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At daybreak I was roused by a scarecrow of a boy suffering from dropsy, and I found that this was a very prevalent disease in the vicinity, arising from the stagnant water which they are obliged to drink. All the peasants whom I met on my former visit had a pale, unhealthy appearance, which is caused by the miasmata, or marsh. On descending from my room I found a blazing log of wood, by no means an unpleasant sight at this hour, and all I could get for breakfast was the everlasting sausage and their coarse bread. Some peasants came in, and by them I was told that Stella was distant about twenty miles. I talked of brigands, and inquired whether I should be in danger of falling in with them, but they assured me that nothing of the sort existed in their neighbourhood. Having paid my bill, which amounted to little more than a shilling, I hoisted my knapsack, and commenced the toils of the day.
I i. that I have not told you the manner I am equipped. I have a white merino frock-coat, well furnished with capacious pockets, into which I have stuffed my maps and note-books; nankeen trousers, a largebrimmed straw hat, white shoes, and an umbrella, a most invaluable article to protect me from the fierceness of the sun's rays, which will increase as I advance to the south.
Thus equipped, I began my second day's journey without the slightest idea where I should find shelter for the night, quite certain that it was impossible to have worse accommodation than I had had, if I could find any at all. Still I was quite fresh, and the novelty of my position gave a zest to all my fatigues. . The morning was delightful; the sun was now above the horizon, and illuminated the gloomy scene I had traversed the previous evening. The glare of the sun, however, was not in keeping with the surrounding objects. The obscure light of the moon was better suited to the desolate appearance of the place, and I almost regretted not to have been able to part from Paestum with the impressions that had been left upon my mind last night. The walls of the ancient town are still visible in many parts, and are to be traced for about two miles, but as I had already walked along them on my former visit, and they had often been examined by antiquaries, I did not think it necessary to make a. longer stay.
After I had passed the walls and a small stream that runs on the outside, possessing the property of petrifying or rather encrusting wood and twigs if they are kept long enough in it, I found myself in a plain covered with thick brushwood, which completely obstructed my view, and I can scarcely imagine how I should have been so lucky last night as to have made my way so easily, particularly as I find it traversed in every direction by paths, along which cattle have evidently passed. The slightest deviation would, I can now see, have landed me in a quagmire. I had glimpses of the hills towards which it was my purpose to advance. I heard the tinkling of the goat's tiny bell, and I knew the herdsman must be somewhere near, but I could see nothing of him, and I trusted to my good
fortune to be able to extricate myself from the labyrinth in which I was involved. We are told by some of the Roman poets that Paestum was famed for its roses; nothing of the kind, however, met my eye. I have no doubt that Nature is equally beneficent to the present degenerate race as she was in former times, though I was unlucky in my search.
Forsitan et pingues hortos quae cura colendi
My song to flow'ry gardens might extend,
So also Propertius (iv. 5):
Vidi ego odorati victura rosaria Paesti
Here the poet speaks evidently of the roses drooping under the withering blast of the scirocco.
After I had proceeded thus for about a mile, I came suddenly upon a deep part of the marsh, which induced me to thread my way to the shore, where I was sure to be able to get on, though with some additional fatigue. I was startled every now and then by large black snakes darting across my path, that seemed quite as anxious to get out of my sight as I was to avoid them. I can see how these marshes are formed, and it is the same through many other parts of Italy, and how easily they would be got rid of with a little exertion and expense, which would no doubt be bestowed by the ancient inhabitants of Paestum. The little streams coming down from the hills around are allowed to find their way as they best can to the sea, and as there are no banks, they spread over this low land, and have made the whole more or less of a stagnant marsh. Another enemy began to annoy me in a very serious way. Large droves of buzzing flies gathered round me, and I had no mode of defence except to tie my handkerchief round my face, yet still they contrived to insinuate themselves, and their sting gave me great pain. Virgil alludes to these flies in speaking of a hill in this quarter, and here they are in full vigour after an interval of eighteen hundred years. Virgil thus describes them (Georg. iii. 147):
Wolitans, cui nomen asilo
About th' Alburnian groves, with holly green,
After a variety of doublings to avoid bogs, and stepping into several, I
