I am afraid that the talk of the modern railway traveller, if he is honest, must be a great deal of the custodians, the vetturini, and the facchini, whose agreeable acquaintance constitutes his chief knowledge of the population among which he journeys. We do not nowadays carry letters recommending us to citizens of the different places. If we did, consider the calamity we should be to the be-travelled Italian communities we now bless! No, we buy our through-tickets, and we put up at the hotels praised in the hand-book, and are very glad of a little conversation with any native, however adulterated he be by contact with the world to which we belong. I do not blush to own that I love the whole rascal race which ministers to our curiosity and preys upon us, and I am not ashamed to have spoken so often in this book of the lowly and rapacious but interesting porters who opened to me the different gates of that great realm of wonders, Italy. I doubt if they can be much known to the dwellers in the land, though they are the intimates of all sojourners and passengers; and if I have any regret in the matter, it is that I did not more diligently study them when I could. The opportunity once lost, seldom recurs; they are all but as transitory as the Object of Interest itself, I remember that years ago when I first visited Cambridge, there was an old man appeared to me in the character of Genius of the College Grounds, who showed me all the notable things in our city, - its treasures of art, its monuments, - and ended by taking me into his wood-house, and sawing me off from a wind-fallen branch of the Washington Elm a bit of the sacred wood for a remembrancer. Where now is that old man? He no longer exists for me, neither he nor his wood-house nor his dwelling-house. Let me look for a month about the College Grounds, and I shall not see him. But somewhere in the regions of traveller's faery he still lives, and he appears instantly to the new-comer; he has an understanding with the dryads, who keep him supplied with boughs from the Washington Elm, and his wood-house is full of them.

Among memorable custodians in Italy was one whom we saw at Pisa, where we stopped on our way from Leghorn after our accident in the Maremma, and spent an hour in viewing the Quattro Fabbriche. The beautiful old town, which every one knows from the report of travellers, one yet finds possessed of the incommunicable charm which keeps it forever novel to the visitor. Lying upon either side of the broad Arno, it mirrors in the flood architecture almost as fair and noble as that glassed in the Canalazzo, and its other streets seemed as tranquil as the canals of Venice. Those over which we drove, on the day of our visit, were paved with broad flag-stones, and gave out scarcely a sound under our wheels. It was Sunday, and no one was to be seen. Yet the empty and silent city inspired us with no sense of desolation. The palaces were in perfect repair; the pavements were clean; behind those windows we felt that there must be a good deal of easy, comfortable life. It is said that Pisa is one of the few places in Europe where the sweet, but timid spirit of Inexpensiveness - everywhere pursued by Railways - still lingers, and that you find cheap apartments in those well-preserved old palaces. No doubt it would be worth more to live in Pisa than it would cost, for the history of the place would alone be to any reasonable sojourner a perpetual recompense, and a princely income far exceeding his expenditure. To be sure, the Tower of Famine, with which we chiefly associate the name of Pisa, has been long razed to the ground, and built piecemeal into the neighboring palaces, but you may still visit the dead wall which hides from view the place where it stood; and you may thence drive on, as we did, to the great Piazza where stands the unrivaledest group of architecture in the world, after that of St. Mark's Place in Venice. There is the wonderful Leaning Tower, there is the old and beautiful Duomo, there is the noble Baptistery, there is the lovely Campo-Santo, and there - somewhere lurking in portal or behind pillar, and keeping out an eagle-eye for the marveling stranger - is the much-experienced cicerone who shows you through the edifices. Yours is the fourteen-thousandth American family to which he has had the honor of acting as guide, and he makes you feel an illogical satisfaction in thus becoming a contribution to statistics.

We entered the Duomo, in our new friend's custody, and we saw the things which it was well to see. There was mass, or some other ceremony, transacting; but as usual it was made as little obtrusive as possible, and there was not much to weaken the sense of proprietorship with which travellers view objects of interest. Then we ascended the Leaning Tower, skillfully preserving its equilibrium as we went by an inclination of our persons in a direction opposed to the tower's inclination, but perhaps not receiving a full justification of the Campanile's appearance in pictures, till we stood at its base, and saw its vast bulk and height as it seemed to sway and threaten in the blue sky above our heads. There the sensation was too terrible for endurance, - even the architectural beauty of the tower could not save it from being monstrous to us, - and we were glad to hurry away from it to the serenity and solemn loveliness of the Campo Santo.

