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Title: Rafael in Italy - A Geographical Reader
Author: McDonald, Etta Austin Blaisdell, 1872-, Dalrymple, Julia
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Rafael in Italy - A Geographical Reader" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                    Transcriber's Note:

       The Vocabulary at the end of the book gives the Phonetic
       pronunciation of the Italian words used in the book.

       The Unicode alphabets have been given wherever available.
       But the following two Phonetic diacritical marks do not
       have a Unicode representation.

       inverted "T" -- (uptack)

       "T" -- (downtack)



                  [Illustration: ON THE APPIAN WAY]


                       LITTLE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE


                           RAFAEL IN ITALY

                        A GEOGRAPHICAL READER



                      BY ETTA BLAISDELL McDONALD

             Joint author of "Boy Blue and His Friends,"
                    "The Child Life Readers," etc.


                         AND JULIA DALRYMPLE

       Author of "Little Me Too," "The Make-Believe Boys," etc.



                            SCHOOL EDITION



                                BOSTON

                      LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

                                 1910



                         _Copyright_, _1909_,

                    BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

       *       *       *       *       *



PREFACE


The very best way to understand the life and customs of a foreign
country is to visit it. If that is impossible one may still learn much
by reading a story of the people who live there. As this is true of
grown people, so is it true of children. They can become acquainted
with the children of other lands by reading stories of their simple,
daily life, and by living it for a little while within the pages of
the story-book.

It is no longer the fashion for our school children to learn by rote
the facts written down in their geography about all the corners of the
earth; they must know rather the children in these foreign lands,--the
sights they see, their work and play, their festivals and holidays,
their homes, their ambitions.

Such a tale is told in this little book about Italy. Rafael Valla, a
lad of fourteen, is seen first in Venice; he rows his boat on the
canals, hears the music of the band in the Square of St. Mark, goes to
the Rialto bridge for the serenade, and suddenly, through a chance
meeting with an American girl and her mother, the way is opened for
him to see Italy. He joins them in Florence, and they ride over the
Tuscan roads in an automobile, stopping to see the peasants gathering
grapes, and to visit an olive-farm. In Rome they see the ruins of the
ancient city under the direction of a guide, and they go to Naples,
and visit Pompeii and Vesuvius.

The book is full of pictures of Italian life. One sees the children
feeding the pigeons in Venice, the Easter festival in Florence, the
vintage with its merry-making in Tuscany, the Roman ruins, the
picturesque street-life in Naples with its noise and gayety, and the
silent streets of Pompeii. There are many such pen pictures of Italian
life, and the story should appeal to the imagination of the child and
awaken his interest in Italy and its people.

       *       *       *       *       *



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                        PAGE

I     AN EVENING IN VENICE                       1

II    VIVA L'ITALIA!                             6

III   RAFAEL'S TRAINED TOPS                     11

IV    STREETS OF VENICE                         16

V     STRINGING VENETIAN BEADS                  21

VI    SUNSET FROM THE TOWER OF SAN GIORGIO      28

VII   A CHAT ABOUT VERONA                       36

VIII  EDITH'S FLORENTINE MOSAIC                 41

IX    RAFAEL LEAVES VENICE                      46

X     GATHERING GRAPES IN TUSCANY               51

XI    A MARATHON RUN TO ROME                    62

XII   "THE GOLDEN MILESTONE"                    72

XIII  A RAMBLE IN ROME                          76

XIV   A MORNING IN THE COLOSSEUM                85

XV    MERRY NAPLES                              95

XVI   THE BURIED CITY                          103

XVII  THE MAGIC OF THE FOUNTAIN                110

       *       *       *       *       *



ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                     PAGE

On the Appian Way                         _Frontispiece in Color_

The Grand Canal, Venice                               2

Children feeding Pigeons in the Piazza of
    St. Mark, Venice                                 11

Gateway of San Sebastian, Rome                       68

Ruins of the Claudian Aqueduct                       78

The Colosseum at Rome                                88

The boys of Naples eating macaroni                   99

Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius                          103

"The army of boys bearing baskets of earth from
the excavations of Pompeii"                         106

       *       *       *       *       *



RAFAEL IN ITALY

CHAPTER I

AN EVENING IN VENICE


It was a glorious summer evening. The moon, rising over the city of
Venice, shone down on towers and domes and marble palaces, and made a
golden path in the rippling waters of the lagoon.

The squares of the city were all ablaze with lights, while from every
window and balcony twinkling jets of flame found their reflection in
the canals, and lengthened into shimmering arrows of gold.

There were no sounds save the calls of the boatmen, the soft lapping
of the waves against the marble walls and steps, and occasional
strains of music from the military band in the Piazza of St. Mark.

No place in all the world shines with more brilliancy than Venice in
carnival time. The city is like a diamond, as it catches the myriad
rays from moonlight and starlight, and flashes countless answering
gleams into the shadows of the night.

It is small wonder that people travel from the farthest corners of
the earth to watch the glitter and sparkle of this City of the Sea.

It was on this summer evening that Rafael Valla, a Venetian lad of
fourteen, decided to become a soldier of the king.

He was sitting in the water-gate of his mother's house, pointing with
his toe to the reflection in the canal of a particularly large and
brilliant star. "If the starlight moves to the right of my toe," he
said to himself, "I will go to the Piazza."

He knew perfectly well that he would go to the Piazza. The music of
the band was calling to him, and the star was slowly shifting its
light, as it had done on many a night while Rafael sat waiting and
dreaming in the gateway.

The tide was gently pulling his little boat away from the
orange-and-black mooring-post, at the foot of the steps, toward the
larger canal.

"Perhaps my boat knows of all the gay sights that are waiting for it
in the Grand Canal," the boy thought idly. "It may well know," he
added in his thought; "it has been there times enough."

The Grand Canal is the largest and finest of all the water-ways which
thread the city. It is spanned by three beautiful bridges, and, on
either side, rise the marble palaces of the ancient Venetian nobility;
those rulers of men whose names fill the "Golden Book of Venetian
History."

[Illustration: THE GRAND CANAL, VENICE
Notice the mooring-posts and the black gondola.]

But Rafael lingered in the gateway. The music of the band was a
promise of something still better. Soon hundreds of gondolas would
gather at the bridge of the Rialto to hear the songs of the
serenaders, and that was what the boy loved best.

As the bells in the square sounded the hour, he rose, reached for the
rope, and pulled his boat toward the stone landing steps. His motions
were alert and decisive, and made him seem a different boy from the
one who had been leaning so carelessly against the post of the
gateway.

Rafael was good friends with his oar, and the little boat, which was
only large enough to seat three comfortably, hurried gladly toward the
lights of the Grand Canal, and the music in the beautiful Piazza of
St. Mark.

Hundreds of black gondolas were moving up and down the canals, manned
by boatmen in white linen, for the night was very warm; and a melody
from an Italian opera, sung in a musical tenor voice, floated from one
of the boats.

"I, also, would sing, if it were not pleasanter to listen," said
Rafael to his boat. Then it occurred to him that it might be most
pleasant of all to find his friend Nicolo and take him to hear the
singers at the Rialto bridge.

He turned toward the steps of the Piazzetta, murmuring as he did so,
"These other boats are also moving toward the Rialto. I must find
Nicolo quickly, or we shall lose our favorite place at the bridge."

The boy tied his boat in the shadow of the steps, and took his way
across the small square into the larger one in front of the Cathedral
of St. Mark.

Numberless columns and pillars surround this square, and each one was
outlined with twinkling golden lights. From every ornament and statue
that grace the cathedral and palaces shone countless numbers of the
fairy flames. The crimson globes of the larger lamps in the square
added a different tone, and the silver light of the moon blended with
the whole, dazzling Rafael with the brilliancy.

He shaded his eyes from the glare, as he searched rapidly among the
crowds for his friend. The polished stones of the pavement in front of
the cafés were covered with little tables, and hundreds of people were
sipping ices or drinking coffee.

Nicolo was often to be found selling trinkets among the people at the
tables, but he was not there to-night. Nor was he seated on the back
of one of the two stone lions that crouch on their pedestals just
beyond the cathedral.

It is from these convenient seats that the band sounds better than
almost anywhere else in the square. At least, the boys of Venice seem
to find it so, and so many years have they climbed up to watch the
crowds of people in the Piazza of St. Mark, that the backs of the
lions are worn smooth with much rubbing.

A little bootblack and a water-boy held the places now, and
occasionally begged for custom from any one who happened to linger
near.

Passing in and out among the crowds were pretty young girls selling
flowers, ragged boys carrying trays of fruit--crimson peaches, purple
grapes and ripe figs--and men selling bracelets and necklaces of
shells and colored beads.

It was a gay scene. An officer, in the naval uniform of the United
States of America, stood in the central doorway of the cathedral,
watching the movements of the crowd and listening to the music.

As Rafael gave up trying to find Nicolo and turned toward the canal,
the officer left his place and followed the boy. "Where away?" he
asked pleasantly, in English, as Rafael took his seat in the boat.

"To the Rialto; to hear the serenade, Signore," the boy replied
courteously, also in English; and would have pushed away from the
steps, but the stranger asked, "Will you take a passenger?"

"Si, Signore," answered Rafael, "I have been looking for one," and he
held the boat still while the officer found a seat.



CHAPTER II

VIVA L'ITALIA!


"Do you like our lovely Venice?" Rafael asked, as the boat slipped
away with oar and tide toward the bridge.

"Not well enough to stay here forever," answered the man, with a
smile.

The boy opened his eyes in surprise. How could any one wish to leave
the city after once seeing it! As for himself, he adored the place. To
slip with his boat in and out of the canals and the lagoon, to dive
from the steps and bridges and chase the other boys through the water,
to listen to the music in the Piazza at night, seemed to him the only
life worth living.

But the stranger was speaking again. "I could have been happy here
centuries ago, when the city was in the making," he said. "It would
have been glorious to fight for the right to live on these islands,
and to have a hand in building such palaces and churches. Those were
days of service for the men who loved their city."

Rafael knew well the history of Venice. As the officer spoke, the
boy's eyes turned to the stately walls of the Doge's palace, and to
the domes of the great churches; and he thought of the early Venetians
who gave their lives in loving service for their country.

The stranger continued, "Your good Doge Dandolo had a powerful navy
when he led the Venetians across the Mediterranean to conquer the
islands of Candia and Cyprus."

Rafael nodded. "Si, Signore," he said. "There were many at home who
held the city safe while he was away," he added, "and there was need
enough of brave men then, both at home and abroad."

"Venice was a rich and powerful state in those days," said the
stranger. "Now she has little left but her beauty, and that will fall
to ruin, as the great bell-tower in the Piazza fell not long ago. A
man likes to fight for something more than beauty."

Rafael nodded again. He liked this stranger who spoke so easily of the
early life of Venice.

Just then the boat slipped into a nook under the bridge, where it was
safe from the sweep of the gondolas which crowded near, and the two
became silent in watching the approach of the barge filled with
musicians and singers.

This barge was surrounded by a solid mass of gondolas, closely wedged
together, each gondolier trying to push his boat as close as
possible, so that his patrons might see and hear well.

Suddenly red lights flared up from the bridge and flooded everything
with radiance. Palace fronts shone with a magical beauty; crimson
banners waved from Moorish windows; statues and columns stood out
clearly and asked boldly to be admired.

Rafael looked at his companion. "Did you ever see a more beautiful
sight?" he asked.

But he could get no satisfaction from the stranger. "Beauty is not
everything," was his answer; and Rafael racked his brain to think what
more could be desired in this wonderland of marble and sky and water.

Suddenly the music from the barge swelled into a great volume of
sound. "Viva l'Italia!" cried a voice from the bridge, and "Viva
l'Italia!" echoed from all the gondolas.

Rafael waved his cap in the air. "Viva l'Italia!" he shouted in his
boyish voice, while his heart beat fast with the enthusiasm of the
moment. It seemed to his imagination that the singers were repeating
the words of the stranger; that they were telling of the glory of
battle, and of a life of service for one's country.

It was of Italy they sang--not of Venice--of Italy, and of Italy's
king. "Viva l'Italia! Long live the King!" he shouted with the
others; and at that moment he felt that he must become a soldier of
the king, to live or die for Italy.

After the singing was over and the gondolas had begun to disperse,
Rafael pushed his way down the canal; and at the steps where he had
embarked, the stranger rose to leave the boat. As he did so, he
stooped to place a coin in the boy's hand. "With thanks," he said. "I
have had an evening to remember."

But Rafael pushed his hand away. "I never carry people for money,
Signore," he said proudly.

The coin dropped from the American's hand to the bottom of the boat.
"For Italy, then," he said. "There are many in your country who need
it."

The boy let his boat drift with the tide, while he thought over the
words of the stranger.

He and his mother were all that was left of an old Venetian family.
Like many others, they had almost no means of support. They rented two
of the upper floors of their house to people poorer than themselves;
and might have rented the whole house to some of the foreigners who
often asked for it, but the mother held to it with a great love. It
was a link that kept alive the memory of the past, when her family was
one of importance, and Venice was a rich and powerful city.

She would rather eat polenta and fish every day, if thereby she could
keep the fine house as it had always been, rich with old furniture and
the paintings of great artists.

She had taught her son to speak French and English, and no guide in
the city knew every detail of its history so well as he. "Our history
is our pride," she often said, with much emphasis, and the boy felt
that she was right.

At last Rafael picked up the coin and put it into his pocket; then he
took up the oar and pushed the boat back to his own mooring-post.

He found his mother, and told her that he was tired of his life of
idleness. "I shall become a soldier of the king," he said.

"Ah," she said, "every Italian should serve his king. There is need of
every one. Our country is very poor."

Rafael looked disturbed. "It is not the country that is poor," he
answered. "Our good priest says that the country is rich, with all its
vineyards, and orchards, and wheat-fields. It is only the people who
are poor."

"What wilt thou do about it, caro mio?" asked his mother, with a
laugh.

"I shall earn some money," replied Rafael. "My boat has shown me
how."

[Illustration: CHILDREN FEEDING PIGEONS IN THE PIAZZA OF ST. MARK, VENICE
Notice the three flag-poles, and the bronze horses over the central
doorway of the Cathedral.]



CHAPTER III

RAFAEL'S TRAINED TOPS


It was early in the afternoon of the next day. The tide was low in the
canals of Venice. Hundreds of green crabs could be seen clinging
lazily to the stone walls of the houses, wherever there was a place
still cool and wet from the salt sea-water.

At the base of the two great columns in the Piazzetta, groups of
Venetian beggars were soundly sleeping. The gondoliers call these
beggars "crab-catchers," because they cling about the mooring-steps of
the canals to beg centimes from the passengers in the gondolas.

The Venetian pigeons were also sleeping. Their way of begging is more
pleasing than that of the crab-catchers, but they are beggars for all
that. They never wait for the sound of the bell which the good priest
rings every day when it is time for them to be fed, but fly down to
the pavement whenever they catch sight of a person with a bit of
grain. They flutter down by twos and threes, and beg with their best
coos for something to eat.

But now they had all disappeared from the pavement, and might be
seen, dozing with their heads under their wings, up among the eaves of
the fine palaces and beautiful public buildings which surround the
Square of St. Mark.

The children, who love to feed the pigeons, had disappeared, too, and
all Venice seemed to be taking its afternoon nap.

