INTERCOURSE WITH ITALIANS. XVII
knows well when to make the tender of his cigar-case or spirit-
flask ; in this country such amiable manifestations are only cal¬
culated to awaken a further spirit of cupidity and discontent.
On the principal routes, and especially in Naples, the insolence
of this mercenary fraternity has attained to such an unexampled
pitch, that the doubt not unfrequently presents itself to the tra¬
veller's mind whether such a thing as honesty is known in Italy.
A more intimate acquaintance with the people and their habits
will, however, satisfy him that his misgivings apply to the above
classes only, and not to the community generally.
In Italy the highly pernicious custom of demanding consider¬
ably more than will ultimately be accepted is universal; but a
knowledge of the custom, as it is based entirely upon the pre¬
sumed ignorance of one of the contracting parties, tends greatly
to mitigate the evil. Where tariffs and fixed charges exist, they
should be carefully consulted. In other cases in which an average
price is established by custom, the traveller should make a
precise bargain with respect to the service to be rendered, and
never rely on the equity of the other party.
Those individuals who appeal to the generosity of the stranger,
or to their own honesty, or who, as rarely happens, are offended
by the traveller's manifestation of distrust, may well be answered
in the words of the proverb: Lpatti chiari, amicizia l>mc/a'. In
the following pages the prices, even of insignificant objects, are
stated with all possible accuracy; and although liable to constant
fluctuations, they will at least often prove a safeguard against
gross extortions. The Editor ventures to offer the homely hint,
that the equanimity of the traveller's own temper will greatly
assist him if involved in a dispute or bargain, and no attention
whatever should be paid to vehement gesticulations or an offen¬
sive demeanour. The slighter his knowledge of the Italian
language is, the more careful should he be not to involve himself
in a war of words, in which he must necessarily be at great
It need hardly be observed that the representations of drivers,
guides, etc., with whom even the inhabitants of the place often
appear to act in concert, are unworthy of the slightest reliance.
Thus in Naples the charge for a single drive is 60 c, and yet
the driver would find no difficulty in summoning 20 individuals
ready to corroborate his assertion that the proper fare is 5 fr.
In such cases the traveller may generally implicitly rely on the
data in the Handbook. Where farther information is required,
it should be sought from fellow-travellers, gensdarmes, respectably
dressed persons present, occasionally from landlords, but seldom
or never from waiters.
Caution is everywhere desirable in Italy; but, if exaggerated,
it may be construed as the result of fear or weakness on the
B.xdekeh. Italy III. 3rd Edition. b