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Title: From the Thames to the Tiber - or, My visit to Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Switzerland, etc.
Author: Wardle, J.
Language: English
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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.

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                      [Picture: Portrait of Author]



                                   FROM
                                THE THAMES
                              TO THE TIBER;


                MY VISIT TO PARIS, ROME, FLORENCE, VENICE,
                        MILAN, SWITZERLAND, ETC.,
                           WITH ILLUSTRATIONS.

                                * * * * *

                                    BY
                                J. WARDLE

                                Author of

  “General Gordon, Saint and Soldier.”
  “Tour in Palestine and Egypt.”
  “Sound at heart,” etc.

                                * * * * *

                                A. TAYLOR,
                         CHAPEL BAR, NOTTINGHAM.
                                  1909.



CONTENTS.

                                                                  PAGE
                              CHAPTER I.
London: Its teeming millions of population; Its commercial           1
aspect: Leaving Victoria Station for New Haven: On the
boat: New found friends: Landing at Dieppe: Leaving for
Paris: Arrival at Rouen: Its Cathedral, etc.
                             CHAPTER II.
Arrival at Paris: Our Hotel—“Hotel Londres and New York”:           11
Visit to the Louvre: The Cathedral of Notre Dame: The
Church of St. Geniveve: The Pantheon: Bloody Bartholomew:
Its awful massacre.
                             CHAPTER III.
Paris: Palace de Concorde: Champs-Elysees: The Bois de              19
Boulogne: The extensive Boulevards: The River Seine:
Leaving Paris: Arrival at Dijon: Our Hotel: Dijon: Its
Churches, etc.: Our journey to Chambery, etc.
                             CHAPTER IV.
Through Mont Cenis Tunnel: Passing the Customs: Our new             28
friend—Nurse Reynolds: Our scrimmage for provisions at
Turin: Arrival at Genoa and Table-de-hote: Arrival at
Rome: Our Hotel, etc.
                              CHAPTER V.
Visit to the Forum and Coliseum: Crossing the Tiber:                36
Castle of St. Angelo: Palace of Justice: Trajan’s Column:
Garibaldi’s Monument: The Appian Way: St. Peter’s: Its
magnitude and magnificence: Michael Angelo’s work.
                             CHAPTER VI.
Rome, continued: St. Peter’s Cathedral: St. Peter’s                 50
Statue: His resting place: The Columns, Pictures, Fonts,
Confessionals, etc., etc.: The Vatican: The Professional
Letter Writer: The Arch of Titus: Statue of Nero, etc.
                             CHAPTER VII.
The Church of the Trinity: St. Maria: Church of Onesemus:           67
The Grand Corso: The British and Foreign Bible Society:
Outside view of the Quirinal: Nero’s House: Leaving Rome:
Scene at a wayside station: Arrival at Florence: Visit to
the Cathedral.
                            CHAPTER VIII.
Florence: Michael Angelo’s House: Baptistry of St. John:            77
The Uffizi Gallery: The Tribune: A drive to the suburbs:
Dante’s House: His Poems: Mrs. Browning on Vallambrosa:
Michael Angelo’s work: Galileo, his trial, etc.
                             CHAPTER IX.
Appalling catastrophe in Italy: Messina: Savonarola: His            90
defiance of the Pope: His excommunication: His prison
cell, etc.: His martyrdom: Raphael: His genius as a
painter: His works: The old Protestant Cemetery: Leaving
Florence: Bologna: Crossing the Lagoons: Venice.
                              CHAPTER X.
Arrival at Venice: The ubiquitous Gondolo: The Grand               102
Canal: The curious water ways: Our Hotel: A snap shot of a
Gondolo and its freight: St. Mark’s Cathedral: Its curious
history: Its wonderful Tower, and its interior
possessions.
                             CHAPTER XI.
The Pigeons in St. Mark’s Square: Description of its               113
interior: The Palace of the Doges: The Bridge of Sighs:
The general Archives of Venice: Church of St. Maria dei
Frari: A London Polytechnic Party: The slums of Venice:
Our leaving.
                             CHAPTER XII.
Arrival in Milan: Our visit to the Cathedral: Its Spires,          127
and Turrets: Its Stained Glass Windows, Altars, Pictures,
and Sculpture: The Church of St. Ambrogio: The Bera
Picture Gallery: The Hospital: Leaving Milan: Arrival at
Como: Lake Como.
                            CHAPTER XIII.
Arrival at Lugano: The river Tessin and its bridge of ten          140
arches: Bellinzono: Entrance to the great St. Gothard
Tunnel: Station of Andermath: St. Bernard’s Hospice: The
Devil’s Bridge: The Wood Cutter at Work: William Tell’s
Chapel: His story: Lucerne: Our Hotel: Our run up the
Sonnenberg, etc.
                             CHAPTER XIV.
The glacier gardens: The Lion of Lucerne: The glacier mill         153
holes: The museum: The Bridge over the Reuss: The
Cathedral: Pilatus Mountain: Leaving Lucerne: Zurich: Lake
of Zurich: Zwingli, the reformer.
                             CHAPTER XV.
From Zurich to Basle: Arrival in Basle: Our Hotel: Our             165
visit to the Rhine Bridge: “The Watch on the Rhine”: The
Market: The Cathedral and its sculpture, etc.: Erasmus:
The Museum: The Zoological gardens: Leaving Basle: Arrival
at Belfort: Belfort besieged.
                             CHAPTER XVI.
At Marseilles: Our Hotel; Meeting Mr. and Mrs. Green and           175
Mrs. Martin: The sights of the City: The Cathedral, etc.:
En route for Mentone: Toulon: Passing Nice: Cannes:
Arrival at Mentone: Our Hotel: Meeting Mr. and Miss Brown:
The scenery, etc.: Visit to Monte Carlo.
                            CHAPTER XVII.
Monte Carlo: Its Casino and gardens: Leave taking at               185
Mentone of Mr. and Miss Brown: Arrival at Cannes: Meeting
Mr. and Mrs. Green: Cannes, its scenery, etc.: Visit to
Grasse: Journey to Paris: London: Home, Sweet Home.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

                                                                FACING
                                                                  PAGE
i.           St. Martin’s-le-Grand, London                           3
ii.          The Marble Arch, London                                 4
iii.         Triumphal Arch, Paris                                  15
iv.          The Bastille Column, Paris                             20
v.           Christian Martyrs in the Colosseum,                    37
             Rome
vi.          The Roman Forum, Rome                                  39
vii.         The Pantheon, Rome                                     41
viii.        Garibaldi’s Monument, Rome                             45
ix.          St. Peter’s Cathedral, Rome                            49
x.           The Arch of Titus, Rome                                61
xi.          Church of the Trinity, Rome                            67
xii.         Team of Oxen in Tuscany                                72
xiii.        Dante and Beatrice, Florence                           83
xiv.         Mrs. Wardle near the Duomo, Florence                   81
xv.          St. Mark’s Cathedral, Venice                          109
xvi.         Mrs. Wardle and Miss Himmel by the                    116
             Doges Pillar, Venice
xvii.        Ditto, in Gondola, Venice                             105
xviii.       Milan Cathedral, Milan                                129
xix.         St. Gothard Tunnel                                    141
xx.          William Tell’s Monument                               145
xxi.         Lion of Lucerne                                       153
xxii.        The Rhine Bridge, Basle                               167
xxiii.       The Casino, Monte Carlo                               185
xiv.         Miss Brown at Mentone                                 183
xxv.         Mr. and Mrs. Green, Mrs. Martin, Mrs.                 189
             Wardle and Mrs. Giles at Cannes

    “Go, little book, God send the good passage,
    And specially let this be thy prayer:
    Unto them all that thee will read or hear,
    Where thou art wrong, after their help to call,
    Thee to correct in any part or all.”

                                                                 —CHAUCER.



                                CHAPTER I.


London: Its teeming millions of population: Its commercial aspect:
Leaving Victoria Station for New Haven: On the Boat: New found friends:
Landing at Dieppe: Leaving for Paris: Rouen, its Cathedral, etc.

We had settled to have a holiday—not a mere pic-nic, not a week-end at
Blackpool, or a tour of a few days in the Isle of Man—but a real
first-class, out-and-out trip.  Where then is it to be?  Why, to Rome and
back, came the reply.  From St. Paul’s in London, the largest city in the
world, to St. Peter’s in Rome, one of the great cities of the ancient
world.

“To Rome!” my friends said in astonishment.

“Yes! to Rome.”  There seems to be magic in the very word.  Rome—The
Eternal City.  The city of the seven hills.  The city of which St. Paul
was proud to be a citizen.  See Acts, chapter 22, verse 25.  “Is it
lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, uncondemned?” verse 28.
“Then the Chief Captain came and said unto him.  Tell me, art thou a
Roman?”  He said, “Yes.”

Rome stands for power.  Her proud eagles once swept their wings over
almost the then known world.  Rome stands for antiquity, greatness,
wealth, splendour, conquest and colonization, liberty, law, self control,
prowess, skill.  But, alas!  It also stands for cruelty, luxury, strife,
war, humiliation, decay, decline.

This is the objective really of our holiday.  Now it is settled, ways and
means, and the route, etc., are but details.  Packing!  Well, I am a poor
hand at packing.  I think it must be a gift to be able to pack well.  I
think a good packer must be born, not made.  If I pack, sure as fate, the
things I want first are at the bottom of the trunk.  My dear little wife,
to whom I owe much for packing and general comfort during the tour, and,
indeed, I owe to her well-kept journal, much that assists me to make this
record of our holiday.

                 [Picture: St. Martin’s Le-Grand, London]

On the 25th September, 1907, we found ourselves en route for London,
followed by the good wishes and prayers of loved ones left behind, also
of the many friends we knew had kind thoughts of us.  We reached London
about 6 p.m., and were soon snug and comfortable in “The Manchester
Hotel.”  We had no time and no special wish just now to see London.
London cannot be seen in a day or two.  Its magnitude bewilders, having a
population of about 7,000,000, and for its teeming millions, there is
need of bread, milk, beef, clothes, work, etc.  We cannot understand at a
glance what it means.  In London we have the largest breweries,
distilleries, and sugar refineries in the Kingdom; also many metal
manufacturers and machine makers, including: plate, jewellery, watches,
brass works, and all kinds of tin and zinc works; large printing and
publishing houses; also, as you know, large millinery and tailoring
establishments; cabinet-making on a most extensive scale,
leather-working, coopering, coach-building, ship-building, hat-making,
extensive chemical works, soap manufacturing and dye works; also dock
labourers, ’bus drivers, cab drivers, tram guards and drivers, railway
men and engine drivers, policemen, postmen, ministers of religion, there
being over 3,000 churches in this great city, and many other means of
living besides the few I have mentioned.  Then there are its hotels, as
“The Manchester Hotel” where we are staying, “The Midland Grand,” “Grand
Hotel,” Trafalgar Square, “The Victoria Hotel” in Northumberland Avenue.
Many more offering accommodation to the tens of thousands of visitors to
this great city from all lands.  We cannot refrain from mentioning the
religious aspect of the city.  We have our noble Cathedral, St. Paul’s,
always worth a visit, if only for its monuments and torn banners, and its
choral service; then we have “Spurgeon’s Tabernacle”; “The City Temple,”
where once ministered that mighty man of God, Dr. J. Parker; also
Wesley’s Church; City Road West London Mission, and many others I cannot
describe.

Its theatres on all hands, who claim their votaries by tens of thousands
nightly.  The underground electric railways give to the city traveller
and visitor an idea of the vastness and importance of the City.  However,
it was no part of my intention when I began this record to describe
London, so I will content myself with saying we only spent one night in
the city on our outward journey.

[Picture: The Marble Arch, London] Many of my readers will be quite
familiar with the streets, shops, bazaars and churches of this great hive
of human life, human industry, and human skill.  A good night’s rest and
we rose refreshed for our journey, now it is to Paris.  We had very
little difficulty in re-packing our valise and trunk, settling our
account and calling to our rescue a porter.  We were soon in train at
Snow Hill for Victoria, arriving at this latter place in time to catch
“The Continental” for New Haven and Dieppe.  It is not an easy matter
even with a porter to guide you, to find out amidst such a labyrinth of
platforms and stair-cases to find the train you want, and to get a
comfortable seat.  We managed, however, ultimately to reach the right
platform and to find a seat in a comfortable compartment.  We noticed our
fellow passengers, by label on their luggage, were also going to foreign
fields and to Continental cities.  The morning was a lovely autumn
morning.  As we steamed out of Victoria Station we got a sight of the
lovely landscape, the morning sun was shining in great brilliance.  We
passed villages of importance, and towns in rapid succession.  Lewes was
a stopping place not far from New Haven.  We did not stay long at this
station, just long enough for the railway officials to satisfy themselves
we were all furnished with tickets for the Continent.  After leaving
Lewes, we were in New Haven in about half-an-hour.

New Haven is about 56 miles from London.  A pretty place, lying at the
foot of the white chalk cliffs.  It has a population of about 3,000.  It
is, however, an important place, as the mail packets for the cities of
Europe leave here twice daily.  Our train ran us very close up to the
landing stage, and the securing our luggage and getting it conveyed from
train to steamer was only the work of about ten minutes, and was managed
without the least difficulty.  The weather continued all we could desire,
and it seemed quite clear we were going to have a calm sea and a pleasant
voyage across channel.  We got very nice seats on the boat; we found our
fellow-passengers on the whole most agreeable, polite, and, indeed,
friendly; were we not all on pleasure bent, and should we not now, on the
wide ocean, show to others respect.  We strolled the deck of our pretty
little vessel, she was a beauty, and behaved so well, we had not the
least fear of that terrible disease that afflicts so many who sail the
seas, I mean what the French call mal-de-mer—“the sickness of the sea.”
We had hardly lost sight of the white cliffs of dear, old England, when
our thoughts went back to home, and to loved ones.  Then we began to
think of refreshments.  We found a menu that filled us with hopefulness
that an agreeable meal at least might be obtained.  We went to the buffet
and found we could get a real good English dinner.  This we had and
enjoyed it heartily; I considered it excellent, and my wife, who is a
connoisseur in the cookery line, declared she was well satisfied.

A newly-married couple joined us.  We found they were on their honeymoon.
A very happy couple apparently.  In our hearts we wished that their lives
might be as smooth as the sea we were now crossing.  We became quite
friends before we got half way across the channel.  I had my Kodak with
me, so I must take a snap-shot or two of the happy pair; then I and my
wife must submit to the same process.  So the time passed pleasantly, and
in about three hours we were landing on the shores of France at Dieppe.

Our little ship, as if in a hurry to serve us, was quickly up at the
landing stage, and we were safe on shore with our baggage, en route for
the Custom House.  We soon found out we were in a foreign land, because a
foreign tongue was spoken, and although I am able to parley vous un peu,
I could not hold conversation with a Frenchman, he speaks so quickly.  I,
however, could ask a simple question in French and also give a simple
answer to a question, and this was of immense value to me during this
tour.  Our trunks duly examined, and free, we had a short time to look
round Dieppe.

On our strolling about a little, waiting for our train, we saw a little
of this rather important French town and watering place.  It has a
population of about 20,000; it lies in a hollow so to speak; the white
chalk hills surround it; the quays are substantially built of solid
masonry.  Dieppe seems to have an old castle, quite out-of-date, as a
defence; there is also a citadel of modern construction; a small
light-house, about 40-feet high, stands by the entrance of the town.  We
learned that a large number of French people come to Dieppe for the
summer and autumn holidays.  There are some works for the labouring
classes, such as: ivory works, one of the most famous in Europe; also
there are some works in horn, in bone, some in lace, some sugar
refineries, a little ship-building, and the fishing industry is fairly
prominent; a good supply of herring and mackerel is sent daily to Paris;
also there are extensive oyster beds, which are a source of profit to the
inhabitants.  We boarded the train about 4 o’clock p.m., and leaving
Dieppe and the sea behind us, we steamed away at a rapid rate towards
Paris.  We passed some lovely country, rich in fruit and foliage; some
most beautiful Chalets, with grounds like fairyland; also, we saw the
working-class home, apparently very poor, no windows and little
furniture; they seem to live out of doors, and eat very much fruit and
vegetables; they appear, however, healthy and strong.  We saw some one or
two cemeteries, and so near we could see very strange archways of flowers
or wood, or marble over the graves, and very large crucifix’s.

We had left our new found friends at Dieppe, so now we were more alone to
enjoy each others company, and to speak of the scenery and places as we
passed them.  In about an hour-and-an-half we reached Rouen.  A very
large and important railway station.  Here we stayed a little while, and
we could see the town was large and important.  It was formerly the
capital of the province of Normandy.  It is one of the best commercial
centres in France.  It has been called the Manchester of France on
account of its great cotton manufactories, producing goods to the value
of 80,000,000 francs annually.  It has also manufactories of hosiery,
silk and wool fabrics, hardware and machinery.  It is an important
sea-port, as it has a harbour that can receive steamers of 600 tons.  It
has a population of about 150,000.  The Cathedral of Notre Dame, built
between 1207 and 1210, is a fine Gothic building.  The spire is nearly
500 feet high.  In this old Cathedral rests the remains of Rollo, first
Duke of Normandy, and his son William.

M. B. Edwards, in a poem, says of this old-world Cathedral:—

    “The isles grow dim, and as by winding ways,
       Eager I climb St. Onen’s giddy height,
    The silver censers vanish from my gaze
       As shooting stars upon a dusky night
    I hear the chanting vespers at my feet
    Like wordless water, music fair and sweet.

    “On priest and acolyte and people falls,
       From western window many a sapphire ray;
    The sculptured knights within the niched walls
       Look not more mute and marble-like than they,
    Living and dead with fingers clasped seem praying
    God and the angels hear what they are saying.

    “The city gleams with lights that come and go,
       The hills are cut against the opal west;
    The river hath a soft and onward flow
       As some tired spirit fain to seek its rest,
    While from the far outlying mists of green
    Tinkle some vesper bells of Church unseen.

    “Monk, Martyr, Saint, and paladin arise
       Around me now in pinnacled array;
    An hour ago they seemed to touch the skies,
       At last I stand as near to heaven as they,
    And at last ’mid this mute companionship of stone
    I cannot feel that I am quite alone.”



CHAPTER II.


Arrival in Paris: Our Hotel—“Hotel Londres and New York”: Visit to the
Louvre: The Cathedral of Notre Dame: The Church of St. Geniveve: The
Pantheon: Bloody Bartholomew: Its awful massacre.

Our stay in Rouen was of the briefest, so we were soon full steam ahead
for Paris, and Rouen was left behind.  We crossed some wonderful bridges
of the rivers, or river; I think we crossed the Seine several times.

On approaching the suburbs of Paris, we saw large villas and larger
mansions, surrounded with luxuriant foliage; indeed, the whole landscape
is charming.  Soon we found the train rattling over points and crossings,
and into Gare de Lazare.  So we are in Paris; the city of gaiety, the
city of beauty, the goal of pleasure seekers from all parts of the world;
a city, it is said by Victor Hugo, combines in itself—Athens, Rome,
Jerusalem—such is the city we have just entered, and which is to be our
home for two or three days.  The distance from the station to our
Hotel—“Hotel Londres and New York,” 15, Place du Havre, is so short that
our luggage was conveyed by porter, without a cab; we just walked across
the square, and we were in the Hotel.  I had, however, a difficulty on
hand with the porter.  My idea of remuneration for porter’s services were
by no means up-to-date for Paris; I thought a franc for ten minutes’
service ample.  He, evidently, did not think so, as he showed himself
highly dissatisfied, and expressed himself in language (happily I
understood but little of) anything but polite.  I told the Hotel Manager
how I had acted, and he went and sent him away.

When in Paris, if you are in doubt as to your exact position, and want
direction (in England you would say, “ask a policeman”), in
France—pardon, monsieur, Quel est le chemin pour le madoline.  If you put
on side, he won’t notice you; if you offer him a tip, he will probably
take you for a spy, and arrest you as an anarchist.  The lifting of the
hat and the word “monsieur” is an open sesame which appeals to all
Frenchmen, and smooths away many difficulties; it transforms the haughty
policeman into the politest of bobbies; the frowning hotel-keeper into
the most jovial of hosts; and the cross-grained custom house official
into a most agreeable acquaintance.  You must avoid whistling while in
Paris; the Scotchman says, “Ye mauna whustle on the Sabbath”; this saying
must be applied to every day of the week in Paris; nothing is so
irritating to a Frenchman, except perhaps the sight of a British tourist,
arrayed in white flannels, marching in their grand Cathedrals, or even
one of their ordinary Churches, with a cigarette in his mouth.  The
untravelled man soon finds out the difference between an English and a
Continental City, and habits of the people.

We were shown to our rooms, which we found clean and comfortable; the
Hotel is all we could desire.  A porter, at the entrance, speaks fairly
good English.  We soon had a good square meal, in the shape of
table-de-hote, which we were quite ready for and enjoyed; plenty of fruit
on the tables, grapes, oranges, apples and peaches.  After satisfying the
inner man, we strolled into the lounge or writing-room, which we found
most convenient and pleasant—writing material, newspapers and bills of
concerts, plays, etc.; also, here I could enjoy my pull at the weed.  We
were not late in retiring to rest; rest we could, but not sleep for a
time; I thought, O! restless Paris!  The only time that is quiet from
tram, ’bus and cab seems to be from about 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.; after this
early hour, wagons begin to lumber past, farmers from the country, I
think, with produce which must be in the market early.  We slept,
however, a few hours, rising fairly early for dejeuner, we were able to
enjoy a cup of coffee made in Paris; coffee here is perfect; roll and
butter, fish, eggs, etc.  Breakfast over we engaged a cab, a taxi-cab,
and we drove round some parts of this wonderful city; we went by some
parts of the banks of the river Seine, and here there are literally miles
of quays, and the river is spanned by fifteen bridges, some of them of
great strength and beauty.

The Louvre was one of the places we visited.  No one would think of going
to Paris without seeing this vast pile of buildings; no less than sixty
acres, I learned, in the very heart of the city was taken up by this
building.  It stands to-day as it has stood for more than an hundred
years, with its grand facades, pavillions and colonnades, and its
splendid halls, saloons and galleries, as a proud monument to the ancient
Royalty of France.  It was the home of Henry III., till civil war drove
him from his capital, and he perished at St. Cloud by the assassin’s
knife.  Here for a time Henry of Navarre had his abode.  It is now a
museum or a series of grand museums; miles of the most wonderful
paintings, choice sculptures, Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman
antiquities, bronzes, historic relics from far off lands, and from
different races, engravings and models—indeed, it is a great storehouse
of art.  During the war with Germany, the Communists set fire to one of
the wings and the library of 90,000 volumes and many rare manuscripts
were destroyed.

                     [Picture: Triumphal Arch, Paris]

It is said that on the night of the 23rd of May, a troop of Germans had
entered the city and made their way so far, they ordered the porter or
door-keeper of the Louvre to pour petroleum into the different rooms, and
on his refusal, they imprisoned him and his wife in his own lodge, and
then at once set fire to the place.  Next day the French troops arrived
in time to release him from his sad plight, and also to arrest the flames
in their destructive work.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame, of course, came in for a visit.  It stands,
we are told, on the site on which the Roman conqerors erected a temple to
Jupiter.  This Cathedral is a marvel of architectural beauty.  As you
gaze you wonder at the skill of the architect, and also of sculpture, for
there are in marble and stone fanciful scenes from bible history
portrayed—the Kings of Judah; a colossal image of the Virgin Mother; Adam
and Eve.  There are many pointed arches and stained windows glistening in
the sun’s rays.  Two massive towers rising to the height of 200 feet.
The interior is in keeping with the exterior, only, if possible, richer
and finer; the length is about 400 feet, and the breadth about 150.  It
has stood in its beauty on this spot during the last 600 years.

