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ourselves that we are without them. Goldoni, in his 'Bottega di Caffe,' and Poole, in his Paul Pry,' have given specimens of two sorts of spirits; and there are twenty others, differing from each other as much as Asmodeus does from Mephistophiles. The barca seccatura, a terin implying a drying up of all the faculties, mental and bodily, is one of the most common, and not the least difficult to be avoided. This preface brings me to Torriagni, the devil of Florence,—a devil sui generis.

He was about fifty years of age, above the common height, bony and meagre, with a face dark as that of a Moor, features marked and regular, and eye dull and gloomy: he always reminded me of one of Titian's portraits in the gallery of the Uffighi, stepped from out its frame. Had he lived when Venice was governed by the Tré, he would have proved a Loredano; and, during the reign of Austrian despotism in Italy he was admirably calculated for a spy or Calderaio, perhaps he was both. Chi lo sa.

Nature certainly never designed him for a divine. As to his religion, it was about on a par with that of the celebrated Florentine, Il Abbate Casti-Casti à non casto, as lucus à non lucendo—of whom he was the worthy successor. Il Signor Professore was the title by which he was generally known. But, like many other lecturers, he had made a sinecure of his office, and only mounted the cathedra once, during many years that he touched the emoluments. Not that this circumstance would have caused his destitution; but, as he says himself, he lost his professorship by an irresistible bon mot. During one of the midnight orgies which he was in the habit of celebrating with some of the most dissolute of the students, he was interrogated by the patrol who and with whom he was? To which he gave this laconic answer :- Signor, Io sono un' uomo publico, con una donna publica, in una strada publica.' This public avowal lost him his post. But it gave him éclat. There were two reasons why he was tolerated in the best society. His fun and his tongue-the dread of both. His epigrams were sanglante; and he gave sobriquets the most happy to all those who gave occasion for the exercise of his satiric vein.

His conversation was full of repartee, and sparkling with wit; and his information-for he was a man of profound reading, and vast memory, made him almost oracular. As to his eloquence, I can only compare it to that of our Coleridge. It was a swarm of ideas, seemingly incongruous, yet which he contrived to weave into the tissue of his argument with a most marvellous embroidery. How he plunged into abysses but to lighten other abysses, like a torrent, that carried all before it! It was this gift that made him welcome at Sydney's, and he had sufficient tact to keep in the back-ground the revolting vices which were habitual to him. Sydney had made his acquaintance there. Torriagni had the habit of finding out the new arrivals. For our compatriots he had a peculiar predilection, and particularly patronized the Belle Inglese, whom, after the Italian custom, he very soon familiarly called by their baptismal names, as La Signorina Mari, La Signorina Bettina, &c. Wherever he got the entrée, he was a sine quâ non, and a va tout. He could recommend Italian masters, receiving, sub rosa, a part of the lesson money. He was never at a loss to find some palace to be let, getting a douceur monthly from the owner. For a compratore di quadri he had always at hand some mysterious Marchese, ready with a Carlo Dolce, or an Andrea del Sarto, originals of course.

He could dilate for hours on the Venus of the Tribune, the Day and Night of Michael Angelo, the Niobe. He knew the history of every painting in the galleries of the Uffighi and Pitti. In short, he was mezzano, cicerone, conoscitore, dilettante.


He was in the habit of timing his visits most seasonably, moreover, so that you were obliged to say with Martial, Do, my dear friend-do dine with us to-day.'

It was on such an occasion that I hit upon the Professor at Syd. ney's. To-morrow I will endeavour to recall some of the conversa. tion that led to important results.

14th May. I have been thinking of our symposium of yesterday -symposium I call it, though Sydney lives upon vegetables, and drinks water: like the symposium of Plato, the subject was love.

'Amore, Alma del Mondo! Amore, sorgente di ogni buono, di ogni bello! Che sarebbe il universo, senza la tua face creatrice?— Un' orribile deserto!' Such was the exordium of the Professor. In the same strain did he continue for nearly an hour. His declamation was steeped in the enthusiastic tenderness of Petrarch, the mysticism of Dante.

From the rich mine of his memory he called into requisition all the treasures that painting or statuary could supply. He illustrated his subject with the finest passages from the poets. His deep sonorous voice went to the inmost soul. It was the finest improvisation I ever heard. Had he felt what he described-or was it a power independent of himself-that spoke within him-that inspired him with that marvellous flow of thought and language? Surely it sets all Sydney's theorems at defiance.

He had perhaps been equally puzzled.

