the convent; and the women were loaded into them, packed into them, carried and put in, if they were too infirm to go themselves. They were driven away, cross and wet and bedraggled. They found their dwelling on the hill not half prepared for them, leaking and cold and cheerless. They experienced very rough treatment, if I can credit my informant, who says she hates the government, and would not even look out of her lattice that day to see the carriages drive past. And when the Lady Superior was driven away from the gate, she said to the officials, and the few faithful attendants, prophesying in the midst of the rain that poured about her, "The day will come shortly, when you will want rain, and shall not have it; and you will pray for my return." And it did not rain, from that day for three years. And the simple people thought of the good Superior, whose departure had been in such a deluge, and who had taken away with her all the moisture of the land; and they did pray for her return, and believed that the gates of heaven would be again opened if only the nunnery were repeopled. But the government could not see the connection between convents and the theory of storms, and the remnant of pious women was permitted to remain in their lodgings at Massa. Perhaps the government thought they could, if they bore no malice, pray as effectually for rain there as anywhere. I do not know, said my informant, that the curse of the Lady Superior had anything to do with the drought, but many think it had; and those are the facts. CHILDREN OF THE SUN The common people of this region are nothing but children; and ragged, dirty, and poor as they are, apparently as happy, to speak idiomatically, as the day is long. It takes very little to please them; and their easily-excited mirth is contagious. It is very rare that one gets a surly return to a salutation; and, if one shows the least good-nature, his greeting is met with the most jolly return. The boatman hauling in his net sings; the brown girl, whom we meet descending a steep path in the hills, with an enormous bag or basket of oranges on her head, or a building-stone under which she stands as erect as a pillar, sings; and, if she asks for something, there is a merry twinkle in her eye, that says she hardly expects money, but only puts in a "beg" at a venture because it is the fashion; the workmen clipping the olive-trees sing; the urchins, who dance about the foreigner in the street, vocalize their petitions for un po' di moneta in a tuneful manner, and beg more in a spirit of deviltry than with any expectation of gain. When I see how hard the peasants labor, what scraps and vegetable odds and ends they eat, and in what wretched, dark, and smoke-dried apartments they live, I wonder they are happy; but I suppose it is the all-nourishing sun and the equable climate that do the business for them. They have few artificial wants, and no uneasy expectation--bred by the reading of books and newspapers--that anything is going to happen in the world, or that any change is possible. Their fruit-trees yield abundantly year after year; their little patches of rich earth, on the built-up terraces and in the crevices of the rocks, produce fourfold. The sun does it all. Every walk that we take here with open mind and cheerful heart is sure to be an adventure. Only yesterday, we were coming down a branch of the great gorge which splits the plain in two. On one side the path is a high wall, with garden trees overhanging. On the other, a stone parapet; and below, in the bed of the ravine, an orange orchard. Beyond rises a precipice; and, at its foot, men and boys were quarrying stone, which workmen raised a couple of hundred feet to the platform above with a windlass. As we came along, a handsome girl on the height had just taken on her head a large block of stone, which I should not care to lift, to carry to a pile in the rear; and she stopped to look at us. We stopped, and looked at her. This attracted the attention of the men and boys in the quarry below, who stopped work, and set up a cry for a little money. We laughed, and responded in English. The windlass ceased to turn. The workmen on the height joined in the conversation. A grizzly beggar hobbled up, and held out his greasy cap. We nonplussed him by extending our hats, and beseeching him for just a little something. Some passers on the road paused, and looked on, amused at the transaction. A boy appeared on the high wall, and began to beg. I threatened to shoot him with my walkingstick, whereat he ran nimbly along the wall in terror The workmen shouted; and this started up a couple of yellow dogs, which came to the edge of the wall and barked violently. The girl, alone calm in the confusion, stood stock still under her enormous load looking at us. We swung out hats, and hurrahed. The crowd replied from above, below, and around us, shouting, laughing, singing, until the whole little valley was vocal with a gale of merriment, and all about nothing. The