THE CITY OF MY LOVE She sits among th' eternal hills, Their crown, thrice glorious and dear; Her voice is as a thousand tongues Of silver fountains, gurgling clear. Her breath is prayer, her life is love, And worship of all lovely things; Her children have a gracious port, Her beggars show the blood of kings. By old Tradition guarded close, None doubt the grandeur she has seen; Upon her venerable front Is written: "I was born a Queen!" She rules the age by Beauty's power, As once she ruled by armèd might; The Southern sun doth treasure her Deep in his golden heart of light. Awe strikes the traveller when he sees The vision of her distant dome, And a strange spasm wrings his heart As the guide whispers: "There is Rome!" * * * * * * And, though it seem a childish prayer, I've breathed it oft, that when I die, As thy remembrance dear in it, That heart in thee might buried lie. J. W. H.
The closing verse of her early poem, "The City of My Love," expresses the longing that, like Shelley's, her heart "might buried lie" in Rome. Some memory of this wish, some foreboding that the wish might be granted, possibly darkened the first days of her last Roman winter. In late November of the year 1897 she arrived in Rome with the Elliotts to pass the winter at their apartment in the ancient Palazzo Rusticucci of the old Leonine City across the Tiber; in the shadow of St. Peter's, next door to the Vatican. The visit had been planned partly in the hope that she might once more see her sister Louisa. In this we know she was disappointed. They reached Rome at the beginning of the rainy season, which fell late that year. All these causes taken together account for an unfamiliar depression that creeps into the Journal. She missed, too, the thousand interests of her Boston life; her church, her club, her meetings, all the happy business of keeping a grandmother's house where three generations and their friends were made welcome. At home every hour of time was planned for, every ounce of power well invested in some "labor worthy of her metal." In Rome her only work at first was the writing of her "Reminiscences" for the "Atlantic Monthly." Happily, the depression was short-lived. Gradually the ancient spell of the Great Enchantress once more enthralled her, but it was not until she had founded a club, helped to found a Woman's Council, begun to receive invitations to lecture and to preach, that the accustomed joie de vivre pulses through the record. The sower is at work again, the ground is fertile, the seed quickening.
"December 1. The first day of this winter, which God help me to live through! Dearest Maud is all kindness and devotion to me, and so is Jack, but I have Rome en grippe; nothing in it pleases me."
"December 6. Something, perhaps it is the bright weather, moves me to activity so strongly that I hasten to take up my pen, hoping not to lapse into the mood of passive depression which has possessed me ever since my arrival in Rome."
"December 7. We visited the [William J.] Stillmans—S. and I had not met in thirty years, not since '67 in Athens. Went to afternoon tea at Miss Leigh Smith's. She is a cousin of Florence Nightingale, whom she resembles in appearance. Mme. Helbig was there, overflowing as ever with geniality and kindness."
Mr. Stillman was then the Roman correspondent of the London "Times," a position only second in importance to that of the British Ambassador. His tall, lean figure, stooping shoulders,—where a pet squirrel often perched,—his long grey beard and keen eyes were familiar to the Romans of that day. His house was a meeting-place for artists and litterati. Mrs. Stillman our mother had formerly known as the beautiful Marie Spartali, the friend of Rossetti and Du Maurier, the idol of literary and artistic London. A warm friendship grew up between them. Together they frequented the antiquaries, gleaning small treasures of ancient lace and peasant jewels.
"I bought this by the Muse Stillman's advice": this explanation guaranteed the wisdom of purchasing the small rose diamond ring set in black enamel.
"December 9. Dined with Daisy Chanler. We met there one Brewster and Hendrik Anderson. After dinner came Palmer [son of Courtland] and his sister. He is a pianist of real power and charm—made me think of Paderewski, when I first heard him...."
"December 10. Drove past the Trevi Fountain and to the Coliseum, where we walked awhile. Ladies came to hear me talk about Women's Clubs. This talk, which I had rather dreaded to give, passed off pleasantly.... Most of the ladies present expressed the desire to have a small and select club of women in Rome. Maud volunteered to make the first effort, with Mme. DesGrange and Jessie Cochrane to help her."
"December 12. Bessie Crawford brought her children to see me. Very fine little creatures, the eldest boy handsome, dark like his mother, the others blond and a good deal like Marion in his early life."