One of the Chapels of this Cathedral contains, they tell us, some
wonderful relics.  For instance, “a part of the crown of thorns with
which our Saviour was crowned in mockery”; also the sponge and winding
sheet used at His death.  Kings and princes of the Roman Catholic
persuasion have vied with each other in the costliness of their offering
at this sacred shrine—cups, gold cups, silver cups, vases, candlesticks,
crosses in gold and silver, some studded with diamonds, and all kinds of
precious stones.  There are curiosities and art treasures in abundance
within the precincts of this holy place.  It must have been a proud day
for Napoleon when he came to be crowned in this great Cathedral, heralded
by Popes, Marshalls and sword-bearers.  Bearers bore his train amidst the
most brilliant assembly of this, or any other land.

Another notable building we visited after the Cathedral of Notre Dame, I
think more interesting in its way—what was at one time the Church of St.
Geniveve—now it is known as the Pantheon.  It stands upon an elevation,
and its magnificent dome can be seen from almost all parts of the city.
It rises to a height of 267 feet.  The funds to build it with, we are
told, were provided by lottery at the time of Louis XV.  Its approach is
very attractive, being by a stately portico, and by a triumphal progress.
The grand car, upon which the Sarcophagus containing the body of Voltaire
was laid, was drawn by twelve white horses to the Pantheon.  It is said
that 100,000 people joined in the procession.  Rousseau and Marat were
buried with similar honours; but we are told, that so fickle is the
populace, that six months after, the body of one of them was removed and
buried in a common sewer.  Our guide was not shy in showing us the very
sad effects of the German shells.  The large dome was shot through by
their cannon balls, and, but for the timely help of the troops from
Versailles, very likely this noble building would have shared the same
fate as many others did.

Opposite the grand collonade, near the Louvre, is the Church of St.
Germain, with its strange gable, buttresses and gargoyles.  From the
belfry of this Church, it is said, “rang out the tocsin,” which was the
signal for the massacre of St. Bartholomew, on the 24th of August, 1572.
At the dead of night—fit time for such awful deeds of blood and murder—at
the sound of this tocsin the courtly butchers went forth to their work of
slaughter, armed and shouting “for God and the King.”  They forced the
dwellings of the Christians.  Six thousand of these assassins, wielding
the weapons of the brigand and the soldier, ran about in the wildest
fury, murdering without mercy or distinction of sex, or suffering, or
age.  Many of these fiends in human form ran shouting “kill the heretic,
kill the heretic!  Death to the Huguenots—Kill!  Kill!!”

That day the human seemed to be turned into the fiend.  It is said there
perished in Paris alone, over 15,000 Christian Martyrs, and in the
provinces more than as many more.  The sun of that beautiful sabbath
shone with its pure light upon the desolate and dishonoured homes of the
victims of this terrible massacre; and the air, which should have been
hushed from sound until the psalm of praise woke it, bore upon its
midnight billows the yell of fierce blasphemers flushed and drunk with
murder.  Says one, “Unhappy, Paris, thou hast suffered many things since
that unhappy time.”

There are many interesting Churches in this gay city, but I must refrain
from dwelling upon their beauty and utility.



CHAPTER III.


Paris: Palace de Concorde: Champs Elysees: The Bois de Boulogne: The
extensive Boulevards: The River Seine, etc.: Leaving Paris: Arrive at
Dijon: Our Hotel: Dijon, its Churches, etc.: Our journey to Chambery,
etc.

The Place de la Concorde.  Here we were pointed out was a place where a
terrible struggle took place between the Germans and the French in 1871.
The work of devastation and ruin was only too apparent.  We drove to the
Champs Elysees.  This is a most lovely place, with a broad avenue a mile
long, with trees on each side of all sorts, and grass lawns and flower
beds in the greatest profusion.  Here wander carelessly the gay crowds,
or sit in beautiful little cafes under the spreading branches of the
trees.  In the groves around the children are swarming, shouting, and
playing.  We noticed there was the ever-loved of children, “The Punch and
Judy,” also with stalls with toys, gingerbread, etc., etc.

[Picture: The Bastille Column, Paris] When the darkness gathers and the
numerous and brilliant gas jets are lighted, stretching for the distance
of more than a mile, and music and song float on the air, the scene is
very fascinating.  It is said, that along this broad avenue, in 1871,
Paris with suppressed rage—watched the last of the German army disappear.
Our jarvey then drove us to the Bois de Boulogne, which is not far from
here.  This is a grand promenade for chariots and horses, a little like
our Rotten Row, in London.  There are here to be seen lakes, islands,
caverns, artificial mounds, avenues, and, indeed, everything to make a
most charming retreat from the busy city life.  The Champ de Mars is
another of the open spaces.  Napoleon, before the famous battle of
Waterloo, held his last review of the grand army of France here.  Again,
in 1852, 60,000 soldiers were brought together on the occasion of the
distribution of eagles to the different regiments, also several Arabs, in
native costume, as representative of the vanquished Algerian tribes.  And
here again, sad to say, in 1871, the Germans levelled their dreadful
“mitrailleuse” and shot down, in their helplessness, many of the French.
We can hardly leave Paris without saying further that the boulevards of
Paris are a great boon and joy to the city.  Whatever may be thought or
said of the career of Napoleon III., in fourteen years he spent
£60,000,000 in building seventy miles of streets and two hundred
boulevards, eight churches, eighty schools, twelve wonderful bridges, and
planted fifty thousand trees.  All added ultimately to the wealth as well
as the attractions of the city.  To describe the streets is a task I
shall not attempt.  They are called Rue—as Rue Lafitte, Rue de la
Chausse, Rue de la Victorie, Rue St. Dennis.  The numerous places and
things in and around Paris that call for remarks are legion, but I must
forbear, only to give one passing reference to the river Seine and its
many bridges.  Pont Notre Dame or the bridge of Our Lady, dates from the
fifteenth century; a bridge of later date, we were told, was made of
wood, and fell into the river taking sixty houses with it.  This is a
fine bridge built of solid masonry.  The Pont d’Arcole is a suspension
bridge for foot passengers only.  The Pont Neuf was built by Henry IV.
There is a bronze horse on the bridge which was cast in Tuscany.  On its
way to Paris, the vessel bringing it was wrecked off the Norman coast,
and lay for a year at the bottom of the sea.  It was ultimately fished up
and brought to its present position.  And now I must leave, for a time at
least, any further reference to Paris, only to say we settled our account
at the Hotel and drove off to Gare-de-Lyon to catch the train at 10.25
for Dijon.  Our driver was a very interesting sort of Frenchman, and
tried to explain and show us places and things, but we were little the
better for his attempts to enlighten us.  We reached the station early,
and were soon steaming away through France, and as we did so, we came to
the conclusion it was as fair a land as e’er we had set eyes on; miles of
lovely lawns; hedges cut and trimmed as if by a barber; the poplar trees
rising in rows, long and even, all in order and beauty; then the rivers
here and there rolling along, between grassy banks, and the lovely fat
looking cattle browsing or sleeping in soft sunshine; cosy cottages,
almost buried in bowers of roses; quaint old world villages, with
red-tiled cottages; and stately churches with ivy covered towers, made
one think of the poet who sang:—

    “Through thy cornfields green and sunny vines,
    O, pleasant land of France.”

We had very comfortable seats in the train, and our travelling
companions, I think, saw we were foreigners, therefore did not trouble us
with any conversation.  The country scenery we passed was charming, as
the autumn tints were visible upon the trees; also the rich corn harvest
was gathered in, and stacks of wheat were plentiful.  Labourers we could
see in the fields tilling the soil for next year’s produce.  The country
we passed through in our journey from Paris to Dijon (our next stop) is
comparatively flat, slightly undulating in places, and I should think the
soil is of a rich nature.  About 6 o’clock we arrived at Dijon, and soon
were out of the train and into the hotel ’bus.  We had arranged
beforehand our hotel from a list supplied from “Cook & Sons.”  Here we
had chosen the “Grand Hotel de la Cloche,” or we should call it the “Bell
Hotel.”  After having secured our apartments—which were of a first-class
order, most profusely decorated and richly furnished, and clean beyond
description—we had a wash, and found table-de-hote was ready, and we were
ready too.  A well prepared and well served dinner of eight courses;
wines free and abundant to those who cared to have it; indeed, a bottle
of the French red wine was placed to each individual at the table; fruit
in abundance.  A very good company, and apparently very jolly.  All were
foreigners, either French, German or Italian.  After dessert we went for
a little while to the smoke room, and then to bed.  We slept well until
very early in the morning, when a terrible storm of thunder and lightning
broke over the town—it was very startling, being so severe.  We learned,
when at breakfast, that a woman had been struck by lightning close by our
hotel; she, however, was not killed.

Dijon lies in a valley, the river Onche runs through it, and a beautiful
undulating piece of land, covered with vines, lies to the left of the
town, which is nearly 200 miles from Paris.  It has now, I believe, a
population of about 50,000.  We took the best means of seeing it in the
short time at our disposal, by hiring a car.  One of the most
jolly-looking Frenchmen I ever saw, with a face as round and red as an
apple, his horse was just as fat as a horse could be, and he cared for it
as if it was human, or even more than some human beings are cared for.
He drove us to some lovely gardens where there was a fine lake and a
fountain which was then playing.  Having my Kodak with me I took a
snap-shot, though I regret to say, I did not get a good picture.  We
drove to the lovely Cathedral of St. Boniface, built, we were told, for
the third time in the twelfth century.  The spire is very fine, rising to
a height of 300 feet.  We also visited St. Michael’s, which is Grecian in
its exterior, but it is Gothic in its interior.  We passed a very old
Carmelite Church with rich carving about the entrance, and a fine old
carved oak door.  On the steps sat two old men resting, typical of the
labouring class of France.  I just managed to get a snap-shot.  There is
a fine town hall, which shows itself to great advantage.  We learnt it
was at one time the Palace of the Duke of Burgundy, and had then a very
large collection of scientific and art subjects, and a library of 50,000
volumes.  Dijon is one of the loveliest towns of France.  It has in it
some manufacturies as woollen cloth, blankets, glue, baskets, mustard
oil, saltpetre, and there is also a brewery.  At the time of the Roman
invasion, it is said, Cæsar fixed and fortified a camp near here.  The
Germans attacked it in 1871, and it capitulated on October 23rd of that
year, after a long and severe struggle, and was made, for the time being
(to the great chagrin of the inhabitants) the head-quarters of the German
General Werder.  Having made as full an acquaintance of the place as we
could in the short time at our disposal, we paid our hotel account and
found ourselves again at the railway station.  Here I had a long and
angry altercation with the ticket examiner.  I understood him to say our
tickets were for another route; I closely scanned them, and assured him
in the best French at my command, our tickets were in order, and, after
considerable difficulty, he consented to our passing the stile and
getting, to the train.  Again we were on rail, comfortably fixed and
destined for Chambery.  We had not left Dijon long before we noticed the
vine-clad hills, which indicated our approach to the South of France, and
Alpine hills.  The scenery grew more beautiful as we sped along towards
our destination.  We were able not only to enjoy the views as we passed
villages and hamlets—but were able to get a fairly good square meal on
the train.  We arrived safely at Chambery about 5 o’clock, and as usual
we had fixed upon an hotel.  This time it is Hotel de France, and we were
soon in a rumbling old ’bus and driven to a very quiet part of this quiet
sleepy little town.  We found it fairly comfortable, and a hostess who
had a robust and bonny appearance, and whose welcome in the French
fashion was all we could wish.  Our rooms were lofty and rather barely
furnished.  There was a feeling of chilliness about the place, but we
were only staying for one night, so would put up with it.  A good hot
table-de-hote dinner, and we felt better.  To bed at an early hour, was
our habit, and here we did not break it.  A good night’s rest, and I was
stirring early to look round and get information.  It is a town of about
13,000 inhabitants.  An Archbishop resides here (of the Romish Church) of
course.  It has some manufacturies in silk gauze, watches, leather, etc.
I saw some soldiers on horseback on parade and took a snap-shot.  Also
two fine bullocks pulling a wagon of timber.  We had a very good
breakfast, as our hostess was most gracious and obliging.  We settled up
accounts, which we found on a moderate scale, indeed, cheaper than a
similar hotel in England.  We started for the station on foot, the
morning being fine, while a porter conveyed our luggage on a wheelbarrow.
Arriving in good time at the station we managed to get good comfortable
corner seats, so we could “view the landscape o’er” at our leisure.  We
soon found it was worth surveying, for we were nearing the Alps.  On our
left, some fifty miles or more—Geneva and, between the city and Chambery,
lay a rugged mountainous district scarcely matched in any part of the
world.  For an hour or more we watched the changing scenery with an
intense interest.



CHAPTER IV.


Our journey to and through Mont Cenis Tunnel: Passing the Customs: Our
new friend Nurse Reynolds: Our scrimmage for provisions at Turin: Arrival
at Genoa and Table-de-hote: Arrival at Rome and our Hotel, etc.

Mountains, rivers, waterfalls, landscapes, vineyards, castles, chalets,
and in some cases, so near the villages, we saw children playing on the
village green, our train steaming on at a good speed, we soon found
ourselves at Modane.  This is the frontier between France and Italy, and
here I expected we should have to change trains, go through the Customs,
and re-embark on another train.  So we got out of the train.  I soon
found, however, we were not to change, so we re-entered another part of
the same train, and here we were civilly and carefully dealt with; the
very acme of politeness was shown.  Our bags and valises were just
opened, but scarcely examined.  We declared we had nothing within, to the
best of our knowledge and belief, upon which duty was payable. When asked
the question, I answered “Non, Monsieur.”  When we came to settle down
before the train proceeded on its journey we noticed our fellow
travellers were different.  We found two ladies, mother and daughter,
going to join a near relative in India; an Italian woman, not over clean,
with a babe about four weeks’ old; and a nurse in uniform who was going
to Rome to fill a position, also she wanted to learn the Italian
language.  My dear wife and this nurse soon became close acquaintances,
as they both had learned the profession, and for some time they were too
absorbed almost to notice the scenery we were passing, for we were now
nearing the Alps through which we were to pass.  We reached Mont Cenis
duly, and, as we heard so much of this terrible tunnel, we almost dreaded
passing through it.  At this point there is an old pass over Mont Cenis,
or roadway between Piedmont and Savoy, the highest point 11,570 feet
above sea level.  The pass was an old unused road, and dangerous on
account of brigands and bandittis.  Bonaparte, be it said to his credit,
in 1803, spent £300,000 in repairing it, and it was here the great
Napoleon III. sent his troops into Italy against Austria in 1859.  The
tunnel is about eight miles in length.  To make it was a work of almost
superhuman labour and skill.  It was commenced by two sets of men, one on
the Italian side and one set on the French side, in the year 1857; and so
exact had been the calculations made, that when the men met in the
middle, they were not a single foot out of their calculations.  The cost
was nearly £3,000,000, and quite a number of valuable lives.  Now, both
for business and pleasure, a way has been opened to the sunny south.  We
settled in our respective corners as we pierced this great mountain, and
gave ourselves up to reflection.  The great train thundered on, and
silence largely held us all in its thrall.  The half-hour in going
through Mont Cenis seemed almost half-a-day.  At last we emerged into the
day light, and into the glorious sunshine of sunny Italy, with its
vine-clad hills, and its serene and sunny sky—“Land of all lands the
pride,” leaving behind us the Alpine heights (to revisit them on our
return).  We were running for Turin.  We found we had no buffet on the
train, and as we had not laid in a stock of refreshments, we began to
feel the cravings of nature, and we began to wonder how they were to be
satisfied.  We ultimately pulled up at Turin; how long we were to stop I
did not know, and I could not ask, for now it was beyond my bit of
French.  I said to my dear wife, here goes, we must have bread or starve:
if the train leaves before I return to you—well, good-bye!  But I will do
my best to be back in a few minutes and before the train leaves.  Without
hat I rushed down the platform looking for a buffet, right at the bottom
of a long platform I saw the word buffet.  I darted in, threw down a
lire, and picked up two rolls of bread worth about twopence each, also
some fruit worth about as much.  I seized these and hurried back to the
carriage, passengers and people looking on and the waiters seemed to
think I must be an escaped lunatic.  Well! I reached our carriage just as
the train was moving out.  What would have happened if I had been left
behind I do not care to think.  “All’s well that ends well.”  So we got
at least something that would keep soul and body together until we could
get a proper meal.  We had decided to stop at Genoa, but my wife said
“well, now Nurse is going right through to Rome, let us keep her
company.”  So we decided not to remain at Genoa, but to go right through;
that meant twenty-four hours in the train.  As we were approaching Genoa
we could see lovely vine-clad slopes, also the hills, the rivers and
lakes, the landscapes, lovely beyond my power to describe.

Genoa is a very fine city.  I felt I could say of it as is said of the
City of Jerusalem.  Beautiful for situation is Genoa.  Here we found we
should have time for dinner; twenty minutes being allowed.  We left our
carriage—now I had two nurses to take care of—we had to go under some
arches, and across several platforms, to get to the buffet; this took us
five minutes out of the twenty.  We found, to our extreme satisfaction, a
table-de-hote fully set out.  Soup was laid out and waiting; waiters
plenty.  No sooner one course was over, another was before us—chicken,
fish, saddle of mutton, pastry, ices, and more than we needed—so that in
ten minutes we had well satisfied the inner man.  Cigars were lying on
the counter, and each passenger having dinner just helped himself, also
to as much fruit as we could conveniently take.  We were also helping
ourselves to Post Cards but these, we were reminded, we must pay for as
extra.  So we scampered back with all speed.  Never, I think, did a
dinner of eight courses disappear so quickly.  We had no time to explore
the town, and we could only get glimpses of it from the train going in.
It is called “le Superb.”  Has some of the finest churches in Italy; is
also a city of Commerce, of Shipping.  It is a garrisoned city, and has
fortifications considered impregnable.  It is a city of palaces.  Also
has a picture gallery containing some fine paintings by the old masters,
one by Guercino, in the very best colouring, “Virgin and Child.”  This
has been a favourite subject of the Artists, as both in oils and in
marble and stone, this subject is prominent.  “The Flight into Egypt” is
another favourite.  These, however, we had not the pleasure of seeing, so
we could only have the pleasure of knowing we had been near them.  We
left Genoa about 9 p.m.; it was quite dark, and so sultry we could hardly
bear the heat of the atmosphere.  We hutched up into our corners to try
to sleep, but with the rattle of the train, the screams of the baby, and
the impatience of the mother, we could not sleep, at least I could not.
I think my wife got a little sleep.  So did the nurse, our travelling
companion.  Before midnight, there broke over us a thunder storm.  The
lightning was so vivid I could clearly see the objects we passed, and it
continued for several hours.  We passed the leaning tower of Pisa before
daylight broke in upon us, we were also getting too tired to enjoy the
look out when the day broke.

As we sped on we expected to see the City of Rome about 10 a.m.  At last
the vision burst upon our view.  Rome at last.  Yes, certainly, there is
the proud City.  Its towers, spires and domes, and minarets, all
glistening in the morning sun.  The monuments and ruins of this city
still standing testifies to the greatness of its past history.  The
gigantic Colosseum to the humblest of ruins, everything in Rome is
eloquent in the language of history.  We soon hunted up our luggage, and
made our way out of the carriage to the platform.  After a few words with
our companion, the Nurse, we separated.  She was expecting to be met, and
we were anxious to get to our hotel.  This time we had chosen the “Grand
Hotel Continental,” and finding their ’bus at the station we were soon
conveyed to our destination.

The hotel was certainly of a high-class order, and very extensive.  The
grand saloon for dining was most costly furnished.  Mirrors and paintings
on the walls gave brilliancy and attractiveness to the scene.  The
lecture room, the smoke room, the reading room, were all most luxuriantly
fitted up.  The bed rooms also were sweet and clean.  Abundance of
lavatories, bathrooms, lifts, etc., make the place a comfortable home
from home.  After having fixed our number (I mean the number of our bed
room, this was always our first business at a fresh hotel) we had
breakfast, then a bath, for we had no opportunity of even a good wash
since leaving Chambery twenty-four hours ago.  We were needing it badly.
An ample supply of hot water for the bath, towels ready to hand, soap we
carried with us.  We thought it strange, but we found it true, the hotels
don’t find soap.  This reminds me of Mark Twain’s position when in Italy,
in his “Innocents Abroad.”  He says, “We have had a bath in Milan, in a
public house.  They were going to put all three of us in one bath tub,
but we objected.  We chose to have three tubs, and large ones—tubs suited
to the dignity of aristocrats who had real estate, and brought it with
them.  After we were stripped and had taken the first chilly dash, we
discovered that haunting atrocity that has embittered our lives in so
many cities and villages of Italy, there was no soap.  I called.  A woman
answered and I barely had time to throw myself against the door, before
she would have been in, in another second.  I said, ‘Beware, woman!  Go
away from here—go away, now, or it will be worse for you.  I am an
unprotected male, but I will preserve my honour at the peril of my
life.’”  We had a good bath, then to bed for a few hours, as we had had
hardly any sleep in the train.  We rose about 2.30 p.m. refreshed, and
after lunch we prepared for a stroll or ride to see the sights of this
wonderful city.  We soon found it is a wonderful city.  The ancient and
the modern are seen at almost every point.  And yet you seem to feel
there is no jar on your taste or feeling.



CHAPTER V.


Visit to the Forum and the Colosseum: Crossing the Tiber: Castle of St.
Angelo: Palace of Justice: Trajan’s Column: Garibaldi’s Monument: The
Appian Way: St. Peter’s: Its magnitude and magnificence: Michael Angelo’s
work.

           [Picture: Christian martyrs in the Colosseum, Rome]

Our first visit was to the Colosseum.  Among the many sights of Rome none
give us a better idea of its ancient civilisation than the Forum and the
Colosseum.  The heart of the great Roman Empire throbbed in the Forum.
Here was, at one time, the Senate, the market, the courts, indeed, it was
the very centre of the life of Rome.  As we gazed upon the ruins, the
vast marble columns, still standing, its broken arches, and gables in
ruins, it needed no great stretch of the imagination to fancy we were
back to the palmy days of Rome, and the Forum is ringing with the cheers
of the vast populace who have sat under Cicero’s eloquence; or, we fancy
we can hear the tramp of Roman legions as they return from some nightly
conquest, passing the gates of this remarkable building.  The ground it
covered would be about 250,000 square feet.  These, of course, embraced
the market place, the rostrum, several temples, and the triumphal arch.
The whole building was of marble, and with its marvellous architecture,
it must, in its glory, have presented a striking appearance.  The Palace
of Cæsar stands just behind.  We had a chance of seeing a little of the
gardens, once belonging to this palace.  Enough of the remains serve to
show something of the wealth and luxury of those ancient Emperors.  I
took two snap-shots of a part of the ruins of this wonderful place.  In
my photograph the marble columns are seen to be standing, and they are
where they have stood for the last fifteen hundred years at least.  From
here to the Colosseum, no less wonderful than the Forum, we then made our
way.  The first view of it filled us with awe.  In its ruins it is
awfully grand.  It must surely be the most imposing ruin in Rome, and it
is the most historically interesting relic of ruin in the world.
Vespasian began to build it in the year 72 A.D., and the Emperor Titus
completed it in the year 80 A.D.  Historians tell us it was built by the
forced labour of Jews and Christians.  Its architect, they tell us, was
one “Gaudentius,” who afterwards became a Christian, and died a martyr
within the walls he himself had planned and helped to build.  Originally
it would hold in all 100,000 people, and 90,000 could be seated in its
vast galleries and rooms.  It would cover, apparently, about six acres of
land.  Down to the sixth century it remained in its beauty undiminished,
and little decayed.  Inside the vast building was a fine statue of Nero.
The extreme length of the walls outside are about six hundred feet, and
the width nearly five hundred feet.  There was originally a portico
carried round the whole building, adorned with gilded columns, while
statues of the finest marble filled the arcades, and there were rich
awnings of silk for a protection from the sun’s heat.  It is stated the
carnival lasted for several weeks, and no less than five thousand wild
beasts, some from the Indian Jungles, and some from the African morasses
took part.  These terrible gladiator fights were the amusements for the
aristocracy of Italy, and were attended by stately courtiers and the
nobles of the land.  We saw the bars still standing in the ruins, behind
which the wild beasts lurked, waiting to be turned into the arena to
fight with gladiators, i.e., men trained, who with their lives in their
hands were prepared for this terrible ordeal.  If they came out with the
trophy they were applauded, and with honours escorted through the streets
of Rome.

