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submission of the passengers under the most
inexcusable and the most unnecessary delays.
I arrived at the capital of the kingdom of Italy
by the train which they called an express.
There were surprisingly few passengers, and
there were only some six or eight barrow-loads
of luggage. The portersâ??and there were quite
enough of themâ??occupied half an hour, by my
watch, in transporting the baggage from the
van to the receiving-room. I never saw men
lounge as those Florentine porters lounged; I
never saw inspectors stand and do nothing,
as those Florentine inspectors stood and did
nothing; and I never saw travellers take the
exasperating and disgraceful indolence of the
people paid to serve them, as the Italian
travellers took it. Two men protestedâ??two men
were angry. One was a Frenchman, the other
was your obedient servant.

Going on once more towards Rome (but not
yet, mind, out of the kingdom of Italy), we were
kept waiting three-quarters of an hour for the
arrival of a branch train. Three impatient men
got out, and walked up and down the dominions
of Victor Emmanuel, fuming. Again, the Frenchman;
again, your obedient servant, and another
Englishman. And what did the free Italians
do? They sat talking and smoking in the
sweetest of tempers. The perfect composure of
the engine-driver, the stoker, and the guards,
was more than matched by the perfect composure
of the native passengers. Late or early, in
the train or out of the train, oh dolce far niente,
how nice you are, and how dearly we love you!
See the Frenchman grinding his teeth, and hear
the Englishmen with their national "Damn!"
What a fever is in the blood of these northern
people, and what lives the poor guards and
engine-drivers must lead in those restless
northern lands! Here comes the train, before
the fourth quarter of an hour is outâ??what
would you have more? Has any accident
happened? Nothing has happened. We have
somehow lost three-quarters of an hour on the
road, to-day; you somehow lost an hour on the
road yesterday. Ma che? After all, we are
going on to Rome. We go on. Night and
darkness overtake us. The train stops, without a
vestige of a station or a lamp visible anywhere
in the starlight. A lonely little maid, with a
little basket, appears, drifting dimly along the
line, and crying "Medlars! medlars! buy my
medlars!" Have we stopped to give this poor
child a chance of picking up some coppers?
Send her this way directly; let us buy the whole
basket-full, and give the little maid a kiss, and
go on to Rome. My head is out of the window;
my hand is in my pocket. A gendarme appears,
and the little maid vanishes. "Be so obliging,"
the gendarme says, "as to come out and be
fumigated." I tell him I have come from
Florence; I tell him there is no cholera at
Florence; I tell him I have got a clean bill of
health from Florence. The gendarme waits till
I have done, and replies, "Be so obliging as to
come out and be fumigated." Everybody else
has already got out to be fumigated. I hear the
Frenchman in the darkness; his language is not
reproducible. First class, second class, third
class, we grope our way, without artificial light
of any sort to help us, up the side of a hill, and
all tumble into a shed. A soldier closes the door
on us; a white smoke rises from the floor, and
curls feebly about the people who are near it.
Human fustiness and chloride of lime contend
for the mastery; human fustiness, if my nose
be to be trusted, has the best of it. Half a
minute (certainly not more) passes, and the door
is suddenly opened again; we are all fumigated;
we may go on to Rome. No, we may not. The
passports must be examined next. In any other
country in the world, one stoppage would have
been made to serve the two purposes. In Italy,
two stoppages take place. As we jog on again,
I consult my official guide to find out when we
are due in Rome. The guide says 9 P.M. An
experienced traveller tells me the guide is wrong
â??the hour is 8 P.M. A second traveller
produces another guideâ??the hour is so ill
printed that nobody can read it. I appeal to a
guard, when we stop at the next station. "In
Heaven's name, when do we get to Rome?" In
the gentlest possible manner he replies, "Have
patience, sir." I catch the vice of patience
from the guard, and it ends in our getting to
Rome before midnight. Next morning I try
to find out, in various well-informed quarters,
whether there is a public opinion of any sort or
kind to resent and reform such absurdities as I
have here, in all good humour, tried to describe.
I can find out no such thing as a public opinion.
I can find out no such thing as the nerve and
fibre out of which a public opinion is made.
Abuses which have nothing to do with politics,
abuses which are remediable even under the
Pope himself, encounter no public condemnation
and no public resistance. Is it wonderful that
the King of Naples still persists in waiting for
his turn of luck? Can you call the "Catholic
party" absolutely demented, if the "Catholic
party" believe that the cards may yet change

My letter is ended. All that is to be written
and said, on the other side of the question, has
been written and said, over and over again,
already. The ungracious task of finding out your
faults, and of stopping to look for the pitfalls
that lie in your way, is now, to the best of my
ability and within my narrow limits, a task
performed. For the rest, time will show how far
I am right, and how far I am wrong.

Meanwhile, I beg you will not do me the
injustice to suppose that I have lost hope in the
future of Italy. I have said what I have
ventured to say, because I believe in the sincere
resolution of the best among you to rouse the
worst among you, and to show them, if it lie in
human power, the way to advancement and
reform. A man who honestly tells another man of
his faults has some hope in that man, or he would
hold his tongue. Distrust the flatterers and the
enthusiastsâ??see the difficulties still before you,
as the difficulties really are. When your people
have had their Venetian holiday, send them