« 前へ次へ »
fall in a fit, and wound herself against a tomb in the village cemetery, she exhibited the most extraordinary emotion. She soon acquired the habit, from a frequent recurrence of the infirmity, of watching its approach ; and at last seemed to have obtained such a knowledge of the change of countenance and colour, which preceded the attack, that she was wont, on the first symptom, to run to the parents of Clementina, and, by dragging their clothes, scratching at their persons, or mewing in the most melancholy manner, (“ Miagolando in tuono mesto ed affannoso,") she succeeded in awakening their attention, and trotted out before them, mewing them on to the spot, where her young mistress lay lifeless. Mina at last obtained such confidence for her warnings, that, on the first cry of the faithful cat, the friends of Clementina flew to her assistance before she incurred any injury from her sudden fall.
At fifteen, the malady of the beautiful Clementina brought her to the tomb. Her cat walked after her bier, on which she was exposed, (as is the custom in Italy), and covered with flowers. During the funeral service, she sat at the head of the bier, gazing with an intent look on the lifeless features of her young mistress; and when the grave was filling, she made a vain endeavour to jump in, but was withheld by the bystanders, who carried home this chief mourner after the melancholy ceremony. Mina, however, was seen the next morning stretched upon the new made grave, which she continued to visit daily, until she visited it for the last time, a few months after her friend's death; when she was found dead upon the green mound that covered her remains.
The celebrity of the “ Gatto del Cimitero," has not yet passed away from the village of Monte-orfano. I dedicate this little history of the faithful Mina, to my young friend Ina; whose “passione gattesca,” entitles her to the distinction. Kindness to animals is but a form of sensibility, and in youth is always the harbinger of higher and deeper-seated feelings. It should not be confounded with the misplaced instinct of maternity in childless old maids, or the capricious fondness of adults for the brute creation, which is unaccompanied by any touch of kindness for their biped dependants, or any manifestation of sympathy for human misfortune.
TRADES, PROFESSIONS AND SCIENCES.
TRADEs, professions, manufactures, even the sciences, the divine sciences themselves, come in and go out of fashion with times and circumstances; and to talk of permanency, of stopping short at particular epochs and eras (always so sacred with dullness and ignorance), is to speak a language utterly inapplicable to truth, nature, and society. Many of the trades which were in vogue so recently as the time of the two first Georges, are passed and gone. Fifty years ago, London and Paris abounded with fan painters. Some of the most noted artists among the contemporaries of Sir Joshua Reynolds began life in this department of their profession ; and they made more money by sprawling shepherdesses in bell-hoops, upon banks of roses, attended by squinting shepherds with bag-wigs and bouquets, than some scores of young painters can now acquire by copying the works of Titian, or catching the beauties of Raphael. Then there was the coach-pannel painter, belonging to times when the visiting chariot of a lady of fashion bore her device and cognizance on her carriage, like the knight of old on his shield and target: when the loves and the graces, with turtles, trophies, and wreaths of roses, were sported in the park and the ring, to the admiration of the pedestrian multitude, and the substantial comfort of the unambitious and unknown artist.
I remember having seen one of these antiquated teams of taste of the good old times, creeping along a cross road in Picardy, on my first visit to France. How different from a modern“ drag” of dash, shaped and coloured like a mail coach, as strong and as ungainly, and decorated with pointers and racehorses ! It enshrined a dowager anti-revolutionary beauty, much more freshly painted than her voiture coupée, and almost in as many colours. She bore in her hand a fan to match, that was an historical picture of the court of Louis the XVth ; and her hair was dressed with a tête, surmounted by a petite cornette, qui ne laissait rien à désirer, in the eyes of the true virtuoso of highly preserved antiquities. The carriage, the fan, the coiffure, were all alike the production of arts long now gone by. Oh! how I should have liked to seize upon the whole set-out, and place it under a glass case !
I have a family on the list of my visiting book, scarcely less curious in their way, than these Picardy relics; fit for the cabinet, and worthy to be preserved as dried specimens of a phasis of society which history will never record.
The painted carriage was unknown in the time of Henry the IVth of France, who tells Sully that he cannot visit him on a certain occasion, because his wife had “ mon carrosse," the only carriage belonging to the royal establishment. The fashion of splendidly decorating coaches, began in the middle of Louis the XIVth's reign, and it ended, in England, in the reign of George the Ist. The most gorgeous carriage on record, was that which the ingenious sycophancy of Bernini painted for Christina of Sweden, on the occasion of her visit to Pope Alexander the VIIth, when she went to Rome, to make a public abjuration of Lutheranism. “ She was received,” says a curious old work I picked up on a stall in the Piazza Navona in Rome, “ with unspeakable applause;" and among other“