Civita Castellana, May 24th. - We left Rome this morning, after troubles of various kinds, and a dispute in the first place with Lalla, our female servant, and her mother. . . . . Mother and daughter exploded into a livid rage, and cursed us plentifully, - wishing that we might never come to our journey's end, and that we might all break our necks or die of apoplexy, - the most awful curse that an Italian knows how to invoke upon his enemies, because it precludes the possibility of extreme unction. However, as we are heretics, and certain of damnation therefore, anyhow, it does not much matter to us; and also the anathemas may have been blown back upon those who invoked them, like the curses that were flung out from the balcony of St Peter's during Holy Week and wafted by heaven's breezes right into the faces of some priests who stood near the pope. Next we had a disagreement, with two men who brought down our luggage, and put it on the vettura; . . . . and, lastly, we were infested with beggars, who hung round the carriages with doleful petitions, till we began to move away; but the previous warfare had put me into too stern a mood for almsgiving, so that they also were doubtless inclined to curse more than to bless, and I am persuaded that we drove off under a perfect shower of anathemas.

We passed through the Porta del Popolo at about eight o'clock; and after a moment's delay, while the passport was examined, began our journey along the Flaminian Way, between two such high and inhospitable walls of brick or stone as seem to shut in all the avenues to Rome. We had not gone far before we heard military music in advance of us, and saw the road blocked up with people, and then the glitter of muskets, and soon appeared the drummers, fifers, and trumpeters, and then the first battalion of a French regiment, marching into the city, with two mounted officers at their head; then appeared a second and then a third battalion, the whole seeming to make almost an army, though the number on their caps showed them all to belong to one regiment, - the 1st; then came a battery of artillery, then a detachment of horse, - these last, by the crossed keys on their helmets, being apparently papal troops. All were young, fresh, good-looking men, in excellent trim as to uniform and equipments, and marched rather as if they were setting out on a campaign than returning from it; the fact being, I believe, that they have been encamped or in barracks within a few miles of the city. Nevertheless, it reminded me of the military processions of various kinds which so often, two thousand years ago and more, entered Rome over the Flaminian Way, and over all the roads that led to the famous city, - triumphs oftenest, but sometimes the downcast train of a defeated army, like those who retreated before Hannibal. On the whole, I was not sorry to see the Gauls still pouring into Rome; but yet I begin to find that I have a strange affection for it, and so did we all, - the rest of the family in a greater degree than myself even. It is very singular, the sad embrace with which Rome takes possession of the soul. Though we intend to return in a few months, and for a longer residence than this has been, yet we felt the city pulling at our heartstrings far more than London did, where we shall probably never spend much time again. It may be because the intellect finds a home there more than in any other spot in the world, and wins the heart to stay with it, in spite of a good many things strewn all about to disgust us.

The road in the earlier part of the way was not particularly picturesque, - the country undulated, but scarcely rose into hills, and was destitute of trees; there were a few shapeless ruins, too indistinct for us to make out whether they were Roman or mediaeval. Nothing struck one so much, in the forenoon, as the spectacle of a peasant-woman riding on horseback as if she were a man. The houses were few, and those of a dreary aspect, built of gray stone, and looking bare and desolate, with not the slightest promise of comfort within doors. We passed two or three locandas or inns, and finally came to the village (if village it were, for I remember no houses except our osteria) of Castel Nuovo di Porta, where we were to take a dejeuner a la fourchette, which was put upon the table between twelve and one. On this journey, according to the custom of travellers in Italy, we pay the vetturino a certain sum, and live at his expense; and this meal was the first specimen of his catering on our behalf. It consisted of a beefsteak, rather dry and hard, but not unpalatable, and a large omelette; and for beverage, two quart bottles of red wine, which, being tasted, had an agreeable acid flavor. . . . . The locanda was built of stone, and had what looked like an old Roman altar in the basement-hall, and a shrine, with a lamp before it, on the staircase; and the large public saloon in which we ate had a brick floor, a ceiling with cross-beams, meagrely painted in fresco, and a scanty supply of chairs and settees.

After lunch, we wandered out into a valley or ravine near the house, where we gathered some flowers, and J - - -found a nest with the young birds in it, which, however, he put back into the bush whence he took it.