[Picture: The Roman Forum, Rome] Sometimes, at the bidding of the wicked
Emperor Nero, one hundred Christians would be brought into the arena,
when a vast crowd would be present to watch four or five lions and as
many tigers turned in, wild with fury, and mad with hunger, the Christian
martyrs were soon delivered from their fleshly tenement and went up to
their reward.  It is said that St. Ignatius was brought from Antioch to
be devoured by these wild beasts.  Church traditions record many martyrs
within these now ruins.  Byron says:

    “I see before me the Gladiator lie;
    He leans upon his hand, his manly brow
    Consents to death, but conquers agony.
    The arena swims around him, he is gone
    E’er ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch who won.
    He heard it, but he heeded not; his eyes
    Were with his heart, and that was far away.
    There were his young barbarians all at play.
    There was their Dacian mother—he their sire
    Butchered to make a Roman holiday.”

Or Keble:

    “And now the gratings ope, with hideous roar
    Leap forth those hungry brutes, while kneel in prayer,
    Those heaps of Christians, how their spirits soar
    Above or wounds or death.”

I stood and gazed, and thought, by those terrible ruins.  I think I was
as much affected as when I stood and gazed upon those marvellous
structures, the Pyramids of Egypt.  I took a snap-shot of my dear little
wife within the ruins of the Colosseum, and we left it to ponder over its
history and its ruin.  We thought of the prophecy in prose of an
Anglo-Saxon Pilgrim.  He said: “While stands the Colosseum, Rome shall
stand; when falls the Colosseum, Rome shall fall.  And when Rome
falls—the world.”

                      [Picture: The Pantheon, Rome]

“The Pantheon” was one of the places we were delighted with.  This dated
from before Christ’s time, and is now in a wonderful state of
preservation.  It was originally dedicated by Agrippa to “All the gods.”
It was consecrated as a church in the year 610 A.D. by Pope Boniface IV.,
under the name of St. Maria.  The portico consists of sixteen granite
corinthian columns nearly forty feet high, eight in the front and the
others in three colonnades.  Inside, we were struck with its beauty,
especially by the arrangement for light which comes from a vast dome over
our heads.  We walked reverently as we knew we were walking on the very
same pavement as Augustus and Agrippa, and others whose dust has long
centuries ago, gone to its mother earth.  Here rest the remains of one of
the world’s greatest painters—Raphael.  He was buried in 1620.  In recent
years a doubt was raised as to whether he really was buried here, and a
search was allowed and made in 1833, it was then ascertained beyond the
shadow of a doubt that he was buried here, as his remains were intact.
On leaving the Pantheon, and before crossing the Tiber, we were reminded
of the poet’s words referring to this church: “Simple, erect, austere,
sublime—Shrine of all saints and temple of all gods from Jove to
Jesus—Spared and blest by time, looking tranquilly while falls or nods
arch, empire, each thing round thee, and man plods his way through thorns
and ashes—glorious dome! shalt thou not last?  Times’ scythe and tyrant’s
rods shiver upon thee—Sanctuary and home of art and piety—Pantheon!
Pride of Rome.”

After crossing the Tiber on one of its many wonderful bridges, adorned on
each side by statues in stone of the celebrities of all ages, we found
that just opposite this bridge is what is called the Castle of St.
Angelo.  An immense pile, circular in form, on its summit a large
monument, and in front a clock of very large dimensions.  It was erected
by the Emperor Adrian, and intended to be for his own tomb and those of
succeeding kings or emperors.  We did not go inside, but we learned it
was fitted and filled with the finest works of art, specially that in
marble finished by the sculptor’s chisel.  From here we started to drive
to our hotel, for we were satiated with the wonderful sights of Rome.  We
passed the Palace of Justice, a modern building, indeed, only just having
the finishing touches put upon it.  It is of granite, the size is immense
and the appearance noble.  As we passed, churches and theatres seemed to
be numerous.  Gay and grave, sad and happy, new and old.  There “Beeston
Humber Motor Cycle” advertised.  There the ruins of a building that had
stood for a thousand years.

The Column of Trajan calls for a passing note.  It is a fine specimen of
the Doric order, and very fortunately it is in a good state of
preservation.  On three sides of the pedestal there are bas-reliefs, on
the fourth side is an inscription to Trajan’s tomb.  On the column are
over 20 very fine carvings, representing the various wars in which he had
taken part.  On the top is a fine statue of the Apostle St. Peter.  As we
stood and looked upon this ancient monument and thought of the fact that
it had stood there for well nigh on 2,000 years, we re-called the words
of a poet who represents fairly the condition of things in Trajan’s day.

B. E. H. Plumbtree says:

    “Through haughty Rome’s imperial street
    The mighty Trajan rode,
    And myrrh and balm and spices sweet
    In silver censers glowed;
    In car of state erect he stood,
    And round him rushing like a flood
    The people poured with shout and song,
    And every eye through all that throng
    Turned to him with delight.
    For he had triumphed far and wide,
    Had sated Rome’s high-soaring pride,
    And, laying captive nations low,
    Now dragged the pale and trembling foe
    Bent down in sore affright.
    And still before him spread afar
    New pathways for his conquering car,
    More crowns of world-wide fame to win
    ’Mid shouts of warriors battle din:
    One triumph being o’er he spurned
    And still his fevered spirit burned
    New realms, new worlds to gain.
    And still his legions on he led,
    Legions that ne’er from foe had fled,
    The glory of his reign.”

We left the mighty column standing in its solitary grandeur, a memorial
of man’s achievement, while yet other things around us testified to the
instability of all earthly things.  “Change and decay in all around I
see.”

We reached our hotel tired and hungry.  We, however, soon found the value
of a good wash, then a good table-de-hote meal, and then to write up our
diaries and think of the day’s experiences, then to go to rest.  After a
good night’s sleep we rose refreshed.  Had a good wash, then breakfast.
After letters, postcards, etc., we prepared for further investigations of
the great city.  We went out, but no sooner did we appear in the great
square facing our hotel, when, I should think, at least a dozen cabmen
turned their horses heads towards us, asking for our patronage.  We could
only hire one, so we had choice and it fell upon a decent looking man—the
very picture of a son of Italy—with a very good looking horse.  This time
we drove to the mound upon which stands the noble monument to General
Garibaldi, the statue of one of Italy’s noblest heroes and patriots.
Garibaldi was born at Nice in 1807.  His family were quite obscure, and
without name or fame.  His father had a small coasting vessel, and to
this, probably, is due something of the adventurous spirit of his son.
When he had attained his manhood, he went to Genoa and then to Rome.
Here he joined a band called “Young Italy,” and as a member of this band
he was indicted for treason and sentenced to death.

                  [Picture: Garibaldi’s Monument, Rome]

By some means he escaped this sentence and fled to Marseilles in France.
From here to South America, and here he joined the army and fought
against Brazil.  He became a most adventurous and daring leader.  In 1848
he returned to Italy with a view to give himself to the army of Italy.
They, however, did not receive him with the cordiality he deserved.  He,
however, raised an army of 1,500 brave men, like-minded with himself, and
went against the Austrians, who were threatening Italy severely and
dangerously.  He showed skill and bravery on the field of battle, and so
attracted the notice of Victor Immanuel, who with his own hand fastened
on the hero’s breast the gold medal for military bravery.  He became the
idol of the nation of Italy, as General Gordon might be called the hero
of the Soudan.  So Garibaldi may be called the hero of Italy, and as in
Gordon’s case, riches, titles, conventional distinctions were as nothing,
so in the case of this illustrious soldier and hero.  He had the honour
of a seat in the Parliament of Italy in 1875.  The latter part of his
life was spent in retirement, and he died suddenly in the year 1882.  And
here to his memory is erected, in the very heart of the Eternal City, a
splendid monument.  His life-sized figure in bronze on a fine charger,
while around the monument are bas-reliefs of great interest.  From this
high elevation we had a good view of the city and of the river Tiber,
which is about equal to our river Trent for width, it is spanned in
several places by bridges.  Here we could look down the Appian Way.  It
would not be difficult, standing here, to imagine just away at yonder
port, some ten or twelve miles away, a shipwrecked crew has landed its
cargo of grain; also some soldiers with three prisoners, amongst them is
Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles.  He is chained to a soldier;
they come along the Appian Way, where we are just looking—a road that had
often rung with the plaudits to the victors in many a hard fought fight.
A strange sight to see this poor man, without money, friends, or
influence.  Yet he was the true conqueror of Rome.  He said truly “God
hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God
hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are
mighty.”  Cor., chapter I, verse 27.  St. Paul says again: “And so we
went towards Rome, and from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they
came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and the three taverns: whom when
Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.”  Acts, chapter 28, verses 14
& 15.  Paul is allowed to speak for himself, having appealed to Cæsar.
“And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all
that came to him, preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things
which concern the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Up this Way, it is likely, Titus brought up the spoils he had taken in
his overthrow of the City of Jerusalem.  The spoils consisted of the “Ark
of the Covenant,” overlaid round about with gold, the golden pot that had
manna, “and Aaron’s rod that budded.”  Heb., chapter 9, verse 4.  From
this vantage ground we could see Rome, regal Rome, republican Rome, and
in the distance St. Peter’s and the Vatican, and many hundreds of other
churches and prominent buildings which hold the records of ecclesiastical
Rome.

We visited, of course, the grand church or cathedral of St. Peter.  This
is the one thing we _must_ see.  This is the goal of millions of pious
pilgrims from all lands, and at all seasons.  I noticed in our
illustrated papers of about November, 1908, the Pope had been celebrating
his fifty years of priesthood, there was a great procession of thirty-six
Cardinals, four hundred Bishops, fifty thousand spectators, and St.
Peter’s offerings were asked for by His Holiness for chalices for the
poorer churches.  The Duchess of Norfolk presented £500 as a response.
The Pope was carried shoulder high in the Sedia Gestoria, over the heads
of the vast masses, and as he was borne aloft, he bestowed his blessings
on all sides, and amongst all classes of people.  Passing over or through
the vast throng he was placed on his golden throne, whence he grants his
indulgences and extends to his flock sympathy and prayers.

When we got within sight of the noble building we were constrained to
stand still and look and let our thoughts and feelings have full play,
for just then they were of a very mixed character, as we thought of Rome
and its history, of this building and its surroundings, and what it
meant.  At the entrance we could see right through the large Piazza or
Square, in the centre of which is an obelisk, I think Egyptian in
character.  On either side are fountains throwing their sparkling waters
from almost innumerable jets.  Then there are colonnades also, and 284
columns, each column is about 40-feet high, and on the column a statue
about 16-feet high, these give an idea of the vastness of the building
beyond.  The obelisk in St. Peter’s Square weighs 3,270 tons—it is said
that the ship that brought it from Egypt was so large that the Emperor
Claudius had it sunk at the mouth of the Tiber to serve as part of the
foundations for the outward wall of the Port of Ostia, in the year 39
A.D.

                       [Picture: St. Peter’s, Rome]

It was left until the year 1566 before orders were given by Pope Sextus
to have it placed in this square.  At the top of this great obelisk is a
cross which is said to be a part of the real cross on which our Lord and
Saviour was crucified.  Passing this outward display of grandeur in the
shape of statuary, columns and colonnades, we reached the steps leading
up to the vestibule, these are massive marble steps, with colossal
statues of St. Peter and St. Paul at the foot.  It is said that this is
the largest and the most costly church in the world.  It was built on the
site of the Emperor Nero’s circus, which was the scene of the most
terrible martyrdoms, and it is also said to be the place where St. Peter
was buried after his crucifixion.  About the year 106 A.D., history tells
us there was a monument erected here to mark the site of St. Peter’s
tomb.  Earlier a basilica was founded on this spot, which stood for over
one thousand years, then showing signs of decay (and one cannot wonder at
it).  Nicholas V., in 1447, decided to erect one larger and better in its
place.



CHAPTER VI.


Rome continued: St. Peter’s building: St. Peter’s Statue: St. Peter’s
resting place: The vast Columns, Pictures, Fonts, Confessionals, etc.:
The Vatican: The Professional Letter Writer: The Arch of Titus: Statue of
Nero, etc.

This decision, however, he never carried out, but in the year 1506,
Julian II. laid the foundation of this vast church we are now about to
enter.  The first architect died while the work was in its early stages.
Then Raphael, with two other architects, were appointed, and these also
died during the building.  Michael Angelo, who was then between seventy
and eighty years of age, was selected to superintend the work.  He is
credited with the designing of that marvellous dome and cross, but did
not live to see it completed.  Indeed, not less than fifteen architects
succeeded one another during the time of its building, and twenty-eight
Popes reigned before it was completed (a time of 176 years).  Its actual
completion was not until 1784, a term of 278 years.

Carlo Fountana estimates the cost at £11,000,000.  He states that it
required 400,000 lbs. of bronze to form the statue of St. Peter inside
the cathedral.  The whole area is 240,000 square feet; when this is
stated one may form some faint idea of the magnitude of the building.
There are within and without the building columns in marble to the number
of 756; 245 are inside.  There are 46 altars and 121 lamps, most of them
are kept burning night and day.  One hundred and thirty-two Popes have
been buried here, if you count as they do from St. Peter on to the last
Pope who passed away.  It is stated that the cost of keeping the place in
repair is over £6,000 per year.  Our first view of the Nave as we
entered, created such a feeling of awe and reverence, that like the Queen
of Sheba, of whom it is said, “when she saw the glory of Solomon there
was no more spirit in her.”  “And behold the half was not told me.”  I.
Kings, chapter 10, verses 5 and 7.  I gazed with awe and admiration at
one time on the marvellous Niagara Falls, and the sight seemed to bring
me into the very presence of the great Creator, God.  And now, to gaze
upon works of such a colossal magnitude and of such a costly character,
made us feel subdued and reverent.  I may safely assume, I think, that
every one will not see it just as we saw it; I mean they will interpret
its meaning differently.  We were some time before we came to realize the
fact that it was of such extraordinary proportions.  Looking at the
cherubs which support the fonts that contain holy water, at first you
think they are models of children, but when you come beside them you find
they are much larger than ordinary grown-up people.  On the floor we
noticed there are stars or marks telling the length of the building as
compared with other large cathedrals.  St. Paul’s in London, is here
given as 516-feet long, the Cathedral in Milan as 440-feet, the Cathedral
in Florence is given as 495-feet, St. Peter’s, at Bologna, 440-feet, and
St. Sophia, at Constantinople, 364-feet, while this St. Peter’s is
619-feet in length.  On your right hand passing up the nave is the
gigantic statue of St. Peter in bronze, which, with the foot held out
slightly, I suppose millions of visitors from all nations and peoples and
tongues have stooped to kiss the large toe, which, in consequence, is
worn seriously out of shape.  Some have gone so far as to say that this
is the statue of Jupiter, only it has been slightly altered to suit its
present purpose.  I think it is Dean Swift who said (in a joke) “that the
difference between the ancient and modern Rome was, that the one was the
worshipper of Jupiter, and the other the worshipper of Jew Peter.”  As we
stood beside this image in bronze and looked to the right—the
confessional to the left—the confessional.  Visitors in kneeling posture
before an image of the Virgin, another before a picture.  Another walks
up to the font and crosses his forehead with holy water, we felt that we
could not but pity these poor deluded souls in bondage to a priestly
intolerance, when they might have had the real liberty of the children of
God.

Above this great statue of St. Peter, sitting in a chair of marble, in
the act of blessing the people, is a portrait in mosaic of Pope Pius IX.,
and an inscription which states that he is the only Pope whose years of
pontificate are more than were those of St. Peter.  In the niches around
the pillars which support the cupola are some very fine specimens of
statuary, and above these are several small galleries which contain the
Holy Relics, these are shown to the public on the great festive days.
There are sixteen windows round the cupola, and over these are sixteen
richly gilded pillars, between each of these are beautiful mosaics
representing Popes and Bishops buried in the church, also of the Virgin
Mary, Jesus Christ, and the Apostles.  Over the High Altar under the
cupola, where the Pope alone has the right to say Mass, rises a very
costly canopy of bronze, supported by four spiral columns of richly
gilded bronze about 60-feet high, including the cross.  The Altar is
placed in such a position that the Pope saying Mass, faces the people.
Under the Altar is St. Peter’s tomb; a double flight of steps of Greek
marble lead down to it, and at the bottom is a statue of one of the Popes
kneeling; at the sides are four large columns of alabaster, and above
these are two pillars of agate with the statues of St. Peter and St.
Paul.  The place in which St. Peter’s ashes rest, and that forms part of
the oratory, is covered with the most costly marble.  When Peter said
“silver and gold have I none,” Acts. chapter 3, verse 6, he could not
have had the least idea of the costliness of his resting place in Rome.

All things seem to be provided for the purpose of a worship meant to
captivate the senses by its external splendour and beauty, until the very
object of religion, the cultivation of the Christian virtues, which are
meekness and humility, are forgotten in the magnificence of a priesthood
of princes, combining their splendour and luxuries with their duties.  On
all sides we see monuments to Popes and Bishops; such as one to Pope
Innocent XII., with fine bas-reliefs in marble.  The Pope Gregory’s
monument which has some fine sculpture on it in marble.  Another wing of
this huge building designed by Michael Angelo contains an altar enriched
with alabaster, amethyst, and other precious stones.  Over the altar is
an image of the Madonna that is greatly venerated, as it is supposed to
have been brought here from one of the early churches.  Altars, crosses,
and confessionals confront you wherever you go in this great cathedral;
also, pictures adorn the walls where there is no sculpture.  St. Peter
raising Tabitha from the dead.  See Acts, chapter 9, verse 40.  “But
Peter put them all forth and kneeling down prayed; and turning to the
body, said, ‘Tabitha, arise,’ and she opened her eyes, and when she saw
Peter she sat up.”

Two porphry steps lead to the Tribune, about fifty yards long, where
there is another altar, and over it four colossal bronze statues; on the
right, the tomb of Urban VIII., on the left, that of Paul III.  In one of
the wings of this building there are eleven confessionals for strangers,
and inscriptions indicating the nationality or language.  On all sides we
saw these relics of popery until we were sick of it.  We could not visit
the grottos, as time did not permit, we were very desirous of making a
visit to the Vatican, but we could not for the same reason.  We gathered
from information gained in various ways, that the Vatican or Pope’s
Palace is the largest palace in the world.  The Pope is allowed from
Italy about £130,000 per annum, and the Peter’s pence, from many lands,
amounts to as much as £20,000 per annum.  The Vatican contains 11,000
rooms, there are also 22 court yards.  The ground it covers is the size
of a town.  The museums, the picture galleries, the statues in marble,
are worth many millions of pounds.  It is enriched with bronzes, marble
columns, and the best things that can be had from all lands.  Paintings
of the very richest and highest class from all the old masters.  Massive
gold and silver goblets, the gifts of kings and of princes.  Ancient
relics from Assyria and from Egypt.  Some Egyptian mummies in sarcophagi
with hieroglyphics, indicating the locality from whence they came.  In
the library are 26,000 manuscripts, about 19,000 are in Latin, 4,000 in
Greek, and about 2,000 in the Eastern and Oriental languages, besides
about 50,000 printed volumes.  In one of the halls there is a bible of
the fifth century, which is a great rarity.  The gifts from kings,
emperors, princes, presidents of almost all lands, which have been sent
to the Pope are too many to name or specify.  We left St. Peter’s,
pleased with some things, grieved with others.  The greatness of Rome’s
intellectual power; her art in sculpture and painting; proofs of this we
saw on all hands.  She had, at one time, over 400 temples, most of them
with floors of marble, great domes with wonderful frescoes, gorgeous
beyond anything we could conceive if we had not seen it.  Walls of
marble, porphyry, jasper, precious stones, stones polished till they
shine like a mirror.  Pictures, priceless and innumerable.  All this,
side by side with the degradation of the people, as seen in their daily
visit to the confessional; or to the holy water; or to seek a mass from
the priest for some friend in sickness; or a more important one for the
soul of some brother, sister, or friend in the agony of purgatory, and
who must remain there until certain masses are said.  All this means the
lowering of the poor to the enriching of the rich.  Rome, I say, is to be
pitied in this thing, under the heel of the Pope.  Her wealth is lavished
on churches, priests, cardinals, etc., but her poor abound on all hands.
At the very church door you have the extremes of lavish wealth in church
decoration, and extreme poverty in many worshippers.  We had a view of
the Vatican from without; it seems one vast area of palaces, churches,
temples, galleries, colonnades, etc.  I suppose we have some fine palaces
in England; there are some, I believe, in France, Germany, in Egypt; but
nowhere in the world is there a palace so large and costly as the Pope’s
Palace in Rome.  How unlike his divine Lord, “who had not where to lay
His Head,” or his predecessor (allowing the expression) who said, “silver
and gold have I none.”  Mark Twain says of the place: “It is a perfect
wilderness of statues, paintings, and curiosities of every description
and every age.  The old masters fairly swarm there.  I shall remember the
Transfiguration, by Raphael, because it was in a room by itself, and
partly because it is acknowledged by all to be the first oil painting in
the world.  It is fine in tone and feeling, it is a beauty, it is
fascinating.  Acres and acres of walls and ceilings fairly papered with
them.  There is one thing I am certain of, with all the Michael Angelo’s,
the Raphael’s, the Guido’s, and the old masters, the sublime history of
Rome remains unpainted!  They painted Virgins enough, Popes enough, and
saintly scarecrows enough to people Paradise almost.”

Leaving the great St. Peter’s and the Vatican to return to our hotel for
dinner, we noticed the mixed crowds jostling one another in the streets.
The men seemed to be broad shouldered, and their rugged bronze faces and
dark piercing eyes give you an idea that they look upon you with
curiosity.  Men dressed in home-spun blue cloth as a rule.  The women
dress in colours, no unusual thing to see them apparently enjoying a feed
of raw onions and salad with a good square piece of black bread.  Here we
passed a professional letter writer, sitting in the open-air in the
street with a table before him on which are pens, ink and paper.  Here he
is ready to read or write letters for the unlearned, and they are by no
means few in the city of Rome.  Many a declaration of passionate love
must have been whispered into the ear of this old Italian, to be
transmitted to some village maiden on the mountain heights, or in some
sequestered village.  A rustic approaches the old scribe as we watch him,
he has received an epistle from some Italian beauty far away.  As he
waits his turn he looks over the precious documents with wandering eyes.
Oh! if only he could himself spell out its sacred contents.  His cheeks
are flushed, his heart throbs as he hands the paper to the scribe; and,
as the old man reads, the smile plays upon his face, his dark eyes
brighten with delight.  Yes! she is true to the boy who is far away, what
a joy to know their hearts beat in unison and in passionate love.  What a
strange task! that of the Italian scribe.  Sometimes his task is to read
letters that tell of separations by death; the scalding tear, the heart
throbs, tell of grief and anguish, a life’s hope crushed out.  A dear
mother, sister or lover passed away.  All these experiences go through
the old scribe’s hands daily.  Young Italy, however, is awaking to her
need as a nation, for education and for the training of the young.

