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. Less than half an hour's walk brought us, who were on foot, to the iron gate of our villa, which we found shut and locked. We shouted to be let in, and while waiting for somebody to appear, there was a good opportunity to contemplate the external aspect of the villa. After we had waited a few minutes, J - - -came racing down to the gate, laughing heartily, and said that Bob and he had been in the house, but had come out, shutting the door behind them; and as the door closed with a springlock, they could not get in again. Now as the key of the outer gate as well as that of the house itself was in the pocket of J - - -'s coat, left inside, we were shut out of our own castle, and compelled to carry on a siege against it, without much likelihood of taking it, although the garrison was willing to surrender. But B. P - - - called in the assistance of the contadini who cultivate the ground, and live in the farm-house close by; and one of them got into a window by means of a ladder, so that the keys were got, the gates opened, and we finally admitted. Before examining any other part of the house, we climbed to the top of the tower, which, indeed, is not very high, in proportion to its massive square. Very probably, its original height was abbreviated, in compliance with the law that lowered so many of the fortified towers of noblemen within the walls of Florence. . . . . The stairs were not of stone, built in with the original mass of the tower, as in English castles, but of now decayed wood, which shook beneath us, and grew more and more crazy as we ascended. It will not be many years before the height of the tower becomes unattainable. . . . . Near at hand, in the vicinity of the city, we saw the convent of Monte Olivetto, and other structures that looked like convents, being built round an enclosed square; also numerous white villas, many of which had towers, like that we were standing upon, square and massive, some of them battlemented on the summit, and others apparently modernized for domestic purposes. Among them U - - pointed out Galileo's tower, whither she made an excursion the other day. It looked lower than our own, but seemed to stand on a higher elevation. We also saw the duke's villa, the Poggio, with a long avenue of cypresses leading from it, as if a funeral were going forth. And having wasted thus much of description on the landscape, I will finish with saying that it lacked only water to be a very fine one. It is strange what a difference the gleam of water makes, and how a scene awakens and comes to life wherever it is visible. The landscape, moreover, gives the beholder (at least, this beholder) a sense of oppressive sunshine and scanty shade, and does not incite a longing to wander through it on foot, as a really delightful landscape should. The vine, too, being cultivated in so trim a manner, does not suggest that idea of luxuriant fertility, which is the poetical notion of a vineyard. The olive-orchards have a pale and unlovely hue. An English view would have been incomparably richer in its never-fading green; and in my own country, the wooded hills would have been more delightful than these peaks and ridges of dreary and barren sunshine; and there would have been the bright eyes of half a dozen little lakes, looking heavenward, within an extent like that of the Val d' Arno.

By and by mamma's carriage came along the dusty road, and passed through the iron gateway, which we had left open for her reception. We shouted down to her and R - - -, and they waved their handkerchiefs upward to us; and, on my way down, I met R - - -and the servant coming up through the ghostly rooms.

The rest of the day we spent mostly in exploring the premises. The house itself is of almost bewildering extent, insomuch that we might each of us have a suite of rooms individually. I have established myself on the ground-floor, where I have a dressing-room, a large vaulted saloon, hung with yellow damask, and a square writing-study, the walls and ceilings of the two latter apartments being ornamented with angels and cherubs aloft in fresco, and with temples, statues, vases, broken columns, peacocks, parrots, vines, and sunflowers below. I know not how many more saloons, anterooms, and sleeping-chambers there are on this same basement story, besides an equal number over them, and a great subterranean establishment. I saw some immense jars there, which I suppose were intended to hold oil; and iron kettles, for what purpose I cannot tell. There is also a chapel in the house, but it is locked up, and we cannot yet with certainty find the door of it, nor even, in this great wilderness of a house, decide absolutely what space the holy precincts occupy. Adjoining U - - 's chamber, which is in the tower, there is a little oratory, hung round with sacred prints of very ancient date, and with crucifixes, holy-water vases, and other consecrated things; and here, within a glass case, there is the representation of an undraped little boy in wax, very prettily modelled, and holding up a heart that looks like a bit of red sealing-wax. If I had found him anywhere else I should have taken him for Cupid; but, being in an oratory, I presume him to have some religious signification. In the servants' room a crucifix hung on one side of the bed, and a little vase for holy water, now overgrown with a cobweb, on the other; and, no doubt, all the other sleeping-apartments would have been equally well provided, only that their occupants were to be heretics.

The lower floor of the house is tolerably furnished, and looks cheerful with its frescos, although the bare pavements in every room give an impression of discomfort. But carpets are universally taken up in Italy during summer-time. It must have been an immense family that could have ever filled such a house with life. We go on voyages of discovery, and when in quest of any particular point, are likely enough to fetch up at some other. This morning I had difficulty in finding my way again to the top of the tower. One of the most peculiar rooms is constructed close to the tower, under the roof of the main building, but with no external walls on two sides! It is thus left open to the air, I presume for the sake of coolness. A parapet runs round the exposed sides for the sake of security. Some of the palaces in Florence have such open loggias in their upper stories, and I saw others on our journey hither, after arriving in Tuscany.

The grounds immediately around the house are laid out in gravel-walks, and ornamented with shrubbery, and with what ought to be a grassy lawn; but the Italian sun is quite as little favorable to beauty of that kind as our own. I have enjoyed the luxury, however, almost for the first time since I left my hill-top at the Wayside, of flinging myself at full length on the ground without any fear of catching cold. Moist England would punish a man soundly for taking such liberties with her greensward. A podere, or cultivated tract, comprising several acres, belongs to the villa, and seems to be fertile, like all the surrounding country. The possessions of different proprietors are not separated by fences, but only marked out by ditches; and it seems possible to walk miles and miles, along the intersecting paths, without obstruction. The rural laborers, so far as I have observed, go about in their shirt-sleeves, and look very much like tanned and sunburnt Yankees.

Last night it was really a work of time and toil to go about making our defensive preparations for the night; first closing the iron gate, then the ponderous and complicated fastenings of the house door, then the separate barricadoes of each iron-barred window on the lower floor, with a somewhat slighter arrangement above. There are bolts and shutters, however, for every window in the house, and I suppose it would not be amiss to put them all in use. Our garrison is so small that we must depend more upon the strength of our fortifications than upon our own active efforts in case of an attack. In England, in an insulated country house, we should need all these bolts and bars, and Italy is not thought to be the safer country of the two.

It deserves to be recorded that the Count Montanto, a nobleman, and seemingly a man of property, should deem it worth while to let his country seat, and reside during the hot months in his palace in the city, for the consideration of a comparatively small sum a month. He seems to contemplate returning hither for the autumn and winter, when the situation must be very windy and bleak, and the cold death-like in these great halls; and then, it is to be supposed, he will let his palace in town. The Count, through the agency of his son, bargained very stiffly for, and finally obtained, three dollars in addition to the sum which we at first offered him. This indicates that even a little money is still a matter of great moment in Italy. Signor del Bello, who, I believe, is also a nobleman, haggled with us about some cracked crockery at our late residence, and finally demanded and received fifty cents in compensation. But this poor gentleman has been a spendthrift, and now acts as the agent of another.

August 3d. - Yesterday afternoon William Story called on me, he being on a day or two's excursion from Siena, where he is spending the summer with his family. He was very entertaining and conversative, as usual, and said, in reply to my question whether he were not anxious to return to Cleopatra, that he had already sketched out another subject for sculpture, which would employ him during next winter. He told me, what I was glad to hear, that his sketches of Italian life, intended for the "Atlantic Monthly," and supposed to be lost, have been recovered. Speaking of the superstitiousness of the Italians, he said that they universally believe in the influence of the evil eye. The evil influence is supposed not to be dependent on the will of the possessor of the evil eye; on the contrary, the persons to whom he wishes well are the very ones to suffer by it. It is oftener found in monks than in any other class of people; and on meeting a monk, and encountering his eye, an Italian usually makes a defensive sign by putting both hands behind him, with the forefingers and little fingers extended, although it is a controverted point whether it be not more efficacious to extend the hand with its outspread fingers towards the suspected person. It is considered an evil omen to meet a monk on first going out for the day. The evil eye may be classified with the phenomena of mesmerism. The Italians, especially the Neapolitans, very generally wear amulets. Pio Nono, perhaps as being the chief of all monks and other religious people, is supposed to have an evil eye of tenfold malignancy; and its effect has been seen in the ruin of all schemes for the public good so soon as they are favored by him. When the pillar in the Piazza de' Spagna, commemorative of his dogma of the Immaculate Conception, was to be erected, the people of Rome refused to be present, or to have anything to do with it, unless the pope promised to abstain from interference. His Holiness did promise, but so far broke his word as to be present one day while it was being erected, and on that day a man was killed. A little while ago there was a Lord Clifford, an English Catholic nobleman, residing in Italy, and, happening to come to Rome, he sent his compliments to Pio Nono, and requested the favor of an interview. The pope, as it happened, was indisposed, or for some reason could not see his lordship, but very kindly sent him his blessing. Those who knew of it shook their heads, and intimated that it would go ill with his lordship now that he had been blessed by Pio Nono, and the very next day poor Lord Clifford was dead! His Holiness had better construe the scriptural injunction literally, and take to blessing his enemies.

I walked into town with J - - - this morning, and, meeting a monk in the Via Furnace, I thought it no more than reasonable, as the good father fixed his eyes on me, to provide against the worst by putting both hands behind me, with the forefingers and little fingers stuck out.

