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volleys of clownish raillery, the wit of which I am sorry I was unable to understand. It was answered with great good humour, and a quick succession of sarcastic repartee passed between them as long as we continued in sight. This is the same custom to which Horace (Sat. i. 7, 28) refers to as prevailing among the vine-dressers of Italy in these early times:
Tum Praemestimus salso multoque fluenti
A vine-dresser he was, of rustic tone,
The language of these reapers sounded strange to me; and, indeed, in this part of Italy it is curious to observe the varieties of dialect and even distinct languages that are spoken. The fisherman implores the aid of San Niccolo, and addresses his favourite Madonna in language little understood by the bold brigand, who swears by Santo Diavolo, and demands your purse in the jargon of his lawless companions. To-day you stumble upon an Albanian peasant, and again a few hours' ride places you among a colony of modern Greeks. The cause of all this variety of dialect and language may in a great measure be attributed to the difficulty of communication, and the little intercourse that exists between villages only a few miles distant. Unless urgent business draw them from their native valley, they live and die without seeming to dream that the world is larger than the little space bounded by their own horizon. The regulations of the police throw difficulties in the way of locomotion, as it is necessary to receive permission from the magistrate, and also from the police, to sleep a single night away from their village. Only imagine the annoyance, if you could not visit your country residence for a night without applying to the superintendent of police in Liverpool, and yet this is exactly what the inhabitants here must do. They are, of course, obliged to pay for this permission, and as they are not rich, they will not move from their house without a sufficient cause. They are frightened also by the dangers they imagine they must encounter. Their fears are proportioned to their ignorance. Before they depart, prayers are offered up in their village church, and the Madonna is always sure of a votive offering to ensure their safe return. The coast along which I passed exhibited the same uncultivated appearance as yesterday, having large salt-pools here and there; and, after having struck into the interior for five or six miles, I reached the largest river I had yet seen, called Neto, the ancient Neaethus. . It was navigable in the time of Strabo for several miles, but its mouth has long been barred by sand-banks. I crossed it without much difficulty, with my muleteer behind me, though in winter it would require a boat to pass it in safety. In the interior the hills rose to some height, and this was the Mons Clibanus of Pliny, where Siberena was situated, now S. Severina. Here, too, was Mons Physeus, spoken of by Theocritus in conjunction with the Neaethus. I inquired about the wines of this quarter, as Pliny (xiv. 8, 9) alludes to them under the name of Seberiniana; what I tasted, however, could not be commended. Strongoli now began to appear at some distance on the summit of a hill, and I rejoiced to think that my day's labour was drawing to an end, though I was ignorant as to my night's lodgings. The day was fast coming to a close as I ascended the steep hill on which Strongoli is situated, clinging with difficulty to the uncomfortable saddle of my mule. I entered a halfruined village, and proceeded at once to the house of the judge to procure me shelter for the night. His daughters invited me to enter, while they despatched a messenger for their father... I was shown into a small but neat apartment, where I found three handsome girls, assisting each other at their toilette, who seemed not in the least disconcerted by my intru
sion. Their manners were simple and pleasing; their father requested me to accept a bed in his house, and when I hesitated, from an unwillingness to intrude upon him, the young ladies joined with such evident good will in urging the request, that I could not refuse. They have spent the greater part of their life in Naples, and they consider their residence here to be a kind of exile. How strongly contrasted is my reception here to what met me last night in Cotrone !
As I found that there were some remains of antiquity in the vicinity of the village, I proceeded at once to visit them. The village itself presents nothing remarkable, having never recovered from the severe treatment it had received from the Turks. It is supposed to be the site of Petilia, dating its origin from the time of the Trojan war, if geographers can be believed, but it is chiefly remarkable for the long and obstinate resistance it made to Hannibal in the second Punic war. Philoctetes is said to have been its founder, and, as a proof of this, the inhabitants of Strongoli point out the ruins of an ancient edifice, and call it the Temple of Philoctetes. Here they are constantly discovering coins, bronze figures, and terra-cotta lamps. Near their cathedral, which is large and handsome, lie several fragments of pillars of cipollino marble, with some sepulchral inscriptions, that have been already copied; one of them is curious, as it records the will of a citizen, who leaves to the Augustal college of Petilia a sum of money and a vineyard. In this will we have the candelabra of the Romish Church anticipated, for the sum of money is directed to be laid out in the purchase of certain candelabra holding two lights, which are to be used at a particular public festival, at the celebration of which the wine produced by the said vineyard, called Caedicium, is to be drunk. One of the respectable inhabitants is in the possession of a considerable
collection of valuable coins; there was one beautiful medallion that arrested my attention more particularly, but it looked so new, that I suspected it to be of modern date. On one side is a warrior in the act of offering incense on an altar, with an ancient galley in the distance. The inscription is in well-formed letters:
EXSOLVWNT GRATES CAESAR ET IMPERIVM.