'Love,' said he, is the perfect union of two angelic natures, utterly divested of their terrestrial dross. This is the love that must, if the God of love deigns to consider the children of earth, be of all spectacles the most worthy of his regard. Two beings that thus love, by a mysterious sympathy, have no need of words. Their opinions blend, intermingle, and form as it were one undivided essence. Their thoughts, wishes, feelings, are known to each other without the intervention of the senses. Distance does not separate them; age cannot diminish their affection, for they annihilate space and time. But, alas! Love has never shaken its angel wings over me. I have sighed for sympathy, and have found none. Abandoned to its own desolation, my spirit pines for what it can never attain. It will be my fate to go to the grave sad and solitary, to find no sister spirit to meet mine beyond the tomb.'

"You take a gloomy view of life to-day, Sydney,' I observed. 'Do you not know that Love was born a twin; and you are yet too young to despair of finding your double. What miracles may not Love accomplish! There was a picture in the exposition of the Louvre, some years ago, that riveted my notice; and, as it suggests to me a remedy for your ills, I will describe it. The subject is a sick room. On a couch is lying a young man, Signor Professore,' said I, looking at him, 'not unlike my friend, emaciated by illness, and half-rising from his bed, his glassy eyes intently fixed in admiration of a peasant girl, probably about sixteen years of age. His mother is leading her towards the couch. The young creature is exceedingly beauti ful, and bends her eyes to the ground with the most becoming modesty. At the head of the bed is the physician: his look is most

professional, and lighted up with a self-satisfaction, implying implicit faith in the remedy he has evidently suggested. By his side is the nurse, who seems worn out with watching; and the father, an elderly man, in whose countenance may be read anxiety, almost hopelessness, completes the group. The story is well told. It is an experiment, whether the object of all this solicitude can be saved by Love; whether the lamp of life, trembling on the brink of dissolution, may be resuscitated by the mighty influence of a hitherto unfelt emotion. The countenance of the young man seems to imply the possibility of its success; for it is radiant with delight, and he is stretching out his arms, as if to clasp the fair stranger to his heart? I have said little of her who is to perform the miracle; but I will call upon the Professor to describe to us a chef d'œuvre of art, who may serve as a model to effect my friend's cure, to chase away his despondency. Are there no Fornarinas or Cencis to be met with now-a-days?'

The Barbarini palace at Rome,' observed the Professor, 'contains the portraits to which you allude-Raphael's Mistress and Guido's Cenci. They are both beautiful, but of different styles of beauty. Nothing can be more voluptuous than the first of these. She is a brunette; but there is a clearness, a velvetine softness, a richness in her colour, that perhaps surpasses a complexion, where

"The azure veins

Steal like streams along a field of snow."

Her eyes are intensely black, and there is an archness about them, that speaks with a most seductive eloquence. So admirable is the finishing of this picture, that the closer it is viewed the nearer the resemblance to nature appears; and he must be cold indeed that can view this display of it with apathy. It is said to be the same face as that of the Tribune in Florence, which has lately been completely ruined by restoration. I can discover no such likeness.

The Cenci is of a different order of fine forms. She is extremely young. The portrait is said to have been taken as she was going to execution. My MS. says that Guido saw her in prison, where she was long confined before the trial, and after the sentence. It is not necessary to have been previously acquainted with the story in order to enter into the deep interest the sight of this lovely girl creates. There is a strange mixture of melancholy, yet resignation. Her eyes are heavy with tears unshed. It is the sense of the untimely removal from the world of one so rarely endowed that inspires our admiration of Beatrice, and makes us almost shed the tears that are denied to her. Her face is pale with thought, rather than the damp of the dungeon. Her complexion is delicately fair, and her hair ungathered on her head, plays in negligent strings of amber about that neck that is soon about to be presented to the axe of the executioner. But,' after a pause, added the Professor, 'I am acquainted at Florence with one more beautiful than the Fornarina, more interesting than Beatrice Cenci, and I will tell you her history. Bianca B is the daughter of the Governor of He has two, of whom Bianca is the eldest. Being an amico di casa in my character of Professor at the University, I have known them from infancy, and taught them the first rudiments of their language. No pupil whom I ever had repaid my labours like Bianca. She not only knows all our best poets by heart, but is herself a poetess. Her father has married again in his old age; and the

stepmother, jealous of her, has forbidden the daughter the house. The Governor is avaricious, does not like to disburse her dowry, and is waiting till some one will take her off his hands without one. She has been now confined for two years in the convent of St. Anne. Poverina, she pines like a bird in a cage, ardently longs to escape from her prison, pines with ennui, and wanders about the convent like an unquiet ghost. She sees her young days glide away without an aim. Yesterday she was watering some flowers in her cell :-"Yes," said she, "you are born to vegetate; but thinking beings were made for action, not to be penned up in a corner to blow and die." Perhaps,' added he, 'Signor Sydney will try and console the poor captive.'

