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table d'hote almost led us to fancy ourselves again in the metropolis of France. Napoleon made Milan so prominent in his Italian dominions, and it was so long the residence of his provincial court, that French customs, manners, fashions, and language acquired an ascendency, which the present dynasty has not been able to control.

A little incident here occurred, which is illustrative of the complex, yet exact system of the internal police of France. On inquiry for letters at the Post Office, a printed notice was received from the General Department of the Post at Paris, giving information that a package, addressed to us at Milan, remained in the office at Marseilles, but could not be forwarded, as the postage to the frontier had not been paid. It was therefore necessary to write to the latter place, entrusting some one with a commission to the amount of thirty sous. Arrangements have been made among the petty sovereignties of Italy, by which letters may be transmitted from one city to another, without paying the postage at the office of deposit; otherwise all intercourse between the extremes would be cut off, as half a dozen independent states intervene between Lombardy and Naples.

The Cathedral of Milan is the lion of the city and of the north of Italy, not excepting the lions of St. Mark's. Much as had been read and heard of this unique edifice, it far surpassed our expectations, and excited a lively interest, even after most of the splendid temples between the two extremes of Italy, had been examined. It stands upon the Piazza del Duomo, a spacious but irregular square, which Napoleon marked out for many improvements that have never been completed. The approach, the steps, the portico will bear no comparison with St. Peter's; but nothing can be more rich, more finished or beautiful, than this Gothic pile, which is composed entirely of the finest kind of white marble. Its form is that of a Latin cross, about five hundred feet in length, half as many in height, and three hundred in the widest part. It rises by three stages from the eaves to the highest point of the roof, so as to conform to the nave and four aisles of the interior. The top is crowned with something like four hundred pinnacles, of a peculiar structure; tall, slender, and delicate, filled with niches, and thronged with statues. Although the material in every point of the exterior was originally uniform, it has assumed different complexions, from the foundations upward, corresponding with the various periods it has been exposed to the weather; as the church has been several centuries in building, and is not yet completed. These lights and shades, harmonized and softened by age, are far from impairing the beauty of the edifice.

The architecture is of the most exquisite workmanship, finished

with as much exactness as the finest statue of Phidias or Canova. Even those parts, which are the least exposed, and which cannot be seen without the closest inspection, are wrought with as much precision, and as highly polished, as the most conspicuous ornaments of the interior. Much of the admiration and interest of the spectator arises from this circumstance. Nothing seems to be fashioned expressly for effect, but for models of intrinsic excellence, richness, and elegance. The statues of saints, which are sometimes poised and perched like skylarks upon the tops of the pinnacles, and at others peep from obscure niches in the rear of towers, are so finished as to fit them for a private gallery, and would not disgrace the chisel of Michael Angelo. They are without number, meeting the eye wheresoever it turns. Indeed, the whole Cathedral is little else than a congeries of ornaments, turrets, pinnacles, niches, statues, tracery, and fretwork of all descriptions.

We climbed to the top, through a winding tower composed of granite. The fee for the privilege of ascending is fixed at five sous a head, payable in advance to an officer stationed below at the receipt of custom. Though the price is low enough, it appeared to me a paltry business, better suited to the show of an elephant than of a Cathedral. Walks are extended all over the roof, and flights of white marble steps, furnished with banisters, mount from stage to stage, rendering the ascent both safe and easy. Over the centre of the cross, a Gothic tower, of the same material and workmanship as the pinnacles, rises perhaps two hundred feet above the rest of the church, and appears too fragile a fabric to support its own weight. A tedious flight of steps conducted us to a balcony, hung lightly in the air Above our heads sat a circle of saints and angels, and still higher is poised a brazen statue of the Virgin, to whom the temple is dedicated, bearing the words "Virgini Nascenti" over the front door. In our passage up the tower, we saw a medallion, on which the architect, who planned the building, is styled "divus" or divine, an epithet scarcely too extravagant. It was commenced in the 14th century, and workmen were observed yet employed upon the roof, pecking with their hammers, and making slow progress in comparison with the despatch under the auspices of Napoleon, who nearly completed the work.

The balcony presents a glorious view of Milan and its environs. Here we bade farewell to the Apennines; a parting at which my readers will probably feel less regret than myself, as these eternal mountains are visible from all parts of Italy, and must necessarily be often introduced in sketches of its scenery. The Alps, to which we were bound, rose to the north, and their wintry tops appeared by no means

attractive. Between the two chains, the eye could trace the plains of Lombardy almost from sea to sea. The prospect of the hills about Lake Como was peculiarly grand and beautiful, presenting a chequered scene, as gleams of sunlight broke through the clouds, and fell upon green fields and white villages studding the landscape. Nearer the city, towers and steeples elevated themselves above the level expanse of a woody champaign. The suburbs are intersected by canals and broad avenues, diverging in all directions, and connecting Milan with the lakes on one side, and the Po on the other.

Beneath us spread the city itself, the walls of which are nine miles in circumference, exhibiting many lofty gates, and encircling no ordinary share of castles, palaces, churches, hospitals, theatres, and other public edifices, with a population of 130,000. The streets and numerous squares were thronged with what from this height seemed a pigmy race, and with carriages no bigger than the nut-shell chariot of Queen Mab. We remained in the balcony till sunset, and saw the last golden beams of day fade upon the hundreds of pinnacles, producing a richness and harmony of colouring, which no pencil could reach and no pen describe. The white marble seemed almost to possess phosphoric properties, and to emit the mellow tints of twilight, long after the adjacent buildings were gloomy and dark.