Our afternoon drive was more picturesque and noteworthy. Soracte rose before us, bulging up quite abruptly out of the plain, and keeping itself entirely distinct from a whole horizon of hills. Byron well compares it to a wave just on the bend, and about to break over towards the spectator. As we approached it nearer and nearer, it looked like the barrenest great rock that ever protruded out of the substance of the earth, with scarcely a strip or a spot of verdure upon its steep and gray declivities. The road kept trending towards the mountain, following the line of the old Flaminian Way, which we could see, at frequent intervals, close beside the modern track. It is paved with large flag-stones, laid so accurately together, that it is still, in some places, as smooth and even as the floor of a church; and everywhere the tufts of grass find it difficult to root themselves into the interstices. Its course is straighter than that of the road of to-day, which often turns aside to avoid obstacles which the ancient one surmounted. Much of it, probably, is covered with the soil and overgrowth deposited in later years; and, now and then, we could see its flag-stones partly protruding from the bank through which our road has been cut, and thus showing that the thickness of this massive pavement was more than a foot of solid stone. We lost it over and over again; but still it reappeared, now on one side of us, now on the other; perhaps from beneath the roots of old trees, or the pasture-land of a thousand years old, and leading on towards the base of Soracte. I forget where we finally lost it. Passing through a town called Rignano, we found it dressed out in festivity, with festoons of foliage along both sides of the street, which ran beneath a triumphal arch, bearing an inscription in honor of a ducal personage of the Massimi family. I know no occasion for the feast, except that it is Whitsuntide. The town was thronged with peasants, in their best attire, and we met others on their way thither, particularly women and girls, with heads bare in the sunshine; but there was no tiptoe jollity, nor, indeed, any more show of festivity than I have seen in my own country at a cattle-show or muster. Really, I think, not half so much.

The road still grew more and more picturesque, and now lay along ridges, at the bases of which were deep ravines and hollow valleys. Woods were not wanting; wilder forests than I have seen since leaving America, of oak-trees chiefly; and, among the green foliage, grew golden tufts of broom, making a gay and lovely combination of hues. I must not forget to mention the poppies, which burned like live coals along the wayside, and lit up the landscape, even a single one of them, with wonderful effect. At other points, we saw olive-trees, hiding their eccentricity of boughs under thick masses of foliage of a livid tint, which is caused, I believe, by their turning their reverse sides to the light and to the spectator. Vines were abundant, but were of little account in the scene. By and by we came in sight, of the high, flat table-land, on which stands Civita Castellana, and beheld, straight downward, between us and the town, a deep level valley with a river winding through it; it was the valley of the Treja. A precipice, hundreds of feet in height, falls perpendicularly upon the valley, from the site of Civita Castellana; there is an equally abrupt one, probably, on the side from which we saw it; and a modern road, skilfully constructed, goes winding down to the stream, crosses it by a narrow stone bridge, and winds upward into the town. After passing over the bridge, I alighted, with J - - -and R - - -, . . . . and made the ascent on foot, along walls of natural rock, in which old Etruscan tombs were hollowed out. There are likewise antique remains of masonry, whether Roman or of what earlier period, I cannot tell. At the summit of the acclivity, which brought us close to the town, our vetturino took us into the carriage again and quickly brought us to what appears to be really a good hotel, where all of us are accommodated with sleeping-chambers in a range, beneath an arcade, entirely secluded from the rest of the population of the hotel. After a splendid dinner (that is, splendid, considering that it was ordered by our hospitable vetturino), U - - , Miss Shepard, J - - -, and I walked out of the little town, in the opposite direction from our entrance, and crossed a bridge at the height of the table-land, instead of at its base. On either side, we had a view down into a profound gulf, with sides of precipitous rock, and heaps of foliage in its lap, through which ran the snowy track of a stream; here snowy, there dark; here hidden among the foliage, there quite revealed in the broad depths of the gulf. This was wonderfully fine. Walking on a little farther, Soracte came fully into view, starting with bold abruptness out of the middle of the country; and before we got back, the bright Italian moon was throwing a shower of silver over the scene, and making it so beautiful that it seemed miserable not to know how to put it into words; a foolish thought, however, for such scenes are an expression in themselves, and need not be translated into any feebler language. On our walk we met parties of laborers, both men and women, returning from the fields, with rakes and wooden forks over their shoulders, singing in chorus. It is very customary for women to be laboring in the fields.