The Works of J. W. von Goethe/Volume 12/Letters from Italy/Part II

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From the Brenner to Verona


Trent, morning of the 11th September.

After full fifty hours passed in active and constant occupation, I reached here about eight o'clock yesterday evening, and soon after retired to rest; so that I now find myself in condition to go on with my narrative. On the evening of the 9th, when I had closed the first portion of my diary, I thought I would try and draw the inn and post-house on the Brenner, just as it stood. My attempt was unsuccessful, for I missed the character of the place: I went home, therefore, in somewhat of an ill-humour. Mine host asked me if I would not depart, telling me it was moonlight and the best travelling. Although I knew perfectly well, that as he wanted his horses early in the morning to carry in the after-crop (Grummet), and wished to have them home again in time for that purpose, his advice was given with a view to his own interest, I nevertheless took it, because it accorded with my own inclination. The sun reappeared, the air was tolerable. I packed up, and started about seven o'clock. The blue atmosphere triumphed over the clouds, and the evening was most beautiful.

The postilion fell asleep; and the horses set off at a quick trot down hill, always taking the well-known route. When they came to a village, they went somewhat slower; then the driver would wake up, and urge them on again. And thus we descended at a good pace, with high rocks on both sides of us, or by the banks of the rapid River Etsch, The moon rose, and shed her light upon the massive objects around. Some mills which stood between primeval pine-trees, over the foaming stream, seemed really everlasting.

When, at nine o'clock, I had reached Sterzingen, they gave me clearly to understand that they wished me off again. Arriving in Mittelwald exactly at twelve o'clock, I found everybody asleep except the postilion; and we were obliged to go on to Brixen, where they again, as it were, eloped with me, so that at dawn of day I was in Colman. The postilions drove so fast that there was neither seeing nor hearing; and although I could not help being sorry at travelling through this noble country with such frightful rapidity, and at night too, as though I were fleeing from the place, I nevertheless felt an inward joy that a favourable wind was blowing from behind me, and seemed to hurry me toward the object of my wishes. At daybreak I perceived the first vineyard. A woman with pears and peaches met me; and thus we went on to Teutschen, where I arrived at seven o'clock, and then was again hurried on. After I had again travelled northwards for awhile, I at last saw in the bright sunshine the valley where Botzen is situated. Surrounded by steep and somewhat high mountains, it is open toward the south, and sheltered toward the north by the Tyrolese range. A mild, soft air pervaded the spot. Here the Etsch again winds toward the south. The hills at the foot of the mountain are cultivated with vines. They are trained over long but low arbour-work. The purple grapes are gracefully suspended from the top, and ripen in the warmth of the soil, which is close beneath them. In the bottom of the valley, which, for the most part, consists of nothing but meadows, the vine is cultivated in narrow rows of similar festoons, at a little distance from each other; while between grows the Indian corn, the stalks of which at this time are high. I have often seen it ten feet high. The fibrous male blossom is not yet cut off, as is the case when fructification has ceased for some time.

I came to Botzen in a bright sunshine. A good assemblage of mercantile faces pleased me much. Everywhere one sees the liveliest tokens of an existence full of purpose, and highly comfortable. In the square, some fruit-women were sitting with round flat baskets, above four feet in diameter, in which peaches were arranged side by side so as to avoid pressure. Here I thought of a verse which I had seen written on the window of the inn at Ratisbon:

"Comme les pêches et les melons
Sont pour la bouche d'un baron,
Ainsi les verges et les bâtons
Sont pour les fous, dit Salomon."

It is obvious that this was written by a northern baron; and no less clear is it, that if he were in this country, he would alter his notions.

