emselves live immortal in their fabled sons? That being so, I by no means promise you my sensations to be of the ear-measuring, nose-rubbing sort now so popular. I am bad at dates and soon tire of symbols. My theology may be to seek; you may catch me as much for the world as for Athanase. With world and doctor I shall, indeed, have little enough to do, for wherever I go I shall be only on the look-out for the soul of this bright-eyed people, whom, being no Goethe, I do not profess to understand or approve. Must the lover do more than love his mistress, and weave his sonnets about her white brows? I may see my mistress Italy embowered in a belfry, a fresco, the scope of a Piazza, the lilt of a Stornello, the fragrance of a legend. If I don't find a legend to hand I may, as lief as not, invent one. It shall be a legend fitted close to the soul of a fact, if I succeed: and if I fail, put me behind you and take down your four volumes of Rio, or your four-and-twenty of Rosini. Go to Crowe and Cavalcaselle
Those who have had the pleasure to travel to and in Tuscany will especially appreciate this small book by a noted British poet and novelist of the late 19th century. Hewlett was an attorney in London who gave up his practice to write and travel. In 1895 he wrote this book concerning his travels to Italy and especially Tuscany. It is a lovely and calming read which mirrors the relaxed, slow and laid back lifestyle one encounters in the hill cities of Tuscany.
The chapter I enjoy most is simply entitled "Cats". It has been published as a stand alone piece elsewhere and I first read it 40 years ago whilst taking a literature course in college. I have remembered it fondly since. It takes place in the Convent of San Lorenzo in Florence where the author and 103 cats consider and appraise each other with little success and much suspicion. It is a classic example of doing more with less.
Hewlett was a close friend of fellow authors Ezra Pound and J. M. Barrie and shared their appreciation of Italy.
Allow me to also recommend Hewlett's "The Masque of Dead Florentines". Thanks to ManyBooks for bring us this small classic.