Our hotel is our home of rest, and we certainly enjoyed it after hours of
travel and inspection.  Sights seen that we had never dreamed of.
Pictures, sculpture, arch, column, colonnades, so profuse and so
attractive that we forgot we were tired until we turned away for a break
and a rest.

Again, we are on the tram, and down one of the principal boulevards, past
shops, bazaars, cafes, hotels and churches, to the Pont du Angelo, over
the Tiber.  This is a lovely piece of workmanship, built of solid
masonry, and on the pont, or bridge, there are six statues on each side
on pedestals, representing the various architects, sculptors and painters
of ancient Rome, and as we crossed the bridge, right in front of us we
saw the castle of St. Angelo, erected by one of the Emperors for his own
tomb, and for the tombs of his successors.  As most of the important
buildings in Rome, it is lavishly decorated with marble sculpture, more
fitted for a palace than for a mausoleum.  [Picture: The Arch of Titus,
Rome] In the tenth century it was turned into a fortress and fell into
the hands of the barons, who, during a long time, made use of it against
the city itself.  It is said that Clement VII. took refuge in it in the
year 1527.  To-day it is a beautiful temple.  The floor is very largely
composed of Italian marble; on the staircase, on our right on entering,
is a fine statue of Michael the arch-angel, in a niche.  In another room
are some fine paintings by Pierin; another room still retains some of the
implements of torture of the Inquisition.  On the top stands the bronze
statue of the arch-angel Michael, placed there in 1770; it is said it is
placed there in memory of a vision of St. Gregory the Great.  According
to tradition, when Rome was severely visited by a pestilence, and while
the Pope was going in procession to St. Peter’s, to obtain the cessation
of the scourge, he saw, on arriving at this bridge, an angel on the top
of the mausoleum, in the act of replacing his sword in its sheath, as a
sign that the visitation of the scourge was at an end.  On account of
this the castle was named “The Castle of the Holy Angel.”  “The Arch of
Titus” is another fine specimen of the builders’ art.  Erected to him by
the people in homage of his great victory in Palestine over the Hebrews,
and of the destruction of the Holy City of Jerusalem, in the year 79
A.D., and consecrated to his memory by his successor in the year 81 A.D.
It has somewhat suffered by the ages that have passed over it; still, it
is marvellous that it has so long withstood the ravages of the iron tooth
of time.  There is a fine frieze in the inside and some fine bas-reliefs.
One, that of the Hebrew prisoners, and Titus’ triumphal march to Rome.
In Macaulay’s we find the following verses, evidently written on the
subject of Titus’ victory:

    “Valerius struck at Titus and lopped off half his crest,
    But Titus stabbed Valerius, a span deep in his breast.
    Like a mast snapped by the tempest, Valerius reeled and fell.
    Ah! woe is me for the good house that loves the people well!
    Then shouted loud the Latins, and with one rush they bore
    The struggling Romans backward, three lances length or more:

    And up they took proud Tarquin, and laid him on the shield,
    And four strong yeomen bore him, still senseless from the field.
    But fiercer grew the fighting around Valerius dead,
    For Titus dragged him by the foot, and Anlus by the head.
    Twice tenfold round the body the roar of battle rose
    Like the roar of a burning forest, when a strong north wind blows.

    Now backward and now forward, rocked furiously the fray,
    Till none could see Valerius, and none knew where he lay.
    For shivered arms and ensigns were heaped there in a mound,
    And corpses stiff, and dying men, that writhed upon the ground,
    And wounded horses kicking, and snorting purple foam,
    Right well did such a couch befit a Consular of Rome.”

There are also, in this palace, the seven-branched candlesticks, and many
other objects taken from the Temple of the Holy City.

Next we saw the triumphal arch of Constantine (the first Christian
Emperor of Rome), this seems to be the best preserved of all the arches
we saw, although now it has been standing since 311 A.D.  We learned it
was erected by the people of Rome in honour of the great victory achieved
over Maxentius at Ponte Mollo.  The central arcade is about thirty-feet
high, the side ones are about twenty-feet.  There are four beautiful
columns of Corinthian marble which support the pillars upon which stand
some fine statuary representing some of the “Dacian prisoners,” “Trajan’s
entry into Rome after his victory in the east,” “The rest on the Appian
Way,” “Trajan bringing help and succour to the poor children,” “Trajan
speaking to his soldiers.”  Under these are bas-reliefs which represent
hunts and sacrifices.  On the opposite side of the street we noticed a
large pedestal which we were told held, in ancient times, a colossal
statue of Nero, executed in bronze.  After his death it was thrown down
and replaced by another called “The god of the sun.”  This, however, has
been allowed to fall into decay; the iron tooth of time has done its
work, and only the pedestal remains.

The Navona Square or Piazza calls for a remark or two, it is the next
largest to St. Peter’s.  There are three fine fountains in the square,
These seem to be of a modern design and workmanship.  One represents
Neptune coping with a sea monster, surrounded by sea horses.  In the
basin rises a kind of rock; on the four sides of which are
representations of “The Danube,” for Europe; “The Ganges,” for Asia; “The
Nile,” for Africa; and the “Rio de la Plata,” for America.  The rock is
surmounted by a very neatly-cut obelisk.  The first and largest fountain
is about 100-feet high, and when in play has a very beautiful effect.
The Church of St. Mary is but a plain looking building from the outside.
We approached with little interest, but when we got inside we found it to
be a perfect museum of painting and sculpture; also, there are many tombs
of celebrated cardinals.  The guide showed us a picture said to be the
work of St. Luke, and in all seriousness, told us it was supposed to have
the power to work miracles still.  We did not stay to ask whether that
power was ever evoked.  There is a chapel inside, the architecture of
which was planned by Raphael.  The design of big mosaics on the vault of
the dome is simply marvellous.  There is a representation of the heavenly
bodies in their fullest splendour; also a fine statue of Jonah by
Raphael.  There is attached to this church a monastery, in which reside
the monks of the Order of St. Augustine.  It is said to have been the
residence of the famous Martin Luther, during his visit to Rome.  He
entered the city through the Porto del Popolo, and knelt down as soon as
he had passed the gate, crying most sincerely, “I salute thee, Oh! holy
Rome!—Rome, venerable through the blood and the tombs of the martyrs.”
And then he went straightway to the convent, and there he celebrated
mass.  And after the experiences he went through during his stay in the
city, what he had seen, and what he had heard—he said, on passing again
through the same gate out, with bitterness and grief, “Adieu, Oh! City,
where everything is permitted, but to be a good man.”  Every place we
visited brought some reminders of the sad fall of the papacy from real
Christianity.

To the Berbine picture gallery, was a visit which gave us much pleasure,
as we saw pictures from the ablest of artists.  The paintings by Michael
Angelo and Raphael, Francesco and Tiziano.  “Adam and Eve driven from
Paradise,” by Guido Reni; “Christ and the Doctors of the Church,” by
Dürer; “The Holy Family,” by Andrea; “The Annunciation,” by Bronzine; and
many others that we considered marvels of the artists’ brush.  There is
also within this gallery a very large room as a library in which, we
learned, there are over 30,000 books in print, and over 8,000 in
manuscript, by Dante, Galileo, Lasso and others.  The wonders of these
places filled us with such admiration, we could stay and look until quite
weary, so we take tram to hotel again for rest.

                  [Picture: Church of the Trinity, Rome]



CHAPTER VII.


The Church of the Trinity: St. Maria: Church of Onesemus: The Grand
Corso: The British and Foreign Bible Society: Outside view of the
Quirinal: Nero’s House: Leaving Rome: Scene at a wayside station: Arrival
at Florence: Visit to the Cathedral.

The wonderful Church called the Church of the Trinity, up a very broad
staircase of some 330 steps; then a very fine piazza or square, and an
obelisk, at the top of which they say is a piece of the cross on which
St. Peter suffered martyrdom.  In this square we found artists’ models
waiting to be engaged.  Some of them very pretty Italian peasant girls
fresh from mountain homes, in costumes quaint and queer; old men with
white beards and capacious cloaks; shepherd boys from the Campagna;
bag-pipers from Abruzzi; also mendicants of more than one nationality;
also vendors of wares of various kinds, principally small brooches, photo
frames and pins, with nic-nacs that were considered to be attractive.  A
scene of very great interest to the Britisher.  We left here to have a
stroll in the streets, to watch with interest the customs and habits of
the people.  Hotels almost without number; beer-houses, only a few;
cafes, many; confectioners, many; chemists and doctors, fairly numerous;
dentists, several at any rate; restaurants, many, and some on a very
large scale; telephone call offices; lavatories; specialities, as
jewellers who sell Roman pearls, mosaics, religious ornaments, bronzes,
marble, etc.; porters standing in various places to give you a hand with
a parcel; omnibuses running to the station from all parts of the city;
carriages for hire at about eightpence per mile, English money.  So we
passed an hour in watching the ever changing street scenes, until tired,
then to our hotel and to rest once more.  Returning to our further
inspection of churches, museums, and places of interest, we went to see
the old St. Maria.  This is a very interesting place, and is said to be
built upon the site of what was Paul’s “own hired house in which he dwelt
for two whole years,” see Acts, ch. 28, v. 30.  It is said that on this
spot, Onesimus, the runaway slave, was converted, and that he received
the gifts sent by the Philippians and the Colossians, by Epaphroditus,
which he so thankfully acknowledges.  Philippians., chapter 4, verse 18.
“I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent
from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable,
well-pleasing to God.”  Three rooms in the basement of the church are
shown as the very rooms in which St. Paul and St. Luke taught and wrote.
Col., chapter 4, verse 14.

Leaving this place we enter the Corso, the principal street of the city.
To our surprise and delight we saw a depot of the British and Foreign
Bible Society; the window full of Italian copies of the scriptures spread
open, some showing clearly one passage, and some another; so that he who
runs can read.  We found we could buy the New Testament for threepence in
English money.  A separate gospel for less than one penny.  It is not
many years since when this would not have been allowed in Rome or in
Italy.  Before the Pope’s power was broken, I mean his temporal power, he
did not allow a circulation of the Bible, nor did he allow a public
assembly of heretics (Christians) within the city.  Now, thank God, there
are numerous Protestant Churches in the city.  The Wesleyans have one or
more churches.  The Americans, the Lutheran, the Greek, the English
church and others are now allowed the privileges not long since denied to
them.  We had the pleasure of an outside view of the Quirinal, the
present residence of the King of Italy in Rome.  It was at one time the
residence of the Pope.  It is an old building, 1574 is the date.  It is
said the Popes prepared this residence because the air was so fresh, and
the neighbourhood so healthy.  While the King is in Rome the Quirinal
palace is not open to visitors.  The gardens are on an extensive scale.
Within the palace are sculpture, museums, library, paintings by Raphael,
Michael Angelo and Luigi Serra.  Some of the subjects are simply
masterpieces.  We went from the Quirinal to the Baths of Titus, erected
by the Emperor of that name, it is said upon the same place where once
stood the house of Nero.  The excavators in 1811 laid bare many
interesting facts concerning the times of Titus, about the year 80 A.D.
Only a semicircle can be seen showing the foundations, yet it seems to be
clear that these are the only remains of the baths referred to.  We left
here feeling we were satiated with sight seeing, and our time for leaving
Rome was near at hand, so we determined upon a few purchases.  Then to
our hotel to reflect, to think, to recall, if possible, to memory what we
had seen and heard.  To fill up our diary, to settle our hotel accounts,
and to get ready to leave the “Eternal City.”  We reviewed in our mind at
leisure, where we had been, and what we had seen in Rome.  And we read up
history which tells us in the palmy days of Rome, there would be within
the city over 400 temples, and over 17,000 palaces, over 13,000
fountains, more than 30 theatres, 8 amphitheatres, 11 baths, some of
which would accommodate some 1,500 bathers at once, 80 gilt statues, and
over 3,700 bronze statues, 82 statues of figures on horseback, so we
think of Rome in her imperial pride, when luxury lay on the lap of so
many of her nobles.  Since then she has been humbled to the dust.  Many
of these costly buildings and statuary are in ruins, but there is enough
left to show her once illustrious position.

We had certainly made the best of the time at our disposal, so we leave
thee, Oh! Rome! the great, the illustrious.  “It may be for years, or it
may be for ever.”  We said good-bye, and soon we were en route for
Florence.  The scenery for some distance is not particularly attractive.
The usual Italian villages, in some cases just a cottage or two, the
tenants of which are out with their ox and plough, or a pair of donkeys
and a rickety old cart, or the man is draining his farm.  We saw about
eight or ten women at a large stone trough by the side of a highway
washing.  It seems this is their custom, for the women of several
families to have a joint washday, and go to the nearest clean flowing
water.

As we proceeded northward, we noticed the country became more undulating
and richer in fruits and flowers.  The season for the grapes being ripe
was just on, and we noticed as we journeyed, on all sides, grape vines;
there seemed to be miles of them, and still, as we hurried along, more
vineyards.  Oxen in wagons in the rows of vines, were being loaded with
the luscious fruit.  Six white oxen in each wagon mostly.  The husband,
wife and children, all seemed to be engaged in plucking and loading the
fruit.  We passed scores of miles of vineyards of this sort.  We stopped
at a station called Cartona.  I saw a typical Italian girl with a grape
stall on the platform.  I alighted and selected two large bunches of
beautiful ripe grapes, and as I could not ask the price, not speaking
Italian, I held out my hand with a number of coins of various value for
her to take the cost of the grapes.  She selected twenty centimes, that
is about twopence in English money; so very cheap are grapes.  The
country is a lovely country and rich beyond compare.  Our train, we could
perceive at times, was climbing, so slow was the speed, but as we got
higher the scene became more lovely; the Italian lakes in the distance;
the towns with the usual Duomo or Church always noticeable.

                    [Picture: Team of oxen in Tuscany]

At every road crossing we noticed an Italian woman, usually aged, sat at
the gate crossing, with horn in hand ready to give warning of an
approaching train.  About four o’clock in the afternoon we came in sight
of Florence.  The first view was entrancing.  The city lies in a hollow,
the surrounding hillsides are, here and there, dotted over with castles
and mansions, each in their own lovely and extensive grounds.  They were
mostly of white marble.  The river Arno runs through the city.  Florence
is essentially a city of flowers, as its name indicates.  All around for
miles castles, mansions, villas, gardens and shady nooks fill the soul
with a consciousness that Nature here has bestowed her gifts of beauty in
no stinted degree.  Florence has been called, and I think very aptly, the
Athens of Italy.  This city possesses the memories of some of the world’s
greatest men, “the priceless heirlooms of a glorious past.”  Here the
peerless bard, “Dante” sang his deathless song and made his lovely
Beatrice immortal.  Was it not from these very hills and fields on which
we were gazing, that Galileo every night scanned the heavens to compel
the distant orbs to reveal their secrets?

Here we see her peerless domes and towers rise in all their stately
grandeur beneath a lovely Italian sky.  We are now at the station.
Alighting, we soon found the ’bus for “Hotel Minerva” (this we had
selected before hand) so were soon once more settled for a little while.
Our hotel was very comfortable, and we found mine host most gracious, and
evidently most desirous to satisfy us, and so keep our patronage as long
as possible.  The rooms were lofty and furnished with taste, dinner
served in good style, which included everything we could wish for.  A
look round the city for a little while, was our first thought, so out we
went into the great open square, facing which is the Duomo or Cathedral
Maria del Fiore, so called from the lily which figures in the arms of
Florence.  This vast pile of buildings was begun in the year 1298, and
finished in the year 1462.  It is stated it was built on the foundations
of an earlier church.  It is a grand example of the Gothic art.  The
length of the building is 185 yards, and its width, 114 yards.  The dome
is 300 feet high, and with the lantern 352 feet.  On the 8th of
September, 1298, a representative of Pope Boniface VIII. blessed the
foundations of this new grand temple in the presence of the “Gonfaloniere
Borgo,” many bishops, “the chapter,” all the Florentine clergy, the
captains of the arts, and the magnificent and sublime “Signori of the
Republic,” as they were called.  The words with which the community gave
charge of this sumptuous building were, literally translated, “to make it
so magnificent and so sublime that it would be impossible that it should
be surpassed.”  And it seemed to us that for size and strength and
adornments, few can compare with it.  Many vicissitudes occurred during
the building—wars, deaths of architects, etc.—till in the year 1492 it
was something like a completed building.  In April, 1860, King Victor
Emmanuel laid the foundation of a new facade, which was to replace one
taken away, as the design was considered unsuitable.  Above the south
door is a Madonna between two angels.  Inside we were struck with its
massiveness, more than with its decorations.  On the right there is a
fine equestrian statue of John Hawkswood, of date 1384, an English
soldier of fortune, who had served the Republic with unswerving fidelity.
Over the portico is a fine picture of the Virgin Mary in mosaic.  On the
right side are some fine marble figures of great men of ancient dates.
In the east nave are fine statues of St. John and St. Peter; a fine
stained-glass window with most attractive and telling designs.  Inside
the great dome is a very peculiar, very grotesque frieze, by a great
painter named Vasari, depicting the flames of hell and awful monsters
around them.  Also the heaven of delight and bliss.

Near the Cathedral is the wonderful Campagna or tower, which visitors
through centuries have visited and admired.  A distinguished visitor once
said, “The Florentines should enclose this tower in a glass case, and
only let it be on exhibition during the great festivals.”  It is solid
and strong, though it rises to the height of 292 feet.  It has four
stories, the lower ones are richly fixed with variegated marble, and
covered almost with statues of illustrious men.  A view of this tower
from a distance is very fine.  We had seen nothing like it before in all
our travels on the continent.



CHAPTER VIII.


Florence: Michael Angelo’s House: Baptistry of St. John: The Uffizi
Gallery: The Tribune: A drive to the suburbs: Dante’s House: Dante’s
Poems: The Gardens: Mrs. Browning’s description of Vallambrosa: Michael
Angelo’s work: Galileo, his trial, etc.

As we had little time for visiting other places of interest, the day
being now far advanced, we determined to give our minds and bodies a
rest.  So we entered a cafe for refreshment, we found them exceedingly
clean and most obliging; we took what refreshment we needed, then went
for a stroll on the streets to see the shops, and we found the city has
some fine streets and shops of almost every kind.  The city has a
population of about 200,000.  We were reminded frequently of some of the
worthies of the city in sculpture or in painting.  Michael Angelo, though
not born in Florence, spent a great deal of his life here, and here some
of his finest works were completed, and in Florence he died and was
buried.  At the corner of the Via Buonarotti stands the house in which he
lived.  It is now (like the house of the immortal Shakespeare) a museum
given to the city.

“Farewell,” said Michael Angelo, on setting out for where he was to
undertake the finishing of the great St. Peter’s, in Rome.  “Farewell, I
go to try to make thy sister, but I cannot hope to make thy equal.”

About the old Baptistry of St. John, to which, we are told, all the
children of the city are taken to be christened, there are two bronze
gates at which a famous workman was employed forty years.  Michael Angelo
declared “these gates were worthy to be the gates of Paradise.”

1st design.       The creation of man.
2nd   ,,          Expulsion of our first parents from the Garden of
                  Eden.
3rd    ,,         Noah after the deluge.
4th    ,,         Abraham on Mount Moriah.
5th    ,,         Esau selling his birthright.
6th    ,,         Joseph and his brethren, and the law given on
                  Sinai.
7th    ,,         The walls of Jericho.
8th    ,,         The battle with the Ammonites.
9th    ,,         Queen of Sheba in Solomon’s palace.

I believe there is a cast of these gates exhibited at the South
Kensington Museum.

The Uffizi Gallery or museum or both, where I should think may be found
the most wonderful collection of art to be found in the world.  Even in
Rome we had seen nothing to equal it.  It contains over 13,000 paintings.
Cameos and original designs without number.  There are long corridors
where statues of celebrated Tuscans fill the niches.  There is sculptured
marble, or painted canvas, of all imaginable beings in heaven or on
earth.  Emperors and kings, saintly Madonnas, angels, gods and goddesses,
muses and nymphs; all may be found in this marvellous collection.  And on
the ceiling are frescoes setting forth the annals of Florence.  In one of
the halls stands a painting of Niobe with her sons and daughters clinging
around her, victims of the cruel vengeance of Diana and Apollo.  In
another room are some angels surrounding a Madonna, making a lovely
picture.  There is a gallery in which are paintings of the painters of
all nations, painted by themselves.  Vandyck, with his clear blue eye,
long hair and fair countenance; Raphael, looking sad and gentle and very
sallow; Michael Angelo, simple yet sublime, he is in his dressing gown.
We were simply surrounded and bewildered by the fascinating sights on
every hand.  There are cabinets also, containing rare gems, cameos and
bronzes of all sizes and shapes.  The Tribune also demands notice, as it
contains vast masses of valuable treasures.  One room is paved with the
most costly marble.  There are five masterpieces of antiquity.  In the
centre stands the Venus de Medicis, serene, pure, delicate, and perfectly
lovely; another, the Dancing Fawn; another, “Apollino,” “The Wrestlers,”
and the “Grinder.”  There is also here, one of the finest and best of
Raphael’s paintings, “The Glorious Madonna.”  Two others by Titian.  We
soon became exhausted and weary, so we left the entrancing scenes for
another day.  To our hotel was but the work of ten minutes; safely
housed.  Table-de-hote dinner, to write up our diaries, to commend our
lives and our loved ones to the care of our Heavenly Father, we slept.
During the night there was a severe thunder storm, the lightning played
round our hotel, lighting up the great square in front, but so far as we
know, no damage was done.  We rose in health, refreshed and ready for a
good breakfast; this, the Italians know how to provide.  Their coffee is
the best I have ever tasted.  Fish, eggs, cold meats and fruits in
abundance.  We made a fine breakfast, and after writing some letters and
post cards we ventured out, this time for a drive to the suburbs.  I soon
found carriage and driver and made terms.

