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lermo are, in some degree, appropriated to carrying a basket, it is full of Indian figs. certain occupations: not that each trade ex- Every ass that is seen coming into the city in clusively attaches itself to any one part of the the morning is loaded with Indian figs. Every town, but, generally speaking, it has a local peasant that is seen in the evening counting situation, where it inay be considered as pre- his copper money on a stone, is reckoning the dominant. The Via Toledo seems to be the produce of his Indian figs. If any article be grand emporium of all the professions depen- bad, it said not to be worth an Indian fig; and dant on fashion. Another street is almost there is nothing in the world better than an entirely occupied with brasiers; and there is | Indian fig. It is the only luxury that the perhaps not a more noisy spot in all Europe. | poor enjoy; and, like all other luxuries, it is la a Ibird street I observed a number of female | exempt from taxation. children, in almost every house, employed in! In Palermo the population has exceeded tambouring and embroidering muslin. the increase of houses, and, in consequence,
The college of the Jesuits in the Via Toledo, it is exceedingly difficult to find an empty is the finest building in Palermo. It may not babitation. In the year 1809 the demand was occupy so much ground as Christ Church in greater than had ever before heen known, and Oxford, or Trinity in Cambridge, but in archi- was attended in many instances with much tecture it excels them; and it is adorned with llinconvevience. Persons who had given notice more costly ornaments. The stairs and gal- of removal, not being able to find houses, re. leries are spacious. The steps of all the for. || fused to quit at the term ; and landlords, in mer are made of large single blocks of marble, l order to avail themselves of the augmented and the walls of the latter are bung with pic- l value of their property, attempted to oblige tures and portraits, several of which are said the tenants either to remove or to pay a higher to be very good.
rent. This excited much conversation ; and, Among the extraordinary things in the as the Sicilians have a great deal to say on all frame of the society of this country, may be subjects, their noise and clamour at length reckoned the exemption of articles of luxury reached the ears of Government, and it was from taxation. Neitber carriages, horses, nor thought expedient to order that no person in houses, are subject to assessmeut. Even fo- the possession of a house should, for that reigo wines in Palermo are rated at little more If term, be forced to quit, nor any increase take than the wines of the island. But all those place in the rate of rents. This sudden influx Decessaries, of which the labourer requires as of inhabitants in Palerino is supposed to inany aud as much as the noblemav, consti- l be owing to Neapolitan and other Continental tuie the means of the revenue. Here the emigrants. monopolies of bread, fish, oil, &c. are an The buildings erected during the early part nually farmed; and the privilege of selling ice, ll of the last century are on a more magnificent which in Palermo is as much an article of scale than those recently constructed. The Decessity as porter is in London, is disposed style, if I may use the expression, was then of in the same manner. It is hardly possible more spacious, and the interior ornaments to imagine a fact more strikingly illustrative of more splendid. The walls and cielings of the the contempt withi which the people of this apartments in the new houses are either stain, island are regarded.
ed with simple colours, or painted in imitaThe quantity of Indian figs, or prickly pears, 1 tion of paper hangings, while the doors and as they are sometimes called, consumed in pannelling are commonly plain. But in the Sicily, is almost incredible. In every part of old houses, the walls are hung with satin and the country you meet with plantations of lo- tapestry, the doors are gilded, and the pannels dian figs. In every village, stalls are seen are often covered with mirrors or pictures. covered with Indian figs. At every corner of This alteration in the style of domestic accom. every street in Palermo, are piles of Indian modation, might lead one to conclude that fige. If a Sicilian be observed eating any Palermo had fallen from its ancient opulence. thing, it is certainly Indian figs. If he be " But the falling off, in poiut of state and shew, may be owing to the introduction of a taste steeple were deranged. The servants in the for more comfort and convenience. The re-hotel, being acquainted with our way of sidence of the nobility in the capital, during reckoning the hours, vever found any diffithe reign of the present King, bas diffused culty in understanding my orders or inquiries among the tradesmen so much wealth, that wbicb respected time, and they always ana middle class has begun to arise here; while swered according to our practice. I know not the fashionable competitions of the nobility in how long I might have continued in this state their entertainments bas impaired their in- of ignorance and error, had not I overheard a heritance, and forced them to incur debts gentlemen observe jocularly that it was noon which no longer permit them to maintain the to-day at the seventeenth hour. This expressplendour of their ancestors. If, therefore, nosion excited my atiention; and, after I got palaces be now building, but many falling home, and had thrown myself upon a sofa, into ruin, changes may be observed going on, I began to ruminate upon it. “Was it a scripwhich more than compensate this disadvan- tural mode of expression ?" No: “ for the tage. The suburbs of Palermo begin to in- | Jews reckoned from the watches of the dicate something like the formation of that might :-What can it mean?"-At this inte. comfortable middle class, which is the pre- resting moment, the waiter happening to come eminent boast and distinction of England. into the room, was, just as he entered, asked