An American lady and her daughter, paying no heed to the heat of the
sun, turned the corner of the Doge's palace and entered the Piazzetta,
meaning to cross to the farther end of the large square, where
wood-carvings are for sale in one of the shops.

"Mother," said the girl suddenly, "I wish we knew of something to see
besides the buildings in this square. We have been here four days, and
have bought a lovely carved cherub, or a souvenir spoon of Venice, for
every one of our friends, but we don't know anything about this
beautiful old city."

"We must be careful not to get lost again, Edith," answered her
mother. "This Piazza is always perfectly safe. If we keep within sight
of the cathedral we can easily find our way back to the hotel at any
time."

"I should like to get lost again," said Edith decidedly. "There must
be many other interesting places to see besides the Doge's palace and
St. Mark's Cathedral, if we only knew where to look for them."

"You can learn much about the life of the city by looking from the
hotel windows," said her mother.

"Oh, Mother, I can't sit at the window and watch the gondolas on the
Grand Canal without wishing to ride in one," replied Edith. "Why can't
we hire one, and go in and out among all the islands?"

Her mother stopped in the middle of the square and looked doubtfully
out over the water of the lagoon. "We cannot be too careful what we
do," she said. "Those gondoliers might leave us on one of the outer
islands, and we could not get back to the hotel, for we do not know a
single word of Italian."

"Oh, they don't do such things in Venice, I know," answered Edith;
"and besides, we might take a guide along with us. There must be many
who speak English, and who would be glad to show us the city sights
for the sake of earning some Italian lire."

"Where should we look to find some one to speak English?" asked her
mother.

As if in answer to her words there came the sound of boys' voices from
a corner of the square, where the Merceria, with its shops, leads to
the Rialto bridge. Edith and her mother looked up and saw a group of
boys gathered around the pedestal of the lion farthest from the great
church.

English words floated across to the American people, although the
voice which spoke them was an Italian one.

"Signor Rafael Valla will now present his troupe of trained tops,"
said the voice.

The American girl watched the group eagerly. Rafael--the boy of the
boat and the serenade--knelt in the center, with a collection of tops
on the pavement beside him.

The tops were of many different makes and colors. There were the
light, agile ones from Japan, that spin only a moment. There were the
big German tops that spin with a great humming sound, but are not at
all graceful. There were the solid, business-like English tops that do
their work and then go off at the close of the performance with a bow
and an off-hand dash, as if to make room for the next on the program.

At last Rafael took up one which was wrapped in gold-foil, and which
seemed to be both graceful and business-like, and wonderfully
accomplished. It hung balanced between two outer circles of steel, and
spun in every possible position--on the pavement, on the top of a
post, and at right angles to it--all at one spinning.

"It is my golden spinner," said the boy, in Italian. "It has travelled
among all the great cities of the world, and never failed to keep an
engagement."

The boys laughed, and Edith joined in the laughter, although she did
not know the meaning of the words.

Rafael looked up into her face and smiled. It was the opportunity
which she had hoped for. She had noticed his unusual appearance, and
that he was dressed with care.

"Speak to him, Mother," she urged, in English. "Perhaps he will tell
us where we may go to see the sights."

The boy rose and took off his cap. "I speak English, Signora," he
said. "There are truly many things to see in Venice, if you wish to
see them."



CHAPTER IV

STREETS OF VENICE


Mrs. Sprague looked from one child to the other. The girl was eager,
the boy expectant. "He is no older than you are, Edith," she said at
last. "It isn't possible that he can be a good guide. There will be
three lost, instead of two as there were yesterday, if he tries to
pilot us through these crooked lanes."

The day before, Edith had hired an Italian lad to act as a guide, when
she had wished to buy an Italian flag and could find none in the shops
near the Piazza. She had made her wish known, by signs, to one of the
young boys idling at the base of the Lion's Column. He could speak no
English, but Edith showed him a tiny American flag which she carried
in her purse.

"Viva America!" she said, waving the flag with one hand. Then she
waved the empty hand, saying, "Viva l'Italia!" and asked very loudly,
as if he might be deaf, "Where to buy?" pointing to the flag.

The boy nodded that he understood, and led the girl and her mother
across the Piazza and under the old Clock Tower, in which the clock
has been marking the hours ever since Columbus discovered America.
Beyond the tower he led them through short streets and narrow lanes to
a remote, wretched part of the city.

Although Venice is called the City of the Sea, and has hundreds of
canals, there is also a network of narrow streets and lanes threading
the islands on which the city is built. It is possible to walk
anywhere by following these streets and crossing the bridges, and each
house has a land-gate as well as a water-gate.

One of these lanes led at last into a small square. A low, narrow
doorway opened into a dark room, looking out upon a dirty little
canal,--far away from the rose-colored, marble-paved Square of St.
Mark--and here Edith found her Italian flag.

The room was cluttered with old rubbish; and a dozen ragged,
hungry-looking men and women sat idly about on broken chairs.

The boy told his errand in Italian to one of the men, who answered him
in an angry tone. They disputed together for several moments, and then
the man brought a small flag from a far corner of the room. The bright
red, green and white stripes of the flag were in good proportion, but
it was made of a cheap, flimsy material.

"I don't care for it," said Edith, putting her hands behind her and
shaking her head.

Immediately everybody in the room began to talk loudly, which so
frightened Mrs. Sprague that she took out her purse and asked, "How
much?"

The boy held up four fingers. "Quattro lire," he said.

"Four lire!" exclaimed Edith indignantly; "that is almost one dollar,
and it isn't worth ten cents."

But the excited Italian voices were all speaking at once, and so
angrily that Mrs. Sprague dropped the money into an old chair, and
seizing the flag with one hand and Edith with the other, she backed
quickly out into the open air.

She forgot that she knew nothing about the way to her hotel, and,
without waiting for the boy, crossed the first bridge she saw, and
struck into another narrow lane. She was too anxious as to her
whereabouts to notice the interesting sights in the streets through
which she hurried; but Edith, with a girl's curiosity, saw everything.

In a small square at one end of a bridge, a woman leaned from an upper
window and lowered a basket to the pavement below. A man with a basket
of fried fish on his arm took a piece of money from the woman's basket
and put in its place a fish from his own. Then he returned to a
little shed near-by, where a woman was frying onions and fish in oil,
on several charcoal stoves.

As they crossed another bridge, they saw a woman lean from a window to
splash her baby up and down in the canal for his daily bath. The baby
was tied to the end of a long rope which his mother gently raised and
lowered, and he laughed with glee every time he hit the water with his
chubby fists.

Edith wished to stop and watch this curious bath, but Mrs. Sprague
hurried her along, and they soon reached a part of the city where many
people were moving toward a church. As they neared the building, the
leather curtain, which hangs at the entrance to Italian churches, was
pushed aside, and a stream of men, women and children began coming
out, each one carrying a candle.

The children had little candles, the grown people carried larger ones;
and everyone stopped to buy cakes from old women seated near the
church door.

After crossing many bridges, and passing many churches, Edith and her
mother suddenly entered the Piazza of St. Mark, which had grown so
familiar to them both that it was like walking into their own home.

"I shall not go out of sight of it again," said Mrs. Sprague, with a
sigh of great relief.

But Edith longed to explore those bewildering back lanes for more of
the strange foreign sights. "After we get home to America," she said,
"we shall see no more boys selling glasses of water at odd corners;
nor shall we see women frying cakes in the streets, and mothers
bathing their babies in the canals. If we can only find some one who
understands English, we shall have no more trouble."

Now that she had found Rafael, she urged her mother to employ him. "He
can speak both English and Italian," she said, "and can be our
interpreter."

Mrs. Sprague shook her head and was turning away, when the boy spoke,
and held her attention. "The golden spinner is the smallest of all my
tops," he said, "but it does the best work. Why not let me try?"

The lady looked at his earnest face and smiled. "Very well," she said,
"we will go through the Doge's palace with you. We can't get lost
there."

Rafael gathered his tops together and turned them over to one of the
boys. "Keep them for me, Nicolo," he said, and led the way at once to
the beautiful entrance just beyond the corner of the cathedral--the
entrance to the most magnificent of all the fine palaces in Venice.



CHAPTER V

STRINGING VENETIAN BEADS


Edith hurried along beside Rafael, and Mrs. Sprague followed slowly
into the courtyard of the palace, up the Giant's Staircase and through
great rooms, until they came out upon a balcony overlooking the square
which they had just left.

"Is it not lovely?" Rafael asked simply.

Without answering, Edith balanced her camera upon the railing of the
balcony and snapped a picture of the two columns in the Piazzetta,
near a landing place of the Grand Canal.

"Everyone in the United States knows that picture," she said, "and
when they see that I have taken it, they will know that I was really
here once."

"Is it that you will show it to everyone in the United States?" asked
Rafael with interest.

Edith looked at him quickly, thinking that he was laughing at her; but
as she saw that he was serious she answered, "Oh dear! no; only to my
friends, who were glad to have me come to see Italy, so that I can
tell them about it."

"Is that why so many people come to my country," he asked,--"to tell
others about it?"

Edith laughed. "I came to buy a string of Venetian beads," she
answered roguishly.

But the boy would not laugh in answer. "It may be that you will take
away with you a more precious necklace than your glass one, if you
will let me show you our wonderful pictures and buildings," he said.

It was a pretty speech, and the girl answered him with another. "You
mean a necklace of memory pictures," she said. "Yes, I have begun to
string such a necklace. My memory of St. Mark's Cathedral is one of
the beads, and this splendid square is another. Then there is a bead
for the moonlight on the canals, and one for the fluttering pigeons at
their midday meal.".

Mrs. Sprague then told Rafael how they had wandered off into a part of
the city where the canals were narrow and dirty, where the houses were
old and crumbling to ruins, and where the streets seemed hardly more
than cracks between the walls.

"I don't wish to put that memory picture into my necklace," said
Edith.

"It is not necessary," answered Rafael. "There will be many beautiful
beads. This afternoon we will climb the bell-tower of San Giorgio when
the sun is setting, and there you will get a picture of this 'pearl
of the world' that will make you forget every other."

But Edith was turning her camera upon the pavement below, where three
flag-poles stand in front of St. Mark's.

"The lazy pigeons in the square were lean and hungry when those three
masts were placed before the cathedral," Rafael told her. "The
Venetians were hardy sailors, bold adventurers, and rich merchants in
those days; and it was an honor for Morea and the eastern islands of
Candia and Cyprus to fly their banners in our city. All the vessels
from the East and the West stopped at our port, and the fame of Venice
spread far and wide."

"You speak boastfully," said Edith saucily.

"It is all true," Rafael said earnestly. "Four hundred years ago there
was no place in the whole world where so much pomp and magnificence
could be seen as in St. Mark's Square and on the Grand Canal.

"Over in the museum at the arsenal"--Rafael's voice broke in his
excitement--"there is a model of a ship of state, in which, for
hundreds of years, the Doge used every year to go out to the entrance
of the lagoon and throw a jewelled ring into the waters of the
Adriatic, to make Venice the bride of the sea.

"People from far and wide, by thousands and tens of thousands, came to
see the ceremony. It was a marvellous sight to see," he added proudly,
as if he had seen it many times.

"Two or three hundred senators, in their scarlet robes, marched with
the Doge from this palace to the wharf, where the ship of state waited
for them; and thousands of magnificent gondolas followed it on its
journey to the Lido port, where the ceremony took place."

"I thought all gondolas must be black," Edith objected. "A procession
of black gondolas would not be very magnificent."

"It is the law now that all gondolas must be black," Rafael explained,
"because in olden times so many nobles wasted their fortunes in
decorating their gondolas extravagantly with rich carvings, gold
ornaments, and gorgeous draperies. You can see that such a procession,
reaching from here to the Lido port, would be a splendid sight.

"There must be many rings out there," he added.

Edith had listened, charmed with the sound of so much splendor. "Let
us go to the Lido for a sea bath," she said; "perhaps we can find a
ring."

Rafael shook his head. "The last ring was thrown into the water more
than a hundred years ago," he said. "The sands have covered them all
too deeply by this time."

Then he pointed to the four bronze horses which stand over the central
doorway of the cathedral. "They are the only horses in our whole
city," he said. "They are almost two thousand years old, and have
travelled hundreds of miles, by sea and land.

"It is said that they first stood on a triumphal arch in Rome, but
they were taken to Constantinople by the Emperor Constantine, where
they were kept many hundreds of years. Dandolo, a Doge of Venice,
conquered the city about seven hundred years ago, and brought the
horses to Venice as a sign of his victory.

"They were placed over the door where they now stand, and have been
there ever since, except for a visit of eighteen years to Paris, to
please the Emperor Napoleon."

"See how they paw the air," said Edith. "They look as if they were
eager to be off again to the ends of the earth."

"No," said Rafael, "we Venetians love those bronze horses. No one will
ever take them away from us again.

"We need them," he added with a laugh, "how else would we know what
horses are like, when we read about them in books?"

"It is a great pity that the bell-tower in the square fell," said Mrs.
Sprague; "this new one that they are building in its place must be
very expensive."

Rafael laughed merrily. "That is a queer thing about the Italians," he
said; "if it is a great piece of art which we wish to preserve, we do
not care what the expense may be."

Then he added soberly, "The fishermen miss the old tower more than any
of us, because they used to find their way into the Lido port by it."

"You say so much about the Lido," said Edith.

"We will go over there after we have looked at some of the pictures
inside the palace, and at the dungeons, and the Bridge of Sighs,"
answered Rafael.

Edith shuddered. "I will look at the pictures, but not at the
dungeons," she said; "and I can look at the Bridge of Sighs every time
I come from our hotel into the Piazza."

As they stepped back into the room behind them, she repeated the names
of three of the great painters whose works have helped to make Venice
a treasure-city.

"Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto," she said over and over again, as she
looked at the pictures which Rafael pointed out to her in the long
rooms. "If I find more of their paintings in other cities of Italy, it
will seem like meeting old friends."

Rafael smiled. "Italy is rich because of her artists," he said. "You
will find their works in every city. It may not always be the
paintings of those same three men, but there are others which are also
famous."

Then his happy face grew serious. "It makes the heart sad to think
what wonderful dreams our great Italians have had," he said. "My
mother says that no dream, no thought of beauty, was ever felt
anywhere, that has not found expression here in Italy."

As he spoke, he led the mother and daughter out of the palace and
across the Piazzetta to the steps where his little boat was tied, and
Edith wondered if his words were true.

Before her sight-seeing in Italy was ended, she was very sure that
they were.



CHAPTER VI

SUNSET FROM THE TOWER OF SAN GIORGIO


"It is not a good plan to leave the square from the steps in front of
the two great columns," Rafael explained, as he went toward the
landing-place opposite the Doge's palace, where he always moored his
boat.

"Why is it not a good plan?" asked Edith.

"Because it might later make us run into a mud-bank," he answered
merrily. "Whenever any one is executed in Venice, it has to be done
between those two columns, and that has made the spot most unlucky.
People used to gamble there before it was the place for executions,
but now, of course, no one thinks of such a thing."

"I should hope not," said Mrs. Sprague, "nor anywhere else."

"The only Doge that was ever beheaded, landed between those columns,"
continued Rafael, "and since then there are people who would not dare
to use the steps, for fear it might bring them ill-luck."

"I am going to get into your boat from those very steps," said Edith,
walking toward them.

Her mother, who was already seated in the boat, looked troubled. "He
may be right, Edith," she called to her daughter. "You know that I am
afraid of the water, and you promised not to take any chances if I
would bring you to Italy."