             [Picture: Mrs. Wardle near The Duomo, Florence]

Before starting, however, I took a snapshot of my wife in the carriage,
with the archway or part of the facade of the Duomo for background.  We
passed through the principal parts of the city, and our driver pointed
out the house, still standing, where Dante, the greatest of all the great
poets of Italy, was born.  It is very near to the church of Santa Croce,
a very old building, but in its vicinity lies the dust of some of Italy’s
noblest sons.  Near here in the year 1865, on the 5th day of May, a vast
concourse of people assembled to see the unveiling of a statue of Dante.
It is 19 feet in height, and it is mounted on a pedestal 23 feet in
height.  This was the six hundredth anniversary of the poet’s birthday.
Dante was not buried here, but at Ravenna, where he died in exile away
from the city he loved so much.  In the “Sheep-fold of St. John” as he
called it.  His life was full of strange vicissitudes, apparently more of
cloud and storm than of sunshine.  His father was in the legal
profession, and this, Dante adopted, and studied very successfully at
several schools in Italy and Germany.  At an early age he fell madly in
love with one, Beatrice, but she married another man, and left him with a
great sore in his heart.  He was called to bear arms against Ariezo and
Pisa, where he served with great assiduity.  He afterwards married, but
not happily, at the age of 28.  He had a family, however, and his
first-born being a girl, he called her Beatrice, after his first love.  A
civil war had been brewing for some time.  Again Dante took the field,
this time, unfortunately, on the weaker side, and a revolutionary
government being formed, he, with other ringleaders who wished to resist
the extreme pretensions of the Pope, were sentenced to be burned alive.
He, however, managed to escape into Germany, where he wandered about from
place to place, finding no settled residence, and desiring to return to
his native city, but this was denied him.  He died, as we have seen, in
Ravenna.  His daughter Beatrice was a nun in one of the convents, but to
do some tardy justice to the noble bard, a sum of money was raised for
her own special use.  I can hardly leave this interesting subject without
a passing reference to his poems, as are now principally read.  The
volume I refer to includes the “Inferno,” “The Purgatorio,” and “The
Paradiso.”  It is here surmised that Virgil and St. Bernard conduct Dante
through these divisions of the universal world, to help him to write
something that would show up the source of Italy’s ruin.  The poem is a
fine allegory, showing, as it does in the first part, a Panther,
representing Florence or envy; a Lion, France or ambition; a She-Wolf,
the Court of Rome or avarice; a Greyhound, Our Saviour or His vicegerent
the Pope; Virgil, human wisdom; and Beatrice, heavenly wisdom.  His
representation of Hell as a dark valley, at the mouth of which is Limbo,
and which are nine circles indicating nine different degrees of sin to be
punished.  The wise and good even are represented as lying in tears and
sorrow, because they were not baptized.  Purgatory is a step hill in the
hemisphere opposite hell.  Seven rounds have to be climbed before the
seven stains of sin are washed away.  At the top is the Garden of Eden.
It is most interesting to follow Dante, as he ascends with his beloved
Beatrice to Paradise, through the various heavens of the moon, Mercury,
Venus, Mars, the Sun, Jupiter, etc.  The eighth heaven contains the
triumph of Christ; and the Virgin Mary and Adam he makes to dwell there
also.  In the ninth heaven is a manifestation of the Divine Essence,
viewed by three hierarchies of Angels.  While these poems are
allegorical, they are full of interest and show that Dante was greatly
moved and influenced by “the things that are unseen which are eternal.”
In his youthful days he paced the fields and groves of lovely Italy,
writing sonnets to his beloved Beatrice.  In his later years he had to
eat the bread of bitterness, being an outcast from his friends and from
the city he loved.  The world, however, has been enriched by his poverty.
A sight of the place where he was born has suggested to us this
commentary.  We left the place not without reflection upon the
immutability of things that are earthly.  From here our driver took us
towards the lovely gardens across the river Arno, the gardens of Boboli;
these are open to the public Thursday and Sunday.  Approaching the bridge
which spans this lovely river, we were struck with its massiveness as
well as its beauty.  It is called the Jewellers’ Bridge, as jewellers’
shops line the bridge on each side fully, except a very small break in
the middle through which you get a very nice view of the river as it
rolls along.  A bridge further on is adorned with statues, and is
considered the most beautiful of the seven that cross the Arno.  When
over the bridge the road is very steep; our driver left his box to give
the horse the benefit.  Now we seem getting into the suburbs, the road is
lined with trees of all sorts; the acacia, the box, the walnut, the
maple, the olive and many others, I do not think I could tell the names
of them all.  Up and up we went, in a semicircular fashion, until we
gained the summit.  When we had gone through the gate into the garden,
the view was simply entrancing.  Florence, with its towers and spires and
domes, lay like a fine panorama at our feet, and the river gliding gently
through the city.  The villages in the distances nestling amidst
luxuriant foliage of trees and plants.  The gardens around us full of
beauty, adorned with statuary, and a profusion of moss and creeper and
colour of flowers, we may never see again.  Just across the river, we
could see the tower of Galileo, where the great astronomer nightly
watched the stars, or

    “Moon, whose orb
    Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views,
    At evening from the top of Fiesole,
    Or in Voldarno, to descry new lands,
    Rivers or mountains, in his spotty globe.”

                 [Picture: Dante And Beatrice, Florence]

Farther out the Casine, or the Hyde Park of Florence, could be seen.
Perhaps no better description can be given than by Mrs. Browning:

    “You remember, down at Florence, our Casine,
    Where the people on the fast days walk and drive,
    And through the trees, long drawn in many a green way,
    O’er roofing hum and murmur like a hive,
    The river and the mountain look alive.

    You remember the Piazzo there, the stand place
    Of carriages abrim with Florence beauties,
    Who lean and meet to music as the band plays,
    Or smile and chat with some one who afoot is
    Or on horseback, in observance of male duties.

    ’Tis so pretty in the afternoon of summer,
    So many gracious faces brought together;
    Call it rout, or call it concert, they have come here
    In the floating of the fan and of the feather,
    To reciprocate with beauty the fine weather.”

Along the valley of Vallambrosa, as you look across, pine forests, lawns
and mountains combined, make a scene the fairest fair Italy can show.
Milton, in his “Paradise Lost,” alludes to this valley, speaking of the
fallen angels who

    “Lay entranced,
    Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
    In Vallambrosa’s, where oh! Etrurian shades
    High over arched embower.”

This was one of the favourite walks of Dante, where he loved to wander
and muse on his lovely Beatrice.  The views from this elevation on all
sides were very beautiful, and we left it with a feeling we could never
again gaze on scenes so delightful.

Returning from these lovely scenes, in and from the Boboli Gardens, over
the same bridge we turned to the left and passed the Mozzi Square, where
is the Mozzi Palace.  A very large building that has connected with it,
we were told, a very fine picture gallery, but we had not time to visit
it.  We then came to the Necropolis of St. Miniato, a church considered
to be one of the oldest on the continent.  The Florentine Republic
considered its splendid military position, and ordered Michael Angelo to
fortify it.  He therefore threw a strong rampart around it, with strong
bastions which were provided with cannon.  It is said that many Christian
martyrs died for the faith and were buried in this church.  The tower was
greatly damaged by Charles V., but Michael Angelo saved it from utter
ruin.  Rev. D. M. Pratt says of Michael Angelo:

    “A master mind before the marble stood,
    Fresh quarried was it, rough and all unhewn,
    To other eyes it seemed a shapeless stone;
    To his, a stately form and beautiful.
    Chisel in hand he wrought and what he saw
    Came forth a statue, living and divine.
    An artist stood and gazed on fallen man:
    He to the soul, what to the marble rough
    Was Angels, he saw and sinful man
    A seraphs form.  He wrought, and forth there came
    Manhood divine—the lifeless took on life,
    Oh! for the artist’s eye!  In every man
    God’s image dwells, and he who sees the Christ
    Sees God in man restored, and with him seeks to bring
    His thoughts to life in saving men.”

A poet has written:

    “In Santa Croce’s holy precincts lie
    Ashes which make it holier, dust which is
    Even in itself an immortality.
    Though there were nothing save the past, and this
    The particles of those sublimities
    Which have relapsed to chaos, here repose
    Angelo’s Alfieris bones, and his
    The starry Galileo with his woes;
    Here Machiavelli’s earth returned to whence it rose.”

The tomb of Galileo calls for a passing remark, as he dared to contravert
the old world notions of a central earth fixed in space, immovable with
planets curling round it.  The church had stood by the old theory for
ages.  If now they adopt Galileo’s theory, where is their infallibility.
And so ignorant monks shut him up in prison and burnt his books in the
public market place, and led out this great philosopher in mockery before
a gaping crowd, with a wax taper in his hand and a halter round his neck,
and demanded he should recant his opinions.  Amidst the jeers of his
friends and the awful threats of his enemies, he was induced to go
through a certain form of recantation, in which he was required to
declare “With a sincere heart and faith unfeigned, I abjure, curse and
detest the said errors—I swear for the future never to say anything
verbally, or in writing, which may cause to any further suspicion against
me.”  Rising from his knees he whispered: “But it does move for all
that.”



CHAPTER IX.


Appalling catastrophe in Italy: Messina: Savonarola, the enthusiastic
preacher: His defiance of the Pope: His excommunication: His cell, etc.:
His martyrdom: Raphael, his genius as a painter: Some of his works: The
old Protestant Cemetery: Our leaving Florence: Journey to Bologna and on
to Venice.

While I am here writing of the beauties of Italy, its fertile plains, its
sunny skies, its lovely lakes, its great works of art and its still
greater artists, a newsboy is calling out in the streets: “Appalling
catastrophe in Italy.”  An earthquake killing not thousands merely, but
tens of thousands.  What! is that fair land devastated, and death swept
by such a calamity?  Is it true that loveliness and danger lie so near
together?  What! is there no spot on earth where we may be absolutely
free from danger?  Here in lovely Messina and Reggio, I passed them on
board the S.S. “Benares” about two years ago.  The sun shone brilliantly
on the scene, a lovelier it would be difficult to describe.  On my left
Messina, with its marble buildings glistening in the sun.  Temples and
towers, churches and barracks, all giving signs of strength and beauty to
the fair city; on our right Reggio, which appeared to be a city of great
beauty and prosperity.  Mount Etna in the distance, slumbering for a
time.  Stromboli as we passed was alive hurling up stones, fire and
smoke.  Now the cities named are practically wiped out.  _The Daily
News_, of December 31st, 1908, says: “Yesterday, the total of the dead
was calculated as from fifty thousand to seventy-five thousand.  To-day
it is two hundred thousand.  This morning’s news helps us to form a
clearer idea of the awful scene as it occurred.  It was early morn just
before daylight, and all the beautiful towns along the coast of these
historic straits were still asleep.  Death came suddenly and unawares.
By five successive shocks, the cities were toppled down, and where they
had stood great columns of dust were rising.  Men, women and children,
soldiers in barracks, the sick in hospital and prisoners in gaol were
killed together as they slept.  They died like ants in a blown up nest.”
A survivor from Messina says: “The town is nothing but a dust heap, even
the railway station is swallowed up, the railwaymen are nearly all
killed.”  Another says: “It is too horrible to describe.”  The Pope has
shown the greatest anxiety; has even asked permission at the Quirinal to
transmit massages to the suffering and the bereaved.  He also summoned to
the Vatican the Director of the Bank of Rome and had with him some
private conversation, and arranged for the sum of £40,000 to be sent at
once.  Our own King Edward sent to the King of Italy messages of
condolence and sympathy.  The navies and soldiers of England, France,
Germany and others are giving assistance in extricating sufferers from
the debris, and feeding the hungry, and erecting temporary shelters and
generally doing all that can be done to mitigate the distress and grief
and pain.  Money is being sent liberally by all the Christian nations at
least.  So all feel as nations and as individuals that “One touch of
sorrow makes the world akin.”  It is at such a time that the brotherhood
of nations asserts itself.  All racial barriers are swept away in the
face of such a terrible catastrophe.  The latest news is that no less
than 220,000 have perished, as many inland towns have suffered most
severely.  The cathedral and churches, with all their valuable works of
art, have been totally destroyed.  Scenes simply indescribable are
enacted and too sad to relate.  So we see the uncertainty of things that
are on earth.

Notwithstanding the natural beauty of the surroundings, before we left
the fair city of Florence, we must needs do a little shopping, and make
some further investigations into the interests and associations of the
place.  The convent of San Marco is a place worth a visit, and is open on
receipt of a small fee or gratuity.  Here is the cell of Savonarola, in
which he was confined before the martyrdom of flame.  Here is a fine
portrait of the man who dared to face even death in his defence of the
truth.  Here are some of his manuscripts, traced with his own pen.  Here
are his tunic, girdle and crucifix, and even a charred piece of wood from
the scene of his martyrdom.  Such sights fill the soul with thoughts of
what men have endured to rescue the truth from Papal tyranny.  Of
Savonarola it may be said, he was a great reformer, a religious
enthusiast, and a martyr.  Born at Ferrara, in 1452, he early joined the
religious order of Dominicans at Bologna.  At first his career as a
preacher was not marked by any unusual event, nor did he meet with great
success, but on his appointment to the Duomo, crowds came to listen to
his preaching, and indeed so eloquent did he become and so effective
that, at times, his discourses were interrupted by the masses of the
people sobbing and crying in their pews.  He became so popular that the
people pressed round him in the streets to kiss his garments.  He went
forth like a flaming herald of the cross in defiance of pope, cardinal or
priest.  It is stated that under his influence the morals of the city
became purified.  The children were specially cared for, as many as 8,000
at one time were banded together in a sort of republic, and were called
“the children of Christ.”  The Pope did his very best to suppress this
holy work, but it was useless to try to stop so God inspired a man as
Savonarola.  When this was ineffectual, they said make him a Cardinal;
give him a red hat, so make of him a friend.  He answered from the pulpit
of St. Mark’s: “I will have no other red hat than that of martyrdom,
coloured with my own blood.”  Then he was summoned to appear in Rome.
This, however, he refused to do.  Then came the ban of excommunication,
but this brought with it no terrors.  His answer to it is: “he who
commands a thing contrary to the law of Christ, is himself
excommunicated.”  “I may have failed in many things, for I am a sinner,
but I have not shunned to declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They
threaten to burn me or fling me into the Arno, that gives me no concern.”
Ultimately he was arrested and charged with impiety and sedition, of
these, however, there was no proof shown, until a certain man named Ser
Cocone presented a forged document, and our hero was condemned to be
burned.  And on May 23rd, 1498, this noble saint of God passed away.
Three platforms were erected in front of the palace; Savonarola was taken
up to the central one, clad in his priestly robes.  Then piece by piece
the Bishop removed his vestments in the presence of the multitude, and
pronounced the degradation.  “I separate thee from the church militant
and from the church triumphant.”  “Nay,” said the bold and daring saint,
“from the church militant, if you please, but not from the church
triumphant, that is more than you can do.”  He then mounted the pile and
gave utterance to the following sentence; “Oh! Florence, what hast thou
done this day.”  Soon there was nothing left but the ashes of Savonarola.
His spirit leapt into the chariot of fire, and he was with the martyr
throng before the Throne.  By order of the Commune, his ashes were thrown
into the river Arno, so that no relic could be found of the patriot and
martyr.

We could hardly leave Florence without giving some reference to Raphael,
one of our world’s greatest painters.  Though not born in Florence, he
spent a good deal of his life in the city.  His education in the art was
completed in Florence.  He was born in the year 1483.  Michael Angelo was
to him an attraction and an inspiration.  It is said that so fine was his
genius, that in his time of tuition he could surpass his tutors.  His
most famous pictures are “Christ in the attitude of prayer on the Mount
of Olives,” and “St. Michael and St. George,” which are now in the
Louvre, at Paris.  The Pope gave him a grand reception on his entering
Rome; and, while there, he executed some very fine pieces for his
Holiness, which so pleased him that he ordered Raphael to give him other
proofs of his artistic skill.  He then painted on the Vatican walls
figures of “Poetry,” “Theology,” “Justice,” and “Philosophy”; also “The
fall of Adam,” “Astronomy,” “Apollo,” and “Philosophy.”  On another wall
he painted “Fortitude,” “Prudence,” “Temperance”; and on another place
“The Emperor Justinian delivering the Roman law,” “Peter’s deliverance
from prison,” “Moses viewing the burning bush,” “Jacob’s dream,” etc.  It
is said he turned the Vatican into a picture gallery.  His pictures are
in many countries and in many cities.  He died at the early age of
thirty-seven, on the same date he was born, and his body was conveyed to
the Pantheon, in Rome, where it now rests.  It is said of him, he was
most affable, kind, and generous to a fault.  He had an open manly
countenance which inspired all who met him.  Florence, fair city, must be
credited with the training and making of this bright gem of the painter’s
art.  Indeed, this city has given to the world some of the finest men of
mind and soul the world has ever known.  We felt proud to walk its
streets and to know we were on ground that should be reverenced for the
purity and greatness of the lives of the men we have referred to.  We
could not readily say good-bye, but time presses, and after a visit to
the old Protestant Cemetery outside the Porta Pinta, which to Britishers
is hallowed ground, as there are here the graves of Elizabeth Barrett
Browning, the poetess to whom we have already referred our readers; also
“Theodore Parker,” and “Arthur Hugh Clough.”  This “city of the dead” was
closed in 1870, and a new cemetery has been opened for Protestants about
a mile outside the city.  To try to describe the beauties of all the
suburbs of Florence would require an abler pen than mine.  So we must
close our account at the “Minerva,” take our last night’s repose and
leave for Venice.

We rose early in order to have a full day of interest and experiences.
We left this lovely place in the forenoon, and as our train was about to
leave, a lady traveller who spoke good English boarded the train and
entered our compartment.  We soon became friendly and familiar.  She
spoke our language, she was of a kindred spirit, though not from England,
she was of English stock and we soon discovered she came from Dunedin,
New Zealand (Miss M. Himmel).  She had visited Balmoral Castle in
Scotland, and the Trossachs, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh.  Also
Dublin in Ireland, The Giants’ Causeway, Bantry Bay and the lovely Lakes
of Killarney.  She spent three months in our great city of London, and
visited every important church, museum, picture gallery, etc.  Also
Norway with its weird and awe-inspiring scenery.  Rome with its telling
old world stories in stone, marble and bronze.  Naples, Milan, Venice,
Florence, Frankfort-on-the-Rhine, Bingen, Berlin, and to Cologne.  Then
to Paris, the gay city of France, to see its Notre Dame, its fine
Boulevards, etc.  Two weeks’ sight seeing in Paris.  Then to London and
next Liverpool.  Then for Dunedin, New Zealand and home.  We found her
well read and of wide experience, a lady both in manners, education, and
by birth.  We could exchange ideas and enjoy each others company as the
train sped on towards Venice.  The railway intersects a rich tract of
land at the base of the Apennines.  On our right the picturesque castle
of Monte Mario, near which, we learned, at one time, the Florentine
Republicans with their troops were defeated and taken prisoners by the
troops of Cosino, in the year 1537.  We soon found out our train was
climbing, by the speed she made, up the great Etruscan Apennines we
mount, now through a tunnel, then across a fine aqueduct.  Again and
again this occurred, while the sides of the vast mountain ranges, we
noticed, were covered with trees—pines, poplars, chestnuts, olive, fig,
mulberry, and others.  The plains of Tuscany, which were now below us,
are reputed to be the richest in Europe.  Wheat is largely cultivated.
Rice is also sown in considerable quantities, and is used by the peasant
for food.  The use of buffaloes as beasts for farm use are common.  No
less than 3,000 are in constant use on the farms and vineyards of
Tuscany.  We saw waggons drawn by six buffaloes frequently.  The grapes
of the neighbourhood, through which we were passing are said to be of an
exceptional quality.  As we passed villages on the slopes of the hills,
we saw the natives in their simplicity of dress and manner, at work and
at home.  At every gate where there was a crossing of the railway there
was a woman, mostly aged, with a horn to warn travellers of the
approaching train.  Reaching a wayside station our train stopped, and I
noticed on the platform an Italian girl with a rude simple table or stall
on which were large bunches of grapes, I presumed for sale, so I alighted
from the train and seized two bunches about one pound each.  As I could
not speak to her in her language, I took some change from my pocket and
offered her the cost, so she took what she wished.  She took twenty
centimes, that is the value of twopence, so cheap are grapes in Italy.
At this station an Italian lady, and evidently two daughters, came into
our compartment with a little fancy dog, which one of the daughters
carefully nursed.  They brought with them one or two large baskets.  In a
little while one of them took from a basket a very fine roast chicken,
from which she began to feed the dog with the nicest pieces off the
breast.  When the animal was satisfied they spread napkins on their
knees, and evidently enjoyed the rest of the fowl.  Some rolls and butter
and grapes for dessert, and also some bottles of wine were produced from
the baskets.  Later, as we needed refreshments, we had to be satisfied
with a few sandwiches, but the ladies seeing we had no napkins, at once
offered theirs, and, indeed, spread them over our knees, with the
greatest delicacy and politeness.  Then they offered us, and pressed us,
though in a language we did not understand, to have grapes and wine with
them.  Their kindness and manner of giving expression to it touched us
very much.  They left us as we arrived at Bologna station, but our friend
Miss Himmel, however, remained with us.  We did not stay long enough to
look over the town, but from its appearance it is a large and prosperous
city, having a population of about 100,000.  The cathedral is one of very
great antiquity and importance.  There are 130 Roman Catholic Churches
and twenty monasteries in this city.  There is a very fine Piazza or
Square, called Victor Immanuel Square, in which is a fine bronze statue
of Pope Gregory XIX.  St. Petronio is the largest church in the town, in
the Gothic style.  Over the principal entrance is a bronze statue of Pope
Julius II., with the keys and a sword in his hand, by Michael Angelo.  We
left Bologna after a short time of waiting, and were soon speeding
through lovely and fertile tracts of country.  The Adriatic on our right,
not near enough to see, but the air seemed impregnated with its ozone.
Our approach to Venice became apparent as we crossed the lagoons with a
roar and a rattle, the numerous arches (miles of them) told us we were
near the city.



CHAPTER X.


Arrival at Venice: The ubiquitous Gondola: The Grand Canal: The curious
water ways: Our Hotel: A snap shot of a Gondola and its freight: St.
Mark’s Cathedral: Its curious history: Its wonderful Tower, and its
interior adornments.

I think it was the most thrilling moment of our tour, as our train left
Mestra, and almost immediately we began crossing the long bridge
(two-and-a-half miles long) which crosses the lagoon, we seem to be
travelling right into the sea, the gentle ripple of the watery waves by
moonlight as they extend on either side of the line, has a pleasing
effect.  The peculiar smell of the seaweed is strong in the air, and
right ahead is Venice, of which some poet has sung:

    “There is a glorious city in the sea,
    The sea is in the broad, the narrow streets
    Ebbing and flowing, and the salt seaweed
    Clings to the marble of her palaces.
    No track of men, no footsteps to and fro
    Lead to her gates! the path lies o’er the sea,
    Invisible: And from the land we went
    As to a floating city—steering in,
    And gliding up her streets as in a dream,
    So smoothly, silently—by many a dome
    Mosque-like, and many a stately portico
    The statues ranged along an azure sky,
    By many a pile, in more than Eastern pride,
    Of old the residence of merchant kings;
    The fronts of some, tho’ time hath shattered them,
    Still glowing with the richest hues of art,
    As though the wealth within them had run o’er.”

Our arrival at Venice was about eight o’clock in the evening, surely no
time so fitting to be introduced to the fair Queen of the Adriatic.  From
the busy, bustling railway station we were concluded by a Fakena, who
brought up our luggage to a gondola lying in the shimmering sea just
outside.  No cabs or ’bus as at other stations, the gondola seemed to be
everywhere.  As we stepped into our new found equipage we were entranced,
imagination fails to picture a sight so bewitching.  Lights in a thousand
directions, gondolas passing and repassing as we sweep through the
principal waterway, then turn sharp round a corner as our gondolier
cries: “Stali priene gai e” as he passes others with most wonderful
precision.  We were thus conveyed to the door of the Grand Hotel
Victoria, where for a short time we were to make our home.  We found the
house all we could desire, warm, clean sweet, and fitted up almost
luxuriantly.  To bed and a rest, and oh! how sweet after toil and travel.
We were awake and out early to see the sights of this unique city.  We
opened our eyes on a lovely picture, soft, dreamy, beautiful.  The water,
dotted over in all directions, with this strange craft.  It seems this is
the only means of locomotion.  No cabs, omnibuses, carts, or even a
barrow.  There is no animal in Venice larger than a dog.  Here the
universal bike cometh not.  The fashionable or unfashionable motor
neither puffs nor smells.  The train must not approach nearer than the
head of the Grand Canal.  A horse would be as great a novelty in Venice,
I should think, as a ship in full sail would be in Wheeler Gate,
Nottingham.  Right from the water’s edge at our hotel door, we could see
gondolas gliding swiftly hither and thither.  In Byron’s “Beppo” we find
the following lines:

    “Did’st ever see a Gondola; for fear you should not
    I’ll describe it exactly,
    ’Tis a long covered boat common here,
    Carved at the prow, built lightly but compactly,
    Rowed by two rowers, each called gondolier;
    It glides along the water looking blackly,
    Just like a coffin clapt in a canal,
    Where none can make out what you say or do.”

