« PreviousContinue »
A VISIT TO THE HOUSE OF COLUMBUS,
WRITTEN IN ITALY, BY C. EDWARDS LESTER, LATE U.S. CONSUL TO
(With an Engraving.)
Early on the morning of the 29th of Sep- The American Steamer Princeton had been tember, 1847, a vessel was telegraphed from in port some days, and a succession of dinners, one of the fortress-crowned hills of Genoa. soireés, and hospitable entertainments given to She was reported as a vessel of war, bearing the commander and his officers, which the genthe American flag. The ships of that distant erous gallantry of the service” required shvuld nation have never appeared in the Mediterra- be returned. The consul was therefore requestnean, without exciting a peculiar enthusiasm ed to invite as large a party as he pleased for among the people of these beautiful but unfor- a trip of pleasure along the coast, in the new tunate countries. Thousands crowded the and beautiful steamer, on the 2d of October, it shores, in eager expectation of the arrival of the day should be fair. The Admiral, the the mysterious stranger: for the telegraph Prince, the Count of Syracuse, (brother of the had not ventured to tell what kind of craft king of Naples,) the old Marquis di Negro, she was; and the public curiosity was the more (well known to the Americans, through Headexcited by the appearance of a battle ship, ley's letters from Italy,) foreign ambassadors nearing the port, without the aid of sails, or, and consuls, with a large number of distinapparently, of steam; for her slim masts shot guished strangers from every quarter of the gracefully up from the dark hull, without sails, world, were to make up the party. and the sea was all calm around her, except There was but one opinion about the place far in her wake, where the early sunlight we should visit-it was to be the birth-place of played on the waters. And yet nearer and Columbus, down the Western Riviera of Genoa. nearer she came, dashing up into the beautiful No American vessel had ever honored that harbor of Genoa.
little village by a visit—it was only eighteen The crowd increased; the vessel entered the miles from the city-it was one of the most port, and, casting her anchor, swung gracefully beautiful shores in the world--there were in round tu the breeze, which came freshly down fact a score of reasons why we should make from the Appenines, loaded with the fragrance the trip to Cogoleto. of the vintage.
A thousand hopes, too, were excited, and a “Who is this mysterious stranger ?" went thousand fears agitated the hearts of those rapidly from one to another, in the dense mass whom fortune had numbered among the invithat already darkened the shores. But no one ted guests—for on the day the invitations were could answer. The vessel had no sails, no issued, it rained till eight o'clock in the evening, wheels, no pipe for fire, made ng smoke—and and there seemed little prospect of enjoying yet she seemed to be entirely under the con- the expected pleasure. But as the sun went trol of those who guided her. There she lay in down, he burst forth for a single moment froin the quiet blue waters of the port; thousands a dark bank of clouds that hung heavily over gazing on her dark form and delicate yards, the Alps, and flung a golden stream of light shooting sharp and slim into the sky!—who; over the mountains, the shores, the city, and what could she be?
The fair Italians prayed to all their In a few minutes a light boat was lowered fair-weather saints for a beautiful day, and the from her side, and went sweeping gracefully Americans shook their heads and did as they over the water, with the measured stroke of a do in Rome–let it rain! man-of-war's oarsmen.
But that single glance of the sun's fair disk, “ Der' essere un Americano.” all exclaimed, as he went down, seemed but a treacherous " perchè si vede la bandiera degli Stati Uniti gleam ; for the clouds went hurrying away in -Non vì è punto di dubbio : ma che razza di dark masses over the west, and the path of the vascello può essere quella, che non mostra, nè th der was cut by forked lightning as it fumo, nè ruote, nè vele ?
leaped among the bald Alpine peaks. Late that
night, a black canopy, without a star, shut inclinations, bows, compliments and thanks, to down over Genoa, and heavy peals shook the the house, whose inscriptions declare that marble city. It seemed that fate had decreed within its walls the immortal navigator first disappointment; but the light of the next saw the light. morning had hardly begun to break, when a It is a strong, substantially built stone manheavy signal gun from the Princeton sent its sion, of three stories, most of whose rooms are echoes up the sides of the Apennines to greet small; forming a large but irregular pile, withthe sun in his coming, and disturbed the slum-out any pretensions to architecture, and quite bers of the city by announcing to the guests covered with the dust and shadows of five centhat a fair day was breaking, and that the turies, and standing on the beach, it forms an steamer had lighted her fires.
exquisitely picturesque appearance. At ten o'clock the guests were all on board, The view given in the engraving, which -except a few who could not believe the ship illustrates this piece, is perfectly truthful; and would sail exactly at the hour appointed, -the every person that ever saw the house will rePrinceton weighed anchor and turned her prow cognize the place at once. It was drawn on to the sea.
