Imatges de pÓgina
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ed to the poor by the commission of sub- of hours, - no more ; all the rest of the sidies. But though so much money is time she sat at her desk, writing orders, thus expended, it cannot be said that it giving directions, and supervising the new is well administered. The proportion of machinery which owed its existence to her. deaths at the hospitals is very large; and With the return of the Papal governamong the foundlings, it amounted, be- ment came the old system. Certain it is tween the years 1829 and 1833, to no less that that system does not work well. Dethan seventy-two per cent.

spite the enormous sums expended in The arrangements at these institutions charity, the people are poor, the mortalwere very much improved during the ca- ity in the hospitals is very large. “Somereer of the Triumvirate, and, under the thing is rotten in the state of” Rome. auspices of the Princess Belgiojoso, clean- There is one noble exception not to be liness, order, and system were introduced. forgotten. To the Hospital of San MiThe heroism of this noble-hearted woman chele Cardinal Tosti has given a new life during the trying days of the Roman siege and vigor, and set an example worthy of deserves a better record than I can give. his elevated position in the Church. This She gave her whole heart and body to the foundation was formerly an asylum for regeneration of the hospitals, and the per- poor children and infirm and aged personal care of the sick and wounded. Her sons; but of late years an industrial and head-quarters were at the Hospital dei educational system has been ingrafted upPellegrini. Day after day and night after on it, until it has become one of the most night she was at her post, never moving enlarged and liberal institutions that can from her chair, except to visit the various anywhere be found. It now embraces wards, and to comfort with tender, words not only an asylum for the aged, a house the sufferers in their beds. Their faces, of correction for juvenile offenders and contorted with pain, smoothed at her ap- women, and a house of industry for chilproach; and her hand and voice carried dren of both sexes, but also a school of consolation wherever she went. Many arts, in which music, painting, drawing, a scene have I witnessed there more af- architecture, and sculpture are taught grafecting than any tragedy, in which I knew tuitously to the poor, and a considerable not which most to aclmire, the heroism of number of looms, at which from eight hunthe sufferers or the tender humanity of dred to one thousand persons are employthe consoler and nurse. In all her ar- ed for the weaving of woollen fabrics for rangements she showed that masterly ad- the government. A stimulus has thus been ministrative faculty in which women are given to education and to industry, and far superior to men. When she came particularly to improvements in machinto the Pellegrini, all was in disorder; but ery and manufacture. Once a year, dura few days sufficed to reduce a chaotic ing the holy week, religious dramas and confusion to exact and admirable system. operas, founded on some Biblical subject, Hers was the brain that regulated all the are creditably performed by the pupils in hospitals. Always calm, she distributed a private theatre connected with the esher orders with perfect tact and precis- tablishment. I was never present but at ion, and with a determination of purpose one of these representations, when the and clearness of perception which com- tragical story of Shadrach, Mesbach, and manded the minds of all about her. The Abednego was performed. Honor to Carcare, fatigue, and labor which she under- dinal Tosti for his successful efforts in this went would have broken down a less de- liberal direction ! termined spirit. Nothing moved except At many of the convents in Rome, it from her touch. In a little damp cell, a is the custom at noon to distribute, grapallet of straw was laid on the brick floor, tis, at the door, a quantity of soup, and and there, when utterly overcome, she any poor person may receive a bowlthrew herself down to sleep for a couple ful on demand. Many of the beggars thus become pensioners of the convents, piece of copper makes more ring than and may be seen daily at the appointed gold, it is generally given, and always hour gathering round the door with their gratefully received. Sometimes they will bowl and wooden spoon, in expectation enter into conversation, and are always of the Frate with the soup. This is gen- pleased to have a little chat about the erally made so thick with cabbage that weather. They are very poor, very goodit might be called a cabbage-stew; but natured, and very dirty. It is a pity they Soyer himself never made a dish more do not baptize themselves a little more acceptable to the palate of the guests than with the material water of this world. this. No nightingales' tongues at a ban- But they seem to have a hydrophobia. quet of Tiberius, no edible birds-nests at Whatever the inside of the platter may a Chinese feast, were ever relished with be, the outside is far from clean. They more gusto. The figures and actions of walk by day and they sleep by night in these poor wretches, after they have ob- the same old snuffy robe, which is not tained their soup, make one sigh for hu- kept from contact with the skin by any man nature. Each, grasping his portion luxury of linen, until it is worn out. Dirt as if it were a treasure, separates himself and piety seem to them synonymous. immediately from his brothers, flees self- Sometimes I have deemed, foolishly perishly to a corner, if he can find one empty, haps, but after the manner of my nation, or, if not, goes to a distance, turns his back that their goodness would not wash off on his friends, and, glancing anxiously at with the soil of the skin,—that it was intervals all around, as if in fear of a sur- more than skin-deep; but as this matter prise, gobbles up his cabbage, wipes out is above reason, in better moods I have his bowl, and then returns to companion- faith that it would. Still, in disbelieving ship or disappears. The idea of sharing moments, I cannot help applying to them his portion with those who are portionless Charles Lamb's famous speech,—“If dirt occurs to him only as the idea of a rob- were trumps, what a hand they would ber to the mind of a miser.

