The Marble Faun Volume 1 (Chapter 12)

 
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Chapter 12 : Page 1 of 15

Hilda, after giving the last touches to the picture of Beatrice Cenci,
had flown down from her dove-cote, late in the afternoon, and gone to
the Pincian Hill, in the hope of hearing a strain or two of exhilarating
music. There, as it happened, she met the sculptor, for, to say the
truth, Kenyon had well noted the fair artist's ordinary way of life,
and was accustomed to shape his own movements so as to bring him often
within her sphere.

The Pincian Hill is the favorite promenade of the Roman aristocracy. At
the present day, however, like most other Roman possessions, it belongs
less to the native inhabitants than to the barbarians from Gaul, Great
Britain, anti beyond the sea, who have established a peaceful usurpation
over whatever is enjoyable or memorable in the Eternal City. These
foreign guests are indeed ungrateful, if they do not breathe a prayer
for Pope Clement, or whatever Holy Father it may have been, who levelled
the summit of the mount so skilfully, and bounded it with the parapet of
the city wall; who laid out those broad walks and drives, and overhung
them with the deepening shade of many kinds of tree; who scattered the
flowers, of all seasons and of every clime, abundantly over those green,
central lawns; who scooped out hollows in fit places, and, setting great
basins of marble in them, caused ever-gushing fountains to fill them to
the brim; who reared up the immemorial obelisk out of the soil that had
long hidden it; who placed pedestals along the borders of the avenues,
and crowned them with busts of that multitude of worthies--statesmen,
heroes, artists, men of letters and of song--whom the whole world claims
as its chief ornaments, though Italy produced them all. In a word, the
Pincian garden is one of the things that reconcile the stranger (since
he fully appreciates the enjoyment, and feels nothing of the cost) to
the rule of an irresponsible dynasty of Holy Fathers, who seem to have
aimed at making life as agreeable an affair as it can well be.

 
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