managed to reach the beach somewhat beyond the spot where I had left it yesterday evening. The bay looked quite calm, except here and there where the morning breeze created a slight ripple. It was untenanted in its wide extent. Not even in the distance could the sails of a boat be observed, forming a curious contrast to the busy scene I had witnessed yesterday in the Bay of Naples. I cannot imagine where the harbour of Paestum could have been, and yet in former times there must have been some port, as it was evidently a large city, and, besides, was sacred to Neptune. The shore seems quite unsuited for any safe anchorage, being unprotected from the north and west. I could perceive no remains of any pier, or mole, that might have been thrown out for the purpose of protection. I sauntered along the beach in the direction of Agropoli, which is placed at the end of the plain where the shore begins to be somewhat precipitous. I was approaching the hills seen on the south side of the Bay of Salerno. They rise to no great height, nor are they remarkable for their picturesque appearance, except in one direction, where they bend round and form a kind of amphitheatre. At last I reached a small stream falling into the sea, and while I was cooling myself before I attempted to wade, I observed two men approaching from the opposite side, and waited to see how they would manage to cross. One of them was a fat, jolly priest, who had evidently not stinted himself of the good things of this life, and the other was probably his servant. At all events, the priest mounted on his back, with his dress drawn up over his ears, and was thus ferried across. I entered into conversation, and inquired what he called those flies from which I had been suffering so much, and he said “tavani,” which seems to be a corruption of the tabanus of the Latins. He said that they were “diavoli,” “devils,” and in that I agreed with him, though I was glad to learn that I should get rid of them as soon as I left this marshy ground. I then put in my petition that the same kindness should be bestowed on me by his servant as he had received, and I was at once carried over, to the great amusement of the priest. I offered him some trifle, but he refused to accept it. I now began to leave the plain and to ascend the hills, which are of a white, chalky character, and even at this early hour of the morning the reflexion of the sun's rays became very disagreeable. They are the ancient Montes Petilini, to which the band of rebellious slaves, headed by Spartacus, retreated when defeated by the consul Crassus, B.C. 71. I saw in the distance some peasants working in the fields, and I met a band of women, who took fright at my appearance, and scampered off in the utmost confusion. What they could have imagined me to be I cannot conceive, for they gave me no opportunity of questioning them. I did not think it necessary to enter the village of Agropoli, which lay a little to the right, though the inhabitants maintain that St. Paul, on his way to Rome, honoured them with his presence, and they point out the exact spot where he first placed his foot. During the middle ages, A.D. 879, it was occupied by a band of Saracens, who main tained a garrison at this point to overawe the country, and there is still a spot called Campo Saraceno. When they retired, it is said that they de stroyed what little remained of the city of Paestum. Some Saracenic in: scriptions attest their presence in former times. It was sacked in 153% and 1542 by the Turks, when three hundred of its inhabitants were carried off as slaves to Constantinople. o
I saw in the distance some of the young damsels of Agropoli, employed in the same way as our Scotch lassies may be often observed by the trayeller. They were busily engaged in washing their linen in a burn, apparently kilted high above the knees, but I did not approach to disturb them in their occupation. It is said, I know not how truly, that these girls are considered marriageable at the early age of twelve, and this arises from the peculiar mildness of their climate.
Leaving Agropoli to the right, I began to proceed up a small glen, and I was surprised to observe how far advanced the vegetation was, compared with what I had left yesterday in the vicinity of Naples. I was only about sixty miles farther south, and yet the foliage was completely expanded and the fruit was beginning to form. The soil seemed to be particularly well suited to the olive-tree, which in some cases had attained a magnitude I had never before observed. The vine was trained in the same manner that I had been accustomed to, from tree to tree, and the graceful festoons added much to the beauty of the scenery. It was not without great delight that I came to some lofty plane-trees, forming a kind of irregular avenue to a miserable house, probably belonging to some petty baron, and under the shade of these trees I took shelter from the heat of the sun, which was now beginning to be oppressive. The edifice had the appearance of what might be supposed to be a farm-house, but had all the gloom of desolation around it. It was a pretty spot, however, and might have been made a delightful residence. I saw no signs of human existence, and I felt no inclination to disturb the repose of the inhabitants, though I began to feel the effects of my sausage breakfast. I determined to stop at the first respectable house that I met, and try how far the hospitality of the country was likely to go.
