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.

It was not a pleasant morning, and Monte Morello, looking down on Florence, had on its cap, betokening foul weather, according to the proverb. Crossing the suspension-bridge, we reached the Leopoldo railway without entering the city. By some mistake, - or perhaps because nobody ever travels by first-class carriages in Tuscany, - we found we had received second-class tickets, and were put into a long, crowded carriage, full of priests, military men, commercial travellers, and other respectable people, facing one another lengthwise along the carriage, and many of them smoking cigars. They were all perfectly civil, and I think I must own that the manners of this second-class would compare favorably with those of an American first-class one.

At Empoli, about an hour after we started, we had to change carriages, the main train proceeding to Leghorn. . . . . My observations along the road were very scanty: a hilly country, with several old towns seated on the most elevated hill-tops, as is common throughout Tuscany, or sometimes a fortress with a town on the plain at its base; or, once or twice, the towers and battlements of a mediaeval castle, commanding the pass below it. Near Florence the country was fertile in the vine and olive, and looked as unpicturesque as that sort of fertility usually makes it; not but what I have come to think better of the tint of the olive-leaf than when I first saw it. In the latter part of our journey I remember a wild stream, of a greenish hue, but transparent, rushing along over a rough bed, and before reaching Siena we rumbled into a long tunnel, and emerged from it near the city. . . . .

We drove up hill and down (for the surface of Siena seems to be nothing but an irregularity) through narrow old streets, and were set down at the Aquila Nera, a grim-looking albergo near the centre of the town. Mrs. S - - - had already taken rooms for us there, and to these we were now ushered up the highway of a dingy stone staircase, and into a small, brick-paved parlor. The house seemed endlessly old, and all the glimpses that we caught of Siena out of window seemed more ancient still. Almost within arm's reach, across a narrow street, a tall palace of gray, time-worn stone clambered skyward, with arched windows, and square windows, and large windows and small, scattered up and down its side. It is the Palazzo Tolomei, and looks immensely venerable. From the windows of our bedrooms we looked into a broader street, though still not very wide, and into a small piazza, the most conspicuous object in which was a column, hearing on its top a bronze wolf suckling Romulus and Remus. This symbol is repeated in other parts of the city, and scours to indicate that the Sienese people pride themselves in a Roman origin. In another direction, over the tops of the houses, we saw a very high tower, with battlements projecting around its summit, so that it was a fortress in the air; and this I have since found to be the Palazzo Publico. It was pleasant, looking downward into the little old piazza and narrow streets, to see the swarm of life on the pavement, the life of to-day just as new as if it had never been lived before; the citizens, the priests, the soldiers, the mules and asses with their panniers, the diligence lumbering along, with a postilion in a faded crimson coat bobbing up and down on the off-horse. Such a bustling scene, vociferous, too, with various street-cries, is wonderfully set off by the gray antiquity of the town, and makes the town look older than if it were a solitude.

Soon Mr. and Mrs. Story came, and accompanied us to look for lodgings. They also drove us about the city in their carriage, and showed us the outside of the Palazzo Publico, and of the cathedral and other remarkable edifices. The aspect of Siena is far more picturesque than that of any other town in Italy, so far as I know Italian towns; and yet, now that I have written it, I remember Perugia, and feel that the observation is a mistake. But at any rate Siena is remarkably picturesque, standing on such a site, on the verge and within the crater of an extinct volcano, and therefore being as uneven as the sea in a tempest; the streets so narrow, ascending between tall, ancient palaces, while the side streets rush headlong down, only to be threaded by sure-footed mules, such as climb Alpine heights; old stone balconies on the palace fronts; old arched doorways, and windows set in frames of Gothic architecture; arcades, resembling canopies of stone, with quaintly sculptured statues in the richly wrought Gothic niches of each pillar; - everything massive and lofty, yet minutely interesting when you look at it stone by stone. The Florentines, and the Romans too, have obliterated, as far as they could, all the interest of their mediaeval structures by covering them with stucco, so that they have quite lost their character, and affect the spectator with no reverential idea of age. Here the city is all overwritten with black-letter, and the glad Italian sun makes the effect so much the stronger.