The Palermitans are certainly greatly addict by some one in the passage, “what o'clock it ed to cards and billiards. The number of then was?"_" Twenty one and a half,” angaming-houses adapted to all ranks and deswered he. “Twenty-one and a half o'clock," grees is astonishing. So general and babitual, echoed I : “ why this is still more mysterious." indeed, is the passion for play, that it mani. I immediately started upright, and began to fests itself in situations where, previously, one examine the waiter on the subject. The result should not expect to meet with it;. it is the rulu | was a most satisfactory explanation of the ing passion of the Sicilians. In going one morn
whole mystery, and an ample vindication of ing to the Tribunal of Justice, I saw a groupe the steeple from the suspicion that I enterof card-players sitting on the landing place | tained of its sanity. The Sicilians, it seems, of the staircase, earnestly occupied with their begin to reckon their time from san-set, an game, although the bustle around them was
hour after which is one of the o'clock; in couas great as that of the Royal Exchange of Lon
sequence, as the declination of the sun alters, don at high change time. On the Marina,
the time by the clock at which it is noon also when the weather will not permit the boats to changes. Part of my error as to the public put to sea, I have frequently seen the fisher. clock bad arisen, I found, in consequence of men at cards; nor is it unusual to observe its superior endowments, for it told quarters bands of idle boys sitting on the steps of the as well as the bours, and the hours only by church doors engaged in the same spendthrift | half dozens. occupation.
The appearance of the Italian Theatre, and One of the most puzzling things to an Eng- l the interior arrangement, I think superior to Jish stranger in Sicily is tbe mode uf reckon
ours. The boxes are snug little lodges, suit. ing time. I was several days in Palermo be.
able for many purposes, as well as of seeing fore I understood it, or indeed suspected that the performance on the stage. There is no it differed from ours, having either gever | gallery. But the pit is divided into two de. beard, or forgotton, that the Italian mode of partments. The back division being at a lower computing was different from that of the rest rate, answers the purpose of a gallery equally of Europe. Sometimes the public clock in the well, and is more easily kept in order. DisPiazza Marina, where I staid, pronounced the turbances, indeed, are not likely to occur in hours with much audible distinctness, and the Theatres of Palermo; for the benches are there was little difference between it and my l subdivided into a certain number of seats watch; but it was in general so incoherent, leach, and on paying the price at the door, a that I began to think that the intellects of the ticket, with the pumber of the beneb and the
seat, is given. Que is not, therefore, exposed two customs does, in the smallest degree, in. to any pressure, and a seat may be always fringe public liberty; on the contrary, by secured by sending in time for a ticket. It securing justice to individuals, they pro. is not the custom for persons to go alone to mote it. the boxes, because it is necessary to pay for It is somewhat remarkable, that the gesti. the whole box. But, in taking a box, the culation on the stage of Palermo is more mo. pumber which may be carried with one is of derate than ours : it is, at the same time, much no consequence ; a good regulation for fa more emphatic. The Sieilians, iudced, excel milies where there are many unmarried daugh- || in ibis respect, and even in the streets, one ters. The boxes are separated from each sometimes sees an unstudied display of this other in front by a division apparently about tacit oratory equal to some of our best preme. a foot broad, which gives them a much
ditated exbibitions. snugger appearance than the pigeon-boles of The apparatus of the Palermian stage is not the King's Theatre in London, and adds for an instant to be compared to that of the greatly to the symmetry and beauty of the
smallest of the London houses, either in point bouse.
of wagnificence or of variety. But in some A great part of the audience in the pit ge- other things it is not inferior ; for though the nerally consists of the Officers of the Guards
dresses are less splendid, and the scenery less and the Garrison, and some of the knacky
various, the dramas are got up with much little ones carry gimblets in their pockets,
miputeness and propriety of decoration. which they screw into the back of the seats
Of the character and condition of the Sicibefore them, to serve as pegs for their hats.
