« 前へ次へ »
me aside and make me a communication, which, I saw, was intended to frighten me. He told me that the judge had positive orders from his government to stop all persons travelling through the country, though they were furnished with a regular passport, and that, if I remained at Camerota, he would be under the disagreeable necessity of putting me under arrest. I was highly indignant at this attempt to alarm me, and told him at once that I did not believe a single word of the statement, as I had left Naples only a few days before, and I could not imagine that a government would act so unjustly as to give me a passport to travel through its provinces when it knew the orders it had previously issued. Besides, I had waited, by request, on the Minister of the Interior to explain to him fully the objects I had in view, and the route I intended to follow. He had been kind enough to point out objects of interest, which might be worthy of examination, and to give me advice as to dangers which I ought to avoid. He had even granted me a passport of a peculiar kind, to free me from the annoyances of such men as this judge; and it was too much to ask me to believe that a gentleman of his high character—Minister of the Interior for the King of the Two Sicilies— would act so treacherously, as he must have done, if the statement he now made was true. I wished to receive no favour from an individual who had acted towards me with such discourtesy as the judge, and I should take care that he repented of it, if I had less than strict justice. I offered to accompany him at once to the presence of the judge, who might act as he thought proper; but he might rest assured that I would not allow the rights of my country to be trampled on in my person with impunity. This offer embarrassed him, and he muttered something as to his friend not wishing to place me in any difficulty. I told him that I would not allow my plans to be deranged in the slightest degree by any threats that might be held out; nor would I give any information as to the course I intended to pursue. If he had no further communication to make, I begged that our conference might end. I was much tempted to remain at Camerota for the night, and see whether the judge would dare to put his threats in execution; but a considerable portion of the day was still at my command, and I thought it folly to waste it on such a purpose. I rested at the Locanda for several hours, and heard nothing more from the judge. Towards evening I determined to walk forward to San Giovanni di Piro, and, on leaving the Locanda, Irequested the landlord to inform the judge that, if he wished to have any further communication with me, he would find me at that village. The country through which I now passed was rather better cultivated than that which I had seen in the early part of the day, and though the scirocco. still blew, it was less oppressive than it had been in the morning: I fell in with a muleteer who was proceeding to San Giovanni, and I mounted one of his animals; there was no saddle, however, and I soon discovered that the fatigue of walking was nothing compared to the dis. agreeable jog of the mule. . He complained bitterly of the badness of the times, and was no friend of the present government. I had often remarked a small bag suspended round the necks of the peasants, and I had imagined, knowing how superstitious the Italians were, that it was some amulet or holy relique to guard them against the evil eye; but I find from the muleteer that it is what they call “carta di sicurezza," a paper giving a description of their personal appearance, their height, the colour of their hair, and any peculiarity that may serve to distinguish one man from another. This must be worn by every person in the kingdom, and of course a certain sum of money must be paid for it. This is nothing else than a poll-tax, the most unjust of all, severely felt by the poor and not at all by the rich. It must be renewed every year, and if any one be found without this paper he is liable to be thrown into Irison. p At the entrance to the village I parted from my companion, and proceeded to present myself before the chief magistrate. I had some misgivings as to my night's rest when I observed the wretched appearance of the houses. The people crowded to their doors as I passed, and seemed amused, if I may judge from the peals of laughter I heard behind me. I made my way to the syndic's house, which was in a sadly dilapidated state, and with scarcely a vestige of furniture within. What must I expect to find at the public Locanda if the chief magistrate resided in such a hovel? He was not at home, and I was obliged to wait, hungry and tired, till he made his appearance, as no one would dare to receive me till my passport was found to be good. When he returned, I found him to be quite civil, and he immediately despatched his servant to search for a bed, which was furnished me by the old lady who kept the shop of the village. The sun had been set for some time, and it was quite dark when I issued forth to proceed to my lodgings. A boy carried a small lamp before me, the glimmering of which was just sufficient to prevent me stumbling over the uneven street of San Giovanni. The shop was crowded with peasants, whose noise and turmoil augured ill for my repose, and I inquired with eagerness where I was to sleep, Luckily, my bed-chamber was separated from the shop, on the opposite side of the narrow lane up a ruinous stair. I ordered supper, which was to consist of broiled sausage and cheese, with the best wine she could furnish. My table was a large box, and I sat down on a hard bench, The bed looked so filthy that it was impossible to think of undressing, but I had no doubt that I should sleep sound enough on the coverlet. My landlady came in to say that her son must sleep in the same room with me, and I inquired where she would find a second bed. She pointed to the bench on which I was seated, and said he would stretch himself on the top. I remonstrated strongly against this intrusion, and examined the bolt of the door with a view of securing myself. Alas! it was boltless, and I was entirely at their mercy. I placed my money and whatever articles of value I had with me under my head, and I did not feel quite at my ease, as you may suppose.
