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enacted which is so often attendant upon the departure of a vessel from a crowded port. My luggage had been properly stowed, my curiosity had long since ceased to be excited by even the picturesque comicalities of an Italian leave-taking, my humor was not for conversation, and I turned to enjoy the beauties which nature was from every point forcing upon my gaze. Directly abreast of us, as we lay out some little distance in the bay, was the glistening crescent of Naples, stretching away for miles on either hand, with its villas, and its gardens, and its palaces, crowned by a solitary rocky fort. The air was blowing warm upon it from the far distant Mediterranean, whose curling waves were breaking in silver foam upon the beach. On the right rose Vesuvius, its base dotted with villages, and its summit covered with a hood of smoke that rose and fell in gentle undulations, but lingered still, as though unwilling to leave a scene of so much beauty. On the left, the coast stretched away in a gentle curve till the islands of Ischia and Procida, resting as if in slumber upon the waters, shut out with their green outlines its further course.
Seaward the horizon was bounded by a line of living blue, broken here and there by the white sail of some felucca gliding gently down the coast. All nature was quiet, and no noise but that which issued from our little world interrupted its repose. Even this too was soon lulled, as one by one the little boats left the vessel's side, and carried with them freight of friends come to say the last wordthe anchor was catted, the roll was called, and we answered to our names, now through the politeness of the steward most awfully beDoned, the steam was prisoned once more in its iron cylinder, the wheels turned slowly round, a forlorn hope of handkerchiefs was drawn up in line upon the quarter deck-a roll or two came like a twinge of conscience big with anticipated ills, and we were under way.
Steadily, and swiftly too, for any vessel but an American, we forced our way through the waves, till every moment the indented shore, the little outposts, islands, and the solitary fort, grew dimmer in the increas. ing distance, and every moment Vesuvius, now freed from the clog of an unfair comparison, rose higher and higher above the horizon, its towering peak tacitly rebuking the perception which could let its very footstool, richly embroidered though it were, draw the eye from the sole contemplation of its grand form. Still onward, and the rocky island of Capri, the summer garden of Tiberius, raises its precipitous front from the water, and echoes to the noise of our wheels-and now the echo dies away, and the three insulated peaks, which, similar to the famous needles of the English coast, are pushed out from its sunken base, disclose their solitary unsocial cluster—the broad ocean heaves and swells before us, and the sun, wrapt in his mist-mantle, is hastening to his evening bath. No gorgeous drapery of varied colors of crimson and gold, of pink and blue, mingled in one dazzling maze, is thrown around his shoulders. No, these are the autumn draperies of a western world, no other loom can wear them--but a soft golden haze floats around him, which, while it mellows every outline, and lends enchantment to the distance, throws a charm around every thing that challenges you to say 'tis naught but earth, or air, or water. He has gone, and the brief in
terval that elapses ere his gentler sister smiles upon our lonely course, may serve to tell whither we are bound, and why, instead of following the proverb, (which I take on the word of a diary maker for genuine,)
see Naples and die,” I have seen it, and am hurrying to a place more beautiful than that.
Three months had nearly elapsed since I set foot in Rome, a traveler in search of amusement, an admirer of art, in search of new shrines before which to bow- -an invalid, in search of health. These months had rolled away in the discovery and appropriation of the objects of my search. I had visited its palaces, its churches, its ruins. I had admired its pictures, its statues, its reliefs. I had enjoyed the intercourse of agreeable companions, both among my own countrymen and foreigners; life had been one dream, and yet like other dreams, one from which I had to awake. The ordinary routine of religious ceremony was as familiar to me as my meals; the Saturnalia of Carnival, with its races, its mimic war of sugar plums and flowers, its mocoletti and its masquerades had seen Rome full of foreigners; the return to quiet life saw it empty. The Scirocco with its greasy damp was blowing an additional chill upon the spirits—and following the train of migratory travelers I started for Naples. Naples ! how often in the quiet daydreams of earlier life had the imagination built its prettiest fabrics on that name! Its Musco, its Chiaga, its lovely vicinity of Baia and Posilipo--Sorento-Salerno---Castellamare—had each and all been woven up into countless fancyings. The silent Pompei, and Herculaneum still shut from the light of day by its roof of scoriæ. Portici-Resina-Tone del Greco-who has not made them all the sacred spots to which he has retired from the green door and brass
nocker life-the commonplace existence of his home! Let that home be where it might, on the shore of the placid lake-by the bank of the noble river, at the base of the rugged mountain, fancy has still, I doubt not, played truant and sauntered through these beautiful environs. From time to time, the letters of those who had left our party for Naples, came back like the dove to Noah, bearing the branch in its mouth ; they spoke of cloudless skies, of washed windows, of orange blossoms filling the air with fragrance, of birds loading it with song. What wonder then, that I too should long to open the windows and take my flight! I did, and flew to - rain and fires, and cold biting air, and a bad hotel, and what is more to our present purpose, I did not linger long, but flew further ; first to the office of foreign steamers, then to the vessel about to sail for Sicily, which I have before introduced, and me voila. A change, 'tis true, had in the interval come over the atmosphere--rain and clouds were gone--Richard was himself again—but I wouldn't trust him. A warm sun and clear skies were what I sought, and to Palermo I was going to find them, with what success may perhaps hereafter appear.