In speaking of the little oratory connected with U - - 's chamber, I forgot to mention the most remarkable object in it. It is a skull, the size of life (or death). . . . . This part of the house must be very old, probably coeval with the tower. The ceiling of U - - 's apartment is vaulted with intersecting arches; and adjoining it is a very large saloon, likewise with a vaulted and groined ceiling, and having a cushioned divan running all round the walls. The windows of these rooms look out on the Val d' Arno.

The apartment above this saloon is of the same size, and hung with engraved portraits, printed on large sheets by the score and hundred together, and enclosed in wooden frames. They comprise the whole series of Roman emperors, the succession of popes, the kings of Europe, the doges of Venice, and the sultans of Turkey. The engravings bear different dates between 1685 and thirty years later, and were executed at Rome.

August 4th. - We ascended our tower yesterday afternoon to see the sunset. In my first sketch of the Val d' Arno I said that the Arno seemed to hold its course near the bases of the hills. I now observe that the line of trees which marks its current divides the valley into two pretty equal parts, and the river runs nearly east and west. . . . . At last, when it was growing dark, we went down, groping our way over the shaky staircases, and peeping into each dark chamber as we passed. I gratified J - - -exceedingly by hitting my nose against the wall. Reaching the bottom, I went into the great saloon, and stood at a window watching the lights twinkle forth, near and far, in the valley, and listening to the convent bells that sounded from Monte Olivetto, and more remotely still. The stars came out, and the constellation of the Dipper hung exactly over the Val d' Arno, pointing to the North Star above the hills on my right.

August 12th. - We drove into town yesterday afternoon, with Miss Blagden, to call on Mr. Kirkup, an old Englishman who has resided a great many years in Florence. He is noted as an antiquarian, and has the reputation of being a necromancer, not undeservedly, as he is deeply interested in spirit-rappings, and holds converse, through a medium, with dead poets and emperors. He lives in an old house, formerly a residence of the Knights Templars, hanging over the Arno, just as you come upon the Ponte Vecchio; and, going up a dark staircase and knocking at a door on one side of the landing-place, we were received by Mr. Kirkup. He had had notice of our visit, and was prepared for it, being dressed in a blue frock-coat of rather an old fashion, with a velvet collar, and in a thin waistcoat and pantaloons fresh from the drawer; looking very sprucely, in short, and unlike his customary guise, for Miss Blagden hinted to us that the poor gentleman is generally so untidy that it is not quite pleasant to take him by the hand. He is rather low of stature, with a pale, shrivelled face, and hair and beard perfectly white, and the hair of a particularly soft and silken texture. He has a high, thin nose, of the English aristocratic type; his eyes have a queer, rather wild look, and the eyebrows are arched above them, so that he seems all the time to be seeing something that strikes him with surprise. I judged him to be a little crack-brained, chiefly on the strength of this expression. His whole make is delicate, his hands white and small, and his appearance and manners those of a gentleman, with rather more embroidery of courtesy than belongs to an Englishman. He appeared to be very nervous, tremulous, indeed, to his fingers' ends, without being in any degree disturbed or embarrassed by our presence. Finally, he is very deaf; an infirmity that quite took away my pleasure in the interview, because it is impossible to say anything worth while when one is compelled to raise one's voice above its ordinary level.

He ushered us through two or three large rooms, dark, dusty, hung with antique-looking pictures, and lined with bookcases containing, I doubt not, a very curious library. Indeed, he directed my attention to one case, and said that he had collected those works, in former days, merely for the sake of laughing at them. They were books of magic and occult sciences. What he seemed really to value, however, were some manuscript copies of Dante, of which he showed us two: one, a folio on parchment, beautifully written in German text, the letters as clear and accurately cut as printed type; the other a small volume, fit, as Mr. Kirkup said, to be carried in a capacious mediaeval sleeve. This also was on vellum, and as elegantly executed as the larger one; but the larger had beautiful illuminations, the vermilion and gold of which looked as brilliant now as they did five centuries ago. Both of these books were written early in the fourteenth century. Mr. Kirkup has also a plaster cast of Dante's face, which he believes to be the original one taken from his face after death; and he has likewise his own accurate tracing from Giotto's fresco of Dante in the chapel of the Bargello. This fresco was discovered through Mr. Kirkup's means, and the tracing is particularly valuable, because the original has been almost destroyed by rough usage in drawing out a nail that had been driven into the eye. It represents the profile of a youthful but melancholy face, and has the general outline of Dante's features in other portraits.

Dante has held frequent communications with Mr. Kirkup through a medium, the poet being described by the medium as wearing the same dress seen in the youthful portrait, but as hearing more resemblance to the cast taken from his dead face than to the picture from his youthful one.

There was a very good picture of Savonarola in one of the rooms, and many other portraits, paintings, and drawings, some of them ancient, and others the work of Mr. Kirkup himself. He has the torn fragment of an exquisite drawing of a nude figure by Rubens, and a portfolio of other curious drawings. And besides books and works of art, he has no end of antique knick-knackeries, none of which we had any time to look at; among others some instruments with which nuns used to torture themselves in their convents by way of penance. But the greatest curiosity of all, and no antiquity, was a pale, large-eyed little girl, about four years old, who followed the conjurer's footsteps wherever he went. She was the brightest and merriest little thing in the world, and frisked through those shadowy old chambers, among the dead people's trumpery, as gayly as a butterfly flits among flowers and sunshine.

The child's mother was a beautiful girl named Regina, whose portrait Mr. Kirkup showed us on the wall. I never saw a more beautiful and striking face claiming to be a real one. She was a Florentine, of low birth, and she lived with the old necromancer as his spiritual medium. He showed us a journal, kept during her lifetime, and read from it his notes of an interview with the Czar Alexander, when that potentate communicated to Mr. Kirkup that he had been poisoned. The necromancer set a great value upon Regina, . . . . and when she died he received her poor baby into his heart, and now considers it absolutely his own. At any rate, it is a happy belief for him, since he has nothing else in the world to love, and loves the child entirely, and enjoys all the bliss of fatherhood, though he must have lived as much as seventy years before he began to taste it.

The child inherits her mother's gift of communication with the spiritual world, so that the conjurer can still talk with Regina through the baby which she left, and not only with her, but with Dante, and any other great spirit that may choose to visit him. It is a very strange story, and this child might be put at once into a romance, with all her history and environment; the ancient Knight Templar palace, with the Arno flowing under the iron-barred windows, and the Ponte Vecchio, covered with its jewellers' shops, close at hand; the dark, lofty chambers with faded frescos on the ceilings, black pictures hanging on the walls, old books on the shelves, and hundreds of musty antiquities, emitting an odor of past centuries; the shrivelled, white-bearded old man, thinking all the time of ghosts, and looking into the child's eyes to seek them; and the child herself, springing so freshly out of the soil, so pretty, so intelligent, so playful, with never a playmate save the conjurer and a kitten. It is a Persian kitten, and lay asleep in a window; but when I touched it, it started up at once in as gamesome a mood as the child herself.

The child looks pale, and no wonder, seldom or never stirring out of that old palace, or away from the river atmosphere. Miss Blagden advised Mr. Kirkup to go with her to the seaside or into the country, and he did not deny that it might do her good, but seemed to be hampered by an old man's sluggishness and dislike of change. I think he will not live a great while, for he seems very frail. When he dies the little girl will inherit what property he may leave. A lady, Catharine Fleeting, an Englishwoman, and a friend of Mr. Kirkup, has engaged to take her in charge. She followed us merrily to the door, and so did the Persian kitten, and Mr. Kirkup shook hands with us, over and over again, with vivacious courtesy, his manner having been characterized by a great deal of briskness throughout the interview. He expressed himself delighted to have met one (whose books he had read), and said that the day would be a memorable one to him, - which I did not in the least believe.

Mr. Kirkup is an intimate friend of Trelawny, author of "Adventures of a Younger Son," and, long ago, the latter promised him that, if he ever came into possession of the family estate, he would divide it with him. Trelawny did really succeed to the estate, and lost no time in forwarding to his friend the legal documents, entitling him to half of the property. But Mr. Kirkup declined the gift, as he himself was not destitute, and Trelawny had a brother. There were two pictures of Trelawny in the saloons, one a slight sketch on the wall, the other a half-length portrait in a Turkish dress; both handsome, but indicating no very amiable character. It is not easy to forgive Trelawny for uncovering dead Byron's limbs, and telling that terrible story about them, - equally disgraceful to himself, be it truth or a lie.

It seems that Regina had a lover, and a sister who was very disreputable It rather adds than otherwise to the romance of the affair, - the idea that this pretty little elf has no right whatever to the asylum which she has found. Her name is Imogen.

The small manuscript copy of Dante which he showed me was written by a Florentine gentleman of the fourteenth century, one of whose ancestors the poet had met and talked with in Paradise.

August 19th. - Here is a good Italian incident, which I find in Valery. Andrea del Castagno was a painter in Florence in the fifteenth century; and he had a friend, likewise a painter, Domenico of Venice. The latter had the secret of painting in oils, and yielded to Castagno's entreaties to impart it to him. Desirous of being the sole possessor of this great secret, Castagno waited only the night to assassinate Domenico, who so little suspected his treachery, that he besought those who found him bleeding and dying to take him to his friend Castagno, that he might die in his arms. The murderer lived to be seventy-four years old, and his crime was never suspected till he himself revealed it on his death-bed. Domenico did actually die in Castagno's arms. The death scene would have been a good one for the latter to paint in oils.