have of it!" Yet, beggars as they are, Any account of the beggars of Rome they have the reputation at Rome of be without mention of the Capuchins and ing the most inoffensive of all the conFranciscans would be like performing ventual orders, and are looked upon by the “ Merchant of Venice ” with no Shy- the common people with kindliness, as lock; for these orders are founded in being thoroughly sincere in their religious beggary and supported by charity. The professions. They are, at least, consispriests do not beg; but their ambassadors, tent in many respects in their professions the lay-brothers, clad in their long, brown and practice. They really mortify the serge, a cord around their waist, and a flesh by penance, fasting, and wretched basket on their arm, may be seen shuf- fare, as well as by dirt. They do not Aling along at any hour and in every proclaim the virtues and charms of poverstreet, in dirty sandalled feet, to levy con- ty, while they roll about in gilded coaches tributions from shops and houses. Here dressed in “purple and fine linen," or they get a loaf of bread, there a pound of gloat over the luxuries of the table. Their flour or rice, in one place fruit or cheese, vices are not the cardinal ones, whatever in another a bit of meat, until their basket their virtues may be. The “Miracles of is filled. Sometimes money is given, but St. Peter," as the common people call the generally they are paid in articles of food. palaces of Rome, are not wrought for There is another set of these brothers them. Their table is mean and scantily who enter your studio or ring at your bell provided with the most ordinary food. and present a little tin box with a slit in Three days in the week they eat no meat; it, into which you are requested to drop and during the year they keep three any sum you please, for the holidays, for Quaresime. But, good as they are, their masses, for wax candles, etc. As a big sour, thin wine, on empty, craving stomachs, sometimes does a mad work; and Though the Franciscans live upon charthese brothers in dirt and piety have oc- ity, they have almost always a garden casionally violent rows and disputes in connected with their convent, where they their refectories over their earthen bot- raise multitudes of cabbages, cauliflowers, tles. It is only a short time since that my finocchi, peas, beans, artichokes, and letold friends the Capuchins got furious to- tuce. Indeed, there is one kind of the gether over their wine, and ended by latter which is named after them, — caknocking each other about the ears with puccini. But their gardens they do not till their earthen jars, after they had emptied themselves; they hire gardeners, who work them. Several were wounded, and had for them. Now I cannot but think that time to repent and wash in their cells. working in a garden is just as pious an But one should not be too hard on them. employment as begging about the streets, The temper will not withstand too much though perhaps scarcely as profitable. fasting. A good dinner puts one at peace The opinion, that, in some respects, it with the world, but an empty stomach would be better for them to attend to is the habitation often of the Devil, who this work themselves, was forced upon amuses himself there with pulling all the my mind by a little farce I happened nerve-wires that reach up into the brain. to see enacted among their cabbages, I doubt whether even St. Simeon Stylites the other day, as I was looking down always kept his temper as well as he did out of my window. My attention was his fast.

