Page:Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1892).djvu/699

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691
AT GENOA.

portionately aloft and an Eastern sun reflecting her graceful form upon the waters, attracting the view of the multitude upon the shore, it was enough to pride any American heart to think himself an American; but when I thought that in all probability the first time that gallant ship would gird on her gorgeous apparel and wake from her sides her dormant thunders it would be in defense of the African slave-trade, I could but blush and hang my head to think myself an American."

This fine passage in the speech of Wendell Phillips, uttered when I was new from slavery, was one element in my desire to see Genoa and to look out upon the sea from the same height upon which he stood. At the time of hearing it I had no idea that I should ever realize this desire.

Like most Italian cities, Genoa upholds the reputation of its country in respect of art. The old masters in painting and sculpture—and their name is legion—are still largely represented in the palaces of the merchant princes of this city. One of its singular features is the abundance of fresco work seen on both the inside and the outside of buildings. One feels emphatically the presence and power of the Roman Catholic Church in the multitude of shrines seen everywhere and containing pictures of apostles or saints, or the Virgin Mother and the infant Jesus. But of all the interesting objects collected in the Museum of Genoa, the one that touched me most was the violin that had belonged to and been played upon by Paganini, the greatest musical genius of his time. This violin is treasured in a glass case and beyond the touch of careless fingers, a thing to be seen and not handled. There are some things and places made sacred by their uses and by the events with which they are associated, especially those which have in any measure changed the current of human taste, thought,