lian Nobles I have uniformly received but one Females are not allowed to come into the pit : 1 opinion. The time of by far the greater num. and, instead of the women that annoy one so
ber is spent in the pursuit of amusement, and much in the London houses with “ Nice of any other object tban the public good. The oranges, and a bill of the play,” the servants
most of them are in debt, and the incomes of of the company in the boxes attend their
but few are adequate to their wants : many
are in a sate of absolute beggary. masters or mistresses with ices, &c. and one person has a monoply of the sale of refresh One evening, as I happened to be returning ments in the pit.
home, I fell in with a procession of monks and In the Theatres of Palermo there are two soldiers, bearing an image of St. Francis ; and excellent customs for the public, the authors, not having seen any thing of the kind before. and i be performers. When a new piece is to I went with the crowd into a church towards be brought out, the Court generally goes to which the procession was moving. While the Theatre, and, by its presence, insures a reckoning the oumber of the friars as they fair bearing to the performance. An actor, entered, and having reached one hundred and before the sovereign, rarely has presumption
seventy, all excellent subjects for soldiers, a enough to sloven over his part, and conspira
well.dressed gentleman came up to me, and, tors are restrained in their designs, whether bowiog, pointed to some of the ornaments as they be against the author or the public. The objects worthy of a stranger's curiosity; but practice of applauding, by clapping the perceiving me shy of entering into conversa. bands, is here as vehemently in use as with tion with bim, and the procession entering us; but singers are not obliged to repeat their the church at the same time, he walked or was songs at the will of ten or a dozen obstrepe forced by the curreot of the crowd away. rous encorers. When the applause continues | The idol being placed near the high altar, so long and general as distinctly to show i be the crowd began to chaunt a hymo. As they wish of the audience, the Lord Mayor of the all fell on their knees, and my tight preju. city, as we should call him, or the magistrate | dices and small clothes would not permit me next in raok to him, when he bappens not to do the same, I turned into one of the side to be present, gives a sign to the actor, and the chapels, and, leaning against the railing of the song is repeated. Certainly neither of these altar, began to speculate on the spectacle be
No. XXIX. Vol. V.-N.S.
fore me, when the stranger again accosted , ihe value of the poor man's stock this me. Somewhat disconcerted by the inter- l strength) will also sbare in the general benefit. ruption, and by tbe forwardness of the man, || The Sicilians themselves are no great con. I abruptly quitted my place. But before sumers of animal food. Sallads, macaronies, I had moved two steps, he approached, and and olives, constitute the main part of their bowing, said, “I am the Baron M- , fare; and if the frugality that is the result Ĩ instant the worshippers rose, and the pro- || would deserve great praise. Children and cession turning to go out at one of the side young people eat bread to breakfast; but doors near where we were standing, before adults seldom take more than a single cup of I could retreat, I found myself involved in the coffee. The dinner hour is early, and correcrowd, and obliged to go with the stream. | sponds to the luncbing time of the English. When I reached the street, I found the Supper is the principal meal. They do not stranger again at my side. This is very ex. | drink wine at table with one another as we do, traordinary, thought I ; and, without seeming but fill tbeir glasses as they please. Nor is it to notice bim, walked away. He followed; ll the custom to inquire of a stranger, of what and when we had got out of the nucleus of dish he would choose to eat. The fish and the throng, he seized me firmly by the arm, meats being cut up, a servant carries them and drew me aside. Euraged and alarmed at | round, and the guest takes whichever he this myserious treatment, I shook him fiercely 1 likes. There is, in general, an evident imita. from me. For about the time that ove could | tion of British customs; but, like all other count twenty, he seemed to hesitate ; and then, imitations, the effects are sometimes Indicrous. suddenly coming back, repeated, in Italian, | In Palermo it is not confined to dress and with considerable energy, “1, I am the Baron | the etiquettes of the table; but extends even M- This is my palace; but I have no. to the construction of the houses. There are thing to eat !' I looked at the building, near | several new ones painted to imitate bricks, the gate of which we were tben standing : it with which the proprietors have heard that was old and ruinous: there was no lamp in the English houses are built. The most luthe court-yard, and only a faint light glim dicrous instance of this taste, that I have mering is one of the windows.