first attracted by hearing a window open As I see them walking up and down from a little three-story-high loggia, opthe alleys of their vegetable garden, and posite, hanging over their garden. A under the sunny wall where oranges glow woman came forth, and, from amid the and roses bloom, without the least asceti- flower-pots which half-concealed her, she cism, during the whole winter, I do not dropped a long cord to the ground. “Pst, believe in their doctrine, nor envy them Pst,” she cried to the gardener at work their life. And I cannot but think that the below. He looked up, executed a curione hundred and fifty thousand Frati who ous pantomime, shrugged his shoulders, are in the Roman States would do quite shook his fore-finger, and motioned with as good service to God and man, if they his head and elbow sideways to a figure, were an army of laborers on the Cam- visible to me, but not to her, of a brown pagna, or elsewhere, as in their present Franciscan, who was amusing himself in life of beggary and self-contemplation. gathering some finocchi, just round the I often wonder, as I look at them, hearty corner of the wall. The woman, and stout as they are, despite their mode fishing for the cabbages, immediately unof life, what brought them to this pass, derstood the predicament, drew up her what induced them to enter this order,- cord, disappeared from the loggia, and and recall, in this connection, a little the curtain fell upon the little farce. anecdote current here in Rome, to the The gardener, however, evidently had a following effect:- A young fellow, from little soliloquy after she had gone. He whom Fortune had withheld her gifts, hav- ceased working, and gazed at the uning become desperate, at last declared to conscious Franciscan for some tiine, with a friend that he meant to throw himself a curious grimace, as if he were not quito into the Tiber, and end a life which was satisfied at thus losing his little perquisite. worse than useless. “No, no," said his These brown-cowled gentlemen are not friend, “don't do that. If your affairs the only ones who carry the tin box. are so desperate, retire into a convent, Along the curbstones of the public walks, become a Capuchin.” “ Ah, non!” was and on the steps of the churches, sit blind the indignant answer; “I am desperate; old creatures, and shake at you a tin box, but I have not yet arrived at such a pitch outside of which is a figure of the Madonof desperation."

na,

and inside of which are two or three VOL. IV.

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baiocchi, as a rattling accompaniment to opposite, — never losing sight of each an unending invocation of aid. Their other, and never speaking. Clothed dismal chant is protracted for hours and thus in secresy, these Sacconi can test hours, increasing in loudness whenever the generosity of any one they please the steps of a passer-by are heard. It is with complete impunity, and they often the old strophe and antistrophe of beg- amuse themselves with startling foreignging and blessing, and the singers are so ers. Many a group of English girls, conwretched that one is often softened into voyed by their mother, and staring into charity. Those who are not blind have some mosaic or cameo shop, is scared inoften a new Diario or Lunario to sell to- to a scream by the sudden jingle of the wards the end of the year, and at other box, and the apparition of the spectre in times they vary the occupation of shaking white who shakes it. And many a simthe box by selling lives of the saints, ple old lady retains to the end of her life which are sometimes wonderful enough. a confused impression, derived therefrom, One sad old woman, who sits near the of Inquisitions, stilettos, tortures, and banQuattro Fontane, and says her pray- ditti, from which it is vain to attempt to ers and rattles her box, always touches dispossess her mind. The stout old genmy heart, there is such an air of forlorn- tleman, with a bald forehead and an irasness and sweetness about her. As I was cibly rosy face, takes it often in another returning, last night, from a mass at San way,-confounds the fellows for their imGiovanni in Laterano, an old man glared pertinence, has serious notions, first, of at us through great green goggles,- to knocking them down on the spot, and which Jealousy's would have yielded in then of calling the police, but finally consize and color,— and shook his box for a cludes to take no notice of them, as they baiocco. "And where does this money are nothing but Eye-talians, who cannot go?” I asked. “To say masses for the be expected to know how to behave themsouls of those who die over opposite,” said selves in a rational manner. Sometimes he, pointing to the Hospital of San Gio- a santa elemosina is demanded after vanni, through the open doors of which the oddest fashion. It was only yesterwe could see the patients lying in their day that I met one of the confraternità, beds.

