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the fasters eat prodigiously and make up for their usual Lenten fare. One of the principal days is that of the 19th of March, dedicated to San Giuseppe, (the most ill-used of all the saints,) when the little church in Capo le Case, dedicated to him, is hung with brilliant draperies, and the pious flock thither in crowds to say their prayers. The great curtain is swaying to and fro constantly as they come and go, and a file of beggars is on the steps to relieve you of baiocchi. Beside them stands a fellow who sells a print of the Angel appearing to San Giuseppe in a dream, and warning him against the sin of jealousy. Four curious lines beneath the print thus explain it :
"Qual sinistro pensier l' alma ti scuote? Se il sen fecondo di Maria tu vedi, Giuseppe, non temer; calmati, e credi Ch' opra è sol di colui che tutto puote."
Whether Joseph is satisfied or not with this explanation, it would be difficult to determine from his expression. He looks rather haggard and bored than persuaded, and certainly has not that cheerful acquiescence of countenance which one is taught to expect.
During all Lent, a sort of bun, called maritozze, which is filled with the edible kernels of the pine-cone, made light with oil, and thinly crusted with sugar, is eaten by the faithful, and a very good Catholic "institution" it is. But in the festival days of San Giuseppe, gayly ornamented booths are built at the corner of many of the streets, especially near the church in Capo le Case, in the Borgo, and at San Eustachio, which are adorned with great green branches as large as young trees, and hung with red and gold draperies, where the "Frittelle di San Giuseppe" are fried in huge caldrons of boiling oil and served out to the common people. These frittelle, which are a sort of delicate doughnut, made of flour mixed sometimes with rice, are eaten by all good Catholics, though one need not be a Catholic to find them excellent eating. In front of the principal booths are swung "Sonetti” in praise of the Saint, of the cook, and of
the doughnuts, some of them declaring that Mercury has already descended from Olympus at the command of the gods to secure a large supply of the frittelle, and praying all believers to make haste, or there would be no more left. The latter alternative seems little probable, when one sees the quantity of provision laid in by the vendors. Their prayer, however, is heeded by all; and a gay scene enough it is, especially at night, when the great cups filled with lard are lighted, and the shadows dance on the crowd, and the light flashes on the tinsel-covered festoons that sway with the wind, and illuminates the great booth, while the smoke rises from the great caldrons which flank it on either side, and the cooks, all in white, ladle out the dripping frittelle into large polished platters, and laugh and joke, and laud their work, and shout at the top of their lungs, " Ecco le belle, ma belle frittelle!" For weeks this frying continues in the streets; but after the day of San Giuseppe, not only the sacred frittelle are made, but thousands of minute fishes, fragments of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and carciofi go into the hissing oil, and are heaped all "dorati" upon the platters and vases. For all sorts of fries the Romans are justly celebrated. The sweet olive-oil, which takes the place of our butter and lard, makes the fry light, delicate, and of a beautiful golden color; and spread upon the snowy tables of these booths, their odor is so appetizing and their look so inviting, that I have often been tempted to join the crowds who fill their plates and often their pocket-handkerchiefs (con rispetto) with these golden fry, "fritti dorati," as they are called, and thus do honor to the Saint, and comfort their stomachs with holy food, which quells the devil of hunger within.*
*This festival of San Giuseppe, which takes place on the 19th of March, bears a curious resemblance to the Liberalia of the ancient Romans, a festival in honor of Bacchus, which was celebrated every year on the 17th of March, when priests and priestesses, adorned with garlands of ivy, carried through the city wine, honey, cakes, and sweetmeats, to
But not only at this time and at these booths are good fritti to be found. It is a favorite mode of cooking in Rome; and a mixed fry (fritta mista) of bits of liver, brains, cauliflower, and carciofi is a staple dish, always ready at every restaurant. At any osteria con cucina on the Campagna one is also sure of a good omelet and salad; and, sitting under the vines, after a long walk, I have made as savory a lunch on these two articles as ever I found in the most glittering restaurant in the Palais Royal. If one add the background of exquisite mountains, the middle distance of flowery slopes, where herds of long-haired goats, sheep, and gray oxen are feeding among the skeletons of broken aqueducts, ruined tombs, and shattered medieval towers, and the foreground made up of picturesque groups of peasants, who lounge about the door, and come and go, and men from the Campagna, on horseback, with their dark, capacious cloak and long ironed staff, who have come from counting their oxen and superintending the farming, and carrettieri, stopping in their hooded wine-carts or ringing along the road, there is, perhaps, as much to charm the artist as is to be seen while sipping beer or eau gazeuse on the hot Parisian asphalte, where the grisette studiously shows her clean ankles, and the dandy struts in his patent-leather boots.
