Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 6/Ana (June 14, 1682)

Once a Week, Series 1, Volume VI (1861-1862)
Ana. Fast doings at Rome; The Misericordians
by Michael Terry


Fast Doings at Rome.—There is many a "slow coach" in Rome, whether it does or does not contain some Eminence in the way of a cardinal. But the most go-a-head observer will hardly complain of the pace at which certain omnibuses, including the "Tevere " and the "Corso," dash along with their four or more horses by the Flaminian road up to the Porta del Popolo. With ceilingless pens for waiting-rooms at railway stations and seatless third-class carriages on the Southern line, the city of the Cæsars can yet boast some of the fastest and largest omnibuses, and perhaps the best-horsed cabs of any place of its size.

The Misericordians.—The gaiety of Florence after dark is invaded by gloomy sights such as the traveller, if he comes upon them suddenly, is likely to view with a peculiar sense of sadness and perhaps of mystery. It is the time for funerals, and ever and anon a hoarse strain from the Misericordians wakes up the echoes of the streets, while their huge torches cast a sickening glare over wall and casement, revealing at the same time the hideous costume of these valuable agents of mercy. Few of the inhabitants can enter dreamland without ghastly reminiscences of the passage of silent sleepers on their way to the day's yawning vault outside the walls. The pace at which they are carried is more like that of the desperate Bersaglieri of Turin than the solemn cavalcade amongst us which conveys the lifeless burden away from its home of the past to its long one of the future.