Venetian Life. Two volumes

by William Dean Howells

Hardcover, 1892




Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1892. Illustrations from original watercolors.


Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. THE WINTER IN VENICE. It was winter, as I said, when I first came to Venice, and my experiences of the city were not all purely esthetic. There was, indeed, an every-day roughness and discomfort in the weather, which travelers passing their first winter in Italy find it hard to reconcile with the habitual ideas of the season's clemency in the South. But winter is apt to be very severe in mild climates. People do not acknowledge it, making a wretched pretense that it is summer only a little out of humor. The Germans have introduced stoves at Venice, but they are not in much favor with the Italians, who think their heat unwholesome, and endure a degree of cold, in their wish to dispense with fire, which we of the winter-lands know nothing of in our houses. They pay for their absurd prejudice with terrible chilblains; and their hands, which suffer equally with their feet, are, in the case of those most exposed to the cold, objects pitiable and revolting to behold when the itching and the effort to allay it has turned them into bloated masses of sores. It is not a pleasant thing to speak of; and the constant sight of the affliction among people who bring youbread, cut you cheese, and weigh you out sugar, by no means reconciles the Northern stomach to its prevalence. I have observed that priests, and those who have much to do in the frigid churches, are the worst sufferers in this way; and I think no one can help noting in the harsh, raw winter - complexion (for in summer the tone is quite different) of the women of all classes, the protest of systems cruelly starved of the warmth which health demands. The houses are, naturally enough in this climate, where there are eight months of summer in the year, all built with a view to coolness in summer, and the rooms ...… (more)


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