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acquire an equal degree of sanctity with that placed by the pope's own hands. The common people and pilgrims are well acquainted with this wonderful effect. At the beginning of this jubilee-year, when the late wall was throwndown, men, women, and children scrambled and fought for the fragments of the bricks and mortar, with the same eagerness which less enlightened mobs display, on days of public rejoicing, when handfuls of money are thrown among them. I have been often assured, that those pieces of brick, besides their sanctity, have also the virtue of curing many of the most obstinate diseases: and, if newspapers were permitted at Rome, there is not the least reason to doubt, that those cures would be attested publicly by the patients, in a manner as satisfactory and convincing as are the cures performed daily by the pills, powders, drops, and balsams advertised in the London newspapers. After the shutting of the holy door, mass was celebrated at midnight; and the ceremony was attended by vast multitudes of people. For my own part, I suspended my curiosity till next day, which was Christmas-day, when I returned again to St. Peter's church, and saw the pope perform mass on that solemn occasion. His holiness went through all the evolutions of the ceremony with an address and flexibility of body, which are rarely to be found in those who wear the tiara; who are, generally speaking, men bowing under the load of years and infirmities. His present holiness has hitherto suffered from neither. His features are regular, and he has a fine countenance ; his person is straight, and his movements graceful. His leg and foot are remarkably well made, and always ornamented with silk stockings, and red slippers of the most delicate construction. Notwithstanding that the papal uniforms are by no means calculated to set off the
person to the greatest advantage, yet the peculiar neatness with which they are put on, and the nice adjustment of their most minute parts, sufficiently prove that his present holiness is not insensible of the charms of his person, or unsolicitous about his external ornaments. Though verging
towards the winter of life, his cheeks still glow with autumnal roses, which, at a little distance, appear as blooming as those of the spring. If he himself were less clearsighted than he seems to be, to the beauties of his face and person, he could not also be deaf to the voices of the women, who break out into exclamations, in praise of both, as often as he appears in public. On a public occasion, lately, as he was carried through a particular street, a young woman at a window exclaimed, —Quanto e bello ! O quanto e bello !' * and was immediately answered by a zealous old lady at the window opposite, who, folding her hands in each other, and raising her eyes to heaven, cried out, with a mixture of love for his person, and veneration for his sacred office,— Tanto e bello, quanto e santo !'ť When we know that such a quantity of incense is daily burnt under his sacred nostrils, we ought not to be astonished, though we should find his brain, on some occasions, a little intoxicated.
Vanity is a very comfortable failing; and has such an universal power over mankind, that not only the gay
blos. soms of youth, but even the shrivelled bosom of
and the contracted heart of bigotry, open, expand, and display strong marks of sensibility under its influence.
After mass, the pope gave the benediction to the people assembled in the grand court, before the church of St. Peter's. It was a remarkably fine day; an immense multitude filled that spacious and magnificent area; the horse and foot guards were drawn up in their most showy uniform. The pope, seated in an open, portable chair, in all the splendour which his wardrobe could give, with the tiara on his head, was carried out of a large window, which opens on a balcony in the front of St. Peter's. The silk hangings and gold trappings with which the chair was embellished, concealed the men who carried it; so that to those who viewed him from the area below, his holiness seemed to sail forward from the window self-balanced in
* How beautiful he is ! O how beautiful he is! † He is as beautiful as he is holy !
the air, like a celestial being. The instant he appeared, the music struck up, the bells rong from every church, and the cannon thundered from the castle of St. Angelo in repeated peals. During the intervals, the church of St. Peter's, the palace of the Vatican, and the banks of the Tiber, re-echoed the acclamations of the populace. At length his holiness arose from his seat, and an immediate and awful silence ensued. The multitude fell
their knees, with their hands and eyes raised towards his holiness, as to a benign deity. 'After a solemn pause, he pronounced the benediction, with great fervour; elevating his outstretched arms as high as he could ; then closing them together, and bringing them back to his breast with a slow motion, as if he had got hold of the blessing, and was drawing it gently from heaven. Finally, he threw his arms open, waving them for some time, as if his intention had been to scatter the benediction with impartiality among the people.