But Edith insisted that she should get into the boat from the steps,
or not at all. "There is no danger," she said. "These Italians are too
superstitious. See how they are always closing one hand and pointing
down two of its fingers to ward off the evil eye. I am going to show
Rafael how foolish all these notions are."

The boy looked at her in anger. He had sometimes closed his own hand
in the way Edith described, when he met old Beppo, the brown monk from
one of the islands in the lagoon; and had often gone out of his way to
meet the hunchback, Tonio, because it is well-known in Venice that the
sight of a hunchback brings good luck.

Now, when he heard Edith speak so contemptuously of his cherished
beliefs, he felt a flame of resentment. Standing quietly in his boat,
he said, "Signorina, we go not from those landing-steps in my boat."

Edith saw that he meant what he said. "I am sorry that I hurt your
feelings," she said, with a pretty air of penitence; "but if you will
kindly take me from these steps, I will make a gift to the patron
saint of the fishermen, if we find a shrine at the Lido."

Rafael melted at once. "It is not that I was afraid," he told her, as
she stepped into the boat from the unlucky steps, "but I cannot have
the ways of my country ridiculed."

Then he pushed off from the landing, and the two great columns rose
above their heads in stately fashion.

Edith looked from the winged lion on the top of one to the crocodile
and the figure of St. Theodore on the other. "There are many stone
lions in the city," she said, "but I have seen only one crocodile. Why
is that?"

"The lion is the symbol of St. Mark," replied Rafael, "and must guard
the city, because St. Mark is our patron saint. St. Theodore, who
stands on the crocodile, was our first patron saint, before the body
of St. Mark was brought to Venice and placed in the little church
which once stood where you now see the cathedral."

"Is it the St. Mark who wrote one of the books of the New Testament?"
asked Mrs. Sprague.

"Yes, Signora," replied Rafael.

"We have been into the cathedral many times," said Edith. "Mother
knows every picture and statue inside and out of it."

"It is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the whole world," said
her mother. "Some one has called it a jewel-box, because it contains
so many magnificent gems, precious stones, and golden mosaics; and it
seems so to me. Now that I have seen it, I am ready to leave Venice."

"Oh, Mother," exclaimed the girl, "we haven't begun to see all that I
want to! I must buy some more Venetian glass, and a lantern, and some
flags and banners. I mean to make my room at home look like a bit of
Venice."

Rafael looked pleased. "Our people were making beautiful things in
glass two hundred years before Christopher Columbus found his way to
your country," he said. He had no wish to seem boastful to these
people of a younger nation, so he tried to say it courteously.

But Edith was impolite enough to say, "The men and women in your city
seem to do nothing now but make glass, and carve wood, and weave lace.
In so many hundred years they might have learned a good many new
things, it seems to me."

The boy flushed. "Venice is old, it is true," he answered, "but Italy
is still young." Then he threw back his head and laughed with the
happy laugh of boyhood. "Viva l'Italia!" he cried joyously. "She will
soon be the greatest country in the world."

"Viva Venice!" cried Edith, but Rafael was drawing his boat alongside
a flight of steps, and did not hear her.

"Where is that lame crab of a steamer?" he muttered, looking off into
the lagoon.

"What are we going to do?" questioned Mrs. Sprague anxiously.

"We must go to the Lido in the steamer," answered the boy. "It is too
far for me to row there and back before sunset; and it will cost but a
small sum to buy round-trip tickets for the three of us. That will
take us all to the casino by the tram-car, and pay for our bath in the
salt-water."

"Pay for our bath!" repeated Edith. "Surely we may go into the water
without paying for it."

"Not if you wish to go in from the bathing-house at the casino,"
Rafael replied; "and it is forbidden by law to take away even one
pailful of the water without paying a tax. There is a tax on salt in
our country, and it is feared that we may get the least bit of salt
from the water."

"I never heard of such a thing!" exclaimed Mrs. Sprague.

"It is very hard," said the boy; "but what can one do? A tax is a tax,
and must be paid."

"But it would not be so, if I could get hold of an oar of the
government," he added with a laugh, as he held the boat steady with
his own oar while his passengers landed.

The little steamer was just drawing up to the pier from its trip
across the lagoon. This lagoon is a wide stretch of water, deep only
in those places where the ship-channels are kept constantly dredged.
When the tide is low, the city shows that it is built upon mud-banks.
Twice daily the waters move away from the lagoon, leaving the flats
covered with floating seaweed. The returning tide, flowing from the
Adriatic through several openings in the long narrow sand-bars, called
lidi, covers the seaweed and mud-flats, and forms the lagoon.

The little steamer carried Rafael and his passengers to the Lido in a
quarter of an hour, giving them time for a bath in the salt water, and
a cup of tea at the casino; and also a moment at the little church
dedicated to the patron saint of the fishermen, where Edith left a
coin as she had promised to do.

Then they returned across the water to the church of San Giorgio for a
view of the sunset, the sight in Venice which artists love most. It
was the most wonderful sunset that Edith had ever seen. The low sun
gave out a glory of color, and waves of golden light flooded the city,
crowning every tower and dome with a great radiance.

"So much gold makes it seem like the Heavenly City," Edith said
softly.

To the north lay the white-crowned Alps, to the east the blue
Adriatic; and Edith never forgot the glory of that hour.

A fisher's boat swung slowly through the Lido port, and moved toward
its mooring-place at a group of rose-tinged piles. In just such a boat
Columbus must have sailed when he was a boy. The rounded prow was
decorated with a flying goddess blowing a trumpet; on the masthead
there was perched a weathercock and a little figure of a hump-backed
man, like the one hidden away in St. Mark's. A great sail, painted
deep red, caught the sea-breeze and carried the boat slowly over the
shimmering, rose-colored water.

Edith drew a long breath of the salt air, and clasped her hands with
delight at the picture.

Some workmen, driving piles to mark the ship channel, were chanting an
old song,--one that has been sung for centuries by the pile-drivers of
Venice,--and Rafael translated the words for her, as the men raised
the heavy wooden hammer:--

   "Up with it well,
    Up to the top;
    Up with it well,
    Up to the summit!"

Each line of the Italian words ended with a long "e-e-e," or an
"o-o-o," and the American girl laughed at the strange song.

"It is just the time and place to paint a picture, or write a poem
about the Venetian sunset," she said.

"It is so different here from what I had imagined it to be," she
added. "I used to wonder what kept the sea from dashing against the
walls of the houses, and beating down the doors."

"Then you knew nothing about the lidi which hold back the sea?"
questioned the boy.

"No," replied the girl. "People who have been here speak only about
the Grand Canal, and the Piazza of St. Mark, and the Bridge of Sighs."

She pointed out to her mother the long wharf which stretched along the
opposite bank of the lagoon, and their hotel, which was farther up the
canal. "There is plenty of space on the pavement near our hotel to
spread a sail," she said, "and I thought there was never a spot to set
foot in all the city, except in the squares."

The sight of the hotel reminded Mrs. Sprague of home. "We must go back
and see if there are any letters," she said suddenly, and turned to go
down the spiral staircase.



CHAPTER VII

A CHAT ABOUT VERONA


As they took their places in the boat, Edith said to Rafael, "Tell us
some of your Venetian legends. Is there not one about this lagoon?"

"There are many," he answered, and he told her the story of the three
saints--St. Mark, St. George, and St. Theodore--who crossed the lagoon
one night, centuries ago, and drove back the evil spirits who would
have destroyed the city.

"Our boatmen can tell you of many other strange things which have
happened on these canals," he concluded, as they reached the steps in
front of the hotel.

Edith ran in, and soon returned with several letters for her mother
and herself, which they began reading while Rafael poled slowly back
into the canal.

"Listen to this," exclaimed Mrs. Sprague suddenly. "Tom tells me to go
to Verona, where his chauffeur is waiting with the automobile, and
take it to Florence for him."

"I don't like to leave Venice just as we have begun to enjoy it,"
said Edith. Then seeing that Rafael looked wonderingly at them, she
added, "Tom is my cousin, who is seeing Italy with his friend in an
automobile. He said it would take too long to see it with Mother and
me."

But Mrs. Sprague began reading aloud,--"We shall be gone into Austria
for more than a month, and I know you will enjoy a ride through the
Italian country."

Looking up from the letter, she said, "We will go to-morrow."

"How shall we find the chauffeur?" asked Edith.

"He is at the 'Hotel of the Golden Dove,'" said Mrs. Sprague. "There
will be no trouble in finding him."

"I prefer the winged lions of Venice to the golden dove of Verona,"
said Edith, looking up at the column in the Piazzetta.

"You will find a stone lion in the forum in Verona," said the boy.

"In the forum!" exclaimed Edith, "that sounds like Rome."

"Yes," said the boy rather proudly, "there is also an old forum in
Verona, but it is used now as a vegetable market. You can take a
picture of it with your camera."

"Perhaps I may," answered the girl; "but I shall first take one of
Juliet's balcony."

Rafael laughed. It seemed that he, too, had read "Romeo and Juliet,"
for he said, "You will be much disappointed in that balcony."

"Why so?" asked the girl, with a look of surprise.

"Because the house is not a fine one. It is in a block of tall narrow
houses. The street leads from the market-place and is so narrow that
the tram-car almost rubs against one's knees.

"Romeo had trouble enough, if he climbed to that balcony," he added.
"It is five stories above the sidewalk, and is hardly big enough for a
man to stand in."

"Perhaps Juliet's balcony overlooked the courtyard," Mrs. Sprague
suggested.

"As for the courtyard, that was full of worn-out carriages when I saw
it," Rafael answered, "It was not a good place for a lover to hide."

"I don't want to go to Verona and have all my dreams shattered,"
mourned the girl. "Shall I be disappointed in Juliet's tomb, too?"

The boy laughed again. "You can pick an ivy leaf from the plant
near-by. Is not that what your country-women do?" he asked.

Edith tossed her head. "Of course," she answered. "I have a large
collection of ivy leaves myself,--one from every castle in England and
Ireland."

The boy looked mischievous. "One from Juliet's tomb will be most
precious of all," he told her, "because ivy grows not so easily in
Italy as in England."

"Is there anything else to be seen in Verona?" asked Mrs. Sprague.

"There is a colosseum in Verona which is second only to the one in
Rome, Signora," Rafael replied.

But Edith shook her head. "That cannot be," she said. "We have one in
the United States which we think is next to the Roman one in
importance."

It was the boy's turn to show surprise. "How can that be?" he asked
quickly. "The one in Verona is very old, and has seen many exciting
battles between gladiators."

"Well," persisted the girl, "our stadium in Cambridge, where the men
of Harvard University fight their foot-ball battles with men of other
colleges, has seen just as interesting contests as any colosseum in
Europe. Thousands and thousands of people have cheered the victors in
our country as well as yours," and Edith's cheeks flushed, as she
thought of some of the stirring foot-ball games which she had
witnessed.

The boy looked at her in amazement. "I did not know that you ever saw
such inspiring sights in your country," he said humbly.

"Indeed we do," said Edith, glad to see that Rafael was impressed.

"How long will it take to reach Verona from Venice?" asked Mrs.
Sprague.

"If you leave here at the fifteen hours, you will arrive before
sunset," he answered.

"At the fifteen hours," repeated Edith with a laugh. "What a funny way
to say three o'clock. Your way of counting time up to the twenty-four
hours is the queerest thing in Italy."

"It seems the most natural thing in the world to me," said her mother.
"There are twenty-four hours in the day. Why should we not name each
one?"

Then she arranged that Rafael should take them to the station in his
boat, on the next day, at the fifteen hours.



CHAPTER VIII

EDITH'S FLORENTINE MOSAIC


HOTEL NEW YORK, FLORENCE, ITALY.
October 10, 19--.

TO SIGNOR RAFAEL VALLA,

_My dear Sir:_--Can you leave your tops for a few moments and read a
letter from your American friends, the Spragues?

Although we have been in Florence for more than a month, we have not
yet forgotten our visit in Venice and our journey to Verona. We sat by
the right-hand window in the train, as you told us to do; but I looked
often across the way to see what could take place on the opposite
side. Once I saw some storks that had flown down from Strassburg and
were standing on their long legs in the marshes.

But our side of the train was truly the more pleasant one. There were
grape-vines and mulberry trees and wheat-fields; and also cypress
trees, which you did not mention, but which we were glad to see. Then
there were big fields of watermelons ripening in the sun, and women
gathering them in baskets which they carried on their heads across
the fields.

In Verona we went to see the play in the colosseum by moonlight. I
have never seen such a performance in our stadium at Harvard, and you
have a right to be proud of the great colosseum.

There were four hundred performers on the stage at one time, and the
play ended at "the twenty-three hours" with a gunpowder explosion that
destroyed the fort,--the play fort, I mean.

And we looked at the tombs of the Scaligers, although I don't know any
good reason for doing so; and then we came through the most beautiful
country to Florence.

Men and women, dressed in gayest colors, were reaping with sickles in
the wheat-fields. The grain was truly "golden grain," and there was
never a foot of ground anywhere, whether the grain was standing or had
fallen, without a flaming scarlet poppy. And every hill was green with
trees and crowned with a castle or a tower.

We rode through miles and miles of vineyards, all arranged in
pictures, for our benefit, as it seemed. The vines hung in festoons
from long rows of mulberry trees. The trees were planted in rows that
crossed one another, forming hollow squares, and the square spaces
were filled with the scarlet poppies and the golden grain.

The trees grew so regularly, and the vines hung so gracefully--a
single vine running from tree to tree--that we could not take our eyes
from the lovely sight; and we have promised ourselves to see the
gathering of the grapes, on our way from Florence to Rome.

At the toll-gate we found that we could not enter Florence until after
our automobile and all our luggage had been examined. The officers
seemed to fear that we were trying to smuggle something to eat, either
fruit or vegetables, into the city.

It was in the midst of a thunder-storm; and not until the official was
convinced that we were quite wet, and wished to enter in order to find
shelter, and that we were truly a foreign lady and her daughter, on a
sight-seeing tour, did he let us pass through the gates and enter the
city.

And now, after our month's visit, I have a Florentine mosaic to take
to America with my Venetian necklace.

The golden background of my mosaic is another sunset; one which we saw
from the Shepherd's Tower, with the sky a rosy-pink, the River Arno
taking its slow course through the city and reflecting the rosy light,
and the surrounding hills all deep blue and amethyst.

The most precious stone of my mosaic is the glorious statue of David,
on the heights of San Miniato. Perhaps, if Michael Angelo could have
known, four hundred years ago, that I was going to have one minute of
such very great happiness as when I first saw his work, he would have
been very glad.

What a splendid fashion the Italians have of placing beautiful statues
out of doors where everyone may see and admire them often! In America
we crowd them all together in museums and charge an admission fee, so
that one sees them but seldom, if at all.

There are many stones in my mosaic. Florence is well called the "City
of Flowers." One sees flower-girls everywhere, and little Bianca, with
the tanned face and the big black eyes, who comes to our door every
morning with the sweetest and freshest of roses, is one of my friends.

Every Friday we have been to the market-place to see the peasants, who
come in from the surrounding hillsides with loads of peaches, figs,
grapes, pumpkins, watermelons, squashes,--all kinds of beautiful
fruits and vegetables.

But I like best the boys who carry trays of plaster images which have
been made in their little villages up among the mountains, and which
they bring here just as they sometimes take them to America.

