Excerpt: ...why some folk are rightly afraid of exposing, under the influence of drink, the bete humaine which lurks below their skin of decency. His language would have terrified many people. Me it rejoiced. I would not have missed that entertainment for worlds. He finally wanted to have a fight, because I refused to accompany him to a certain ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...why some folk are rightly afraid of exposing, under the influence of drink, the bete humaine which lurks below their skin of decency. His language would have terrified many people. Me it rejoiced. I would not have missed that entertainment for worlds. He finally wanted to have a fight, because I refused to accompany him to a certain place of delights, the address of which-I might have given him a far better one-had been scrawled on the back of a crumpled envelope by some cabman. Unable to stand on his legs, what could he hope to do there? Olevano I have loafed into Olevano. A thousand feet below my window, and far away, lies the gap between the Alban and Volscian hills; veiled in mists, the Pontine marches extend beyond, and further still-discernible only to the eye of faith-the Tyrrhenian. The profile of these Alban craters is of inimitable grace. It recalls Etna, as viewed from Taormina. How the mountain cleaves to earth, how reluctantly it quits the plain before swerving aloft in that noble line! Velletri's ramparts, twenty miles distant, are firmly planted on its lower slope. Standing out against the sky, they can be seen at all hours of the day, whereas the dusky palace of Valmontone, midmost on the green plain and rock-like in its proportions, fades out of sight after midday. Hard by, on your right, are the craggy heights of Capranica. Tradition has it that Michael Angelo was in exile up there, after doing something rather risky. What had he done? He crucified his model, desirous, like a true artist, to observe and reproduce faithfully in marble the muscular contractions and facial agony of such a sufferer. To crucify a man: this was going almost too far, even for the Pope of that period, who seems to have been an unusually sensitive pontiff-or perhaps the victim was a particular friend of his. However that may be, he waxed wroth and banished the conscientious sculptor in disgrace to this lonely mountain village, there to expiate his...Read Less
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