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The innocents abroad, or, The new Pilgrim's progress

being some account of the steamship Quaker City's pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy land ; with descriptions of countries, nations, incidents and adventures, as they appeared to the author




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THE ship is lying here in the harbor of Naples—quarantined.
She has been here several days and will remain
several more. We that came by rail from Rome have escaped
this misfortune. Of course no one is allowed to go on board
the ship, or come ashore from her. She is a prison, now. The
passengers probably spend the long, blazing days looking out
from under the awnings at Vesuvius and the beautiful city—
and in swearing. Think of ten days of this sort of pastime!—
We go out every day in a boat and request them to come
ashore. It soothes them. We lie ten steps from the ship and
tell them how splendid the city is; and how much better the
hotel fare is here than any where else in Europe; and how
cool it is; and what frozen continents of ice cream there are;
and what a time we are having cavorting about the country
and sailing to the islands in the Bay. This tranquilizes them.


I shall remember our trip to Vesuvius for many a day—
partly because of its sight-seeing experiences, but chiefly on
account of the fatigue of the journey. Two or three of us
had been resting ourselves among the tranquil and beautiful
scenery of the island of Ischia, eighteen miles out in the harbor,
for two days; we called it “resting,” but I do not remember
now what the resting consisted of, for when we got back
to Naples we had not slept for forty-eight hours. We were
just about to go to bed early in the evening, and catch up on


Page 309
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 309. In-line Illustration. Image of a large ship with some men on the deck, and a rowboat with more men in it. There is a smoking volcano in the background. The caption reads, "SOOTHING THE PILGRIMS."] some of the sleep we had lost, when we heard of this Vesuvius
expedition. There was to be eight of us in the party, and we
were to leave Naples at midnight. We laid in some provisions
for the trip, engaged carriages to take us to Annunciation,
and then moved about
the city, to keep awake,
till twelve. We got away
punctually, and in the
course of an hour and a
half arrived at the town
of Annunciation. Annunciation
is the very
last place under the sun.
In other towns in Italy
the people lie around quietly
and wait for you to
ask them a question or
do some overt act that
can be charged for—but
in Annunciation they
have lost even that fragment
of delicacy; they
seize a lady's shawl from
a chair and hand it to
her and charge a penny;
they open a carriage door,
and charge for it—shut it when you get out, and charge for it;
they help you to take off a duster—two cents; brush your
clothes and make them worse than they were before—two
cents; smile upon you—two cents; bow, with a lick-spittle
smirk, hat in hand—two cents; they volunteer all information,
such as that the mules will arrive presently—two cents—warm
day, sir—two cents—take you four hours to make the ascent—
two cents. And so they go. They crowd you—infest you—
swarm about you, and sweat and smell offensively, and look
sneaking and mean, and obsequious. There is no office too
degrading for them to perform, for money. I have had no opportunity


Page 310
to find out any thing about the upper classes by my
own observation, but from what I hear said about them I judge
that what they lack in one or two of the bad traits the canaille
have, they make up in one or two others that are worse. How
the people beg!—many of them very well dressed, too.

I said I knew nothing against the upper classes by personal
observation. I must recall it! I had forgotten. What I saw
their bravest and their fairest do last night, the lowest multitude
that could be scraped up out of the purlieus of Christendom
would blush to do, I think. They assembled by hundreds,
and even thousands, in the great Theatre of San Carlo, to do—
what? Why, simply, to make fun of an old woman—to deride,
to hiss, to jeer at an actress they once worshipped, but
whose beauty is faded now and whose voice has lost its former
richness. Every body spoke of the rare sport there was to be.
They said the theatre would be crammed, because Frezzolini
was going to sing. It was said she could not sing well, now,
but then the people liked to see her, anyhow. And so we
went. And every time the woman sang they hissed and
laughed—the whole magnificent house—and as soon as she left
the stage they called her on again with applause. Once or
twice she was encored five and six times in succession, and received
with hisses when she appeared, and discharged with
hisses and laughter when she had finished—then instantly encored
and insulted again! And how the high-born knaves
enjoyed it! White-kidded gentlemen and ladies laughed till
the tears came, and clapped their hands in very ecstacy when
that unhappy old woman would come meekly out for the sixth
time, with uncomplaining patience, to meet a storm of hisses!
It was the cruelest exhibition—the most wanton, the most unfeeling.
The singer would have conquered an audience of
American rowdies by her brave, unflinching tranquillity (for
she answered encore after encore, and smiled and bowed pleasantly,
and sang the best she possibly could, and went bowing
off, through all the jeers and hisses, without ever losing countenance
or temper:) and surely in any other land than Italy
her sex and her helplessness must have been an ample protection


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to her—she could have needed no other. Think what a
multitude of small souls were crowded into that theatre last
night. If the manager could have filled his theatre with Neapolitan
souls alone, without the bodies, he could not have
cleared less than ninety millions of dollars. What traits of
character must a man have to enable him to help three thousand
miscreants to hiss, and jeer, and laugh at one friendless
old woman, and shamefully humiliate her? He must have all
the vile, mean traits there are. My observation persuades me
(I do not like to venture beyond my own personal observation,)
that the upper classes of Naples possess those traits of character.
Otherwise they may be very good people; I can not say.