We saw also the straw market, and the women braiding the straw and
making hats. You shall see the one which Mother bought for me, and
which I wear every day.

And this brings me to the reason for writing you this letter. We are
going to leave the music of the churches, the pictures, the
sculptures, the peasants and the market-place, and go into the country
to see the harvests.

I shall miss hearing the constant ringing of the church bells, and
seeing the squads of soldiers marching to the sound of military music.
And perhaps I shall never again sleep in a room with barred windows
overlooking the blue waters of an Italian river, and look through
those same bars into the faces of sweet nuns and shaven monks as they
pass on the sidewalk outside.

But we can have the automobile only a few days longer, and it is our
great wish that you join us in Florence and take the trip with us to
Rome.

Then if you will but stay with us for a few weeks in Rome, we shall
not get lost again because of being unable to speak Italian. Mother
says that you will be tongue and eyes for us.

Your American friend,
EDITH SPRAGUE.



CHAPTER IX

RAFAEL LEAVES VENICE


It was a long letter. Rafael read it aloud to his mother, and at the
end he spoke without looking up at her.

"May I go?" he asked simply.

She did not answer for several moments, and he spoke again. "I know so
little of Italy, outside of Venice," he urged. "Those Americans go
everywhere and see the whole world."

"That is true," his mother answered, "and you may never have such
another opportunity to see the Eternal City. You may go," she added
finally, to Rafael's great delight.

"That is good! I will start as soon as you can pack some clothes for
me," he cried. He half thought she would go at once to pack them, but
she sat still, and began to talk about her girlhood.

"I was born near the hotel where your friend is living," she said,
"and know every foot of ground in Florence. It is a pity you are not
going to be there on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. Then you
would see a sight that is seen nowhere outside of Florence."

"Tell me about it," said the boy.

"It is called the 'Burning of the Car,'" she told him. "Back in the
time of the Crusaders, one of the men of old Florence who went to
Jerusalem brought from the Holy Sepulchre two pieces of the stone, and
also a torch lighted from the holy light that has been kept burning
there since the time Christ was crucified.

"In order that the wind might not blow out his light, he rode the
whole distance back to Florence with his face toward Jerusalem.

"The people of the cities through which he passed thought that this
man who was riding backwards must be crazy, and they cried out after
him, 'Pazzi! Pazzi!' which means mad-man. Finally he was called by the
name of Pazzi, and was the founder of the Pazzi family, which to this
day shares with the government the expense of burning the car at
Easter time.

"The light and the two pieces of the stone sepulchre are treasured in
the oldest church in Florence. They are taken out once every year, and
the people are allowed to look at them, and are also permitted to
light their candles at the sacred flame. They count that a great
blessing.

"The burning of the car is an interesting ceremony, and thousands of
people come from far and near to see it. Two yoke of pure white
Tuscan oxen are chosen to pull the car into the Piazza del Duomo for
the burning; and proud is that peasant whose oxen are chosen for the
ceremony.

"They are driven into the city on the night of Good Friday when
everything is very still, and are taken early the next morning to the
enormous barn where the great car is kept.

"The car is built of wood and is hung with festoons of colored paper
and garlands of flowers. Fireworks of many kinds are hidden among the
flowers and paper,--some which make loud noises, and others which burn
with a bright light.

"The oxen are harnessed to the car and draw it slowly through the
street to its place in the square in front of the cathedral,--'the
very great heart of Florence.' A wire is then stretched from the high
altar of the cathedral to the car in the square, and everything is in
readiness.

"In the meantime a priest takes the holy light, very early on Saturday
morning, and walks with it to the cathedral, lighting the candles of
the people as he goes. On either side he is accompanied by a servant
in livery from the house of Pazzi.

"Crowds of men, women and children, dressed in holiday attire, collect
in the square in front of the cathedral, and there is a babble of
voices, with much merriment and laughter.

"Just before the hour of noon a great silence falls upon the crowd,
and the priests begin the Mass. At the moment when the 'Gloria in
Excelsis' is reached, the Archbishop places a lighted taper in the
bill of an artificial dove, and sends the dove down the wire to the
car. Then all the bells in the city begin to ring.

"Down to the car flies the dove, and the taper in its bill sets fire
to the fireworks. Then it flies back to the high altar, and if the
trip is successful and the fireworks go off with a great burning and
banging, there is rejoicing among the crowds in the square, for it
means that the autumn harvests will be plentiful.

"Then the prize oxen, all beautifully decorated with garlands, and
with blankets embroidered with the arms of the Pazzi family, are again
harnessed to the car; it is refilled with fireworks, and the burning
is repeated in the square Victor Emanuele, near the Pazzi palace.

"And afterwards all the men buy new hats, and wear them home in honor
of the event.

"I have heard that it rained last Easter-time, and that the burning
was not so good as usual," she said with a smile, "perhaps your
friends will not find plentiful harvests."

Rafael smiled in answer, and looked at Edith's letter, where his eyes
fell upon her words about the tomb of the Scaligers.

"Why do foreigners always find it hard to understand our Italian
history?" he asked.

"Because for many centuries Italy was made up of small states, each
one governed by a different ruler,--sometimes a family, and sometimes
a Doge, as here in Venice. The Scaligers were a famous family which
ruled Verona for many years during the middle ages.

"When I was a girl, Cavour, one of Italy's greatest statesmen, brought
about the unification of the many states into one kingdom under one
king, and since then our people have become happier and more
prosperous. Italy is now one of the important nations in Europe."

She would have said more, but Rafael was tired of listening to the
stories of the past, and wished to plan for his journey.

"I must get ready to go to Florence at once," he said.

"It cannot be done in one day," replied his mother. "Write to your
friends that you will come on Thursday."

So on Thursday he bade his mother good-bye and started on his journey.
He was taken to the station in his little boat, poled by his friend
Nicolo; and his last words to Nicolo as he left the boat were, "I am
so glad to go!"



CHAPTER X

GATHERING GRAPES IN TUSCANY


TO MADRE MIA IN VENICE:--

I am still glad! Yet it would not be so if you were not also glad for
me.

It was the joy of the morning to find a letter from you to-day. Two
letters have I now had in my life, and both from Italy. I had thought
we Italians had letters from nobody but "friends in America," as
Paolo, the fruit-man, always says.

And you say that Nicolo wishes to buy my boat; and that he will pay
for it after he has carried many passengers under the three bridges of
the Grand Canal, and to the Lido.

Well, say to him that I cannot sell my boat. Did I not make it myself,
from an old fisherman's boat, with only a little help from Carlo, in
his workshop on the canal of the chestnut trees? And of a truth I will
not sell it to Nicolo. But I shall give it to him for his birthday
gift, if in return he will carry old Grandmother Nanna every Sunday
morning to early Mass, so that she will not miss it because I am no
longer there.

I shall never want the boat again, because I am going to become a
citizen of Florence.

It is true that we leave to-day for our automobile ride to Rome, but I
shall come back again. That is what everyone does who has once been
here.

Why did you not tell me about the Palazzo Vecchio with the wonderful
statues in the Loggia? Did you think that because we have so much
beauty in our old Venice I should care for none elsewhere?

And the pictures in the Pitti and the Uffizi palaces,--you should have
warned me that I would wear my eyes out with much looking at them! And
it is one thing to hear of Michael Angelo, and quite another to see
his great works!

The American lady, Mrs. Sprague, with her guide-book, follows the
English-speaking guide about, and continually interrupts him to ask,
"At what page have we arrived now?"

But her daughter is different. She carries no guide-book. She has a
boy's mind and asks questions about everything. She asked me about the
tunnels through which my train came from Venice. Ah, those tunnels!
There were twenty-two of them in sixteen miles, and the train whizzed
in and out in the most exciting manner.

More I cannot say, but that I am perfectly happy! And I shall sign my
name Benvenuto, because the American girl says I am welcome.

A thousand greetings to you, from your absent crab of a boy in
Florence,

RAFAEL VALLA.

       *       *       *       *       *

During that wonderful automobile ride from Florence to Rome, Rafael
was glad that his mother had told him so many stories of her native
city. There was pointed out to him on one of the Tuscan hills not far
from Florence, the same yoke of oxen that had drawn the car through
the city streets on the previous Easter, and he was able to tell Edith
the whole story of the "Burning of the Car."

The chauffeur, under Mrs. Sprague's directions, took them off the
highway and close to the oxen and their driver. The horns of the oxen
were decorated with garlands of flowers and gay paper streamers,
because they were again to take part in a festival,--the festival of
the vintage; and on the drag behind them rested a great tun for the
wine.

Rafael spoke to the smiling contadino and asked if they might follow
him to the harvest.

"Not follow," he answered; "the oxen move but slowly, and must first
drag the tun to the wine-cellar at the farm-house. But you may lead,"
he added. "It is a straight road along the base of the hill and
across the brook, to the gate of the vineyard."

So they sped along in the automobile, and soon reached the busiest,
merriest place that Edith had ever seen. Men and women, boys and
girls, all dressed in the brightest, gayest colors, were cutting
grapes from the vines which hung in long festoons from tall trees.
They were constantly coming and going, with full baskets or empty
ones, and some of the boys had climbed ladders to pick the grapes from
the tree-tops.

There was much shouting and laughter, with happy calls to one another
about the number of baskets of grapes each had picked, and the number
of lire the work would bring.

"See how carefully that boy is cutting the grapes from the vines,"
observed Edith, pointing to a lad about Rafael's age, who sang as he
worked, and who lifted the luscious, purple clusters of fruit into his
basket as lovingly as if they could feel the touch of his hand.

Mrs. Sprague called attention to some of the vines, which had already
been stripped of leaves as well as fruit.

"Why do they pick the leaves also?" she had Rafael ask one of the men.

He answered that the grapes grew so thickly that it was necessary to
pick off the leaves in order that the fruit might get the full
benefit of the sun. "There is much to do for the grapes before they
can be picked," he added. "We must see to it that neither hail nor
wind spoils the clusters before the vintage."

Then he explained that the grapes would soon be taken to the house and
poured into great vats, where they would be made into wine.

Before Edith could ask about this process, Rafael shouted, "The oxen!
Here come the oxen!" and she turned to see the gaily decorated, white
oxen moving slowly across the field, drawing a big wagon.

The driver led the oxen to the farther end of the vineyard, and the
boys and girls climbed upon the wagon with their baskets, and were
carried under the festoons of vines, picking clusters of grapes here
and there as they rode slowly along.

"I should like to help pick the grapes," said Edith wistfully, as she
watched the merry pickers at their task.

Rafael asked one of the men if she might be allowed to do so. He
smiled and nodded, pointing to an empty basket on the ground, and soon
the two children were filling it together, and laughing and shouting
with the others.

"This is like a moving picture," Edith said to Rafael, when at last
their basket was filled and they had climbed into the ox-cart to ride
with the overflowing baskets and grape-stained children to the
farm-house.

As they passed under the vines, Edith cut off some of the trailing
ends and made crowns for the bareheaded, black-haired peasant girls,
and one of them, more daring than the others, crowned Edith's own
black hair.

Mrs. Sprague had already found her way to the house, and to the heart
of the farmer's wife, by admiring the little baby that lay sleeping in
its cradle under a fig tree near-by.

The baby was wrapped in a swaddling band, a piece of linen four or
five yards long, which is wound round and round the tiny body,
beginning just under the arms and ending at the toes. It is a curious
fashion the Italians have of dressing their babies, and has been
followed ever since the Mother Mary wrapped the infant Jesus in a
swaddling band, so many hundred years ago.

"Pretty bambino," Mrs. Sprague had said, pointing to the baby, and the
mother had found a hundred things to say in reply, in her voluble
Italian fashion, not one word of which Mrs. Sprague could understand.

The farmer's wife was still talking when the vintage procession swung
into the yard, the boys and girls lifting their voices in a festival
song and keeping time to the swinging of the horns of the great white
oxen.

Then there was the merry confusion of emptying the grapes into the
huge vats, and the choosing of certain men and maidens to trample out
the purple juice.

Two or three always stand together in a single vat and press the
grapes with their bare feet, thus forcing out the juice, which runs
through an opening in the base of the vat into a wooden bucket.

Some of the farmers use a machine to press the grapes, but many think
it should be done, as it was in old Bible times, with the human foot.
It seems that the feet know how to avoid crushing the seeds and the
skins, as a machine cannot know.

Rafael asked to be allowed to press the grapes in one of the vats, and
after permission had been given him, Edith suddenly asked to do it
also.

The farmer shook his head doubtfully. "It is very hard work," he
objected.

Edith bade Rafael say that she was an American girl, and not afraid of
hard work, and at last she was permitted to stand with the Italian boy
in the vat and tread until she grew tired.

However, to stand in the midst of juicy grapes means to spoil one's
clothes, so the farmer's wife took Edith and Rafael into the house and
dressed them like peasant children.

There was much laughing and shouting from the other boys and girls
over the sight of the two strange wine-treaders, and it reminded Edith
of something. "Doesn't the Bible speak of the singing and laughing
that go with the vintage?" she asked her mother.

"Yes," answered Mrs. Sprague, "there are many references in the Bible
to the vineyard and the vintage; and also to the fig trees, which seem
always to be planted in the vineyard."

"When I was learning in my Sunday-school lessons about the vine and
the fig tree, I never dreamed that some day I should be eating grapes
and ripe figs, and treading in the wine-press, as they did in olden
times," said Edith.

"It will be the best wine in the whole country," said the farmer, when
at last Edith was lifted out, her feet crimson with the blood of the
grapes.

"I must see where they put it," she said, and followed to the dark
wine-cellar, where the grape juice was poured into a tank and left to
ferment.

It was late in the afternoon when they were once more in readiness to
continue their journey toward Rome. The farmer's wife, who had told
them all her family history, in Italian, would have been glad to keep
them over night, but Mrs. Sprague shook her head.

"Tell her that the bambino is very cunning," she said to Rafael, "but
we must be far along on our journey to-night."

Rafael's heart sang again, "I am so glad to go!" Every moment spent in
the automobile was one of joy to him. He barely noticed the queer old
streets and ancient buildings of the towns through which they passed.
He cared more for the rapid motion of the car, and the sensation of
flying through the air; and besides, he knew well the customs of the
people in the Italian towns, and there was nothing strange to him in
the sight of men and women sitting at tables outside the cafés, or
wandering up and down in the public promenades.

But he chattered in gay delight over the country sights. "See the
haystacks!" he would cry, "and the golden pumpkins! and oh, the ears
of yellow corn!"

A small flock of geese ran into the road, hissing at the big red
automobile, and Rafael laughed gaily.

"You should not laugh at those geese," Edith reproved him. "No doubt
they are descendants of the sacred geese that saved Rome." Then after
a moment of silence, she added, "Saved Rome from what?"

"From the enemy," Rafael answered, with another laugh.

"I know that, of course," said Edith; "but Rome has had so many
enemies that I can never keep the different ones separated in my
mind."

Mrs. Sprague overheard the conversation, and said, "That is one reason
why I brought you to Italy, Edith. I want you to understand all this
Roman history, so that you will be able to pass your examinations when
you return to school."

Rafael was interested to hear something about the American school
examinations, and Edith told him of her troubles with history.

Then Rafael told of the difficulty he always had in remembering
whether George Lincoln lived before Abraham Washington, or afterwards;
and while Edith was explaining to him his mistake in the names, they
arrived at one of the many olive-groves that dot the Tuscan hillsides.