We took a lodging, and afterwards J - - -and I rambled about, and went into the cathedral for a moment, and strayed also into the Piazza del Campo, the great public square of Siena. I am not in the mood for further description of public places now, so shall say a word or two about the old palace in which we have established ourselves. We have the second piano, and dwell amid faded grandeur, having for our saloon what seems to have been a ball-room. It is ornamented with a great fresco in the centre of the vaulted ceiling, and others covering the sides of the apartment, and surrounded with arabesque frameworks, where Cupids gambol and chase one another. The subjects of the frescos I cannot make out, not that they are faded like Giotto's, for they are as fresh as roses, and are done in an exceedingly workmanlike style; but they are allegories of Fame and Plenty and other matters, such as I could never understand. Our whole accommodation is in similar style, - spacious, magnificent, and mouldy.

In the evening Miss S - - - and I drove to the railway, and on the arrival of the train from Florence we watched with much eagerness the unlading of the luggage-van. At last the whole of our ten trunks and tin bandbox were produced, and finally my leather bag, in which was my journal and a manuscript book containing my sketch of a romance. It gladdened my very heart to see it, and I shall think the better of Tuscan promptitude and accuracy for so quickly bringing it back to me. (It was left behind, under one of the rail-carriage seats.) We find all the public officials, whether of railway, police, or custom-house, extremely courteous and pleasant to encounter; they seem willing to take trouble and reluctant to give it, and it is really a gratification to find that such civil people will sometimes oblige you by taking a paul or two aside.

October 3d. - I took several strolls about the city yesterday, and find it scarcely extensive enough to get lost in; and if we go far from the centre we soon come to silent streets, with only here and there an individual; and the inhabitants stare from their doors and windows at the stranger, and turn round to look at him after he has passed. The interest of the old town would soon be exhausted for the traveller, but I can conceive that a thoughtful and shy man might settle down here with the view of making the place a home, and spend many years in a sombre kind of happiness. I should prefer it to Florence as a residence, but it would be terrible without an independent life in one's own mind.

U - - and I walked out in the afternoon, and went into the Piazza del Campo, the principal place of the city, and a very noble and peculiar one. It is much in the form of an amphitheatre, and the surface of the ground seems to be slightly scooped out, so that it resembles the shallow basin of a shell. It is thus a much better site for an assemblage of the populace than if it were a perfect level. A semicircle or truncated ellipse of stately and ancient edifices surround the piazza, with arches opening beneath them, through which streets converge hitherward. One side of the piazza is a straight line, and is occupied by the Palazzo Publico, which is a most noble and impressive Gothic structure. It has not the mass of the Palazzo Vecchio at Florence, but is more striking. It has a long battlemented front, the central part of which rises eminent above the rest, in a great square bulk, which is likewise crowned with battlements. This is much more picturesque than the one great block of stone into which the Palazzo Vecchio is consolidated. At one extremity of this long front of the Palazzo Publico rises a tower, shooting up its shaft high, high into the air, and bulging out there into a battlemented fortress, within which the tower, slenderer than before, climbs to a still higher region. I do not know whether the summit of the tower is higher or so high as that of the Palazzo Vecchio; but the length of the shaft, free of the edifice, is much greater, and so produces the more elevating effect. The whole front of the Palazzo Publico is exceedingly venerable, with arched windows, Gothic carvings, and all the old-time ornaments that betoken it to have stood a great while, and the gray strength that will hold it up at least as much longer. At one end of the facade, beneath the shadow of the tower, is a grand and beautiful porch, supported on square pillars, within each of which is a niche containing a statue of mediaeval sculpture.

The great Piazza del Campo is the market-place of Siena. In the morning it was thronged with booths and stalls, especially of fruit and vegetable dealers; but as in Florence, they melted away in the sunshine, gradually withdrawing themselves into the shadow thrown from the Palazzo Publico.

On the side opposite the palace is an antique fountain of marble, ornamented with two statues and a series of bas-reliefs; and it was so much admired in its day that its sculptor received the name "Del Fonte." I am loath to leave the piazza and palace without finding some word or two to suggest their antique majesty, in the sunshine and the shadow; and how fit it seemed, notwithstanding their venerableness, that there should be a busy crowd filling up the great, hollow amphitheatre, and crying their fruit and little merchandises, so that all the curved line of stately old edifices helped to reverberate the noise. The life of to-day, within the shell of a time past, is wonderfully fascinating.

