excerpt from 'Letters on Italy; illustrated by engravings' pp. 6 (296 words)

excerpt from 'Letters on Italy; illustrated by engravings' pp. 6 (296 words)

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Letters on Italy; illustrated by engravings

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[Letter I]

The convents only were left, to give us an idea of the society of Brindisi: let not this sentence astonish the reader, for his surprise must soon cease. The cloister and society! these certainly in former times were incompatible expressions, but they are now no longer so—we are told that the Jesuits gave to their order the title of a society, and that in fact they caused a revolution in the monasteries, which seem from this period to have almost become the asylum of tolerance, politeness, and proper enjoyment. The monks, without losing any of the dignity of their situation, have adopted the tone and manners of polished society. This change is very perceptible at Brindisi, where, without any exaggeration, nearly half the people are inhabitants of convents. The reason of this is very simple: in a confined situation, possessing neither the advantages of industry nor of commerce, the citizens are exposed for three-quarters of the year to obstinate maladies, which make them prefer the comfort and assistance which association affords to the solitude of a private family: the poverty of many individuals is another powerful cause. In the convents are found cheerful company, games of all kinds, and music; so that, in fact, their apartments are become saloons. We have visited several convents of females: the ladies crowded into the room, and shewed much anxiety to see us; they overwhelmed us with questions as frivolous as our answers, but some delightful music came to our assistance; voices such as we then heard are only found in cloisters; the hymns sung in perfect harmony, accompanied by the organ and other musical instruments, produced a great effect—it seemed almost like a concert of angels in the middle regions of the sky.

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excerpt from 'Letters on Italy; illustrated by engravings' pp. 6 (296 words)


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