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to take on an extraordinary freight at birthplace of the painter Jacopo da Venice for Egypt. I had been per- Ponte, who was one of the first Italian mitted to come on board because my painters to treat Scriptural story as acdriver said I had a return ticket, and cessory to mere landscape, and who had would go.
a peculiar fondness for painting En Ascending to the deck, I found noth- trances into the Ark, because he could ing whatever mysterious in the manage indulge without stint the taste for pairment of the steamer thus pressed for the ing-off early acquired from observation first time, probably, into the service of of the just-mentioned local customs in an American citizen. The captain met his native town. This was the theory me with a bow in the gangway; sea- offered by one who had imbibed the men were coiling wet ropes at different spirit of subtile speculation from Ruspoints, as they always are ; the mate kin, and I think it reasonable. At least was promenading the bridge, and tak- it does not conflict with the fact that ing the rainy weather as it came, with there is at Bassano a most excellent his oil-cloth coat and hat on. The gallery of paintings entirely devoted to wheel of the steamer was as usual the works of Jacopo da Ponte and his chewing the sea, and finding it unpal- four sons, who are here to be seen to atable, and vainly expectorating. better advantage than anywhere else.
We were in sight of the breakwater As few strangers visit Bassano, the gal outside Malamocco, and a pilot-boat lery is little frequented. It is in charge was making us from the land. Even of a very strict old man, who will not at this point the fortifications of the allow people to look at the pictures till Austrians began, and they multiplied he has shown them the adjoining cabias we drew near Venice, till we entered net of geological specimens. It is in the lagoon, and found it a nest of for- vain that you assure him of your indiftresses, one within another.
ference to these scientific seccature; he Unhappily, the day being rainy, Ven- is deaf, and you are not suffered to ice did not spring resplendent from the escape a single fossil. He asked us sea, as I had always read she would. a hundred questions, and understood She rose slowly and languidly from the nothing in reply, insomuch that when water, - not like a queen, but like the he came to his last inquiry, “ Have the slovenly, heart - broken old slave she Protestants the same God as the Cathwas.
olics?" we were rather glad that he should be obliged to settle the fact for himself.
Underneath the gallery was a school CANOVA'S BIRTHPLACE.
of boys, whom, as we entered, we heard FROM Venice to the city of Vicenza humming over the bitter honey which by rail it is two hours, and thence childhood is obliged to gather from the you must take a carriage if you would opening flowers of orthography. When go to Bassano, which is an opulent we passed out, the master gave these and busy little grain mart of some poor busy bees an atom of holiday, twelve thousand souls, about thirty and they all swarmed forth together to miles north of Venice, at the foot of look at the strangers. The teacher was the Alps. We reached the town at nine a long, lank man, in a black threadbare o'clock. It was moonlight; and as we coat, and a skull-cap, - exactly like the looked out we saw the quaint, steep schoolmaster in “ The Deserted Vilstreets full of promenaders, and every- lage.” We made a pretence of askbody in Bassano seemed to be making ing him our way somewhere, and went love. Young girls strolled about the wrong, and came by accident upon a picturesque way with their lovers, and wide, flat space, bare as a brick-yard, tender couples were cooing at all the beside which was lettered on a fragment doors and windows. Bassano is the of the old city wall, “ Giuoco di Palla.”
It was evidently the play-ground of the driver had brought us with a clamor and whole city, and it gave us a pleasanter rattle proportioned to the fee received idea of life in Bassano than we had yet from us, and when, in response to his conceived, to think of its entire popu- haughty summons, the cameriere, who lation playing ball there in the spring had been gossiping with the cook, threw afternoons. We respected Bassano as open the kitchen door, and stood out to much for this as for her diligent remem- welcome us in a broad square of forthbrance of her illustrious dead, of whom streaming ruddy light, amid the lovely she has very great numbers. It appeared odors of broiling and roasting, our driver to us that nearly every other house bore saluted him with, “ Receive these gena tablet announcing that “Here was tle folks, and treat them to your very born," or “Here died,” some great or best. They are worthy of anything." good man of whom no one out of Bas- This at once put us back several censano ever heard. There is enough ce- turies, and we never ceased to be lords lebrity there to supply the world; but and ladies of the period of Don Quixas laurel is a thing that grows anywhere, ote as long as we rested in that inn. I covet rather from Bassano the mag- It was a bright and breezy Sunday nificent ivy that covers the portions of when we left “Il Mondo," and gayly her ancient wall yet standing. The journeyed toward Treviso, intending to wall, where visible, is seen to be of a visit Possagno, the birthplace of Canopebbly rough-cast, but it is clothed al- va, on our way. The road to the latter most from the ground in glossy ivy, that place passes through a beautiful counglitters upon it like chain-mail upon the try, that gently undulates on either vast shoulders of some giant warrior. hand, till in the distance it rises inThe bed of the moat is turned into a to pleasant hills and green mountainlovely promenade, bordered by quiet heights. Possagno itself lies upon the villas, with shepherds and shepherd- brink of a declivity, down the side of esses carved in marble on their gates. which drops terrace after terrace, all Where the wall is built to the verge planted with vines and figs and peachof the high ground on which the city es, to a water-course below. The stands, there is a swift descent to the ground on which the village is built, wide valley of the Brenta, waving in with its quaint and antiquated stone corn and vines and tobacco.