One great festa there is during Lent at the little town of Grotta-Ferrata, about fourteen miles from Rome. It takes place
gether with a portable altar, in the middle of which was a small fire-pan, (foculus,) in which, from time to time, sacrifices were burnt. The altar has now become a booth, the foculus a caldron, the sacrifices are of little fishes as well as of cakes, and San Giuseppe has taken the place of Bacchus, Liber Pater; but the festivals, despite these differences, have such grotesque points of resemblance that the latter looks like the former, just as one's face is still one's face, however distortedly reflected in the bowl of a spoon; and, perhaps, if one remembers the third day of the Anthesteria, when cooked vegetables were offered in honor of Bacchus, by putting it together with the Liberalia, we shall easily get the modern festa of San Giuseppe.
on the 25th of March, and sometimes is very gay and picturesque, and always charming to one who has eyes to see and has shed some of his national prejudices. By eight o'clock in the morning open carriages begin to stream out of the Porta San Giovanni, and in about two hours the old castellated monastery may be seen at whose feet the little village of Grotta-Ferrata stands. As we advance through noble elms and planetrees, crowds of contadini line the way, beggars scream from the banks, donkeys bray, carretti rattle along, until at last we arrive at a long meadow which seems alive and crumbling with gayly dressed figures that are moving to and fro as thick as ants upon an ant-hill. Here are gathered peasants from all the countryvillages within ten miles, all in their festal costumes; along the lane which skirts the meadow and leads through the great gate of the old fortress, donkeys are crowded together, and keeping up a constant and outrageous concert; saltimbanci, in harlequin suits, are making faces or haranguing from a platform, and inviting everybody into their pennyshow.
From inside their booths is heard the sound of the invariable pipes and drum, and from the lifted curtain now and then peers forth a comic face, and then disappears with a sudden scream and wild gesticulation. Meantime the closely packed crowd moves slowly along in both directions, and on we go through the archway into the great court-yard. Here, under the shadow of the monastery, booths and benches stand in rows, arrayed with the produce of the countryvillages, shoes, rude implements of husbandry, the coarse woven fabrics of the contadini, hats with cockades and rosettes, feather brooms and brushes, and household things, with here and there the tawdry pinchbeck ware of a peddler of jewelry, and little quadretti of Madonna and saints. Extricating ourselves from the crowd, we ascend by a stone stairway to the walk around the parapets of the walls, and look down upon the scene. How gay it is! Around the fountain,
which is spilling in the centre of the court, a constantly varying group is gathered, washing, drinking, and filling their flasks and vases. Near by, a charlatan, mounted on a table, with a huge canvas behind him painted all over with odd cabalistic figures, is screaming, in loud and voluble tones, the virtues of his medicines and unguents, and his skill in extracting teeth. One need never have a pang in tooth, ear, head, or stomach, if one will but trust his wonderful promises. In one little bottle he has the famous water which renews youth; in another, the lotion which awakens love, or cures jealousy, or changes the fright into the beauty. All the while he plays with his tame serpents, and chatters as if his tongue went of itself, while the crowd of peasants below gape at him, laugh with him, and buy from him. Listen to him, all who have ears!
Udite, udite, O rustici!
Son noti in tutto il mondo - e in altri siti.
