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the usual marks of popular devotion, are not wanting at the corners of the streets.*
The ignoble custom, so often remarked by Travellers, of keeping a wine cellar in the Palaces of the first Nobility, where wines are retailed by the flask, is still continued at Florence, to the great The petty
Among the observables of the place, I cannot resist noticing a method of preventing the incommodity, often suffered in populous towns, from public stopping places--though my Protestant Readers will be scandalized by the devotion of their Catholic Brethren. At such corners the Inhabitant of the House that is incommoded makes the sign of the cross, in broad black strokes. On seeing this the next Passenger, pressed by necessity, goes further up-The Citizen makes another cross. The Catholic Passenger follows, as close as his conscience will permit-and the edifying game is sometimes played till the whole side of the house has been progressively consecrated. The Passenger now, driven to extremities, no longer observes the rules of decorum; and the determined Housekeeper having proved the incfficacy of the cross, to guard his premises from pollution, even in the Catholic city of Florence, has recourse, in despair, to the mediation of the Virgin, by fixing up a Madonna at the fragrant corner, under which his vexation breaks out, with laughable simplicity, in cliaracters of the most passionate dimensions: Rispetto! por Maria S.intissima!
accommodation of those who love a glass of the pure juice of the grape, which is here particularly luscious. negociation takes place in the
open street, at an obscure window on the ground floor, to the astonishment of English dignity, and the utter confusion of German etiquette.
The dialect of the Italian tongue that is spoken in Tuscany is the most favourable of
for that exertion of rhyming promptitude, described by most Travel. lers, the Practitioners of which are here called Improvisatore. The interesting Writer who has favoured the World with a View of Society and Manners in Italy and France mentions one of them, named Corilla, that he had heard himself.She was so eminent an Improvisatrice that she had been crowned, in the Capitol of Rome, with the wreath of poetry!
Yet the exertion of genius among
the extempore Orators of the Debating Societies in England is in reality far more
To string together at pleasure an extempore poem of compliment or condolence, undoubtedly requires, in any language, a fertile imagination, and a ready wit: But the Italian is particularly adapted to favour this particular species of impromptu.
It contains an unusual number of synonymes, and allows a liberty of mutilating words, unknown to other languages, to say nothing of the convenient augmen
tatives and diminutives by which for in
grandé may be, at the will of the Singer, grandio, or, if it suits better, grandioso, or, if the measure require it, grandissimo; and Piccolo, a little Fellow, may be varied to Piccolissimo, or Povera, a Poor Girl, may be, and often is,
by whining Beggars, most musically converted into
The language abounds in vowels. Several letters at a time may be dropped at will, whole sentences as well as particular words, are used only in poetry-thus every phrase may be a verse, and every word a rhyme; and the Italians, amused,
and deceived, by the melody of their language, and charmed with the pleasure it affords the ear, require from the rapid Improvisatrice neither sentiments nor ideas, and permit her to introduce the lowest vulgarities, as well as the most unnatural images and over-strained allusions.
By the help of all these favourable circumstances, a Man; but especially a Woman, of parts little quicker than ordinary, may produce, without a miracle, amusement enough, for People disposed to be amused.
Even in our own stubborn
stubborn English, could not the unwieldy Johnson string