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on the other hand, he had always appreciated ; and as he looked upon it as a general panacea, to travel he determined. The history of his travels long lay entombed in the family chest at the old chateau Montaigne, and was only accidentally brought to light by the researches of a venturesome antiquarian. Permission to collate the manuscript was soon demanded and obtained. The paper was found to belong to the latter half of the sixteenth century. The villainous handwriting, and the still more villainous spelling, left no doubt as to the author. The style, too, frank and cynical, naïve and coarse, was still the style of the old egotist of the Essays. Every circumstance identified it, and the prize, bearing on it the dust of two centuries, was finally given to the world. The first feeling on perusing it is certainly one of disappoint
Montaigne set out in the spirit of a valetudinarian, and before he had half completed his journey the humours of the valetudinarian had fairly engrossed his whole attention. The activity of the waters at Baden, the superiority of the soups and salads of Linde to those of Perigord, and of the wines of Augsburg to those of Florence, the richness of the sheets at Inspruck, and of the curtains at Sterzinguen, the fineness of the bread at Bostan, the politeness of the German landlords contrasted with the landlords of Italy, the failure of crabs and feather-beds at Rovere, and of old wine at Vincenza, the cheapness of board at Padua and Bologna, the badness of the Roman mutton, scarcely compensated for by the luxury of artichokes and green peas in March, are items that very soon begin to form the staple products of his daily register, and are clearly considered of far more importance than the antiquity of a bronze medal, the course of an aqueduct, or the girth of a column. It is amusing to see how the egotism of the invalid gradually overcomes the philosophy of the traveller. He is not five minutes in a village before he makes his secretary explore all the objects of comfort that the customs of the villagers supply, till at length the state of the dormitory and the kitchen becomes his gauge of civilization. Whether it is in some part due to the partiality of the secretary or not, it is certain that quite as much prominence is assigned to the fact of a people using pewter or earthenware, eating their eggs boiled or poached, or their truffles with or without vinegar and oil, as to their being Lutherans or Catholics, subjects of the emperor, or free mountaineers.
Those who look to find in the author the geniality of the classical tourist, such geniality as they meet with, for example, in the pages of Addison, will scarcely have their expectations realized. Addison, indeed, contemplated everything with the eye of an ancient
Roman. The most trifling objects were associated in his mind with the familiar studies of his school-days. The first sight of the crafty porter bustling for his luggage on the wharves of Genoa instantly supplies him with half-a-dozen quotations from his Virgil and his Silius Italicus. The lazy independence of the Neapolitan lazzaroni suggests a contrast from his Statius. A storm in the Ligurian Gulf recals to his mind the old character given it seventeen hundred years ago by Horace. The rustling of the olive-groves round Lake Larius drives him to his Claudian ; and the fenny reeds of the slow Mincius to his Georgics. The snow-white oxen that browsed by his side along the banks of the Clitumnus are still to him the sacred breed of Juvenal. In the marshes of Ravenna he hears the frogs croak as they croak in Martial's epigrams, and sees the stream of the Rubicon swollen beneath the thaw of the mountain snow, just as Lucian had seen it.
Not thus Montaigne. There is very little of the spirit of the antiquarian in his movements. It cannot fail to strike every reader of his travels that a man who had written a book as full of Latin quotations as our own Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, should pass through the scenes of classical antiquity with hardly a single reference to a Roman author. It is true that his secretary is responsible for a portion of his diary; but what his secretary wrote, he always dictated, and what he dictated, he generally revised. At Padua, for instance, he gives us a particular account of the economy of living, is diligent in relating the chemical qualities of the hot springs hard by, but forgets all about the knight-errantry of Antenor, and the description which Virgil has given us of its origin. All along the road from Rome to Tivoli, he sees the orchards as they struck the eye of Horace, scents the steam of the sulphureous Albula, rank as when Martial gave it the epithet; crosses the rich cascades of the Teverone, the Præceps Anio, but leaves them all without the passing tribute of a reminiscence to explain the machinery of the Cardinal of Ferrara's water-works. At Narni he asks for a particular soil, which he had read in his Pliny is softened by beat and dried by rain, but he never troubles himself to identify in the roaring abysses of the Velino and the Nar, the gulf through which the poet's Alecto shoots herself into hell. At Pavia he takes his readers with him across the Ticino, whose singular transparency, so unusual for the mountain-fed streams of Italy, more than one poet has sung, but it is only to tell them that the beds have no mattresses, and that horses can be hired there for two julios a post.
What he does describe, however, it is but fair to say that the
His Experience in Rome.
105 notes of Mr. Pepys himself are not made with more curious felicity. Rome was the principal object of his attraction; and accordingly, his diary at Rome is full of choice crumbs for those who will stoop to pick them up. The various religious ceremonies, novelties to the transalpine stranger, next to the prescriptions of offi cious physicians, and the effects of his warm-baths and cassia pills—for in spite of his infidelity, Montaigne was continually sacrificing a cock to Esculapius occupy him most. He happened to be present in the Holy City at Christmas-day, and curiosity and devotion led him to St. Peter's. The Pope, Gregory XIII., at that time past fourscore, but still prominent by his upright bearing, majestic countenance, and long white beard, administered mass in person.