Another point to which a stranger's footsteps are drawn by a kind of magnetism, so that he will be apt to find himself there as often as he strolls out of his hotel, is the cathedral. It stands in the highest part of the city, and almost every street runs into some other street which meanders hitherward. On our way thither, U - - and I came to a beautiful front of black and white marble, in somewhat the same style as the cathedral; in fact, it was the baptistery, and should have made a part of it, according to the original design, which contemplated a structure of vastly greater extent than this actual one. We entered the baptistery, and found the interior small, but very rich in its clustered columns and intersecting arches, and its frescos, pictures, statues, and ornaments. Moreover, a father and mother had brought their baby to be baptized, and the poor little thing, in its gay swaddling-clothes, looked just like what I have seen in old pictures, and a good deal like an Indian pappoose. It gave one little slender squeak when the priest put the water on its forehead, and then was quiet again.

We now went round to the facade of the cathedral. . . . . It is of black and white marble, with, I believe, an intermixture of red and other colors; but time has toned them down, so that white, black, and red do not contrast so strongly with one another as they may have done five hundred years ago. The architecture is generally of the pointed Gothic style, but there are likewise carved arches over the doors and windows, and a variety which does not produce the effect of confusion, - a magnificent eccentricity, an exuberant imagination flowering out in stone. On high, in the great peak of the front, and throwing its colored radiance into the nave within, there is a round window of immense circumference, the painted figures in which we can see dimly from the outside. But what I wish to express, and never can, is the multitudinous richness of the ornamentation of the front: the arches within arches, sculptured inch by inch, of the deep doorways; the statues of saints, some making a hermitage of a niche, others standing forth; the scores of busts, that look like faces of ancient people gazing down out of the cathedral; the projecting shapes of stone lions, - the thousand forms of Gothic fancy, which seemed to soften the marble and express whatever it liked, and allow it to harden again to last forever. But my description seems like knocking off the noses of some of the busts, the fingers and toes of the statues, the projecting points of the architecture, jumbling them all up together, and flinging them down upon the page. This gives no idea of the truth, nor, least of all, can it shadow forth that solemn whole, mightily combined out of all these minute particulars, and sanctifying the entire space of ground over which this cathedral-front flings its shadow, or on which it reflects the sun. A majesty and a minuteness, neither interfering with the other, each assisting the other; this is what I love in Gothic architecture. We went in and walked about; but I mean to go again before sketching the interior in my poor water-colors.

October 4th. - On looking again at the Palazzo Publico, I see that the pillared portal which I have spoken of does not cover an entrance to the palace, but is a chapel, with an altar, and frescos above it. Bouquets of fresh flowers are on the altar, and a lamp burns, in all the daylight, before the crucifix. The chapel is quite unenclosed, except by an openwork balustrade of marble, on which the carving looks very ancient. Nothing could be more convenient for the devotions of the crowd in the piazza, and no doubt the daily prayers offered at the shrine might be numbered by the thousand, - brief, but I hope earnest, - like those glimpses I used to catch at the blue sky, revealing so much in an instant, while I was toiling at Brook Farm. Another picturesque thing about the Palazzo Publico is a great stone balcony quaintly wrought, about midway in the front and high aloft, with two arched windows opening into it.

After another glimpse at the cathedral, too, I realize how utterly I have failed in conveying the idea of its elaborate ornament, its twisted and clustered pillars, and numberless devices of sculpture; nor did I mention the venerable statues that stand all round the summit of the edifice, relieved against the sky, - the highest of all being one of the Saviour, on the topmost peak of the front; nor the tall tower that ascends from one side of the building, and is built of layers of black and white marble piled one upon another in regular succession; nor the dome that swells upward close beside this tower.

Had the cathedral been constructed on the plan and dimensions at first contemplated, it would have been incomparably majestic; the finished portion, grand as it is, being only what was intended for a transept. One of the walls of what was to have been the nave is still standing, and looks like a ruin, though, I believe, it has been turned to account as the wall of a palace, the space of the never-completed nave being now a court or street.

The whole family of us were kindly taken out yesterday, to dine and spend the day at the Villa Belvedere with our friends Mr. and Mrs. Story. The vicinity of Siena is much more agreeable than that of Florence, being cooler, breezier, with more foliage and shrubbery both near at hand and in the distance; and the prospect, Mr. Story told us, embraces a diameter of about a hundred miles between hills north and south. The Villa Belvedere was built and owned by an Englishman now deceased, who has left it to his butler, and its lawns and shrubbery have something English in their character, and there was almost a dampness in the grass, which really pleased me in this parched Italy. Within the house the walls are hung with fine old-fashioned engravings from the pictures of Gainsborough, West, and other English painters. The Englishman, though he had chosen to live and die in Italy, had evidently brought his native tastes and peculiarities along with him. Mr. Story thinks of buying this villa: I do not know but I might be tempted to buy it myself if Siena were a practicable residence for the entire year; but the winter here, with the bleak mountain-winds of a hundred miles round about blustering against it, must be terribly disagreeable.

