North Italian Folk: Sketches of Town and Country Life

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Produced by Barbara Magni and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images made available by The Internet Archive) LONDON: PRINTED BY SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE AND PARLIAMENT STREET Randolph Caldecott’s Sketches of North Italian Folk. Special Issue of 400 Copies COLOURED BY HAND. Each Numbered, this Copy being No 339 PICKERING AND CHATTO, LONDON. NORTH ITALIAN FOLK Sketches of Town and Country Life BY MRS COMYNS CARR ILLUSTRATED BY RANDOLPH CALDECOTT London CHATTO AND WINDUS, PICCADILLY 1878 [All rights reserved] PREFACE. Italy—about which so much has been written—political, geographical, social, pontifical, poetical—Italy is my theme. But not the Italy of popes and priests and controversies, of civic struggles and new kingdoms, nor the Italy of tourists or guide-books, of fame and fashion, nor even the Italy of art and artists. The folk about whom my gossip shall be are folk who, living or dead, have made the best part of Italy these many years gone by. They are those who, unwittingly, inherit most of the poetry for which their nation, long ago, won its fame; on them—innocent of lore and reading though they, most of them, be—has fallen something that recalls the great names of their own great men of the past. They are of the people. To them rather than to others in the land belong the freedom and freshness, the grace and good-heartedness, the frank honesty that finds a place even beside worldly-wise prudence, the simple and courteous dignity which the educated classes have not always been able to maintain. No one who has lived long beside them could have failed to learn the grace of their ways, the humour of their rustic simplicity; no one who has grown up in their midst could ever forget their pleasant faces and quaint enthusiasms, their friendly greetings, their frank speech and emphatic opinions. I, who thus learned to know them in days gone by, can, at all events, never so forget; and I am fain now to set down some memory of those sun-lit scenes of the past, for friends whose lot has never been cast, as mine was, among them. My sketches will not always be portraits of living people or existing things, but they will always be sketches of things or friends that have been: recollections vignetted in the past,

Alice Vansittart Strettel Carr

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