In this city of Naples, they believe in and support one of the
wretchedest of all the religious impostures one can find in
Italy—the miraculous liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius.
Twice a year the priests assemble all the people at the
Cathedral, and get out this vial of clotted blood and let them
see it slowly dissolve and become liquid—and every day for
eight days, this dismal farce is repeated, while the priests go
among the crowd and collect money for the exhibition. The
first day, the blood liquefies in forty-seven minutes—the church
is crammed, then, and time must be allowed the collectors to
get around: after that it liquefies a little quicker and a little
quicker, every day, as the houses grow smaller, till on the
eighth day, with only a few dozens present to see the miracle,
it liquefies in four minutes.

And here, also, they used to have a grand procession, of
priests, citizens, soldiers, sailors, and the high dignitaries of the
City Government, once a year, to shave the head of a madeup
Madonna—a stuffed and painted image, like a milliner's
dummy—whose hair miraculously grew and restored itself
every twelve months. They still kept up this shaving procession
as late as four or five years ago. It was a source of great
profit to the church that possessed the remarkable effigy, and


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the ceremony of the public barbering of her was always carried
out with the greatest possible eclat and display—the more
the better, because the more excitement there was about it the
larger the crowds it drew and the heavier the revenues it produced—but
at last a day came when the Pope and his servants
were unpopular in Naples, and the City Government stopped
the Madonna's annual show.

There we have two specimens of these Neapolitans—two of
the silliest possible frauds, which half the population religiously
and faithfully believed, and the other half either believed also or
else said nothing about, and thus lent themselves to the support
of the imposture. I am very well satisfied to think the whole
population believed in those poor, cheap miracles—a people
who want two cents every time they bow to you, and who
abuse a woman, are capable of it, I think.


These Neapolitans always ask four times as much money as
they intend to take, but if you give them what they first demand,
they feel ashamed of themselves for aiming so low, and
immediately ask more. When money is to be paid and received,
there is always some vehement jawing and gesticulating
about it. One can not buy and pay for two cents' worth
of clams without trouble and quarrel. One “course,” in a
two-horse carriage, costs a franc—that is law—but the hackman
always demands more, on some pretence or other, and if
he gets it he makes a new demand. It is said that a stranger
took a one-horse carriage for a course—tariff, half a franc.
He gave the man five francs, by way of experiment. He demanded
more, and received another frane. Again he demanded
more, and got a franc—demanded more, and it was refused.
He grew vehement—was again refused, and became noisy.
The stranger said, “Well, give me the seven francs again, and
I will see what I can do”—and when he got them, he handed
the hackman half a frane, and he immediately asked for two
cents to buy a drink with. It may be thought that I am prejudiced.


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[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 313. In-line Illustration. Image of men on donkeys climing a steep hill. One man is being kicked by a donkey. The caption reads, "ASCENT OF VESUVIUS."] Perhaps I am. I would be ashamed of myself if I
were not.


Well, as I was saying, we got our mules and horses, after an
hour and a half of bargaining with the population of Annunciation,
and started sleepily up the mountain, with a vagrant
at each mule's tail who pretended to be driving the brute along,
but was really holding on and getting himself dragged up instead.
I made slow headway at first, but I began to get dissatisfied
at the idea of paying my minion five francs to hold my


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mule back by the tail and keep him from going up the hill,
and so I discharged him. I got along faster then.

We had one magnificent picture of Naples from a high point
on the mountain side. We saw nothing but the gas lamps, of
course—two-thirds of a circle, skirting the great Bay—a necklace
of diamonds glinting up through the darkness from the
remote distance—less brilliant than the stars overhead, but
more softly, richly beautiful—and over all the great city the
lights crossed and recrossed each other in many and many a
sparkling line and curve. And back of the town, far around
and abroad over the miles of level campagna, were scattered
rows, and circles, and clusters of lights, all glowing like so
many gems, and marking where a score of villages were sleeping.
About this time, the fellow who was hanging on to the
tail of the horse in front of me and practicing all sorts of unnecessary
cruelty upon the animal, got kicked some fourteen
rods, and this incident, together with the fairy spectacle of the
lights far in the distance, made me serenely happy, and I was
glad I started to Vesuvius.


This subject will be excellent matter for a chapter, and to-morrow
or next day I will write it.