"December 14. In the afternoon drove with Jack to visit Villegas. Found a splendid house with absolutely no fire—the cold of the studio was tomb-like. A fire was lighted in a stove and cakes were served, with some excellent Amontillado wine, which I think saved my life."
"December 18. When I lay down to take my nap before dinner, I had a sudden thought-vision of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. I seemed to see how the human could in a way reflect the glory of the divine, giving not a mechanical, but an affectional and spiritual re-showing of the great unfathomable glory. I need not say that I had no sleep—I wish the glimpse then given me might remain in my mind."
"December 21. Feeling much better in health, I determined to take up my 'Reminiscences' again. Mme. Rose passed the evening with me. She told me that Pio Nono had endorsed the Rosminian philosophy, which had had quite a following in the Church, Cardinal Hohenlohe having been very prominent in this. When Leo XIII was elected, the Jesuits came to him and promised that he should have a Jubilee if he would take part against the Rosminian ideas, and put the books on the Index Expurgatorius, the which he promptly did. Hohenlohe is supposed to have been the real hero of the poisoning described in Zola's 'Rome'—his servant died after having eaten of something which had been sent from the Vatican."
"December 25. Blessed Christmas Day! Maud and I went to St. Peter's to get, as she said, a whiff of the mass. We did not profit much by this, but met Edward Jackson, of Boston, and Monsignor Stanley, whom I had not seen in many years. We had a pleasant foregathering with him.
"In St. Peter's my mind became impressed with the immense intellectual force pledged to the upbuilding and upholding of the Church of Rome. As this thought almost overpowered me, I remembered our dear Christ visiting the superb temple at Jerusalem and foretelling its destruction and the indestructibility of his own doctrine."
On fair days she took her walk on the terrace, feasting her eyes on the splendid view. In the distance the Alban and the Sabine Hills, Mount Soracte and the Leonessa; close at hand the Tiber, Rome's towers and domes, St. Peter's with the colonnade, the Piazza, and the sparkling fountains. She delighted in the flowers of the terrace, which she called her "hanging garden"; she had her own little watering-pot, and faithfully tended the white rose which she claimed as her special charge. From the terrace she looked across to the windows of the Pope's private apartment. Opposed as she was to the Pontiff's policy, she still felt a sympathy with the old man, whose splendid prison she often passed on her way to St. Peter's, where in bad weather she always took her walk.
"December 31. I am sorry to take leave of this year, which has given me many good things, some blessings in disguise, as my lameness proved, compelling me to pass many quiet days, good for study and for my 'Reminiscences,' which I only began in earnest after Wesselhoeft condemned me to remain on one floor for a month."
"January 3, 1898. I feel that my 'Reminiscences' will be disappointing to the world in general, if it ever troubles itself to read them,—I feel quite sure that it has neglected some good writing of mine, in verse and in prose. I cannot help anticipating for this book the same neglect, and this discourages me somewhat.
"In the afternoon drove to Monte Janiculo and saw the wonderful view of Rome, and the equestrian statue of Garibaldi crowning the height. We also drove through the Villa Pamfili Doria, which is very beautiful."
"January 6. To visit Countess Catucci at Villino Catucci. She was a Miss Mary Stearns, of Springfield, Massachusetts. Her husband has been an officer of the King's bersaglieri. Before the unification of Italy, he was sent to Perugia to reclaim deserters from among the recruits for the Italian army. Cardinal Pecci was then living near Perugia. Count Catucci called to assure him with great politeness that he would take his word and not search his premises. The Cardinal treated him with equal politeness, but declined to continue the acquaintance after his removal to Rome, when he became Pope in 1878."
"January 12. The first meeting of our little circle—at Miss Leigh Smith's, 17 Trinità dei Monti. I presided and introduced Richard Norton, who gave an interesting account of the American School of Archæology at Athens, and of the excavations at Athens.... Anderson to dine. He took a paper outline of my profile, wishing to model a bust of me."
The Winthrop Chanlers were passing the winter in Rome; this added much to her pleasure. The depression gradually disappeared, and she found herself once more at home there. She met many people who interested her: Hall Caine, Björnstjerne Björnson, many artists too. Don José Villegas, the great Spanish painter (now Director of the Prado Museum at Madrid), who was living in his famous Moorish villa on the Monte Parioli, made a brilliant, realistic portrait of her, and Hendrik Anderson, the Norwegian-American sculptor, modelled an interesting terra-cotta bust. While the sittings for these portraits were going on, her niece said to her:—
"My aunt, I can expect almost anything of you, but I had hardly expected a succès de beauté."