We spent a very pleasant day, turning over books or talking on the lawn, whence we could behold scenes picturesque afar, and rich vineyard glimpses near at hand. Mr. Story is the most variously accomplished and brilliant person, the fullest of social life and fire, whom I ever met; and without seeming to make an effort, he kept us amused and entertained the whole day long; not wearisomely entertained neither, as we should have been if he had not let his fountain play naturally. Still, though he bubbled and brimmed over with fun, he left the impression on me that . . . . there is a pain and care, bred, it may be, out of the very richness of his gifts and abundance of his outward prosperity. Rich, in the prime of life, . . . . and children budding and blossoming around him as fairly as his heart could wish, with sparkling talents, - so many, that if he choose to neglect or fling away one, or two, or three, he would still have enough left to shine with, - who should be happy if not he? . . . .

Towards sunset we all walked out into the podere, pausing a little while to look down into a well that stands on the verge of the lawn. Within the spacious circle of its stone curb was an abundant growth of maidenhair, forming a perfect wreath of thickly clustering leaves quite round, and trailing its tendrils downward to the water which gleamed beneath. It was a very pretty sight. Mr. Story bent over the well and uttered deep, musical tones, which were reverberated from the hollow depths with wonderful effect, as if a spirit dwelt within there, and (unlike the spirits that speak through mediums) sent him back responses even profounder and more melodious than the tones that awakened them. Such a responsive well as this might have been taken for an oracle in old days.

We went along paths that led from one vineyard to another, and which might have led us for miles across the country. The grapes had been partly gathered, but still there were many purple or white clusters hanging heavily on the vines. We passed cottage doors, and saw groups of contadini and contadine in their festal attire, and they saluted us graciously; but it was observable that one of the men generally lingered on our track to see that no grapes were stolen, for there were a good many young people and children in our train, not only our own, but some from a neighboring villa. These Italian peasants are a kindly race, but, I doubt, not very hospitable of grape or fig.

There was a beautiful sunset, and by the time we reached the house again the comet was already visible amid the unextinguished glow of daylight. A Mr. and Mrs. B - - - , Scotch people from the next villa, had come to see the Storys, and we sat till tea-time reading, talking, William Story drawing caricatures for his children's amusement and ours, and all of us sometimes getting up to look at the comet, which blazed brighter and brighter till it went down into the mists of the horizon. Among the caricatures was one of a Presidential candidate, evidently a man of very malleable principles, and likely to succeed.

Late in the evening (too late for little Rosebud) we drove homeward. The streets of old Siena looked very grim at night, and it seemed like gazing into caverns to glimpse down some of the side streets as we passed, with a light burning dimly at the end of them. It was after ten when we reached home, and climbed up our gloomy staircase, lighted by the glimmer of some wax moccoli which I had in my pocket.

October 5th. - I have been two or three times into the cathedral; . . . . the whole interior is of marble, in alternate lines of black and white, each layer being about eight inches in width and extending horizontally. It looks very curiously, and might remind the spectator of a stuff with horizontal stripes. Nevertheless, the effect is exceedingly rich, these alternate lines stretching away along the walls and round the clustered pillars, seen aloft, and through the arches; everywhere, this inlay of black and white. Every sort of ornament that could be thought of seems to have been crammed into the cathedral in one place or another: gilding, frescos, pictures; a roof of blue, spangled with golden stars; a magnificent wheel-window of old painted glass over the entrance, and another at the opposite end of the cathedral; statues, some of marble, others of gilded bronze; pulpits of carved marble; a gilded organ; a cornice of marble busts of the popes, extending round the entire church; a pavement, covered all over with a strange kind of mosaic work in various marbles, wrought into marble pictures of sacred subjects; immense clustered pillars supporting the round arches that divide the nave from the side aisles; a clere-story of windows within pointed arches; - it seemed as if the spectator were reading an antique volume written in black-letter of a small character, but conveying a high and solemn meaning. I can find no way of expressing its effect on me, so quaint and venerable as I feel this cathedral to be in its immensity of striped waistcoat, now dingy with five centuries of wear. I ought not to say anything that might detract from the grandeur and sanctity of the blessed edifice, for these attributes are really uninjured by any of the Gothic oddities which I have hinted at.