September 1st. - Few things journalizable have happened during the last month, because Florence and the neighborhood have lost their novelty; and furthermore, I usually spend the whole day at home, having been engaged in planning and sketching out a romance. I have now done with this for the present, and mean to employ the rest of the time we stay here chiefly in revisiting the galleries, and seeing what remains to be seen in Florence.

Last Saturday, August 28th, we went to take tea at Miss Blagden's, who has a weekly reception on that evening. We found Mr. Powers there, and by and by Mr. Boott and Mr. Trollope came in. Miss - - - has lately been exercising her faculties as a spiritual writing-medium; and, the conversation turning on that subject, Mr. Powers related some things that he had witnessed through the agency of Mr. Home, who had held a session or two at his house. He described the apparition of two mysterious hands from beneath a table round which the party were seated. These hands purported to belong to the aunt of the Countess Cotterel, who was present, and were a pair of thin, delicate, aged, lady-like hands and arms, appearing at the edge of the table, and terminating at the elbow in a sort of white mist. One of the hands took up a fan and began to use it. The countess then said, "Fan yourself as you used to do, dear aunt"; and forthwith the hands waved the fan back and forth in a peculiar manner, which the countess recognized as the manner of her dead aunt. The spirit was then requested to fan each member of the party; and accordingly, each separate individual round the table was fanned in turn, and felt the breeze sensibly upon his face. Finally, the hands sank beneath the table, I believe Mr. Powers said; but I am not quite sure that they did not melt into the air. During this apparition, Mr. Home sat at the table, but not in such a position or within such distance that he could have put out or managed the spectral hands; and of this Mr. Powers satisfied himself by taking precisely the same position after the party had retired. Mr. Powers did not feel the hands at this time, but he afterwards felt the touch of infant hands, which were at the time invisible. He told of many of the wonders, which seem to have as much right to be set down as facts as anything else that depends on human testimony. For example, Mr. K - - - , one of the party, gave a sudden start and exclamation. He had felt on his knee a certain token, which could have been given him only by a friend, long ago in his grave. Mr. Powers inquired what was the last thing that had been given as a present to a deceased child; and suddenly both he and his wife felt a prick as of some sharp instrument, on their knees. The present had been a penknife. I have forgotten other incidents quite as striking as these; but, with the exception of the spirit-hands, they seemed to be akin to those that have been produced by mesmerism, returning the inquirer's thoughts and veiled recollections to himself, as answers to his queries. The hands are certainly an inexplicable phenomenon. Of course, they are not portions of a dead body, nor any other kind of substance; they are impressions on the two senses, sight and touch, but how produced I cannot tell. Even admitting their appearance, - and certainly I do admit it as freely and fully as if I had seen them myself, - there is no need of supposing them to come from the world of departed spirits.

Powers seems to put entire faith in the verity of spiritual communications, while acknowledging the difficulty of identifying spirits as being what they pretend to be. He is a Swedenborgian, and so far prepared to put faith in many of these phenomena. As for Home, Powers gives a decided opinion that he is a knave, but thinks him so organized, nevertheless, as to be a particularly good medium for spiritual communications. Spirits, I suppose, like earthly people, are obliged to use such instruments as will answer their purposes; but rather than receive a message from a dead friend through the organism of a rogue or charlatan, methinks I would choose to wait till we meet. But what most astonishes me is the indifference with which I listen to these marvels. They throw old ghost stories quite into the shade; they bring the whole world of spirits down amongst us, visibly and audibly; they are absolutely proved to be sober facts by evidence that would satisfy us of any other alleged realities; and yet I cannot force my mind to interest myself in them. They are facts to my understanding, which, it might have been anticipated, would have been the last to acknowledge them; but they seem not to be facts to my intuitions and deeper perceptions. My inner soul does not in the least admit them; there is a mistake somewhere. So idle and empty do I feel these stories to be, that I hesitated long whether or no to give up a few pages of this not very important journal to the record of them.

We have had written communications through Miss - - - with several spirits; my wife's father, mother, two brothers, and a sister, who died long ago, in infancy; a certain Mary Hall, who announces herself as the guardian spirit of Miss - - - ; and, queerest of all, a Mary Runnel, who seems to be a wandering spirit, having relations with nobody, but thrusts her finger into everybody's affairs. My wife's mother is the principal communicant; she expresses strong affection, and rejoices at the opportunity of conversing with her daughter. She often says very pretty things; for instance, in a dissertation upon heavenly music; but there is a lack of substance in her talk, a want of gripe, a delusive show, a sentimental surface, with no bottom beneath it. The same sort of thing has struck me in all the poetry and prose that I have read from spiritual sources. I should judge that these effusions emanated from earthly minds, but had undergone some process that had deprived them of solidity and warmth. In the communications between my wife and her mother, I cannot help thinking that (Miss - - - being unconsciously in a mesmeric state) all the responses are conveyed to her fingers from my wife's mind. . . . .

We have tried the spirits by various test questions, on every one of which they have failed egregiously. Here, however, the aforesaid Mary Runnel comes into play. The other spirits have told us that the veracity of this spirit is not to be depended upon; and so, whenever it is possible, poor Mary Runnel is thrust forward to bear the odium of every mistake or falsehood. They have avowed themselves responsible for all statements signed by themselves, and have thereby brought themselves into more than one inextricable dilemma; but it is very funny, where a response or a matter of fact has not been thus certified, how invariably Mary Runnel is made to assume the discredit of it, on its turning out to be false. It is the most ingenious arrangement that could possibly have been contrived; and somehow or other, the pranks of this lying spirit give a reality to the conversations which the more respectable ghosts quite fail in imparting.

The whole matter seems to me a sort of dreaming awake. It resembles a dream, in that the whole material is, from the first, in the dreamer's mind, though concealed at various depths below the surface; the dead appear alive, as they always do in dreams; unexpected combinations occur, as continually in dreams; the mind speaks through the various persons of the drama, and sometimes astonishes itself with its own wit, wisdom, and eloquence, as often in dreams; but, in both cases, the intellectual manifestations are really of a very flimsy texture. Mary Runnel is the only personage who does not come evidently from dream-land; and she, I think, represents that lurking scepticism, that sense of unreality, of which we are often conscious, amid the most vivid phantasmagoria of a dream. I should be glad to believe in the genuineness of these spirits, if I could; but the above is the conclusion to which my soberest thoughts tend. There remains, of course, a great deal for which I cannot account, and I cannot sufficiently wonder at the pigheadedness both of metaphysicians and physiologists, in not accepting the phenomena, so far as to make them the subject of investigation.

In writing the communications, Miss - - - holds the pencil rather loosely between her fingers; it moves rapidly, and with equal facility whether she fixes her eyes on the paper or not. The handwriting has far more freedom than her own. At the conclusion of a sentence, the pencil lays itself down. She sometimes has a perception of each word before it is written; at other times, she is quite unconscious what is to come next. Her integrity is absolutely indubitable, and she herself totally disbelieves in the spiritual authenticity of what is communicated through her medium.

September 3d. - We walked into Florence yesterday, betimes after breakfast, it being comfortably cool, and a gray, English sky; though, indeed, the clouds had a tendency to mass themselves more than they do on an overcast English day. We found it warmer in Florence, but, not inconveniently so, even in the sunniest streets and squares.

We went to the Uffizi gallery, the whole of which with its contents is now familiar to us, except the room containing drawings; and our to-day's visit was especially to them. The door giving admittance to them is the very last in the gallery; and the rooms, three in number, are, I should judge, over the Loggia de' Lanzi, looking on the Grand Ducal Piazza. The drawings hang on the walls, framed and glazed; and number, perhaps, from one to two hundred in each room; but this is only a small portion of the collection, which amounts, it is said, to twenty thousand, and is reposited in portfolios. The sketches on the walls are changed, from time to time, so as to exhibit all the most interesting ones in turn. Their whole charm is artistic, imaginative, and intellectual, and in no degree of the upholstery kind; their outward presentment being, in general, a design hastily shadowed out, by means of colored crayons, on tinted paper, or perhaps scratched rudely in pen and ink; or drawn in pencil or charcoal, and half rubbed out; very rough things, indeed, in many instances, and the more interesting on that account, because it seems as if the artist had bestirred himself to catch the first glimpse of an image that did but reveal itself and vanish. The sheets, or sometimes scraps of paper, on which they are drawn, are discolored with age, creased, soiled; but yet you are magnetized by the hand of Raphael, Michael Angelo, Leonardo, or whoever may have jotted down those rough-looking master-touches. They certainly possess a charm that is lost in the finished picture; and I was more sensible of forecasting thought, skill, and prophetic design, in these sketches than in the most consummate works that have been elaborated from them. There is something more divine in these; for I suppose the first idea of a picture is real inspiration, and all the subsequent elaboration of the master serves but to cover up the celestial germ with something that belongs to himself. At any rate, the first sketch is the more suggestive, and sets the spectator's imagination at work; whereas the picture, if a good one, leaves him nothing to do; if bad, it confuses, stupefies, disenchants, and disheartens him. First thoughts have an aroma and fragrance in them, that they do not lose in three hundred years; for so old, and a good deal more, are some of these sketches.

None interested me more than some drawings, on separate pieces of paper, by Perugino, for his picture of the mother and friends of Jesus round his dead body, now at the Pitti Palace. The attendant figures are distinctly made out, as if the Virgin, and John, and Mary Magdalen had each favored the painter with a sitting; but the body of Jesus lies in the midst, dimly hinted with a few pencil-marks.