Among the diplomats who play so prominent a part in Roman society, the Jonkheer John Loudon, Secretary of the Netherlands Legation, was one of her favorite visitors; there are frequent mentions of his singing, which she took pleasure in accompanying.
"January 15. We had a pleasant drive to Villa Madama where we bought fresh eggs from a peasant. Cola cut much greenery for us with which Maud had our rooms decorated. Attended Mrs. Heywood's reception, where met some pleasant people—the Scudder party; an English Catholic named Christmas, who visits the poor, and reports the misery among them as very great; a young priest from Boston, Monsignor O'Connell; a Mr. and Mrs. Mulhorn, Irish,—he strong on statistics, she a writer on Celtic antiquities,—has published a paper on the Celtic origin of the 'Divina Commedia,' and has written one on the discovery of America by Irish Danes, five hundred years before Columbus."
Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Heywood lived a few doors from the Rusticucci in the Palazzo Giraud Torlonia, one of the finest Roman palaces. Mr. Heywood held an office in the Papal Court, and had a papal title which he was wise enough not to use in general society. He was an American, a Harvard graduate of the class of 1855. His chief occupation, outside of his duties at the Vatican, was the collection of a fine library. His house was a rendezvous of Black society. He lived in much state and entertained with brilliant formality. Among the great social events of that winter was his reception given for Cardinal Satolli, who arrived dressed in splendid vestments, escorted by his suite. The hostess courtesied to the ground and kissed the ring on his finger. All the other Catholic ladies followed suit. Sitting very straight in her chair, our mother bided her time; finally the Cardinal was brought to her. He was a genial, courteous man and very soon they were deep in friendly talk. Though she disliked the Roman hierarchy as an institution, she counted many friends among the priests of Rome.
"January 18. To St. Peter's. The Festival of St. Peter's Chair. Vespers in the usual side chapel. Music on the whole good, some sopranos rather ragged, but parts beautifully sung. Was impressed as usual by the heterogeneous attendance—tourists with campstools and without, ecclesiastics of various grades, students, friars; one splendid working-man in his corduroys stood like a statue, in an attitude of fixed attention. Lowly fathers and mothers carrying small children. One lady, seated high at the base of a column, put her feet on the seat of my stool behind me. Saw the gorgeous ring on the finger of the statue of St. Peter."
"January 19. Have composed a letter to Professor Lanciani, asking for a talk on the afternoon of February 9, proposing 'Houses and Housekeeping in Ancient Rome,' and 'The Sibyls of Italy.' Mr. Baddeley came in, and we had an interesting talk, mostly about the ancient Cæsars, Mrs. Hollins asking, 'Why did the Romans put up with the bad Cæsars?' He thought the increase of wealth under Augustus was the beginning of a great deterioration of the people and the officials."
"January 21. Went in the afternoon to call upon Baroness Giacchetti. Had a pleasant talk with her husband, an enlightened man. He recognizes the present status of Rome as greatly superior to the ancient order of things—but laments the ignorance and superstition of the common people in general, and the peasantry in particular. A sick woman, restored to health by much trouble taken at his instance, instead of thanking him for his benefactions, told him that she intended to make a pilgrimage to the shrine of a certain Madonna, feeling sure that it was to her that she owed her cure."
"January 26. The day of my reading before the Club, at Jessie Cochrane's rooms. I read my lecture over very carefully in the forenoon and got into the spirit of it. The gathering was a large one, very attentive, and mostly very appreciative. The paper was 'Woman in the Greek Drama.'"
"January 31. Have made a special prayer that my mind may be less occupied with my own shortcomings, and more with all that keeps our best hope alive. Felt little able to write, but produced a good page on the principle 'nulla dies sine linea.'"
"February 4. Hard sledding for words to-day—made out something about Theodore Parker."
"February 7. Wrote some pages of introduction for the Symposium—played a rubber of whist with L. Terry; then to afternoon tea with Mrs. Thorndike, where I met the first Monsignor [Dennis] O'Connell, with whom I had a long talk on the woman question, in which he seems much interested. He tells me of a friend, Zahm by name, now gone to a place in Indiana, who has biographies of the historical women of Bologna."