seen, is the palace of Prince Belmonte, at the Mistaking my silence and astonishment, he bottom of Mount Pelegrino. The building is pulled out his watch, and, placing it in my certainly in the British style, and not unlike band, entreated me to give him some money
the body of Wapstead-house, in the neighbour. As I had no disposition to become a pawn- || hood of London. The stone of Palermo is so broker, I returned it with some expressions of || very coarse, that it is necessary to coat the surprise, aud took out my purse with the in- | walls with a plaster prepared from it. But tention of giving it to him, for it only con instead of the native stone colour of the plaster tained iwo or three small pieces. But being retained, the walls of this palace are here all the soleninity of the adventure ter Il painted to resemble brick, to the great disminated. He snatched it out of my baud, Il grace of a beautiful marble portico. and, emptying the contents into his own, re In the whole city of Palermo, which protorned it; and, wishing me good night, ran || bably exceeds in the number of palaces all into the gateway.
the cities of the British empire put together, Since the arrival of the British in Sicily, the land the population of wbich is more than price of meat has nearly doubled, and the double that of Edinburgh, there are but two value of cattle of all descriptons bas been regular booksellers. There are, it is true, raised prodigiously throughout the whole several other shops where books are sold; but island; the effect of which must soon be felt they are mean and dirty, and only anti, in the improved cultivation of the land, and | quaries and vermio frequent them, au increase of the wages of labour. The value The Queen must, undoubtedly, be consider. of aristocratic property will be increased, and ll ed as the first person in Sicily, as the King leaves all the affairs of the state to her ma- ||' The chief merit of the King is his good nagement; and certaiuly she conducts thèm nature, of which he possesses an abundant with much address and spirit. The wisdom | portiou. He is, I think, very popular among of her measures, as to the effect intended, is the Sicilians ; who, in po small degree, manianother question. In her attention to busi fest the same characteristic as their sovereign. Dess she is quite indefatigable; and the num Not taking any active part in the proceedings of ber of letters and papers, which appear in her government, he escapes the odium of its meaova haud-writing, is so extraordinary, that I sures ; and he has, occasionally, interfered bare beard her application described as a pag l in cases of particular grievance, in a way that sion for doing every thing herself. Notwith- || bas obtained the applause of his peuple ; so standing the moral defects generally laid to that, in those acts where he has appeared her charge, she is said to be much esteemed by ll at all as the monarch, he has been always her immediate attendants, and to possess seen to advantage. I have been told that he is many amiable qualities. In her affections as partial to our national character, and not even a mother, she is intitled to the greatest re irritated at the freedom with which his own spect. It is indeed not uncommon to find the conduct has been treated by some of our public and private character of persons in high writers. stations at variance.
LETTERS ON THE MANNERS, CUSTOMS, &c. OF DIFFERENT
LETTER 1.-HUNGARY. | Hungary of Mowbray, descended from these The friendship which unites us, will not | Huns, who gained it, by conquest of the ellow me to refuse you the pleasure you pro Roman Empire, over the first inbabitants of mise yourself in the communications and re this country; and that the Huns rescued it flections which I mean to give you, and which from the dominion of the Romans, and that I have made on the manners and customs of it was wrested from them by the Madiars, the the different countries through which I have ll original vatives of Caucasas; that they travelled. Do not, however, expect to meet quitted it about the ninth century to disperse with a circumstantial detail of those subjects, ll themselves amongst the Sclavonians, and that on which I intend only slightly to touch: the they afterwards marched forth and endea. undertaking would be too profound and exten voured to penetrate into Poland and Bohemia : sive to be the theme of these few letters. Well the valour of the inhabitants and the thickness have each of us sagacity enough to know l of their forests were invincible obstacles what will be sufficient to prove to you the against them, and repulsed by these difficul. pbysical and moral causes, with their conse ties they departed for Hungary, which they quences of what I shall lay before you. entered, by traversiog the morasses. Here
I will begin by Hungary; a country much they met with but a feeble resistance. better known to Europe than it deserves to The Madiars are now some of the most be; you are acquainted with its natural and l wealthy proprietors; and several of them are political history, and consequently all that I of the first nobility : the families the most can say on that subject will be useless : how. ll splendid and ancient are the Palfys, the ever, without pretending to refresh your me Erdudys, thy Nathiarys, Nadastys, Banffys, mory by those facts, which may be absolutely Festoliers, and Boras; all descended from necessary to the elucidation of my narrative, these conquerors. All these nobles act by the I beg leave to remind you, that it was some law of exclusive property, so contrary to a divided nations which inhabited this kingdom, nation's prosperity. The Sclavonians, called 10 which the Huns gave their pame; and you Slaraques, by the people of Hungary, inhabit will recollect, without doubt, that it was the western part; they were evidently esta