the spot, with the utmost care and fidelity. The Mediterranean, which had so lately The house is inhabited by a revenue officer; been lashed into fury, was now sleeping as calm the first floor being devoted to the sociable as though its bosom had never been ruffled, purposes of a caffè, where the villagers who and as blue as the heavens above it.
have a few soldi to spare, assemble in the evenThe noble ship dashed the waters from her ing to talk over the heroic achievements of bow as she swept round the light-house, and their great citizen. went gliding down the coast. In an hour the While the party were standing in the room birth-place of Columbus came in sight, and (in the second story) in which Columbus is many a brave tar, who had heard so much of said to have been born, it was proposed to erect the first sailor that ever let go anchor on the some bust or tribute of respect to him in the coast of the New World, saw for the first time church where he was baptized, and whose the scene of the navigator's childhood. With bells were at that moment ringing out a merry the guests, and all the officers who were not on chime in honor of the strange visitors. And. duty, they crowded to the side, to catch the here I may say, that it would have been done. sight. And it was a sight to stir the blood had not the Archbishop of the diocese refused of any man born on the western side of the his consent to the inauguration of the bust, Atlantic.
when it was nearly finished, alledging, as a There lay the village of Cogoleto, white and reason, that it could not be allowed, since it quiet, in the bosom of the mountains—far up was the offering of heretics! I am also glad whose sides hanging gardens and vineyards to be able to state. that this Jesuitical prelate spread their deep rich green mantle—while far was, by such illiberal conduct, brought into above shone the heaven-kissing peaks, glisten- universal odium throughout the entire neighing like icicles in the sun.
borhood. Unfortunately, by the time the new The commander ordered the decks cleared, Pope had overruled the decision of the Jesuit, and a salute of nine guns, in quick succession, (which he did, the very moment he heard of announced to the wonder-stricken inhabitants it,) it was too late ; for the consul, who was of the simple village, that a powerful but un-charged with the work, had left for America. known stranger was rapidly approaching their When the resolution of the Americans present coast. They flocked to the shore, and before was known to the Sindaco, he announced the Princeton's boats were lowered, a little fleet it to the people, who received the joyful news of light feluccas and lattines were launched to with shouts of enthusiasm and gratitude. They greet us.
had long desired to see some monument erected The commander, the officers and guests, land- to Columbus, in his native village ; but the ed amidst a silent and excited crowd of rustic poor fishermen, who compose chiefly the popupeasantry and villagers, and were met by the lation, had never felt able to do it, and no Sindaco of the king, who on being told that the foreigners had ever proposed to aid them. ship in the offing had come from the distant In the midst of the universal excitement country Columbus had discovered, to visit his which now filled the village, the party probirth-place, opened his eyes still wider, and ceeded to the Town Hall, (Heaven save the showed the party at once, with a thousand | mark,) where the portly and pompous
exhibited an ancient portrait of Columbus, iron ring, firmly fastened into the arched ceilwhose authenticity nobody felt inclined (un- ing. A bargain was soon struck-a smith was der the circumstances) to question, if we ex- soon on hand, and a few solid wrenches tore cept a grave-looking middy, who suggested away the unmistakable relic. (aside) that the world—that part of it, at least It is somewhat doubtful if the proprietor --must have been in a sad state, when it was would have yielded on any other occasion; painted, if such a work of art had not made the hardly now, perhaps, if the petitioner had not artist acquainted with the halter. :
said he wished to take it to the President of Then to the church, where they showed us the United States! This was too much—he the altar before which the boy Columbus was could refuse no longer; and, thinking too, baptized. Here we felt that we were standing probably, that he would be well paid for his indeed on holy ground. The whole party relic, he yielded with a half-reluctant grace. stood silent and uncovered before it. Around But the day was wearing away, and the the altar were suspended many votive offer- party embarked for the ship. As the boats ings, such as poor fishermen might bring. pushed off, an humble, but hearty salute, of nine Among many others were two tiny ships, full guns was fired from the little village cannon, rigged! Several officers present took the sa- (a large sized pop-gun-dignified with a milicristan aside privately, and asked him “how tary term,) which had been duly ordered out much he would take” to get those little ships by the Sindaco, in honor of so grand an occaon board the Princeton! The poor old man sion. The shore was crowded by thousands of looked at the strangers with mute and bland peasants, dressed in the party-colored costume astonishment, not even shaking his head, -he of the Italian nation—the red slouched capwas so thunderstruck by the sacrilegious pro- the gaudy waistcoat-the variegated shirt--the posal. Alas! poor Italy! The stranger who sash, red or blue, about the waist, which disvisits thee thinks his gold can buy all thy penses with suspenders, for the tight velvet treasures and sacred things! It's a comfort to breeches—the red leggins buttoned up on the think how often they find themselves disap- sides—the velvet jacket, (always swung over pointed!