At the Botzen fair a brisk silk-trade is carried on. Cloths are also brought here, and as much leather as can be procured from the mountain districts. Several merchants, however, came chiefly for the sake of depositing their money, taking orders, and opening new credits. I felt I could have taken great delight in examining the various products that were collected here; but the impulse, the state of disquiet, which keeps urging me from behind, would not let me rest, and I must at once hasten from the spot. For my consolation, however, the whole matter is printed in the statistical papers; and we can, if we require it, get such instructions from books. I have now to deal only with the sensible impressions, which no book or picture can give. In fact, I am again taking an interest in the world; I am testing my faculty of observation, and trying how far I can go with my science and my acquirements, how far my eye is clear and sharp, how much I can take in at a hasty glance, and whether those wrinkles that are imprinted upon my heart are ever again to be effaced. Even in these few days, the circumstance that I have had to wait upon myself, and have always been obliged to keep my attention and presence of mind on the alert, has given me quite a new elasticity of intellect. I must now busy myself with the currency, must change, pay, note down, write; while I formerly did nothing but think, will, reflect, command, and dictate.

From Botzen to Trent the stage is nine leagues, and runs through a valley which constantly increases in fertility. All that merely struggles into vegetation on the higher mountains has here more strength and vitality: the sun shines with warmth, and there is once more belief in a Deity.

A poor woman cried out to me to take her child into my vehicle, as the hot soil was burning its feet. I did her this little service in honour of the strong light of heaven. The child was strangely decked out, but I could get nothing from it in any way.

The Etsch flows more gently in these parts, and it makes broad deposits of gravel in many places. On the land, near the river and up the hills, the planting is so thick and close that one fancies one thing will suffocate the other. It is a regular thicket of vineyards, maize, mulberry-trees, apples, pears, quinces, and nuts. The danewort (Attich) thrives luxuriantly on the walls. Ivy with solid stems runs up the rocks, on which it spreads itself. The lizards glide through the interstices; and whatever has life or motion here, reminds one of the most charming works of art. The braided top-knots of the women, the bared breasts and light jackets of the men, the fine oxen which you see driven home from market, the laden asses, all combine to produce one of Heinrich Roos's animated pictures. And when evening draws on, and through the calmness of the air a few clouds rest upon the mountains, rather standing than running against the sky, and as, immediately after sunset, the chirp of the grasshoppers begins to grow loud, one feels quite at home in the world, and not a mere exile. I am as reconciled to the place as if I were born and bred in it, and had now just returned from Greenland from a whaling expedition. Even the dust, which here, as in our country, often plays about my wheels, and which has so long remained strange to me, I welcome as an old friend. The bell-like voice of the cricket is most piercing, and far from unpleasant. A cheerful effect is produced when playful boys whistle against a field of such singers, and you almost fancy that the sound on each side is raised by emulation. The evening here is perfectly mild, no less so than the day.

If any one who lived in the South, or came from the South, heard my enthusiasm about these matters, he would consider me very childish. Alas! what I express here, I long ago was conscious of while suffering under an unkindly sky; and now I love to experience as an exception the happiness I hope soon to enjoy as a regular natural necessity.


The evening of the 10th September.

I have wandered about the city, which has an old, not to say a very primitive, look, though there are new and well-built houses in some of the streets. In the church there is a picture in which is represented the assembled council of the Jesuits listening to a sermon delivered by the general of the order. I should like to know what he is trying to palm upon them. The church of these fathers may at once be recognised from the outside by pilasters of red marble on the facade. The doors are covered by a heavy curtain, which serves to keep off the dust. I raised it, and entered a small vestibule. The church itself is parted off by an iron grating, but so that it can be entirely overlooked. All was as silent as the grave, for divine service is no longer performed here. The front door stood open, merely because all churches must be open at the time of vespers.

While I stood considering the architecture, which was, I found, similar to other Jesuit churches, an old man stepped in, and at once took off his little black cap. His old faded black coat indicated that he was a needy priest. He knelt down before the grating, and rose again after a short prayer. When he turned round, he said to himself, half aloud, "Well, they have driven out the Jesuits; but they ought to have paid them the cost of the church. I know how many thousands were spent on the church and the seminary." As he uttered this he left the spot, and the curtain fell behind him. I lifted it again, and kept quiet. He remained awhile standing on the topmost step, and said, "The emperor did not do it: the Pope did it." With his face turned toward the street, so that he could not observe me, he continued, "First the Spaniards, then we, then the French. The blood of Abel cries out against his brother Cain!" And thus he went down the steps, and along the street, still talking to himself. I should conjecture he is one, who, having been maintained by the Jesuits, has lost his wits in consequence of the tremendous fall of the order, and now comes every day to search the empty vessel for its old inhabitants, and, after a short prayer, to pronounce a curse upon their enemies.