We went this morning to the Institute of the Fine Arts, which is interesting as containing a series of the works of the Sienese painters from a date earlier than that of Cimabue. There is a dispute, I believe, between Florence and Siena as to which city may claim the credit of having originated the modern art of painting. The Florentines put forward Cimabue as the first artist, but as the Sienese produce a picture, by Guido da Siena, dated before the birth of Cimabue, the victory is decidedly with them. As to pictorial merit, to my taste there is none in either of these old painters, nor in any of their successors for a long time afterwards. At the Institute there are several rooms hung with early productions of the Sienese school, painted before the invention of oil-colors, on wood shaped into Gothic altar-pieces. The backgrounds still retain a bedimmed splendor of gilding. There is a plentiful use of red, and I can conceive that the pictures must have shed an illumination through the churches where they were displayed. There is often, too, a minute care bestowed on the faces in the pictures, and sometimes a very strong expression, stronger than modern artists get, and it is very strange how they attained this merit while they were so inconceivably rude in other respects. It is remarkable that all the early faces of the Madonna are especially stupid, and all of the same type, a sort of face such as one might carve on a pumpkin, representing a heavy, sulky, phlegmatic woman, with a long and low arch of the nose. This same dull face continues to be assigned to the Madonna, even when the countenances of the surrounding saints and angels are characterized with power and beauty, so that I think there must have been some portrait of this sacred personage reckoned authentic, which the early painters followed and religiously repeated.

At last we came to a picture by Sodoma, the most illustrious representative of the Sienese school. It was a fresco; Christ bound to the pillar, after having been scourged. I do believe that painting has never done anything better, so far as expression is concerned, than this figure. In all these generations since it was painted it must have softened thousands of hearts, drawn down rivers of tears, been more effectual than a million of sermons. Really, it is a thing to stand and weep at. No other painter has done anything that can deserve to be compared to this.

There are some other pictures by Sodoma, among them a Judith, very noble and admirable, and full of a profound sorrow for the deed which she has felt it her mission to do.

Aquila Nera, October 7th. - Our lodgings in Siena had been taken only for five days, as they were already engaged after that period; so yesterday we returned to our old quarters at the Black Eagle.

In the forenoon J - - -and I went out of one of the gates (the road from it leads to Florence) and had a pleasant country walk. Our way wound downward, round the hill on which Siena stands, and gave us views of the Duomo and its campanile, seemingly pretty near, after we had walked long enough to be quite remote from them. Sitting awhile on the parapet of a bridge, I saw a laborer chopping the branches off a poplar-tree which he had felled; and, when it was trimmed, he took up the large trunk on one of his shoulders and carried it off, seemingly with ease. He did not look like a particularly robust man; but I have never seen such an herculean feat attempted by an Englishman or American. It has frequently struck me that the Italians are able to put forth a great deal of strength in such insulated efforts as this; but I have been told that they are less capable of continued endurance and hardship than our own race. I do not know why it should be so, except that I presume their food is less strong than ours. There was no other remarkable incident in our walk, which lay chiefly through gorges of the hills, winding beneath high cliffs of the brown Siena earth, with many pretty scenes of rural landscape; vineyards everywhere, and olive-trees; a mill on its little stream, over which there was an old stone bridge, with a graceful arch; farm-houses; a villa or two; subterranean passages, passing from the roadside through the high banks into the vineyards. At last we turned aside into a road which led us pretty directly to another gate of the city, and climbed steeply upward among tanneries, where the young men went about with their well-shaped legs bare, their trousers being tucked up till they were strictly breeches and nothing else. The campanile stood high above us; and by and by, and very soon, indeed, the steep ascent of the street brought us into the neighborhood of the Piazza del Campo, and of our own hotel. . . . . From about twelve o'clock till one, I sat at my chamber window watching the specimens of human life as displayed in the Piazza Tolomei. [Here follow several pages of moving objects.] . . . . Of course, a multitude of other people passed by, but the curiousness of the catalogue is the prevalence of the martial and religious elements. The general costume of the inhabitants is frocks or sacks, loosely made, and rather shabby; often, shirt-sleeves; or the coat hung over one shoulder. They wear felt hats and straw. People of respectability seem to prefer cylinder hats, either black or drab, and broadcloth frock-coats in the French fashion; but, like the rest, they look a little shabby. Almost all the women wear shawls. Ladies in swelling petticoats, and with fans, some of which are highly gilded, appear. The people generally are not tall, but have a sufficient breadth of shoulder; in complexion, similar to Americans; bearded, universally. The vehicle used for driving is a little gig without a top; but these are seldom seen, and still less frequently a cab or other carriages. The gait of the people has not the energy of business or decided purpose. Everybody appears to lounge, and to have time for a moment's chat, and a disposition to rest, reason or none.

