An Italian Anecdote by J. M.

Naples, July 1.—This was one of the hottest days of the season. I had long contemplated Fort St. Elmo, high on the crest of the mountain which overhung Naples, as one of the objects which I was bound to visit. I knew and felt that, like Vesuvius, it was one of those sights which exercise a tyranny over every traveller, not to be evaded, and which he must see, or hazard his peace of mind for ever; but never yet had I been able to overcome my natural indolence, and to proceed to explore it. On this morning I rose with an alacrity and love of enterprise quite unusual to me, and I at once determined to ascend to St. Elmo to see the magnificent Certosini Convent, with the Chiesa di S. Martino, to enjoy the extensive view which this summit presents, and to hear the ascending buzz of the city and its numerous inhabitants. I immediately sent to T——, to accompany me; and, after eating a hearty breakfast, we took our departure.

Who that has ever mounted the steep, rugged, and never-ending ascent, will not pity the middle-aged gentleman of indolent habits, seeing sights for conscience sake, of no mean size, (for such I am,) as he struggled with the difficulties before him, looking up in dismay at the castle, inflating and distending his lungs with an action to which they had long been unaccustomed, until his face rivalled the sun in glowing crimson?

At length we reached our object. We saw the sights,—admired the beauty of the church, and its beautiful pictures by Spagnoletto,—exclaimed with rapture at the view, and heard the buzz. With my conscience satisfied, and with my critical observations on all we had seen, ready to be made upon the first favourable opportunity, I lost no time in descending to whence we came. By this time it was past meridian. The descent was very trying upon legs of forty-five years' standing; and the tremulous motion which it produced upon the muscles, only increased the longing I felt, to find myself once more extended full length on my sofa at the Vittoria.

I had taken off my coat, and, lazzaroni-like, had thrown it over my shoulder; my neckcloth was thrust into my waistcoat pocket, and my neck was bare. I carried my hat on my stick, using it by way of parasol; and, thus accoutred, I determined to make one desperate effort to brave the heat of the sun, that was baking the pavement of Santa Lucia, and emitting a glare that acted like a burning-glass upon my eyeballs. As we walked through this ordeal, we passed close to an assembly of young lazzaronis, basking in the sun, near to a stall; there they lay, in the midst of fish-bones, orange-peels, and decayed melons. We evidently excited their mirth; and I, in particular, felt myself privileged to be laughed at,—for what could be more grotesque than my appearance? One of the boys was standing. We had scarcely turned our backs upon them, when I received a  blow on the head from a melon-rind;—I turned about, and immediately the whole gang ran off laughing. I would have followed; but, in truth, was too tired. I could scarcely move but at a slow walk. The boys stopped, and looked at us. At length, making a virtue of necessity, I called out to the boy who had thrown the melon-rind, to come to me—he hesitated; I called again—he was evidently puzzled, and suspicious of my intention; I then showed him a carline. "Come here," said I, "take this." "In the name of goodness!" exclaimed T——, "what are you about?" "Never mind," said I; "stop and see." The boy at length took courage, and came to me. "Here," said I, "bravo! bravissimo! avete fatto bene! take this." Upon which, in surprise, the boy, taking the piece of money out of my hand, ran off in the greatest exultation, showing it to his little friends as a prize fallen down from heaven.

"Now do tell me," said T——, "what demon of madness can have possessed you? You ought to have broken every bone in that young rascal's skin, instead of feeing him for insulting us." "So I would," said I, "if I could; but to catch him is impossible. By feeing him for his insolence, he will probably throw another piece of melon at the first Englishman he sees, who will, no doubt, give him the beating which I cannot." T—— laughed heartily at the ingenious turn which my indolence had taken—administering a beating à ricochet, as he called it; and, having reached my room, we laughed over our adventure, and speculated upon the beating the youngster would get.

And, true enough, the next day, as we were seated on one of the benches of the Villa Reale, we heard a sort of hue and cry on the Chiaja, and shortly after, saw our carroty and irascible friend W—— appear, foaming with rage, streaming from every pore, owing to some recent exertion, and exploding with bursts of execration. He came straight to us.—"Who ever knew such an infernal country as this?" said he, "D—them all for a beggarly set of villains. Did you ever see the like? I gave it him well, however,—that's some comfort. The young rascal won't forget me, for some time, I'll warrant you!" T—— and I smiled at each other in anticipation of the reason, which only made him more furious. "Here," said he, "was I walking quietly along, when a young rascal of a lazzaroni thought fit to shy half a water-melon at my head;—you may laugh; but it was no laughing matter to me, nor to him either, for I have half killed the young urchin; and then, forsooth, I must have half the town of Naples upon me, backed by all their carrion of old women." We allowed his rage to expend itself, and said nothing, for fear of being implicated in his wrath, inasmuch as I was the origin of his disaster; but, truly, indolence was never so completely justified, as on this occasion.