There were several designs by Michael Angelo, none of which made much impression on me; the most striking was a very ugly demon, afterwards painted in the Sistine Chapel. Raphael shows several sketches of Madonnas, - one of which has flowered into the Grand Duke's especial Madonna at the Pitti Palace, but with a different face. His sketches were mostly very rough in execution; but there were two or three designs for frescos, I think, in the Vatican, very carefully executed; perhaps because these works were mainly to be done by other hands than his own. It seems to one that the Pre-Raphaelite artists made more careful drawings than the later ones; and it rather surprised me to see how much science they possessed.

We looked at few other things in the gallery; and, indeed, it was not one of the days when works of art find me impressible. We stopped a little while in the Tribune, but the Venus de' Medici seemed to me to-day little more than any other piece of yellowish white marble. How strange that a goddess should stand before us absolutely unrecognized, even when we know by previous revelations that she is nothing short of divine! It is also strange that, unless when one feels the ideal charm of a statue, it becomes one of the most tedious and irksome things in the world. Either it must be a celestial thing or an old lump of stone, dusty and time-soiled, and tiring out your patience with eternally looking just the same. Once in a while you penetrate through the crust of the old sameness, and see the statue forever new and immortally young.

Leaving the gallery we walked towards the Duomo, and on our way stopped to look at the beautiful Gothic niches hollowed into the exterior walls of the Church of San Michele. They are now in the process of being cleaned, and each niche is elaborately inlaid with precious marbles, and some of them magnificently gilded; and they are all surmounted with marble canopies as light and graceful as frost-work. Within stand statues, St. George, and many other saints, by Donatello and others, and all taking a hold upon one's sympathies, even if they be not beautiful. Classic statues escape you with their slippery beauty, as if they were made of ice. Rough and ugly things can be clutched. This is nonsense, and yet it means something. . . . . The streets were thronged and vociferative with more life and outcry than usual. It must have been market-day in Florence, for the commerce of the streets was in great vigor, narrow tables being set out in them, and in the squares, burdened with all kinds of small merchandise, such as cheap jewelry, glistening as brightly as what we had just seen in the gem-room of the Uffizi; crockery ware; toys, books, Italian and French; silks; slippers; old iron; all advertised by the dealers with terribly loud and high voices, that reverberated harshly from side to side of the narrow streets. Italian street-cries go through the head; not that they are so very sharp, but exceedingly hard, like a blunt iron bar.

We stood at the base of the Campanile, and looked at the bas-reliefs which wreathe it round; and, above them, a row of statues; and from bottom to top a marvellous minuteness of inlaid marbles, filling up the vast and beautiful design of this heaven-aspiring tower. Looking upward to its lofty summit, - where angels might alight, lapsing downward from heaven, and gaze curiously at the bustle of men below, - I could not but feel that there is a moral charm in this faithful minuteness of Gothic architecture, filling up its outline with a million of beauties that perhaps may never be studied out by a single spectator. It is the very process of nature, and no doubt produces an effect that we know not of. Classic architecture is nothing but an outline, and affords no little points, no interstices where human feelings may cling and overgrow it like ivy. The charm, as I said, seems to be moral rather than intellectual; for in the gem-room of the Uffizi you may see fifty designs, elaborated on a small scale, that have just as much merit as the design of the Campanile. If it were only five inches long, it might be a case for some article of toilet; being two hundred feet high, its prettiness develops into grandeur as well as beauty, and it becomes really one of the wonders of the world. The design of the Pantheon, on the contrary, would retain its sublimity on whatever scale it might be represented.

Returning homewards, we crossed the Ponte Vecchio, and went to the Museum of Natural History, where we gained admittance into the rooms dedicated to Galileo. They consist of a vestibule, a saloon, and a semicircular tribune, covered with a frescoed dome, beneath which stands a colossal statue of Galileo, long-bearded, and clad in a student's gown, or some voluminous garb of that kind. Around the tribune, beside and behind the statue, are six niches, - in one of which is preserved a forefinger of Galileo, fixed on a little gilt pedestal, and pointing upward, under a glass cover. It is very much shrivelled and mummy-like, of the color of parchment, and is little more than a finger-bone, with the dry skin or flesh flaking away from it; on the whole, not a very delightful relic; but Galileo used to point heavenward with this finger, and I hope has gone whither he pointed.

Another niche contains two telescopes, wherewith he made some of his discoveries; they are perhaps a yard long, and of very small calibre. Other astronomical instruments are displayed in the glass cases that line the rooms; but I did not understand their use any better than the monks, who wished to burn Galileo for his heterodoxy about the planetary system. . . . .

After dinner I climbed the tower. . . . . Florence lay in the sunshine, level, compact, and small of compass. Above the tiled roofs rose the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, the loftiest and the most picturesque, though built, I suppose, with no idea of making it so. But it attains, in a singular degree, the end of causing the imagination to fly upward and alight on its airy battlements. Near it I beheld the square mass of Or San Michele, and farther to the left the bulky Duomo and the Campanile close beside it, like a slender bride or daughter; the dome of San Lorenzo too. The Arno is nowhere visible. Beyond, and on all sides of the city, the hills pile themselves lazily upward in ridges, here and there developing into a peak; towards their bases white villas were strewn numerously, but the upper region was lonely and bare.

As we passed under the arch of the Porta Romana this morning, on our way into the city, we saw a queer object. It was what we at first took for a living man, in a garb of light reddish or yellowish red color, of antique or priestly fashion, and with a cowl falling behind. His face was of the same hue, and seemed to have been powdered, as the faces of maskers sometimes are. He sat in a cart, which he seemed to be driving into the Deity with a load of earthen jars and pipkins, the color of which was precisely like his own. On closer inspection, this priestly figure proved to be likewise an image of earthenware, but his lifelikeness had a very strange and rather ghastly effect. Adam, perhaps, was made of just such red earth, and had the complexion of this figure.

September 7th. - I walked into town yesterday morning, by way of the Porta San Frediano. The gate of a city might be a good locality for a chapter in a novel, or for a little sketch by itself, whether by painter or writer. The great arch of the gateway, piercing through the depth and height of the massive masonry beneath the battlemented summit; the shadow brooding below, in the immense thickness of the wall and beyond it, the vista of the street, sunny and swarming with life; outside of the gate, a throng of carts, laden with fruits, vegetables, small flat barrels of wine, waiting to be examined by the custom-house officers; carriages too, and foot-passengers entering, and others swarming outward. Under the shadowy arch are the offices of the police and customs, and probably the guard-room of the soldiers, all hollowed out in the mass of the gateway. Civil officers loll on chairs in the shade, perhaps with an awning over their heads. Where the sun falls aslantwise under the arch a sentinel, with musket and bayonet, paces to and fro in the entrance, and other soldiers lounge close by. The life of the city seems to be compressed and made more intense by this barrier; and on passing within it you do not breathe quite so freely, yet are sensible of an enjoyment in the close elbowing throng, the clamor of high voices from side to side of the street, and the million of petty sights, actions, traffics, and personalities, all so squeezed together as to become a great whole.

The street by which I entered led me to the Carraja Bridge; crossing which, I kept straight onward till I came to the Church of Santa Maria Novella. Doubtless, it looks just the same as when Boccaccio's party stood in a cluster on its broad steps arranging their excursion to the villa. Thence I went to the Church of St. Lorenzo, which I entered by the side door, and found the organ sounding and a religious ceremony going forward. It is a church of sombre aspect, with its gray walls and pillars, but was decked out for some festivity with hangings of scarlet damask and gold. I sat awhile to rest myself, and then pursued my way to the Duomo. I entered, and looked at Sir John Hawkwood's painted effigy, and at several busts and statues, and at the windows of the chapel surrounding the dome, through which the sunshine glowed, white in the outer air, but a hundred-hued splendor within. I tried to bring up the scene of Lorenzo de' Medici's attempted assassination, but with no great success; and after listening a little while to the chanting of the priests and acolytes, I went to the Bank. It is in a palace of which Raphael was the architect, in the Piazza Gran Duca.

I next went, as a matter of course, to the Uffizi gallery, and, in the first place, to the Tribune, where the Venus de' Medici deigned to reveal herself rather more satisfactorily than at my last visit. . . . . I looked into all the rooms, bronzes, drawings, and gem-room; a volume might easily be written upon either subject. The contents of the gem-room especially require to be looked at separately in order to convince one's self of their minute magnificences; for, among so many, the eye slips from one to another with only a vague outward sense that here are whole shelves full of little miracles, both of nature's material and man's workmanship. Greater [larger] things can be reasonably well appreciated with a less scrupulous though broader attention; but in order to estimate the brilliancy of the diamond eyes of a little agate bust, for instance, you have to screw your mind down to them and nothing else. You must sharpen your faculties of observation to a point, and touch the object exactly on the right spot, or you do not appreciate it at all. It is a troublesome process when there are a thousand such objects to be seen.

