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return for several days, and the laws of etiquette do not allow that important tour to be delayed so long. As we have been continually driving about ever since our arrival, I am already pretty well acquainted with this town, and the environs.
Naples was founded by the Greeks. The charming situation they have chosen, is one proof among thousands, of the fine taste of that ingenious people.
The bay is about thirty miles in circumference, and twelve in diameter; it has been named Crater, from its supposed resemblance to a bowl. This bowl is ornamented with the most beautiful foliage; with vines; with olive, mulberry, and orange trees; with hills, dales, towns, villas, and villages.
At the bottom of the bay of Naples, the town is built in the form of a vast amphitheatre, sloping from the hills towards the sea.
If, from the town, you turn your eyes to the east, you see the rich plains leading to mount Vesuvius, and Portici. If you look to the west, you have the grotto of Pausilippo, the mountain on which Virgil's tomb is placed, and the fields leading to Puzzoli and the coast of Baia. On the north, are the fertile hills, gradually rising from the shore to the Campagna Felice. On the south, is the bay, confined by the two promontories of Misenum and Minerva, the view being terminated by the islands Procida, Ischia, and Caprea ; and as you ascend to the castle of St. Elmo, you have all these objects under your eye at once, with the addition of a great part of the Campagna.
Independent of its happy situation, Naples is a very beautiful city. The style of architecture, it must be confessed, is inferior to what prevails at Rome; but though Naples cannot vie with that city in the number of palaces, or in the grandeur and magnificence of the churches, the private houses in general are better built, and are more uniformly convenient; the streets are broader and better paved. No street in Rome equals in beauty the Strada di Toledo at Naples; and still less can any of them be
compared with those beautiful streets which are open to the bay. This is the native country of the zephyrs; here the excessive heat of the sun is often tempered with sea breezes, and with gales, wafting the perfumes of the Campagna Felice.
The houses, in general, are five or six stories in height, and flat at the top; on which are placed, numbers of flower vases or fruit trees, in boxes of earth, producing a very gay and agreeable effect.
The fortress of St. Elmo is built on a mountain of the same name. The garrison stationed here, have the entire command of the town, and could lay it in ashes at please ure. A little lower, on the same mountain, is a convent of Carthusians. The situation of this convent is as advantageous and beautiful as can be imagined ; and much expense has been lavished to render the building, the apartments, and the gardens, equal to the situation.
To bestow great sums of money in adorning the retreat of men who have abandoned the world for the express purpose of passing the remainder of their lives in self-denial and mortification, seems to be very ill judged ; and might, on some occasions, counteract the design of their retreat. I expressed this sentiment to a Neapolitan lady at Sir William Hamilton's assembly, the evening after I had visited this convent. She said, that the elegant apartments, the gardens, and all the expensive ornaments I had particularized, could not much impede a system of self-denial; for they soon became insipid to those who had them constantly before their eyes, and proved no compensation for the want of other comforts.' . In that case,' said I, the whole expense might have been saved, or bestowed in procuring comforts to others who have made no vows of mortification. Tolga iddio!'* cried the lady, forgetting her former argument, • for none have so good a title to every comfortable and pleasant thing in this world, as those who have renounced it, and placed their affections entirely on the next; instead of depriving these
God forbid !
sanctified Carthusians of what they already possess, it would be more meritorious to give them what they have not:'
• Give them then,' said I, what will afford some satisfaction, instead of the luxuries of sculpture, and painting, and architecture, which, as you say, become so soon in. sipid ; let them have enjoyments of a different kind. Why should their diet be confined to fish and vegetables ? Let them enjoy the pleasures of the table without any
lic mitation. And since they are so very meritorious, why is your sex deprived of the happiness of their conversation, and why are they denied the pleasure which the society of women might afford them ?'
• Cristo benedetto !'* cried the lady, You do not understand this matter. Though none deserve the pleasures of this world, but those who think only on the next; yet none can obtain the joys of the next, who indulge in the pleasures of this.' « That is unlucky,' said I.
