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a matter of perfect indifference to the brigand whether he thrust the point into my chest or not. When he had concluded I was ordered to retake my seat in the carriage, a command which I gladly obeyed, in the hope that they had finished with me; since the leathern pursebelt that I wore had escaped their observation, and in one of its pockets were two of Herries's circular notes for twenty pounds each, besides a few napoleons. But, unfortunately another of the party took it into his head to search me, and I once more got down at his command, which was, as heretofore, accompanied by a loaded gun at my ear. In vain I replied Niente' to all his sounding of my different pockets. He still remained unsatisfied, and seizing the waistband of my trowsers, tore them down the side-seam for some twelve inches, when the luckless cintura made its appearance, and was in an instant transferred from my waist to his own. A circumstance also occurred that gave me much uneasiness for the moment. The German had a valuable diamond ring on his finger, which he could not readily remove, and he called to us in a voice of extreme horror that they were going to cut off his finger. He, however, implored a moment's patience, and contrived, by wetting his finger, to take off the jewel. It struck me that I had also a ring which could not be got off, and although not of much value, might still tempt them to mutilate my hand. By good fortune I managed to slip the ring round until the signet was turned towards the palm, and thus escaped their notice.
We were not sorry when they thrust us finally into the vehicle; for we thought it something to have got off with our lives. My friend and myself had been walking through Switzerland, and had only two knapsacks for our luggage; but the German's loss was considerable, including, besides his malles and carpet-bag, a writingdesk, in which were some hundreds of francs, and a letter of credit upon a banker at Naples for two thousand more. The only things I saved were the sovereigns I had put into my mouth, my pocketbook, and the little gondolas which were in the same pocket with my handkerchief. As we were starting again they threw into the carriage my old straw boating-hat which I had worn all the way from Chertsey; but my friend's new Tuscan adorned the head of one of the party as they marched off amongst the trees.
It was midnight before we arrived at Rovigo. There is a pont volant across the Adige, about a league from the town, which it took us half an hour to cross, being-as they always are on the other side when we got up to the river. They also detained us some time, because we had no money to pay the geld, and I did not choose to exhibit our remaining scanty stock after what had occurred. At last we were allowed to proceed, under promise of payment on our arrival at the inn. From this spot a tedious journey of an hour brought us to the next town. The roads were rough, and full of holes from the late rains, the horses sluggish, and we impatient to arrive.
They had retired to rest at the post-house, but we soon aroused them; and, having explained our circumstances, despatched a mes senger to the Stazioni di Carabineri to summon the police, and awaited their return in our bed-chamber. It is but justice to state the proprietor of the inn (the Albergo della Posta at Rovigo) was anxious to show us every attention, notwithstanding we gave him to
understand that we had not the means of remuneration. He paid the money for the post, as well as the trifle we owed for passing the bridge, and begged that we would consider ourselves at home as long as we chose to stay.
The police arrived in about ten minutes, and commenced taking our depositions, and giving directions for the departure of ten or twelve carbineers, who immediately left Rovigo for the scene of our stoppage. After them came several reporters to the provincial newspapers, equally anxious to be made acquainted with the particulars of the robbery; in fact, we were not able to get to sleep before three; and then I dreamt that I had got all my money back again, and that we saw the brigands chained by the legs, and sweeping the streets, after the manner of the criminal scavengers at Leghorn.
We were compelled to keep our beds the next morning until our garments were repaired. About nine the Venetian diligence, which we should have come by, had we been able to procure places, arrived at Rovigo. A young Prussian nobleman, whom we had met at Venice, the Baron de Hartmann, was amongst the passengers, and having heard what had occurred, it struck him that it must be ourselves, as he was standing on the steps of the Albergo dell' Europa when our gondola left. He hastened into our room, and in the most gentlemanlike manner, begged we would take of him as much money as was necessary for our wants, at the same time throwing a rouleau of napoleons upon the bed. We merely borrowed as much as would be sufficient to arrive at Florence, where we calculated upon obtaining assistance; nor would this fine young fellow take the slightest acknowledgment. He observed, that the word of an Englishman was sufficient.'
We left Rovigo about noon, surrounded by nearly the whole population, who had turned out to stare at us. There was something ludicrous in our appearance, despoiled as we were of nearly all our wearing apparel; and it may be imagined we found little difficulty in clearing the douanes on our entry into the Papal States. At Bologna we purchased such few necessaries as were immediately requisite for our toilet; and these, tied up in a cotton pocket-handkerchief, were all the effects we carried into Florence. At this city, through the liberality of Mr. Hall, the English banker, we obtained fifty pounds upon the Paris letter of credit; and the German met with the same attention from that gentleman. The second day after our arrival we met M. Hartmann in the Palazzo Pitti, and it gave us great pleasure to be enabled to pay our small debt, together with a ring, which we begged him to accept as a souvenir.