"February 9. Club at Mrs. Broadwood's. I read my 'Plea for Humor,' which seemed to please the audience very much, especially Princess Talleyrand and Princess Poggia-Suasa."
"February 11. Read over my paper on 'Optimism and Pessimism' and have got into the spirit of it. Maud's friends came at 3 P.M., among them Christian Ross, the painter, with Björnstjerne Björnson."
"February 16. To Mrs. Hurlburt's reception.—Talked with Countess Blank, an American married to a Pole. She had much to say of the piety of her Arab servant, who, she says, swallows fire, cuts himself with sharp things, etc., as acts of devotion!! Met Mr. Trench, son of the late Archbishop, Rev. Chevenix Trench. He has been Tennyson's publisher. Did not like T. personally—said he was often rude—read his own poems aloud constantly and very badly; said, 'No man is a hero to his publisher.' Told about his sale of Henry George's book, a cheap edition, one hundred and fifty thousand copies sold in England."
"February 18. Have done a good morning's work and read in the 'Nineteenth Century' an article on Nelson, and one on the new astronomy. St. Thomas Aquinas's advice regarding the election of an abbot from three candidates:—
"'What manner of man is the first?'
"'Doceat,' says St. Thomas. 'And the second?'
"'Oret! and the third?'
"'Regat! Let him rule!' says the Saint."
"February 20. To Methodist Church of Rev. Mr. Burt. A sensible short discourse—seems a very sincere man: has an earlier service for Italians, well attended. On my way home, stopped at Gargiulo's and bought a ragged but very good copy of the 'Divina Commedia,' unbound, with Doré's illustrations."
"February 26. To tea at Mrs. Hazeltine's where met William Allen Butler, author of 'Nothing to Wear'—a bright-eyed, conversable man. Have a sitting to Anderson. When I returned from Mrs. Hazeltine's I found Hall Caine.... He told much about Gabriel Rossetti, with whom he had much to do. Rossetti was a victim of chloral, and Caine was set to keep him from it, except in discreet doses."
"March 4. Went to see the King and Queen, returning from the review of troops. They were coldly received. She wore crimson velvet—he was on horseback and in uniform...."
"March 9. Club at Jessie Cochrane's; young Loyson, son of Père Hyacinthe, gave an interesting lecture on the religion of Ancient Rome, which he traced back to its rude Latin beginning; the Sabines, he thought, introduced into it one element of spirituality. Its mythology was borrowed from Greece and from the Etruscans—later from Egypt and the East. The Primitive Aryan religion was the worship of ancestors. This also we see in Rome. A belief in immortality appears in the true Aryan faith. Man, finding himself human, and related to the divine, felt that he could not die."
"March 15.... Mme. Helbig gave us an account of the Russian pilgrimage which came here lately. Many of the pilgrims were peasants. They travelled from Russia on foot, wearing bark shoes, which are very yielding and soft. These Russian ladies deprecated the action of Peter the Great in building St. Petersburg, and in forcing European civilization upon his nation, when still unprepared for it."
"March 18.... Drove with Maud, to get white thorn from Villa Madama. Went afterwards to Mrs. Waldo Story's reception, where met Mrs. McTavish, youngest daughter of General Winfield Scott. I was at school with one of her older sisters, Virginia, who became a nun."
As the winter wore away and the early Roman spring broke, the last vestige of the discomfort of the first weeks vanished. The daily drives to the country in search of wild flowers were an endless delight, as well as the trips to the older quarters of the city. She found that, while during the first weeks she had lost the habit of looking keenly about at the sights, the old joy soon came back to her, and now she was quick to see every picturesque figure in the crowd, every classic fragment in the architecture. "The power of seeing beautiful things, like all other powers, must be exercised to be preserved," she once said.
"March 19. I have not dared to work to-day, as I am to read this afternoon. The reading was well attended and was more than well received. Hall Caine came afterwards, and talked long about the Bible. He does not appear to be familiar with the most recent criticism of either Old or New Testament."
"March 24. 'There is a third silent party to all our bargains.' [Emerson.]