"I think the vineyards are much prettier," said Edith. "But the
twisted black trunks, and the gray branches of the olive trees are
very picturesque," she added.

Boy-like, Rafael began at once to make friends with the farmer, and
soon learned the whole process of crushing the oil from the ripe black
fruit.

The farmer led them all to the sheds where the great stones were set
up to crush the olives. He showed them just how the work was done, and
then explained about the different grades of oil.

"We buy a great deal of your Italian oil in America," said Mrs.
Sprague; and when Rafael had repeated this in Italian to the farmer,
the man went into the house and soon returned with two bottles of his
very best oil, which he presented to Edith and her mother.

"We Italians sell more oil than any other country," he said proudly to
Rafael, "and we use a great quantity ourselves. It is much better than
butter for cooking."

Then he showed them the barrels of mammoth green olives which he had
sold on the trees to an American dealer the month before, and which
were soon to be shipped to Genoa.

Mrs. Sprague looked at the setting sun, and advised that they hurry on
to the next town, where they were to spend the night; and Rafael
rejoiced once more in the speed of the automobile.

But Edith was tired, and was glad to reach a comfortable bed in Siena,
and lay her head upon the pillow filled with live-geese feathers;
after which she knew nothing more of Italy, until the next morning's
sun wakened her, and she began another day's journey over the roads of
Tuscany.



CHAPTER XI

A MARATHON RUN TO ROME


"All roads lead to Rome!" called Edith, from her seat in the
automobile, to Rafael in the door of the inn. The boy gave her a merry
salute in answer, and climbed to his place by her side.

It was a lovely morning, and every peasant they passed waved a hand in
friendly greeting to the two happy young people, while Mrs. Sprague
leaned back and listened to their merry chatter, which never stopped
through the long hours.

Rafael was constantly calling Edith's attention to this thing or
that,--to the gray oxen, to the flocks of sheep, to the donkey carts
which they passed. At last Edith said, "Rafael, why do you look always
at the road? Why don't you look instead of those distant mountains,
with the castles and monasteries crowning their peaks?"

Rafael looked somewhat bewildered. "These animals are all so
foreign-looking to me," he said gently; "and it is a new thing for me
to see men digging in the fields, and women picking leaves from the
trees."

"Why, of course!" said Edith, remembering that Rafael was used to
canals instead of roads, and the changing waters of a lagoon rather
than green meadows. "It is a new sight to me, as well," she added,
"that of women picking the mulberry leaves to feed to silkworms. We
have few silkworms in our country.

"But neither do we have mountains crowned with castles. When I go
home, I shall have to imagine that the hotel on top of Mt. Washington
is a haunted monastery crowning the summit of a lofty peak."

Although Rafael knew nothing about Mt. Washington and the hotel on its
top, he did know that Edith was a bright, observant girl who liked a
touch of the ideal, so he asked, "Do you know about the Marathon runs
of ancient Greece?"

"Yes, indeed!" she answered. "We have them now once a year at my own
home in the United States, and there is great excitement over the
winning of the twenty-six mile run."

Rafael shook his head in mock discouragement. "There is nothing in
Europe which you have not also in the United States,--except age," he
added.

"And history," said Edith.

"Yes, history," the boy repeated. "I like our history." Then he
laughed and said drolly, "You may have all the history you like from
my mother. She says it is better than salt. My own head is filled to
bursting with all the stories she has told me of the men of olden
times; of their wars and victories, their triumphs and their games.
Why can we not call this ride to Rome a Marathon run?"

"A Marathon run! What fun!" exclaimed the girl. "How far away is
Rome?"

"More than a hundred miles," he said. "Do you suppose we could
possibly reach the site of the Golden Milestone before sunset?"

Edith's eyes sparkled at the thought, and she leaned forward to speak
to the chauffeur. "Is the machine running well?" she asked. "Can we
travel one hundred miles to-day?"

The man shook his head doubtfully. "There are mountains between here
and Rome," he answered, "and it is not well to push the car too hard."

Edith looked at Rafael imploringly. "You are a man; can you not
persuade him?" she asked under her breath.

The boy was pleased to be called a man; but as he was in truth a
gallant Italian lad, he said courteously, "It is for you to persuade."

Then to the chauffeur he said, "Please stop for a moment at the first
olive-garden."

"What are you going to do?" asked Edith curiously.

"Make it easy for you to persuade," he answered; and as the car
stopped he jumped out, sprang to the top of the wall, broke off a
branch of beautiful, silvery-green leaves, and presented it to Edith
with a graceful bow.

"What can you make with the leaves?" he asked with a smile.

Edith looked at the branch thoughtfully for a moment.

"I know," she cried, "the victor's crown of olives!" and she clapped
her hands together with delight. "See," she said to the chauffeur, "if
you will reach the Golden Milestone in Rome by sunset, you shall have
a crown of olive leaves."

She said it hesitatingly. The chauffeur was a quiet, business-like
man, and Edith, with a child's judgment, supposed him to be too old to
feel a single thrill of ambition.

Perhaps he was. Perhaps it was only the desire to give pleasure to the
American girl that moved him to smile faintly and say, "Well! Well! We
will see what our car can do; but it is not at all likely that we
shall see Rome this night."

However, he began at once to increase the speed, carefully to be sure,
but with purpose.

Edith turned to the task of plaiting a wreath of leaves. As her
fingers twisted and arranged them to make the most of their dull green
upper surfaces, she asked Rafael, "What of this Golden Milestone? I
have never heard of it."

"It was a gilded stone set up in the old Roman Forum by the Emperor
Augustus," Rafael replied. "He wished to make of the city a great
trading center; and so he built many roads radiating from the Forum to
all parts of ancient Italy. The distances of all the principal towns,
measured from the city gates, were recorded on the golden stone.
Although it is no longer there, its place is marked."

Edith was disappointed. "I thought I was going to see it," she said,
twisting a leaf to show its gray under-side.

"There are so many other ruins from the days, of ancient Rome, that
you will never miss the milestone," Rafael assured her.

"How do you know?" she asked.

"My mother has told me about them," he answered. "It was only by word
of mouth that much of the earliest history of the world was made
known, and I have learned it in the same way."

"It may not be the most 'up-to-date' fashion," said the girl, "but it
is certainly more interesting. I wish you would try it now, and tell
me something about the Eternal City."

The young Italian boy, who was making his first journey into the heart
of his native land, felt his own heart expand with joy as he looked
across the beautiful valleys to the distant blue mountains for
inspiration.

"It was many hundred years before the birth of Christ that people
first came into Italy," he said. "My mother told me that they wandered
over here from Central Asia in search of good pastures for their
flocks, but it was so many centuries ago that very little is known
about them."

Edith pointed to a roughly thatched hut in a distant field, and asked,
"Do you suppose they lived in huts like that?"

"Not at first," the boy answered. "It was a long time before they
built even such good huts as that one. It was only little by little
that they learned to clear the ground and cultivate it with rude
tools; to make dishes out of clay and cook their food; to spin and
weave the wool from their sheep, and to live under shelter.

"At first each family lived by itself, but after a time they began to
form tribes and choose the strongest and bravest of their number for a
chief. This chief governed them in times of peace and led them in
their wars with other tribes, becoming their leader or king.

"There were many such tribes in Italy, and for centuries they lived
here, waging constant warfare with each other and with other tribes
and nations."

"Were there no civilized people in those days?" asked Edith.

"Yes," replied Rafael, "there were the people of Egypt and Greece; and
some of the Grecians had already wandered over into Italy before the
time of Romulus.

"When he ploughed a trench for the strong wall which was to be built
for a fortification, Romulus ploughed around a great altar to the
Greek god, Hercules."

"Who was Romulus?" interrupted Edith.

"It is said that he was the founder of the city of Rome," Rafael told
her. "He was a son of Mars, the god of war, and he founded the city
753 years before the birth of Christ. There are some parts of his wall
still standing. He lifted his plough over the places where the gates
were to be built."

"Why, Rafael?"

"Because the ground where the walls would stand was made sacred, but
the gateways would be profaned by the passing of many feet."

"How many gates were there?" Edith asked.

"Three; but please don't ask me their names, for I never learned them.
There are many gates in the walls which now surround the city."

[Illustration: GATEWAY OF SAN SEBASTIAN, ROME.
There are many gates in the walls which now surround the city.]

Edith put down her wreath and laughed with glee. "I'm glad there is
something you never learned about Italian history," she said. "But
tell me what it was like, this early city of Rome."

"Romulus chose a hill for the site of his village, and soon men from
the neighboring tribes came to join him, so that the town grew large
and prosperous and covered two hills instead of one.

"Those early Romans lived in rude huts. They made their tools of
flint, bone and bronze, and their dishes of clay. Beside each house
was a garden and sheepfold. Every morning the peasants went to their
work on the farms, and the shepherds drove their little flocks outside
the city walls. Arched gateways were built in the walls, and through
these gates everyone entering or leaving the city was obliged to
pass."

"Think of having sheep and cattle inside the city," exclaimed Edith.
"I suppose they had to be protected from the wild animals."

"Yes," replied Rafael, "and from the hostile tribes who were always
ready to steal them. There are many stories about those tribes, and
about the kings who governed the city after Romulus died. Some of the
kings made wise laws and ruled in peace, but others led armies to
conquer the neighboring tribes, and added small territories to their
kingdom."

"And I suppose each king tried to do something to make his name
famous," said Edith.

"Not for that reason," Rafael replied. "He did it for the good of the
city. Many of the roads and canals and temples which are now famous
ruins, were built by some of those old kings.

"As Rome was on the River Tiber, fifteen miles from the sea, one king
built a seaport at the mouth of the river, and a long straight road
leading down to it, which was laid so solidly that it is still in use
to-day.

"The valleys between the hills of Rome were wet and marshy. A king
named Tarquin drained those marshes by building immense stone sewers.
One of them was so large that several yoke of oxen could pass through
it side by side, and the work was so well done that it is in good
condition now, although it is more than twenty-four hundred years old.

"One marsh which the sewer drained was used as a market-place.
Shop-keepers set their stalls up there; temples and public buildings
were erected, and it became known as the Roman Forum."

"The very Forum where we are going?" asked Edith eagerly.

"Yes," replied Rafael, "the very Forum where Augustus, several hundred
years later, set up the Golden Milestone."

"What else did those old Romans do?" asked Edith.

"They were fond of amusements," said Rafael. "One of the valleys
between two of the hills was a good place for races and other games.
On the sloping hillsides on each side of the valley, seats were built
for thousands of spectators, and the place was called the Circus
Maximus.

"The same king who built the sewers built also a strong fortress on
the top of one of the hills. This fortress was called the Capitol, and
the hill was called the Capitoline Hill. He also ordered that a wall
should be built all around the seven hills to enclose the city, but it
was not finished during his lifetime."

"Let us get out the map and look at it," suggested the girl, who had
finished plaiting the olive wreath.

So the wreath was put away in the hamper, and the two heads were soon
bending over a great map of Rome; and Rafael traced the lines of the
old wall which Romulus built.

Just then Mrs. Sprague looked up at the sun. "It is time for lunch,"
she said, and began unpacking the lunch-basket, while the car rolled
steadily nearer and nearer to the Roman Forum.



CHAPTER XII

"THE GOLDEN MILESTONE"


"If we are to reach Rome at sunset, some one must lend a hand at the
wheel," said the chauffeur, as the children finished eating their
lunch. "There is not a moment to lose, and I, also, am hungry."

Rafael sprang at once to his side. He had longed to drive the
automobile from the very moment they began the journey from Florence,
and had often sat on the seat beside the chauffeur, watching him, and
asking him questions about his work.

There followed a glorious afternoon for the boy. He was a ready pupil,
the roads were good, and the friendly chauffeur a careful teacher.

They passed peasant women in gay bodices, with folded handkerchiefs on
their heads and long earrings in their ears, carrying baskets of fruit
on their arms. They passed peasant men driving donkeys or oxen, who
smiled at them from under hats decorated with pompons of colored paper
and tinsel. Geese ran out to hiss at them as they flew by, and hens
and chickens fluttered out of their way; but Rafael had eyes only for
the road.

They passed lemon groves and rose-gardens, and Edith was grieved
because Rafael could not enjoy with her every new and strange sight.

"I wanted you to tell me more about the Roman ruins," she said.

But the boy tossed a merry smile back at her for answer. "We will
speak more about those things when we are in Rome," he said. "I can
think of nothing now but flying," and he bent his eyes again to the
road.

At last they began the descent of a lofty hill, and the car glided
into the road which is the old Flaminian Way, leading directly to the
city.

Edith felt the thrill which always stirs the heart when one first
draws near to the Eternal City. She leaned forward and said to the
chauffeur, "How do you feel, to be riding toward Rome?"

For answer the man pointed to the sun, which was low in the western
sky. "There is only another hour of sunlight," he said with a smile.

"Oh, shall we fail to reach the Golden Milestone at sunset?" the girl
asked, as anxiously as if it were the most important thing in the
world to win their Marathon run.

But Rafael suddenly lifted a hand from the wheel. "Ecco!" he said,
pointing to the distant South.

Edith followed the direction of his finger. Far away she saw the
great dome of a cathedral rising toward the clouds.

"Rome! St. Peter's!" she shouted.

The boy nodded. The splendor of the ancient city flashed into his
mind. He saw as in a dream the magnificent temples and palaces, the
triumphal processions, the chariot-races, the games and combats of the
early Romans, about which his mother had told him so many stories.

"It is a wonderful city," he said. "What tales those old walls could
tell!"

As they crossed the River Tiber he heard Edith murmur behind him, "Oh,
Tiber, Father Tiber, to whom the Romans pray!" and then it seemed but
a moment before they were rolling through a massive stone gateway, and
the chauffeur had taken the wheel.

As Rafael lifted his eyes to look about him once more, they looked
straight into the eyes of a man who was riding in the opposite
direction, and he smiled. He did not know that he had smiled, nor that
this man was the king of Italy. His thoughts were back again with the
conquerors of the early days, and the splendors of the ancient city.

But the king had noticed the boy, and turned to look after him. "That
was the spirit of the old Romans looking from his eyes," he said to
his attendant.

The last rays of the setting sun fell upon the scarred columns of the
ruined Forum, as the car rounded the base of the Capitoline Hill and
stopped at the spot where the Golden Milestone once marked the
beginning of the Roman roads.

Rafael was speechless; but Edith took the olive wreath from the hamper
with exclamations of delight.

"Where will you have it?" she asked the chauffeur, "on your head or
your wheel?"

"It belongs to the car triumphal," he answered as they turned and
moved cautiously through the street-car tracks of modern Rome.

"There could never have been such a record run made by your kings and
emperors of olden times," said the girl proudly to Rafael.

But he was too happy with his thoughts to make any reply, and Edith
turned her attention to the conversation between her mother and the
chauffeur.

"To the Continental Hotel," Mrs. Sprague was saying, and all too soon
they had crossed the city, and were welcomed and given rooms in the
hotel. The chauffeur bade them good-bye, and their Marathon run was a
thing of the past.



CHAPTER XIII

A RAMBLE IN ROME


"Did you see a picturesque-looking shepherd, dressed in shaggy skins,
driving his flock through the square at midnight?"

Rafael asked the question at the breakfast table one morning, about
two weeks after their arrival in Rome.

"No, indeed!" Edith answered. "I was fast asleep. How could you see
what he wore?"