I stood at an open window in the transverse corridor, and looked down upon the Arno, and across at the range of edifices that impend over it on the opposite side. The river, I should judge, may be a hundred or a hundred and fifty yards wide in its course between the Ponte alle Grazie and the Ponte Vecchio; that is, the width between strand and strand is at least so much. The river, however, leaves a broad margin of mud and gravel on its right bank, on which water-weeds grow pretty abundantly, and creep even into the stream. On my first arrival in Florence I thought the goose-pond green of the water rather agreeable than otherwise; but its hue is now that of unadulterated mud, as yellow as the Tiber itself, yet not impressing me as being enriched with city sewerage like that other famous river. From the Ponte alle Grazie downward, half-way towards the Ponte Vecchio, there is an island of gravel, and the channel on each side is so shallow as to allow the passage of men and horses wading not overleg. I have seen fishermen wading the main channel from side to side, their feet sinking into the dark mud, and thus discoloring the yellow water with a black track visible, step by step, through its shallowness. But still the Arno is a mountain stream, and liable to be tetchy and turbulent like all its kindred, and no doubt it often finds its borders of hewn stone not too far apart for its convenience.

Along the right shore, beneath the Uffizi and the adjacent buildings, there is a broad paved way, with a parapet; on the opposite shore the edifices are built directly upon the river's edge, and impend over the water, supported upon arches and machicolations, as I think that peculiar arrangement of buttressing arcades is called. The houses are picturesquely various in height, from two or three stories to seven; picturesque in hue likewise, - pea-green, yellow, white, and of aged discoloration, - but all with green blinds; picturesque also in the courts and galleries that look upon the river, and in the wide arches that open beneath, intended perhaps to afford a haven for the household boat. Nets were suspended before one or two of the houses, as if the inhabitants were in the habit of fishing out of window. As a general effect, the houses, though often palatial in size and height, have a shabby, neglected aspect, and are jumbled too closely together. Behind their range the city swells upward in a hillside, which rises to a great height above, forming, I believe, a part of the Boboli Gardens.

I returned homewards over the Ponte Vecchio, which is a continuous street of ancient houses, except over the central arch, so that a stranger might easily cross the river without knowing it. In these small, old houses there is a community of goldsmiths, who set out their glass cases, and hang their windows with rings, bracelets, necklaces, strings of pearl, ornaments of malachite and coral, and especially with Florentine mosaics; watches, too, and snuff-boxes of old fashion or new; offerings for shrines also, such as silver hearts pierced with swords; an infinity of pretty things, the manufacture of which is continually going on in the little back-room of each little shop. This gewgaw business has been established on the Ponte Vecchio for centuries, although, long since, it was an art of far higher pretensions than now. Benvenuto Cellini had his workshop here, probably in one of these selfsame little nooks. It would have been a ticklish affair to be Benvenuto's fellow-workman within such narrow limits.

Going out of the Porta Romana, I walked for some distance along the city wall, and then, turning to the left, toiled up the hill of Bellosguardo, through narrow zigzag lanes between high walls of stone or plastered brick, where the sun had the fairest chance to frizzle me. There were scattered villas and houses, here and there concentrating into a little bit of a street, paved with flag-stones from side to side, as in the city, and shadowed quite across its narrowness by the height of the houses. Mostly, however, the way was inhospitably sunny, and shut out by the high wall from every glimpse of a view, except in one spot, where Florence spread itself before my eyes, with every tower, dome, and spire which it contains. A little way farther on my own gray tower rose before me, the most welcome object that I had seen in the course of the day.

September 10th. - I went into town again yesterday, by way of the Porta San Frediano, and observed that this gate (like the other gates of Florence, as far as I have observed) is a tall, square structure of stone or brick, or both, rising high above the adjacent wall, and having a range of open loggie in the upper story. The arch externally is about half the height of the structure. Inside, towards the town, it rises nearly to the roof. On each side of the arch there is much room for offices, apartments, storehouses, or whatever else. On the outside of the gate, along the base, are those iron rings and sockets for torches, which are said to be the distinguishing symbol of illustrious houses. As contrasted with the vista of the narrow, swarming street through the arch from without, the view from the inside might be presented with a glimpse of the free blue sky.

I strolled a little about Florence, and went into two or three churches; into that of the Annunziata for one. I have already described this church, with its general magnificence, and it was more magnificent than ever to-day, being hung with scarlet silk and gold-embroidery. A great many people were at their devotions, thronging principally around the Virgin's shrine. I was struck now with the many bas-reliefs and busts in the costume of their respective ages, and seemingly with great accuracy of portraiture, in the passage leading from the front of the church into the cloisters. The marble was not at all abashed nor degraded by being made to assume the guise of the mediaeval furred robe, or the close-fitting tunic with elaborate ruff, or the breastplate and gorget, or the flowing wig, or whatever the actual costume might be; and one is sensible of a rectitude and reality in the affair, and respects the dead people for not putting themselves into an eternal masquerade. The dress of the present day will look equally respectable in one or two hundred years.

The Fair is still going on, and one of its principal centres is before this church, in the Piazza of the Annunziata. Cloth is the chief commodity offered for sale, and none of the finest; coarse, unbleached linen and cotton prints for country-people's wear, together with yarn, stockings, and here and there an assortment of bright-colored ribbons. Playthings, of a very rude fashion, were also displayed; likewise books in Italian and French; and a great deal of iron-work. Both here and in Rome they have this odd custom of offering rusty iron implements for sale, spread out on the pavements. There was a good deal of tinware, too, glittering in the sunshine, especially around the pedestal of the bronze statue of Duke Ferdinand, who curbs his horse and looks down upon the bustling piazza in a very stately way. . . . . The people attending the fair had mostly a rustic appearance; sunburnt faces, thin frames; no beauty, no bloom, no joyousness of young or old; an anxious aspect, as if life were no easy or holiday matter with them; but I should take them to be of a kindly nature, and reasonably honest. Except the broad-brimmed Tuscan hats of the women, there was no peculiarity of costume. At a careless glance I could very well have mistaken most of the men for Yankees; as for the women, there is very little resemblance between them and ours, - the old being absolutely hideous, and the young ones very seldom pretty. It was a very dull crowd. They do not generate any warmth among themselves by contiguity; they have no pervading sentiment, such as is continually breaking out in rough merriment from an American crowd; they have nothing to do with one another; they are not a crowd, considered as one mass, but a collection of individuals. A despotic government has perhaps destroyed their principle of cohesion, and crumbled them to atoms. Italian crowds are noted for their civility; possibly they deserve credit for native courtesy and gentleness; possibly, on the other hand, the crowd has not spirit and self-consciousness enough to be rampant. I wonder whether they will ever hold another parliament in the Piazza of Santa Croce!

I paid a visit to the gallery of the Pitti Palace. There is too large an intermixture of Andrea del Sarto's pictures in this gallery; everywhere you see them, cold, proper, and uncriticisable, looking so much like first-rate excellence, that you inevitably quarrel with your own taste for not admiring them. . . . .

It was one of the days when my mind misgives me whether the pictorial art be not a humbug, and when the minute accuracy of a fly in a Dutch picture of fruit and flowers seems to me something more reliable than the master-touches of Raphael. The gallery was considerably thronged, and many of the visitors appeared to be from the country, and of a class intermediate between gentility and labor. Is there such a rural class in Italy? I saw a respectable-looking man feeling awkward and uncomfortable in a new and glossy pair of pantaloons not yet bent and creased to his natural movement.

Nothing pleased me better to-day than some amber cups, in one of the cabinets of curiosities. They are richly wrought, and the material is as if the artist had compressed a great deal of sunshine together, and when sufficiently solidified had moulded these cups out of it and let them harden. This simile was suggested by - - - .

Leaving the palace, I entered the Boboli Gardens, and wandered up and down a good deal of its uneven surface, through broad, well-kept edges of box, sprouting loftily, trimmed smoothly, and strewn between with cleanly gravel; skirting along plantations of aged trees, throwing a deep shadow within their precincts; passing many statues, not of the finest art, yet approaching so near it, as to serve just as good a purpose for garden ornament; coming now and then to the borders of a fishpool, or a pond, where stately swans circumnavigated an island of flowers; - all very fine and very wearisome. I have never enjoyed this garden; perhaps because it suggests dress-coats, and such elegant formalities.

September 11th. - We have heard a good deal of spirit matters of late, especially of wonderful incidents that attended Mr. Home's visit to Florence, two or three years ago. Mrs. Powers told a very marvellous thing; how that when Mr. Home was holding a seance in her house, and several persons present, a great scratching was heard in a neighboring closet. She addressed the spirit, and requested it not to disturb the company then, as they were busy with other affairs, promising to converse with it on a future occasion. On a subsequent night, accordingly, the scratching was renewed, with the utmost violence; and in reply to Mrs. Powers's questions, the spirit assured her that it was not one, but legion, being the ghosts of twenty-seven monks, who were miserable and without hope! The house now occupied by Powers was formerly a convent, and I suppose these were the spirits of all the wicked monks that had ever inhabited it; at least, I hope that there were not such a number of damnable sinners extant at any one time. These ghostly fathers must have been very improper persons in their lifetime, judging by the indecorousness of their behavior even after death, and in such dreadful circumstances; for they pulled Mrs. Powers's skirts so hard as to break the gathers. . . . . It was not ascertained that they desired to have anything done for their eternal welfare, or that their situation was capable of amendment anyhow; but, being exhorted to refrain from further disturbance, they took their departure, after making the sign of the cross on the breast of each person present. This was very singular in such reprobates, who, by their own confession, had forfeited all claim to be benefited by that holy symbol: it curiously suggests that the forms of religion may still be kept up in purgatory and hell itself. The sign was made in a way that conveyed the sense of something devilish and spiteful; the perpendicular line of the cross being drawn gently enough, but the transverse one sharply and violently, so as to leave a painful impression. Perhaps the monks meant this to express their contempt and hatred for heretics; and how queer, that this antipathy should survive their own damnation! But I cannot help hoping that the case of these poor devils may not be so desperate as they think. They cannot be wholly lost, because their desire for communication with mortals shows that they need sympathy, therefore are not altogether hardened, therefore, with loving treatment, may be restored.

