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carp at Fontainebleau; they are quite tame, and rose readily to view when the gardener whistled and threw them a handful of worms.
While we were waiting for the train back to Naples, a pretty rural procession passed along the road. First came a cart full of new cottage furniture; across the top of the cart, supported by two poles, placed fore and aft, hung a rope to which were suspended saucepans, kettles, and other kitchen utensils; the cart was drawn by two milk-white oxen, and at the side were several peasants in holiday attire. Behind it walked two gaily-dressed young village girls, bearing each on her head two pillows in white cases trimmed with broad frills of lace, bows of ribbon, and bunches of flowers; the procession was closed by more young men and maidens. I inquired of course what it all meant, and learnt that it was a bridal procession on its road to furnish the cottage of a newly-married pair.
"È la roba d'una sposa, signora, che va a casa finchè sia tutta preparata per lei; non sono che i personi bassi. La sposa ne andrà Domenica," was the explanation given me by the woman at whose stall I gladly drank a glass of lemonade cooled by lumps of pure white snow.
As we drove along the Santa Lucia on our way from the station to the hotel, we met the caritellas on their return to Resina; these extraordinary vehicles consist of a cabriolet without a hood, and with a netting beneath; in the carriage, on the shafts, in the netting, clinging to the wheels, everywhere that hands or legs can the grasp, are We passengers. counted more than once seven-andtwenty in one caritella, all drawn by a miserable horse, whipped into a quick trot by the unceasing lashes of the cruel driver.
One fine morning we started from Santa Lucia at nine o'clock in the little steamer Risposta for Capri. The voyage lasted about two hours and a half; there was just breeze enough to be pleasant; the sea looked exactly like liquid turquoise, and the views on every side were as beautiful as they well could be. We stopped at Sorrento to land passengers, and gained a view of the town built on the edge of the cliff, and thickly planted with orange and lemon-groves.
The island of Capri, as the steamer neared it, appeared to be a mass of precipitous cliffs rising straight out of the sea. On the top of some, and lower down on others, are the ruins of castles, palaces, and aqueducts built by Augustus, who exchanged this island with the Neapolitans for the neighbouring one of Ischia, and by Tiberius, who built, it is said, no less than twelve palaces in Capri. Beneath one of the cliffs is the Grotta Azzurra, and as the sea was calm enough to permit its being entered, our approach to it brought sundry little boats to the side of the steamer, all of which were rapidly filled. A few minutes brought us to the en
trance of the grotto; it was necessary to save our heads by bending very low as the boat went in; we then found ourselves beneath a vault of frosted silver, supported by rugged columns of apparently the same material, and covering a lake of water clear as crystal, yet of the deepest blue colour!
The Marina Grande was filled with the Capri peasants when we landed, some with donkeys, others offering for sale stones and shells, or the straw baskets and fans they make, while many little girls were clamorous to be engaged as guides to those who wished to explore the island on foot. As we had neither time nor inclination to visit the ruins on the high cliffs, we wandered through lanes bordered by gardens of olives and myrtle, passing cottages shaded by pergole, or trellised roofs supported on poles, over which the trained vines were already spreading their leaves, and showing little green bunches of grapes; we were attended by two brighteyed merry maidens, who laughed and chatted, took us into the village church, dropping a respectful curtsey to the kind-looking old priest we found within it, and amused themselves and us afterwards by dancing the tarantella to the music of their own voices, while we ate our luncheon in a grove opposite to the ruined arches of an old road, beyond which the Bay of Naples, the city, and Vesuvius, formed a picture of almost unsurpassable beauty.
Capri is celebrated for quails, with which it supplies the Neapolitan markets; birds of various kinds abound in the island, and judging from our experience, the younger population are very expert at catching them.
"Uccellino da vendere, Signora," said a black-eyed urchin, as he held towards me a handsome brown and yellow bird.
Giving the boy a soldo, I gladly watched the flight of the liberated captive as it winged its way from the little hot hand that had held it. The news of my liberality spread quickly; boys with birds, some dead, some alive, met me at every turn. bought until my halfpence were all gone.
"Molto buoni per la mensa," said the little maidens to whom I gave my purchases.
THE PAGAN'S PRAYER.
FROM THE PERSIAN OF ATTAR'S "LANGUAGE OF BIRDS."
ONE night, amidst the Sudra's shade,
"A mortal heart implores," he said,
In the seven heavens or on the earth?"