THANK God, I was neither robbed nor murdered last night, though I had some doubts whether I should again see the light of day. With such misgivings, you will readily believe that I had no inclination to sleep till I surveyed my companion for the night, and could judge by his appearance , whether he was likely to close my career. I tried to nourish my lamp, that I might be able to see him; but not all my ingenuity could succeed to keep in its flickering light. I dare say that the very methods I took
to make it burn caused it to go out; at all events, I was now in total darkness, stretched on the top of my bed, watching anxiously to hear a footstep, when at last some one stealthily approached, and I was somewhat relieved by the appearance of a glimmering light. The door opened, and a tall man entered, with a peasant's large cloak wrapped round him; and, as the light of the lamp fell on his countenance, my fears made me suppose that I had never seen any one more strongly marked with all the evil passions of our nature. I remained immovable on the bed, apparently asleep, watching anxiously all his proceedings. He blew out his lamp and lay down at full length on the box, where I soon found, by the regularity of his breathing, that he was fast asleep. I was now satisfied that I had nothing to fear, and, as my day's labour had thoroughly worn me out, I soon forgot all my anxieties and dangers. This morning I was afoot by daybreak, though I felt little refreshed by my night's rest... I had some doubts what course I ought to pursue, whether I should remain a few hours at San Giovanni, or proceed on to Policastro. I felt some curiosity to witness a procession, which I understood was to take place this morning, to the Madonna della Pietra Santa —“the Madonna of the Holy Stone”—with the view of obtaining her intercession to procure rain. The scirocco generally brings with it showers of rain, and the priests, therefore, have wisely chosen this day to offer up their prayers. The morning was lowering, and I saw clearly that some rain must fall. This is a common method with the priests of working on the superstitious feelings of the people, and in these remote parts is not, perhaps, much to be wondered at; but you will be surprised to hear that I have seen, even in Florence, the same farce acted with all the solemnity which the archbishop of that city and his attendant priests could communicate to it. I left San Giovanni without waiting for the procession, since, if it were to prove eminently successful, I must be detained in this miserable place, or else I must submit to be thoroughly drenched, as I am sorry to say that my umbrella is already in a sad state of dilapidation. The peasants were beginning to leave the village to proceed to their labours in the field, and I joined a party who undertook to point out the way to Policastro, which I could see on the coast, about ten miles distant across a plain, through which flowed the river Bussento. The country . was partially cultivated, the vetch and the Indian corn were beginning to appear ; but they were suffering from the long drought. I had not passed over many miles before a drenching shower began to fall, when I took refuge in a hut which happened to be near, and I requested permission to remain till the rain had ceased. The interior was the very picture of misery, and contained an old man on the verge of the grave; but not a word of dissatisfaction with his lot fell from his lips. I found that the river Bussento was of considerable size, and could only be passed by boat, scafa as they call it. It was well that I became acquainted with this fact, as I should have landed myself in marshes at the mouth of the river, towards which I was wending my way, as the direct road to Polieastro. The old man gave me directions where I should find the boat; but, between my stupidity and the difficulty of making out what he exactly meant, I derived little benefit from his information: . The rive; Bussento rises in the mountains of Sanza, and, after receiving several small tributaries, disappears in a deep abyss at a spot called Tironi, and
having run about three miles underground, issues forth at a place called Li Zirzi, six miles from Policastro. The mountainous nature of the country, and perhaps the earthquakes which rend the ground, may be the cause of these streams sinking and again starting suddenly from the surface. In this vicinity I heard of a spring at a spot called Confoci, which begins to flow towards the end of May, continuing the whole summer in great abundance till the month of September, when it suddenly ceases, and continues dormant till the following summer. On leaving the hut I met a peasant, whom I hired to be my guide to Policastro. As I was walking along, I happened to sneeze, when my companion immediately exclaimed, “Crisce Santo "-"The saint save you!” which is the compliment paid in this part of Italy to those who are thus affected. In Tuscany I found it to be “Dio ti salvi!”