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culum (in the Papal States), being generally called tarantula. Its bite seldom kills a man, yet it makes him half stupid, and affects him in a variety of ways; they generally call it tarantula. Some, when a song or tune is heard, are so excited that they dance full of joy, and always laughing, and do not stop till they are entirely exhausted; others spend a miserable life in tears, as if bewailing the loss of friends . . . . some die laughing, and others in tears.” He mentions several other writers who gave the same, or a still more circumstantial, account, and yet he regarded the whole as a delusion, or, what was still worse, an attempt to deceive. At the same time it is curious to find Hesychius, the lexicographer, who is supposed to have lived previous to A.D. 389, explaining the word Paxayyāra by the expressions reëmptopévm, mpedaggum, “infuriated, excited.” This seems as if Hesychius was aware of the alleged effects from the bite of the phalangus. The well-educated Italian is now ashamed that such absurd stories should have been circulated, and denies that the phalangus, which is no doubt in great quantities in this part of Italy, has any such effect on the human system as his ancestors foolishly believed. My fair hostess wrote out with her own hand the manner in which the Pizzica, a dance peculiar to the Tarentines, was conducted, and I do not doubt that she could have shown it still more clearly, and with better effect, on the floor of the ball-room. I give you her own words, and you will see that it is not unlike an old rather vulgar Scotch dance, called the Pillow, which has been banished since quadrilles became fashionable, but which may still be seen at country kirns: Una donna comincia a carolar sola, dopo pochi istanti ella jetta un fazzolletto a colui che il capriccio le indica, e lo invita a danzar seco. Lo stesso capriccio lefa licenziar questo e chiamare un altro e poi un altro, finchè stanca va a riposare. Allora rimane al suo ultimo compagno il diritto d'invitare altre donne. Il ballo continua in tal modo sempre piu variato e piacevole. Guai al male accorto che la curiosità conduce al tiro del fazzolletto poichè ne la sua inespertezza ne la grave età è una scusa; un dovere di consuetudine l' obliga a non ricusare l’invito che riceve. “A lady begins a country dance alone; after a few moments she throws a handkerchief to some one whom she fancies, and invites him to dance with her. The same caprice dismisses him and invites another, and then another, till wearied she goes to rest herself. Then her last partner has the privilege of inviting other ladies. The dance continues in this way always more varied and delightful. Woe to the imprudent on-looker whom curiosity leads to watch the throwing of the handkerchief, since neither his ignorance of the mazy dance nor gravity of years is any excuse; custom obliges him not to refuse the invitation which he receives.” This is the Pizzica of the Tarentines, and you can easily believe that it may be made a source of great amusement. Everywhere I find the people thinking of little else than the enjoyment of the passing hour. They seem thoroughly to have imbibed the Epicurean doctrine of Horace's (Od. i. 11, 3):
Sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi #. longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida Stas; carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
Thy life with wiser arts be crown'd,
Must we suppose that, where the earth furnishes the necessaries of life in abundance, a bright 'sky with an eternal spring, she also produces beings of a happy disposition, who, throwing cares and sadness to the winds, trust that to-morrow may bring what is wanting to-day, and thus live on in a light-hearted thoughtless kind of life? I observe in this people the most shrewd and active industry not to make riches, but to live free from care.
Still, with all this love of pleasure, I feel that I have got into a part of Italy where the inhabitants are much more alive and active than those I have hitherto visited. There is a considerable commerce carried on of various kinds, more particularly in oil; I find, at the same time, that they are more liberal in their political sentiments, and it is difficult to avoid expressing my opinions on subjects which I would much rather avoid.
Having seen as much of Taranto as I cared to do, I have determined to start by sea to visit the heel of the boot, Capo di Leuca, where a Temple of Minerva once stood.
