I SHALL have more to say of travelling in England, but I will content myself now by relating my long and finally triumphant pursuit of the nightingale. Many may think it is ridiculous to go abroad merely to hear a nightingale; but this is the most famous of song-birds; and when I remember how I had unsuccessfully chased the vocal fowl through many countries and for many years, the result is worth recording. All the great British poets for five centuries paid poetic homage to the famous bird, and it became essential to my happiness that I should hear him. Wherever I went, I found he had just left. For example, whenever I was in Florence, and went out to the Cascine or along the Arno, and listened to nothing, I was always informed that last week scores of them were in activity. Speaking of the moon in Florence, Browning said:
Full she flared it, lamping Samminiato,
Rounder twixt the cypresses and rounder,
Perfect, till the nightingales applauded.
Well, many a night I walked along the Arno, and saw the moonlight on the façade of San Miniato, but heard no nightingale. It was the same way in Germany; Bremen is famous for its nightingales, but there were none for me. I asked my English golf-partner if he had ever heard a nightingale, and he replied, 'I wish I had a shilling for every bootjack I have thrown at them.' I never saw a