beggar whined; the spectators around us laughed; and the whole population was aroused into a jolly mood. Fancy such a merry hullaballoo in America. For ten minutes, while the funny row was going on, the girl never moved, having forgotten to go a few steps and deposit her load; and when we disappeared round a bend of the path, she was still watching us, smiling and statuesque. As we descend, we come upon a group of little children seated about a doorstep, black-eyed, chubby little urchins, who are cutting oranges into little bits, and playing "party," as children do on the other side of the Atlantic. The instant we stop to speak to them, the skinny hand of an old woman is stretched out of a window just above our heads, the wrinkled palm itching for money. The mother comes forward out of the house, evidently pleased with our notice of the children, and shows us the baby in her arms. At once we are on good terms with the whole family. The woman sees that there is nothing impertinent in our cursory inquiry into her domestic concerns, but, I fancy, knows that we are genial travelers, with human sympathies. So the people universally are not quick to suspect any imposition, and meet frankness with frankness, and good-nature with good-nature, in a simple-hearted, primeval manner. If they stare at us from doorway and balcony, or come and stand near us when we sit reading or writing by the shore, it is only a childlike curiosity, and they are quite unconscious of any breach of good manners. In fact, I think travelers have not much to say in the matter of staring. I only pray that we Americans abroad may remember that we are in the presence of older races, and conduct ourselves with becoming modesty, remembering always that we were not born in Britain. Very likely I am in error; but it has seemed to me that even the funerals here are not so gloomy as in other places. I have looked in at the churches when they are in progress, now and then, and been struck with the general good feeling of the occasion. The real mourners I could not always distinguish; but the seats would be filled with a motley gathering of the idle and the ragged, who seemed to enjoy the show and the ceremony. On one occasion, it was the obsequies of an officer in the army. Guarding the gilded casket, which stood upon a raised platform before the altar, were four soldiers in uniform. Mass was being said and sung; and a priest was playing the organ. The church was light and cheerful, and pervaded. by a pleasant bustle. Ragged boys and beggars, and dirty children and dogs, went and came wherever they chose--about the unoccupied spaces of the church. The hired mourners, who are numerous in proportion to the rank of the deceased, were clad in white cotton,--a sort of nightgown put on over the ordinary clothes, with a hood of the same drawn tightly over the face, in which slits were cut for the eyes and mouth. Some of them were seated on benches near the front; others were wandering about among the pillars, disappearing in the sacristy, and reappearing with an aimless aspect, altogether conducting themselves as if it were a holiday, and if there was anything they did enjoy, it was mourning at other people's expense. They laughed and talked with each other in excellent spirits; and one varlet near the coffin, who had slipped off his mask, winked at me repeatedly, as if to inform me that it was not his funeral. A masquerade might have been more gloomy and depressing. SAINT ANTONINO The most serviceable saint whom I know is St. Antonino. He is the patron saint of the good town of Sorrento; he is the good genius of all sailors and fishermen; and he has a humbler office,--that of protector of the pigs. On his day the pigs are brought into the public square to be blessed; and this is one reason why the pork of Sorrento is reputed so sweet and wholesome. The saint is the friend, and, so to say, companion of the common people. They seem to be all fond of him, and there is little of fear in their confiding relation. His humble origin and plebeian appearance have something to do with his popularity, no doubt. There is nothing awe-inspiring in the brown stone figure, battered and cracked, that stands at one corner of the bridge, over the chasm at the entrance of the city. He holds a crosier in one hand, and raises the other, with fingers uplifted, in act of benediction. If his face is an indication of his character, he had in him a mixture of robust good-nature with a touch of vulgarity, and could rough it in a jolly manner with fishermen and peasants. He may have appeared to better advantage when he stood on top of the massive old city gate, which the present government, with the impulse of a vandal, took down a few years ago. The demolition had to be accomplished in the night, under a guard of soldiers, so indignant were the populace. At that time the homely saint was deposed; and he wears now, I think, a snubbed and cast-aside aspect.
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