dressed in a shabby red suit, coming up Nor are these the only friends of the the street, with the invariable oblong tin box. Often in walking the streets one is begging-box in his hand, - a picture of suddenly shaken in your ear, and, turn- Christ on one side, and of the Madoning round, you are startled to see a figure na on the other. He went straight to a entirely clothed in white from head to door, opening into a large, dark room, foot, a rope round his waist, and a white where there was a full cistern of running capuccio drawn over his head and face, water, at which several poor women were and showing, through two round holes, a washing clothes, and singing and chatting pair of sharp black eyes behind them. as they worked. My red acquaintance He says nothing, but shakes his box at suddenly opens the door, letting in a you, often threateningly, and always with stream of light upon this Rembrandtish an air of mystery. This is a penitent interior, and, lifting bis box with the Saccone; and as this confraternità is com- most wheedling of smiles, he says, with a posed solely of noblemen, he may be one rising inflection of voice, as if asking a of the first princes or cardinals in Rome, question, Prezioso sangue di Gesù performing penance in expiation of his Christo?" — (Precious blood of Jesus sins; or, for all you can see, it may be Christ?) one of your intimate friends. The money The last, but by no means the meanthus collected goes to various charities. est, of the tribe of pensioners whom I They always go in couples,- one taking shall mention, is my old friend, “Beefone side of the street, the other the steak,"— now, alas! gone to the shades of his fathers. He was a good dog,-a with an even hand. He had few favormongrel, a Pole by birth,— who accom- ites, and called no man master. He nevpanied his master on a visit to Rome, er outstayed his welcome “and told the where he became so enamored of the jest without the smile,” never remaining place that he could not be persuaded to with one person for more than two or return to his native home. Bravely he three days at most. A calmer character, cast himself on the world, determined to a more balanced judgment, a better temlive, like many of his two-legged country- per, a more admirable self-respect,— in a men, upon his wits. He was a dog of ge- word, a profounder sense of what belongs nius, and his confidence in the world was to a gentleman, was never known in any rewarded by its appreciation. He had a dog. But Beefsteak is now no more. sympathy for the arts. The crowd of Just after the agitations of the Revoluartists who daily and nightly flocked to tion of '48, with which he had little symthe Lepre and the Caffè Greco attracted pathy,— he was a conservative by dispohis notice. He introduced himself to them, sition,- he disappeared. He had always and visited them at their studios and been accustomed to make a villeggiaturooms. A friendship was struck between ra at L'Arriccia during a portion of the them and him, and he became their con- summer months, returning only now and stant visitor and their most attached ally. then to look after his affairs in Rome. Every day, at the hour of lunch, or at the On such visits he would often arrive to more serious hour of dinner, he lounged wards midnight, and rap at the door of into the Lepre, seated himself in a chair, a friend to claim his hospitality, barking and awaited his friends, confident of his a most intelligible answer to the univerreception. His presence was always sal Roman inquiry of “ Chi è?” “One hailed with a welcome, and to every new morn we missed him at the accustomed” comer he was formally presented. His place, and thenceforth he was never seen. bearing became, at last, not only assur- Whether a sudden homesickness for his ed, but patronizing. He received the gift native land overcame him, or a fatal acof a chicken-bone or a delicate titbit cident befell him, is not known. Peace as if he conferred a favor. He became to his manes! There “rests his head upan epicure, a gourmet. He did not eat on the lap of earth” no better dog. much; he ate well. With what a calm In the Roman studio of one of his superiority and gentle contempt he de- friends and admirers, Mr. Mason, I had clined the refuse bits a stranger offered the pleasure, a few days since, to see, from his plate! His glance, and upturn- among several admirable and very spired nose, and quiet refusal, seemed to ited pictures of Campagna life and insay,—“ Ignoramus ! know you not I am cidents, a very striking portrait of BeefBeefsteak ?” His dinner finished, he steak. He was sitting in a straw-botdescended gravely, and proceeded to the tomed chair, as we have so often seen Caffe Greco, there to listen to the discus- him in the Lepre, calm, dignified in his sions of the artists, and to partake of a - deportment, and somewhat obese. The little coffee and sugar, of which he was full brain, the narrow,

fastidious the very fond. At night, he accompanied sagacious eye, were so perfectly given, some one or other of his friends to his that I seemed to feel the actual presence room, and slept upon the rug. He knew of my old friend. So admirable a porhis friends, and valued them; but per- trait of so distinguished a person should haps his most remarkable quality was his not be lost to the world. It should be impartiality. He dispensed his favors engraved, or at least photographed.

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