"I find this passage in his essay on 'Compensation' to-day for the first time, having written my essay on 'Moral Triangulation of the Third Party' some thirty years ago."
"March 26. Dined with Mrs. McCreary—the Duke of San Martino took me in to dinner—Monsignor Dennis O'Connell sat on the other side of me. I had an interesting talk with him. Mrs. McCreary sang my 'Battle Hymn.' They begged me to recite 'The Flag,' which I did. Mrs. Pearse, daughter of Mario and Grisi, sang delightfully."
"March 30. A fine luncheon party given by Mrs. Iddings, wife of the American Secretary of Embassy at the Grand Hotel. Mme. Ristori was there; I had some glimpses of reminiscence with her. I met her with 'La terribil' Medea,' which I so well remember hearing from her. I presently quoted her toast in 'La Locandiera,' of which she repeated the last two lines. Maud had arranged to have Mrs. Hurlburt help me home. Contessa Spinola also offered, but I got off alone, came home in time to hear most of Professor Pansotti's lecture on the Gregorian music, which, though technical, was interesting."
"March 31. I woke up at one, after vividly dreaming of my father and Dr. Francis. My father came in, and said to me that he wished to speak to Miss Julia alone. I trembled, as I so often did, lest I was about to receive some well-merited rebuke. He said that he wished my sister and me to stay at home more. I saw the two faces very clearly. My father's I had not seen for fifty-nine years."
"April 6. Went in the afternoon with Mrs. Stillman to the Campo dei Fiori, where bought two pieces of lace for twenty lire each, and a little cap-pin for five lire. Saw a small ruby and diamond ring which I very much fancied."
"April 10. Easter Sunday, passed quietly at home. Had an early walk on the terrace.... A good talk with Hamilton Aïdé, who told me of the Spartali family. In the afternoon to Lady Kenmare's reception and later to dine with the Lindall Winthrops."
"April 11. In the afternoon Harriet Monroe, of Chicago, came and read her play—a parlor drama, ingenious and well written. The audience were much pleased with it."
"April 13.... In the evening dined with Theodore Davis and Mrs. Andrews. Davis showed us his treasures gathered on the Nile shore and gave me a scarab."
"April 18.... Went to hear Canon Farrar on the 'Inferno' of Dante—the lecture very scholarly and good."
"April 22. With Anderson to the Vatican, to see the Pinturicchio frescoes, which are very interesting. He designed the tiling for the floors, which is beautiful in color, matching well with the frescoes—these represent scenes in the life of the Virgin and of St. Catherine...."
"April 24. To Miss Leigh Smith's, where I read my sermon on the 'Still Small Voice' to a small company of friends, explaining that it was written in the first instance for the Concord Prison, and that I read it there to the convicts. I prefaced the sermon by reading one of the parables in my 'Later Lyrics,' 'Once, where men of high pretension,' etc...."
This was one of several occasions when she read a sermon at the house of Miss Leigh Smith, a stanch Unitarian, who lived at the Trinità de' Monti in the house near the top of the Spanish Steps, held by generations of English and American residents the most advantageous dwelling in Rome. On Sunday mornings, when the bells of Rome thrilled the air with the call to prayer, a group of exiles from many lands gathered in the pleasant English-looking drawing-room. From the windows they could look down upon the flower-decked Piazza di Spagna, hear the song of the nightingales in the Villa Medici, breathe the perfume of violets and almond blossoms from the Pincio. This morning, or another, Paul Sabatier was among the listeners, a grave, gracious man, a Savoyard pastor, whose "Life of Saint Francis of Assisi" had set all Rome talking.
"April 25. To lunch with the Drapers. Had some good talk with Mr. D. [the American Ambassador]. He was brought up at Hopedale in the Community, of which his father was a member, his mother not altogether acquiescing. He went into our Civil War when only twenty years of age, having the day before married a wife. He was badly wounded in the battle of the Wilderness. Mosby [guerilla] met the wounded train, and stripped them of money and watches, taking also the horses of their conveyances. A young Irish lad of fourteen saved Draper's life by running to Bull Plain for aid."
"April 26. Lunch at Daisy Chanler's, to meet Mrs. Sanford, of Hamilton, Canada, who is here in the interests of the International Council of Women. She seems a nice, whole-souled woman.... I have promised to preside at a meeting, called at Daisy's rooms for Thursday, to carry forward such measures as we can and to introduce Mrs. Sanford and interpret for her."