After dinner I walked out of another gate of the city, and wandered among some pleasant country lanes, bordered with hedges, and wearing an English aspect; at least, I could fancy so. The vicinity of Siena is delightful to walk about in; there being a verdant outlook, a wide prospect of purple mountains, though no such level valley as the Val d' Arno; and the city stands so high that its towers and domes are seen more picturesquely from many points than those of Florence can be. Neither is the pedestrian so cruelly shut into narrow lanes, between high stone-walls, over which he cannot get a glimpse of landscape. As I walked by the hedges yesterday I could have fancied that the olive-trunks were those of apple-trees, and that I was in one or other of the two lands that I love better than Italy. But the great white villas and the farm-houses were unlike anything I have seen elsewhere, or that I should wish to see again, though proper enough to Italy.

October 9th. - Thursday forenoon, 8th, we went to see the Palazzo Publico. There are some fine old halls and chapels, adorned with ancient frescos and pictures, of which I remember a picture of the Virgin by Sodoma, very beautiful, and other fine pictures by the same master. The architecture of these old rooms is grand, the roofs being supported by ponderous arches, which are covered with frescos, still magnificent, though faded, darkened, and defaced. We likewise saw an antique casket of wood, enriched with gilding, which had once contained an arm of John the Baptist, - so the custode told us. One of the halls was hung with the portraits of eight popes and nearly forty cardinals, who were natives of Siena. I have done hardly any other sight-seeing except a daily visit to the cathedral, which I admire and love the more the oftener I go thither. Its striped peculiarity ceases entirely to interfere with the grandeur and venerable beauty of its impression; and I am never weary of gazing through the vista of its arches, and noting continually something that I had not seen before in its exuberant adornment. The pavement alone is inexhaustible, being covered all over with figures of life-size or larger, which look like immense engravings of Gothic or Scriptural scenes. There is Absalom hanging by his hair, and Joab slaying him with a spear. There is Samson belaboring the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. There are armed knights in the tumult of battle, all wrought with wonderful expression. The figures are in white marble, inlaid with darker stone, and the shading is effected by means of engraved lines in the marble, filled in with black. It would be possible, perhaps, to print impressions from some of these vast plates, for the process of cutting the lines was an exact anticipation of the modern art of engraving. However, the same thing was done - and I suppose at about the same period - on monumental brasses, and I have seen impressions or rubbings from those for sale in the old English churches.

Yesterday morning, in the cathedral, I watched a woman at confession, being curious to see how long it would take her to tell her sins, the growth of a week perhaps. I know not how long she had been confessing when I first observed her, but nearly an hour passed before the priest came suddenly from the confessional, looking weary and moist with perspiration, and took his way out of the cathedral. The woman was left on her knees. This morning I watched another woman, and she too was very long about it, and I could see the face of the priest behind the curtain of the confessional, scarcely inclining his ear to the perforated tin through which the penitent communicated her outpourings. It must be very tedious to listen, day after day, to the minute and commonplace iniquities of the multitude of penitents, and it cannot be often that these are redeemed by the treasure-trove of a great sin. When her confession was over the woman came and sat down on the same bench with me, where her broad-brimmed straw hat was lying. She seemed to be a country woman, with a simple, matronly face, which was solemnized and softened with the comfort that she had obtained by disburdening herself of the soil of worldly frailties and receiving absolution. An old woman, who haunts the cathedral, whispered to her, and she went and knelt down where a procession of priests were to pass, and then the old lady begged a cruzia of me, and got a half-paul. It almost invariably happens, in church or cathedral, that beggars address their prayers to the heretic visitor, and probably with more unction than to the Virgin or saints. However, I have nothing to say against the sincerity of this people's devotion. They give all the proof of it that a mere spectator can estimate.

Last evening we all went out to see the comet, which then reached its climax of lustre. It was like a lofty plume of fire, and grew very brilliant as the night darkened.