A young man whom I questioned about the remarkable sights in the town showed me a house which is called the "Devil's house," because the devil, who is generally too ready to destroy, is said to have built it in a single night, with stones rapidly brought to the spot. However, what is really remarkable about the house the good man had not observed; namely, that it is the only house of good taste that I have yet seen in Trent, and was certainly built by some good Italian, at an earlier period. At five o'clock in the evening I again set off. The spectacle of yesterday evening was repeated, and at sunset the grasshoppers again began to sing. For about a league the journey lies between walls above which the grape-espaliers are visible. Other walls, which are not high enough, have been eked out with stones, thorns, etc., to prevent passengers from plucking off the grapes. Many owners sprinkle the foremost rows with lime, which renders the grapes uneatable, but does not hurt the wine, as the process of fermentation drives out the heterogeneous matter.

Evening of Sept. 11.

I am now at Roveredo, where a marked distinction of language begins: hitherto it has fluctuated between German and Italian. I have now, for the first time, had a thoroughly Italian postilion. The innkeeper does not speak a word of German, and I must put my own linguistic powers to the test. How delighted I am that the language I have always loved most now becomes living,—the language of common usage!

Torbole, 12th September.
After dinner.

How much do I wish that my friends were with me for a moment to enjoy the prospect which now lies before my eyes!

I might have been in Verona this evening: but a magnificent natural phenomenon was in my vicinity,—Lake Garda, a splendid spectacle, which I did not want to miss; and now I am nobly rewarded for taking this circuitous route. After five o'clock I started from Roveredo, up a side valley, which still pours its waters into the Etsch. After ascending this, you come to an immense rocky bar, which you must cross in descending to the lake. Here appeared the finest calcareous rocks for pictorial study. On descending, you come to a little village on the northern end of the lake, with a little port, or rather landing-place, which is called Torbole. On my way up, I was constantly accompanied by fig-trees; and, descending into the rocky atmosphere, I found the first olive-tree full of fruit. Here, also, for the first time, I found as a common fruit those little white figs which the Countess Lanthieri had promised me.

A door opens from the chamber in which I sit into the courtyard below. Before this I have placed my table, and taken a rough sketch of the prospect. The lake may be seen for its whole length, and it is only at the end toward the left that it vanishes from our eyes. The shore, which is enclosed on both sides by hill and mountain, shines with a countless number of little hamlets.

After midnight the wind blows from north to south; and he who wishes to go down the lake must travel at this time, for a few hours before sunset the current of air changes, and moves northward. At this time (the afternoon) it blows strongly against me, and pleasantly qualifies the burning heat of the sun. Volkmann teaches me that this lake was formerly called "Benacus," and quotes from Virgil a line in which it was mentioned:—

"Fluctibus et fremiter resonans, Benace, marino."

This is the first Latin verse the subject of which ever stood visibly before me; and now, in the present moment, when the wind is blowing more and more strongly, and the lake casts loftier billows against the little harbour, it is just as true as it was hundreds of years ago. Much, indeed, has changed; but the wind still roars about the lake, the aspect of which gains even greater glory from a line of Virgil's.

The above was written in a latitude of 45° 50’.

I went out for a walk in the cool of the evening; and now I really find myself in a new country, surrounded by objects entirely strange. The people lead a careless, sauntering life. In the first place, the doors are without locks; but the host assured me that I might be quite at ease, even though all I had about me consisted of diamonds. In the second place, the windows are covered with oiled paper instead of glass. In the third place, an extremely necessary convenience is wanting, so that one comes pretty close to a state of nature. When I asked the waiter for a certain place, he pointed down into the courtyard: "Qui, abasso puo servirsi!"—"Dove?" asked I. "Da per tutto, dove vuol," was the friendly reply. The greatest carelessness is visible everywhere, but still there is life and bustle enough. During the whole day the women of the neighbourhood are incessantly chattering and shrieking: all have something to do at the same time. I have not yet seen an idle woman.