The description of the fair pensionnaire reminded me of Margaret, and with her of Mephistophiles, when he says,

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To morrow, Sydney is to be introduced.

Who knows-nous verrons.

16th May. Sydney has at length found an angel woman. When I called on him to-day, I found him an altered being. He reminded me of the picture at Paris. His eye was illumined with a new fire; his cheek with the radiance of returning health. The change is magical. He is enthusiastic in his description of Bianca.

He has now an object in life. The external world, to which he has been so long dead, has awakened for him; that self-abstraction, the bane of his existence, has given place to a new feeling. He loves-loves to idolatry, and his love is returned. To-morrow I am to see Bianca.

17th May. I have been with him to the convent. It was in a dark street, has no gardens; and the pensionnaires being of the inferior classes, it contains no society such as a nobleman's daughter could move in. Economy was the motive for its selection. Torriagni's introduction seems to have been a very effective one; for our interview was not troubled by the presence of the abbess. Bianca is indeed lovely. Her long dark hair tied in the most simple knot, in the manner of one of the muses in the gallery, displayed to its full height her brow, fair as the marble of which I speak. She is above the common height; her features possess a rare faultlessness, and are modelled after the Grecian sculptors. But in her character seems nothing of the statue.

She spoke much of her captivity. There was a lark in the parlour, that had lately been caught. Poor prisoner!' said she, looking at it compassionately, "you will die of grief. How I pity you! What must you suffer, when you hear in the clouds the songs of perhaps your parent birds, or see flocks of your kind on the wing, in search of other skies, of new fields? But, like me, you are forced to remain here, always alone. Why can I not release you?'

Her talent seems almost to surpass her beauty. I do not wonder at Sydney's passion. They write to each other daily.

I now lost sight of my friend for several weeks, having gone on a visit to some friends at Pisa, one of whom required my medical services; but, as she was convalescent, I returned to Florence.

The moment I quitted the diligence I proceeded to the Quattro Nazini, where Sydney was lodging, full of anxiety on his account; for during my absence I had only had one hurried letter from him, that, instead of quieting, had only excited my apprehensions. On the stair I met his confidential servant, and augured ill from his countenance. It was a commentary on my thoughts.

'Have you not heard?' said he, in a whisper.

'Heard what?' I answered.

'My poor master,' he replied, 'you will find him sadly altered. He recognises no one, not even me. It is the third day since he has had one of his attacks, that lasted for forty hours. His senses are quite gone. The physician is now with him.'

Saying this, he opened the door, and showed me into his room. The blinds were almost closed, and it was some time before I could distinguish the forms of Dr. Fabbrini and my poor friend. The latter was seated on the sofa, and leaning on his elbows. He was almost bent double, and his body moving backwards and forwards, till it almost touched his knees. The physician was by his side; he advanced to meet me, and taking me into a corner, gave me his history. He spoke in his ordinary tone of voice, as though he had no fear of his patient's overhearing him.

This is the third day since he has been as you see. During all that period he has only had one lucid interval, and then his mental sufferings were so acute, that it is hardly to be wished it should return.'

With these words he gave me a chair.

Sydney was, as the servant said, so changed, that I should not have recognised him. All his features seemed drawn upwards by some convulsion of the nerves of the head; his eyes were dim and lustreless, and totally devoid of expression; his lips of a violet hue; and, were it not for the perpetual and pendulous motion, he might have been mistaken for a corpse. I addressed him; but he made no answer.

I asked Fabbrini if he always preserved the same silence?


'No,' he replied. His mind seems to be active; for he occasionally gives utterance to words almost oracular, to profound metaphysical reflections; and, strange to say, they are delivered in the purest Italian, a language in which he is not very conversant. Sometimes he psychologizes in verse; but his ideas are to me so obscure, that I cannot follow them. At times he makes replies, as though he were holding converse with some invisible being. His very voice has something supernatural in its tones,-a sort of ventriloquism, for his lips scarcely move. Who can say that he is mad? Perhaps, dead as he seems to the external world, he understands the mysteries of another.'

Alas! poor Sydney. Thus he continued for two days, and breathed his last in my arms.

Among his papers I found several poems, and fragments of a journal, also two sonnets, one a translation from Petrarch, and some stanzas even gloomier still.


'Now, when are hushed the winds, and earth, and skies,
And all the dreamy world in sleep is bound,

When Night's pale coursers wheel their shiny round
And Ocean tranced in waveless slumber lies,
I wander, muse, rave, weep, whilst o'er my eyes
Flits a fair form, so loved, though cruel still.-

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