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more favourable circumstances? Why do
you not offer your services to some theatrical

"Hungry people, sir, cannot wait. I did
not think of resorting to this method of
earning a piece of bread, until I saw my wife
ready to perish for the want of it."

The kind Mr, Salt not only relieved his
immediate wants, but offered to recommend
him and his wife to the: manager of Astley's
Circus, in London. Gratefully and eagerly
did the wanderers accept this offer;
while in company with their benefactor, who
paid for their places on the coach, they
journeyed towards town, the man related his
history. Bom at Padua, the son of a poor
barber, and one of fourteen children, Giovanni
Battista Belzoni felt from his earliest youth a
longing desire to visit foreign lands This
"truant disposition" was fostered, if not
caused, by the stories of maritime adventures
told him by an old sailor; who was strongly
suspected of having, during many years,
practised the profession of a pirate.

The reading, or rather devouring, of a
transated copy of "'Robinson Crusoe" (and it is
a most remarkable circumstance that the book
which has for its avowed purpose the
disheartening of restless adventurers, should
have made wanderers and voyagers
innumerable) gave form and fixedness to his
purpose of rambling; and, in company with
his youngest brother the boy set out one
fine morning, without any intention but
the somewhat vague one of "travelling to
seek their fortune." The young fugitives
walked several miles without knowing, in
the least, whither they were going, when
a pedlar, who was riding slowly by in a
cart, accosted them, and asked if they were
going to Ferrara. Belzoni, although he
never heard the name before, immediately
answered in the affirmative. The good-
natured merchant, pleased with the
countenances, and pitying the tired looks of the
children, not only gave them a place in his
vehicle, but shared with them his luncheon of
bread, cheese, and fruit. That night they
occupied part of their companion's lodging;
but next day, as his business required him
to stop at the village where they slept, the
two boys took leave of him, and pursued their
journey. Their next adventure was not so
fortunate. Meeting an empty return carriage,
they asked the vetturino to give them a ride;
and he consenting, they joyfully got in.
Arrived at Ferrara, the vetturino asked them
for money. Giovanni, astonished, replied that
they had none; and the unfeeling man stripped
the poor children of their upper garments,
leaving them half naked and penniless in the
streets of an unknown city. Giovanni's
undaunted spirit would have led him still to
persevere in the wild-goose chase which had
lured him from his home; but his brother
Antonio wept, and complained so loudly, that
he was fain to console the child by consenting
to retrace their steps to Padua. That night,
clasped in each other's arms, they slept
beneath a doorway and the next morning
set out for their native city, begging their food
on the journey.

The severe chastisement which Giovanni,
as the instigator of this escapade, received on
his return, did not in anywise cure his love of
rambling. He submitted, however, to learn
his father's trade, and at the age of eighteen,
armed with shaving and hair-cutting implements,
he set out for Rome, and there
exercised the occupation of a barber with
success. After some time, he became deeply
attached to a girl who, after encouraging
his addresses, deserted him and married a
wealthy rival.  This disappointment preyed
so deeply on Belzoni, that, renouncing at the
same time love and the razor, the world and
the brazen bowl of suds, he entered a convent,
and became a Capuchin. The leisure of the
cloister was employed by him in the study of
hydraulics; and he was busy in constructing
an Artesian well within the monastic precincts
when the French army under Napoleon
took possession of Rome. The monks of
every order were expelled and dispersed;
and our poor Capuchin, obliged to cut his
own beard, purchased once more the implements
of his despised calling, and travelled
into Holland, the head-quarters of hydraulics,
which were still his passion. The Dutch did
not encourage him, and he came to this
country. Here he met his future wife,
and consoled himself for his past misfortunes
by marrying one who proved, through
weal and woe, a fond and faithful partner.
The crude hydraulic inventions of a wandering
Italian were as little heeded here, as on the
Continent; and we have already seen the
expedient to which Belzoni was obliged to
have recourse when Mr. Salt met him in

Having reached London, the kind antiquary
introduced his protégés to the manager of
Astley's. The practised eye of the renowned
equestrian immediately appreciated at their
value the beauty and athletic vigour of the
Paduan Goliath; and he engaged both him and
his wife at a liberal salary. He caused a piece
entitled " The twelve labours of Hercules " to
be arranged expressly for his new performers;
and Mr. Salt had soon afterwards the
satisfaction of seeing Giovanni Belzoni appear
on the stage, carrying twelve men on his
arms and shoulders, while Madame, in the
costume of Cupid, stood at the top, as the
apex of a pyramid, and waved a tiny
crimson flag.

After some time, Mr. Salt went to Egypt as
consul, and there became acquainted with
Signor Dronetti. The two friends, equally
enthusiastic on the subject of Egyptian
antiquities, set to work to prosecute researches,
with an ardour of rivalship which
approached somewhat too nearly to jealousy.
Each aspired to undertake the boldest