Our adventure made us the heroes of all the table d'hôtes between Florence and Geneva, and we frequently heard our own story recounted, with many amusing exaggerations. We were likewise advised, in several instances, as to how we ought to have acted, and caused much astonishment at the statement that we had travelled without pistols. Of one thing I am certain-that if we had offered the least resistance, we should have been killed, for they were seven to three, and all armed to the teeth. Besides which, the fatal adventure of Mr. and Mrs. Hunt, who were shot by the brigands some years back, on the road to Pæstum, during their wedding tour, was fresh in my memory, and we heard on all sides, that, had that unfor
tunate gentleman delivered up his property quietly, there would have been no bloodshed.
And now, reader, if you are anxious to have an interview with brigands, I beseech you start for Italy directly. Take money with you, travel by night, and make display of your wealth whenever you have an opportunity. This will hardly fail to bring them about you, in spite of all Mrs. Starke says to the contrary; and, although I can. not promise you the first-rate excitement of having your windpipe cut through, your skull beaten in, or your brains blown out, I can give you my word that you will be pillaged to your heart's content. We learn everything better from experience than precept; and, should chance cause me to travel in Italy again, I would endeavour to cheat the bandits of their full dues, by stocking my pocket-book with notes from the Bank of Elegance, and filling my purse with penny coronation medals of the best brass. This would divert them for the time, since they do not examine things very closely, and then all the satisfaction and romance of the adventure might be had, without paying very dearly for it.
SEVERAL months had passed since the foregoing article was written, and the affair had nearly been forgotten, except when the adventure was now and then recounted by my companion or myself, raising us to the dignity of becoming the momentary lions of a dinner. table, as real living travellers who had been attacked by real living brigands, to the fearful horror of all the old ladies, and intense excitement of the young ones. Some there were, to be sure, amongst the round of our acquaintance, whom we never could convince otherwise than that the whole affair was a well-digested hoax; for,' added these stay-at-home unbelievers, there are very few now who go to Italy and have the good fortune to meet with brigands.' By others, the alleged conception was laid to the most mercenary motives. According to them we had outrun the constable; and having entered considerably more into the gaietie of Milan and Venice than the state of our finances allowed, we had invented the account as a plausible scheme to obtain fresh notes of credit from England, without fresh accompanying notes of interrogation as to how we had contrived to get rid of the last remittance in so little time. We had no direct means of contradicting these aspersions upon our character. At last, however, we were enabled to convince our friends that we had spoken of the facts as they occurred.
To our great surprise, and no less gratification, we received a letter from the Home Office, in the early part of February, proving, that although we had almost allowed the affair to drop, the proper authorities had not. Its contents were to the purpose, that the Austrian ambassador at our Court having requested we might be called upon to give evidence respecting a highway robbery committed on us in Lombardy in August last,' Lord Normanby directed that we should make a declaration respect. ing the affair in question before a magistrate. We accordingly attended at the Home Office, and being referred to Bow-street, made an appointment there on Thursday the 4th of February. The result was a long interview with Mr. Hall, the chief magistrate, (to whose courtesy and attention we are much beholden,) in his private room; Signor kindly attending to give us his able assistance in translating the various documents which had been forwarded from Rovigo and Padua, and which were somewhat verbose and technical.
From Prince, Esterhazy's letter, which was the first paper read, we learned how closely the police had followed in our steps, to bring us back to Rovigo, in order to make a formal deposition before the proper authorities. The only evidence we had given had been the hurried declaration in our bed-room at Rovigo after the robbery, and we had started at an early hour the following morning; it being far from our wish to remain per force at that uninteresting town, solely for the purpose of satisfy ing the judicial authorities. At the same time we had not the slightest idea of ever recovering any of our effects.
To prove the extreme vigilance of the police, and the accurate information of the
movements of travellers which the passport system affords, it will suffice to give the following example. The letter stated that we left Rovigo for Bologna the following day, where we arrived on the Monday afternoon; that we started thence on the Tuesday morning, and arrived at Florence on Wednesday night; and tracing us in a similar exact manner through Leghorn and Genoa to Milan, they finally (and fortunately) lost sight of us at the latter city.
