May 25th. - We were aroused at four o'clock this morning; had some eggs and coffee, and were ready to start between five and six; being thus matutinary, in order to get to Terni in time to see the falls. The road was very striking and picturesque; but I remember nothing particularly, till we came to Borghetto, which stands on a bluff, with a broad valley sweeping round it, through the midst of which flows the Tiber. There is an old castle on a projecting point; and we saw other battlemented fortresses, of mediaeval date, along our way, forming more beautiful ruins than any of the Roman remains to which we have become accustomed. This is partly, I suppose, owing to the fact that they have been neglected, and allowed to mantle their decay with ivy, instead of being cleaned, propped up, and restored. The antiquarian is apt to spoil the objects that interest him.

Sometimes we passed through wildernesses of various trees, each contributing a different hue of verdure to the scene; the vine, also, marrying itself to the fig-tree, so that a man might sit in the shadow of both at once, and temper the luscious sweetness of the one fruit with the fresh flavor of the other. The wayside incidents were such as meeting a man and woman borne along as prisoners, handcuffed and in a cart; two men reclining across one another, asleep, and lazily lifting their heads to gaze at us as we passed by; a woman spinning with a distaff as she walked along the road. An old tomb or tower stood in a lonely field, and several caves were hollowed in the rocks, which might have been either sepulchres or habitations. Soracte kept us company, sometimes a little on one side, sometimes behind, looming up again and again, when we thought that we had done with it, and so becoming rather tedious at last, like a person who presents himself for another and another leave-taking after the one which ought to have been final. Honeysuckles sweetened the hedges along the road.

After leaving Borghetto, we crossed the broad valley of the Tiber, and skirted along one of the ridges that border it, looking back upon the road that we had passed, lying white behind us. We saw a field covered with buttercups, or some other yellow flower, and poppies burned along the roadside, as they did yesterday, and there were flowers of a delicious blue, as if the blue Italian sky had been broken into little bits, and scattered down upon the green earth. Otricoli by and by appeared, situated on a bold promontory above the valley, a village of a few gray houses and huts, with one edifice gaudily painted in white and pink. It looked more important at a distance than we found it on our nearer approach. As the road kept ascending, and as the hills grew to be mountains, we had taken two additional horses, making six in all, with a man and boy running beside them, to keep them in motion. The boy had two club feet, so inconveniently disposed that it seemed almost inevitable for him to stumble over them at every step; besides which, he seemed to tread upon his ankles, and moved with a disjointed gait, as if each of his legs and thighs had been twisted round together with his feet. Nevertheless, he had a bright, cheerful, intelligent face, and was exceedingly active, keeping up with the horses at their trot, and inciting them to better speed when they lagged. I conceived a great respect for this poor boy, who had what most Italian peasants would consider an enviable birthright in those two club feet, as giving him a sufficient excuse to live on charity, but yet took no advantage of them; on the contrary, putting his poor misshapen hoofs to such good use as might have shamed many a better provided biped. When he quitted us, he asked no alms of the travellers, but merely applied to Gaetano for some slight recompense for his well-performed service. This behavior contrasted most favorably with that of some other boys and girls, who ran begging beside the carriage door, keeping up a low, miserable murmur, like that of a kennel-stream, for a long, long way. Beggars, indeed, started up at every point, when we stopped for a moment, and whenever a hill imposed a slower pace upon us; each village had its deformity or its infirmity, offering his wretched petition at the step of the carriage; and even a venerable, white-haired patriarch, the grandfather of all the beggars, seemed to grow up by the roadside, but was left behind from inability to join in the race with his light-footed juniors. No shame is attached to begging in Italy. In fact, I rather imagine it to be held an honorable profession, inheriting some of the odor of sanctity that used to be attached to a mendicant and idle life in the days of early Christianity, when every saint lived upon Providence, and deemed it meritorious to do nothing for his support.