The host, with Italian emphasis, assured me that he felt great pleasure in being able to serve me with the finest trout. They are taken near Torbole, where the stream flows down from the mountains, and the fish seeks a passage upward. The emperor farms this fishery for ten thousand gulden. The fish, which are large (often weighing fifty pounds), and spotted over the whole body to the head, are not trout, properly so called. The flavour, which is between that of trout and salmon, is delicate and excellent.

But my real delight is in the fruit,—in the figs and in the pears, which must, indeed, be excellent, where citrons are already growing.

Evening of Sept. 13.

At three o'clock this morning I started from Torbole with a couple of rowers. At first the wind was so favourable that we put up a sail. The morning was cloudy, but fine, and perfectly calm at daybreak. We passed Limona, the mountain gardens of which—laid out terrace-fashion, and planted with citron-trees—have a neat and rich appearance. The whole garden consists of rows of square white pillars placed at some distance from each other, and rising up the mountain in steps. On these pillars strong beams are laid, that the trees planted between them may be sheltered in the winter. The view of these pleasant objects was favoured by a slow passage; and we had already passed Malsesine when the wind suddenly changed, took the direction usual in the daytime, and blew toward the north. Rowing was of little use against this superior power, and therefore we were forced to land in the harbour of Malsesine. This is the first Venetian spot on the eastern side of the lake. When one has to do with water, we cannot say, "I will be at this or that particular place to-day." I will make my stay here as useful as I can, especially by making a drawing of the castle, which lies close to the water, and is a beautiful object. As I passed along, I took a sketch of it.

Sept. 14.

The wind, which blew against me yesterday, and drove me into the harbour of Malsesine, was the cause of a perilous adventure, which I got over with good humour, and the remembrance of which I still find amusing. According to my plan, I went early in the morning into the old castle, which, having neither gate nor guard, is accessible to everybody. Entering the courtyard, I seated myself opposite to the old tower, which is built on and among the rocks. Here I had selected a very convenient spot for drawing,—a carved stone seat in the wall, near a closed door, raised some three or four feet high, such as we also find in the old buildings in our own country.

I had not sat long, before several persons entered the yard, and walked backward and forward, looking at me. The multitude increased, and at last so stood as completely to surround me. I remarked that my drawing had excited attention. However, I did not allow myself to be disturbed, but quietly continued my occupation. At last a man, not of the most prepossessing appearance, came up to me, and asked me what I was about. I replied that I was copying the old tower, that I might have some remembrance of Malsesine. He said that this was not allowed, and that I must leave off. As he said this in the common Venetian dialect, so that I understood him with difficulty, I answered that I did not understand him at all. With true Italian coolness he took hold of my paper, and tore it, at the same time letting it remain on the pasteboard. Here I observed an air of dissatisfaction among the bystanders. An old woman, in particular, said that it was not right, but that the podestà ought to be called, who was the best judge of such matters. I stood upright on the steps, having my back against the door, and surveyed the assembly, which was continually increasing. The fixed, eager glances, the goodhumoured expression of most of the faces, and all the other characteristics of a foreign mob, made the most amusing impression upon me. I fancied that I could see before me the chorus of birds, which, as Treufreund, I had often laughed at in the Ettersburg theatre. This put me in excellent humour; and, when the podestà came up with his actuary, I greeted him in an open manner, and, when he asked me why I was drawing the fortification, modestly replied that I did not look upon that wall as a fortification. I called the attention of him and the people to the decay of the towers and walls, and to the generally defenceless position of the place, assuring him that I thought I only saw and drew a ruin.