It was not long before I was able to put this intention into effect, for I reached a house which was in a tolerable state of repair, and to which the proprietor was making some further additions. This augured well, and I walked up to the door, where a good-looking girl appeared, yet before I could reach her she had vanished, and immediately afterwards a man came forward, to whom I addressed a petition for wine, for which I was prepared to pay, and if they had none, water would be a very valuable commodity in my eyes. I told him that I had come from a distant land to admire the beauties of his country. He required, however, no incitement to give me all and more than I required. He called for chairs, and we sat down under the shade of a tree, while he directed the servant to bring out some refreshment. It was indeed scanty, and of very coarse quality, but it was evidently given with good will, and that would far more than have compensated for even less luxurious fare. The bread was coarse and old, the cheese I could scarcely make any impression upon, and if this may be taken as a sample of their mode of diet, I would back Scotland against Italy, even with her oat-cakes and porridge. In the wine, however, he beat us, for he produced some of a very excellent quality, and if it had been iced, it would have been nectar itself. In entering into conversation with my host, I found him express himself in a manner far superior to what I could have expected in this remote spot, and I could not help expressing my surprise that I should have fallen in with a gentleman of so accomplished a mind, when he laughed, and holding up his hand, which had lost two fingers and was otherwise mutilated, added that he had not always led so quiet and peaceful a life as he now did. He had
served several campaigns under Napoleon, had witnessed the burning of Moscow, and in the fatal retreat had escaped with the loss of several of his fingers and toes. He was now living on a small property which he had inherited, and said that he only regretted having no outlet for his surplus produce. Of course we are all too apt to throw the blame on government if anything is amiss with our private affairs, and he was no exception to the rule, but he confessed that he could point out no step they could take, that would place him in a better position as to his produce. I inquired what were the principal articles of commerce, and he said that he dealt chiefly in oil and Indian corn, but many of his neighbours fed pigs in great numbers, and the bacon was exported through Naples to various parts of the world. The olive-tree begins to bear in its fifth year, and sometimes even in its fourth. The cattle are not only numerous but of a very large size, and in the vicinity of Potenza and Avigliano are of a milk-white colour, such as Theocritus (Idyll. 32) describes those consecrated to the sun. He spoke of the exquisite flavour of the hams from the pigs feeding in the woods, Nature seldom changes in these matters, and in this case we find that she has remained steady. Cassiodorus, who lived in the fifth century, refers to this article of commerce abounding in Lucania, and the sausage, which is the only food I have yet been able to procure, is nothing else than the lucanicae, of which Cicero (Fam. ix. 16) speaks when he says: “Solebam antea delectari oleis et lucanicis tuis.” “I used formerly to be delighted with your olives and pork sausages.” These are the very things of which my host has been talking to me. Here is the mode in which the epicure Apicius (2, 4) tells us they were made: “Nempe intestinum fartum ex pulpá porciná bene tunsă, admixtis pipere trito, cumino, saturejã, rutà, petroselino, baccis lauri, liquamine, &c. Ipsum intestinum tenuiter producitur et ad fumum suspenditur.” “An intestine stuffed with minced pork, mixed with ground pepper, cummin, savory, rue, rock parsley, berries of laurel, and suet. The intestine is drawn out thinly and hung up in smoke.” You must know that Lucania was the ancient name of the part of Italy in which I am now travelling, and from the Lucani the sausage was called lucanica. The Italians now call it salsiccia, and we may trace the origin of this word to Varro and Macrobius, the former of whom says (L. L. 4, 22): “Insicia, ab eo, quod insecta caro, ut in carminibus Saliorum est; quod in extis dicitur nunc prosectum.” “A sausage so called, because the flesh is cut up, as we find mentioned in the songs of the Salii, as it is now cut up to be put in an intestine.” The mention of the songs of the Salii carries us away back to the early period of Roman history. From Macrobius (Sat. vii. 8) we find that it was more frequently called isicium, hence salis isicia, i.e. sausage of salted pork, and from this we get the present Italian word salsiccia, which has passed into our word sausage through the French saucisse. He spoke also in enthusiastic terms of dried figs, which are found more particularly at Cilento, in this province, and which are what the Romans called Caricae, so highly prized by the ancients that they were accounted food for the gods. Pliny (xiii. 10, 1) says, when speaking of Syria: “In ficorum genere caricas, et minores ejus generis, quae cottana vocant.” “Among the figs of Syria are dried figs, and a smaller species called cottana or coctana,” which is corrupted by the Italians into cottate and ottate. In another passage of Pliny (xv. 21, 4), he tells us that this kind of fig, known, we believe, to botanists as ficus carica, was brought