        [Picture: Mrs. Wardle and Miss Himmel in gondola, Venice]

Appearing suddenly, through unsuspected gateways and alleys, yonder, we
see vast bridges and stately palaces of marble throw their shadows
athwart the glittering waves.  There seems life and motion everywhere,
and yet there is no noise.  There seems a hush as if suggestive of secret
enterprise, of mysterious shadows, of the departed greatness of this
still great city.  Old Petrarch might well exclaim: “I know not that the
world hath the equal of this place.”

Standing at our hotel door, the gondolier waiting for my wife and our
friend Miss Himmel, I ventured (after they had seated themselves) to take
a snap with my camera to secure some little permanent reminder of the
curiosity of this manner of travel.  The gondola is a most handy and
quick means of getting about.  We were out in the Grand Canal, and the
sight was, to say the least, most interesting.  Here is a party of young
ladies and gentlemen, with their gondola decorated with ribbons in
various colours, and with them, evidently, an opera or chorus party, with
their guitar, and some other peculiar instruments of music, but sweet as
the evening zephyrs, as the sounds floated over the silvery sea.  The
gondolas are all black, why?  I am unable to say; but I don’t think I saw
one either brown or red, or green or white, simply painted black.  The
stern of the boat is usually decorated with a kind of matting or carpet,
at its prow the gondolier stands, he has only a single oar.  A long
bladed oar, so he stands erect.  How he can scull ahead at such a speed
is a mystery, and at once pull back when there is danger.  He seems to
make all his calculations with the greatest precision, he never makes a
mistake.  Mark Twain says: “The gondolier is a picturesque rascal for all
he wears no satin harness, no plumed bonnet, no silken tights.  His
attitude is stately, he is lithe and supple; all his movements are full
of grace.”

A party of ladies go out shopping in a gondola, this may seem strange,
but it is really true.  They flit from street to street, and from shop to
shop, they leave the gondola as a lady here leaves her carriage or her
motor, by the curb, while they have rolls and rolls of silk or muslin or
linen unrolled, and then, perhaps, have just enough cloth to make the pet
dog at home a paletot.  Human nature, we find, is much the same the world
over.  Boys and girls go to school in the gondola, while they jump and
kick, and fight on the way, but only in play, until landed at the school
house gateway.  Nurses are out in the gondola with babies for an airing,
and to pass away the sunny hours on the waters.  Families go to church in
the gondolas, dressed in their best, they are soon sculled to the place
where they are wont to worship.  The mail boat is a gondola, with its
freight of letters newly arrived, and is always interesting.  Funerals
are also carried out in the same way.  The gondola is heavily draped in
black velvet and silver trimmings, and furnished with huge candles
lighted, surmounting the canopy, under which lies one who, in his turn
has trodden the silent highways in the enjoyment of health, but is now on
his last journey, accompanied by the solemn chant of the priestly
requiem.  Business men come or go in the gondola as we do here in cab or
motor.  The doctor visits his patients in and out of the quaint old city,
not on a bicycle, but in a gondola.  We saw a party flitting, the
furniture remover brought his gondolas, and furniture was handed out into
this strange vehicle for such a purpose.  At Venice it is common, indeed,
the only way possible of conveying goods or furniture from house to
house.  So, for almost all purposes, the gondola is useful.  We found it
a most enjoyable, as well as a speedy means of getting about.  To say
there are no streets in Venice would be hardly true, or to say you cannot
get from place to place only by water.  There are only three bridges
cross the Grand Canal which divides the city into pretty nearly equal
halves.  The city is built upon one hundred and seventeen islands,
intersected by one hundred and fifty small canals, and two thousand five
hundred and eighty passages or waterways; but almost all the waterways
have a footpath bordering it, while four hundred bridges unite one island
to another.  It is, however, very bewildering to pace the mazes of this
strange city.  If you get five hundred yards from your starting point,
you may have to cross half a dozen bridges before you can get back again.

                 [Picture: St. Mark’s Cathedral, Venice]

Our first visit was paid to the cathedral or church of St. Mark’s, and
this wonderful building, for it is a wonderful place, has a wonderful
history; it is this: when the Caliph of Alexandria, who was bitterly
opposed to the Christian religion, was building for himself a magnificent
palace, he gave orders that the most precious marbles were to be procured
for its adornment, and to this end the Christian churches were to be
stripped of their richest treasure.  A raid was made on the church of St.
Mark at Alexandria, where the body of the Saint was said to rest in a
state of spiritual repose, and so great was the grief of the two Greek
Priests who officiated in the temple that their cries and lamentations
came to the ears of two Venetian merchants who chanced to be trading in
that port.  When these merchants found out the cause of their trouble
they offered to take away the body of St. Mark and secure for it a sweet
resting place in their own country.  The Priests at first disliked the
idea, but when the temple was profaned and robbed and stripped of all
that made it attractive, they gave consent.  It was a work that was very
risky they thought, for St. Mark had been known to work strange miracles,
and was held in great awe and veneration by the people.  However, they
entered the tomb in which the body lay, cut open the wrapper in which the
sacred remains were enfolded, removed the body and substituted the body
of St. Claudian therein.  How to carry the body away safely was their
next consideration.  They fell upon the following stratagem.  Placing the
body in a large basket covered with herbs and savoury joints of pork,
they bore it along the streets crying: “Khan zir!  Khan zir!”  Pork!
Pork!  A cry hateful to all true Mussulmen.  In this manner they reached
the vessel with their precious burden in safety, where, in order to make
sure of their prize, they concealed the body in the sails until they left
the city.  It is said the Venetians received the sacred remains with wild
demonstrations of joy.  A succession of fetes were given, ceremonies were
held in honour of the Saint, pilgrims flocked to the shrine from all
parts of the world.  A revival in the fortunes of the Venetian Republic
followed, and for a time the cry was often heard “Viva san Marco!”  To
secure a fitting resting place for the body thus secured from Alexandria,
this church of St. Mark was built.  It is a five domed Romanesque
structure, decked with 500 marble columns.  It contains more than 45,000
square feet of mosaics of the tenth century.  In form it is of a Greek
cross.  Marble from the Haram floors of Eastern potentates panel its
walls and cover its principal porticos, and over its grand portals stand
the four horses of gilded bronze which were taken from the arches of Nero
and Trajan at Rome.  They were first taken by Constantine in the fourth
century after Christ to Venice.  Then they were taken from Venice again,
and this time to Paris by Napoleon, but they were restored to Venice in
the year 1815.  And here, as we saw them, they look most attractive.  The
Campanile or Tower of St. Mark’s is not a part of the building, but
stands a little way off.  It rises to the height of 322 feet, and at the
top is one of the largest and finest vanes I ever saw, it is that of an
angel with wings outstretched gilded with gold.  It was from the tower of
St. Mark’s that Galileo made most of his astronomical observations.  We
visited several churches of importance, but they are pretty much alike.
All have their high altars and immense wax candles burning; the picture
of the Madonna in prominent places.  The confessional box for the
natives, also for strangers and travellers such as we were.  We, however,
declined to patronize this particular line.  If we must confess at all,
we certainly take the Psalmist for our ideal, he said: “I said I will
confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity
of my sins.”  Psalm 32, verse 5.  Plenty of Holy Water and evidently
plentifully used, as nearly every one coming in puts his fingers in the
bowl and makes the sign of the cross on his forehead.  Cowled monks paced
the floor with noiseless tread.  Priests and Bishops in their distinctive
dress are not scarce.  I gathered from some source that there are 1,200
priests in Venice, a city of about 100,000 people.  It seems as if
everything had to bend to the church and the priest.  In the church you
have riches without end, there are huge columns carved out of solid
marble and inlaid from top to bottom with hundreds of delicate figures
wrought in costly verde antique; pulpits of the richest material, whose
draperies hang down in many a lovely picture, showing the artist’s work
from the loom.  The Grand Altar, brilliant with agate, jasper and all
manner of precious stones and slabs of what is almost priceless, the
lapis lazuli, which is on all sides lavishly laid as if of no value.  Yet
in the midst of all this display of wealth and of lavish expenditure, all
about and at the doors of the churches a dozen or more of hats or bonnets
are doffed and heads bowed in mute appeal and a hundred hands extended
appealing for help.  Appealing in a language we could not understand, but
with sad, pitiful eyes and hollow cheeks and tattered garments, no words
were needed to translate their wants.  I wondered why all these riches
should lie idle and so many poor actually starving.  Mark Twain, when
visiting Italy, said: “Oh! Sons of classic Italy, is the spirit of
enterprize, of self reliance, of noble endeavour, utterly dead within ye.
Why don’t you rob the church?”



CHAPTER XI.


The Pigeons in St. Mark’s Square: Further description of the interior:
The Palace of the Doges: “The Bridge of Sighs”: The general Archives of
Venice: The Church of Santa Maria dei Frari: London Polytechnic Party:
Some of the slums of Venice: Our farewell.

In the Piazza of St. Mark’s there may be seen, almost any time, some
hundreds of pigeons.  They are very tame, we passed them so closely I
think we could have picked them up in our arms.  There is an old legend
that these pigeons are the safety valve of Venice.  How? it is difficult
to learn, but they are regarded almost with reverence.  Twice a day they
are fed by the public authorities.  A huge bell is rung, and they come
from all quarters of the city.  They know the time of feeding and to show
visitors that this is true, when the bell is not rung, the pigeons are
there.  If anyone hurts or kills one of these pigeons, he is fined
heavily for the first offence, if it is repeated he is imprisoned.  We
went inside this beautiful church of St. Mark’s and at first we could not
realise the magnificence, the beauty, the costliness of its interior.
The columns of porphry and amalachite and verde antique, panels
glittering with gold and gems, pavements dazzling in mosaic work.

After some time we began to realize the splendours by which we were
surrounded.  Mr. Ruskin, I think, gives a fine picture in very simple
words of the beauties and richness of St. Mark’s: “Then opens before us a
vast cave hewn out in the form of a cross, and divided into shadowy
aisles by many pillars.  Round the domes of its roof, the light enters
only through narrow apertures, like large stars; here and there a ray or
two from some far away casement wanders into darkness, and casts a narrow
phosphoric stream upon the waves of marble that heave and fall in a
thousand colours upon the floor.  What else there is of light is from
torches or silver lamps burning ceaselessly in the recesses of the
chapels.  The roof sheathed with gold, and the polished walls, covered
with rich alabaster, gives back at every curve and angle some feeble
gleaming to the flames: and the glories round the heads of the sculptured
saints flash out upon us as we pass them, and sink into gloom.  Under
foot and over head a continual succession of crowded imagery, one picture
passing into another as in a dream; forms beautiful and terrible, mixed
together, dragons and serpents and ravenous beasts of prey, and graceful
birds that in the midst of them, drink from running fountains and feed
from vases of crystal.  The passions and pleasures of human life
symbolized together and the mystery of its redemption; for the mass of
interwoven lines and changeful pictures lead always at last to the Cross
lifted and carved in every place and upon every stone, sometimes with the
serpent of eternity wrapped around it, with doves beneath its arms, and
sweet herbage growing forth from its feet.  But conspicuous most of all
is the great road that crosses the church before the altar, raised in the
bright blazonry against the shadow of the Apse.”

To describe all the interior of this lovely structure would be as easy as
to describe our British Museum in London.  We were enchanted, bewildered,
surprised.  The baptistery, with its sculptured front, and for an altar
piece a massive granite slab, on which, it is alleged, our Lord stood
when he preached to the inhabitants of Tyre.  Then the choir stalls are
rich in carvings of every description, indeed, everywhere about us are
treasures unspeakable.  The outside is hardly less wonderful than the
inside, with its domes, spires, statues, arches and columns, which fairly
bewilder you, as for the first time your eyes fall upon such marvellous
productions of the skilful workmanship of man.  The King’s palace or what
is called the Palace of the Doges is just against the Piazza or Square of
St. Mark’s.  Against one of the columns at the entrance I took a snapshot
of my dear wife and our friend Miss Himmel.  This place is full of things
ancient and interesting.  Ruskin says of its many coloured marbles,
columns, arches, and curiously sculptured windows: “A piece of rich and
fantastic colour, as lovely a dream as ever filled the imagination.”  It
has been twice destroyed by fire, but from the ashes it has arisen more
beautiful than ever; here it stands to-day a monument of a strange and
eventful history of over one thousand years.

    [Picture: Mrs. Wardle and Miss Himmel by The Doges Pillar, Venice]

The power of the Doges it seems, was an absolute power for a time, yet
was of uncertain tenure.  Out of fifty, it is said, five abdicated, nine
were exiled, five were banished and their eyes put out, and five were
massacred, this up to 1172.  Life was of little value in those days, even
amongst kings, nor was it less so amongst the people, as often a man
accused was condemned without trial, punishment was swift and sure and
secret, generally by strangulation in prison, or by drowning, hands tied
and body weighted.  It was no uncommon sight in those days in this land
to see a body swinging from the gallows by the wayside.  No one dared to
enquire about the unhappy man’s fate, or he stood in danger of similar
treatment.  Everywhere there was unsafety and fear.  As Rogers, one of
our poets, puts it:

    “A strange mysterious power was there,
    Moving throughout; subtle, invisible
    And universal as the air they breathed.
    A power that never slumbered, never pardoned,
    All eye, all ear, nowhere, and everywhere;
    Most potent when least thought of—Nothing dropt
    In secret, when the heart was on the lips,
    Nothing in feverish sleep, but instantly
    Observed and judged—A power that if but glanced at
    In casual converse, be it where it might,
    The speaker lowered at once his eyes, his voice
    And pointed upwards as to God in heaven.
    But, let him in the midnight air indulge
    A word, a thought against the laws of Venice,
    And in that hour he vanished from the earth.”

Those were dark days in this city of wealth and power.  We were not
permitted inside the palace, but were allowed to ascend the staircase at
the head of which is the famous “lions’ mouths,” into which, in ancient
times, were placed terrible denunciations, secret letters, etc., which
meant, what I have already referred to, imprisonment, torture or death.
Also, along a long corridor, where we could see the busts of the Venetian
heroes, whose names were enrolled in the “Golden Book.”  Beyond is the
hall of the Grand Council, in which are some of the richest and most
valuable pictures in Venice.  There is Tintoretto’s masterpiece, “The
glory of Paradise,” the largest picture (74 feet long) ever painted on
canvas, the most precious thing in Venice to-day.  From the hall of the
Grand Council, there is further on the hall of the Council of Ten.
Indeed, the rooms are so many, so large and so full of things of
interest, we left the place greatly interested and very tired.

Another marvellous old church we visited was erected in 1565.  It is,
however, much like other churches, full of pictures, bronze statues and
carvings in wood in great variety.  The tomb of Titian is an object of
interest in the Church of Frari, but time does not permit us to dwell
upon it.  The offices of the general archives of Venice are very fine
buildings, they were in the cloisters of the Frari, they are now simply
the resting places of the most ancient records of the old republic.  It
is said there are now over fourteen million volumes of immense value
stored there.  They occupy thirteen large rooms.  The museum is a place
worth a visit to those who are interested in curios.  It belongs to the
city, and in it are many curiosities, chiefly artistical and
archaeological—antique medals, armoury, engravings, books, ivory,
engraved stones.  It is a place of great interest.

We crossed the famous “Bridge of Sighs,” immortalised by Lord Byron, who
says:

    “I stood in Venice, on the bridge of sighs,
    A palace and a prison on each hand.”

It was built in the year 1610.  We could not fail to remember Tom Hood’s
pathetic poem, written, it is believed, after seeing a poor girl, one of
the unfortunates, whose corpse has just been discovered in the cold black
waters under this bridge of sighs—Drowned! drowned!

    “One more unfortunate weary of breath,
    Rashly importunate, gone to her death;
    Take her up tenderly, lift her with care;
    Fashioned so slenderly, young and so fair.
    Touch her not scornfully, think of her mournfully,
    Gently and humanly; not of the stains of her,
    All that remains of her now is pure womanly.
    Make no deep scrutiny into her mutiny,
    Rash and undutiful, past all dishonour,
    Death has left on her only the beautiful.
    Still for all slips of hers, one of Eve’s family,
    Wipe those poor lips of hers, oozing so clammily.
    Loop up her tresses, escaped from the comb,
    Her fair auburn tresses, while wonderment guesses
    Where was her home?  Who was her father?
    Who was her mother?  Had she a sister?
    Had she a brother?  Or was there a dearer one
    Still and a nearer one yet than the others?
    Alas for the rarity of christian charity
    Under the sun, Oh! it was pitiful!
    Near to a city full, home she had none.
    Where the lamps quiver, so far on the river,
    With many a light from window and casement
    From garret to basement, she stood with amazement
    Homeless by night.  The bleak wind of March
    Made her tremble and quiver, but not the dark arch
    Or the black flowing river, mad with life’s history
    Glad to death’s mystery, swift to be hurled
    Anywhere, anywhere, out of the world.
    In she plunged boldly, no matter how coldly
    The rough river ran.
    Over the brink of it.  Picture it, think of it.
    Then if you can, take her up tenderly,
    Lift her with care; fashioned so slenderly,
    So young and so fair.  E’er her limbs frigidly
    Stiffen so rigidly, decently, kindly
    Smooth and compose them, and her eyes close them
    Staring so blindly, dreadfully staring
    Through muddy impurity.  As when the daring
    Last look of despairing, fixed on futurity.
    Perishing gloomily, spurned by contumely,
    Cold inhumanity, burning insanity,
    Into her rest—Cross her hands humbly
    As if praying dumbly, over her breast.
    Owning her weakness, her evil behaviour,
    And leaving with meakness her sins to her Saviour.”

The bridge derives its name from the fact that criminals crossed it from
the judge’s chamber to the prison.  This passage used to be on the
bridge: “The way of the transgressors is hard.”  The bridge is a single
arch of one span of ninety feet.  There are some nice shops on the top.
Our next visit was to the church of San G. Maggiore.  Amongst so many
churches that we visited, I must not omit to name the old church of Santa
Mari dei Frari.  It is about five hundred years old.  It is said the
heart of Titian lies somewhere here.  He died at the age of about one
hundred years.  A plague was raging at the time of his death, which
carried away something like fifty thousand of the inhabitants of Venice.
Yet such was the esteem in which he was held, the state permitted a
public funeral in that season of death and terror.  In this church there
is a fine monument to one of the Kings “Foscari.”  It is in its way a
curiosity.  It is over forty feet high, and is fronted in such a peculiar
fashion, I could only liken it to some heathen temple.  Against it are
four black men, as black as the blackest marble could be, dressed in
white garments of marble.  Their black legs are bare, and through places
that seem torn in breeches and sleeves, the shining black marble shows.
Above all this sits the departed Doge or King.

“The Church of Santa Maria della Salute.”  On our way home we dropped
from our gondola to have a look at this sacred building.  It stands
nearly at the entrance of the Grand Canal.  A hundred statues adorn the
facades.  It is said the building rests upon over one million massive
piles driven deeply into the sea.  It was erected in response to a vow,
so it is said, in the year 1631.  Sixty thousand inhabitants were swept
away by a terrible plague.  The then Doge vowed a vow to build a costly
church in honour of the Virgin, if the plague was stayed, from the day
the vow was made, no more deaths occurred, and every year this event is
commemorated in a festival.  Reaching home tired, we soon went to bed and
rested.  Rising refreshed and it being Sunday morning, we felt a need of
our English Sabbath with its quiet rest and worship.  This, however, was
partly supplied by a party from the Polytechnic in London, who, we found,
were sleeping at our hotel, so we joined them, after we had breakfasted,
in their songs, and so passed a part of the sacred day happily and
pleasantly.  We visited one of the principal manufactories of mosaics and
carvings.  A gentleman, who spoke fairly good English, escorted us
through these extensive works.  The building was, at one time, one of the
Ducal Palaces.  Room after room, full of the finest mosaics, cameos,
china works in every conceivable variety, statuary, and carvings.  Some
of these works of art are almost priceless.  We bought a few small
specimens of the Venetians’ workmanship.  These large palaces of days
long past are crumbling to ruins.  Byron says:

    “In Venice Tasso’s echoes are no more,
       And silent rows the songless gondolier.
    Her palaces are crumbling on the shore,
       And music greets not always now the ear.”

Among the many places of interest in this very interesting old-world
city, that we cannot stay to describe, are the Mint, the Arsenal, the
Public Gardens, Titian’s house, Academy of Fine Arts, etc.  We had just a
look at what we should call the slums, I mean the places where live the
poor, and the poor are very poor.  Someone has compared Venice to a page
of music, with its curious streets, palaces, museums, canals and bridges,
resembling lines, notes, double notes, crotchets, pauses; its long and
straight, its short, narrow and crooked ways, its open spaces scattered
up and down, its mounting and descending of bridges.  The comparison
holds good in as far as the stranger may easily lose his way and not
easily find it again, in this maze of land and water.  In Venice nearly
everything is sold in the open-air in the poorer quarters, and almost
everything that is eaten, is eaten in the open-air.  Stalls, where fish
or mutton is grilled or fried, and passed hot into the al fresco
customer’s hands.  Turning into a sequestered nook resembling one of the
openings in our Narrow Marsh, we saw a number of girls, very good looking
damsels, with guitars and dulcimers, they were giving a serenade to the
poor of that quarter.  They are the pearl threaders.  The pearl threading
is an occupation prevalent in Venice, as embroidery was at one time in
England.  A home of the poor was being removed from one house to another,
the furniture consisted simply of a bedstead and a huge chest or coffer
with a stool or two, and a small wooden table.  These constituted their
whole inventory.  Nothing of marble or mosaic here.  Nothing of gold or
purple, only squalor, poverty and rags.  And now we think we have seen
Venice, our time also is used up or nearly so.  We have surely seen
enough of the profusion of costly ornamentation in the old churches.  We
gazed upon pictures until our eyes were weary of looking at the finest
works of the painters’ art ever produced.  We have surely learned
something in this old-world city of the deeds and doings of bygone ages.
To have seen St. Mark’s and its wonderful Campanile or Tower, and the
Palace of the ancient Kings or Doges, and the Grand Square, and the
Bronze Horses that figure in so many legends (it is said there are
hundreds of people in this curious old city that have never seen a living
horse).  We think we have now seen Venice, and if this had been all we
had seen on this tour, it would be worth all the cost and all the trouble
to have seen this city on the sea.

Our new found friend, Miss Himmel, left us in the early morning, her next
visit was to Munich.  We wished her good-bye and God speed, for in our
very short acquaintance we had learned to look upon her as a dear friend.
And so we leave Venice, calling it as Goethe does: “a grand work of
collective human effort.  A glorious monument, not of a ruler, but a
people.”  So we departed, our gondola was at our hotel door early, we
settled up, he swung out and we were at the station and caught the 9.45
for Milan.



CHAPTER XII.


Arrival in Milan: Our visit to the Cathedral: Its Spires, and Turrets:
Its Stained Glass Windows, Altars, Pictures, and Sculpture: The Church of
St. Ambrogio: The Bera Picture Gallery: The Hospital: Leaving Milan:
Arrival at Como: Lake Como.

As we steamed out of this dear old city, a palace of dreams, we looked
back with a lingering desire to know her better.  Across the lagoons we
were soon out of waterways and amongst the mountains of Italy; scenery
lovely, bewitching, enchanting.  With a certain poet

    “I ask myself is this a dream?
       Will it all vanish into thin air?
    Is there a land of such supreme
       And perfect beauty anywhere?”