A great many other wonders took place within the knowledge and experience of Mrs. P - - - . She saw, not one pair of hands only, but many. The head of one of her dead children, a little boy, was laid in her lap, not in ghastly fashion, as a head out of the coffin and the grave, but just as the living child might have laid it on his mother's knees. It was invisible, by the by, and she recognized it by the features and the character of the hair, through the sense of touch. Little hands grasped hers. In short, these soberly attested incredibilities are so numerous that I forget nine tenths of them, and judge the others too cheap to be written down. Christ spoke the truth surely, in saying that men would not believe, "though one rose from the dead." In my own case, the fact makes absolutely no impression. I regret such confirmation of truth as this.

Within a mile of our villa stands the Villa Columbaria, a large house, built round a square court. Like Mr. Powers's residence, it was formerly a convent. It is inhabited by Major Gregorie, an old soldier of Waterloo and various other fights, and his family consists of Mrs. - - - , the widow of one of the Major's friends, and her two daughters. We have become acquainted with the family, and Mrs. - - - , the married daughter, has lent us a written statement of her experiences with a ghost, who has haunted the Villa Columbaria for many years back.

He had made Mrs. - - - aware of his presence in her room by a sensation of extreme cold, as if a wintry breeze were blowing over her; also by a rustling of the bed-curtains; and, at such times, she had a certain consciousness, as she says, that she was not ALONE. Through Mr. Home's agency, the ghost was enabled to explain himself, and declared that he was a monk, named Giannane, who died a very long time ago in Mrs. - - - 's present bedchamber. He was a murderer, and had been in a restless and miserable state ever since his death, wandering up and down the house, but especially haunting his own death-chamber and a staircase that communicated with the chapel of the villa. All the interviews with this lost spirit were attended with a sensation of severe cold, which was felt by every one present. He made his communications by means of table-rapping, and by the movements of chairs and other articles, which often assumed an angry character. The poor old fellow does not seem to have known exactly what he wanted with Mrs. - - - , but promised to refrain from disturbing her any more, on condition that she would pray that he might find some repose. He had previously declined having any masses said for his soul. Rest, rest, rest, appears to be the continual craving of unhappy spirits; they do not venture to ask for positive bliss: perhaps, in their utter weariness, would rather forego the trouble of active enjoyment, but pray only for rest. The cold atmosphere around this monk suggests new ideas as to the climate of Hades. If all the afore-mentioned twenty-seven monks had a similar one, the combined temperature must have been that of a polar winter.

Mrs. - - - saw, at one time, the fingers of her monk, long, yellow, and skinny; these fingers grasped the hands of individuals of the party, with a cold, clammy, and horrible touch.

After the departure of this ghost other seances were held in her bedchamber, at which good and holy spirits manifested themselves, and behaved in a very comfortable and encouraging way. It was their benevolent purpose, apparently, to purify her apartments from all traces of the evil spirit, and to reconcile her to what had been so long the haunt of this miserable monk, by filling it with happy and sacred associations, in which, as Mrs. - - - intimates, they entirely succeeded.

These stories remind me of an incident that took place at the old manse, in the first summer of our marriage. . . . .

September 17th. - We walked yesterday to Florence, and visited the church of St. Lorenzo, where we saw, for the second time, the famous Medici statues of Michael Angelo. I found myself not in a very appreciative state, and, being a stone myself, the statue of Lorenzo was at first little more to me than another stone; but it was beginning to assume life, and would have impressed me as it did before if I had gazed long enough. There was a better light upon the face, under the helmet, than at my former visit, although still the features were enough overshadowed to produce that mystery on which, according to Mr. Powers, the effect of the statue depends. I observe that the costume of the figure, instead of being mediaeval, as I believe I have stated, is Roman; but, be it what it may, the grand and simple character of the figure imbues the robes with its individual propriety. I still think it the greatest miracle ever wrought in marble.

We crossed the church and entered a cloister on the opposite side, in quest of the Laurentian Library. Ascending a staircase we found an old man blowing the bellows of the organ, which was in full blast in the church; nevertheless he found time to direct us to the library door. We entered a lofty vestibule, of ancient aspect and stately architecture, and thence were admitted into the library itself; a long and wide gallery or hall, lighted by a row of windows on which were painted the arms of the Medici. The ceiling was inlaid with dark wood, in an elaborate pattern, which was exactly repeated in terra-cotta on the pavement beneath our feet. Long desks, much like the old-fashioned ones in schools, were ranged on each side of the mid aisle, in a series from end to end, with seats for the convenience of students; and on these desks were rare manuscripts, carefully preserved under glass; and books, fastened to the desks by iron chains, as the custom of studious antiquity used to be. Along the centre of the hall, between the two ranges of desks, were tables and chairs, at which two or three scholarly persons were seated, diligently consulting volumes in manuscript or old type. It was a very quiet place, imbued with a cloistered sanctity, and remote from all street-cries and rumble of the city, - odorous of old literature, - a spot where the commonest ideas ought not to be expressed in less than Latin.

The librarian - or custode he ought rather to be termed, for he was a man not above the fee of a paul - now presented himself, and showed us some of the literary curiosities; a vellum manuscript of the Bible, with a splendid illumination by Ghirlandaio, covering two folio pages, and just as brilliant in its color as if finished yesterday. Other illuminated manuscripts - or at least separate pages of them, for the volumes were kept under glass, and not to be turned over - were shown us, very magnificent, but not to be compared with this of Ghirlandaio. Looking at such treasures I could almost say that we have left behind us more splendor than we have kept alive to our own age. We publish beautiful editions of books, to be sure, and thousands of people enjoy them; but in ancient times the expense that we spread thinly over a thousand volumes was all compressed into one, and it became a great jewel of a book, a heavy folio, worth its weight in gold. Then, what a spiritual charm it gives to a book to feel that every letter has been individually wrought, and the pictures glow for that individual page alone! Certainly the ancient reader had a luxury which the modern one lacks. I was surprised, moreover, to see the clearness and accuracy of the chirography. Print does not surpass it in these respects.

The custode showed us an ancient manuscript of the Decameron; likewise, a volume containing the portraits of Petrarch and of Laura, each covering the whole of a vellum page, and very finely done. They are authentic portraits, no doubt, and Laura is depicted as a fair-haired beauty, with a very satisfactory amount of loveliness. We saw some choice old editions of books in a small separate room; but as these were all ranged in shut bookcases, and as each volume, moreover, was in a separate cover or modern binding, this exhibition did us very little good. By the by, there is a conceit struggling blindly in my mind about Petrarch and Laura, suggested by those two lifelike portraits, which have been sleeping cheek to cheek through all these centuries. But I cannot lay hold of it.

September 21st. - Yesterday morning the Val d' Arno was entirely filled with a thick fog, which extended even up to our windows, and concealed objects within a very short distance. It began to dissipate itself betimes, however, and was the forerunner of an unusually bright and warm day. We set out after breakfast and walked into town, where we looked at mosaic brooches. These are very pretty little bits of manufacture; but there seems to have been no infusion of fresh fancy into the work, and the specimens present little variety. It is the characteristic commodity of the place; the central mart and manufacturing locality being on the Ponte Vecchio, from end to end of which they are displayed in cases; but there are other mosaic shops scattered about the town. The principal devices are roses, - pink, yellow, or white, - jasmines, lilies of the valley, forget-me-nots, orange blossoms, and others, single or in sprigs, or twined into wreaths; parrots, too, and other birds of gay plumage, - often exquisitely done, and sometimes with precious materials, such as lapis lazuli, malachite, and still rarer gems. Bracelets, with several different, yet relative designs, are often very beautiful. We find, at different shops, a great inequality of prices for mosaics that seemed to be of much the same quality.

We went to the Uffizi gallery, and found it much thronged with the middle and lower classes of Italians; and the English, too, seemed more numerous than I have lately seen them. Perhaps the tourists have just arrived here, starting at the close of the London season. We were amused with a pair of Englishmen who went through the gallery; one of them criticising the pictures and statues audibly, for the benefit of his companion. The critic I should take to be a country squire, and wholly untravelled; a tall, well-built, rather rough, but gentlemanly man enough; his friend, a small personage, exquisitely neat in dress, and of artificial deportment, every attitude and gesture appearing to have been practised before a glass. Being but a small pattern of a man, physically and intellectually, he had thought it worth while to finish himself off with the elaborateness of a Florentine mosaic; and the result was something like a dancing-master, though without the exuberant embroidery of such persons. Indeed, he was a very quiet little man, and, though so thoroughly made up, there was something particularly green, fresh, and simple in him. Both these Englishmen were elderly, and the smaller one had perfectly white hair, glossy and silken. It did not make him in the least venerable, however, but took his own character of neatness and prettiness. He carried his well-brushed and glossy hat in his hand in such a way as not to ruffle its surface; and I wish I could put into one word or one sentence the pettiness, the minikinfinical effect of this little man; his self-consciousness so lifelong, that, in some sort, he forgot himself even in the midst of it; his propriety, his cleanliness and unruffledness; his prettiness and nicety of manifestation, like a bird hopping daintily about.

