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met with the Duke and Duchess of Corchiano, who were both well read in his works, and delighted to have been in company with him. This acquaintance might have led to some agreeable consequences had Sir Walter's life been spared, for the Duke told him he was possessed of a vast collection of papers, giving true accounts of all the murders, poisonings, intrigues, and curious adventures of all the great Roman families during many centuries, all which were at his service to copy and publish in his own way as historical romances, only disguising the names, so as not to compromise the credit of the existing descendants of the families in question. Sir Walter listened to the Duke for the remainder of the evening, and was so captivated with all he heard from that amiable and accomplished personage, that at one moment he thought of remaining for a time at Rome, and at another he vowed he would return there in the ensuing winter. Whoever has read
any of these memoirs of Italian families, of which many are published, and very many exist in manuscript, will acknowledge how they abound in strange events and romantic stories, and may form some idea of the delight with which Sir Walter imagined himself on the point of pouncing upon a treasure after his own heart.
“ The eldest son of the Torlonia family is the possessor of the castle of Bracciano, of which he is duke. Sir Walter was anxious to see it, and cited some story, I think of the Orsini, who once were lords of the place. We had permission to visit the castle, and the steward had orders to furnish us with whatever was requisite. We set off on the 9th of May, Sir Walter as usual coming with me, and two ladies and two gentlemen occupying his carriage. One of these last was the son of the Duke of Sermoneta, Don Michelangelo Gaetani, a person of the most amiable disposition, gentlemanly manners, and most remarkable talents. Sir Walter, to whom he had paid every attention during his stay at Rome, had conceived a high opinion of him, and, added to his agreeable qualities, he had a wonderful and accurate knowledge of the history of his own country during the darker ages. The Gaetani figured also among the most ancient and most turbulent of the Roman families during the middle ages; and these historical qualities, added to the amenity of his manners, rendered him naturally a favourite with Sir Walter.
“ We arrived at Bracciano, twenty-five miles from Rome, rather fatigued with the roughness of an old Roman road, the pavement of which had generally been half destroyed, and the stones left in disorder on the spot. He was pleased with the general appearance of that stately pile, which is finely seated upon a rock, commanding on one side the view of the beautiful lake with its wooded shores, and on the other overlooking the town of Bracciano. A carriage could not easily ascend to the court, so that Sir Walter fatigued himself still more, as he was not content to be assisted, by walking up the steep and somewhat long ascent to the gateway. He was struck with the sombre appearance of the Gothic towers, built with the black lava which had once formed the pavement of the Roman road, and which adds much to its frowning magnificence. In the interior he could not but be pleased with the grand suite of state apartments, all yet habitable, and even retaining in some rooms the old furniture and the rich silk hangings of the Orsini and Odescalchi. These chambers overlook the lake, and Sir Walter sat in a window for a long time, during a delightful evening, to enjoy the prospect. A very large dog, of the breed called Danish, coming to fawn upon him, he told it he was glad to see it, for it was a proper accompaniment to such a castle, but that he had a larger dog at home, though may be not so good-natured to strangers. This notice of the dog seemed to gain the heart of the steward, and he accompanied Sir Walter in a second tour through the grand suite of rooms -each, as Sir Walter observed, highly pleased with the other's conversation, though as one spoke French and the other Italian, little of it could be understood. Toward the town, a range of smaller apartments are more convenient, except during the heats of summer, than the great rooms for a small party, and in these we dined and found chambers for sleeping. At night we had tea and a large fire, and Sir Walter conversed cheerfully. Some of the party went out to walk round the battlements of the castle by moonlight, and a ghost was talked of among the usual accompaniments of such situations. He told me that the best way of making a ghost was to paint it with white on tin, for that in the dusk, after it had been seen, it could be instantly made to vanish, by turning the edge almost without thickness towards the spectator.
“ On coming down next morning I found that Sir Walter, who rose early, had already made another tour over part of the Castle with the steward and
After breakfast we set out on our return to Rome; and all the way his conversation was more delightful, and more replete with anecdotes than I had ever known it. He talked a great deal to young Gaetani who sat on the box, and he invited him to Scotland. He asked me when I thought of revisiting England, and I replied, that if my health permitted at a moment when I could afford it, I might perhaps be tempted in the course of the following
• If the money be the difficulty,' said the kind-hearted baronet, don't let that hinder you ; I've £300 at your service, and I have a perfect right
to give it you, and nobody can complain of me, for I made it myself.
“ He continued to press my acceptance of this sum, till I requested him to drop the subject, thanking him most gratefully for his goodness, and much flattered by so convincing a proof of his desire to see me at Abbotsford.
I remember particularly a remark, which proved the kindness of his heart. A lady requested him to do something which was very disagreeable to him. He was asked whether he had consented. plied, “Yes.' He was then questioned why he had agreed to do what was so inconvenient to him;
Why,' said he, ' as I am now good for nothing else, I think it as well to be good-natured.'
“ I took my leave of my respected friend on the 10th May 1832. I knew this great genius and estimable man but for a short period; but it was at an interesting moment, and being both invalids, and impressed equally with the same conviction that we had no time to lose, we seemed to become intimate without passing through the usual gradations of friendship. I remembered just enough of Scottish topography and northern antiquities in general to be able to ask questions on subjects on which his knowledge was supereminent, and to be delighted and edified by his inexhaustible stock of anecdotes, and his curious and recondite erudition; and this