Then Gabriel sought earth, sea, and air,
To the Eternal throne he flew,
The Lord replied: "Direct thy flight
The angel soared, and rested not,
Amazed, the angel back retured,
Baffled and struck with awe he mourn'd;
Ah, gracious Lord!" he sadly cried,
"What mystery does this secret hide?
The Eternal spoke: "Marvel no more.
LOUISA STUART COSTELLO.
"HUNTING, hunting, sir, is one of the most rational of amusements, useful in the way of exercise, and the most agreeable and manly of enjoyments. It is of great antiquity too, sir, as we may see in Scripture:" so said a jolly-looking personage in the railway carriage with the writer on the way to Rugby. He continued: "I cannot think for what reason so many persons condemn the sport, who ought to know better. They talk of cruelty too. What were animals made for, but for our use or amusement when we find it most our fancy to use them. Cruelty, sir, what next I wonder! The Scriptures allow of it; Nimrod was a mighty hunter, so is our rector."
"You have reason upon your side," said a portly gentleman, half Yorkshire by his accent, who sat on the opposite seat. He appeared, from an artificial ruddiness of complexion and an involuntary twinkle of the eye, not to be a little of a bon vivant. "I had not been," said he, "for the first time on a visit in a rural district of France, but when I went over again I determined to see their style of hunting, which at first I neglected to do. It was long years ago. The style was altogether different from ours, for it was undertaken on foot; this I take it was bad taste. It was rougher work to do. A hunter, the most thoroughbred of ours, could make no way in the forests. I confess I like to take things easier the open country and low fences. Not that I am in the field like the sucking aldermen of London on Epping day. They used to break down in their valour, so as to set the field in a roar. But even that is now beyond their daring, and they stick to turtle and marrow puddings."
Such was a part of the dialogue between two portly men in the train to Chester.
"What time of the year was it, Mr. St. George?" said one of the party. "I was never in the field out of England. It was the fall of the year, I presume?"
The harvest had been in for a considerable time, and the cold came on suddenly. I never felt it sharper. The ground was covered with snow, but barely so much as to render the soil invisible. All looked as white as innocence, and augured well for our sport. We met a party at breakfast before daylight, waxlights upon the table, on the borders of the forest of Orleans; but the dawn had even then begun to appear, threatening soon to make them dim. Day broke out full and bright just as we finished our repast, and it made the 'tapers really grow pale,' when
the jalousies were flung open, and the streaks of dawn in the east showed themselves the usual heralds of the new-born day.
At that moment noises were heard beneath in the court of the château, where we met that morning. A sort of bustling and the tramp of feet indicated something novel was about to take place. Now the neighing of a horse, or the bark of impatience on the part of the most generous of quadrupeds, showed that preparations were made for the business of the day. The wheels of a couple of roomy cars jerked over the uneven pavement. These were destined to carry the lord of the mansion and his friends to the place of rendezvous. Dimly descried beneath the windows, and close to the vehicles, was the pompous old huntsman, crowned with a fur cap made of the spoil of a remarkably fine fox killed some twenty years before. On his left side hung his gourde' of brandy, from which he refreshed his companions with a gouttelette now and then, while his carabine, en bandoulier, rendered the authoritative official as important to the eye as his experienced directions in the field were to the pursuit of the sportsmen.
In the mean while, the lord of the château and his friends quitted the salle à manger, and bold chasseurs, as all would fain be deemed the more valorous from their warm breakfast-having closed the ceremony with a petite goutte of cream d'absynthe, each bosom's lord sat lightly on his throne. Exploits à la chasse, past and in perspective, occupied the general mind. Boars, wolves, and foxes, with anticipated deeds of wariness or daring, and the final wind up in expectation of carrying off the 'hure'* of a boar, as fine as that of any pitiless savage of the tusk now in existence, even if the appendage of a descendant of the breed that gored Adonis, and bathed in tears the lucid eyes of the goddess of Love herself.
The party was soon accommodated in the cars. A number of village idlers had gone on foot to the place of rendezvous to join the battue or bush-beaters. The wheels of the vehicles rolled onwards, somewhat impeded by the rough road and accumulating snow. The fusils of the sportsmen over every untoward furrow clashed together, as if they were the weapons of the more formidable character of real man-slayers, clad in blood-red hue, while at every untoward jerk, those of the party whose bones were not well clothed with integument, gave out an exclamation that we would fain suppress, as jolt upon jolt indicated fresh suffering. Those cushioned with " good capon' sat unmoved as Atlas. Cervantes would have compared personages thus sharp in the different joints to the coin called a 'real,' which, in spite of the Spanish masters of the mint, was always three-cornered, in place of
*The head, the prime part so denominated.