On the reverse is a warrior seated on the banks of a stream, with some buildings in the distance, and the inscription,
HAC TANDEM MARS AD THERMAS ABLVISSEM.
I was now invited to join a party who had assembled at their usual rendezvous in the public square, at the door of the principal and only shop of the village. Here they discuss the various transactions of the day, and the appearance of a stranger among them was of course an event of no common occurrence. Many years had passed since any one had visited their village, and the objects of my journey did not appear in their eyes of sufficient importance to justify my having exposed myself to the dangers I must have encountered. This is a very general feeling among them, and is always likely to exist among a people who are chained to the spot where they are born. I inquired if their immediate neighbourhood was infested by robbers, and if they were afraid of riding unarmed to visit their property; but they allowed that all was quiet around them.
The evening was now far advanced, and I proposed to my host that we should return to our fair friends. I found an excellent supper prepared, and a few of the inhabitants invited to meet me. The sparkling eyes, however, of the younger sister proved the most attractive object of the company, and induced me to prolong our social meeting to the “wee sma' hours ayont the twal’.” They gave me a pressing invitation to spend at least part of the following day with them; there are many reasons, however, why I must press forward.
BEFoRE the stars had disappeared I was descending by a narrow and rugged footpath from the village of Strongoli, having parted with regret from my hospitable friends. I passed the ruins which I had examined the preceding evening, and found myself obliged to scramble down a path too precipitous to allow of keeping safely on my mule. The country had a wild appearance from the thick forests that crowned the surrounding heights; and when I entered a small but picturesque valley, it seemed as if I were shut out from all intercourse with the world. Some of the oaks seemed so gnarled and old, that they might in their younger days have sheltered the armies of the Carthaginian general, and witnessed the melancholy though glorious fall of the patriots of Petilia. As the sun rose, I was ascending the rising ground on which the village of Ciro was placed, and passing several patches of Indian corn and small vineyards. A plain of several miles in extent lay towards the sea, where herds of wild ponies were seen galloping through the brushwood. A promontory, on which an ancient Temple of Apollo is said to have been situated, appeared at some distance, and I would have been strongly tempted to visit the spot if I had not known that it had been examined by Swinburne towards the end of last century, when no remains were visible. It is now called Capo dell’ Alice, a corruption possibly of Alaeus, the appellation given to Apollo here. The small village Ciro is walled, though its fortifications seem in so ruinous a state that little resistance could be made to a hostile attack. There was nothing within to induce me to enter, though it is believed to be the site of Crimisa, which, like Petilia, was founded by Philoctetes. One of its inhabitants, Luigi Gigli, was a celebrated astro
nomer, and assisted Pope Gregory XIII. in adjusting the Roman Calendar. The oaken gates of Ciro were now open, and a few of its inhabitants were idling with some girls washing linen at the fountain outside the walls. I have in general been disappointed with the appearance of the women, as they lose at an early age whatever personal beauty they may have possessed by the laborious and toilsome life to which they are exposed. I have been particularly struck by the number of women I have observed in field labour; and on calling the attention of one of the natives to the circumstance, he acknowledged that the women were more industrious, and performed more labour, than their husbands. The education of women of the lower ranks is entirely neglected, and I believe that, even in the higher classes, it is not uncommon to find that they are unable to write. Their manners, however, are pleasing from their simplicity, and I was often astonished to observe with what perfect nonchalance they talked on subjects which are not usually introduced by us in presence of ladies, and I felt at times rather out of countenance, while they evidently were not aware that they were doing anything of which they need feel ashamed. You will understand how matters are in respect to marriage, when I tell you that the law enjoins no marriage to take place before the bridegroom is fourteen and the bride twelve years of age. The ceremony must be contracted in the sight of the Church, if it is to have civil validity either for the parties themselves or for the children. There is, however, a civil act (atto civile), for the execution of which civil officers are appointed, but it limits its provisions concerning marriage to the civil and political effects, leaving all the duties that religion imposes untouched and