FINDING at Taranto an open boat proceeding to Gallipoli—a considerable city about sixty miles southward along the coast—I determined at once to embark, as I would be thereby saved much fatigue. It was about seven o'clock on the evening of the 2nd of June that a message reached me, announcing that they were preparing to sail, when I proceeded to the harbour, where I found a small boat in the act of being loaded with shell-fish, which was to be our cargo to Gallipoli. Our crew consisted of five fishermen and the captain. With a favourable breeze we might easily reach Gallipoli in twenty-four hours, but fate had otherwise decreed. A light wind wafted us gently from the harbour of Taranto, and as the heat of the day was now over, the balminess of the air was most delicious. The sun set gloriously behind the distant Apennines, and tipped with its golden light the turreted castle of Taranto. Then the shades of evening at once closed in, and the heavens became spangled with its host of stars, “those everlasting blossoms of heaven,” as St. JBasil calls them, which elevate the soul from the visible to the invisible. The sailors prepared our supper, which consisted of broiled fish, called Alice, bread, cheese, and some excellent wine. They then all threw themselves down to sleep in different parts of the boat except one man, who sat at the helm, and who was to call the others if there was any appearance of change. The wind had nearly died away, and the sails flapped lazily against the mast. I sat many hours contemplating the beauty of the heavens, which I thought had never appeared so lovely, or when a slight breeze wafted the boat more briskly through the water, I watched the phosphoric sparks that seemed to be thrown in myriads from the prow of the boat. I had cften witnessed this phosphorescent appearance in other parts of the Mediterranean, but I never saw such a beautiful display as the waters of this bay occasionally exhibited. It was not only against the prow of the boat where the light was seen; but as the wind raised a gentle ripple, luminous points everywhere darted up, till we seemed to be passing through a liquid plain of sparkling stars. Milton (P.L. iii. 518) says:
Underneath a bright sea flow’d
hough Dante (Paradiso, xxx. 61–69) gives a more vivid description of what was passing under my eyes:
Evidi lume in forma di riviera
The sailors slept soundly, in utter forgetfulness of all their toils, and I at last tried to follow their example. The captain had spread a sail in one corner, on which I might lie; and though it formed a hard bed, it did not prevent my soon forgetting all around me. I awoke a little before dawn, feeling my bones painfully aching, and the cold very disagreeable. At dawn I found we had made little way during the night. To the left was a low coast, on which I could observe a watch-tower ; and on inquiring its name, found that it was called Torre di Saturo. Classical readers know this spot well, being mentioned by Horace (Sat. i. 6) as famed for its breed of ponies:
Me Satureiano vectari rura caballo.
“I rode through the country on a pony of Saturum.” Virgil (Georg. ii. 197) seems also to advert to this place, when he says:
Saltus et Saturi petito longinqua Tarenti.
“Proceed to visit the forests and remote lands of the Tarentine Saturum."
My host at Tarentum spoke in high terms of the country round Saturo, as being a very paradise, protected from the north winds, abounding in springs, productive of citrons, figs, oranges, and every kind of fruit. I had sufficient time to admire the soft beauties of the sea in its comparatively tranquil state, gently moved by the breath of heaven, altering its appearance as it reflected the beams of light in white, blue, or roseate hues, and caressing the shores in peaceful sport, towards which we often approached in our various tacking. The wind, however, now freshened, and we glided gently along towards the south, through the beautiful Bay of Tarentum. To the right I saw on the horizon the range of the Apennines, which I had traversed a few days ago; but I felt no regret that I had parted from them for ever. The rate at which we were proceeding precluded all chance of our reaching Gallipoli that night, unless a stronger breeze sprang up ; and you may imagine how fervently I prayed for a gale of wind. As I was watching the ripple of the waves I saw some dead fish floating on the surface, and drew the attention of the captain to them. He said we often see them, they are “pesce allunati”—“moonstruck fish;” and on inquiring what he meant, he said that fishermen cover up with great care all the fish they catch, that the rays of the moon may not reach them, as it renders the fish unfit to be eaten; and they believe also that those fish which they see floating dead have been destroyed by the rays of the moon. This seems a strange idea to have got into their heads. No breeze of sufficient strength reached us, and it was a couple of hours after sunset when we cast anchor in the harbour of Gallipoli. I was thus obliged to remain another night in an open boat to be devoured by insects, equally plentiful here as elsewhere. I tried to