I was answered thus: "If it was only a ruin, what could there be remarkable about it?" As I wished to gain time and favour, I replied, very circumstantially, that they must be well aware how many travellers visited Italy for the sake of the ruins only; that Rome, the metropolis of the world, having suffered the depredations of barbarians, was now full of ruins, which had been drawn hundreds of times; and that all the works of antiquity were not in such good preservation as the amphitheatre at Verona, which I hoped soon to see.

The podestà, who stood before me, though in a less elevated position, was a tall man, not exactly thin, of about thirty years of age. The flat features of his spiritless face perfectly accorded with the slow, constrained manner in which he put his questions. Even the actuary, a sharp little fellow, seemed as if he did not know what to make of a case so new and so unexpected. I said a great deal of the same sort. The people seemed to take my remarks good-naturedly; and, on turning toward some kindly female faces, I thought I could read assent and approval.

When, however, I mentioned the amphitheatre at Verona, which in this country is called the "Arena," the actuary, who had in the meanwhile collected himself, replied that this was all very well, because the edifice in question was a Roman building, famed throughout the world. In these towers, however, there was nothing remarkable, excepting that they marked the boundary between the Venetian domain and Austrian Empire; and therefore espionage could not be allowed, I answered by explaining, at some length, that not only the Greek and Roman antiquities, but also those of the middle ages, were worth attention. They could not be blamed, I granted, if, having been accustomed to this building from their youth upwards, they could not discern in it so many picturesque beauties as I did. Fortunately the morning sun shed the most beautiful lustre on the tower, rocks, and walls; and I began to describe the scene with enthusiasm. My audience, however, had these much lauded objects behind them; and, as they did not wish to turn altogether away from me, they all at once twisted their heads, like the birds which we call "wry-necks" (Wendehälse), that they might see with their eyes what I had been lauding to their ears. Even the podestà turned round, though with more dignity than the rest, toward the picture I had been describing. This scene appeared to me so ridiculous that my good humour increased, and I spared them nothing, least of all, the ivy, which had been suffered for ages to adorn the rock and walls.

The actuary retorted, that this was all very well: but the Emperor Joseph was a troublesome gentleman, who certainly entertained many evil designs against Venice; and I might, probably, have been one of his subjects, appointed by him, to act as a spy on the borders.

"Far from belonging to the emperor," I replied, "I can boast, as well as you, that I am a citizen of a republic which also governs itself, but which is not, indeed, to be compared for power and greatness to the illustrious state of Venice, although in commercial activity, in wealth, and in the wisdom of its rulers, it is inferior to no state in Germany, I am a native of Frankfort-on-the-Main, a city the name and fame of which has doubtless reached you."

"Of Frankfort-on-the-Main!" cried a pretty young woman. "Then, Mr. Podestà, you can at once see all about the foreigner, whom I look upon as an honest man. Let Gregorio be called: he has resided there a long time, and will be the best judge of the matter."

The kindly faces had already increased around me; the first adversary had vanished; and, when Gregorio came to the spot, the whole affair took a decided turn in my favour. He was a man upwards of fifty, with one of those well-known Italian faces. He spoke and conducted himself like one who feels that something foreign is not foreign to him, and told me at once that he had seen service in Bolongari's house, and would be delighted to hear from me something about this family and the city in general, which had left a pleasant impression in his memory. Fortunately, his residence at Frankfort had been during my younger years; and I had the double advantage of being able to say exactly how matters stood in his time, and what alteration had taken place afterwards. I told him about all the Italian families, none of whom had remained unknown to me. With many particulars he was highly delighted, as, for instance, with the fact that Herr Alessina had celebrated his "golden wedding"[1] in the year 1774, and that a medal had been struck on the occasion, which was in my possession. He remembered that the wife of this wealthy merchant was by birth a Brentano. I could also tell him something about the children and grandchildren of these families,—how they had grown up, and had been provided for and married, and had multiplied in their descendants.

When I had given the most accurate information about almost everything about which he had asked, his features alternately expressed cheerfulness and solemnity. He was pleased and touched; while the people cheered up more and more, and could not hear too much of our conversation, of which, it must be confessed, he was obliged to translate a part into their own dialect.