October 10th. - This morning, too, we went to the cathedral, and sat long listening to the music of the organ and voices, and witnessing rites and ceremonies which are far older than even the ancient edifice where they were exhibited. A good many people were present, sitting, kneeling, or walking about, - a freedom that contrasts very agreeably with the grim formalities of English churches and our own meeting-houses. Many persons were in their best attire; but others came in, with unabashed simplicity, in their old garments of labor, sunburnt women from their toil among the vines and olives. One old peasant I noticed with his withered shanks in breeches and blue yarn stockings. The people of whatever class are wonderfully tolerant of heretics, never manifesting any displeasure or annoyance, though they must see that we are drawn thither by curiosity alone, and merely pry while they pray. I heartily wish the priests were better men, and that human nature, divinely influenced, could be depended upon for a constant supply and succession of good and pure ministers, their religion has so many admirable points. And then it is a sad pity that this noble and beautiful cathedral should be a mere fossil shell, out of which the life has died long ago. But for many a year yet to come the tapers will burn before the high altar, the Host will be elevated, the incense diffuse its fragrance, the confessionals be open to receive the penitents. I saw a father entering with two little bits of boys, just big enough to toddle along, holding his hand on either side. The father dipped his fingers into the marble font of holy water, - which, on its pedestals, was two or three times as high as those small Christians, - and wetted a hand of each, and taught them how to cross themselves. When they come to be men it will be impossible to convince those children that there is no efficacy in holy water, without plucking up all religious faith and sentiment by the roots. Generally, I suspect, when people throw off the faith they were born in, the best soil of their hearts is apt to cling to its roots.

Raised several feet above the pavement, against every clustered pillar along the nave of the cathedral, is placed a statue of Gothic sculpture. In various places are sitting statues of popes of Sienese nativity, all of whom, I believe, have a hand raised in the act of blessing. Shrines and chapels, set in grand, heavy frames of pillared architecture, stand all along the aisles and transepts, and these seem in many instances to have been built and enriched by noble families, whose arms are sculptured on the pedestals of the pillars, sometimes with a cardinal's hat above to denote the rank of one of its members. How much pride, love, and reverence in the lapse of ages must have clung to the sharp points of all this sculpture and architecture! The cathedral is a religion in itself, - something worth dying for to those who have an hereditary interest in it. In the pavement, yesterday, I noticed the gravestone of a person who fell six centuries ago in the battle of Monte Aperto, and was buried here by public decree as a meed of valor.

This afternoon I took a walk out of one of the city gates, and found the country about Siena as beautiful in this direction as in all others. I came to a little stream flowing over into a pebbly bed, and collecting itself into pools, with a scanty rivulet between. Its glen was deep, and was crossed by a bridge of several lofty and narrow arches like those of a Roman aqueduct. It is a modern structure, however. Farther on, as I wound round along the base of a hill which fell down upon the road by precipitous cliffs of brown earth, I saw a gray, ruined wall on the summit, surrounded with cypress-trees. This tree is very frequent about Siena, and the scenery is made soft and beautiful by a variety of other trees and shrubbery, without which these hills and gorges would have scarcely a charm. The road was thronged with country people, mostly women and children, who had been spending the feast-day in Siena; and parties of boys were chasing one another through the fields, pretty much as boys do in New England of a Sunday, but the Sienese lads had not the sense of Sabbath-breaking like our boys. Sunday with these people is like any other feast-day, and consecrated cheerful enjoyment. So much religious observance, as regards outward forms, is diffused through the whole week that they have no need to intensify the Sabbath except by making it gladden the other days.

Returning through the same gate by which I had come out, I ascended into the city by a long and steep street, which was paved with bricks set edgewise. This pavement is common in many of the streets, which, being too steep for horses and carriages, are meant only to sustain the lighter tread of mules and asses. The more level streets are paved with broad, smooth flag-stones, like those of Florence, - a fashion which I heartily regret to change for the little penitential blocks of Rome. The walls of Siena in their present state, and so far as I have seen them, are chiefly brick; but there are intermingled fragments of ancient stone-work, and I wonder why the latter does not prevail more largely. The Romans, however, - and Siena had Roman characteristics, - always liked to build of brick, a taste that has made their ruins (now that the marble slabs are torn off) much less grand than they ought to have been. I am grateful to the old Sienese for having used stone so largely in their domestic architecture, and thereby rendered their city so grimly picturesque, with its black palaces frowning upon one another from arched windows, across narrow streets, to the height of six stories, like opposite ranks of tall men looking sternly into one another's eyes.