Here are the frescos painted five hundred years ago to be ruinous and ready against the time of your arrival in 1864, and you feel that you are the first to enjoy the joke of the Vergognosa, that cunning jade who peers through her fingers at the shameful condition of deboshed father Noah, and seems to wink one eye of wicked amusement at you. Turning afterward to any book written about Italy during the time specified, you find your impression of exclusive possession of the frescos erroneous, and your muse naturally despairs, where so many muses have labored in vain, to give a just idea of the Campo Santo. Yet it is most worthy celebration. Those exquisitely arched and traceried colonnades seem to grow like the slim cypresses out of the sainted earth of Jerusalem; and those old paintings, made when Art was - if ever - a Soul, and not as now a mere Intelligence, enforce more effectively than their authors conceived the lessons of life and death; for they are themselves becoming part of the triumphant decay they represent. If it was awful once to look upon that strange scene where the gay lords and ladies of the chase come suddenly upon three dead men in their coffins, while the devoted hermits enjoy the peace of a dismal righteousness on a hill in the background, it is yet more tragic to behold it now when the dead men are hardly discernible in their coffins, and the hermits are but the vaguest shadows of gloomy bliss. Alas! Death mocks even the homage done him by our poor fears and hopes: with dust he wipes out dust, and with decay he blots the image of decay.

I assure the reader that I made none of these apt reflections in the Campo Santo at Pisa, but have written them out this morning in Cambridge because there happens to be an east wind blowing. No one could have been sad in the company of our cheerful and patient cicerone, who, although visibly anxious to get his fourteen-thousandth American family away, still would not go till he had shown us that monument to a dead enmity which hangs in the Campo Santo. This is the mighty chain which the Pisans, in their old wars with the Genoese, once stretched across the mouth of their harbor to prevent the entrance of the hostile galleys. The Genoese with no great trouble carried the chain away, and kept it ever afterward till 1860, when Pisa was united to the kingdom of Italy. Then the trophy was restored to the Pisans, and with public rejoicings placed in the Campo Santo, an emblem of reconciliation and perpetual amity between ancient foes. [I read in Mr. Norton's Notes of Travel and Study in Italy, that he saw in the Campo Santo, as long ago as 1856, "the chains that marked the servitude of Pisa, now restored by Florence," and it is of course possible that our cicerone may have employed one of those chains for the different historical purpose I have mentioned. It would be a thousand pities, I think, if a monument of that sort should be limited to the commemoration of one fact only.] It is not a very good world, - e pur si muove.

The Baptistery stands but a step away from the Campo Santo, and our guide ushered us into it with the air of one who had till now held in reserve his great stroke and was ready to deliver it. Yet I think he waited till we had looked at some comparatively trifling sculptures by Nicolo Pisano before he raised his voice, and uttered a melodious species of howl. While we stood in some amazement at this, the conscious structure of the dome caught the sound and prolonged it with a variety and sweetness of which I could not have dreamed. The man poured out in quick succession his musical wails, and then ceased, and a choir of heavenly echoes burst forth in response. There was a supernatural beauty in these harmonies of which I despair of giving any true idea: they were of such tender and exalted rapture that we might well have thought them the voices of young-eyed cherubim, singing as they passed through Paradise over that spot of earth where we stood. They seemed a celestial compassion that stooped and soothed, and rose again in lofty and solemn acclaim, leaving us poor and penitent and humbled.

We were long silent, and then broke forth with cries of admiration of which the marvelous echo made eloquence.

"Did you ever," said the cicerone after we had left the building, "hear such music as that?"

"The papal choir does not equal it," we answered with one voice.

The cicerone was not to be silenced even with such a tribute, and he went on:

"Perhaps, as you are Americans, you know Moshu Feelmore, the President? No? Ah, what a fine man! You saw that he had his heart actually in his hand! Well, one day he said to me here, when I told him of the Baptistery echo, 'We have the finest echo in the world in the Hall of Congress.' I said nothing, but for answer I merely howled a little, - thus! Moshu Feelmore was convinced. Said he, 'There is no other echo in the world besides this. You are right.' I am unique," pursued the cicerone, "for making this echo. But," he added with a sigh, "it has been my ruin. The English have put me in all the guide-books, and sometimes I have to howl twenty times a day. When our Victor Emanuel came here I showed him the church, the tower, and the Campo Santo. Says the king, 'Pfui!'" - here the cicerone gave that sweeping outward motion with both hands by which Italians dismiss a trifling subject - "'make me the echo!' I was forced," concluded the cicerone with a strong sense of injury in his tone, "to howl half an hour without ceasing."