Benefattor degli uomini,
In pochi giorni io sgombrerò.
E la salute a vendere
È questo l'odontalgico,
Per questo mio specifico
Nonno di dieci bamboli
O voi matrone rigide, Ringiovanir bramate?
Le vostre rughe incomode
Ei move i paralitici,
And so on and on and on. There is never an end of that voluble gabble. Nothing is more amusing than the Italian ciarlatano, wherever you meet him; but, like many other national characters, he is vanishing, and is seen more and more rarely every year. Perhaps he has been promoted to an office in the Church or government, and finds more pickings there than at the fairs; and if not, perhaps he has sold out his profession and good-will to his confessor, who has mounted, by means of it. into a gilded carriage, and wears silk stockings, whose color, for fear of mistake, I will not mention.
But to return to the fair and our station on the parapets at Grotta-Ferrata. Opposite us is a penthouse, (where nobody peaks and pines,) whose jutting fraschi-covered eaves and posts are adorned with gay draperies; and under the shadow of this is seated a motley set of peasants at their lunch and dinner. Smoking plates come in and out of the dark hole of a door that opens into kitchen and cellar, and the camerieri cry constantly, "Vengo subito," "Eccomi quà,"- whether they come or not. Big-bellied flasks of rich Grotta-Ferrata wine are filled and emptied; and bargains are struck for cattle, donkeys, and clothes; and healths are pledged and brindisi are given. But
there is no riot and no quarrelling. we lift our eyes from this swarm below, we see the exquisite Campagna with its silent, purple distances stretching off to Rome, and hear the rush of a wild torrent scolding in the gorge below among the stones and olives.
But while we are lingering here, a crowd is pushing through into the inner court, where mass is going on in the curious old church. One has now to elbow his way to enter, and all around the door, even out into the middle court, contadini are kneeling. Besides this, the whole place reeks intolerably with garlic, which, mixed with whiff of incense from the church within and other unmentionable smells, makes such a compound that only a brave nose can stand it. But stand it we must, if we would see Domenichino's frescoes in the chapel within; and as they are among the best products of his cold and clever talent, we gasp and push on,—the most resolute alone get ting through. Here in this old monastery, as the story goes, he sought refuge from the fierce Salvator Rosa, by whom his life was threatened, and here he painted his best works, shaking in his shoes with fear. When we have examined these frescoes, we have done the fair of Grotta-Ferrata; and those of us who are wise and have brought with us a well-packed hamper stick in our hat one of the red artificial roses which everybody wears, take a charming drive to the Villa Conti, Muti, or Falconieri, and there, under the ilexes, forget the garlic, finish the day with a picnic, and return to Rome when the western sun is painting the Alban Hill.
And here, in passing, one word on the onions and garlic, whose odor issues from the mouths of every Italian crowd, like the fumes from the maw of Fridolin's dragon. Everybody eats them in Italy; the upper classes show them to their dishes to give them a flavor, and the lower use them not only as a flavor, but as a food. When only a formal introduction of them is made to a dish, I confess that the result is far from disagreeable; but
that close, intimate, and absorbing relation existing between them and the lowest classes is frightful. Senza complimenti, it is "tolerable and not to be endured." When a poor man can procure a raw onion and a hunch of black bread, he does not want a dinner; and towards noon many and many a one may be seen sitting like a king upon a door-step, or making a statuesque finish to a palazzo portone, cheerfully munching this spare meal, and taking his siesta after it, fulllength upon the bare pavement, as calmly as if he were in the perfumed chambers of the great,
"Under the canopies of costly state,
And lulled with sounds of sweetest melo
And, indeed, so he is; for the canopy of the soft blue sky is above him, and the plashing fountains lull him to his dreams. Nor is he without ancient authority for his devotion to those twin saints, Cipolla and Aglio. There is an "odor of sanctity" about them, turn up our noses as we may. The Ancient Egyptians offered them as firstfruits upon the altars of their gods, and employed them also in the services for the dead; and such was their attachment to them, that the followers of Moses hankered after them despite the manna, and longed for "the leeks and the onions and the garlic which they did eat in Egypt freely." Nay, even the fastidious Greeks not only used them as a charm against the Evil Eye, but ate them with delight. And in the " Banquet" of Xenophon, Socrates specially recommends them. On this occasion, several curious reasons for their use are adduced, of which we who despise them should not be ignorant. Niceratus says that they relish well with wine, citing Homer in confirmation of his opinion; Callias affirms that they inspire courage in battle; and Charmidas clenches the matter by declaring that they are most useful in "deceiving a jealous wife, who, finding her husband return with his breath smelling of onions, would be induced to believe he had not saluted any one while from
home." Despise them not, therefore, O Saxon! for as "their offence is rank," their pedigree is long, and they are sacred plants that "smell to heaven." Happily for you, if these reasons do not persuade you against your will, there is a certain specific against them,-Eat them yourself, and you will smell them no longer.
