« 前へ次へ »
subject to such strict regulations and so severe a surveillance, that the government plainly makes it to be known that it regards all such establishments with no favour. It is curious that in respect to elementary instruction Naples presents better opportunities for the instruction of young girls than for boys. The establishment of Miracle, founded by Murat for girls of noble birth, has acquired a well-deserved reputation. I had seen nothing but mules since I entered the province, and I inquired of his excellency where were the spirited horses of Calabria, of which I had often heard. He ordered his groom to bring out a few good specimens: they were small, high-spirited, and of a compact build; but he allowed that their numbers were rapidly diminishing, as mules were gradually taking their place. He told me of another species, which is becoming rare, called Riccio, or curled. It differs little from those that were before me, except in the hair, which assumes a frizzled appearance when it is bushy and long, and is like scales when it is smooth and short. I have seen no oxen or sheep; these are pastured, particularly the latter, in great numbers on the grassy slopes of La Sila, to which the wealthier inhabitants of Cosenza migrate for the summer months, as this city is reckoned unwholesome from the heat. Though his excellency was unwilling to allow it, I have heard from others that the only way they are able to secure their safety is to pay black mail to the heads of some band of brigands, who secure them from all others. Cosenza has a small theatre, to which I accompanied his excellency, and heard some of Rossini's music respectably performed. It was crowded by the fair ladies of Calabria. I am ungallant enough to confess that I was not particularly struck by their personal appearance. It was much past midnight before we retired, and I shall long think of the pleasant evening I passed with Signor di Caria.
I Do not mean to conceal from you that I have some misgivings as to the wisdom of my present proceedings, and feel considerable alarm from the reports that have reached me from all quarters respecting the unsettled state of the country. Be assured, however, that I shall take every precaution that prudence may dictate, except giving up my onward movement. Indeed, I do not see that it makes much difference in which direction I turn my steps, as all seem equally dangerous.
I took leave of his excellency this morning at an early hour, with many entreaties on his part to be very cautious; if I met with misfortune, I might rest assured that he would attend to any representation I might forward to him. It will be no great comfort to know that these brigands are to be punished if they treat me as they did the young man of Acri ; still I am glad to have a friend in the chief magistrate of the province, if I get into difficulty His excellency seemed evidently to consider that it was a foolhardy undertaking, and that no good would come of it. He begged me at least to take a muleteer, and not attempt to travel on foot, as might be done with impunity in Switzerland and the more temperate parts of Europe. To this, however, I was averse, and gave as a reason that such a mode of travelling indicated the possession of money, whereas a traveller on foot drew no attention. Besides, the peasantry might imagine me to be a “sfortunato,” a “carbonari,” flying the police of his excellency, and in that case I did not think that I would be molested by the brigandage of the country. He laughed at this idea, and observed that there was a good deal to be said in favour of my views, and he trusted that I would pass unharmed through what he considered a most perilous undertaking. On leaving Cosenza, I had not determined where I should pass the night, as I find they have no very accurate idea of distance; they talk much in the same way as we do in Scotland of a mile and a bittock, which small addition turns out to be quadruple of what you had at first expected. I wandered at least ten miles along the great road, bordered in the immediate vicinity of Cosenza with white mulberry-trees growing in great luxuriance, and with the lofty Cocuzzo overhanging me to the west. Here and there were patches of cultivated ground, and in the distance I saw villages perched on the declivities of the mountains. The first I reached was Rogliano, situated on a lofty hill, which commanded a magnificent view of the picturesque country around. Here I paid my respects to Don Giuseppe Politi, the judge of the district, who showed me great civility, and invited me to remain to dinner. I spent several pleasant hours with him, and had some interesting conversation respecting the state of the country. The people are generally in