Around him were the Cardinals Medici, Caraffa, and Farnese, names full of significance to the student of Italian history. During the whole ceremony all remained seated with their caps on, talking and laughing. On another occasion, while the same Pope stood on the steps of St. Peter, arrayed in full pontificals, and excommunicated the Huguenots, and all princes who should detain any estates belonging to Mother Church, the same cardinals stood by, and, at the sound of the anathema, held their sides with fits of laughter. What struck him most, however, was the singular contrivance at the administration of the sacrament, of using a particular instrument to imbibe the wine from the chalice, in order to avoid poison. Two things, which do not always fall to the lot of every traveller to the Eternal City to witness, he had the good fortune to participate in—kissing the Pope's toe, and seeing a miracle. The latter operation was soon over: it consisted in the cure of a demoniac. The patient was held on his knees before the altar, secured by a cloth round the neck. The thaumaturgus, a priest, proceeded to exorcise the evil spirit with all the charms his breviary would supply, and then fell to attacking the poor victim with his fists as heartily as he could lay on. All his efforts, however, were unsuccessful till he had pronounced a fierce anathema with pix and taper in hand. The man was then released, and sent home. The priest assured Montaigne that it was a very obstinate devil, but that he had the day before freed a woman of a very big devil indeed, that had long molested her, and had, in parting, spent his last venom on her by discharging through her mouth a quantity of nails and pins, and a lock of his hair. The process of kissing the Pope's toe was far more tedious, and Montaigne describes it in his best manner, though we suspect the devotee, at the bottom, regarded them both in much the same light as the essayist.
What interested him as much as anything during his stay at
Rome was the treasures of the Vatican library. Here he was permitted-a permission which, he remarks, was denied to the French ambassador—to handle the manuscripts of his darling Seneca and Plutarch, and, among others of less notoriety, to turn over the pages of a Virgil—the rival claimant for antiquity to that which, more than a century after, Addison scrutinized in the library of St. Lawrence, at Florence. Both travellers observed that the first four lines, usually printed at the opening of the Æneid, were wanting. Special courtesy seems to have been generally paid the old Gascon. One instance deserves to be noticed. He had brought with him into Rome the few books he was in the habit of making his travelling companions; among them was a copy of his Essays. All had been seized at his entrance; and certainly, if any one of them had less claim than another to be marked with the expurgata, it was the volume which contained the apology for Sebonde. It turned out, however, that he had nothing to fear. The system which had prosecuted Marot for eating bacon in Lent, and thrown Rabelais into a dungeon for learning Greek, was quite ready to overlook anything that, even if it were rather philosophical, was not absolutely Protestant. The volume was returned with the mark of the Maestro del Sacro Palasso. It had been objected, indeed, by the censor, that the word Tribune was used in an equivocal sense, rather more congenial to the atmosphere of old than new Rome; that the Apology for the Emperor Julian was not altogether orthodox; and that certain opinions on the education of children, and the punishment of criminals, were not becoming a layman; but the objections were overruled. Anything not in good taste they left to the author to expunge. Any censure that might have been accidentally passed on it, they begged him to disregard. In the meantime, they were bound to keep back a French translation of the History of the Swiss, the translator being a heretic.
To these mots de courtoisie, as he designates them, we may be quite sure Montaigne was not altogether insensible. Few men, indeed, whatever patriotic eulogists may say to the contrary, ever possessed a larger share of self-importance. No alderman, councillor, or parvenu, was more quick to appreciate the slightest mark of respect that might add to his dignity. One of the earliest objects of his ambition had been the Order of St. Michael. He desired it, he said, above all things. Eventually his desire was gratified; but it was not till the lavish distribution of it among knaves and panderers had made the honour very like a badge of dishonour. When he came to Rome, the idea of obtaining the title of Roman citizen took possession of his faculties. He set all his wits to work for the purpose ; and after some diffiHis Vanity of Chara cter.
107 culty, and a good deal of manœuvring, thanks to the interference of the Pope's major domo,' who had taken a great fancy to him,' he received the official document, couched, he takes care to add, 'in
the same complimentary terms that were addressed, on the like 'occasion, to Signor Jacomo Buoncompagnone Duke of Sero, the 'Pope's own son. Indeed, it is in the diary of his travels far more than in his Essays, that the latent vanity of his character is continually peeping out. It is evident that he does not stir without being conscious that he is a Frenchman, a knight, and lord-proprietor of the good patrimony of Montaigne. He does not pass a night in a hostelry without taking care on quitting, to fix a copy of his arms over the door of the room he had occupied ; and it is well if he does not tell us how many crowns he gave the painter, and how many pence the man who made the frame. On one occasion, he had his bearings emblazoned in fine rich colours and gold, on canvas, and went so far as to induce his host to give him his oath that they should never be removed. If the authorities of the town through which he might chance to pass send him a stoup of wine, or the lady of the manor a brace of partridges, he is sure to detail the whole ceremony, the number of the sergeants who bring it, the dress of their uniform, and the rank of the officers. Any disguise to promote his own rank was welcome. At Augsburg, the burgomaster took him and his suite for a company of knights and barons. The mistake was tov suggestive to be lost on our traveller. He instantly gave orders to his people to conceal their names, and by no means to mention the rank of Messieurs. All that day he strutted up and down the thoroughfares of Augsburg unattended, 'conceiving that this of itself served to make them be held in more honour.' A compliment or a rebuff makes all the difference in the world with him. The Archduke Ferdinand of Austria refused him the privilege of kissing hands, and it is pitiable to witness his chagrin. But nothing can afford him greater satisfaction than the opportunity of telling how the Duke of Ferrara sent a gentleman of his court to receive them, how the Duke raised his cap as they entered, and how he remained uncovered all the while M. de Montaigne conversed with him. Even the rank of the Maestro del Sacro Palasso, and his colleague, who overlooked his Essays 'both persons high in authority, and both eligible for Cardinals' --does not escape him.
To the consideration of his Essays it is now our turn to devote ourselves, and that too, we trust, in a spirit very different from that of his Roman critics. Their composition, if we are to take the author's assertions literally, was purely a work of amusement, & something pour passer le temps. Nothing can be more earnest