
eye misses that appropriate triclinium or reclining
couch, on which this famous people were wont
to take their rest. So, looking blankly into the
sort of domestic brick-kiln where fires are
kindled in the severe season, I think there is
nothing left for me, but to become generally
practical and statistical, and to go forth and
look for the noble Roman, and make him a
social study after the manner of Mr. McCulloch.


A grinding, a jangling, a rattling in the court
a straining, as though ship's blocks and cordage
were clattering through a storm; and I am
at the window. There is a poor old lion's head
below, very green and slimy, who has been
supplying water through his open mouth for I
don't know how many years. At the lion's head
converge innumerable tight ropes, which spring
upward wildly, and are secured high at lofty
garret windows. And now from one special
aerie, a tin pail is performing, along its own
special rope, a terrific and daring descent. With a
cruel bump it comes dangling against poor old
lion's head, by this time pretty well used to such
treatment, and after struggling to right itself,
gets at last straight under the mouth, and is
filled satisfactorily. Thence is drawn up with
fitful jerks and spasms, scattering great splashes
on the court at various stages of elevation. It
is common to see a helpless can struggling
painfully for many minutes to get itself upright
under the mouth, until some passer-by
compassionating, steps in and sets the acrobatic can
upon his legs. There is something so quaint
and lazy in this fashion of drawing water, that
I go out into the street in spirits. Only one
moment's hesitation on the threshold of the
hostelry, one short suspension while the bells ring
in the orchestra and the curtain rolls up slowly.
Considering that the two gable ends, as it
were, of Conductor-street stand in bold shadow
as good and effective flies or side scenes, and
bring out, in fine clear light, a good strip of
Spanish-place, with a glimpse of many whitened
steps ascending the hill at the back, and capped
by a church of towers, inside of which you may
be sure the organ is playing, and with a
practicable fountain boat-shaped well to the front,
this scene of "a street in Rome" makes a good
opening to the piece. But, when figures in
picturesque garb emerge from behind a pillar and
begin to descend the steps slowly;—first stragglers
of the chorus, who will appear presently
and also descend the steps conscientiously, I
feel with a certain enthusiasm that the "business"
is indeed commencing, and that the dresses
and decorations will be all in the best taste.

Two noble figures, with Antinous chests and
shoulders, with mournfully roving eyes and
coal-black curled beards, who wear peaked hats
streaming with scarlet recruiting ribbons, and
braided jackets, and loose blue sleeves and
scarfs, and stockings wound round and round,
with sandals! Here at last are the brave
children of the soil, breathing a pastoral simplicity
and innocent rusticity; something to be in
harmonious keeping with the noble scenic houses,
and corners, and famous churches. The modern
riff-raff canaille corruption has not encrusted
them; they are pure and childlike in sophistication.
These are the bold peasantry, "their
country's pride," which good Doctor Goldsmith
so bemoaned. These are——Tush! some one
presently plucks the scales from my eyes. They
are no more than walking shams, mere theatrical
men; bal masqué peasants, dressed up to order and
now on their road to the studio. Models much
in demand, they will there exhibit the Antinous
chest and coal-black beards at so many Pauls
the hour.

Sorrowfully turning into this long attenuated
streetwhich has a kind of irregular straightness,
and, in some degree, suggests the Kalver-straat
at Amsterdam, only that it lacks the fine vermilion
cheek of that thoroughfare, burnished
hebdomadally to a shining brightnessI see by a
certain legend written in a careless shaking text,
that this is the VIA DEL CORSO. But for this
information, I should never take these straggling
lines of mean houses in shabby plaster coats, and
who stand together, now tall, now one short, like
an ill-sized regiment; which are dark and louring,
and have soiled, unwashed faces, and which
show a few mean booths rather than shops, where
you may buy Paris pomades and scent-bottles,
and old opera glasses, and coloured prints faded
out of all colour by exposure in the windows;
where, indeed, a huge megatherium of a palace,
with windows by the hundred, has intruded
itself magnificently, with an olive-tinted church
or two, but only to the prejudice of the poorer
company it is cheek by jowl with,—but for the
legend on the wall, could I think I was walking
down the famous street where is held Carnival,
Saturnalia, Riot, and the horses run their mad
races. Still the scarlet draping of all those balconies
must, I can well fancy it, warm the thing up.

With an hour's discursive ramble, aiming
at no special point, but striking out, according
to whim, now to the right, now to the left,
I gather and take home with me a photographic
sketch of what sort of thing an Eternal City
is. It does not laugh, and sparkle, and blossom
luxuriantly into squares and verdure, or reel off
exuberantly whole miles of Boulevards. It is of
a sombre, morbid temperament, running much