"April 27. Devoted the forenoon to a composition in French, setting forth the objects of the meeting...."
"April 28. Went carefully over my French address. In the afternoon attended the meeting at Daisy's where I presided."
This was the first time the Italian women had taken part in the International Council.
"April 30. To Contessa di Taverna at Palazzo Gabrielli, where I met the little knot of newly elected officers of the Council of Italian Women that is to be. Read them my report of our first meeting—they chattered a great deal. Mrs. Sanford was present. She seemed grateful for the help I had tried to give to her plan of a National Council of Italian Women. I induced the ladies present to subscribe a few lire each, for the purchase of a book for the secretary, for postage and for the printing of their small circular. Hope to help them more further on...."
"May 1.... I gave my 'Rest' sermon at Miss Leigh Smith's.... Afterwards to lunch with the dear Stillman Muse. Lady Airlie and the Thynne sisters were there. Had a pleasant talk with Lady Beatrice.... Wrote a letter to be read at the Suffrage Festival in Boston on May 17...."
Lady Beatrice and Lady Katherine Thynne; the latter was married later to Lord Cromer, Viceroy of Egypt. The Ladies Thynne were passing the winter with their cousin, the Countess of Kenmare, at her pleasant apartment in the Via Gregoriana. Among the guests one met at Lady Kenmare's was a dark, handsome Monsignore who spoke English like an Oxford Don, and looked like a Torquemada. Later he became Papal Secretary of State and Cardinal Merry del Val.
"May 2. Have worked as usual. A pleasant late drive. Dined with Eleutherio, Daisy Chanler, and Dr. Bull; whist afterwards; news of an engagement and victory for us off Manila."
"May 4.... We dined with Marchese and Marchesa de Viti de Marco at Palazzo Orsini. Their rooms are very fine, one hung with beautiful crimson damask. An author, Pascarello, was present, who has written comic poems in the Romanesque dialect, the principal one a mock narrative of the discovery of America by Columbus. Our host is a very intelligent man, much occupied with questions of political economy, of which science he is professor at the Collegio Romano. His wife, an American, is altogether pleasing. He spoke of the present Spanish War, of which foreigners understand but little."
"May 5. A visit from Contessa di Taverna to confer with me about the new departure [the International Council of Women]. She says that the ladies will not promise to pay the stipulated contribution, five hundred lire once in five years, to the parent association...."
"May 8. An exquisite hour with dear Maud on the terrace—the roses in their glory, red, white, and yellow; honeysuckle out, brilliant. We sat in a sheltered spot, talked of things present and to come. Robert Collyer to lunch. I asked him to say grace, which he did in his lovely manner. He enjoyed Maud's terrace with views of St. Peter's and the mountains. In the afternoon took a little drive.
"Several visitors called, among them Louisa Broadwood, from whom I learned that the little Committee for a Woman's Council is going on. The ladies have decided not to join the International at present, but to try and form an Italian Council first. Some good results are already beginning to appear in the coöperation of two separate charities in some part of their work."
"May 9. I must now give all diligence to my preparation for departure. Cannot write more on 'Reminiscences' until I reach home. Maud made a dead set against my going to Countess Resse's where a number of ladies had been invited to meet me. I most unwillingly gave up this one opportunity of helping the Woman's Cause; I mean this one remaining occasion, as I have already spoken twice to women and have given two sermons and read lectures five times. It is true that there might have been some exposure in going to Mme. R.'s, especially in coming out after speaking."
A few years after this, the Association which she did so much to found, held the first Woman's Congress ever given in Italy, at the Palace of Justice in Rome. It was an important and admirably conducted convention. The work for the uplift of the sex is going on steadily and well in Italy to-day.
"May 12. Sat to Villegas all forenoon. Had a little time on the terrace. Thought I would christen it the 'Praise God.' The flowers seem to me to hold their silent high mass, swinging their own censers of sweet incense. Went to Jack's studio and saw his splendid work. In the afternoon went with my brother-in-law to the cemetery to visit dear Louisa's grave. Jack had cut for me many fine roses from the terrace. We dropped many on this dear resting-place of one much and justly beloved.... Dear old Majesty of Rome, this is my last writing here. I thank God most earnestly for so much."