The time of the church processions is now coming, and one good specimen takes place on the 29th of March, from the Santa Maria in Via, which may stand with little variations for all the others. These processions, which are given by every church once a year, are in honor of the Madonna, or some saint specially reverenced in the particular church. They make the circuit of the parish limits, passing through all its principal streets, and every window and balcony is decorated with yellow and crimson hangings, and with crowds of dark eyes. The front of the church, the steps, and the street leading to it, are spread with yellow sand, over which are scattered sprigs of box. After the procession has been organized in the church, they "come unto the yellow sands," preceded by a band of music, which plays rather jubilant, and what the unco pious would call profane music, polkas and marches, and airs from the operas. Next follow great lanterns of strung glass drops, accompanied by soldiers; then an immense gonfalon representing the Virgin at the Cross, which swings backwards and forwards, borne by the confraternità of the parish, with blue capes over their white dresses, and all holding torches. Then follows a huge wooden cross, garlanded with golden ivyleaves, and also upheld by the confraternità, who stagger under its weight. Next come two crucifixes, covered, as the body of Christ always is during Lent and until Resurrection-Day, with cloth of purple, (the color of passion,) and followed by the frati of the church in black, carrying candles and dolorously chanting a hymn. Then comes the bishop in his mitre, his yellow stole upheld by two principal priests, (the curate and subcu
rate,) and to him his acolytes waft incense, as well as to the huge figure of the Madonna which follows. This figure is of life-size, carved in wood, surrounded by gilt angels, and so heavy that sixteen stout facchini, whose shabby trousers show under their improvised costume, are required to bear it along. With this the procession comes to its climax. Immediately after follow the guards, and a great concourse of the populace closes the train.
As Holy Week approaches, pilgrims begin to flock to Rome with their oil-cloth capes, their scallop-shell, their long staffs, their rosaries, and their dirty hands held out constantly for "una santa elemosina pel povero pellegrino." Let none of my fair friends imagine that she will find a Romeo among them, or she will be most grievously disappointed. There is something to touch your pity in their appearance, though not the pity akin to
love. They are, for the most part, old, shabby, and soiled, and inveterate mendicants, and though, some time or other, some one or other may have known one of them for her true-love, "by his cockle hat and staff, and his sandal shoon," that time has been long forbye, unless they are wondrously disguised. Besides these pilgrims, and often in company with them, bands of peasants, with their long staffs, may be met on the road, making a pilgrimage to Rome for the Holy Week, clad in splendid ciocciari dresses, carrying their clothes on their heads, and chanting a psalm as they go. Among these may be found many a handsome youth and beautiful maid, whose faces will break into the most charming of smiles as you salute them and wish them a happy pilgrimage. And of all smiles, none is so sudden, open, and enchanting as a Roman girl's; and breaking over their dark, passionate faces, black eyes, and level brows, it seems like a burst of sunlight from behind a cloud. There must be noble possibilities in any nation which, through all its oppression and degradation, has preserved the childlike frankness of the Italian smile.