cottages, slopes gently northward, and It did not take a long time to exhaust on a little rise upon the left hand of us the interest of Bassano; but we were coming from Bassano, we saw that statesorry to leave the place, because of the ly religious edifice with which Canova excellence of the inn at which we tar- has honored his humble birthplace. It ried. It was called “Il Mondo,” and it is a copy of the Pantheon, and it canhad everything in it that heart could not help being beautiful and imposing, wish. Our rooms were miracles of neat, but it would be utterly out of place ness and comfort; they had the fresh- in any other than an Italian village. ness, not the rawness, of recent repair, Here, however, it consorted well enough and they opened into the dining-hall, with the lingering qualities of that old where we were served with indescrib- pagan civilization still perceptible in able salads and risotti. During our Italy. A sense of that past was so sojourn we simply enjoyed the house; strong with us, as we ascended the when we were come away we wondered broad stairway leading up the slope that so much perfection of hotel could from the village to the level on which exist in so small a town as Bassano. It the temple stands at the foot of a is one of the pleasures of by-way travel mountain, that we might well have in Italy, that you are everywhere intro- fancied we approached an altar devotduced in fanciful character, that you ed to the elder worship: through the become fictitious, and play a part as in a open doorway and between the colnovel. To this inn of "The World” our umns of the portico we could see the priests moving to and fro, and the voice present themselves in every variety of their chanting came out to us like of attitude, where Sorrows sit upon the sound of hymns to some of the dei- hard, straight-backed classic chairs, ties long disowned; and I could but re- and mourn in the society of faithful call how Padre — had once said to Storks; where the Bereft of this cenme in Venice, “Our blessed saints are tury surround death-beds in Greek cosonly the old gods baptized and christ- tume appropriate to the scene; where ened anew." Within, as without, the Muses and Graces sweetly pose themtemple resembled the Pantheon, but it selves and insipidly smile, and where had little to show us. The niches de- the Dancers and Passions, though nasigned by Canova for statues of the keder, are no wickeder than the Saints saints are empty yet; but there are and Virtues. In all, there are a hunbusts by his own hand of himself and dred and ninety-five pieces in the galhis brother, the Bishop Canova. Among lery, and among the rest the statue the people present was the sculptor's named George Washington which was niece, whom our guide pointed out to sent to America in 1820, and afterus, and who was evidently used to be- wards destroyed by fire in the Capitol ing looked at. She seemed not to dis- of North Carolina, at Raleigh. The like it, and stared back at us amiably figure, is in a sitting posture; natenough, being a good-natured, plump, urally, it is in the dress of a Roman comely, dark-faced lady of perhaps fifty general; and if it does not look much years.
like George Washington, it does rePossagno is nothing if not Canova, semble Julius Cæsar. and our guide, a boy, knew all about The custodian of the gallery had been him, - how, more especially, he had Canova's body-servant, and he loved to first manifested his wonderful genius talk of his master. He had so far imby modelling a group of sheep out of bibed the spirit of family pride that he the dust of the highway, and how an did not like to allow that Canova had Inglese, happening along in his car- ever been other than rich and grand, riage, saw the boy's work and gave him and he begged us not to believe the a plateful of gold napoleons. I dare idle stories of his first essays in art. say this is as near the truth as most He was delighted with our interest facts. And is it not better for the in the imperial Washington, and our historic Canova to have begun in this pleasure in the whole gallery, which way, than to have poorly picked up the we viewed with the homage due to the rudiments of his art in the work-shop man who had rescued the world from of his father, a maker of altar-pieces Swaggering in sculpture. When we and the like for country churches ? were tired, he invited us, with his mis
The Canova family has intermarried tress's permission, into the house of the with the Venetian nobility, and prob- Canovas adjoining the gallery; and ably would not believe those stories of there we saw many paintings by the Canova's beginnings which his towns- sculptor, – pausing longest in a lovely men so fondly cherish. I dare say little room decorated, after the Pomthey would even discredit the butter peian manner, with scherzi in minialion with which the boy-sculptor is said ture panels representing the jocose clasto have adorned the table of the noble sic usualities, - Cupids escaping from Falier, and first won his notice. cages, and being sold from them, and
Besides the temple at Possagno, playing many pranks and games with there is a very pretty gallery contain Nymphs and Graces. ing casts of all Canova's works. It is Then Canova was done, and Possagan interesting place, where Psyches no was finished ; and we resumed our and Cupids Autter, where Venuses way to Treviso.