—“God preserve you !” like the French, “A. vous souhaits" what used to be with us “God bless you!” The boat was, as might be expected, of rude construction, though easily enough paddled across. Soon afterwards we met a pretty girl, the wife of my guide, who had been selling vegetables at Policastro; and I allowed him to return with her, as I saw that I should have no further difficulty in finding my way. On reaching the public square of Policastro, which is a considerable town, by far the largest I have seen since I left Naples, I met one of the armed police ; and being by this time pretty well acquainted with the impertinence of these subordinates, I requested that he would conduct me to the house of the syndic. We found the worthy magistrate industriously empioyed in reducing oak bark to a state fit for tanning leather. He directed me to proceed to his chancellor, whom I found sick in bed, and rather testy at my intrusion. He insisted that I should proceed to Bonati, a village five miles distant, for the purpose of showing my passport to the judge of the district, which I positively refused to do, unless he sent me under arrest. He told me that, wherever I passed the night, the magistrate of the village would require the signature of the judge. I told him, however, that I should go on in the route I had already determined, till I was actually stopped, and that all I wished from him was permission to examine the antiquities of Policastro. This he readily granted, and, to prevent any further annoyance, I hired the armed policeman to accompany me, that I might not be stopped by any other of these myrmidons. I proceeded to the house of the curate, whom I thought not unlikely to be acquainted with the ancient remains of his own city, and from whom I might derive some information, if he were inclined to be civil. I found him engaged in the performance of his religious duties in the cathedral. I waited till he had concluded, and met him at the door, when I explained to him the objects I had in view; but he was a sad barbarian, ignorant and rude. Several of his congregation, however, who overheard our conversation, came forward and offered at once to point out the small remains of the ancient town, which we know to have been called Buxentum. The name of the river which I had crossed is only a slight corruption of this word. In front of the cathedral lie several fine marble pillars, half buried in the earth, and which must have belonged to a temple, probably on the site of the cathedral. The only inscriptions that I could find were built into the belfry, and were imperfect; the one was addressed to Germanicus, and the other to a daughter of Drusus. They were the follow
the local geographers:
ing, and it is strange that they should not have been copied correctly by
GERMANICO CAESARI. . . . .
It is impossible to say how the family of Tiberius became connected with Buxentum ; but this inscription is to the honour of Drusus Caesar Germanicus, son of the Emperor Tiberius, who was consul for the second time A.D. 18. The other is AVGVSTAE. IWLLA. . . .
This was Julia, daughter of the former, who married, A.D. 20, her first cousin, Nero, son of Germanicus and Agrippina. She incurred the hatred of Messalina, and, at her instigation, was put to death by the Emperor Claudius, A.D. 59. There must, of course, have been property in this quarter belonging to the imperial family to account for these inscriptions. It is curious that four hundred years after their erection we should find Buxentum become the birthplace of another emperor, Severus Libius, who reigned from A.D. 461–465. An old chronicler of the ninth century says: “In Buxento, usque ad presentem diem monstratur ruinosa aedes, ubi natus est Imperator Severus Libius, et ejus avus fuit familiaris Herculii similiter Imperatoris, qui Melpam ad habitaculum elegerat postguam renunciavit imperium”—“In Buxentum there are seen even now the ruins of the house in which the Emperor Severus Libius was born; his grandfather was the friend of the Emperor Herculius (Maximianus), who lived at Molpa after his abdication, A.D. 305.” This confirms what I stated when I was visiting, yesterday the ruins of Molpa. There were also several inscriptions in the Gothic character. I was told that I should find some ruins on the hill above the city, and accordingly I proceeded to examine them. I was joined by a considerable body of the police, who are here always armed with a carbine; and as we passed through the narrow lanes of the city, the people crowded after me, calling out, “Cosa era P"—“What is the matter?” evidently imagining that I was some important captive. In passing through the town, I was astonished to see on several doors a St. Andrew's cross marked distinctly in red, and on inquiring of my guide what it meant, he coolly said, “An enemy hath done this,” or, at all events, words to that effect. . Political feelings run very high here, and they show thus their secret feelings to each other, condemning their enemies by the sanbenito cross, used in former times by the Inquisition to indicate the flames in which the impenitent were to be immersed. The Neapolitans call a door thus marked “macreata,” and at one period it became so serious a nuisance, and created such bad blood, that a law had to be passed against the practice, inflicting the severest penalties on all who should be guilty of damning their neighbours in this way. On ascending