Italy

At setting off [from Incisa], we were surrounded by beggars as usual, the most interesting of whom were a little blind boy and his mother, who had besieged us with gentle pertinacity during our whole stay there. There was likewise a man with a maimed hand, and other hurts or deformities; also, an old woman who, I suspect, only pretended to be blind, keeping her eyes tightly squeezed together, but directing her hand very accurately where the copper shower was expected to fall. Besides these, there were a good many sturdy little rascals, vociferating in proportion as they needed nothing.

June 8th. - I went this morning to the Uffizi gallery. The entrance is from the great court of the palace, which communicates with Lung' Arno at one end, and with the Grand Ducal Piazza at the other. The gallery is in the upper story of the palace, and in the vestibule are some busts of the princes and cardinals of the Medici family, - none of them beautiful, one or two so ugly as to be ludicrous, especially one who is all but buried in his own wig.

August 2d. - We had grown weary of the heat of Florence within the walls, . . . . there being little opportunity for air and exercise except within the precincts of our little garden, which, also, we feared might breed malaria, or something akin to it. We have therefore taken this suburban villa for the two next months, and, yesterday morning, we all came out hither. J - - - had preceded us with B. P - - - . The villa is on a hill called Bellosguardo, about a mile beyond the Porta Romana.

October 2d. - Yesterday morning, at six o'clock, we left our ancient tower, and threw a parting glance - and a rather sad one - over the misty Val d' Arno. This summer will look like a happy one in our children's retrospect, and also, no doubt, in the years that remain to ourselves; and, in truth, I have found it a peaceful and not uncheerful one.

October 13th. - We arranged to begin our journey at six. . . . . It was a chill, lowering morning, and the rain blew a little in our faces before we had gone far, but did not continue long. The country soon lost the pleasant aspect which it wears immediately about Siena, and grew very barren and dreary. Then it changed again for the better, the road leading us through a fertility of vines and olives, after which the dreary and barren hills came back again, and formed our prospect throughout most of the day.

The Black Eagle, October 14th. - Perhaps I had something more to say of San Quirico, but I shall merely add that there is a stately old palace of the Piccolomini close to the church above described. It is built in the style of the Roman palaces, and looked almost large enough to be one of them. Nevertheless, the basement story, or part of it, seems to be used as a barn and stable, for I saw a yoke of oxen in the entrance.

Hotel de Louvre, January 6th, 1858. - On Tuesday morning, our dozen trunks and half-dozen carpet-bags being already packed and labelled, we began to prepare for our journey two or three hours before light. Two cabs were at the door by half past six, and at seven we set out for the London Bridge station, while it was still dark and bitterly cold. There were already many people in the streets, growing more numerous as we drove city-ward; and, in Newgate Street, there was such a number of market-carts, that we almost came to a dead lock with some of them.

October 15th. - We left Radicofani long before sunrise, and I saw that ceremony take place from the coupe of the vettura for the first time in a long while. A sunset is the better sight of the two. I have always suspected it, and have been strengthened in the idea whenever I have had an opportunity of comparison.

Hotel d'Angleterre, January 15th. - On Tuesday morning, (12th) we took our departure from the Hotel de Louvre. It is a most excellent and perfectly ordered hotel, and I have not seen a more magnificent hall, in any palace, than the dining-saloon, with its profuse gilding, and its ceiling, painted in compartments; so that when the chandeliers are all alight, it looks a fit place for princes to banquet in, and not very fit for the few Americans whom I saw scattered at its long tables.

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