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carnival in Rome. People dress up as funny figures, like our sweeps on May Day, or the guys on Guy Faux Day, and race about the streets, throwing sugarplums and sweet-stuff at each other. All this ends on Shrove Tuesday, and Lent is kept very strictly.
In Holy Week every day is taken up with curious ceremonies; for instance, on Palm Sunday the Pope gives away palms, in remembrance of our Saviour's riding into Jerusalem and having palm branches strewed before Him; another day the Pope washes the feet of thirteen poor men, in remembrance of Christ washing the feet of His Apostles. Crowds of people go to see the ceremonies, which are ended on Easter Day by a very splendid service at St. Peter's Church.
There are a good many beggars in Italy, for the Italians are rather lazy, and do not mind having very little to eat, if only they need not work hard to obtain that little. They are very fond of maccaroni, which you can buy in the grocers' shops in England.
I know some English ladies who wished to give some poor Italian children a feast. What did they have ? Roast beef and pudding ? Oh no! only quantities of maccaroni, which they eat up greedily ; but they did not wash their hands and faces before they came, for the ladies said their visitors were so dirty that they did not like to go near them.
Besides the part of Italy called the Papal States, and which belongs to the Pope, there is the kingdom of Italy. The island of Sardinia belongs to the same king. Florence, a fine city, is the capital. South of the Papal States is the kingdom of Naples,
which used to have a king of its own, but now belongs to the King of Italy.
Naples is famous for having more people in it than any other town in Italy ; but I think it is a pity they should stay there, for it is said that nearly 40,000 of them are beggars, and have no homes. You have all seen Punch and Judy. That show came first from Naples, and the people would be contented to stare at it all day long. Naples was also famous for having many inhabitants who had very miserable homes. What should you think the most miserable home? one of the cold arches under a London railway bridge? or an Irish cabin with no roof to it? or a crowded room in the closest part of Edinburgh? The home I mean in Naples would be worse than any of these. What would you think of a prison ? In England bad people are put into prison to make them better, and to keep them from hurting others; but however bad they are they are never ill used. At Naples not long ago there was a king who put good people in prison because they gave him advice which he did not like to take. The prisons are horrible dungeons, underground, dirty, and full of reptiles; and there prisoners were chained together like wild beasts for years and years, till at last they got so ill, that when they were set free they could no longer enjoy life.
About ten miles from Naples is the famous burning mountain, Vesuvius. The inside of this mountain contains stuff like melted sealing-wax, which is called lava. Every now and then this lava bursts out of the top of the mountain and passes along the country in a burning stream. Many hundred years ago two whole cities were buried in this lava, which hardened over it. Horses, temples, shops, and people were destroyed by it. More than 1600 years afterwards a workman, when digging, discovered part of a house, and, afterwards whole streets were found, which had been buried under the lava, long, long before.
South of Italy lies the island of Sicily. There is a volcanic mountain there. Sicily is very fertile, and in old times used to be called the granary of Europe, because it produced so much corn.
Mountains of Italy.—The Alps to the north. The highest is Mont Blanc, the highest point in Europe, 15,744 feet high, or nearly three miles high. The Apennines, which run down the middle of Italy.
In the north of Italy are beautiful lakes.
Spain is separated from France by some high mountains, called the Pyrenees. Years ago the Spaniards were a very powerful people ; but they are not so now. They have been badly governed ; they are ignorant; and, moreover, the roads are so bad, and travelling so difficult, that few natives of other countries visit Spain.
It is always a fine thing for people to be on good terms with their neighbours. People can teach each other a great deal; that is the reason our Prince
Consort had exhibitions in London. Foreign workmen sent over beautiful things which they had made, and then English workmen tried to imitate them. But the Spaniards have liked to think that they knew best in everything, and “ did not want to be told;" so the consequence is, that little has, until quite lately, been done to improve the country. I say quite lately, for there was not long ago an insurrection. The Queen of Spain, who is a superstitious and not very good woman, has left her throne, and I hope that the people will be rather better governed by some of the wisest men in Spain, than they were by the queen. They think of having a king, but have not quite settled about it.
There is a great deal to be done in Spain before it will be a pleasant country. The roads, as I said, are so bad that packages have to be carried on the backs of mules; but more causes than bad roads make travelling unpleasant : there are such a number of highway robbers, brigands as they are called, who stop travellers, rob, and sometimes murder them.
Then, if you went to Spain, I hope you would not like the national sport. What do I mean by that? In England I think the favourite game is cricket. In Holland people amuse themselves by skating. In France, you could see grown-up people riding on wooden horses in merry-go-rounds at the fairs. If you visited Naples, in Italy, you would find the people looking at Punch.
But what do tho Spaniards do? If they played at cricket it would be a wholesome occupation, only it is too hot in Spain for running, excepting in the
early morning or late evening; if they rode wooden horses, or stared at Punch, it would be innocent, though babyish. What do they do then? They go and see bulls fight with each other, and with men and horses, till sometimes men, and always bulls and horses, are killed.
Is not this a cruel sport? Is it not a cowardly sport? And it is also ungrateful, for when a poor Spanish horse is too worn out to do any more work, his master, instead of turning him out to grass for the rest of his life, sends him to be killed by a bull. Women and children go to see this horrid game,
There are many wild beasts in Spain-bears and wolves. There are also tame ones, for there are many sheep. The dresses we call merino are made from the wool which grows on the backs of Spanish sheep. There are a great many silkworms in Spain, which spin the thread which is afterwards made into beautiful silk at Lyons. The Spaniards also keep numbers of bees, for the sake of the honey. The chief trade is wine-making, for many vines grow in Spain.
It is a very hot country, so hot that in the towns everybody goes to sleep in the middle of the day for two hours. Labourers, shop-people, ladies and gentleman, all lie down to rest,-even the post-office is shut.
The capital of Spain is Madrid.
Madrid is not a very pleasant town; in the summer it is frightfully hot, and in the winter it is very windy.