The papers furnished by the court at Padua, although somewhat lengthy, treated more of the minute description of the articles recovered than the capture of the vagabonds who had taken them. I presume they thought that part of the business their own affair. We, however, learned that they had been detected by several of our things being found in their possession, and that the party consisted of eight, instead of seven, as I had before stated. They had been suspected the day before of stealing some melons at Monselice, and had lain in wait the night of the robbery for some hours in the pelting storm. This might or might not have been the case; and I still look with rather suspicious retrospection on the small cabaret opposite the post-house where we last stopped. On one thing, however, they insisted, that we were not the party for whom they had watched. They affirmed that information had been given them of a valuable prize, iu the shape of some other English travellers, who were expected on the road that night from Venice. This reminded us that we had seen a handsome carriage in the inn-yard at Padua, whilst we changed horses, which had followed us to that city, but whose inmates were terrified from proceeding to Ferrara that night in consequence of the violence of the storm.* We likewise learned that the rascals had stationed scouts alone the road we were to pursue, who, on any attempt to sound an alarm by the postillion's horn or otherwise, would have assassinated us. From the evidence of the postillion himself, he appears to have come off with tolerable credit at the criminal court at Padua on the 14th of November last. From this we gleaned the foregoing circumstances.
Much amusement was created as the account and description of the different articles recovered was read to us by Signor, and we in turn recognized our respective property with eager interest. Nothing was said about the watches, the money, or the notes; but even the humble remaining effects will (if we receive them from Italy) assume a hundredfold value in our eyes, from the circumstances connected with their adventures. As our penknives, knapsacks, journals, drawing-books, &c. were successively described, we appeared to be greeting friends who had long been estranged from us; and our merriment was somewhat increased when Signor continued the list with two ladies' shoes, one kid and the other satin. Mr. Hall pleasantly observed, we had better not proceed, in case of some awkward disclosures; but my friend cleared himself very satisfactorily, by stating that they were taken out as patterns to procure some French ones by when we arrived at Paris. A little paper-knife of Swiss wood, which I had bought on the Rigi, whilst shivering with the cold of four o'clock in the morning, and endeavouring to open my eyes wide enough to see the sun rise (which process, I believe, no one ever does witness,) was also recovered; with some silk purses, empty of course, but being souvenirs, still valuable in proportion to our respective gallantry. One thing I was extremely annoyed at not hearing of, and that was a pair of old shoes, in which I had crossed the Alps on foot six times, and which I regarded with affectionate veneration. I have no doubt but that the authorities will yet discover some more of our effects. Be this as it may, our best thanks are due to the police for their extreme vigilance; and it is likewise a source of much pleasure to us to offer this public acknowledgment of our gratitude to Mr. Hall, the banker at Florence, for his polite and kind assistance when we arrived at that city so utterly destitute.
We were pleased at receiving, a short time since, a letter from our Prussian friend of two days, Baron de Hartmann of Brandenburg, with a commission he wished executed in London, which we were but too happy to perform for him. We have likewise heard from our fellow-sufferer, Mr. Decastro. He has returned home once more safe and sound from his travels; but vows nothing shall ever induce him to set foot in Italy again, although he has some thoughts of paying a visit to England next summer, where he understands day and night travelling on the railroads is equally secure, and that there are no brigands.
Should this meet the eye of any of the company whose equipage was in the innyard at Padua with ours on the afternoon of Saturday, August 8, 1840, we hope they will show in a proper manner how deep their debt of gratitude is to us for having been robbed in mistake, and having also placed our own throats and brains in danger instead of theirs.
HYSON AND BOHEA.
A TALE OF THE TEA-POT.
BY 'T. T. T.'
THE Tea-Tree' of Tee-to-tum is the most celebrated of all Chinese didactic poems, and is one of those great and elaborate works to the production of which the labour of a life is necessary. The story of Hyson and Bohea, of which the following is not a slavish translation, may be considered as perhaps the most pathetic of its episodes.
Tee-to-tum did not misemploy his genius, and his toil was not illrewarded; for 'The Tea-Tree' may be considered the great national poem of the Chinese.
The history of Tee-to-tum is somewhat remarkable. It is related that he was cradled in a tea-chest, and that tea not only formed his earliest diet, but that through life he took no other nourishment. He lived in a retired tea-garden in the district of Sing-te; his house and his furniture were formed of tea wood, and the dry branches of tea-trees served him as fuel. He lived to a green old age, and his death was occasioned by an accident similar to that which terminated the days of Anacreon; only that the Chinese poet was choked, not by a grape-stone, but by a tea-stem.
His poem is very voluminous, being divided into two hundred books, or, as he calls them, branches. Each branch comprises full a thousand 'leaves;' not indeed leaves of two pages each; but the single verses of Tee-to-Tum are called 'tea-leaves' by the people of the Celestial Land. His industry was remarkable: not a day passed without his adding to or correcting his poem.
Muse of the Central Land, whose soothing power
A household spirit still at hand to serve us,
And make our poets varm, our prosemen nervous;
A stream more potent than Castalia's river,
And even, GREAT MUSE OF TEA! canst strength impart