Unlucky! to be sure it is the most unlucky thing that could have happened, ecco dove mi doleva,' + added the lady.
Though Naples is admirably situated for commerce, and no kingdom produces the necessaries and luxuries of life in greater profusion, yet trade is but in a languishing condition; the best silks come from Lyons, and the best woollen goods from England.
The chief articles manufactured here, at present, are, silk stockings, soap, snuff-boxes, or tortoise shells; and the lava of Mount Vesuvius, tables, and ornamental furniture, of marble.
They are thought to embroider here better than even in France; and their macaroni is preferred to that made in any other part of Italy. The Neapolitans excel also in liqueurs and confections ; particularly in one kind of confection, which is sold at a very high price, called Diabo
• Blessed Jesus !
lonis. This drug, as you will guess from its name, is of a very hot and stimulating nature, and what I should think by no means requisite to Neapolitan constitutions.
The inhabitants of this town are computed at three. hundred and fifty thousand. I make no doubt of their amounting to that number; for though Naples is not one-third of the size of London, vet many of the streets here are more crowded than the Strand. In London and Paris, the people who fill the streets are mere passengers, hurrying from place to place on business; and when they choose to converse, or to amuse themselves, they resort to the public walks or gardens: at Naples, the citizens have
ver avocations of business to excite their activity; no public walks, or gardens, to which they can resort; and are, therefore, more frequently seen sauntering and conversing in the streets, where a great proportion of the poorest sort, for want of habitations, are obliged to spend the night as well as the day. While you sit in your chamber at London, or at Paris, the usual noise you hear from the streets, is that of carriages; but at Naples, where they talk with uncommon vivacity, and where whole streets full of talkers are in continual employment, the noise of carriages is completely drowned in the aggregated clack of human voices. In the midst of all this idleness, fewer riots or outrages of any kind happen, than might be expected in a town where the police is far from being strict, and where such multitudes of poor unemployed people meet together every day. This partly proceeds from the national character of the Italians; which, in my opinion, is quiet, submissive, and averse to riot or sedition ; and partly to the common people being universally sober, and never inflamed with strong and spirituous liquors, as they are in the northern countries. Iced water and lemonade are among the luxuries of the lowest vulgar; they are carried about in little barrels, and sold in halfpenny's worth. The half-naked lazzarone is often tempted to spend the small pittance destined for the maintenance of his family, on this betwitching beverage,
as the most dissolute of the low people in London spend their wages on gin and brandy; so that the same extravagance which cools the mob of the one city, tends to inflame that of the other to acts of excess and brutality.
There is not, perhaps, a city in the world, with the same number of inhabitants, in which so few contribute to the wealth of the community by useful, or by productive labour, as Naples; but the numbers of priests, monks, fiddlers, lawyers, nobility, footmen, and lazzaronis, surpass all reasonable proportion ; the last alone are compuled at thirty or forty thousand. If these poor fellows are idle, it is not their own fault; they are continually running about the streets, as we are told of the artificers of China, offering their service, and begging for employment, and are considered by many as of more real utility than any of the classes above mentioned.
Naples. There is an assembly once a week at the house of the British minister; no assembly in Naples is more numerous, or more brilliant, than this. Exclusive of that
gentleman's good qualities, and those accomplishments which procure esteem in any situation, he would meet with every mark of regard from the Neapolitan nobles, on account of the high favour in which he stands with their sovereign.
Sir William's house is open to strangers of every country who come to Naples properly recommended, as well as to the English; he has a private concert almost every evening. Lady Hamilton understands music perfectly, and performs in such a manner, as to command the admiration even of the Neapolitans. Sir William, who is the happiest-tempered man in the world, and the easiest amused, performs also, and succeeds perfectly in amusing himself, which is a more valuable attainment than the other.
The Neapolitan nobility are cxcessively fond of splen.