wretched poverty, and he seems to think that it is increasing. They live chiefly on bread made from chesnuts, which are gathered in the extensive forests of La Sila, and in winter they migrate to Sicily in search of food, though I could not make out how they could procure it there more easily than in Calabria. With all their poverty, I was amused to hear that these peasants have generally two families—one which they leave to face the winter's storm in Calabria, and another in the more sunny clime of Sicily; at least, so I was told by my host. Rogliano had been destroyed in the earthquake of 1638, which caused greater damage to this part of Calabria than that of 1783. , My host spoke in high terms of the mode of agriculture pursued in this part of the province. I confess that nothing met my eye this morning, as I laboured through the burning sun, to induce me, who had been accustomed to the heavy crops of Mid-Lothian, to suppose that they were in any way distinguished above their neighbours. He considered the wine to be good; to me it had a peculiar flavour which was not agreeable. In talking of the religious habits of the Calabrese, he acknowledged that they possessed peculiar ideas respecting the mode of worshipping their Madonnas. If they do not obtain their wishes, they enclose the shrine of the Madonna as if in prison, and upbraid her in no measured language, in hopes that she may be shamed out of her conduct, and be induced to grant their prayers. It is in these remote parts of Italy that the customs of their Pagan ancestors have been preserved in their greatest purity. In the towns of Italy they have been subject to many changes, and their belief in the power of the Virgin is less strong; but here they may be seen expostulating with a favourite image, as if they expected an actual answer to be given by the mouth of the statue. You may recollect what Suetonius (Calig., 22) says of the Emperor Caligula: “During the daytime, Caligula used to talk in secret with Jupiter Capitolinus, sometimes whispering, and then placing his ear to the statue to receive an
answer, sometimes audibly and in reproachful language.” For he was overheard to use the words of Homer (Il., 23, 724): # p’āváeipe à éyò oré, “Either destroy me, or I shall thee,” till softened, as he said, by the entreaties of the god, and invited to be on terms of intimacy, he built a bridge, which connected his palace with the Capitol. Even Augustus (Suet., Oct. 16), who might have been expected to look on the chances of life in a more philosophic spirit, is said to have taken his revenge on Neptune for the loss of that fleet, to which I alluded on my visit to the promontory of Palinurus, by refusing to allow his statue to be carried in procession at the Circensian games which followed. Here, then, in Calabria we have still the same absurd ideas prevailing in religious worship, and it is difficult to imagine that we shall ever find a change. It may in a certain sense be called a Christian country, but the ideas and feelings are in reality the same as actuated their Pagan ancestors. The Madonna occupies the place of Cybele, divina mater, as she was called, and Mater Deûm, “mother of the gods,” an epithet which is frequently applied to the Virgin. My host was fond of horticulture, and pointed out a shrub, which he called Giurgiulea, possessing the peculiar property of increasing the milk of ladies who are nursing. There is more likelihood that this plant may have such an effect than that some Madonna, of whom he spoke, should assist the childbirth labours of the ladies of Calabria. They trust, however, in the aid of the Virgin, and have substituted her for the goddess Diana of Pagan times, of whom Horace (Carm, sec. 13) thus speaks :
Rite maturos aperire partus
Lenis Ilithyia, tuere matres:
Sive tu Lucina probas vocari,
Goddess of the natal hour,
Even at Rome we find the same superstitious notions to prevail, and that the ladies who are anxious for children offer their vows now at the church of Sta. Maria Maggiore, as they did formerly when it was the temple of Juno Lucina.
I find that they have the custom here of allowing the beard to grow for a month after the death of a relative, and that they show their grief also by wearing their linen unwashed and unchanged till it is worn away by filth. This custom, however, I suspect, is observed by many who are not mourning for the death of a friend. I remarked also round the necks of the children small pieces of rock-salt, which they imagine to have some power of guarding against the effect of an evil eye. The young women employ for the same purpose a small silver frog, called granula, probably a corruption of ranula, and some of them, which I examined, were executed with much taste.