At last he said, "Podestà, I am convinced that this is a good, accomplished, and well-educated gentleman, who is travelling about to acquire instruction. We will let him depart in a friendly manner, that he may speak well of us to his fellow countrymen, and induce them to visit Malsesine, the beautiful situation of which is well worthy the admiration of foreigners." I gave additional force to these kind words by praising the country, the situation, and the inhabitants, not forgetting to mention the magistrates as wise and prudent personages.

This was well received; and I had permission to visit the place at pleasure, in company with Master Gregorio. The landlord with whom I had put up now joined us, and was delighted at the prospect of the foreign guests who would crowd upon him when once the advantages of Malsesine were properly known. With the most lively curiosity he examined my various articles of dress, but especially envied me the possession of a little pistol, which slipped conveniently into the pocket. He congratulated those who could carry such pretty weapons; this being forbidden in his country, under the severest penalties. This friendly but obtrusive personage I sometimes interrupted to thank my deliverer. "Do not thank me," said honest Gregorio; for you owe me nothing. If the podestà had understood his business, and the actuary had not been the most selfish man in the world, you would not have got off so easily. The former was still more puzzled than you; and the latter would have pocketed nothing by your arrest, the information, and your removal to Verona. This he rapidly considered, and you were already free before our dialogue was ended."

Toward the evening the good man took me into his vineyard, which was very well situated, down along the lake. We were accompanied by his son, a lad of fifteen, who was forced to climb the trees, and pluck me the best fruit, while the old man looked out for the ripest grapes.

While thus placed between these two kind-hearted people, both strange to the world, alone, as it were, in the deep solitude of the earth, I felt in the most lively manner, as I reflected on the day's adventure, what a whimsical being man is; how the very thing, which in company he might enjoy with ease and security, is often rendered troublesome and dangerous, from his notion that he can appropriate to himself the world and its contents after his own peculiar fashion.

Toward midnight my host accompanied me to the bark, carrying the basket of fruit with which Gregorio had presented me, and thus, with a favourable wind, I left the shore, which had promised to become for me a Læstrygonicum shore.

And now for my expedition on the lake. It ended happily, after the noble aspect of the water, and of the adjacent shore of Brescia, had refreshed my very heart. On the western side, where the mountains cease to be perpendicular, and near the lake, the land becomes more flat. Garignano, Bojaco, Cecina, Toscolan, Maderno, Verdom, and Salo stand all in a row, and occupy a reach of about a league and a half; most of them being built in long streets. No words can express the beauty of this richly inhabited spot. At ten o'clock in the morning, I landed at Bartolino, placed my luggage on one mule, and myself on another. The road went now over a ridge which separates the valley of the Etsch from the hollow of the lake. The primeval waters seem to have driven against each other from both sides, in immense currents, and to have raised this colossal dam of gravel. A fertile soil was deposited upon the gravel at a quieter period, but the labourer is constantly annoyed by the appearance of the stones on the surface. Every effort is made to get rid of them. They are piled in rows and layers one on another, and thus a sort of thick wall is formed along the path. The mulberry-trees, from a want of moisture, have a dismal appearance at this elevation. Springs there are none. From time to time puddles of collected rain-water may be found, with which the mules, and even their drivers, quench their thirst. Some wheels are placed on the river beneath, to water at pleasure those plantations that have a lower situation.

The magnificence of the new country, which opens on you as you descend, surpasses description. It is a garden a mile long and broad, which lies quite flat at the foot of tall mountains and steep rocks, and is as neatly laid out as possible. By this way, about one o'clock on the 10th of September, I reached Verona, where I first write this, finish, and put together the first part of my diary, and indulge in the pleasing hope of seeing the amphitheatre in the evening.