His companion, as I said, was of a completely different type; a tall, gray-haired man, with the rough English face, a little tinted with port wine; careless, natural manner, betokening a man of position in his own neighborhood; a loud voice, not vulgar, nor outraging the rules of society, but betraying a character incapable of much refinement. He talked continually in his progress through the gallery, and audibly enough for us to catch almost everything he said, at many yards' distance. His remarks and criticisms, addressed to his small friend, were so entertaining, that we strolled behind him for the sake of being benefited by them; and I think he soon became aware of this, and addressed himself to us as well as to his more immediate friend. Nobody but an Englishman, it seems to me, has just this kind of vanity, - a feeling mixed up with scorn and good-nature; self-complacency on his own merits, and as an Englishman; pride at being in foreign parts; contempt for everybody around him; a rough kindliness towards people in general. I liked the man, and should be glad to know him better. As for his criticism, I am sorry to remember only one. It was upon the picture of the Nativity, by Correggio, in the Tribune, where the mother is kneeling before the Child, and adoring it in an awful rapture, because she sees the eternal God in its baby face and figure. The Englishman was highly delighted with this picture, and began to gesticulate, as if dandling a baby, and to make a chirruping sound. It was to him merely a representation of a mother fondling her infant. He then said, "If I could have my choice of the pictures and statues in the Tribune, I would take this picture, and that one yonder" (it was a good enough Enthronement of the Virgin by Andrea del Sarto) "and the Dancing Faun, and let the rest go." A delightful man; I love that wholesome coarseness of mind and heart, which no education nor opportunity can polish out of the genuine Englishman; a coarseness without vulgarity. When a Yankee is coarse, he is pretty sure to be vulgar too.

The two critics seemed to be considering whether it were practicable to go from the Uffizi to the Pitti gallery; but "it confuses one," remarked the little man, "to see more than one gallery in a day." (I should think so, - the Pitti Palace tumbling into his small receptacle on the top of the Uffizi.) "It does so," responded the big man, with heavy emphasis.

September 23d. - The vintage has been going on in our podere for about a week, and I saw a part of the process of making wine, under one of our back windows. It was on a very small scale, the grapes being thrown into a barrel, and crushed with a sort of pestle; and as each estate seems to make its own wine, there are probably no very extensive and elaborate appliances in general use for the manufacture. The cider-making of New England is far more picturesque; the great heap of golden or rosy apples under the trees, and the cider-mill worked by a circumgyratory horse, and all agush with sweet juice. Indeed, nothing connected with the grape-culture and the vintage here has been picturesque, except the large inverted pyramids in which the clusters hang; those great bunches, white or purple, really satisfy my idea both as to aspect and taste. We can buy a large basketful for less than a paul; and they are the only things that one can never devour too much of - and there is no enough short of a little too much without subsequent repentance. It is a shame to turn such delicious juice into such sour wine as they make in Tuscany. I tasted a sip or two of a flask which the contadini sent us for trial, - the rich result of the process I had witnessed in the barrel. It took me altogether by surprise; for I remembered the nectareousness of the new cider which I used to sip through a straw in my boyhood, and I never doubted that this would be as dulcet, but finer and more ethereal; as much more delectable, in short, as these grapes are better than puckery cider apples. Positively, I never tasted anything so detestable, such a sour and bitter juice, still lukewarm with fermentation; it was a wail of woe, squeezed out of the wine-press of tribulation, and the more a man drinks of such, the sorrier he will be.

Besides grapes, we have had figs, and I have now learned to be very fond of them. When they first began to appear, two months ago, they had scarcely any sweetness, and tasted very like a decaying squash: this was an early variety, with purple skins. There are many kinds of figs, the best being green-skinned, growing yellower as they ripen; and the riper they are, the more the sweetness within them intensifies, till they resemble dried figs in everything, except that they retain the fresh fruit-flavor; rich, luscious, yet not palling. We have had pears, too, some of them very tolerable; and peaches, which look magnificently, as regards size and downy blush, but, have seldom much more taste than a cucumber. A succession of fruits has followed us, ever since our arrival in Florence: - first, and for a long time, abundance of cherries; then apricots, which lasted many weeks, till we were weary of them; then plums, pears, and finally figs, peaches, and grapes. Except the figs and grapes, a New England summer and autumn would give us better fruit than any we have found in Italy.

Italy beats us I think in mosquitoes; they are horribly pungent little satanic particles. They possess strange intelligence, and exquisite acuteness of sight and smell, - prodigious audacity and courage to match it, insomuch that they venture on the most hazardous attacks, and get safe off. One of them flew into my mouth, the other night, and sting me far down in my throat; but luckily I coughed him up in halves. They are bigger than American mosquitoes; and if you crush them, after one of their feasts, it makes a terrific bloodspot. It is a sort of suicide - at least, a shedding of one's own blood - to kill them; but it gratifies the old Adam to do it. It shocks me to feel how revengeful I am; but it is impossible not to impute a certain malice and intellectual venom to these diabolical insects. I wonder whether our health, at this season of the year, requires that we should be kept in a state of irritation, and so the mosquitoes are Nature's prophetic remedy for some disease; or whether we are made for the mosquitoes, not they for us. It is possible, just possible, that the infinitesimal doses of poison which they infuse into us are a homoeopathic safeguard against pestilence; but medicine never was administered in a more disagreeable way.

The moist atmosphere about the Arno, I suppose, produces these insects, and fills the broad, ten-mile valley with them; and as we are just on the brim of the basin, they overflow into our windows.

September 25th. - U - - and I walked to town yesterday morning, and went to the Uffizi gallery. It is not a pleasant thought that we are so soon to give up this gallery, with little prospect (none, or hardly any, on my part) of ever seeing it again. It interests me and all of us far more than the gallery of the Pitti Palace, wherefore I know not, for the latter is the richer of the two in admirable pictures. Perhaps it is the picturesque variety of the Uffizi - the combination of painting, sculpture, gems, and bronzes - that makes the charm. The Tribune, too, is the richest room in all the world; a heart that draws all hearts to it. The Dutch pictures, moreover, give a homely, human interest to the Uffizi; and I really think that the frequency of Andrea del Santo's productions at the Pitti Palace - looking so very like masterpieces, yet lacking the soul of art and nature - have much to do with the weariness that comes from better acquaintance with the latter gallery. The splendor of the gilded and frescoed saloons is perhaps another bore; but, after all, my memory will often tread there as long as I live. What shall we do in America?

Speaking of Dutch pictures, I was much struck yesterday, as frequently before, with a small picture by Teniers the elder. It seems to be a pawnbroker in the midst of his pledges; old earthen jugs, flasks, a brass kettle, old books, and a huge pile of worn-out and broken rubbish, which he is examining. These things are represented with vast fidelity, yet with bold and free touches, unlike the minute, microscopic work of other Dutch masters; and a wonderful picturesqueness is wrought out of these humble materials, and even the figure and head of the pawnbroker have a strange grandeur.

We spent no very long time at the Uffizi, and afterwards crossed the Ponte alle Grazie, and went to the convent of San Miniato, which stands on a hill outside of the Porta San Gallo. A paved pathway, along which stand crosses marking stations at which pilgrims are to kneel and pray, goes steeply to the hill-top, where, in the first place, is a smaller church and convent than those of San Miniato. The latter are seen at a short distance to the right, the convent being a large, square battlemented mass, adjoining which is the church, showing a front of aged white marble, streaked with black, and having an old stone tower behind. I have seen no other convent or monastery that so well corresponds with my idea of what such structures were. The sacred precincts are enclosed by a high wall, gray, ancient, and luxuriously ivy-grown, and lofty and strong enough for the rampart of a fortress. We went through the gateway and entered the church, which we found in much disarray, and masons at work upon the pavement. The tribune is elevated considerably above the nave, and accessible by marble staircases; there are great arches and a chapel, with curious monuments in the Gothic style, and ancient carvings and mosaic works, and, in short, a dim, dusty, and venerable interior, well worth studying in detail. . . . . The view of Florence from the church door is very fine, and seems to include every tower, dome, or whatever object emerges out of the general mass.

September 28th. - I went to the Pitti Palace yesterday, and to the Uffizi to-day, paying them probably my last visit, yet cherishing an unreasonable doubt whether I may not see them again. At all events, I have seen them enough for the present, even what is best of them; and, at the same time, with a sad reluctance to bid them farewell forever, I experience an utter weariness of Raphael's old canvas, and of the time-yellowed marble of the Venus de' Medici. When the material embodiment presents itself outermost, and we perceive them only by the grosser sense, missing their ethereal spirit, there is nothing so heavily burdensome as masterpieces of painting and sculpture. I threw my farewell glance at the Venus de' Medici to-day with strange insensibility.

The nights are wonderfully beautiful now. When the moon was at the full, a few nights ago, its light was an absolute glory, such as I seem only to have dreamed of heretofore, and that only in my younger days. At its rising I have fancied that the orb of the moon has a kind of purple brightness, and that this tinge is communicated to its radiance until it has climbed high aloft and sheds a flood of white over hill and valley. Now that the moon is on the wane, there is a gentler lustre, but still bright; and it makes the Val d' Arno with its surrounding hills, and its soft mist in the distance, as beautiful a scene as exists anywhere out of heaven. And the morning is quite as beautiful in its own way. This mist, of which I have so often spoken, sets it beyond the limits of actual sense and makes it ideal; it is as if you were dreaming about the valley, - as if the valley itself were dreaming, and met you half-way in your own dream. If the mist were to be withdrawn, I believe the whole beauty of the valley would go with it.