When the judge heard that I was determined to proceed ten miles farther to the village Diano, he offered to give me a letter to his colleague, who might otherwise throw some difficulties in my way, as he was a testy old gentleman, and always glad to have an opportunity of exercising his authority. Of course I accepted his kind offer gratefully, and, having thanked him for his hospitable entertainment, bade him an affectionate farewell. The heat was even greater than I had yet experienced, and it required to muster up all my energies to continue my course along a dusty road. My directions were to proceed forward to Carpanzano, and there inquire my way to Diano. For six miles I met not a single individual, and saw no human habitation till I at last reached a few huts, which I found to be Carpanzano. Here I was informed that Diano was four miles distant from the great public road, and that the country through which I must pass was thickly wooded. I confess that I felt somewhat startled at this intelligence—not so much from the chance of meeting brigands, as lest I should be benighted in the wood. I was told that there was a small footpath that would lead me to it, and if I did not stray, I would have no difficulty in reaching Diano. Shutting my eyes to all consequences, I left the public road, and plunged into a narrow and deep glen, with a crystal stream running along the bottom. With all my anxiety, I could not help stopping to admire the beauty of the scenery. The banks of the glen were thickly wooded with fine oaks and chesnut-trees, while many flowers, the names of which I knew not, were in luxuriant blossom, and perfumed the air. The heat of the day had now abated, and the birds were singing in joyful chorus, preventing that feeling of loneliness which perfect silence is calculated to produce. The footpath ran along the side of the stream, and, on turning a corner, I lighted suddenly in the midst of a party of young Calabrese damsels, who were employed in washing. They were surprised at my sudden appearance, but we had much difficulty in understanding each other. They were the daughters of a miller, whose house I saw at a short distance. From them I received some further directions respecting my road, and then began to mount a rugged declivity. The country continued to be covered with wood. I saw no one, nor did I meet with a single habitation, till I reached the summit of a ridge, from which I looked down on a thickly wooded valley. As I sauntered along, I was much struck by finding here and there little boxes stuck up against the trees, in which a Madonna was placed, and where the peasant might offer up his prayers. . There is evidently much more of the appearance of religion here than with us. You may call it mere superstition; still there is a recognition of a Supreme Being, though in an imperfect form, and you meet with it in all places. With us it is confined to stated places and stated times; in Italy you are reminded wherever you go. I know not how to account for this devotion of the Italians to the worship of the Virgin Mary, but it strikes an ultraProtestant from Scotland very forcibly. Madame de Staël may possibly be right when she says: Le culte de la Vierge est particulièrement cher aux Italiens et à toutes les nations du midi; il semble s'allier, de quelque manière, à ce qu'il y a de plus puret de plus sensible dans l'affection pour les femmes. “The worship of the Virgin is particularly dear to the Italians and all southern people; it appears as if it belonged in some degree to the pure and chivalrous feelings which they have for women.” Or it may be that it is a mere continuation of the customs of their Pagan ancestors, and that their minds rise no higher than Plautus did, B.C. 200, when he says (Merc. v. 2, 24):
Invoco vos, Lares viales, ut me bene juvetis.
“I invoke you, ye gods of the road, to bestow on me your aid.” In these early times there were little altars decked with flowers placed at convenient distances along the roads, where travellers could step aside and perform their devotions at these rural shrines. In what do the present shrines differ from those at which the Romans offered up their prayers? . In the beginning of the second century, Appuleius (Florid. i.) thus speaks of them: Ut religiosis viantium moris est, cum aliquis lucus aut aliquis locus sanctus in vià oblatus est, votum postulare, donum apponere, paulisper assidere. “As it is the custom of pious travellers, when they come upon a secret grove or holy spot, to put up their prayers, to make an offering, and to rest a little.” With such religious feelings pervading the whole people, one might have expected that brigandage would die out and become extinct; but it seems that such feelings have no effect in putting it down, as the brigands are said to be most devout men, and to present part of their ill-gotten booty to the Madonna, thus making her a resetter of stolen goods. Often the ornaments with which she is adorned are nothing else than part of their plunder, On reaching the summit of the ridge, I saw in the valley several villages; which of them was Diano I knew not. At a short distance I observed a large building, which I had no doubt must be a monastery, and proceeding to it began to hammer at the door with great violence; no attention, however, was paid to my summons. While I was thus employed, and considering what further steps I should take, a peasant-girl passed, from whom I tried to discover whether it was inhabited; it was vain, as I could not understand a syllable she said. I contrived, however, to convey to her that I wished to proceed to Diano, which she pointed out to me. On reaching the village, I found the judge employed in teaching a little child to read, and having presented my letter, inquired respecting the state of the country, and whether Iran any risk of falling into the hands of brigands. He acknowledged that it was dangerous to travel without a guard, and offered to send with me to-morrow two of the Guardia Urbana, a kind of rural police. To this proposal, however, I refused to accede, as I do not believe that these police officers would be of the slightest use, if I got into danger. I feel that it would only be drawing the attention of the country to me, and thereby make it more certain that I should be waylaid. The judge wrote a note, and giving it to a servant, told me to accompany him to a house, where I should be accommodated with a bed. On our way, I could not help pausing to listen to the beautiful notes of the nightingales, as they answered each other. What an unrivalled power of song, enhanced, no doubt, by the solemn stillness of such a summer evening as this, when every other voice seemed to have sunk to rest, for then
The Wakeful bird -