Concerning the weather of these days I have to make the following statement. The night from the 9th to the 10th was alternately clear and cloudy: the moon had always a halo round it. Toward five o'clock in the morning, all the sky was overcast with gray, not heavy clouds, which vanished with the advance of day. The more I descended, the finer was the weather. As at Botzen the great mass of the mountains took a northerly situation, the air displayed quite another quality. From the different grounds in the landscape, which were separated from each other in the most picturesque manner, by a tint more or less blue, it might be seen that the atmosphere was full of vapours equally distributed, which it was able to sustain, and which, therefore, neither fell in the shape of dew, nor were collected in the form of clouds. As I descended farther, I could plainly observe that all the exhalations from the Botzen Valley, and all the streaks of cloud which ascended from the more southern mountains, moved toward the higher northern regions, which they did not cover, but veiled with a kind of yellow fog. In the remotest distance, over the mountains, I could observe what is called a "water-gull." To the south of Botzen they have had the finest weather all the summer, only a little water (they say aqua to denote a light rain) from time to time, and then a return of sunshine. Yesterday a few drops occasionally fell, and the sun throughout continued shining. They have not had so good a year for a long while; everything turns out well: the bad weather they have sent to us.

I mention but slightly the mountains and the species of stone; since Ferber's "Travels to Italy," and Hacquet's "Journey along the Alps," give sufficient information respecting this district. A quarter of a league from the Brenner, there is a marble quarry, which I passed at twilight. It may, nay must, lie upon mica-slate, as on the other side. This I found near Colman, just as it dawned: lower down there was an appearance of porphyry. The rocks were so magnificent, and the heaps were so conveniently broken up along the highway, that a "Voigt" cabinet might have been made and packed up at once. Without any trouble of that kind, I can take a piece, if it is only to accustom my eyes and my curiosity to a small quantity. A little below Colman I found some porphyry, which splits into regular plates, and, between Brandrol and Neumark, some of a similar kind, in which, however,the laminæ separated in pillars. Ferber considered them to be volcanic productions; but that was fourteen years ago, when all the world had its head on fire. Even Hacquet ridicules the notion.

Of the people I can say but little, and that is notvery favourable. On my descent from the Brenner, I discovered, as soon as day came, a decided change of form, and was particularly displeased by the pale, brownish complexion of the women: their features indicated wretchedness. The children looked equally miserable, the men somewhat better. I imagine that the cause of this sickly condition may be found in the frequent consumption of Indian corn and buckwheat. Both the former (which they also call “Yellow Blende") and the latter (which is called “Black Blende") are ground, made into a thick pap with water, and thus eaten. The Germans on this side pull out the dough, and fry it in butter. The Italian Tyrolese, on the contrary, eat it just as it is, often with scrapings of cheese, and do not taste meat throughout the year. This necessarily glues up and stops the alimentary channels, especially with the women and children; and their cachectic complexion is an indication of the malady. They also eat fruit and green beans, which they boil down in water, and mix with oil and garlic. I asked if there were no rich peasants. "Yes, indeed!" was the reply. "Don’t they indulge themselves at all? don’t they eat anything better?"—"No, they are used to it."—"What do they do with their money, then? how do they lay it out?"—"Oh! they have their ladies, who relieve them of that." This is the sum and substance of a conversation with mine host’s daughter at Botzen.

I also learned from her that the vine-tillers were the worst oft, although they appeared to be the most opulent; for they were in the hands of commercial people, who advanced them enough to support life in the bad seasons, and in winter took their wine at a low price. However, it is the same thing everywhere.

My opinion concerning the food is confirmed by the fact that the women who inhabit the towns appear better and better. They have pretty, plump, girlish faces. The body is somewhat too short, in proportion to the stoutness and the size of the head; but sometimes the countenances have a most agreeable expression. The men we already know through the wandering Tyrolese. In the country their appearance is less fresh than that of the women, perhaps because the latter have more bodily labour, and are more in motion; while the former sit at home as traders and workmen. By the Garda Lake I found the people very brown, without the slightest tinge of red in their cheeks: however, they did not look unhealthy, but quite fresh and comfortable. Probably the burning sunbeams to which they are exposed at the foot of their mountains are the cause of their complexion.

  1. The fiftieth anniversary of a wedding-day is so-called in Germany.—Trans.