the left shoulder, a sort of relic of feudal days, Of course all brought away some souvenir of the court mantle :) add to this the goodfrom the dwelling of Colombo. Some a nail, natured dolce far niente of that sweet land, and some a stone from the wall, others a piece of you have the Italian peasant. The variegated plaster from the old frescos, and many were calico gown--the muslin pezzotto, (a light scart satisfied with a pebble from the beach where thrown over the head, and falling to the knees) the wondrous boy played in his infancy. One the hair always beautifully braided, a charm of the officers coolly asked a young mother in sure to be found in the Italian woman, whatthe house, if she was rocking her child in Co- ever her rank may be—large gold filigree earlombo's cradle ?
rings, often dangling on the shoulders--fine gold “Si, Signore,” she said, blandly and kindly, chains around the neck and arms, a profusion as all Italian women ask or answer questions. of rings, etc., etc.,--all of which constitute the The propounder of the question looked hard, dowery of the Italian girl. at this very useful instrument of household I think that there cannot be many places in economy. It was quite a modern affair, the world, where there are so many urchins that is to say, an unmistakable willow cradle, and specimens of all kinds, as in Cogofor all the world, just like those they keep leto. They constitute the majority of the rocking at least a million of babies in America, population. Strangers cannot account for this. from Maine to California. He shook his head, Cogoleto has been, since long before Columsaying :
bus, prolific in seamen. Some hundreds of its " It would be hardly fair to wake up the men-nearly all the fathers-live on the sea. baby, Signora-I guess I won't take it !" But I have almost forgotten my noble party.
There is something, sometimes inconceivably Every discharge of the village cannon was droll, and sometimes inconceivably painful, in accompanied by a thousand shouts, which went witnessing this broad humor in our countrymen ringing away merrily among the hills
. in Europe. --this quizzing of strangers,-a cus- The moment our boats were hoisted up the tom, by the by, of which no other nation is sides, and all were standing on the quarterever guilty
deck, gazing on the glorious sea-shore and Onc officer seriously cast his eye up to an mountains, the Princeton rolled out her Paix.
hans, and returned the peasants' salute, with of the myriad of Genoese bells, sent their ves. nine guns, and turned her prow towards Ge- per melody down over the bay, more sweetly
The shouts of the villagers came back than I ever heard them in any other land. faintly over the waters. Eighteen States of The scene at twilight was beautiful. The sun the Union had already spoken.
had seemed to go and leave all his golden splen“We'll give the discoverer," said the com dor behind him, flooding the glacier mountain mander, "a gun
peaks, the blue sea, the marble city, and the The pieces were again run out, and there purple heavens. The chimings of the city followed another salute of nine cannon, which towers went warbling up the hills, and from made twenty-seven. The echoes were yet their tops the convent bells came down, half playing among the hills, when the great gun sad and soothingly, upon the water from their on the bow poured forth its thunder, and sent guardian cypresses. There is never a roar its heavy reverberations away among the dis- going up from an Italian city-it is but a tant mountains. The villagers returned it; hum; and now it seemed softer than a murbut we could only judge of their good inten The party all stood a few moments tions by the smoke of their little gun—its tiny without speaking, voice could not get so far away from home. "My noble guests," said the hospitable Cap
The feeling on board, among the crew and tain Engle, " you must all be hungry-let us officers, and, indeed, the guests themselves, was look into the cabin." a wild enthusiasm !
We left the quarter-deck The tables of the Every State had spoken. Not a heart in all Princeton's cabin were spread with an elegant that broad land from which the steamer had and sumptuous repast, and the board was surcome, but found utterance that day for all the rounded by gay and grateful guests. Everyenthusiasm which the achievements of Colum- body was happy. bus have stirred in the hearts of Irving's coun We drank to Columbus, who discovered the trymen.
New World! To Pio IX., who was redeeming We swept round a vine-covered hill, and the Italy! To the Queen of England, (we had village of Cogoleto, with its fine church tower some of her fairest subjects present,) and to and its white clusters of dwellings, was hid our own dear land. and the hero of Palo Alto from our sight.
