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blems over patch-boxes, or rows of pins, as figures of Venuses and Cupids are sometimes used to ornament the toilette utensils of modern belles.
ANCONA.--This town offers a striking contrast to Loretto. Here all is activity and bustle; the stream of life flows rapidly along, and all seem occupied by the actual present, forwarding the business of existence; instead of, as at Loretto, vegetating on the wages of imposture, and endeavouring to keep alive a belief in a fable, finding every year fewer believers, as education extends its influence.
The position of this town is admirable. Built on the side of a hill, it descends to the edge of the water, and boasts a magnificent mole, crowded by persons in the picturesque dresses of Eastern climes, as well as many in those of our more civilized ones. This mélange of costumes and countenances seen continually passing and repassing on the mole, gives it a very lively aspect; and the triumphal arch erected in honor of Trajan, who beautified the town with quays of marble, still in fine preservation, completes a picture worthy the pencil of a Canaletti.
The mole has likewise another arch, erected in honor of the Pope Benedict XIV. This is the work of Vanvitelli, to whom also was entrusted the building of the mole, and the completion of the lazaretto, which do credit to his architectural skill.
Ancona, seen from a distance, has a very good
effect, but when entered, disappoints the visitor; the majority of the streets being narrow and ill planned; and houses of the meanest description mingling with the large and well finished dwellings of the aristocratic portion of the inhabitants of the town.
Ancona has been attacked and conquered in turn by the Romans, Goths, Lombards, and Saracens. In 1532 it became incorporated with the papal state, and in 1799 was seized by the united forces of the Russians, Austrians, and the Turks, notwithstanding the vigorous defence made by General Meunier. The taking of Ancona is said to have led to a serious misunderstanding between the Austrians and the Emperor Paul; for the Russian flag having been hoisted from the ramparts, was torn down by the Austrians.
Ancona furnished brilliant examples of patriotism and heroic self-devotion during the memorable siege, when the unnatural coalition between Christian, Archbishop of Mayence, and Arch-chancellor of the empire, (whom Frederick Barbarossa deputed to represent him in Italy), and the Venetians, brought the forces of the first by land, and those of the second by sea, to attack Ancona.
The Venetians among their ships had one of so vast a size, that they named it Il Mondo. Wooden towers of great height and magnitude had been erected on the deck of this colossal ship, which was considered as the very centre of the power of the fleet. Great was the mischief and havoc occasioned by this stupendous vessel, until a priest of Ancona, observing its effects, resolved to attempt its destruction. He swam boldly to the prow of Il Mondo, bearing an axe between his teeth, and before he was observed, accomplished his design of cutting through the cables which moored the ship. Then occasionally diving under water, he returned to the shore uninjured, though assailed by the Venetians who pursued him. The vast ship drifted among
the other vessels, its great size producing all the mischief to its own party that it was meant to effect on its foes.
Another example of patriotic courage was given during the siege, and by one of the gentler sex too, which it glads my woman's heart to record. This heroine rushed with a lighted torch, and set fire to a wooden tower, at whose base she stood, fearless of the missiles aimed at her, until the flames had spread a general conflagration around, which cesumed the batteries of the enemy to ashes. But this was not the only instance of heroic courage displayed by a woman during the memorable siege of Ancona.
Another, and perhaps a still more remarkable one, is given, more remarkable, inasmuch as that fortitude during protracted trials, must be esteemed as offering even a more elevated proof of grandeur of mind, than the enthusiasm that suddenly leads to a temporary risk of personal destruction. A young and handsome woman of high birth, holding her infant to her breast, found a sentinel who had sunk exhausted at his post. She reproached him for this violation of duty, and he endeavoured to excuse it, by stating that he was overpowered by the effects of famine.
“ Art thou a man, and thus speak?” said the noble woman; “ for fifteen days my life has only been sustained by the most disgusting food, too scantily found to enable me to administer sufficient sustenance to the fevered lips of my child, yet that sustenance would I yield to thee, rather than thou shouldst perish, and our hapless country be thus deprived of one of its defenders.”
The soldier, animated by the words of this noble woman, and abashed at being excelled in fortitude by her, arose from the ground, and seizing his arms, gallantly discharged his duty, and vanquished no less than four of the enemy by his own hand.
I cannot refrain from citing another example of the fortitude of my sex, furnished also during the siege of Ancona: when a woman beholding her sons perishing for want of sustenance, and unable to procure any for them, opened a vein in her left arm, and having disguised the sanguine stream by culinary preparation, prolonged their lives at the risk of her own.
Well might our great and good Scott say of
O woman! in our hours of ease,
From being less frequented by travellers than most other places in Italy, Ancona possesses no good inn. The furniture of the apartments assigned to us, and the dinner served, were of the most primitive kind; but as both were clean, and not deficient in quantity, though inferior in quality, we were not discontented. A copious jug of smoking hot brandy punch, brought up by the landlord when we had about half dined, more surprised than pleased
He smiled self-complacently as he laid it on the table, and assured us, that knowing from hearsay the partiality of English milords for that beverage, he had acquired the art of making it from a captain of a ship, and hoped we should find it excellent.
Our courier was more than half disposed to resent as an insult this well meant attention of our host. He declared, with no little gesticulation, that “he, who well knew the habits of English lords and ladies, had never seen any one of them drink hot punch at, or after dinner ; iced ponche-à-la-Romaine, it was