unchanged. Separation may be obtained, but there can be no complete divorce. The husband may prefer a complaint for adultery, and the guilty wife is confined from three months to two years in a house of correction. The adulterer is fined from fifty to five hundred ducats. Leaving the young damsels at Ciro, I continued to advance for several hours through thick groves of olive-trees, without, however, meeting a human being. It is this want of population scattered over the country that weighs down the spirits; the inhabitants are collected in villages along the heights at some distance from the shores, and you may wander for several hours without seeing any one. On this part of the coast a ridge of hills, of moderate height, runs along parallel to the shore, and at no great distance, the summits of which are covered principally with that species of ash which produces the manna, being larger in leaf than our ash, though it grows to no great height. At last I reached the small village of Cariati, which gives title to one of the most respectable families of Naples. The young Prince of Cariati is an able man, and is believed to have been shamefully treated by the King of Naples. In the revolution of 1820, though he did not openly take part in it, he was considered to be friendly to a liberal form of government, and was pressed to accept the office of ambassador at the court of France. To this request he refused to accede, unless he received the commands of his majesty. The king then issued his orders, and the prince proceeded to France. By the interference of the Austrians, you are aware that the old form of government was restored, and the Prince of Cariati was then removed from his office. As he had only accepted it in obedience to the commands of the king, he did not imagine that he should be considered implicated in the proceedings of the deposed government; but the king has refused him permission to return, and he is now an exile from his country. Cariati is a wretched village, containing not more than a thousand inhabitants, with a church of Gothic architecture, and surrounded by walls in the last state of dilapidation. It has been often plundered by Turkish corsairs, has suffered from the hordes of brigands, and was nearly destroyed by the French in 1806. I rested at Cariati for a short time, till the insects became so annoying that I was fairly driven out, and I determined to push on four hours longer to Rossano. As the day drew towards a close I entered a beautiful wood of olive-trees, and as I was thoroughly tired of the jolting of my mule, I alighted and walked leisurely forward. It was a lovely scene, and I was willing to linger as long as daylight would allow; but my muleteer quickly put an end to my meditations, by assuring me that we were now in a very dangerous wood, called Nierto, where robberies were constantly committed, and that it would be our wisest plan to move forward as rapidly as possible. He pointed to the brow of a hill about half a mile distant, and said that he had observed four men running rapidly along, as if they intended to reach a defile before us, which we must necessarily pass. At this moment we reached an opening in the wood, with a cross, to mark where a murder had been committed, and at the same time I was able to get a glimpse of the hill, where I could perceive three or four men proceeding with great speed, as my muleteer had asserted, while my imagination bodied forth the glance of rifles in their hands. Not a moment was to be lost, as they were already nearer to the defile than we were, but we had in our favour the speed of the mule. I mounted without a moment's delay, and my muleteer leaped up behind. The mule was excellent, and moved forward at a rapid rate under its heavy load. Our opponents evidently saw our intention of getting before them, as they increased their speed as soon as we commenced our operations. The wood in many parts was thick, and the windings of the path rendered it impossible to see many yards before us. To an unconcerned spectator it would have been an amusing race; to me, however, it was of too serious import to allow of anything but feelings of the deepest anxiety. I felt, truly, that death or captivity hung in the balance. I placed a few pieces of gold in my hand, that I might have a chance of saving a small remnant of my purse. The muleteer said that one half-hour would enable us to reach the defile at the rate we were proceeding, and, if we passed it in safety, we might expect to reach Rossano without further molestation. Fortunately we gained the race, and when we passed the dangerous spot, without seeing a single individual, I was tempted to toss up my hat and cry huzza for the victory. It was necessary, however, to push on, that we might not be overtaken, and I was obliged to repress any outward signs of joy. The hills on both sides of this defile rose to a considerable height, more particularly to the left, on the side on which my enemies were approaching, and every moment I expected to hear the report of a rifle, as they would look down upon us while we were galloping through. I