"It was bright moonlight," Rafael told her in reply. "I could see
plainly his sheepskin jacket and the long hair of his goatskin
leggins. He had a great white dog to help him guide the sheep, and
they entered the square and passed through it so silently that it
seemed almost like a dream."

"Perhaps it was a dream," said Edith; but Rafael shook his head, and
the girl went on, "Now I had a dream about the geese that saved Rome;
but you will no doubt tell me that if I had looked out of the window I
should have seen them following old Mother Goose through the square."

Rafael laughed. "I do not know your old Mother Goose," he said, and
left the table to telephone for the guide who was to take them to see
some of the famous ruins of ancient Rome.

In a short time the guide arrived, and they were ready to drive
through the city streets. This guide was Professor Gates, a man who
had lived in Rome over twenty-five years, studying its history and
ancient ruins, and he had already taken Rafael, with Edith and Mrs.
Sprague, to see many interesting places.

"Where are we going to-day?" Edith asked, as they took their seats in
the carriage.

"I want you to drive a little distance along the Appian Way," replied
their guide; "but we will look first at some of the arches of the old
aqueduct which was built by Appius Claudius, many years before the
birth of Christ, to bring water to the city from the mountains sixty
miles away."

It was a lovely morning for a drive, and Edith and Rafael saw many
sights to point out to each other. Near the foot of one of the arches
of the aqueduct they found a group of models picking flowers, and
Edith asked them to pose for a picture.

It was a pretty little group. The boy wore a conical hat adorned with
a feather, a red jacket, and sandals which were bound upon his feet
with red cords that were interlaced up the legs as far as the knees.
His mother and sister wore bright red skirts and green aprons, and
they all smiled at Edith as she tossed them some coins for posing.

"You will find such models all over the city," said Professor Gates.

"Like all-over embroidery," said Edith with a merry laugh; but no one
saw her little joke, so she asked more seriously, "How did the water
flow through the arches?"

"It did not flow through the arches, but through the aqueduct which
you see at the top," the guide explained. "If you remember your Latin
you will know that this word is formed from two others which mean
'water' and 'to lead.' In some places the aqueduct was laid upon the
ground, but here there was a valley to be crossed, as you see, and the
arches formed a bridge over which the pipe was laid."

From the aqueduct they drove to the old Appian Way.

"The Appian Way was named after Appius Claudius, who built a part of
it," Professor Gates explained. "It is three hundred miles long, and
crosses Italy to Brindisi, a seaport on the south-eastern coast."

"I thought you said that Appius Claudius built the aqueduct," said
Mrs. Sprague.

[Illustration: RUINS OF THE CLAUDIAN AQUEDUCT.
The arches were built to support the Aqueduct which is at the top.]

"So he did," replied the professor. "The road is called 'Appian'
after one of his names, and the aqueduct 'Claudian' after the other."

"Was he one of the kings of early Rome?" asked Edith, taking out her
note-book.

"No," he answered, "the kingdom came to an end more than two hundred
years before this road was begun. This is one of the great works of
the republic."

"What a glorious sight it must have been to see the Roman army come
marching home in triumph from some of its great victories," said
Rafael. "Think how thousands of soldiers, with spears and helmets
flashing in the sun, marched over this road, leading their prisoners
of war."

"Yes," said Edith, "and think how the Roman women came hurrying
through that old gate to meet them, shouting with joy at their
return."

The professor smiled at the children. He liked the way they had begun
to see pictures in their minds of the earlier days of Rome. He called
their attention to the ruins of tombs which are scattered along the
road on either side, and then pointed to three peasant children who
had been playing in the field, but had stopped to watch the strangers.
"There is ancient Rome and young Italy. You will find one quite as
interesting as the other," he said.

"Most of what you see is historic," he told them as they rode back
into the city. "There is a story about every ruin along the Appian
Way. I have told you the legends of the kings, but there are also
tales to tell of the days of the republic and of the glorious empire."

"Rafael likes those old kings," said Edith. "How did the kingdom
happen to come to an end?"

"One of the Kings was such a cruel tyrant that the people rose in
rebellion, under the leadership of a man named Brutus, and drove the
king and his followers from the city," replied the professor. "Brutus
then persuaded the Romans never again to be ruled by a king, so two
men were elected each year to govern the people, and the kingdom
became a republic. That was about five hundred years before the birth
of Christ.

"During the time of the republic, which lasted nearly five hundred
years, the Romans were waging constant warfare with other tribes and
nations, to gain wealth and power. One war followed another in rapid
succession, and there were many famous warriors who fought bravely for
the glory of Rome."

"Horatius was one of those old warriors," said Rafael.

"Yes," said Edith, "Horatius, who held back the army of the enemy from
crossing the bridge over the River Tiber. I learned a poem about it
once."

"The bridge was a wooden one which crossed the river at a spot near
here," said the guide. "We will drive around to see the place where it
stood."

They soon reached the bend of the river where Horatius called for
volunteers to aid him in defending the city.

"Let me hear the story again," said Edith, "right here where he once
stood," and Rafael told it with shining eyes.

"Horatius was a brave soldier who had already lost an eye in the
service of Rome," he began; "and now he was ready to lose his life if
need be. He crossed the bridge with two companions, and called for men
to come forward from the ranks of the enemy and fight.

"While they fought, the Roman soldiers were cutting down the bridge
behind them. The two companions of Horatius turned and saw that, at
last, the bridge was about to fall, so they ran back to safety. But
Horatius was so brave that he remained alone, fighting until the
bridge crashed down.

"Then there was no way for the enemy to cross the river and enter
Rome, so he jumped into the water with all his armor on, and swam
safely to the other side, where he was received with great
rejoicing." Edith jotted a few words down in her note-book, murmuring
as she did so:--

      "Still is the story told,
    How well Horatius kept the bridge
    In the brave days of old."

"Another hero of the days of the republic was Cincinnatus," said
Professor Gates. "He was an old soldier who was plowing in his fields
when he was called upon to lead a small company of brave men to aid
the Roman army, which was surrounded by the enemy and could not fight
its way out.

"After Cincinnatus conquered the enemy and rescued the army, he
returned to Rome, where he was given a grand triumph."

"I suppose our city of Cincinnati was named after him," said Edith,
and then without waiting for an answer, she asked, "What was a grand
triumph?"

"Those triumphs were often granted to famous victors, and were times
of great rejoicing," the professor said. "The day was made a holiday,
the houses were decorated with garlands, the streets were filled with
throngs of people, and there was music and feasting throughout the
city.

"Magnificent processions passed through the streets. Beautiful maidens
scattered flowers before the victor, who looked very fine, clad in
purple robes and riding in a triumphal car.

"The prisoners of war followed the victor's chariot, to make his
triumph more of a spectacle, and soldiers carrying booty taken from
the conquered cities marched beside them singing hymns of victory,
while the shouts of the Roman populace called down blessings and
praises upon the head of their hero.

"The procession passed through the Forum, and at the foot of the hill
the victor turned to the left to go to the Capitol, where
thank-offerings were made to the gods, while the prisoners turned to
the right and were led away to prison.

"It must have been a magnificent sight, even in those old days of
splendor," he added, and turned to lead the way back to their
carriage.

"Those triumphs must have cost a great deal of money," said Mrs.
Sprague.

"There were enormous fortunes in old Rome, and the people spent
extravagant sums on amusements and public celebrations," their guide
told her. "One of the greatest of all the triumphs was given in honor
of Julius Cæsar, when he returned from conquering the Gauls. He wrote
an account of his wars with those barbarians which has been read by
many thousands of school children."

"Is it in Latin?" Edith asked.

"Yes," replied the professor. "That was the language of the Roman
people."

"I have read it then," said the girl; and she sighed as she thought of
the tears she had shed over her Latin lessons and Cæsar's accounts of
his wars with the Gauls.

"Julius Cæsar was one of the greatest generals the world has ever
known," said Professor Gates. "He was a powerful leader and ruler of
men, and it was this great power that made him ambitious to be called
Emperor of Rome, and to make the republic an empire.

"Some of his friends feared he would be successful in this attempt,
and, joining his enemies, they assassinated him. They loved the
freedom of their country more than they did Cæsar.

"His body was burned in the Roman Forum," added the professor. "But
not long after his death the republic did actually become an empire."

"Tell us about the empire," begged Rafael, who always wished to know
everything at once.

"Not to-day," said Mrs. Sprague, looking at her watch. "It is time for
luncheon and our afternoon rest."

"That is true," said the professor, looking at the sun. "Some other
day, with Mrs. Sprague's permission, I will take you to the Colosseum
and then we will hear about the empire."



CHAPTER XIV

A MORNING IN THE COLOSSEUM


Edith was sitting at the hotel window with her note-book open before
her. "Professor Gates tells us so much," she said, "that it is all
mixed up in my mind.

"But it is my dearest wish to get it straightened out," she added
quickly, as she saw the troubled look on her mother's face. "What is
your dearest wish?" she asked Rafael, who was reading a letter from
his mother.

"I have none," he answered, "since the Signora has been so good as to
bring me to this wonderful city."

"Oh, Rafael!" Edith said merrily, "you must have found an Italian
blarney stone somewhere." Then she went on more seriously, "Every one
always has a dearest wish. As fast as one is fulfilled, another takes
its place."

He smiled. "Very well, since it must be so, I have a dearest wish," he
said, "and it is to serve the king."

Edith looked at him with laughing eyes. "That is a very fine wish,"
she said; "but I think mine is more likely to be granted first,
because Professor Gates is to take us to the Colosseum this very
morning, and I shall ask him every question about this history that I
can think of."

Several days had passed since their excursion to the Appian Way, but
the children had found every one full to overflowing. The mornings had
been spent in the art galleries and churches, and the afternoons in
driving through the Campagna or the beautiful grounds of the Villa
Borghese.

One whole day had been devoted to visiting St. Peter's Cathedral,
which is the largest church in the whole world, and to seeing the
treasures of the Vatican,--the home of the Pope.

Mrs. Sprague was glad to sit quietly on her camp-stool and let the
children wander about the enormous buildings under the direction of
the guide. Of all the treasures, Rafael liked best the pictures in the
Vatican by the great painter Rafael, for whom he was named; but Edith
was more interested in the mosaics and statues in the cathedral, and
in the huts of the workmen who live on the roof, and spend all their
time in repairing the vast church.

During the noon hours they had stayed in the hotel, where their rooms
had gradually taken on a most homelike appearance. Beautiful,
bright-colored Roman scarfs found their way from the shops to the
children's tables, and photographs of the places that they had visited
turned the walls into picture galleries.

Rosaries, bought from old women on the church steps, and later blessed
by the Pope, hung over the mirrors. In their work-baskets Edith and
her mother always had a bit of sewing to catch up at odd moments, and
there were books, maps and papers everywhere.

Rafael fitted into this cozy atmosphere with wonderful ease. He never
returned from a walk without a bouquet of flowers for the vases on the
tables, and he fell into a way of carrying a light camp-stool in their
excursions through the picture-galleries, so that Mrs. Sprague could
sit down when she was tired.

But this morning Mrs. Sprague was to visit some friends who were
spending the winter in Rome, and Edith and Rafael were going alone
with Professor Gates to the Colosseum.

"There is nothing new under the sun," said Rafael, as they stepped out
of the hotel elevator. "I have just been reading that there were
elevators in the Colosseum nearly two thousand years ago."

"They couldn't have been much like this fine one," said Edith. "What
were they for?" she asked, taking out her note-book.

"They were used to lift the fierce wild animals out of the underground
pits where they were kept until it was time for them to fight in the
arena," Rafael told her, and added, "You haven't much more room in
that note-book."

"The only way I can remember all you tell me is by making a note of
it," Edith replied with a laugh, and turned to greet the guide, who
had a carriage waiting for them.

There were many other tourists' carriages standing outside the great
ruin of the Colosseum, but as the professor led the two children under
the arches and into the arena they were hardly conscious of these
other sight-seers, so vast is this king of buildings.

"The Colosseum was an enormous out-door theatre which seated over
eighty-seven thousand people, and there was standing room for many
more," the guide told them.

As Edith climbed up to sit on one of the stone seats, Rafael said,
"Think of all the old Romans who sat on these same stones, and who
looked down into that arena at the terrible battles between men and
beasts."

[Illustration: THE COLOSSEUM AT ROME.
This enormous out-door theatre seated eighty-seven thousand people.]

"Yes," added Professor Gates, "for four hundred years the Roman people
came here on holidays, and sometimes they had as many as one hundred
and twenty-five holidays in one year. They came to be amused and
entertained with games, contests, and combats between men and wild
beasts; and they saw with delight many scenes of bloodshed and death,
too horrible for me to describe to you."

The children looked with him at the deep underground pits where the
animals--lions, tigers, elephants, and other savage beasts--were kept,
and at the places where two aqueducts led the water into the arena.

"Those old Romans were always trying to find some new way of pleasing
the people," he told them, "and sometimes they made a large lake of
the arena, and had boats on the lake fighting terrible battles, in
which many men were killed just for amusement. There are no walls now
standing which have seen so much of the splendor and cruelty of
ancient days," he added.

Edith sighed. "I shall never boast about the stadium at Cambridge
again," she said.

"This Colosseum was built in the early days of the Roman Empire," the
guide continued. "The first and greatest of the Roman emperors was
Augustus, for whom our month of August was named. During his reign
many buildings were repaired which had begun to crumble to ruins in
the days of the republic, when the Romans had devoted most of their
time and money to wars, and many other beautiful buildings were
erected. It was said of this emperor that he found Rome brick and left
it marble.

"It was during the reign of Augustus that the most important event in
the history of the world took place. Christ was born in Bethlehem.
Every event which happened before the birth of Christ is said to have
taken place so many years B. C. (before Christ). All dates after His
birth are given as so many years A. D.--Anno Domini--(two Latin words
which mean 'in the year of our Lord')."

"I was born in 1893 A. D.," said Edith, "and that means that it was
eighteen hundred and ninety-three years after the birth of Christ."

"Yes," said Rafael, "and Julius Cæsar was killed in 44 B. C., and that
means forty-four years before Christ was born."

"True," said the professor, "and Julius Cæsar was born in 100 B. C.,
which makes him fifty-six years old when he died. Can you puzzle that
out for yourselves?"

Then without waiting for a reply, he continued, "The Roman Empire was
very large, with vast provinces, but it also had powerful enemies.
Among these enemies were the barbarians in Central Europe, and it was
necessary for Augustus to protect his northern frontier with strong
forces, to keep them out of the country. This he did, but we shall
see that later emperors failed to see the importance of this step, and
this was one of the causes that led finally to the destruction of the
city of Rome and the fall of the Roman Empire.

"Augustus also encouraged trade, and built roads which radiated from
the Golden Milestone at the head of the Forum to all parts of the
Roman world. From this came the saying, 'All roads lead to Rome.'"

"We came into Rome in an automobile on one of the roads which were
built so long ago," said Edith, "and we have seen the site of the
Golden Milestone; but I should like better to see an old Roman chariot
with four prancing horses go whirling around this arena."

"My mother has told me that many Christians have died for their faith
in this same arena," said Rafael.

"Yes," replied the guide, "after the birth of Christ people began,
little by little, to follow His teachings and to become Christians. In
the centuries before the Christian religion was the accepted religion
of Rome many hundreds, and even thousands, of men and women were put
to death both here and elsewhere.