THE MYSTERY OF NATURE.
THE works of God are fair for naught,
1 Unless our eyes, in seeing,
That animates its being.
But every part is moulded
That dimly is unfolded.
By every tree that trembles,
Of that which it resembles.
Because the meadows need it, But on an errand of its own
To human souls that heed it. The stars are lighted in the skies
Not merely for their shining,
Have meanings worth divining.
The winds that sigh in blowing,
Which men are wise in knowing.
The rivers in their winding,
Are precious in the finding.
But, though we stand so near her,
With ears too dull to hear her.
Still listens for the finest,
To music the divinest.
Because his heart is tender,
In every earthly splendor.
And till it shall be ended,
And soul of God are blended !
A WIFE BY WAGER.
N a sunny afternoon in the middle The "little Fronsacquin” rose with U of August, 1756, a gayly-dressed a vapid smile, from which every trace young gentleman of evident rank and of annoyance had vanished. To be aswealth, apparently about twenty-three sociated, even by a title of questionable years old, sat in the doorway of the compliment, with that social hero, the Café de la Régence, languidly survey. Duc de Fronsac, whose nimble capering the passers-by, and occasionally ings had been the admiration of Young vouchsafing a nod of recognition to France for nearly half a century, was some noble cavalier, or graciously way- sufficient to banish from his mind any ing from his perfumed handkerchief a other thoughts than those of proud sentimental salutation to some lively complacency and self-content. He welbeauty of high estate or doubtful famę. comed his interrogator with all the ardor So very inert and imperturbable was this of which he was capable. That is to gayly-dressed young gentleman, that it say, he lifted his hat with one effort, seemed that nothing could disturb his inclined his body with a second, and dainty suavity ; but suddenly, and with motioned to a vacant chair beside him out apparent cause, his eyes were light with a third, after which he sank back ed with a feeble expression of vexation, exhausted. and, by a petulant movement, he thrust Rallying presently, he said, “You are back his chair as if anxious to avoid soon back again, M. de Montalvan." observation.
“Yes, M. de Berniers, our part of the The object that kindled this momen- fighting is over for the present." tary spark of animation was a tall, “ Then why not leave off your fightbroad-chested man, whose appearance, ing dress ?” said M. de Berniers. “You as he sauntered along the promenade, look as if you knew nothing of the age casting glances of contempt, which might we are living in." or might not be sincerely felt, at the “My friend, we live in an age when fashionable vanities which surrounded nobody occupies himself with anything him, presented a striking contrast to but the pleasures of life. One of the that of the majority of strollers on that pleasures of my life is to wear a solsummer afternoon. His dress, though dier's dress; and you very well know neat, was simple, and almost sombre, the reason why." being destitute of any species of deco “ Don't snarl, M. de Montalvan. Yes, ration. His step was bold and vigorous, I remember the reason now. Never and, in his indifference to the gay pano- mind. Some wine; and tell me about rama which glided past him, he held his the great Duke. Is he really as gallant chin so high in the air that the listless in the field as in the boudoir ?" young gentleman hoped he might, in “Hum. The great Duc de Richehis loftiness, overlook him with the rest. lieu looked on with remarkable bravery
But possibly the new-comer's uncon- while we took St. Philippe. Yes, now sciousness may not have been so abso that the salons refuse him for a hero, I lute as he endeavored to make it ap suppose we must make a place for him pear; or possibly his attention may in the camp." have been particularly attracted by the “Ah! I have heard why you besounds of mirth issuing from the famous grudge the Maréchal his fame. But it Café. At any rate, as he approached it matters very little ; even Madame de he turned his head, and, gazing a mo- Pompadour has given him her acclamament at the first-named gentleman, ex- tions at last.” claimed, “ Ah, my little Fronsacquin, is “She knows when to hide her hait really you ? "
treds and how to cherish them. But