No ceremony can be better calculated for striking the senses, and imposing on the understanding, than this of the supreme pontiff giving the blessing from the balcony of St. Peter's. For my own part, if I had not, in my early youth, received impressions highly unfavourable to the chief actor in this magnificent interlude, I should have į been in danger of paying him a degree of respect, very inconsistent with the religion in which I was educated.
Rome. In my last, I informed you of my having been seduced almost into idolatry, by the influence of example, and the pomp which surrounded the idol. I must now confess that I have actually bowed the knee to Baal, from mere wantonness. We are told that, to draw. near to that Being, who ought to be the only object of worship, with our lips, while our hearts are far from him, is a mockery. Such daring and absurd hypocrisy I shall always avoid :
but to have drawn near to him, who ought not to be an object of worship, with the lips only, while the heart continued at a distance, I hope will be considered as no more than a venial transgression. In short, I trust, that it will not be looked on as a mortal sin in Protestants to have kissed the pope's toe. If it should, some of your friends are in a deplorable way, as you shall hear. It is usual for strangers to be presented to his holiness, before they leave Rome. The duke of Hamilton, Mr. Kennedy, and my- : self, have all been at the Vatican together, upon that im. portant business. Your young acquaintance Jack, who, having now got a commission in the army, considers hima self no longer as a boy, desired to accompany us. We went under the auspices of a certain ecclesiastic, who usually attends the English on such occasions.
He very naturally concluded, that it would be most a. greeable to us to have the circumstance of kissing the slipper dispensed with Having had some conversation, therefore, with his holiness, in his own apartment, while we remained in another room, previous to our introduction; he afterwards returned, and informed us, that the pontiff, indulgent to the prejudices of the British nation, did not insist on that part of the ceremonial; and therefore a very low bow, on our being presented, was all that would be required of us.
Abow! cried the duke of Hamilton; I should not have given myself any trouble about the matter, had I suspected that all was to end in a bow. I look on kissing the toe as the only amusing circumstance of the whole; if that is to be omitted, I will not be introduced at all. For if the most ludicrous part is left out, who would wait for the rest of a farce ?
This was a thunderstroke to our negotiator, who expected thanks, at least, for the honourable terms he had obtained; but who, on the contrary, found himself in the same disagreeable predicament with other negotiators, who have met with abuse and reproach from their countrymen,
on account of treaties for which they expected universal applause.
The duke of Hamilton knew nothing of the treaty which our introducer had just concluded; otherwise he would certainly have prevented the negotiation. As I perceived, however, that our ambassador was mortified with the thoughts that all his labour should prove abor- . tive, I said, that, although he had prevailed with his holiness to wave that part of the ceremonial, which his Grace thought so entertaining, yet it would unquestionably be still more agreeable to him that the whole should be performed to its utmost extent: this new arrangement, therefore, needed not be an obstruction to our being presented.
The countenance of our conductor brightened up at this proposal. He immediately.ushered us into the presence of the supreme pontiff. We all bowed to the ground; the supplest of the company had the happiness to touch the sacred slipper with their lips, and the least agile were within a few inches of that honour. As this was more than had been bargained for, his holiness seemed agreeably surprised ; raised the duke with a smiling countenance, and conversed with him in an obliging manner, asking the common questions, How long he had been in Italy? Whether he found Rome agreeable ? When he intended to set out for Naples ?-He said something of the same kind to each of the company; and, after about a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, we took our leave.
Next day, his holiness sent his compliments to the duke, with a present of two medals, one of gold, and the other of silver; on both of which the head of the pontiff is very accurately engraved.
The manner in which the generality of sovereign princes pass their time, is as far from being amusing or agreeable, as one can possibly imagine. Slaves to the tiresome routine of etiquette ; martyrs to the oppressive fatigue of pomp ; constrained to walk every levee-day around the same dull circle, to gratify the vanity of fifty or a hun