French book by A. Geffroy, called 'Études Italiennes,' published in 1898, I thought worth reading, as it gives another historical view of the Renaissance; Art being only indirectly alluded to. The chapters are on 'Les Grands Médicis,' 'savonarola,' 'Guichardin.' He quotes of 'Laurent' 'Ce refrain resté populaire qui résonne encore comme un echo lointain et gracieux de la Renaissance!

Quanto è bella giovinezza Che si fugge tuttavia! Chi vuol esser lieto, sia, Di doman non c' è certezza.'

The second part of the book is called 'Rome Monumentale.' In this there is a chapter on 'La légende de la Cenci,' in which he also sweeps away the whole story.

Only last summer a book appeared called 'Tuscan Artists, their Thought and Work,' by Hope Rea. Sir W. B. Richmond writes the preface and says: 'I desire success to this little volume, so interesting, so full of sympathy with those various emotions whose expression in all forms of art has made Italy their foster mother.'

A book has just been sent me called 'stray Studies from England and Italy,' by John Richard Green, the author of the famous 'short History.' The title is not quite correct, as there is an excellent chapter or two on the South of France, and an exceedingly interesting historical paper on the home of our Angevin kings, which was also the home of the Renaissance in France; and it has a still earlier interest for the modern English tourist who rides through Touraine by the Loire to Saumur, for, as Mr. Green says, 'Nothing clears one's ideas about the character of the Angevin rule, the rule of Henry II., or Richard or John, so thoroughly as a stroll through Anjou.' Another charming chapter is 'The Florence of Dante.' In fact, I have most thoroughly enjoyed this little gem of desultory information.

For serious modern criticism of Italian painters and their work I have found nothing that has interested me so much and which seems to me so new as Mr. Bernhard Berenson's three little volumes - 'The Venetian Painters of the Renaissance,' 'The Florentine Painters of the Renaissance,' and 'The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance.' The author evidently aims at representing the modern scientific school of art criticism, started, as far as I know, by Giovanni Morelli. The indexes at the end of each volume will be found valuable, though many of Mr. Berenson's conclusions will be cavilled at; and his attributions of pictures, differing as they do from the official catalogues, raise much antagonism.

Where doctors differ, the public may be amused, and art critics of the future must worry out their various opinions.

'Italian Literature' by Richard Garnett is one of those books for which the public ought to feel grateful, as it condenses an incredible amount of labour and study into a very small convenient volume. It brings us down to the present day, D'Annunzio's novels, etc.

In 1897 Mr. John Morley published one of his brilliant lectures, delivered in the Sheldonian Theatre, on Machiavelli. He begins by a reference to Dante's likening of worldly fame to the breath of the wind, that blows now one way, now another, and changes name as it changes quarter. He says of Machiavelli: 'In our age, when we think of the chequered course of human time, of the shocks of irreconcilable civilisations, of war, trade, faction, revolution, empire, laws, creeds, sects, we seek a clue to the vast maze of historic and prehistoric fact. Machiavelli seeks ne clue to his distribution of good and evil. He never tries to find a moral interpretation for the mysterious scroll. We obey laws that we do not know, but cannot resist. We can only make an effort to seize events as they whirl by, and to extort from them a maxim, a precept, or a principle, to serve our immediate turn. Fortune, he says - that is, Providence, or else circumstances, or the stars - is mistress of more than half we do. What is her deep secret, he shows no curiosity to fathom. He contents himself with a maxim for the practical man ("Prince," xxv.), that it is better to be adventurous than cautious, for Fortune is a woman and, to be mastered, must be boldly handled.'

Mr. Morley's defence of Machiavelli is on the lines of his concluding words: 'It is true to say that Machiavelli represents certain living forces in our actual world; that science, with its survival of the fittest, unconsciously lends him illegitimate aid; that "he is not a vanishing type, but a constant and contemporary influence." This is because energy, force, will, violence, still keep alive in the world their resistance to the control of justice and conscience, humanity and right. In so far as he represents one side in that eternal struggle, and suggests one set of considerations about it, he retains a place in the literature of modern political systems and European morals.'

I wind up by taking from my list of books that were recommended to me a few I have not yet had time to read: 'Christ's Folk in the Apennine,' by Miss Alexander; 'Roadside Songs of Tuscany,' by the same. 'A Nook in the Apennines,' by Leader Scott. 'Italian Sketches,' by Mrs. Boss. 'Histoire des Médicis,' by Dumas. 'Une Année à Florence: Impressions de Voyage,' by Dumas. 'Italian Commonwealth, or Commonwealth of Florence,' by Trollope.

Last year on May 26th I left my Surrey garden for three months. The account of this time I had abroad and the return in August will bring my year to its conclusion.

My spring gardening was spoilt by the feeling that the buds I had watched so carefully would be seen in flower by others and not by myself; and there is no denying I left home with a considerable wrench. The garden looked very full, but green and flowerless; only one or two large Oriental Poppies were out. I do not know why, but I travelled by night to Paris, resting some hours in an hotel in order to go through by the Cenis train, arriving at Florence early in the evening instead of in the middle of the night. I might just as well have slept in Paris; it would have cost no more than the six hours rest. I started from there to travel alone for the first time in my life.

I did not want to feel sad or lonely, which would have been foolish, as I was deliberately going to please myself; and I could not help smiling as I thought over a sentence in the Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff, and what she says about travelling with one's family: 'Je comprend qu'on soit heureux de vivre en famille, et je serais malheureuse seule. On peut aller faire des achats en famille, aller au Bois en famille, quelquefois au Théâtre. On peut être malade en famille, faire des cures en famille, enfin tout ce qui est de la vie intime et des choses nécessaires; mais voyager en famille!!! C'est comme si on prenait plaisir à valser avec sa tante. C'est ennuyeux mortellement, et même quelque peu ridicule.'