"During the reign of Nero, who was a very cruel emperor, a great fire
destroyed a large part of the city, and many Christians were tortured
and killed on the groundless suspicion that they had caused the fire.

"Come," he added, looking at Edith's sad face, "let us think of
something more cheerful," and he led the way out of the Colosseum and
down the road to a great stone arch.

"This arch commemorates the famous victories of Constantine," their
guide told the children. "He was the first emperor to become a
Christian."

"How did he happen to become a Christian?" asked Edith.

"Soon after he was declared emperor, he was leading his army to battle
one day, when a bright cross suddenly appeared in the sky. Surrounding
the cross were four words which mean, 'In this sign conquer.' On
seeing the vision, Constantine vowed to become a Christian if he
should win a victory over the enemy; and he ordered a new standard,
bearing the cross and the inscription, which was carried before him in
the battle.

"He did win the victory, the enemy was defeated, and he entered Rome
in great triumph. In memory of the victory this very arch was called
the Arch of Constantine. He also kept his vow to become a Christian,
and for the first time the Christians were given equal liberty with
the pagans, who still worshipped the Roman gods."

Edith, who had been writing again in her note-book, looked up at the
professor with a laugh. "If this Roman Empire doesn't come to an end
soon, I shall have to buy a new note-book," she said.

Rafael laughed, too. "You will need a whole library of books to hold
all the history of the Roman Empire," he told her.

"Are we going to hear it all?" Edith asked anxiously.

"No," replied Professor Gates, "there is little more for me to tell
to-day. After the death of Constantine there were many more terrible
wars with the barbarians. At last the fierce Goths crossed the Alps
and marched down to the very walls of Rome. They besieged the city,
burst in by surprise, killed hundreds of the people, and destroyed
many of the buildings. As they also were Christians, they spared the
churches and all who took refuge in them."

"I have heard of the Goths," said Edith, "and of the Vandals, too.
Where did they come from?"

"They came over from Africa, captured Rome, and remained here fourteen
days, destroying the buildings and sacking the city. They carried away
whole ship-loads of booty, and took many of the Romans to be their
slaves.

"The Roman Empire had already been divided into two parts, and
Constantinople was the capital of the Empire of the East. The Bishop
of Rome, who was called the Pope, now became the ruler of the Empire
of the West. He succeeded to the throne of the deposed emperor, and
held this position of power until 1870, when Victor Emanuele I. was
made king of Italy."

"Viva l'Italia!" said Rafael, tossing up his cap.

"Don't toss up your cap like that," Edith reproved him. "Those little
beggars may think you are tossing it for them. Ecco!" she called to
the boys, and threw a few coins to the funny little fellows who ran
along beside the carriage, begging for coppers even while they stood
on their heads.

"I can buy photographs of all your famous ruins," she said to
Professor Gates, as she pointed her camera at the heap of boys
scrambling in the road for the coins, "but I shall always like best my
own pictures of these happy little Italian children."



CHAPTER XV

MERRY NAPLES


Rafael wrote his mother joyful accounts of those happy days in Rome.

And he saw the king! It happened upon an afternoon when all Rome,
dressed in gayest costumes for one of the festivals, crowded into open
carriages and drove out to the Villa Borghese.

In the shade of a great tree, where a living spring bubbles up from
the ground, Rafael twisted a leaf into a cup, which he filled with
water and offered to Edith.

As he looked beyond the girl, he met a piercing glance from a pair of
brilliant blue eyes. This time he knew the king at once, and saluted
him.

The king smiled, saying to his aide, "I have seen that boy before. He
wore the look then of an older Italy, but now he has the promise of
the young country in his eyes."

Rafael wrote his mother of that smile. "I could follow the king
anywhere for another like it," the letter said.

Then he wrote of the heavy Roman faces; the hard, tiresome pavements,
and the noisy clang of the street cars,--all so different from his
bright, silent Venice.

"But there are pleasant things," he wrote. "There are many beautiful
fountains where the water gushes all day; and I often go out of my way
for a sight of the Pope's soldiers, the Swiss Guard, standing at the
entrance to the Vatican. They make me think of our Venetian
mooring-posts with their many-colored stripes; and their stately
halberds are not unlike the prow of our gondolas. I am very grateful
to Michael Angelo for designing a costume which reminds me of home.

"Often we meet schools of boys walking two by two, wearing black
dress-suits and high, stiff black hats, and I am glad I am not one of
them."

His mother sighed as she read of his endless pleasure, and wondered if
it would estrange him from his quiet life in Venice. Then she wrote a
long letter in answer, in which she said, "Remember that the fine old
Roman character was weakened through ease and indulgence. Remember,
also, that our young king likes nothing so much as devotion to duty."

Her letter ended with a quotation from an English poet,--"Live pure,
speak true, right wrong, follow the king."

Rafael read between the lines that she feared he would learn to like
his happy life with the Spragues too well. He lifted his eyes from the
letter and acknowledged to himself that this freedom from care and
responsibility was very pleasant. Mrs. Sprague indulged him as she
indulged Edith. The treasures of the shops flowed into his own room as
well as hers, and no door which money could open remained closed to
them in this city of precious sights.

His eyes fell again to the letter, and a choking feeling filled his
throat as he pictured his mother sitting alone in the home in Venice.
"The dear, lonely mother!" he said to himself. "My letters have given
her sad thoughts."

Then, with a boy's carelessness, he said, laughing lightly at his
English joke, "I can write wrong, it seems; but can I follow the
king?"

Just then Edith ran into the room crying, "Mother has decided to take
the noon train to Naples. Doesn't she do everything suddenly?" And
Rafael forgot his mother's letter in his pleasure over another
journey.

The car ride to Naples always remained in the boy's mind as a
succession of pictures; but no picture could reveal the many phases of
his mind as he passed from one experience to another in the days that
followed.

"The guide-book calls this the most fertile valley in Europe," said
Mrs. Sprague, as they rode along, catching glimpses of farmers plowing
in the fields. The distant hills were soft and blue, but on drawing
near to them, terraces and flights of steps were to be seen on the
slopes.

At last Edith called, "I see Vesuvius!" and the wonderful volcano lay
before them. Its smoke rose in a straight column and then broke,
trailing off into the distance like the smoke from an ocean liner.

"It makes the mountain look like a man-of-war," exclaimed Rafael, and
the two pairs of eyes hardly saw anything else until they reached
Naples.

"Let us go to a hotel where we can see the fire at night, if it comes
out of the volcano," said Edith; and they took rooms from which they
could watch every mood of Vesuvius.

Before they had been in the city three days Edith decided that she
liked it better than she did Rome. "The people there looked so
serious," she said, "while here they are very merry and sociable."

Mrs. Sprague laughed. "They are certainly sociable enough," she said.
"Yesterday I heard a woman read a letter aloud from an upper window to
her friend on the sidewalk below."

Edith laughed in her turn. "Was the window in the same house where we
saw the rooster and chickens in the upper balcony?" she asked.

[Illustration: "IT IS A FUNNY SIGHT TO SEE THE BOYS OF NAPLES EATING
                MACARONI" ]

Rafael felt a touch of sadness at hearing their light talk. "The poor
people!" he said. "When they live upstairs there is no other way but
for them to keep their animals up there with them."

"Many of them seem to live in the basements of the rich," observed the
girl.

To Rafael, the sight of such great poverty was no new thing, but Edith
spoke of it constantly, and wrote of it to her father in America.

"There seem to be nothing but happiness and laziness here among these
poor people," the letter said. "They live and eat upon the sidewalk,
and it is a funny sight to see the boys swallowing macaroni.

"Many of the rooms in which the people sleep seem to be spaces left in
the foundation of a castle, with no windows or doors in the openings.
Often the castles seem to be ruined hills; and they have great holes
in their barren sides, like caverns in the sides of cliffs; and we see
barred doorways instead of windows, with dungeons beyond.

"Then suddenly the hills blossom out into ramparts and parapets, so
that it is impossible to distinguish between hills and castles; and to
puzzle us still more, long flights of steps lead up between hilly
castles and castled hills.

"Occasionally we see a group of basket-makers, or tailors, or
shoemakers on the sidewalks among the family groups of fathers,
mothers and children. A little beyond such a group we saw yesterday a
herd of goats resting comfortably in the shade, also on the sidewalk.

"Early in the morning these goats are driven through the streets. They
stop in front of a doorway, a woman runs out with a cup, the man milks
her cup full and then drives on to the next doorway. Sometimes, if the
woman lives on an upper floor of the house, one of the goats is driven
up the stairs, to be milked at her very door.

"We see rich people, also, driving in their splendid carriages on
their most beautiful boulevard, overlooking the blue bay; and in
contrast to them and their spirited horses, a contadino will come
bringing a load of produce to market from the country, driving a white
cow harnessed between a full-grown horse and a tiny mule."

While the American girl was marvelling at the queer mingling of riches
and poverty in Naples, Rafael was drinking in the beauty of the bay,
and of the lovely villages which lie along its border.

Mrs. Sprague stayed two or three weeks in Naples, although she said
that she did not like it at all. "The people are so shiftless," she
complained, picking up her skirts and walking round a group of girls
who were sitting on the sidewalk combing their hair. "It is the
dirtiest city in the world."

"Oh, Mother!" Edith exclaimed, "how can you say so? When we go out on
the bay in the evening and I look back at the city, it seems to me
most beautiful. It is like an amphitheatre, with its tiers of lights
rising one above another. Then she sang softly:--

    "My soul to-day is far away,
    Sailing the Vesuvian Bay!"

"Avanti!" exclaimed Rafael suddenly, and shook his head at a boy who
was offering a pair of pearl opera-glasses for Mrs. Sprague to buy.
Mrs. Sprague drew the back of her hand under her chin, tossing her
head at the same time.

The little peddler laughed and showed his white teeth at the awkward
motion of the American lady, but he did not insist that she should
buy.

As for Edith and Rafael, they looked plainly astonished. "Why,
Mother!" said the girl admiringly, "you are talking in a foreign
language when you use signs. How did you happen to find out such an
easy way to dismiss the little beggar?"

"I was driven to it," answered her mother. "These foreigners have
cheated me out of half my money by asking me to pay so much for their
wares. They will never take 'no' for an answer. That same boy has been
trying to make me buy that same pair of opera-glasses for three days;
but at last I have found out a sign that will keep him away. I have
seen the others use it," she said with satisfaction.

"What does it mean?" asked Edith curiously.

"It means 'I will not take it at any price,'" said Mrs. Sprague.

Rafael, who had been laughing with great amusement while she gave this
explanation, now said, "This language of signs is very convenient. We
Italians do half our talking by signs."

Edith looked at him and shook her head decidedly. "Just listen!" she
said, pointing to the groups of people gathered along the quay. These
people were all talking in the liveliest manner imaginable, and there
was a great babble of excited voices. Street peddlers were crying
their wares, drivers were cracking their whips, and men in boats, on
the water below, were shouting to each other about the price of fish.

"It is certainly the noisiest city in the world," Edith said; "but it
is also the jolliest. I am going now to the stand where the public
letter-writer sat waiting for customers yesterday. I will let him
write a letter for me."

The three separated and Mrs. Sprague returned to the hotel, while
Rafael went down to the quay to watch the fishermen. The water with
its bustle and stir of life, its coming and going of boats, was like a
breath of home to the boy.

[Illustration: POMPEII AND MOUNT VESUVIUS]



CHAPTER XVI

THE BURIED CITY


Edith and Rafael planned their trip to the top of Vesuvius for many
days before the right morning finally arrived.

"The right morning is a bright morning," sang Edith one evening as she
looked out at the stars; "and to-morrow will bring a bright morning,"
she added, so positively that Mrs. Sprague sent Rafael to buy the
tickets, in order that they might be ready for an early start.

Although it was the last week in December the air was soft and warm,
and the sun shone with the brightness of summer.

From Naples to the foot of Mt. Vesuvius there was first a drive of
several hours, after which they went up to the crater over an inclined
railway.

"It is like looking at the entrance to the underworld," said Edith, as
they looked down into the great chasm which holds so much mystery and
terror; and she was glad to take the train back to the foot of the
mountain.

As they stood looking at the great beds of lava which poured down the
sides of the mountain many years ago, Edith exclaimed, "How can any
one dare to live near the volcano?"

Rafael turned to a peasant whose little farm was not far away, and
asked him if he ever felt free from danger.

"Ah, no!" the man answered, lifting sad eyes and hands to heaven.
"When I go to sleep at night I think always, before the light of the
morning, the mountain, he may send his fire and stones to crush us
all; who knows?"

"Why did the people of Pompeii live so near to Vesuvius, if they knew
it might bury them?" Edith asked impatiently.

"They did not know it in the days when Pompeii was built," Rafael told
her. "Vesuvius was supposed to be an extinct volcano then. It had not
said a word for hundreds of years. Everything about it was green and
beautiful, and its slopes were covered with forests and vineyards. It
is not strange that people built the two cities near its base."

"What other city was built, besides Pompeii?" asked the girl.

"Herculaneum," answered Rafael. "None of the people felt any fear of
danger in the two cities, although an earthquake destroyed some of the
buildings in the reign of Nero.

"But in the year 79 A. D., Vesuvius suddenly woke up, and there was a
fearful eruption. Ashes and rocks were thrown out of the crater with
great force, and hot lava poured down the side of the mountain. The
two cities at the foot were completely buried under the ashes, and
thousands of people were killed."

"There was an eruption in 1906, which made many people homeless," said
Mrs. Sprague, "and no one knows when there may be another.

"Pompeii lay buried for seventeen centuries, and people forgot that
there had been such a city; when, after a long time, a farmer who was
digging for a well discovered the ruins, and since then a part of each
city has been excavated."

"I should like to know just how the people of Pompeii lived, and what
they were doing when the city was destroyed," said Edith.

"You shall see the relics that were taken from the ruins and are now
in the museum at Naples," her mother told her. "The life of the old
Pompeiians has been studied from those relics and a guide can tell you
just how they did their housekeeping and what their life was like."

Before she left America, Edith had looked forward to the smoking
mountain of Vesuvius and the city of Pompeii as being the most
wonderful part of her journey. The volcano, and the city which lay
buried under ashes for centuries, had been the goal of her desires.

"Wait until we see Vesuvius and Pompeii!" had been her cry whenever
she wrote home. "Then I shall have something to tell you!"

But she turned her face away from the forbidding crater and the
desolate beds of lava with a feeling of disappointment that was half
fear.

"Perhaps I shall like better to go into the museum and see the curious
things that were found in Pompeii," she said, as she searched for a
bit of lava from which to have a piece of jewelry fashioned.

"Just think of having the whole world interested to know how the
people baked their bread so long ago," said Rafael; and when they had
returned to Naples, the children found it very interesting to visit
the museum and imagine how the people lived in the time of Christ.

Then one day they went down to the ruined city, riding in a small car
over a roadbed so loosely made that Rafael laughed about it, and Edith
said it was only a toy journey.

But when they went through the sea-gate at Pompeii, passed the army of
boys bearing baskets of earth from the excavations, and stood in the
silent streets, Edith drew closer to her mother, and Rafael walked
quietly beside them.

[Illustration: "THE ARMY OF BOYS BEARING BASKETS OF EARTH FROM THE
                EXCAVATIONS AT POMPEII" ]

They followed the instructions of the guide and looked obediently
at the deep ruts made in the pavements of the narrow streets by the
old Roman chariot wheels. They walked through the forum, and stood in
the ruined amphitheatre.