October 11th. - Again I went to the cathedral this morning, and spent an hour listening to the music and looking through the orderly intricacies of the arches, where many vistas open away among the columns of the choir. There are five clustered columns on each side of the nave; then under the dome there are two more arches, not in a straight line, but forming the segment of a circle; and beyond the circle of the dome there are four more arches, extending to the extremity of the chancel. I should have said, instead of "clustered columns" as above, that there are five arches along the nave supported by columns. This cathedral has certainly bewitched me, to write about it so much, effecting nothing with my pains. I should judge the width of each arch to be about twenty feet, and the thickness of each clustered pillar is eight; or ten more, and the length of the entire building may be between two and three hundred feet; not very large, certainly, but it makes an impression of grandeur independent of size. . . . .

I never shall succeed even in reminding myself of the venerable magnificence of this minster, with its arches, its columns, its cornice of popes' heads, its great wheel windows, its manifold ornament, all combining in one vast effect, though many men have labored individually, and through a long course of time, to produce this multifarious handiwork and headwork.

I now took a walk out of the city. A road turned immediately to the left as I emerged from the city, and soon proved to be a rustic lane leading past several villas and farm-houses. It was a very pleasant walk, with vineyards and olive-orchards on each side, and now and then glimpses of the towers and sombre heaped-up palaces of Siena, and now a rural seclusion again; for the hills rise and the valleys fall like the swell and subsidence of the sea after a gale, so that Siena may be quite hidden within a quarter of a mile of its wall, or may be visible, I doubt not, twenty miles away. It is a fine old town, with every promise of health and vigor in its atmosphere, and really, if I could take root anywhere, I know not but it could as well be here as in another place. It would only be a kind of despair, however, that would ever make me dream of finding a home in Italy; a sense that I had lost my country through absence or incongruity, and that earth is not an abiding-place. I wonder that we Americans love our country at all, it having no limits and no oneness; and when you try to make it a matter of the heart, everything falls away except one's native State; neither can you seize hold of that unless you tear it out of the Union, bleeding and quivering. Yet unquestionably, we do stand by our national flag as stoutly as any people in the world, and I myself have felt the heart throb at sight of it as sensibly as other men. I think the singularity of our form of government contributes to give us a kind of patriotism, by separating us from other nations more entirely. If other nations had similar institutions, - if England, especially, were a democracy, - we should as readily make ourselves at home in another country as now in a new State.

October 12th. - And again we went to the cathedral this forenoon, and the whole family, except myself, sketched portions of it. Even Rosebud stood gravely sketching some of the inlaid figures of the pavement. As for me, I can but try to preserve some memorial of this beautiful edifice in ill-fitting words that never hit the mark. This morning visit was not my final one, for I went again after dinner and walked quite round the whole interior. I think I have not yet mentioned the rich carvings of the old oaken seats round the choir, and the curious mosaic of lighter and darker woods, by which figures and landscapes are skilfully represented on the backs of some of the stalls. The process seems to be the same as the inlaying and engraving of the pavement, the material in one case being marble, in the other wood. The only other thing that I particularly noticed was, that in the fonts of holy water at the front entrance, marble fish are sculptured in the depths of the basin, and eels and shellfish crawling round the brim. Have I spoken of the sumptuous carving of the capitals of the columns? At any rate I have left a thousand beauties without a word. Here I drop the subject. As I took my parting glance the cathedral had a gleam of golden sunshine in its far depths, and it seemed to widen and deepen itself, as if to convince me of my error in saying, yesterday, that it is not very large. I wonder how I could say it.

After taking leave of the cathedral, I found my way out of another of the city gates, and soon turned aside into a green lane. . . . . Soon the lane passed through a hamlet consisting of a few farm-houses, the shabbiest and dreariest that can be conceived, ancient, and ugly, and dilapidated, with iron-grated windows below, and heavy wooden shutters on the windows above, - high, ruinous walls shutting in the courts, and ponderous gates, one of which was off its hinges. The farm-yards were perfect pictures of disarray and slovenly administration of home affairs. Only one of these houses had a door opening on the road, and that was the meanest in the hamlet. A flight of narrow stone stairs ascended from the threshold to the second story. All these houses were specimens of a rude antiquity, built of brick and stone, with the marks of arched doors and windows where a subsequent generation had shut up the lights, or the accesses which the original builders had opened. Humble as these dwellings are, - though large and high compared with rural residences in other countries, - they may very probably date back to the times when Siena was a warlike republic, and when every house in its neighborhood had need to be a fortress. I suppose, however, prowling banditti were the only enemies against whom a defence would be attempted. What lives must now be lived there, - in beastly ignorance, mental sluggishness, hard toil for little profit, filth, and a horrible discomfort of fleas; for if the palaces of Italy are overrun with these pests, what must the country hovels be! . . . .

We are now all ready for a start to-morrow.