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carriage. The eagerness evinced by this juvenile band to catch a glimpse of his countenance,—the reverence with which they touched him, and then kissed the hands that had touched his as he passed along,—the anxious looks of interest and curiosity that met him on every side,—the expressions of satisfaction universally pronounced,—the eulogiums that were showered upon him by some, and the indications of regret with which his infirm state was regarded by others, produced an effect alike overwhelming and indescribable. A scene more touching I never beheld. Tears were sparkling in many an eye; and it was not till some minutes after we had driven off, that either of us could make a single remark upon the gratifying but affecting display we had so unexpectedly witnessed. * * *
"On some future occasion, I will forward you the full details of an interesting excursion of four days, made by Sir Walter, Miss Scott, Sir William Gell, and Mr. Laing Meason, in the enjoyments of which I had the satisfaction to participate. On the first day, we reached La Cava, and the hospitable mansion of Miss Whyte, who is truly of ' the salt of the earthher name widely and inseparably connected with benevolence and kindness. There Sir William Gell remained, while the rest of the party went on the next day to Psestum, and returned the same night to Miss Whyte's. The whole party passed the following morning at a magnificent and beautifully situated Benedictine convent called La Trinita della Cava, where Sir Walter's taste was amply gratified in examining certain illuminated memorials of the Lombard ages, carefully preserved in the conventual archives. Here we detected Morani, a young Calabrian artist of great promise, stealing a likeness of Sir Walter, which, pronounced a striking resemblance by all present, I triumphantly secured, Sir Walter kindly consenting to allow the artist another sitting at home. * * * "Ever and truly yours,
How melancholy the reflection, that in the short period of four years Sir Walter and Miss Scott, Mr. Laing Meason, Miss Whyte, and lastly Sir William Gell, none of them at an advanced age, should have paid the debt of nature. The only survivor of this happy party is now (April 1836) the writer of the foregoing letter.
XL. MISTAKES OF TRANSLATORS.
In a paper on " Literary Blunders," in the second volume of his "Curiosities of Literature," Mr. d'Israeli gives us a few amusing specimens of the innumerable mistakes which have been committed by translators in all languages. It is our intention to add a few more to the list, and, out of respect to the man, we will begin with Mr. d'Israeli himself. In his third volume, he translates the word custode, which means a keeper, by " a large cap."
In describing the death of Charles IX. of France, whose last hours were embittered by the recollection of the part he had taken in the massacre of Saint Bartho^ lomew, .Mr. d'Israeli says that the King, after some talk
with Mazzille (Mazzillo), his principal physician, begged him to withdraw his custode, that he might try to rest. The King, as the son of an Italian mother (Catherine of Medici), who had filled the French court with her countrymen, of course spoke Italian; and, be it remarked, he was then speaking to an Italian physician, with whom he would naturally employ his own language. In Italian, the word cmtode means a guard or keeper, or one who takes care of another; and the term is especially applied to a man having charge of an insane person, in which condition Charles, on account of his remorse, was considered to be by his mother, who had the most urgent motives for preventing him from holding any private intercourse with the then protestant King of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV. of France. In French, there is no such word as custode. Mr. d'Israeli translates it into English by " a large cap." Instead of having their nightcaps taken off, people generally have them put on when they wish to go to sleep. But how did the Italian physician withdraw this "custode or large cap 1" Why, in the context, in Mr. d'Israeli's own words, which immediately follow the King's request, it is said that " Mazzillo withdrew, and left orders that all should leave the King except three, viz. La Tour, St. Pris, and his nurse, whom his Majesty greatly loved although she was a Huguenot." If the worthy translator had reflected, thiB ought to have let him into the meaning of the word, and of the wish of the King, which was, that he should be relieved of the presence of his keeper or keepers, (for the term used was probably custodi, the Italian plural,) that he might be quiet. But Mr. d'Israeli cannot get the "large cap" out of his head; and his next words are, "As she (the nurse) had just seated herself on a coffer, and began to doze, she heard the King groan bitterly, weeping and sighing; she then approached the bed softly, and drawing away his custode, (which the translator thinks was the large cap that the doctor had been told to withdraw before,) the King said to her, (being open, and confidential, we suppose, when the night-cap was off'.} giving vent to a heavy sigh, and shedding tears plentifully, insomuch that they interrupted his discourse, "Ah! my dear nurse, my beloved woman, what blood ! what murders! Ah! I have followed wicked advice I" (meaning the advice of his mother, and the bigoted catholic faction.) This makes the matter still more clear. The protestant nurse withdrew the catholic custode, i. e. guard or keeper, placed there by Catherine of Medici, in order that he might not hear what the wretched King said.
We have entered into these explanations to make the mis-translation more amusing; but the mistake itself is tangible. In French, as we have said, there is no such word; and, in Italian, custode means what we have said, and nothing else. There is also the verb custodire, to guard, watch, keep, take care of, &c.; the noun custodia, in Lat. cura or custodia, and so on. In Italy, the keepers of private madhouses are always called custodi; which term is also applied to men having charge of any person who, from imbecility, or physical weakness, or sickness, is unable to take care of himself.
We have one affecting instance of the use of this word by an English nobleman. A very accomplished Italian scholar, and (until his fine intellect was deranged by a deplorable malady) a man of exquisite taste, wit, and humour. We mean the late Lord D— and W—. Even after the time it was deemed necessary to put his person under restraint, his lordship had frequently lucid intervals, during which he received the visits of a few chosen
friends. On one occasion, the excellent Mr. H , the
historian, found him alone with a gentlemanly-looking person dressed in black, whom he took for a physician or
a visiter. As Mr. H was hesitating about taking
a chair until this person was seated, his lordship said "E solamente il custode" (it is only the keeper.)
Mr. d'Israeli, however, has given various proofs of his small knowledge of the Italian language; and as he almost invariably culled his exotic curiosities from French writers alone, he is sometimes misled in his nomenclature, and commits mistakes when those writers treat of matters that are not national or French. Thus he calls the Italian King, Manfredi, (so well known to English readers as Manfred,) by the French-translated name of Mainfroid, which would be unintelligible to many. This is almost as bad as an ignorant book-maker, who, translating an elementary work on history for the edification of English youths, retained all the vile travestimentos of classical names, calling, after his French original, Herodotus, Herodote; Pythagoras, Pythagore; * Livy, TiteLive; Julius Csesar, Jules-Cesar; Suetonius, Suetone; &c.
Nor is the author of the "Curiosities of Literature"
* Pythagore is pronounced in French almost as if it were written Peter Gore, which made our friend Leigh Hunt say humorously, "they might as well call him Peter Jenkins." See Introduction to the " Feast of the Poets."
VOL. I. Q