forget myself in sleep; but though I was much exhausted sleep fled from my eyelids, and I passed the night in feverish discomfort. The sun at length rose, and I then found Gallipoli, the ancient Callipolis, beautifully situate on a rocky islet, connected by a long stone bridge of twelve arches with the mainland. My imprisonment was not yet at an end, as the quarantine officers did not make their appearance for two hours, when I was permitted to land. As Gallipoli is one of the few cities in the kingdom of Naples frequented by English merchantmen, the public albergo was somewhat more comfortable than usual; and, after a short rest, I issued forth to examine the city. I waited on the English vice-consul and the sotte-intendente, to both of whom I had letters, and they received me with the utmost kindness. I can perceive, however, by the political turn they give to the conversation, that they suspect I have other objects in view than those I profess. I have no doubt that I increase their suspicions, by the perfect candour with which I express my opinions on any subject they choose to Start. The country round Gallipoli produces the best oil in Italy, which is chiefly exported to England in English vessels; but this is not the period of the year when they come. The city is built on a rocky tongue of land running a short distance into the sea, and the number of stories in some of the houses rival those of the “auld toon” of Edinburgh. The city is separated from the continent by an artificial canal; its castle was erected by Charles I. of Anjou, now, however, in a very rickety state. In respect to ancient remains, I could hear of none, and the only curiosity that I saw was a carved figure of the Impenitent Thief on the Cross in wood, whose countenance exhibited more of hardened wickedness than I imagined it possible for wood to express. It was in the church of the Franciscans, which was neat and remarkably clean—not very common in these parts. The population of Gallipoli is about twelve thousand; it is a busy commercial town, trading in corn, fruits, and more particularly in oil, for which there are extensive cisterns cut in the solid limestone rock, containing the olive oil collected from all parts of Puglia. It has also manufactories of cotton stockings, muslin, and woollen goods. The date-palm grows with more luxuriance in the gardens than in any other part of Italy which I have visited. I left Gallipoli about three o'clock, and proceeded to the south through a country by no means picturesque, but well stocked with olive-trees. Though the produce of this tree is no doubt useful, it has nothing to recommend it to the eye. Its leaves are small and whitish, looking as if they were always thirsty, and, as the limestone rocks protruded in many parts, the reflected rays of the sun were doubly disagreeable. I reached Ugento, the ancient Uxentum, without difficulty, and at once waited on the syndic, and through him was introduced to the monks of the Franciscan monastery, with whom I was to remain for the night. I then visited a canon of the church, who possessed a manuscript history of Uxentum; but, finding that he dated its origin a few years after the Deluge, and drew on his imagination rather than on historical records to substantiate his account, I felt little inclination to examine it more minutely. The remains of the ancient city are about a mile from the present village, and the foundations of its walls are still to be seen in a more perfect state than those of Tarentum, which I had lately seen at Murvetre. Sepulchres are often found in this direction, and so late as 1825 one had been discovered. On returning to the monastery, I was introduced to the superior, who said that he would make me as comfortable as circumstances would allow, and that he had given up his own apartments to me. He complained much of the number of monks placed under his care, and assured me that he had much difficulty in procuring subsistence for them. My supper was certainly meagre enough, consisting of salad with bread and cheese. The wine was, indeed, excellent, and made up for all deficiencies. There were twenty monks in this monastery, and while I was at supper in the refectory, a long gloomy apartment, they were collected in different parts of the room, enjoying the jokes of the Father Tuck of the vicinity. I was glad to get to my cell, a small chamber about ten feet square, containing a few religious books and prints. Next morning my host awoke me a little before dawn, and, after making my contribution to the necessities of the monastery, I proceeded towards the Capo di Leuca, passing through a country only partially cultivated, and studded here and there with small villages. The whole of this peninsula is composed of low bare hills of limestone, particularly annoying to the eye when the sun is reflected from its white surface. There are no regular valleys, and, of course, no rivers. This naturally occasions a scarcity of water, and, as springs are seldom found at any of the villages, it is only by piercing deeply into the rock that they can obtain a supply. You may, perhaps, inquire in what way the torrents N