After a quiet dinner on the deck--remember reader, that there are some people who dine after sunset--for the double purpose of enjoying the grateful breeze and complimenting the Prince de Butera, owner of and passenger in one little steamer, whose tastes were, it seems, of the al fresco order-the company dispersed whither each one's taste led
him--some to cards in the cabin--some to basins in the berths—and some to cigars with the ladies on the quarter deck. Which of the three methods of occupying my evening I selected, I do not think is of any importance to the narrative, and it might, if mentioned, give rise to undeserved strictures on my taste—therefore, shall it be untold, Suffice it to say, that I did retire and slept soundly, awaking in the morning to a climate as lovely as my brightest anticipations had painted.
When I tumbled up the following morning, and made my appearance on the wet deck, I discovered two things-firstly, that everybody was up before me, a strong proof that of their novitiate in traveling, and secondly, that we were rapidly approaching what appeared to me as one immense chain of bluff and forbidding rocks, exhibiting everywhere a wall of mountain unbroken by a single opening, and stretching from east to west as far as the eye could reach. Never had I seen a more rug. ged coast. Peak upon peak, piled in tumultuous confusion one upon another, the mountain tops rose like a rude phalanx of undisciplined warriors, struggling and pressing and jostling each other in ther eagerness to reach the front rank; here a leg advanced and here an arm in wild confusion-yet all united in opposing a hostile front to the invader, while far to the east, Ætna, their gray headed captain, almost hidden by his unruly masses, was yet visible, pouring upon their disorder. The sea under the influence of a fresh breeze from the northwest, was rolling in rapidly towards the coast, and our vessel bending under the weight of the canvas, which a change in the wind during the night had induced the captain to set, was ploughing in as though the open sea and not a breastwork of flint were waiting to receive her.
“This, then,” said I, turning to an Englishman, whose acquaintance I had made the night before, and whose conversation had gone far to while away the tedious hours, “this, then, is Sicily ?"
Why, yes,” said he, “ I should presume so, though how the deuce we are going to get at the nut through this rough shell, or where the place for which I paid my fare, Palermo, exactly is, I can't for the life of me tell. I have seen more promising coasts in my day, and its my opinion that somebody has been fooling with the compass, or put a pint too much into the steersman. However, I saw that individual with gold lace round his cap--the man I took for Purser's clerk last night, you know, and asked him for another punch-well, he turns out to be captain, and tells me that Palermo's right ahead, and that we shall be ashore in time for a late breakfast. I thanked him for his information, and came away satisfied that his scent must be goodish, considering the breeze is on shore—for spy-glass is out of the question. By the way, I have been pumping your good-looking servant,-dyes his beard, though, don't he ? No? Very well, I pumped him ; I got from him two of your best cigars ; I thanked him, so you'll excuse repetition ; and the news that there is a capital hotel ashore, and all the delicacies of the season to be had, though I must say he didn't appear to have a very accurate idea of what these delicacies were ; so what I want you to do is not to patronize the ship's cook, but breakfast ashore with me ; and now, in return for my foresight, I'll merely trouble you for another cigar-goodish weeds, upon my word--thankye.”
"Good morning to you, Phil,” said he, interrupting his draught and looking quizically through the cloud of smoke at a young companion who was emerging from the lower regions, looking any thing but comfortable or accessible. “I haven't seen you before this morning; charming, eh? Bless me, how pale you look-your'e not ill ?"
"Oh! no, certainly not, not ill, but I believe I eat a custard yesterday at that infernal upstart's dinner; and you know how they always affect me-poor stomach, I imagine, but I didn't sleep quite so soundly as usual last night;" and here he gaped as though Macbeth's curse had fallen upon him, and he had heard the voice say "sleep no more.”
“Of course you'll breakfast with us on shore,” said I. “Oh! with p-l-e-a-sure,” said Phil, though had his salvation depended upon the proper mastication of a biscuit even, I fear much he would have been a candidate for “tother place."