Until pretty late in the morning, we have the comet streaming through the sky, and dragging its interminable tail among the stars. It keeps brightening from night to night, and I should think must blaze fiercely enough to cast a shadow by and by. I know not whether it be in the vicinity of Galileo's tower, and in the influence of his spirit, but I have hardly ever watched the stars with such interest as now.

September 29th. - Last evening I met Mr. Powers at Miss Blagden's, and he talked about his treatment, by our government in reference, to an appropriation of twenty-five thousand dollars made by Congress for a statue by him. Its payment and the purchase of the statue were left at the option of the President, and he conceived himself wronged because the affair was never concluded. . . . . As for the President, he knows nothing of art, and probably acted in the matter by the advice of the director of public works. No doubt a sculptor gets commissions as everybody gets public employment and emolument of whatever kind from our government, not by merit or fitness, but by political influence skilfully applied. As Powers himself observed, the ruins of our Capitol are not likely to afford sculptures equal to those which Lord Elgin took from the Parthenon, if this be the system under which they are produced. . . . . I wish our great Republic had the spirit to do as much, according to its vast means, as Florence did for sculpture and architecture when it was a republic; but we have the meanest government and the shabbiest, and - if truly represented by it - we are the meanest and shabbiest people known in history. And yet the less we attempt to do for art the better, if our future attempts are to have no better result than such brazen troopers as the equestrian statue of General Jackson, or even such naked respectabilities as Greenough's Washington. There is something false and affected in our highest taste for art; and I suppose, furthermore, we are the only people who seek to decorate their public institutions, not by the highest taste among them, but by the average at best.

There was also at Miss Blagden's, among other company, Mr. - - - , an artist in Florence, and a sensible man. I talked with him about Home, the medium, whom he had many opportunities of observing when the latter was in these parts. Mr. - - - says that Home is unquestionably a knave, but that he himself is as much perplexed at his own preternatural performances as any other person; he is startled and affrighted at the phenomena which he produces. Nevertheless, when his spiritual powers fall short, he does his best to eke them out with imposture. This moral infirmity is a part of his nature, and I suggested that perhaps if he were of a firmer and healthier moral make, if his character were sufficiently sound and dense to be capable of steadfast principle, he would not have possessed the impressibility that fits him for the so-called spiritual influences. Mr. - - - says that Louis Napoleon is literally one of the most skilful jugglers in the world, and that probably the interest he has taken in Mr. Home was caused partly by a wish to acquire his art.

This morning Mr. Powers invited me to go with him to the Grand Duke's new foundry, to see the bronze statue of Webster which has just been cast from his model. It is the second cast of the statue, the first having been shipped some months ago on board of a vessel which was lost; and, as Powers observed, the statue now lies at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean somewhere in the vicinity of the telegraphic cable.

We were received with much courtesy and emphasis by the director of the foundry, and conducted into a large room walled with bare, new brick, where the statue was standing in front of the extinct furnace: a majestic Webster indeed, eight feet high, and looking even more colossal than that. The likeness seemed to me perfect, and, like a sensible man, Powers' has dressed him in his natural costume, such as I have seen Webster have on while making a speech in the open air at a mass meeting in Concord, - dress-coat buttoned pretty closely across the breast, pantaloons and boots, - everything finished even to a seam and a stitch. Not an inch of the statue but is Webster; even his coat-tails are imbued with the man, and this true artist has succeeded in showing him through the broadcloth as nature showed him. He has felt that a man's actual clothes are as much a part of him as his flesh, and I respect him for disdaining to shirk the difficulty by throwing the meanness of a cloak over it, and for recognizing the folly of masquerading our Yankee statesman in a Roman toga, and the indecorousness of presenting him as a brassy nudity. It would have been quite as unjustifiable to strip him to his skeleton as to his flesh. Webster is represented as holding in his right hand the written roll of the Constitution, with which he points to a bundle of fasces, which he keeps from falling by the grasp of his left, thus symbolizing him as the preserver of the Union. There is an expression of quiet, solid, massive strength in the whole figure; a deep, pervading energy, in which any exaggeration of gesture would lessen and lower the effect. He looks really like a pillar of the state. The face is very grand, very Webster stern and awful, because he is in the act of meeting a great crisis, and yet with the warmth of a great heart glowing through it. Happy is Webster to have been so truly and adequately sculptured; happy the sculptor in such a subject, which no idealization of a demigod could have supplied him with. Perhaps the statue at the bottom of the sea will be cast up in some future age, when the present race of man is forgotten, and if so, that far posterity will look up to us as a grander race than we find ourselves to be. Neither was Webster altogether the man he looked. His physique helped him out, even when he fell somewhat short of its promise; and if his eyes had not been in such deep caverns their fire would not have looked so bright.

Powers made me observe how the surface of the statue was wrought to a sort of roughness instead of being smoothed, as is the practice of other artists. He said that this had cost him great pains, and certainly it has an excellent effect. The statue is to go to Boston, and I hope will be placed in the open air, for it is too mighty to be kept under any roof that now exists in America. . . . .

After seeing this, the director showed us some very curious and exquisite specimens of castings, such as baskets of flowers, in which the most delicate and fragile blossoms, the curl of a petal, the finest veins in a leaf, the lightest flower-spray that ever quivered in a breeze, were perfectly preserved; and the basket contained an abundant heap of such sprays. There were likewise a pair of hands, taken actually from life, clasped together as they were, and they looked like parts of a man who had been changed suddenly from flesh to brass. They were worn and rough and unhandsome hands, and so very real, with all their veins and the pores of the skin, that it was shocking to look at them. A bronze leaf, cast also from the life, was as curious and more beautiful.

Taking leave of Powers, I went hither and thither about Florence, seeing for the last time things that I have seen many times before: the market, for instance, blocking up a line of narrow streets with fruit-stalls, and obstreperous dealers crying their peaches, their green lemons, their figs, their delicious grapes, their mushrooms, their pomegranates, their radishes, their lettuces. They use one vegetable here which I have not known so used elsewhere; that is, very young pumpkins or squashes, of the size of apples, and to be cooked by boiling. They are not to my taste, but the people here like unripe things, - unripe fruit, unripe chickens, unripe lamb. This market is the noisiest and swarmiest centre of noisy and swarming Florence, and I always like to pass through it on that account.

I went also to Santa Croce, and it seemed to me to present a longer vista and broader space than almost any other church, perhaps because the pillars between the nave and aisles are not so massive as to obstruct the view. I looked into the Duomo, too, and was pretty well content to leave it. Then I came homeward, and lost my way, and wandered far off through the white sunshine, and the scanty shade of the vineyard walls, and the olive-trees that here and there branched over them. At last I saw our own gray battlements at a distance, on one side, quite out of the direction in which I was travelling, so was compelled to the grievous mortification of retracing a great many of my weary footsteps. It was a very hot day. This evening I have been on the towertop star-gazing, and looking at the comet, which waves along the sky like an immense feather of flame. Over Florence there was an illuminated atmosphere, caused by the lights of the city gleaming upward into the mists which sleep and dream above that portion of the valley, as well as the rest of it. I saw dimly, or fancied I saw, the hill of Fiesole on the other side of Florence, and remembered how ghostly lights were seen passing thence to the Duomo on the night when Lorenzo the Magnificent died. From time to time the sweet bells of Florence rang out, and I was loath to come down into the lower world, knowing that I shall never again look heavenward from an old tower-top in such a soft calm evening as this. Yet I am not loath to go away; impatient rather; for, taking no root, I soon weary of any soil in which I may be temporarily deposited. The same impatience I sometimes feel or conceive of as regards this earthly life. . . . .

I forgot to mention that Powers showed me, in his studio, the model of the statue of America, which he wished the government to buy. It has great merit, and embodies the ideal of youth, freedom, progress, and whatever we consider as distinctive of our country's character and destiny. It is a female figure, vigorous, beautiful, planting its foot lightly on a broken chain, and pointing upward. The face has a high look of intelligence and lofty feeling; the form, nude to the middle, has all the charms of womanhood, and is thus warmed and redeemed out of the cold allegoric sisterhood who have generally no merit in chastity, being really without sex. I somewhat question whether it is quite the thing, however, to make a genuine woman out of an allegory we ask, Who is to wed this lovely virgin? and we are not satisfied to banish her into the realm of chilly thought. But I liked the statue, and all the better for what I criticise, and was sorry to see the huge package in which the finished marble lies bundled up, ready to be sent to our country, - which does not call for it.

Mr. Powers and his two daughters called to take leave of us, and at parting I expressed a hope of seeing him in America. He said that it would make him very unhappy to believe that he should never return thither; but it seems to me that he has no such definite purpose of return as would be certain to bring itself to pass. It makes a very unsatisfactory life, thus to spend the greater part of it in exile. In such a case we are always deferring the reality of life till a future moment, and, by and by, we have deferred it till there are no future moments; or, if we do go back, we find that life has shifted whatever of reality it had to the country where we deemed ourselves only living temporarily; and so between two stools we come to the ground, and make ourselves a part of one or the other country only by laying our bones in its soil. It is particularly a pity in Powers's case, because he is so very American in character, and the only convenience for him of his Italian residence is, that here he can supply himself with marble, and with workmen to chisel it according to his designs.