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stalwart arms occasion me much personal
inconvenience, and even pain; and gentle remonstrances,
as well as physical protest in the
shape of counter-elbow pronunciamiento, are
equally unavailing. Sullen and resigned, I am
thinking what retribution may be in store for
this cruel combination of miserable heart and
sharpened elbows, when suddenly I am startled
by a loud hollow thud and a suppressed shriek,
and, turning sharply, see my Capuchin rubbing
his hair (it was thick, and matted, and very
rough) convulsively, and with features contorted
with agony. All contiguous faces are
turned upwards, searching out the mystery; but
I look down, and see at my feet a thick substantial
wax candle which had descended from
the firmament, from a ledge somewhere in the
regions of the huge dome! Bystanders commiserate
feelingly the poor Capuchin whose wonderful
head had sustained such a shock. But
while they pour in their consolations (accepted
ruefully enough), a light, trim little French soldier
has skipped up lightly, has deftly picked up
the irregular lump of wax and slipped it into
the pockets of his voluminous red pantaloons.
He gives the injured ecclesiastic a shrug of
sorrow and a pitying " Mon Dieu!" and is gone,
just as the Capuchin is querulously looking
about under his sandalled feet for the odious

At home in un-Eternal London the science of
bare-wall advertising takes odd shapes and
vagaries, and in the matter of colouring bursts
into the most fiery combinations. Still, even
with such training, who can be prepared for
this affiche, this mortuary emblazonment, where
an enormous span of dead wall (a not inappropriate
field) is projected over profusely with
tiers of very spirited skeletons on a black
ground? They are full of lively gesture, and
seem to go through a kind of dismal poses
plastiques and sepulchral gymnastics. By some
being fiery red and others a staring yellow,
allusion may have been intended to another
person, for whom a skeleton, with the addition
of horns and such decoration, will pass
tolerably well. But there are heraldic ornaments
intermingled with these grisly figures;
so we must take the whole combination to be
in the nature of an eccentric hatchment. In
our Eternal City we get a sort of morbid taste
for these things, and take a hideous comfort in
the ghastly "properties" of death. I never was
so startled as at that strange pall, in the middle
of a church, which was perfectly alive with
little yellow skeletons, skipping over it like
the imps in a pantomime. It was the most
grotesque performance that could be conceived;
but I have no doubt was considered a very
chaste effort, and highly suggestive of becoming

But this distasteful familiar does take a more
touching shape when of a bright sunny day you,
who are wandering hither and thither, revolving
picture or statue, or some such immortality, are
stayed suddenly, hearing sweet voiceschildren's
voicessinging just at hand, and coming
round the corner, and the hymn drawing
nearer, and rising still louder, some bystander
tells how this is the orphan boy, whom other
orphans are burying. A most touching, pathetic
little train! A file of children, graduated to all
sizes, and all in the quaint white flowing robes
which denote orphanage, with the priests, and
swinging censers, and cross swaying in the air,
and flowersyes, there was abundance of flowers
and the small light casenot the dismal,
elongated lozenge which prevails at home, with
the funereal brilliancy of nails and platings, but
absolutely a cheery, festival-like thing, where
the little orphan slept, carried on the shoulders
of six white little orphans. This, too, under
the brightest sun and a turquoise-blue sky, without
a disturbing breath abroad. It seemed a
festival day, a bright, peaceful holiday for the
little orphan boyas, indeed, we may be pretty
sure it was. And so he was sung away round
the corner out of my sight.

An Eternal City is a very masquerade ball for
confusing diversity of dresses. In the shops are
to be purchased a sort of costumier's vade
mecumlittle books of coloured plates, which
flutter to the ground in a long paper riband,
presenting a panorama of all the disguises,
ecclesiastic, civil, and military. And yet, with
such help, and even a commendable knowledge
of detail in the matter of this refinement,
which helps to set right the errors of pure
ignorant strangers, I own I am confounded and
gravelled (to use a fine old bit of Saxon) by
these grey men sitting dismally on a bench at
their archway. In the mere fact of grey men
sitting dismally on a bench there is nothing
curiously startling. Grey men have been seen
walking the earth before now; not wholly unfamiliar
is the bench as a convenient and expansive
form of seat. No; what gravelled me (to
import that chip of racy Saxon again) was seeing
fellow-creatures sitting on a bench with bright
brass barbers' basins on their heads instead of
caps. Unadulterated barbers' basins. These
eyes have seen such, swinging within convenient
distance of the symbolical pole, with that mysterious
chip, or bite, out of the edges. There
is a legend over their archway, and the legend
runs, " POMPIERI." Pumpers! Pompiers! Fire-men!
It is explainedthat is their simple calling.
They fly by night: and they have a very
neat little waggonette of an engine laid up in
their archway, on which they ride to conflagrations.
They have a delightful time of it, the
pumpers, sitting in the sun, snoozing or smoking,
anything, in fact, but putting out fires. At
times, at moments of inert languor and of weary
buffetings with an ungrateful world, an inexpressible
longing seizes on me for the tranquil
lot of a pumper. I think, with a sad feeling of
envy, of the bright barber's basinbrilliant but
unexplained head-dress. A first-class nobleman
of three tails is captain-general of the pumpers
wears the peculiar uniform of his corps (has
he, I wonder, a glorified barber's basin?), and
very likely takes the box-seat on his little engine.
All this, too, is Gallican; plagiarised, probably,