Murray's guide-book is exceedingly vague and unsatisfactory along this route; and whenever we asked Gaetano the name of a village or a castle, he gave some one which we had never heard before, and could find nothing of in the book. We made out the river Nar, however, or what I supposed to be such, though he called it Nera. It flows through a most stupendous mountain-gorge; winding its narrow passage between high hills, the broad sides of which descend steeply upon it, covered with trees and shrubbery, that mantle a host of rocky roughnesses, and make all look smooth. Here and there a precipice juts sternly forth. We saw an old castle on a hillside, frowning down into the gorge; and farther on, the gray tower of Narni stands upon a height, imminent over the depths below, and with its battlemented castle above now converted into a prison, and therefore kept in excellent repair. A long winding street passes through Narni, broadening at one point into a market-place, where an old cathedral showed its venerable front, and the great dial of its clock, the figures on which were numbered in two semicircles of twelve points each; one, I suppose, for noon, and the other for midnight. The town has, so far as its principal street is concerned, a city-like aspect, with large, fair edifices, and shops as good as most of those at Rome, the smartness of which contrasts strikingly with the rude and lonely scenery of mountain and stream, through which we had come to reach it. We drove through Narni without stopping, and came out from it on the other side, where a broad, level valley opened before us, most unlike the wild, precipitous gorge which had brought us to the town. The road went winding down into the peaceful vale, through the midst of which flowed the same stream that cuts its way between the impending hills, as already described. We passed a monk and a soldier, - the two curses of Italy, each in his way, - walking sociably side by side; and from Narni to Terni I remember nothing that need be recorded.

Terni, like so many other towns in the neighborhood, stands in a high and commanding position, chosen doubtless for its facilities of defence, in days long before the mediaeval warfares of Italy made such sites desirable. I suppose that, like Narni and Otricoli, it was a city of the Umbrians. We reached it between eleven and twelve o'clock, intending to employ the afternoon on a visit to the famous falls of Terni; but, after lowering all day, it has begun to rain, and we shall probably have to give them up.

Half past eight o'clock. - It has rained in torrents during the afternoon, and we have not seen the cascade of Terni; considerably to my regret, for I think I felt the more interest in seeing it, on account of its being artificial. Methinks nothing was more characteristic of the energy and determination of the old Romans, than thus to take a river, which they wished to be rid of, and fling it over a giddy precipice, breaking it into ten million pieces by the fall. . . . . We are in the Hotel delle tre Colonne, and find it reasonably good, though not, so far as we are concerned, justifying the rapturous commendations of previous tourists, who probably travelled at their own charges. However, there is nothing really to be complained of, either in our accommodations or table, and the only wonder is how Gaetano contrives to get any profit out of our contract, since the hotel bills would alone cost us more than we pay him for the journey and all. It is worth while to record as history of vetturino commissary customs, that for breakfast this morning we had coffee, eggs, and bread and butter; for lunch an omelette, some stewed veal, and a dessert of figs and grapes, besides two decanters of a light-colored acid wine, tasting very like indifferent cider; for dinner, an excellent vermicelli soup, two young fowls, fricasseed, and a hind quarter of roast lamb, with fritters, oranges, and figs, and two more decanters of the wine aforesaid.

This hotel is an edifice with a gloomy front upon a narrow street, and enterable through an arch, which admits you into an enclosed court; around the court, on each story, run the galleries, with which the parlors and sleeping-apartments communicate. The whole house is dingy, probably old, and seems not very clean; but yet bears traces of former magnificence; for instance, in our bedroom, the door of which is ornamented with gilding, and the cornices with frescos, some of which appear to represent the cascade of Terni, the roof is crossed with carved beams, and is painted in the interstices; the floor has a carpet, but rough tiles underneath it, which show themselves at the margin. The windows admit the wind; the door shuts so loosely as to leave great cracks; and, during the rain to-day, there was a heavy shower through our ceiling, which made a flood upon the carpet. We see no chambermaids; nothing of the comfort and neatness of an English hotel, nor of the smart splendors of an American one; but still this dilapidated palace affords us a better shelter than I expected to find in the decayed country towns of Italy. In the album of the hotel I find the names of more English travellers than of any other nation except the Americans, who, I think, even exceed the former; and, the route being the favorite one for tourists between Rome and Florence, whatever merit the inns have is probably owing to the demands of the Anglo-Saxons. I doubt not, if we chose to pay for it, this hotel would supply us with any luxury we might ask for; and perhaps even a gorgeous saloon and state bedchamber.

After dinner, J - - -and I walked out in the dusk to see what we could of Terni. We found it compact and gloomy (but the latter characteristic might well enough be attributed to the dismal sky), with narrow streets, paved from wall to wall of the houses, like those of all the towns in Italy; the blocks of paving-stone larger than the little square torments of Rome. The houses are covered with dingy stucco, and mostly low, compared with those of Rome, and inhospitable as regards their dismal aspects and uninviting doorways. The streets are intricate, as well as narrow; insomuch that we quickly lost our way, and could not find it again, though the town is of so small dimensions, that we passed through it in two directions, in the course of our brief wanderings. There are no lamp-posts in Terni; and as it was growing dark, and beginning to rain again, we at last inquired of a person in the principal piazza, and found our hotel, as I expected, within two minutes' walk of where we stood.