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It may seem strange, but it is nevertheless true, that even when beholding the fairest scenery of this beautiful country, my mind reverts to home with increased tenderness; as if jealous of the admiration accorded by my taste to the objects that delight it.
To-morrow we set out on our route to Bologna, whence we proceed to Parma and Plaisance. Not a single wet day has marred the pleasure of our stay at Milan, or our expeditions in its delightful environs; and an unclouded sky and genial climate have kept us in good health and spirits. Travelling in Italy, except during the months of November and March, which are in general the worst in the whole year,
is exempt from the annoyance of bad weather, so frequently experienced elsewhere. I have had my imperials soaked through in Belgium, and France, and in England, Scotland, and Ireland; have been dragged over roads imbedded with liquid mud, while ceaseless rain precluded the possibility of lowering the glass of the carriage to inhale the air ; but in Italy, the constant beauty of the weather has rendered all my journeys through it delightful.
Bologna. This is a fine town, and its long arcades offer, not only a pleasing decoration to the streets, but at this season a very agreeable refuge from the too fervid rays of the sun.
We have arrived in time to see the fête of the Madonna,
which is to be celebrated to-morrow; and an unusual bustle and activity prevail in the streets, owing to the extensive preparations. We walked out this evening, and were much struck with the picturesque effect of the porticos, seen by moonlight; and the various groups of gaily-dressed peasants walking under them, who have come to witness the festival. The tasteful dresses of these people, each group looking as if attired to be introduced in pictures, their gaiety, yet perfect decorum, and the sobriety of the men, with their polite attention to the women, pleased me much; and their conversation, in which simplicity and affection were equally, prominent, as they spoke aloud, wholly regardless of the presence of strangers, was free from the least tinge of that coarseness, if not ribaldry, too often to be heard in other countries among persons of the same class of life.
We extended our promenade through a considerable portion of the porticos leading to the church of the Madonna di San Luca, which looked beautifully in the alternate light and shade produced by the moonbeams, while the view of the surrounding country was charming. Nor was music wanting to complete the romantic interest of the scene ; for the sound of guitars frequently broke on the ear, accompanied by voices, which, if untutored, were not inharmonious. It was, indeed, an Italian night; and the scenes on which the bright and glorious moon shone, were precisely such as the mind pictures to
itself of Italy, before one has seen this beautiful land. Spires, minarets, towers, arches, and porticos, intermingled with stately palaces, and rich foliage; the dark hue of the latter rendering the whiteness of the porticos brilliant as Parian marble. The music, softened by distance, the picturesque costumes, and the pleasant sounds of this most musical language, a language which even from rudest lips never sounds vulgar, all, all combined to render this my first evening ramble at Bologna enchanting.
The thought occurred to me in one of those pauses I often made to contemplate the beautiful scenes presented to my delighted eyes, that years hence, when far, far from Italy, I may turn to the transcript of the impression it made on me, and narrate with a sigh the faint and imperfect description of what was then filling my mind with such deep admiration. Ah! would that my pen could render justice to my emotions! and then I might be able to convey to others some sense of that which has so strongly excited them; or renew in my own breast a portion of the pleasure experienced this night, in beholding what I cannot delineate.
The morning was ushered in by ringing of bells ; and the streets are densely crowded by the people who are come to form the procession and to view it. From the windows of the houses, bright-coloured hangings of tapestry and damask are floating ; all
S the peasants are attired in their holiday apparel, the
variety and richness of the colours of which give the streets the appearance of a vast bed of tulips. Flags and banners of every die, and with various symbols, are borne around by white-robed boys, and priests in silvery surplices and cloth of gold vestments. All is excitement and gaiety.-I must lay aside my pen,
forth to behold the procession leave the church.
I have seen high mass celebrated in the church of St. Petronius, which was richly decorated for the occasion; the columns and pilasters being covered by draperies, and an abundance of ornaments scattered around the altars. The sacred edifice lost all the solemnity which appertains to one of its antiquity and magnitude; and resembled much more a place arranged for some theatrical exhibition, than a temple prepared to offer homage to the Most High. · In this church was Charles V. crowned, a circumstance which I confess occurred to me even while the mass was celebrating; and set my brain conjuring up the ceremony of that day, instead of dwelling on the one of this. The meridian of Cassini interested me more than a statue of Saint Petronius, to which our guide was anxious to draw my attention, and which is said to be an accurate likeness. If this statement be true, it
the saint to have been no beauty.
The church was crowded to excess, but the conduct of the occupants was orderly and sober. No pushing, elbowing, or muttering. When the service was concluded the procession was formed; and highly picturesque was its effect as it moved along. The gorgeous vestments of the priests, the bright tints of the innumerable banners floating in the air, the draperies suspended from the windows, the whitestoled boys bearing silver censers, followed by the monks of all the different orders in their various sombre-coloured robes, shaven crowns and sandalled feet, contrasted with the gay dresses of the Contadini, formed a picture worthy of the glorious pencil of a Paul Veronese.
While viewing the procession beneath the arcades, I was inadvertently separated from my party, and found myself hurried along by the crowd, hemmed in at all sides by a moving mass of strangers, who seemed to eye me with much curiosity. To disentangle myself from the multitude would have been a difficult, if not an impossible task; and I confess I experienced a certain degree of trepidation inseparable from a woman's feelings at finding herself alone in the midst of a vast throng, not one face of which I had ever previously seen.
Great then was my satisfaction at hearing the simple remark of, “We have had a very fine day for the fête,” uttered in English, and with as good a pronunciation as possible, by a person having the air and dress of a clergyman, to another, who answered, “ Yes, nothing could be more propitious than the weather.”
Though it is always embarrassing to address a stranger, the sound of my own language, and the