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LEGHORN-BRONZE SLAVES-BURIAL GROUND-QUARANTINE
LEGHORN may be soon dispatched.
There is an admirable sculpture in the great square executed by Donatello, being a statue of Ferdinand the First, and at his feet four colossal slaves in bronze, all of excellent workmanship. I could not obtain an accurate account of the origin of this erection. One assertion is, that the son of a former prince having made a gallant sally from the port, and captured an Algerine galley, was so elated with his success that he brought the crew into harbour, without staying to perform quarantine. The punishment is death; but the offender having made a public procession through the city, and with his unfortunate captives chained to his car, his crime was pardoned in consideration of his valour.
A burying ground appropriated to the English, its avenues planted with the fir, the cypress, and the willow, is gratifying as a national cemetery in
a foreign land, and memorable for containing the tomb of Smollett.
By the laws of Leghorn, every dead body of whatsoever degree must be taken out of the walls within twenty-four hours.
We chanced to meet a procession of two or three priests, and a great many boys, carrying a sort of a sedan sofa, on which was placed a black velvet cushion for the reception of the corpse. Their heads, and bodies, were enveloped, and nearly concealed, by flowing white cloth, through which were cut holes for the eyes, and mouth; conveying completely the idea of walking death's heads, or the ghosts of the other world come here to fetch their kindred spirit.
The streets of Leghorn as well as in other parts of Italy are swept by the convicts, or galley slaves; their arms are free, but they are chained in pairs by the legs with iron fetters.
It was no little luck that we had not arrived at Leghorn by any vessel which had come from the ports of France, as the dread of the yellow fever prevailing at Marseilles but a short time back had induced a quarantine of forty-five days. The unfortunate voyager has no remedy, the alternative of two purgatories are offered; either to remain on board, or to land, and stay, in the Lazzaretto, which is the public hospital without the walls, appointed for all who are liable even to the suspicion
Passage from Genoa
of having the plague. Our passage was effected in a felucca, hired at Genoa, a miserable sort of a boat, without cabin or any other accommodation, and in general badly manned, and navigated. The only shelter during night, therefore, was to sleep in the hold; but as I preferred the deck, my only bed was a mattress, with some old rigging for a pillow; however the hardness of the one, and the vermin of the other very effectually prevented repose, and by way of additional comfort made my neck, and head, ache most agreeably. Two nights were passed thus; the latter might have been spared; but the captain would land at the Porto Venere in the morning, and we were detained there three hours. We reached the harbour of Leghorn by nine at night, but the gates were then closed, and no office was open to receive our Billets of Health. Nevertheless it was luck to escape quarantine upon almost any terms, and we saw several vessels lying off, in this unfortunate situation.
The misery of such an imprisonment can hardly be described. One of my companions has endured it. One little room allowed, during so long a period for two or three voyagers; whether friends or foes, signifies not; and, in proof of the extreme rigour with which these laws are enforced, I have been assured that a puff of wind accidentally blowing the coat of a healthy person against that of a
suspected one in quarantine, though on the last day of the confinement of the latter, has caused the healthy man to be detained for all the term of the required imprisonment.
The passage from Genoa to Leghorn has been known to occupy several days; and as we were becalmed for two or three hours in the morning, it was owing to the stiff breezes of the night that we were blown in so quickly. To what sad perversity of the human heart shall we attribute the laughter, or pleasure, so often shown at the uneasiness of another?
The Captain of our felucca, judiciously taking advantage of the gale, crowded all the sail he could, but the vessel, as it swiftly cut along the foaming waves, was so thrown upon its sides, or heeled to that degree, that the waters rushed in upon the deck, where certainly no one could walk, or even stand, without difficulty. As the gale continued to increase, and the night to blacken, the howling of the wind in the shrouds, and the appearance of the bark sinking sideways into the ocean, so terrified one poor old man, as well as a younger passenger, that they both wept aloud, and were perpetually exclaiming; "Padrone! Padrone! Troppo velo! Troppo velo! Siamo perduti! Siamo tutti perduti!" Some laughed, and some had the same fears, but would not betray them; while the sailors mocked For my part, I thought we were going
on bravely; and, at all events, I was willing to run some risk for the sake of getting the quicker into port. One awful instant there certainly was, and it shook the faith of us all. At a moment when the violence of the gale induced the Captain to order the shifting of the sails, by some strange mismanagement the sailors suffered them to slip entirely out of their hands. The general outcry, and terror, at this moment showed too clearly how instantaneously each dreaded to be swallowed up in the raging ocean. All upon deck involuntarily started up, and those below rushed above to know the meaning of the cry.
The enjoyment of a bed on the ensuing night can be appreciated only by those who have felt such disquietudes on board ship.
Porto Venere, in the Gulf of Spezzia, has so many natural advantages that Bonaparte had projected the formation of a harbour equally important as those of Genoa and Leghorn :-an excellent road between those cities was also begun, and is now completing. The town is very old and miserable; but the prospects from their ruined church or on the sea are enchanting. The waters of the Gulf appear calm, and peaceful, as a lake, to which it also bears a strong resemblance by being embosomed in mountains ;-groves of olives crown the nearer hills; while beyond the little, but natural, outlet that forms the secure mouth of the harbour, the