We visited the interior of the Cathedral daily and at all hours, during our stay at Milan. It contains a little world of wonders, which cannot, however, be compared with the miracle displayed in the architecture of the exterior. Two granite columns, four or five feet in diameter, and fifty feet in height, stand like giant sentinels, to guard the front door. The light is admitted through windows in the roof of the nave; and as the glass is stained yellow, tints of sunlight appear always to gild the fretted ceiling. But the golden hues are dimly reflected below, and the eye can scarcely reach from the entrance to the tribune, behind the high altar, where three other Gothic windows admit a feeble twilight. The pavement is horrible, being yet in an unfinished state, and composed partly of mosaic, and partly of rude brick. Charity boxes are placed at the doors, for receiving contributions to complete the work. Ranges of enormous pillars, consisting of fasces, divide the aisles, and support the vaulted roof. A series of handsome chapels line one of the walls; but the other is in a rude state, looking more like a store-house than a church. The baptistery is a little tabernacle, occupying one of the aisles. In the decorations of the interior, many specimens of bad taste offend the eye. Four statues of the Evangelists are converted into caryatides, to support the pul

pits,* from which some fat priest harangues the multitude. Such ornaments are radically bad, and always disagreeable, even when composed of slaves; but to degrade Apostles into Helots, doomed to sustain upon their heads an inert mass of flesh and blood, is a gross outrage upon propriety. Among the circle of statues, which surround the choir, is St. Bartholemew, with his own skin flung over his shoulders, and presenting his raw muscles to the eye. Before the principal altar is a candelabrum, in the shape of a palm-tree. A priest stated, that it was once set with precious gems, which the French picked out and pilfered; an imputation, which does not at all comport with the expenses incurred by Napoleon, in adding to the embellishments of the Cathedral.

In one of the aisles a curious article, somewhat resembling a balloon, or a theatrical cloud, in which spirits travel "from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven," attracted our attention, and our old cicerone, who has reached the age of 75, with few marks of decrepitude, was called on for an explanation. More garrulous than infirm, he told us a long story, the substance of which was as follows :-Once on a time St. Ambrose, in traversing the streets of Rome, saw a carpenter using a nail, which was instantly recognized to be one of the several hundred from the Cross. It was bought for a trifle, as the workman was unconscious of its peculiar value. But no sooner had the saint set out to cross the Campagna, than all the bells in the city began to ring. The Pope and his Cardinals met in conclave; the people were in an uproar; and an army of ecclesiastics pursued the holy fugitive to Milan, for the purpose of recovering the sacred relic. Here it was agreed, that the nail should be thrown up by St. Ambrose, and if it stuck to the roof, it was to be deposited in this temple; but if it fell to the pavement, it was to be returned to Rome. Gravitation was sadly against the chance of the holy man; but what has philosophy to do with miracles? The nail was attracted upward, like Mahomet's coffin, and clung to the ceiling. An ecclesiastical, instead of theatrical, cloud was fashioned, in which the dignitaries of the church ascended to bring down the relic, which is now deposited in the centre of a golden sun, illuminating the high altar; and if any profane hand chances to touch it, the pious are thrown into fits of torture, and give

* Upon the desks are posted up regulations, prescribing the number of paternosters and Ave-Marias, which a person must say in the course of a year, to qualify him to partake of the sacrament. The aggregate amounts to some thousands, and it must require a good accountant with a strong memory to keep the tally.

vent to their agony in convulsive screams. In commemoration of this miraculous event, the priests go up once a year as far towards heaven as the Gothic roof will permit, in the machine which called forth this marvellous tale.

But greater wonders than the nail of St. Ambrose were disclosed to our view, in the crypt of the Cathedral. The tomb of San Carlo Borromeo, the patron of Milan and its vicinity, was opened to our dazzled sight, by no other magic than a fee of four trancs. Such a spectacle was worth what it cost, being cheaper than a box-ticket in the Scala. A cream-faced, lily-livered priest lighted his flambeau, and bade us follow him into the nether world, proclaiming the "procul, O procul este profani!" as a sort of riot act to the tatterdemalions, who cut short their devotions and gathered round the hatch-way, anxious to take a peep at the saint through the iron grates, without paying the shot.

Old Borromeo, who was Cardinal and Archbishop in 1577, as appears from a monument behind the high altar, has a richer shrine than the Delphic god or Capitoline Jove could ever boast. A vestibule, adorned with Grecian columns of the rarest marbles, leads to the holy of holies, which is a superb octagonal apartment. Its walls are lined with tapestry, wrought in threads of gold and Tyrian purple. Quenching his torch, lighting three candles, crossing himself, and muttering a brief prayer, the ghostly showman drew the crimson curtains, which conceal the sarcophagus from vulgar eyes. The coffin is of massive silver, embossed with gold. Its front is let down with screws, disclosing another sarcophagus of crystal, the panes of which are set in a golden frame, studded with the purest gems. Italian ecclesiastics always take care, that relics shall be seen through a medium, producing a sufficient number of refractions and reflections. The body of the saint is stretched out, wrapped in gorgeous robes, with sandals upon his feet and white gloves upon his hands, decked with rings of topaz and diamond. His head still wears the mitre, and above it is suspended a tiara, glittering with brilliants, and richer than ever sparkled upon a regal brow. His crosier, more suitable for an imperial sceptre than a pastoral staff, lies at his side. His face resembles an Egyptian mummy. The eye cannot distinguish by candle-light, whether it is flesh, wax, or wood. From the lid of the sarcophagus hang clusters of gold rings, studded with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other precious gems offerings from princely devotees. Several of them are from England and other remote countries. There is one present of a curious description. It is a bambino of massive gold, swaddled in the Roman manner, and looking like a little mummy, or idol. It was of

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