-already known familiarly in Europe by the While the last ten guns were firing, an hun- classic soubriquet of Old Zack. We drank dred flags were run up the rigging of the three scores and scores of toasts to the brave, masts of the Princeton. In their furlings and the great, and the beautiful. But of all, the many-colored emblems, they dressed out the three heroes were, Columbus, Pius IX., and Old steamer like some fair peasant bride for a gala- Zack. Strange combination! In the first and day.
last, the Americans were, of course, concerned As the sun was declining to his Alpine home, and who could cherish a warmer or tenderer the beautiful steamer once more entered the feeling for this beautiful land, where, on whose harbor, amidst the cheers of ten thousand spec- altars of liberty, the ancient fires had once tators gathered along the wharfs, and swung more begun to burn, than the children of gracefully round to her moorings. The chimes Washington ?
THE Wife's Duty.—Though a wife is re UNREQUITED LOVE.- I have bestowed a treaquired to obey her husband, it does not follow sure upon thee which has met with no recomthat she should leap into a caldron of hot pense,—it is alike unprofitable to thee and to pitch at his bidding. All general rules must be governed by the standard of reason.
MORAL EQUITY.-I owe you nothing, sir, nor Smiles and kind words are to the heart money, nor favor, nor good-will; nay, nor conwhat sunshine and dew are to the flowers, de- tempt, for even that I pay you as it becomes veloping in either its most refined attributes. due.
How to win a heart all know, or fancy they troubled hours of existence—“in the nightdo, but how to keep a heart, is by no means time of sorrow and care”_does it brighten 80 well understood. Oh! if it were, how many the pathway before us, and soothe the grief a soul, rich in the best attributes of our nature, that sits heaviest at the heart! Oh! who might be saved from misery and despair—aye, would be unloved ? Who, having once tasted and oftimes from degradation and ruin-by the exquisite bliss of that pure joy, would those gentle and holy influences which should part with the hope of making it their heart's erer guard the home of love!
guest forever? Alas! there be, who, prone to Men and women are strange paradoxes, base passions and low desires, banish the dove sometimes; and, especially, are they so in af- from its hallowed rest, to find at last a gnawfairs of the heart. The best endowment of our ing vulture in its place! nature, is that exquisite organization of sympa Reader! if it has ever been yours to win one thies, affections, and impulses, called the heart, human sympathy, cherish it as the treasure of capable of yielding us on earth the greatest your soul, and richly will it repay you at your happiness—the nearest approach to the ineffa- need. Learn to keep a heart; it is the most ble bliss of a purer state, if cherished; but if important lesson. Our first regards are lightly perverted, or neglected, dragging us down to attracted; a glance, a smile, or a gentle tone, the despair and wretchedness of fallen spirits ! may strike the spark that lights a flame destinI never see one who slights the affections he has ed to burn on the altar of our affections for stooped to win, crushing the sweet sentiments life! But reader, dear reader, the lamp must he has evoked, as carelessly as the unheeded be trimmed, and the oil poured in, or the shrine flower beneath his feet, but that I almost in- will be left in darkness! cline to doubt the divinity of his soul! It is I have said that love is a very human thing; not in the evanescent sentiments of excited it is also a household thing, and must not be fancy, or the short-lived breathings of passion, viewed only through the kaleidoscope of poetry that true happiness is to be found; there is a and sentiment, but should be made our familiar richer and more generous vein in our nature, in more homely guise. In plain phrase, there better worth attention, which, with care, may may be as much of that delicate devotion which be wrought to yield that priceless treasure of is as the life of love, in threading your wife's existence-true and constant Love !
needle, as in writing a sonnet for your mistress' How little do they appreciate love, who look album. And ignorance of this is the error upon it only as the “wanton dalliance of an which wrecks many a heart, which, with its hour.” It is the mystery of life! which contains rich freight of hopes and happiness, seemed the source of all pure and good emotions! which destined to sail prosperously over the sea of exalts and beatifies the soul, and affords us life! And yet it is an error which a little phithe key to all higher enjoyment than mere ani- losophy would teach us easily to avoid. Can mal gratification. Yet is love----true love--a we expect a flower which expanded in a warm very human thing, though a type of the Holi- and genial climate, beneath the hand of genest-harmonizing with our natures and wants tlest culture, to bloom as brightly in a freezing 80 perfectly, as to become a part thereof; atmosphere, neglected and uncared for ? Huswhile, if it be not abused, it is still forever lift- band! can you expect the wife who has been ing us above them. It is an emanation of that won to your side by all those endearing qualiDivine purpose, which sent one among us, like ties of gentleness and devotion, which you disunto ourselves, to redeem us from the captivity played as a lover, to bear with equanimity, and bondage of sin. How, in the dark and harshness and neglect from the being who