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table a party were devouring maccaroni, in a similar manner to that in which an Indian juggler swallows steel ; and at another were seated half a dozen persons partaking the contents of a large earthen bowl, the savoury steams of which proclaimed that garlic was one of its principal ingredients. Various small circles were celebrating their bacchanalian orgies round separate tables, and sang, or more properly speaking, roared a sort of wild chaunt, compensating by animation and noise for the great deficiency of harmony; while the smokers sent forth blue curly exhalations that partly veiled them from sight. Our passage through the chambers occupied by these groups, although far from being agreeable to us, did not at all disturb them : indeed, they seemed not to notice our presence. We found the noise and effluvia of the house so overpowering, that we were, although fatigued, glad to exchange it for a walk on the shore; where we encountered a numerous procession of monks of the order of White Penitents, followed by nuns and others, amounting to above two hundred, bearing huge wax candles lighted, and carrying large crucifixes and various other symbols of their religion. They walked two by two, chaunting psalms; and as they slowly moved along, their white robes floating in the air, the lights gleaming, and their voices swelling on the breeze, while the murmuring waves rolled gently forward as if to meet them, and broke in snowy wreaths at their feet, I thought I had seldom beheld a more interesting scene.
VOLTRI, 30th.- From Noli we proceeded this morning to Spotorno, Vado, Genolla, and Savona, and arrived at this place to a late dinner. We have been to see the cathedral, which is a very fine one, and as richly decorated as paintings and gilding can make it. The inn, too, is better than those we have lately encountered ; and the aspect of the country, though equally beautiful, is less wild, owing to being much more thickly inhabited. Here we are to take leave of our mules, and proceed to Genoa in coaches of the country. I shall abandon these sure-footed and patient animals with regret, for a more agreeable mode of traversing a fine country cannot be devised ; and it is but justice to them to state, that the obstinacy imputed to them is, in my opinion, either a slander, or at least a gross exaggeration, for in the experience of six days we have not witnessed a single symptom of it.
We passed many fortifications erected on the rocks and coast between Noli and this place, which add much to the picturesque effect of the scenery. Desirous as I am to see “ Genoa the Superb,” with its street of palaces and the treasures of art they contain, I confess that its being the residence of Lord Byron gives it a still greater attraction for me. His works have excited such a lively interest in my mind, and the stories related of him have so much increased it, that I look forward to making his acquaintance with inpatience. Should he decline seeing us, as he has done to many of his acquaintances, it will be a great disappointment to me; but I will not anticipate such an annoyance. I long to compare him with the beau ideal I have formed in my mind's eye, and to judge how far the descriptions given of him are correct.
GENOA, 31st.—The first view of Genoa from the Voltri road is charming. It looks like a fairy city of white marble rising out of the sea, the blue waters of which are only one shade deeper than the cerulean sky with which at a distance they seem to mingle. The approach from Voltri is very fine, presenting palaces with their gardens at each side of the road, and the walls for the most part being painted with landscapes and figures, which though gaudy have a gay effect. It was night when we entered this place, and the lamps and lights in each house were reflected in the water with an effulgence that looked magical. We arrived in time to witness a grand procession passing through the streets to the principal church. Innumerable dignitaries of the church in rich dresses, attended by priests, monks, and youths, robed in white, each carrying an immense wax-light, were followed by a number of priests bearing the symbols of their religion. In the centre of the procession was a gilded litter, and on it was placed two figures of the size of life, representing a dead Christ supported in the arms of the Virgin. The litter was covered with flowers and rich ornaments, and the Virgin was dressed in cloth of gold, the head, neck, and arms covered by a profusion of pearl beads and trinkets. The ghastly image of the Saviour, smeared with blood and covered with thorns, formed a fearful contrast with the rich habiliments of the Virgin and the glowing tints of the flowers; while the embroidered vestments of the priests, and the white robes of their followers, were illumined by the blaze of the countless number of wax-lights that surrounded them. Two regiments in their best uniforms attended
the procession, which moved along with a choral swell of sacred music; the whole scene having more the character of a triumphal entry than a solemn religious ceremony.
Our inn, the Alberga della Villa, appears like a palace after those to which we have lately been accustomed. Painted walls and ceilings, abundance of gilding, lofty and spacious rooms, and marble balconies, meet my eyes at every side; and when I
approach the window, I see the sea in front of it reflecting a thousand lights from the shore.
Our old acquaintance, Lord William Russell, is I find in this hotel, and has sent to say that he wishes to see us, as he leaves Genoa early to-morrow. I am en robe de chambre, having just come out of my bath, consequently cannot receive his proposed visit; but Lord Blessington has gone to him. I regret not being able to avail myself of this opportunity, for he is very agreeable and intelligent, and it is pleasant to meet London acquaintances of his stamp so far from home.
And am I indeed in the same town with Byron! and to
morrow I may, perhaps, behold him! I never before felt the same impatient longing to see any one known to me only by his works. I hope he may not be fat, as Moore described him to be at Venice, for a fat poet is an anomaly in my opinion. Well, well, to-morrow I
know what he is like: and now to bed, and sleep away the fatigues of my journey.
April 1st.— I have seen Lord Byron and am disappointed! But so it ever is, when we have heard exaggerated accounts of a person; or when, worse still, we have formed a beau idéal of him. Yet most people would be more than satisfied with Byron's appearance, and captivated by his manner; for the first is highly prepossessing, and the second is graceful, animated, and cordial. Why then has he disappointed my expectations ? and why is it, that on thinking of those portions of his writings that have most delighted me, I cannot figure the man I have seen as their author. No, the sublime passages in “Childe Harold” and “ Manfred” cannot be associated in my mind with the lively, brilliant conversationist that I this day saw. They still belong, in my fancy, to the more grave and dignified individual that I conceived their author to have been; an individual resembling Phillip's portrait of Byron, but paler and more thoughtful. I can imagine the man I saw, as the author of “Beppo” and “Don Juan.” He is witty, sarcastic, and lively enough for these works; but he does not look like
my preconceived notion of the melancholy poet. Well, I never will again allow myself to form an ideal of any person I desire to see, for disappointment never fails
And yet there are moments when Byron's countenance is “ shadowed o'er with the pale cast of thought,” and at such moments his head might well serve as a model for a sculptor or painter's ideal of a poet; but in an instant an arch smile replaces the pensive character of his countenance, and some observation, half fun and half malice, chases the sombre and more respectful feelings which were beginning to exist for him. His head is peculiarly well shaped, the forehead lofty, open, and highly indicative of intellectual power; his eyes are grey and expressive, one is