At last Edith drew Mrs. Sprague into the lonely angle of a wall where
they could see nothing of the crumbled houses all about them, the
pavements, or the great stepping-stones in the streets.

"I want to go home," she said with a shudder. "I never want to see
Vesuvius again."

She was plainly homesick. It was a sudden ending to the "long thoughts
of youth" which had filled so many hours with bright anticipations;
but she was in such a hurry to get away from the buried city that they
took the next train back to Naples without even stopping to buy
picture postcards of the ruins.

When they reached their hotel in Naples they found a foreign war-ship
anchored in the bay.

"There is the old man-of-war threatening us from the land, and here is
one in the bay," exclaimed Edith. "It makes me nervous!"

Mrs. Sprague saw that her daughter was tired. "We will go back to Rome
to-morrow," she said.

"But I want to buy a lottery ticket before we leave Naples," said the
girl.

"Befana will fill your stockings with ashes if you do," said Rafael.

"Everybody in Italy buys lottery tickets. Why should not I?" asked
Edith perversely.

"I do it not," said Rafael shortly.

"That is because your wonderful king does not believe in it," she
answered.

"Is that not a good reason?" asked the boy. He looked at her with the
same expression he wore in Venice, when she spoke slightingly of the
superstitions of his country, and as she knew him better now, she
laughed and agreed with him.

"I did not really mean to do it," she said, and added, "Tell me more
about Befana."

"How I used to shake in my bed when I heard her bell ring!" he said
with a laugh.

"Did you really hear it ring?" asked Edith.

He looked at her drolly, answering, "Of course I heard her bell. And
often I heard the sheep talking to one another on Twelfth-night; or at
least I thought I did."

"Truly?" asked Edith in great delight.

He nodded, smiling mischievously at her unexpected pleasure in hearing
of the Italian superstitions.

Befana is the Italian Lady Santa Claus. She is quite different from
the fat, jolly man who drives his reindeer over the roofs at Christmas
time.

While Sir Santa is short and rosy, Befana is dark and tall; and while
the kind old gentleman leaves something in every stocking, good and
bad alike, this rather terrible old lady puts presents only in the
good children's stockings, and drops bags of ashes into the others.

Instead of happening at Christmas, as with us, the Italian festival is
celebrated on the eve of Epiphany, the sixth of January.

"Everyone is happy then," said Rafael, "and we shall forget Pompeii
and the man-of-war which is always threatening it."

So the children began at once to plan for the Twelfth-night festival.

"Mother and I will make some peasant costumes for us to wear," Edith
told Rafael, and added, "or you might wear a soldier's uniform and a
cocked hat. The soldiers look so fine and march so well in Italy!"

"Come children, it is time to go to bed if we are to take the early
morning train to Rome," interrupted Mrs. Sprague, who had been
studying a time-table; and the children separated, little dreaming
that every plan would soon be changed.



CHAPTER XVII

THE MAGIC OF THE FOUNTAIN


In the morning they wakened to find on every tongue the news of the
terrible earthquake at Messina, and for many days it was Italy the
desolate that filled their minds and kept their hands busy.

People who saw it never forgot the dreadful misery of the country at
that time.

Edith and Rafael stood silent, as when they had walked the streets of
the buried city of Pompeii, and watched the confusion of vessels
coming and going to the South. Boxes and bundles of all sizes and
shapes were piled high on the wharf, and supplies of food and clothing
were being hurried to the suffering city.

Newspaper men, frantic to gather news which everyone wished to hear,
hurried back and forth on the quay, filling Edith with indignation.
"What difference does it make whether we know all the latest news or
not?" she asked hotly. "All those poor, starving people must be fed."

Rafael watched the soldiers march through the streets, without the
music of the band, and go on board the ships to follow the king's boat
to the stricken island, and his heart yearned to go with them.

"Italy is accursed," he heard the superstitious Neapolitans moaning,
but he shook his head. "Not while the king and queen live, and teach
us how to help," he said to himself, and then he went to find Mrs.
Sprague.

"I cannot live this idle life any longer," he said, as he had said it
once before, in Venice.

And as his mother asked then, so Mrs. Sprague asked now, "What will
you do?"

"I will follow the king to Messina and ask him to make me one of the
patrol guard," the boy answered.

They were standing on the quay as he spoke, and could see a
relief-ship which was getting up steam, ready to sail out of the
harbor.

Mrs. Sprague was alarmed. She knew that the boy would not be allowed
to go into the ruined city, and she felt sure that his mother would
not permit him to go if she were there; but in the excitement it was
possible for him to slip away at any moment, under the mistaken idea
that he could be of service.

She put her hand upon the boy's arm to detain him, if indeed he needed
to be detained, and said, "How can I make you see that it is not
possible for you to be of any use there?"

A man in naval uniform, who was just about to step into a tender and
go out to the relief-ship, heard her words and turned, looking into
Rafael's face.

He smiled suddenly and held out his hand. "We have met before, when
life was brighter," he said; and Rafael recognized with delight the
man who had listened to the serenade at the Rialto bridge with him,
that summer night in Venice.

"May I go with you?" asked the boy impetuously.

The officer looked at him thoughtfully for a moment. "Our ambassador
has sent me down to see what Messina needs most," he said, "and I
shall be gone but a day or two. I see no harm in taking you along; but
there must be no nonsense about doing patrol duty."

So it came about that Rafael went to Messina and saw the ruin and
destruction caused by the greatest earthquake in the history of the
world.

He was back in Naples a few days later with a face deeply saddened by
the suffering he had seen. "I could not do anything there," he told
Mrs. Sprague, who was glad to see him safely back again; "but my
friend, the naval officer, helped me to think of a way to be of
service."

"I will help you. What are you going to do?" asked Edith. She had been
busy every day, helping her mother collect food, clothing and
medicine to send to Messina in the relief-ships; but she longed to do
still more.

"I am going to make some tops," he told her. "I saw the king and queen
doing with their own hands whatever needed to be done to help the poor
people; and I can make tops and sell them. In that way I can raise a
little money for the sufferers."

That was how it came about that, one evening a week later, a pair of
picturesque peasants stood among the booths in the Circus Agonale, in
Rome, selling tops. There were booths where peddlers sold whistles of
every kind and description; but they two, Edith and Rafael, were the
only peddlers of tops.

In all the din of the crowds that passed and re-passed, nothing
attracted more attention and made more fun than the doll-tops which
Edith and her mother had dressed for Rafael. Edith blew a great blast
on her whistle, Rafael gave a piercing scream on his, and they had a
little crowd of merry-makers around them in a moment.

Roman whistles are made of pewter, terra-cotta, or wood, in every
shape of bird, or beast, or fish. Rafael had a bird-whistle, Edith's
was a yellow butterfly, and the tops which they spun were dressed like
dolls, in many fantastic costumes.

As he had said in Venice, so Rafael called to his audience in Rome,
when he had a little space cleared for the performance, "Signor Rafael
Valla will now present his troupe of trained tops!"

"It is for the earthquake sufferers," he had taught Edith to say in
Italian, and she had no sooner said it than the tops were all as good
as sold.

"It is a pity we had not time to make more," said Edith, when the last
one was gone, and they were counting their gains in their room at the
hotel.

"You would make a good business man, Rafael," she said suddenly. "The
tops cost you only ten lire, and you have sold them for twenty times
as much."

But the boy was tired and made no answer for a few moments. Perhaps
the tops reminded him of home. After a little, he said, "I think my
mother must be very lonely in Venice, when she reads of those who have
been made homeless in Messina."

Mrs. Sprague looked at him wisely and nodded her head. "Edith and I
must go home to America," she said. "Our friends will be worried about
us, and will fear for our safety, after this terrible earthquake."

So they began to plan for leaving Rome at once. The keepsakes and
treasures were all packed, the last calls were made, and the night
before their departure arrived.

"Let us say good-bye to the Eternal City at the Fountain of Trevi,"
Edith suggested to Rafael. "I have heard that whoever wishes to return
to Rome, should go to the fountain on the last evening of his visit,
take a drink out of the basin with his left hand, then turn and throw
a half-penny into the water over his left shoulder. I surely wish to
come back some day."

"And I," said Rafael. "Let us find some half-pennies at once."

It was a cold, clear, moonlight night, and the two children hurried
through the streets, chatting merrily over their errand.

They passed an old woman carrying a scaldino under her shawl. "We
shall need a scaldino ourselves," Edith said, "to warm our fingers
after we have dipped them in the cold water."

A scaldino is a little brazier for holding coals of fire. The Italians
carry one about with them in winter, and when they sit down they hold
it in their laps or put it on the floor at their feet.

When they reached the fountain Edith stood still a moment, looking at
the water. "I have had such a good time in this historic old land that
I shall always be a good Italian," she said; "but I shall be a better
American also."

"That is right," said Rafael. "And I shall read the foreign papers to
see if you become a famous woman."

"I don't care so much about being famous as you men do," she answered.
"But I shall read the foreign news to see what the great patriot,
Rafael Valla, is doing for his country, and perhaps, some day, your
good king may send you to the United States as ambassador from Italy.

"Let us wish it," she added, and dipped her hand into the fountain.
"To Rafael Valla, the ambassador," she said with a smile, and drank
the clear, cold water.

"To the Signorina, my friend," said Rafael. "I wish her happiness."

Tears sprang to Edith's eyes, and she held out her hand quickly for
the half-penny. "Over your left shoulder, remember," she said, as she
tossed the coin into the water.

"Over my left shoulder," Rafael repeated, and added earnestly, "We
shall see Rome and the king again."



VOCABULARY


Ăp´pĭ [letter a with an uptack]n Way, a famous Roman highway.

Ȃp´pĭ ŭs Clau´dĭ ŭs (clâ), a Roman statesman.

ä̤ vän´ti (tē), begone.

ƀăm bi´nō (bē), baby.

Be fa na (b[letter a with an uptack] fä´nȧ), the Italian Lady
    Santa Claus.

Bi an ca (b[letter e with an uptack] ăṉ´kȧ), a girl's name.

Brin di si (br[letter e with an uptack]n´d[letter e with an uptack] zē),
    a seaport of south-eastern Italy.

Cam pag na (cȧm pän´yȧ), a plain surrounding Rome.

Căn´dĭ ȧ, an island in the Mediterranean Sea.

Căp´ĭ tō līne, one of the seven hills of Rome.

cä´rō, dear.

Cȧ vour´ (vō͞or), an Italian statesman, died 1861.

cen time (sän tēm´), a copper coin, the hundredth part of a franc.

Çĭn çĭn nȧ´tŭs, a Roman soldier and hero.

Çîr´ cŭs Ä gō näl´[letter e with an uptack], one of the squares
    in Rome.

Cŏl ŏs sē´ŭm, an out-door theatre of ancient Rome.

Cŏn´stȧn tine (tēn), the first Christian emperor of Rome.

cŏn´tä di´nō (dē), a peasant farmer.

Çȳ´prŭs, an island in the Mediterranean Sea.

Dän´dō lō, a Doge of Venice, died 1205.

Doge (dōj), the chief ruler in the ancient republic of Venice.

ĕc´cō, look; behold.

Flā mĭn´ĭ a̤n Way, a highway of ancient Rome.

fō´rŭm, a market-place or public meeting-place.

Ġĕṉ´[letter o with an downtack] ȧ, a seaport of northwestern Italy.

gŏn´dō lȧ, a boat used in the canals of Venice.

gŏn dō lier´ (lēr), a man who rows a gondola.

Hẽr cū lā´nē ŭm, a buried city near Naples.

Hō rā´ti us (shĭ ŭs), a Roman legendary hero.

Jul ius Cae sar (jūl´yŭs sē´zär), a famous Roman general,
statesman, orator, and writer; died 44 B. C.

lȧ gō͞on´, a shallow sound or channel.

li di (lē´dē), sand-bars in the lagoon of Venice.

Li´dō (lē), the bathing-beach of Venice.

li´rȧ (lē), a coin worth about nineteen cents.

li re (lē´ra), plural of lira.

l'Ĭ täl´ĭ ȧ, Italy.

log gia (lŏd´jȧ), a roofed, open gallery.

mäd´re (r[letter a with an uptack]), mother.

Măr´ȧ thŏn run, a twenty-six-mile running race.

Mer ce ri a (mãr ch [letter a with an uptack] rē´ [letter a with an
    uptack]), a shopping district in Venice.

Mĕs si´nȧ (sē), a city in Sicily, destroyed by earthquakes in 1908.

mi a (mē´ȧ); mi o (mē´ō), my.

Mi chael An ge lo (mī´kĕl ăn´j[letter e with an uptack] lō), an
    Italian painter and sculptor; died 1564.

M[letter o with an uptack] rē´ä, the southern peninsula of Greece.

Nē a̤ pŏl´ĭ ta̤n, pertaining to Naples.

Păl´ạ tīne, one of the seven hills of Rome.

Pa laz zo Vec chi o (pä lät´sō vĕk´kē ō), a palace in
Florence.

Pä´ō lō, a boy's name; Paul.

Paz zi (pät´sē), an influential family of Florence.

Pi az za (pē ät´sȧ), square.

Pi az´za dĕl Dū ō´mō, the square in front of the cathedral
in Florence.

Pi az zet ta (pē ät sĕt´tȧ), little square.

Pit ti (pē´tē), a palace in Florence.

pō lĕn´ta, a pudding made of meal boiled in milk.

Pŏm pe ii (pā´yē), a buried city near Naples.

quat tro (kwŏt´trō), four.

Ri äl´tō (rē), a bridge over the Grand Canal of Venice.

Sän Gior´ġĭ ō (jôr), Saint George; a church in Venice.

Sän Min i a to (mē nē ä´tō), a cemetery on a hill southeast
  of Florence.

scal di no (skŏl dē´nō), a brazier.

Scȧl´ĭ ġẽr[letter s with an downtack below], an Italian family of
    medieval times.

si (sē), yes.

Si e na (sē ā´nȧ), a province and city in Italy.

Si gnor (sē nyōr´); Si gnore (sē nyō´r[letter a with an uptack]),
    Sir; Mr.

Si gno ra (sē nyō´rȧ), Madam; Mrs.

Si gno ri na (sē nyō rē´nȧ), Miss.

Sträss´bu̇rg, a city in Germany.

Tär´quin (kwĭn), a legendary king of ancient Rome.

Tī´bẽr, the river on which Rome is situated.

Tin tō rĕt´tō (tēn), an Italian painter, died 1594.

Ti tian (tĭsh´a̤n), a famous Venetian painter, died 1576.

Tre vi (trā´ve), a fountain in Rome.

Tŭs´ca̤ ny̆, a province of Italy.

Uf fi zi (öf fēt´s[letter e with an uptack]), a celebrated art-gallery
    in Florence.

Văt´ĭ ca̤n, the Pope's residence.

Ve rō´ nȧ (v[letter a with an uptack]), a city in northern Italy.

Ve ro ne se (v[letter a with an uptack] r[letter o with an uptack]
    n[letter a with an uptack]´ z[letter a with an uptack]), an Italian
    painter, died 1588.

Vē sū´vĭ ŭs, an active volcano near Naples.

Vīl´lȧ Bŏr ghe´se (gā z[letter e with an uptack]), a villa
    near Rome.

Vi´vä̤ (vē), "long live!" "hurrah for!"

       *       *       *       *       *





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