“ With p-l-e-a-sure, indeed,” cried our smoker ; “ why, you talk as if you didn't know that there was a hotel ashore waiting for us, garçon in white apron, landlady waiting to be kissed, and all the delicacies of the season waiting to be eaten, actually expecting us—perhaps a band of music. Mrs. Starke says, travelers are welcomed on their arrival by a band of music,' and she ought to know-peasants in picturesque costumes-short petticoats-brigands sprinkled about with effect-black eyes—there's a treat for you, and all for nothing, too. Well! that's rather polite, I must confess. I say, Phil, what acquaintances have you made over the side of the vessel, that you're paying your respects to this morning? Wound up, eh? yes, and sticking, too, I declare. But now I recollect, hydrostatics and the laws of projectiles were always his favorite studies as early as Eton days. I knew him then. Wonderful, though, how little he's changed. As for me, I'm never down. Electric disposition, you see,” and here he put the fire end of his cigar in his mouth. “ Ptup-ptup—whew—a direct dispensation for smoking a stump-served me right, but still, if report speaks true, I'm not the only one who has been singed a little for sticking too long to the stump -you ought to know, being an American-how is it ?"
Without giving me time for a eulogy on democracy, however, he hurried on, now criticising the dress of the passengers, now the landlady of the vessel, now puffing, (No. 4 from my case,) and now saying a few encouraging words to his friend, such as recommending a chop or an omelette, at every mention of which it appeared to me that his friend made rapid progress in the science of projectiles, till, suddenly he exclaimed, “ here we are, at last; can't see distinctly yet, so don't ask my opinion-decent place, though, I fancy-goodish housesbreakfast
, you know-delicacies-so don't forget and now I'm for my baggage, and I advise you to keep your eye on yours, or if your man does that, just keep it on my friend there, and see that he don't commit suicide, or turn himself inside out. I'll see you again, and never mind,
Phil, you shall have a pork steak as soon as it can be manufactured.” All this was said in a twinkling, and he disappeared forwards, leaving me to realize the fact that “here we are at last," 10 speculate on the method of our arrival, as well as the character of the town, and to see that his friend did not injure his health by over attention to the law of projectiles. Quite enough for a single man to do, especially before breakfast; still, as it is essential that I reach the shore before taking the meal in question, I will spend a few moments in describing ihe nature of our debarkation, which, as it differed somewhat from the landing at an Eastern pier, may be worth recounting,
One essential difference between the port of Palermo, and indeed most European ports, and that of New York, is that what we style quays, docks, or wharves, do not exist, and the vessel is in consequence obliged to anchor at some little distance from the shore, to which the passengers are conveyed in small boats. The system, it is true, preserves you
from being knocked down by cabmen, porters, and such like gentlemen. But to compensate for this protection, imposes upon you the chance of being ducked, and the necessity of being cheated by the boatmen who row you, so that I cannot take it upon myself to assign to either the superiority. This method of landing, even when least dilatory, usually occupies at least a half hour, and in our case more than double the time was consumed, for which, what I am now about to recount, may be sufficient reason. The “band of music” which Mrs. Starke promised, was not visible to the naked eye, but in the place of that I observed approaching one side, a complication of timber, which for want of a belter name, I must call a boat. It was capable of containing probably a dozen, and was manned by at least fourteen Sicilians, all conspicuous for their loyalty, red shirts and bad oarsmanship. Their approach was owing to the arrival of il principe, whom I have before introduced, and whose diplomatic reputation does not make a biography essential just now. As he was a Sicilian grandee, their waiting upon him in this aquatic manner was probably intended as a delicale allusion to the maritime character of his possessions, and to judge from the bland countenance of the contemplated party, was duly appreciated. Onward they came, wallowing about like the ark under a jury mast, plashing and hunching lustitly. Now space, in this case, was by no means infinite, and when they were about ten or a dozen yards from the ship, I looked for the coxswain to check her way, but whether that gentleman's loyalty was greater than his seamanship, or the word
backwater” was by some unaccountable oversight omitted in the Sicilian vocabulary, or whether he calculated upon a temporary suspension of the vis inertiæ in favor of his tub, no such check was given, and the consequence was a crash-and a mixture of red shirts, white pants, broken oars, &c. in the stern sheet, which reminded one of the first steps in a lobster salad. I laughed till I felt weak--but one couldn't laugh very long at any one thing on that morning, so I turned to a new exhibition, which called for attention on the bows. At first, I thought we were attacked, and was listening for the cry, “all hands repel boarders ;" but a moment showed me that it was nothing more than a line