For a long time we sped on through mountainous country whose peaks were
bright with sunshine, the hillsides were dotted with pretty villas, which
were surrounded with lovely gardens full of shubbery, or ravines that
looked cool and shady.  Before the day had begun to wane, we caught
glimpses of the great city of Milan, and soon we were being driven to
“Hotel Europe.”  We found it all we could desire, large, clean, well
fitted and most moderate.  Our great desire, of course, was to see the
wonderful cathedral.  We had heard so much of this grand, solemn, vast,
airy, peaceful building, that we could hardly sleep for the thought that
we were so near what our eyes were aching to see.  We rose refreshed,
and, after a good breakfast, we sallied forth to feast our eyes on the
object we had heard of so often, but never seen.  Into the streets we
went in a fever of excitement.  In this direction and in that, around us,
behind us, before us were busy crowds.  At last, a very forest of
graceful spires, shimmering in the light of the lovely morning sun, burst
upon our view.  We needed no one to tell us what it was.  The Cathedral!
my dear wife exclaimed.  We knew it in a moment.  How sharply its angles
and its hundred of spires are cut against the sky.  It is like a vision!
Some one has said: “a poem wrought in marble.”  From whatever standpoint
you view Milan Cathedral, it is noble, it is beautiful.  You can see it
from almost any point of the city, and for many miles outside it is
visible.  We were at its doors early in the morning.  The central one of
the five is finely bordered with a bas-relief of birds and fruits, beasts
and insects, so ingeniously carved that they look as if they were really
living things.  On entering, we felt as though we might hear a strange
voice saying: “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon
thou standst is holy ground.”

                    [Picture: Milan Cathedral, Milan]

And the lines of Milton at once rose to our lips.

    “But let my dear feet never fail
    To walk the studious cloisters’ pale,
    And love the high embowered roof
    With antique pillars, massive proof
    And storied windows richly dight,
    Casting a dim religious light.
    There let the pealing organ blow
    In service high and anthems clear
    As may with sweetness through mine ear
    Dissolve me into ecstacies,
    And bring all heaven before mine eyes.”

And Tennyson says:

    “Oh! Milan! oh! the charming choirs!
    The giant windows blazoned fires,
    The height, the space, the gloom, the glory,
    A mount of marble, a hundred spires.”

We were amazed at the magnitude, the brilliancy, the beauty of all its
interior parts.  In every nook and cranny and corner there is some lovely
statuary, or vase, or painting, and every one is a study in itself, every
face is eloquent with expression, and every attitude is full of grace.
You can trace the master mind and hand of Michael Angelo or Raphael in
the many objects of interest that arrest attention.  “Long rows of fluted
columns, like huge mountains, divide the building into broad aisles.”
The lovely stained glass windows, one of which contains no less than
sixty panes; these throw in the soft morning light their shadows upon the
marble floor of the aisles.  We quietly strolled along, viewing with
admiration the pictures and mosaics so artistically arranged by their
thousands of small pieces of coloured glass, until the whole seems to
have the finish of a picture.  Our guide showed us many things of
interest, which we might have missed but for his aid.  A piece of
sculpture, the colour of a coffee bean, was shown to us, and our guide
stated it was believed to be the work of that famous artist, Phidias.  It
is a figure of a man without a skin, with every vein, artery and muscle,
every fibre and tendon and tissue of the human frame shown in the
minutest detail.  It was not a very attractive object to look upon, yet
it was a work of skill and genius.  The staircases to the roof are of the
whitest of white marble.  There is no stone, no brick, no wood apparently
amongst its building material.  We did not feel like going up the one
hundred and eighty-two steps, to gain the summit of this great block, we
contented ourselves with a general view from the floor.  The statues up
in the niches high, looked like tiny dolls, while they are really the
size of a man.  There are niches for nearly five thousand statues, but
only about three thousand are filled up-to-date.  We were not allowed to
see the treasures and relics, these are most valuable and curious.  We
learn there is treasure inside the coffers to the value of six million
francs.  This is in silver and gold bas-reliefs and images of Bishops,
Cardinals, Madonnas and Saints, Crosses, Croziers and Candlesticks.  For
relics they have a stone from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, a fragment
of the purple robe worn by Our Saviour, two of St. Paul’s fingers, and a
bone of Judas Iscariot, a nail from the real cross on which Our Saviour
died.  Once every year these sacred relics come out of their dusty
archives, and are carried in a grand procession through the city, amid
the acclaims of a deluded people.  On the High Altar is a very fine
tabernacle of gilt bronze adorned with figures of Our Saviour and the
twelve disciples, the gift of one of the ancient Popes.  A magnificent
candelabrum hangs from the roof of the choir stall.  Beneath the choir is
a small subterranean church, in which services are held in the winter
months, as it is much warmer than in the great cathedral above.  This
lower church is from the designs of Pellegrini, and from this church is
an entrance to the Chapel of St. Carlo.  This Saint, it appears, was born
about 1505, and was specially good to the poor, as he sold his life
interest in some property and distributed it amongst the hospitals and
charities of the city.  He tried to introduce some salutary improvements
into the church, for the scandalous manner of living of the priests had
become notorious.  For his desire to reform their habits, an attempt was
made to assassinate him.  Several of the attempts failed, they then hired
a priest named Farina to execute the bloody deed.  He gained access to
this private chapel, and as San Carlo was kneeling before the altar, he
fired at him with an old blunderbuss, just at the moment he was chanting:
“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  The bullet
struck him on the back but did not penetrate his silken stole, but
dropped harmlessly to the ground.  This failure of the attempt to murder
him was considered an interposition of Divine Providence.  He died,
however, at the early age of forty-six.  His death was hastened by the
severe austerity of his life.  His body is deposited in a gorgeous shrine
of silver, the gift of Philip IV., of Spain, and he lies in his full
canonicals and can be seen through panes of rock crystals.  Upon the
sarcophagus is worked in rich tapestry San Carlo’s favourite motto:
“Humility.”  There are several busts of San Carlo, also a fine statue.  A
mitre, also said to be worn by this Italian worthy during the plague, it
is beautifully embroidered with feathers of the choicest and richest
hues.  There are many churches in all the cities of Italy that are full
of interest, some have been so much modernized that, from the outside,
there appears nothing unusual, but once you are inside, surprise follows
surprise.  Saint Ambrogio is one of these.  The moment you get inside you
are interested, statues of costly marble, silver shrines, columns of
marble, vast and numerous.  One of the great sights is the splendid
facing of the altar, which is a marvellous display of the goldsmiths’
art.  A fee of five francs must be paid to see it, the front of the altar
is of rich plates of gold, the back and sides are of silver, all richly
enamelled and set with precious stones, the golden front is in three
divisions, each contains smaller compartments; in the centre one are nine
containing the emblems of the four Evangelists and the twelve Apostles.
The transfiguration is also clearly seen amongst them.  On one side are
to be seen eight angels bearing vials, on the other side are the four
archangels—Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel.  But the back is quite as
full of interest; like the front it consists of three grand compartments,
and these are divided into similar tablets.  On one of the first is seen
a swarm of bees buzzing around the head of a sleeping child.  The legend,
when explained, tells us that when St. Ambrose was born in the year 340
A.D., a swarm of bees were thus seen around the head of the infant while
in his cradle while lying in the palace of his father, and as no harm
followed, it was said to be an omen of his future eloquence and power.
He was chosen Bishop of Milan in the year 375 A.D.  Other emblems, indeed
they are too numerous to mention.  On the right side of the nave is a
large serpent of brass.  Tradition states it is the serpent of brass
which was set up in the wilderness for the serpent-bitten Israelites to
look upon and live.  Tradition is not always truth.  In the centre of the
choir is a curious marble throne, called the chair of St. Ambrose, its
appearance is very ancient, it is decorated with figures of lions and
strange carvings.  We left this interesting sanctum as we had left other
churches—impressed, instructed and grieved.  The Brera Picture Gallery or
Museum is also well worth a visit.  It originally belonged to the
Umiliate Order of Jesuits.  It is of immense size, and its frescoes are
simply magnificent.  Amongst them I may name “The Virgin and Child, with
St. John and the Lamb”; three girls playing a game then called “hot
cockles”; “A youth riding on a white horse”; “Child seated amongst vines
and grapes”; “The Virgin and St. Joseph proceeding to their marriage at
the Temple”; two minstrels, such as usually accompany wedding parties;
“The martyrdom of St. Sebastian;” “The Israelites preparing to leave
Egypt”; “The Prophet Habakkuk awakened by the Angel”; “Three cupids with
musical instruments.”  I believe there are thirteen rooms all full of the
finest works of arts to be found anywhere out of Rome.  The botanical
gardens are not, to my mind, equal even to our own in this country.  The
Grand Hospital of Milan is well worth looking at from the outside, built
in the year 1456.  The first stone was laid by Antonia Filarte.  As you
enter the great gateway, a very fine quadrangle appears in view, and
there is a double colonnade of arches, twenty-one on one side and
nineteen on the other.  I was told that over thirty thousand patients
passed through this hospital every year.  It can accommodate at once
about five thousand people.  Monuments abound outside that have been
raised to the memory of the principal benefactors.  The theatres of Milan
are really palaces of beauty; indeed, I learn that Milan is known by the
magnificence of its theatres.  The principal one is La Scala.  It is said
to be the largest and the best arranged of any in Italy, It is capable of
holding three thousand six hundred spectators easily.  There are
forty-one boxes in each row.  We did not go inside as our time was fully
taken up with other scenes and places.  There is a Church of England, or
rather services rendered by a clergyman of the Church of England.  The
Protestants in Milan are very few.  There are several Free Church
services conducted in the city, but the buildings are not of any special
character.  From observation I should say four-fifths of the inhabitants
are Roman Catholics.  The city has now a population of over four hundred
thousand.  We visited a good many parts of this beautiful busy city.  It
has some very fine squares, some noble monuments, some pretty gardens;
also shops of all kinds, and goods may be had at reasonable prices.  We
secured some small mementoes that were not very difficult to pack and
carry away.  After a few days stay we agreed to move on.  So packing once
again, and settling up our accounts, and tipping the waiters (it is
unpardonable to leave without doing this), our luggage was once more on
the ’bus, and we were lumbering along to the railway station, now to make
our way to Como, and so on to Lucerne through the great St. Gothard
tunnel.  We had only a little while to wait, and our train came in with a
roar and a hiss.  A few minutes and we have left behind us one of the
sights that will linger long with us.  “The Cathedral of Milan,” for some
distance we could see it behind us, and in front of us snow-clad
mountains some twenty miles away, our interest deepened as we proceeded,
for the beauties nature’s bounteous hand has spread all over Italy is one
continual surprise and joy.  In less than an hour our train steamed into
the station at Como.  This is not a large place, but looks very pretty as
it nestles in quite an amphitheatre of hills.  Como was the home of
Pliny, and it is said to have been a very fashionable resort at the time
of the Cæsars.  In the middle ages it became an independent republic, and
for a long time held its own against the large city of Milan.  It is now
a very prosperous little town, and it is said rivals Lyons in some
respects for its beautiful production of silks.  It is surrounded by
Olive yards and Orange groves, and near by is the beautiful lake of Como.
This is one of the most beautiful of all lakes of lovely Italy we have
seen, and we had seen several from our carriage windows, and it was only
from this point we could gaze upon this scene of loveliness.  Time did
not permit us to leave the train to explore and to enjoy.  We could see
its blue waters shimmering under a warm glow of sunshine.  The
surroundings are very interesting and beautiful, the eye does not grow
weary in tracing the outline of the hills which surround it.  I do not
wonder at the Psalmist saying: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help.”  Psalm 121.  For surely earth cannot
present, nor unassisted reason fancy or conceive an object more
profoundly significant of Divine Majesty than these hills clothed in
their vestures at the top, by everlasting snow.  In their presence “There
is silence deep as death, and the boldest hold their breath.”  The slopes
of the hills are covered with a very lovely verdure of green, intersected
here and there by glens.  On one side there are crags and precipices,
under whose shelter the vine hangs in bright green festoons.  The Olive
tree also is in good evidence, as shown by its gnarled and knotted stem;
Orchards and fine Chestnut trees in rich profusion.  Passing along we see
the white foam of a waterfall as it shines amongst the verdure or leaps
over the rocky crags and comes dashing and splashing down the hillside.
Further on we see the little white houses dotting the hillsides, as if
they grew out of the same.  Then a single arch of a bridge that spans a
small ravine and unites one little cluster of houses with another, giving
interest to the whole surroundings.  In another hour and a half we were
steaming into beautiful Lugano.



CHAPTER XIII.


Lugano: The river Tessin and its bridge of ten arches: Bellinzono:
Entrance to the great St. Gothard Tunnel: Andermatt Station: St.
Bernard’s Hospice: The Devil’s Bridge: The Wood Cutter at Work: William
Tell’s Chapel: His story: Entrance to Lucerne: Our Hotel: Our visit to
the mountain top of Sonnenberg, etc.

Our stay at Lugano was only for a few minutes, it looks very much like
the town of Buxton, in Derbyshire, “Peakland.”  The houses are built of
stone, the streets are white and clean looking.  It has a population of
about 7,000, and has a little trade in silks, leather, hats, and some
shoes.  It is an important railway depot, as it stands very near the
frontier, dividing Italy and Switzerland.  The Roman Catholics have a
very fine church, and, as an accessory, a very extensive nunnery.  The
river Tessin runs near and the town is protected by a very large dam,
nearly a mile long.  We crossed this river as we left for Lucerne, over a
fine granite bridge of ten arches and something like seven hundred feet
long.  As we left behind us this pretty little town, we were soon
recompensed by ever changing scenery that no pen can fully describe.

                      [Picture: St. Gothard Tunnel]

About an hour brought us to another stopping place, Bellinzono.  From
here we run side by side with the river Ticino, a very fine river, and
here began to ascend rapidly towards the Alps and the great tunnel of St.
Gothard, which is the largest in the world, and by a long way the most
costly.  On our way we had a good view of Monte San Salvatore, some three
thousand feet high, and beautifully covered with green vegetation right
to the summit, and its sides are dotted over with little white
homesteads, they look very pretty in the distance.  We soon reached the
entrance to the great tunnel, which is a marvel of engineering skill.  It
is built in corkscrew fashion.  As we proceeded into the darkness, in
about ten minutes or less we came into daylight for a few seconds and
found we were about two hundred feet above the little church we had
passed a few minutes before.  Again we plunged into darkness, again we
emerge into daylight, only to find the church is now about six hundred
feet below us, and this is repeated, we see the church five times and
ultimately we reach the top, about seven thousand feet above sea level.
I think the station is called Andermatt.  Here we stopped for a little
while, we bought some postcards with views of the tunnel and of some of
the scenery about here.  The cold was intense, the air very rarified.
Not far from here is a Hospice where the dogs, the great St. Bernard dogs
are kept for the purpose of protecting the mountain pass.  Before the
railway was made there was a road that was passable with guides and
mules, though, not unfrequently, storms would overtake the party and they
would get lost in the snow, or some venturesome individual would go very
near the edge of the precipice, and, as the snow hung over considerably,
with his weight it would break loose and cause an avalanche of snow to
fall, which would take the whole party into the gulf below, sometimes two
or three thousand feet.  At other times, overtaken by terrible
snowstorms, the party and guide would lose their way, and so get buried
in the drifts.  On such nights the monks of the hospice would go out with
the dogs and listen for cries of help.  It is stated that scores have
been saved from being frozen to death by the great St. Bernard dogs.
After leaving Andermatt, we again pierced the mountain in this great
tunnel, now we began to descend.  Coming into daylight the sight that met
our view was simply enchanting, we were right on the top of the Alps and
could see the great peaks and the lesser mountains covered with eternal
snow.  Down we descended to Wassen, here we crossed a foaming cataract
(by an iron bridge) that had cut for itself a deep gorge in the side of
the mountain.  A little further we crossed what has come to be called
“The Devil’s Bridge.”  This is in the midst of scenery of the wildest
nature imagination can conceive.  Why it is called by such a name I don’t
know, only the awful desolation of the place, the awe inspiring grandeur
of the cliffs, the terrible roar of the river one hundred feet below, and
the shrieking of the wild wind, aptly called by the natives, “Hutshelm,”
or “hat rogue.”  Certainly it is an eerie, creepy sensation that steals
over you as you pass.  On we glide, now through narrow rocky defiles,
then crossing chasms of great depths, as we did so we leaned out of the
windows and tried to guess the depth of the yawning gulf beneath us.  It
made us dizzy to look down.  Proceeding, we came into the pine zone, and
the black forests of these lovely pine trees seemed to be stuck on their
mountain shelves as if staring at us and saying: “Why do you come
uninvited into this quiet sanctuary of nature, too deep, too awful to be
trodden by man?”  Passing along we discovered the woodcutters were
clearing out the pine trees on their mountain heights.  To fell the trees
the men seemed to be chained or roped on the rocky precipices, and the
trees, when cut down, fall upon wires ingeniously hung from trees or
large posts fastened in the mountain side and reaching for a distance of
two or three miles.  We saw the trunks of trees sliding along and down
these wires as fast as our train was running.  We were not long before we
came to the Lake of Uri, which may be said to be out of the mountain
ranges, and just by there we saw the Chapel, erected at a very early
date, and re-built in 1880, to the memory of Switzerland’s great hero,
William Tell.

                    [Picture: William Tell’s Monument]

He was famous as a crossbowman, could shoot an arrow with great
precision.  The Canton in which he was born and lived was partly, if not
entirely, under Austrian rule of that time, and so imperious was Gesler,
the Governor, that he demanded of his people that when his hat was hung
up in the market place of the town, every one passing should doff his hat
and bow to it.  William Tell refused to be so humiliated, and, as the
result of his refusal, he was arrested, and it was demanded of him to
shoot through an apple placed on the head of his only child, a boy of
ten, at a distance of fifty yards.  This, Tell accomplished without
injury to his son; he, however, declared in his own mind the next arrow
should go into the heart of Gesler, the tyrant.  Tell, however, was not
liberated, but was being taken a prisoner to the castle across this lake.
While crossing, a very sudden squall arose, threatening to upset the boat
which had Gesler and his prisoner Tell on board.  So severe was the storm
that Tell was liberated from his chains and asked to take an oar, it was
known that he was a clever oarsman.  Tell saw his opportunity, he ran the
boat on the rocks, then leaping out he pushed the boat off into the lake
again.  Gesler, however, managed to land, but he fell to the arrow of
Tell who had watched and waited for him for some time.  To be relieved of
so imperious a Governor was to constitute Tell an hero, hence the keeping
his memory green by building a chapel; he is also commemorated in song as
well as in story.  Tell sings:

    “Ye crags and peaks, I’m with you once again!
    I hold to you the hands you first beheld,
    To show they still are free.  Methinks I hear
    A spirit in your echoes answer me,
    And bid your tenant welcome to his home
    Again!  Oh! sacred forms, how proud you look!
    How high you lift your heads unto the sky;
    How huge you are! how mighty and how free,
    Ye are the things that tower, that shine, whose smile
    Makes glad—whose frown is terrible—whose forms
    Robed or unrobed, do all the impress wear
    Of awe divine.  Ye guards of liberty,
    I’m with you once again!  I call to you
    With all my voice, I hold my hands to you
    To show they still are free, I rush to you
    As though I could embrace you!  Scaling yon height
    I saw an eagle near its brow
    O’er the abyss: his proud expanded wings
    Lay calm and motionless upon the air,
    As if he floated there without their aid,
    By the sole act of his unlorded will,
    I bent my bow, yet kept he rounding still
    His airy circle, as if in great delight.
    The death that threatened him, he knew it not,
    I could not shoot!—’Twas liberty,
    I turned my bow aside and let him soar away.

Passing along we were on the side of the lovely lake of Lucerne, and as
it was after seven o’clock as we rounded the hillside, and passed the
rocky precipices of the hills we could see the twinkling lights of the
town some two miles away.  We steamed into a beautiful station, I think
Lucerne station, for beauty, for comfort, and arrangement, is the best we
have seen on our lengthy tour.  We alighted from the carriage on to a
lovely platform.  Porters in attendance, our luggage conveyed most
expeditiously to the ’bus of the Hotel de L’Europe, and soon we were
bowling along to that very delightful hotel.  We found the place all that
could be desired by the most scrupulous.  We had an excellent bedroom,
clean, dry and comfortable.  Our luggage disposed of, a wash and brush,
and away we go to enjoy a splendid table-de-hote.  We did justice, I am
sure, to the good things so abundantly provided, for there was no stint,
no lack of variety, and served with great delicacy and tact.  We were not
long after we had had dessert before we began to feel we needed Nature’s
sweet restorer, balmy sleep, and to bed we went.  Seeing the nets for the
mosquitoes were hanging on, we examined the room as far as we could and
we came to the conclusion the room was void of the troublesome creatures.
Sleep fell upon us sound and refreshing, when we awoke we found we had
been the victims of the evil creatures, for we were both bitten in one or
more places.  Still, as the Yorkshire man said, “It mud a bin war.”  We
arose refreshed, and were anxious to see the Rigi mountain, and the still
more popular Pilatus.  First we drew the blinds, stepped out on to the
balcony, we found a lovely garden under our window.  It was beautifully
laid out with flower beds and gravel walks.  We stood and gazed, seeming
to doubt if it was real, that we were really on earth.  Could it be the
Garden of Eden?  It is like an exquisite dream.  The scene seems to
thrill like the sweetest chords of music.  The hotel is like a palace,
such lovely roses, charming walks, sculpture and vases on all sides,
broad flights of stone steps leading in and out of the grounds to the
hotel, and around the grounds massive trees with all manner of names.
The Lake of Lucerne, just peeping through the trees, and the mountain
ranges beyond, peak above peak covered with their snow white mantle made
the scene entrancing.  After we had tired our eyes with looking on the
lovely landscape we went to enjoy our dejeuner of fish, fowl, bacon, eggs
and coffee.  We left our hotel for the first visit into the lovely town
of Lucerne.  It is not a large town but well built and kept very clean.
The accommodation for getting about is good, by tram or ’bus or cab, and
not too expensive.  We soon found ourselves in the centre of an industry
of silk and cotton works, making all kinds of fancy articles of ladies’
wear and of the very finest materials.  Young girls sitting in the shop
fronts, and, indeed, in the doorway, plying their needles and crocheting
hooks.  A large number are employed in this branch of industry.  Also the
shops for toys were strangely attractive, chiefly made of wood by the
mountaineers, while waiting for parties.  The Swiss guide lives in the
rocky regions, has a cow or two, and two or three goats, and is prepared
to be used as a guide, or he fills in his time with making boxes of all
sizes and shapes, pipes, animals of various kinds, indeed, almost
anything you can imagine he can carve out of wood, with his knife.  Time
is not very valuable, so he works away until he has completed his work,
which finds its way into the shops and so, finally, gets to England,
France or Germany, as a toy for boys’ or girls’ amusement.  We soon found
our way to the front of the Lake of Lucerne.  It is a charming lake, the
colour is simply indescribable, it is neither blue nor green, but a
lovely tint made up of both.  As we looked across this beautiful water we
could see orchards and meadows sloping right down to the water’s brink.
Straight in front stood the mighty mountain called the Rigi.  As we stood
awe struck with delight to watch the vapours chased away by the coming
sun and the rugged face of the mountain laid bare in all its grandeur and
power, the sun shed its glow over rock and tree, and the stony monarch
seemed to salute you with a smile.  On the other side, that is at our
right hand, old Pilatus, rugged and bare, seemed to look down upon the
lake with a frown, and between the two giant mountains we could see the
wondrous Alps, peak upon peak in a wonderful variety, clad in their
mantle of eternal snow.  And now above us and around us is the sunshine
of, to us, unusual brilliancy and a sky of faultless blue, not a single
cloud to be seen anywhere.  The picture is one that will never fade from
our memories.  It will enter into our life to remain a constant joy to
think of.

