Les Voyageurs Siciliens

Planche II

houel plate2

In this illustrationwe see Hoüel travelling with four men: two soldiers called campieri; the bordonaro, who leads the mules and takes care of them; and his personal servant. The campieri are also responsible for providing wheat and wine, like the messiers around Paris.

During the 18th century, when Sicily was full of bandits, guards and escorts were essential for travellers. Nobles were protected by private guards wearing a uniform and a cap similar to those used by hussars, elite soldiers. In order to avoid unnecessary risks Hoüel is dressed here in the Sicilian style, so as not to be identified as a foreigner. Hoüel does not mention the dog which appears in this illustration, barking at his horse.

In the accompanying text, the author comments that they were travelling towards Palermo and the paths were becoming difficult. Nearing a village called Borghetto, Hoüel climbed on to a rock thinking that he would be able to see a spectacular view from there, but he fell and was injured; the pain was so intense that he didn’t realise he had lost both his hat and his hunting knife in the fall, two things extremely important to an eighteenth century traveller.

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