It was our intention to go up by rail to the top of the Rigi or Pilatus
or both, but other sights were so attractive that we kept putting off
that pleasure, as there seemed to be doubts if, on the very summit, there
might not be clouds to obscure the view, as the height of the Rigi is six
thousand feet, the height of old Pilatus seven thousand feet, and there
is an old saying put in rhyme that

    “If Pilatus wears his cap, serene will be the day;
    If his collar he puts on, you may venture on the way.
    But if his sword he wields, at home you’d better stay.”

We ventured a visit up the Sonnenbergh.  This is done by train, or it
would be more correct to say by carriage, for the train consists of one
carriage only.  The engines seem to have their boilers tilted up on ends.
The railway has a central rail which is cogged, and into this endless cog
fits a wheel underneath the engine.  This is really the driving wheel by
which it slowly moves up the steep gradient.  We passed farms, orchards
and plantations, up and up.  It is a curious sensation to find yourself
steadily moving up without any effort of your own, but still up we went
until we landed on a lovely plateau, with a charming hotel.  The view
from this mountain height was beyond description.  We left the train and
wandered into the woods and viewed our surroundings.  I had a camera with
me so must get one or two pictures.  We were ready to return by the next
train after being up almost in the clouds for two hours.  Our curious old
steamer soon put us in safety again by the side of the lake, and from
here we made our way to our hotel for some refreshments and for a rest.
Again leaving our good “hostel” we visited the Glacier Gardens, these are
now enclosed and protected, and a small fee is charged to see the natural
wonders of this lovely and picturesque scenery.  At the very entrance you
see what is called “The Lion Monument.”  It is cut out of the solid rock.

                        [Picture: Lion of Lucerne]



CHAPTER XIV.


The glacier gardens: The Lion of Lucerne: The glacier mill holes: The
museum: The Bridge over the Reuss: The Cathedral: Pilatus Mountain:
Leaving Lucerne: Zurich: Lake of Zurich: Zwingli, the reformer.

As we entered the Glacier Gardens our eyes were at once drawn to this
massive and very interesting and pathetic piece of sculpture, “The Lion
of Lucerne.”  The smooth face of this quarry is about fifty feet high,
and it looks to be about as wide, it is overshadowed by some very nice
trees and climbing plants.  It is protected by a wooden rail, so you
could not, if you so wished, carve your name on the rocky surface.  In
the very centre of this vast square is a wounded and dying lion.  The
size in stone (for it is really a part of the rock itself) is about
twenty-eight feet in length.  It was hewn by the order and from a model
by the renowned Danish sculptor, Morwalsden, and was finished in the year
1821.  This famous masterpiece is dedicated to the memory of the Swiss
Guards of Louis XVI., who fell a prey to the fury of the populace, as
they retreated unarmed into the French Tuileries.  The sculptured figure
is in a lying position, and a broken arrow or spear is in its side.  I
don’t remember ever being so impressed with an object in stone as I was
by this.  It has an expression of the deepest grief, and such as must
have moved many to tears.  Above the figure you may read (as it is carved
into the rock) the following words: “To the fidelity and bravery of the
Swiss.”  Beneath it the names of the twenty-six officers who fell on that
terrible day.  Passing into the gardens we were soon beside one of the
glacier pots or holes.  These glacier pots or mill holes were discovered
in the year 1872, and it is asserted by geologists that they were formed
in far past ages.  One of them, Albert Heim, says: “I hereby testify both
as a geologist and an eye witness of the first unexpected discovery, as
also of the subsequent careful excavations of this wonderful phenomenon,
that the hand of man had nothing to do with the formation of these
glacier mills and polished surface of the glacier, nor with the erratic
boulders that lie about, or in those mill holes, but that we have here to
deal with a marvellous operation of free organic nature, a relic of a
time when these countries were not inhabited by man.”  In those days
almost the whole of Switzerland and, indeed, the greatest part of the
Northern Hemisphere was buried under immense masses of ice, as can now be
proved with the greatest certainty, with here and there an oasis
inhabited by animals long ago extinct.  Our attention was drawn to a
large hole in the solid rock almost round, and the sides quite smooth and
about eight or ten feet deep, and at the bottom a large boulder or stone,
also smooth.  This hole is made by the whirling of the stone round and
round by the force of melting ice, causing the waters to flow in strong
descending streams.  It is thus these glacier mills are formed.  In these
gardens are quite a number of these interesting specimens of the work of
Nature in the far past ages.  The largest of all the mill stones we saw,
was one which weighs over five tons.  This having in some remote age,
been whirled round and round like a toy.  There are also some large
boulders carried by the glaciers from the high Alps and left here.  We
also found some very fine specimens of fossils and ferns that had been
petrified into stone.  We left this most interesting part of the gardens
and mounted up a large number of steps to the imitation of a lovely
little Swiss Chalet, surrounded by tall trees which seem to be growing
out of the side of the rocky eminence on which the Chalet is perched.  It
is called “An Alpine Cottage.”  The president of the Alpine Club
describes it thus: “This cottage, cleverly and accurately imitated, gives
us a true picture of these highland places of refuge.  Not many men, and
still fewer women, are enabled to see such a building in its airy
district.  Here it is, within reach of every one in perfect imitation of
the real thing, inside and out.  Even the inscription, here dedicated to
the section Pilatus is not wanting.  Let us walk in!  The hut contains
that homely furniture, those poor and scanty utensils, the view of which,
however, is so welcome to him who, in the evening twilight, tired and
weary, enters the hospitable and friendly space, and makes use of them to
take his frugal meal.  Let us go to the window!  O wonder! what a sight!
We are, as if by magic, transported to God’s beautiful world of the Alps.
We stand far above the glacier which descends majestically from the land
of eternal snow.  It requires a long time and a close observation to
realize that this is an illusion.  The foreground is a plastic formation
as in a panorama.  All the characteristics of the world of glaciers are
wonderfully rendered with scientific accuracy.”  I have here given in his
own words the description of this most wonderful imitation of a Swiss
Cottage and its surroundings.  The museum is one that would give
entertainment and information to an enquirer after knowledge for some
time, particularly in geology and the condition of our race in these
regions in the far back past.  Instruments of defence made of stone or
flint or of bone.  These have all been discovered in the immediate
neighbourhood and preserved.  A pick axe made of flint, chisels of flint
stone, sling-stones, lance-like instruments, earthenware vessels,
carbonized wheat, half of an apple petrified, hand hatchet of bone, knife
of bone, dagger of bone, dagger of horn, shovel of stag’s horn, tumbler
of horn, shuttle made of bear’s teeth, sewing needle, very crude, made of
bird’s bone.  In another part of the museum there are groups of the
animals of the Alps.  The otter, the eagle, the horned owl, the bearded
vulture, a group of Alpine hares, a wild boar, a group of bears, a pole
cat, the common ibex, foxes, Alpine jackdaw, wild cats, sea swallow, the
chamois, the St. Bernard dog, and many other interesting relics of past
ages, preserved for the pleasure and benefit of the present generation.
A fine collection of the mountain ferns are to be seen in their richness
and beauty, with notices of the places in the Alps where they may be
found.  There is the ice grotto, which we did not descend to see, but we
were greatly pleased with our visit to this very interesting place.
Before leaving the gardens I took a snap-shot of my dear little wife on
the bridge, crossing from the glacier gardens to the Alpine Chalet.  We
visited several other places of interest in the town, one, particularly,
attracted our attention.  It is a very old bridge over the river Reuss.
It has stood against “the iron tooth of time which devours men and their
works together,” for about four hundred years.  Anything more quaint I
think I never saw.  It is covered in and is in length about one hundred
yards.  In the triangular spaces formed by the beams that go to support
the roof, pictures have been painted, I should think for the amusement of
passers over, as they are not, as a whole, very edifying.  I should say,
perhaps, two hundred paintings are to be found on the bridge.  There are
some that may claim some merit; these are representations of the various
battles and victories by the Swiss armies.  About the centre of the
bridge is a curiosity shop or bazaar, containing toys, bronzes, etc.
Hastening across, for time began to be valuable, as we had seen so little
of this wonderful city, and our time for leaving grew near, we needed to
use the time left us wisely and well.  The old cathedral must be visited.
We had, however, seen so many, it hardly seemed likely this one would be
at all interesting, but we determined to pay it a visit; and, although
there is much about it that is similar to others we had seen, still there
is a difference.  On the outside and near the entrance is a large metal
plaque in bronze, with a large cross on which is an image of the
suffering Saviour, and a good number of names of persons deceased, who
had left the instructions for the erection of the tablet.  Inside, the
usual array of bowls of holy water, confessional boxes, candles burning
on the altar.  There is also some very fine sculpture in marble, also
some very fine pictures by the old masters.  Of course it is Roman
Catholic, consequently the priest is in evidence everywhere.  We left the
church with feelings that a great deal of the religion of the Roman
Catholics, as we have seen it on the continent, is a soulless religion.
It has a framework but no soul.  We really hoped, before leaving Lucerne,
to have gone up the Pilatus mountain, as from there we understand, can be
had a splendid view of the Bernese hills, the highest of which is the
Tomlishorn, about seven thousand feet.  It used to be most difficult to
climb the Pilatus, but now it is easy and safe.  It used to be associated
with legends of hobgoblins, fairies, dragons, etc.  It is said to get its
name from Pontius Pilate, who crucified the Christ, after which he was so
smitten with remorse that he fled the Judean country and found his way to
Switzerland, finding here in this awe inspiring mountain, a fit place to
close his wretched career, and in a tiny lake near on the summit, he
ended his miserable life.  There is still a superstition abroad that his
spirit, in its restlessness, visits this mountain periodically, and may
be seen washing its hands as we read “And when Pilate saw that he could
prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and
washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood
of this just person; see ye to it.”  Matthew, chapter 27, verse 24.  It
may, however, be only imaginary, but superstition dies hard in such
lonely localities.  As we could not visit its summit this time, we must
content ourselves with viewing it in the distance.  And now our time in
this lovely city closes.  Our stay has been of the pleasantest; the
manager of our hotel (The Hotel de L’Europe) has been to us the very
essence of kindness; even the mosquitoes were fairly generous, only on
one or two occasions have they troubled us.  So we packed up, paid our
bills and left, very reluctantly.  It was on a very lovely morning we
bade adieu to the most pleasant and enjoyable scenery of the lakes and
mountains around the pretty town of Lucerne.  Having boarded the train
our first impulse was to get snugly into a corner and live over again the
past few days, but the scenery around us was of such a character, we
could not rest in forgetfulness of things passing.  We could see in the
distance the great Jura mountains.  Then near to us homely, lovely
scenery; there a little stone farm and farmyard, a little stream flowing
by, the farmer’s maid on an iron bridge spanning the stream, giving the
whole surroundings a picture of rusticity.  A little further and we see
an old mill, with its massive wheel in motion and the miller’s man in
dusty garments, standing with his arms akimbo, giving orders for the
unloading of a heavily laden mule wagon; around us is forest and field in
pleasing variety.  We are not very long before we near the lake of
Zurich, which is very extensive, and like all the Swiss lakes, it is very
beautiful.  Then to Zurich.  I was greatly surprised at the importance
and the accommodation at and about the railway station.  I think it was
one of the best we had seen, and for attractiveness I should say the
finest.  The town itself is of importance, having a population of over
one hundred and twenty thousand people.  From the railway the city shows
itself well, as a part of it is built on the side of a rocky eminence,
with the River Limmet running at the foot.  Indeed, this river divides
the town, the upper and lower Zurich.  There are six bridges (and they
know how to make useful and beautiful bridges on the continent).  Three
are used for carriages, wagons, etc., and the other three only for foot
passengers.  The streets in Zurich are very narrow, crooked and dirty.
On the hill stands conspicuously, a grand Cathedral, the Grosse Minster;
of course, it is a Roman Cathedral, but it is, I learn, very rich in
sculpture and pictures, although, I fear, very poor in that which should
make any church rich—the Divine in-dwelling.  There is a very fine Post
Office, and all the modern appliances and conveniences for the
acceleration of information.  It is a very ancient town, indeed, it was,
as history tells us, at one time a Roman city.  Zwingli, the great Swiss
reformer, played an important part in the history of Zurich.  It was then
the centre of the reformation in Switzerland, and Zwingli was leader.  He
was a contemporary with Martin Luther.  He had studied at Basle and Bern,
and was made parish priest in 1506.  He was a great student of Holy
Scripture; it is said he copied the epistles of St. Paul in Greek and
committed them to memory wholly.  He accompanied the Pope’s army against
France as a Chaplain, and was granted a pension by the Pope for his
sympathetic attention to the wounded and the dying.  His knowledge of the
Bible led him to examine closely into the teaching of the Romish Church
and he, led doubtless by the good Spirit of God, discovered many things
his conscience could not approve amongst them—the sale of indulgences.
He wrote a work of great importance condemning the feasts of the Church,
also against the worship of images, the mass, the confessional, and other
abuses he conceived existed.  In 1524 he married a lady of standing and
importance, by this act he broke away from the Romish Church and incurred
the Pope’s displeasure.  Soon after this he joined the German Reformers;
at that time Martin Luther was leader.  Zwingli’s Bible was to him
everything, he found in it complete and unbroken rest to his soul.  To
him it was the one only ground of appeal, also the test of faith and
practice.  On minor points such as baptism and sacraments, Luther and he
did not see eye to eye; but on the main points of Christian theology and
general church discipline they were in agreement.  He fought and fell in
a war between Zurich Canton and the Roman Catholic Cantons of
Switzerland, in the year 1531.  His great battle cry was “my countrymen,
trust in God.”  Our stay at Zurich was only short, we soon found
ourselves en route for Basle.



CHAPTER XV.


From Zurich to Basle: Arrival in Basle: Our Hotel: Our visit to the Rhine
Bridge: “The Watch on the Rhine”: The Market: The Cathedral and its
sculpture, etc.: Erasmus: The Museum: The Zoological gardens: Leaving
Basle: Arrival at Belfort: Belfort besieged.

As we journeyed from Zurich, we felt we were leaving behind us sights we
might never see again.  A certain poet’s words came to my memory:

    “Beautiful world,
    Though bigots condemn thee:
    My tongue finds no words
    For the graces that gem thee!
    Beaming with sunlight,
    Beautiful ever,
    Streaming with gay delight,
    Full as a river.
    Bright world!  Brave world!
    Let cavaliers blame thee,
    I bless thee and bend
    To the God that did frame thee.”

Between Zurich and Basle we contrived to get a little relief from the
excitement of new scenes.  We had really been surfeited almost with the
richness and beauty of our surroundings for so long a time that it was a
relief to allow the train to speed on, and to get into a corner and
contemplate and rest.  We arrived at Basle in the afternoon, and found it
a great railway centre, and indeed, a very important town, both for
commercial men and for pleasure seekers.  It is a great centre for
cyclists, as there are at least forty castles to be seen within a radius
of fifty miles.  You can be in Germany in about twenty minutes.  From the
north, east and west, a number of the most important lines of central
Europe are focussed here, and swelling to a mighty mass, branch off again
in every direction to the interior of Switzerland.  Thus inner
Switzerland is laid open to the world’s traffic and pleasure.  The
surroundings of the city are very pretty, and we saw it when it was most
charming, i.e., when the autumn tints are seen.  Here we see field and
forest around this grand old city in all the glory of the season’s
attractions.  We were advised by the manager of our hotel in Lucerne, to
go to the Hotel Victoria in Basle, so we secured the usual fakeno to
carry our luggage across, for it is only about two hundred yards from the
station.  We were, however, disappointed in the hotel and its management.
They were neither obliging nor scrupulously true or honest, the very
worst treatment we met with in all our travels.

                    [Picture: The Rhine Bridge, Basle]

However, our stay was short, so we determined to make the best of it, the
bedroom was good; and, although close by the station, we slept well.  We
decided to see the city the day following; and going out, we soon found
it to be a great centre of commerce.  It has a population of about one
hundred and thirty thousand inhabitants.  Great silk factories rear their
heads in the centre of this great city.  There are also manufacturies of
chemicals, tobacco, machinery, etc.; also some very large breweries.  It
is said to be the wealthiest town in Europe, measured by its population.
It has plenty of open-air spaces, as parks, gardens and monuments; cool
avenues and well trimmed gardens are plentiful in the suburbs.  We went
to see the wonderful Rhine which flows through Basle, and we stood on
that wonderfully constructed bridge of which the poet writes:

    “A voice resounds like thunder peal
    Mid dashing waves and clang of steel:
    The Rhine, the Rhine, the German Rhine!
    Who guards to-day my stream divine?

    Dear fatherland, no danger thine,
    Firm stand thy sons to watch the Rhine!
    They stand a hundred thousand strong,
    Quick to revenge their country’s wrong;
    With filial love their bosoms swell,
    They’ll guard the sacred land, mark well.

    While flows one drop of German blood,
    A sword remains to guard thy flood.
    While rifle rests in patriot’s hand,
    No foe shall tread thy sacred strand!

    Our oath resounds, the river flows,
    In golden light our banner glows,
    Our hearts will guard thy stream divine;
    The Rhine, the Rhine, the glorious Rhine!”

For some time we stood and watched the rolling river flow by until tired
of watching, we left after I had taken a snap-shot, and retracing our
steps to the market, a place of peculiar interest, as everything seems
different from our English ways.  The stalls are set out differently, and
their fruits, vegetables, pots, flowers and shoes, indeed almost
everything you can need, we saw in the great space of the market here in
Basle.  The curious customs, dresses, language and money were all
strange; and we thought the dress of the country folk was very quaint and
queer.  We spent sometime in looking over this great place, so many
things offer attractions; without however, making any purchases save a
few post-cards and a little fruit for our immediate use.  We strolled on
to the principal streets to note some of the very fine buildings that
adorn the city.  The Post Office is an imposing building, I should say it
was partly ancient and partly modern.  It is a Gothic building and seems
to be well suited for, and capable of dealing with the work it has to do.
The House of Parliament, or shall I say Government House, in the great
market square, to look at it, it seems to rise terrace-like, up to the
Martin’s Grasse; in the centre of each terrace is a court, round which
the halls and the various offices are grouped.  There is a fine statue
close by the stairs representing a Roman pro-Consul, who had to do with
the founding of the city.  Of course, we must see the Cathedral.  In all
the continental cities there is a Duomo or Cathedral, and many of them
are well worth a visit.  The Cathedral of Basle stands on an elevation
and consequently shows itself well.  It has two steeples, not very lofty
but very pretty.  It dates from the year 1010, but has been restored and
very nearly re-built, as there was a great fire which destroyed a large
part of it in the year 1185.  Again, in the year 1356, there was an
earthquake, so serious that the vault of the central nave fell in, and
the upper portion of the choir was thrown into the Rhine.  Over the
entrance is a fine stone gallery, and above this a very large window,
with Madonna and Child in fine colours.  There are several fine pieces of
statuary inside.  The Emperor Henry II. and his Consort Kunigundi, in
colossal figures.  To the left of one of the steeples is St. George in
the act of killing the dragon.  To the right, or St. Martin’s steeple, is
a figure of St. Martin sharing his cloak with a poor beggar.  On the side
of the nave are some very fine works of art in sculpture, such as four
life-size figures of the “Four Evangelists”; there is St. Peter and St.
Paul; “The Seven Wise and Seven Foolish Virgins”; “Christ, as Judge of
the World”; “John the Baptist and John the Evangelist.”  Above these are
seen angels blowing their trumpets; the dead arising from their graves
and preparing for judgment; over the doorway inside, “The Wheel of
Fortune.”  There is an absence of the confessional, the Holy Water and
other symbols of the weakness of the faith of the Roman Catholics.  We
were greatly interested with our visit to this, one more of the
Continental Cathedrals, and especially so as one of the men who played
some part in the great reformation lies buried here, I refer to Erasmus.
He was a learned divine of the fourteenth century.  He published some
very fine pastorals and works of theology, that even now are considered
worthy of reading.  It does not seem that he ever joined Martin Luther in
his crusade against the Pope and Popery in general, but he became a
staunch protestant.  It is said that King Henry VIII. offered him a
church in Oxford.  He travelled much, visiting Rome, Venice, England and
Paris.  He ended his days here in Basle, and in the sacred precincts of
the Cathedral his dust reposes.  The “blue house” is an attractive
building; it was the residence of the Emperor and Empress of Austria
during the war of liberation, at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
It has a fine front and commands a full view of the river Rhine.  The
museum is one of the quaintest and strangest I have ever seen.  It is
said to be the most interesting museum in Switzerland.  I cannot pretend
to tabulate all there is to be seen here, only indicate some of the most
curious: “The dance of death,” “Tankards,” “Bowls,” “Carved Altars of
curious designs,” but very costly; the gold and silver plate belonging to
the Cathedral, many trophies taken in war and weapons also.  There are
ancient household implements; also several important heirlooms of
Erasmus; some fine figures of Samson and Delilah are to be seen at the
entrance.

“The Strassburg Monument” in the Elizabeth Gardens, close to the Central
Railway Station, is a fine sculpture in white marble (I took a snap-shot)
by Bartholdi, and was presented to the city by Baron Herve de Gringer, in
commemoration of the assistance given by the Swiss in 1870, to the
citizens of Strassburg when sorely pressed by the enemy.  The Zoological
Gardens of Basle are very extensive, and so far as I know, are the only
gardens of this description in Switzerland.  The way to it is full of
beauty and interest.  There is also another place some people might think
important, we did not—that is the Crematorium.  Many other places of
interest in and around this fine old city, we had not time to visit, our
time being limited.  We could not help being struck with the fact that
the ancient landmarks of this old world city are fast disappearing, and
old buildings being pulled down and new palatial ones being erected on
all hands.  The crumbling walls of the middle ages are fallen; the moats
are all filled in; narrow streets and alleys are being swept away in the
onward march of time; and the broad squares and commodious dwelling
houses are being put up.  The beauty after all, is the rolling river
Rhine.  We closed our account at the hotel, wrote up our journals and
prepared to leave this interesting old city.  We left our hotel early in
the morning, and were soon seated in a train for Belfort, in France.  We
had to cross the Rhine over a fine railway bridge, and as we crossed it
we had a good view of the river as it rolled past.  It comes through
Alsace and Lorraine, the territory ceded by France to Germany after the
great victory achieved by the latter, in the year 1870.  The scenery,
since leaving Switzerland, is less rugged and mountainous, but the
foliage, in its autumn colours, is very pretty.  A couple of hours
brought us to the town of Belfort.  It has now a population of about
thirty thousand.  We could see first of all, it was well fortified.  The
castle has a fine appearance in the distance, as it stands on a rocky
eminence; something like our castle here in Nottingham.  There is a fine
old parish church (the religious element is well represented wherever we
find ourselves).  It is a manufacturing centre, especially for mats, but
also wax tapers.  There are several large breweries.  This town was
surrounded by the Germans in the great Franco-German war of 1870.  But
month after month it bravely, resolutely withstood all their attempts at
capture; and although both food and ammunition became scanty, they still
held on, until by sheer force of lack of provisions, they capitulated in
February, 1871, to the great satisfaction of the Germans, and to the
chagrin of the proud French.  The Germans, in their generosity, and as a
recognition of the bravery of the French soldiers, allowed them to march
out of the town with full military honours.  It is one of the towns that
closely border Alsace and Lorraine of the Haut Rhin that was left to the
French at the annexation in February, 1871.



CHAPTER XVI.


At Marseilles: Our Hotel; Meeting Mr. and Mrs. Green and Mrs. Martin: The
sights of the City: The Cathedral, etc.: En route for Mentone: Toulon:
Passing Nice: Cannes: Arrival at Mentone: Our Hotel: Meeting Mr. and Miss
Brown: The scenery, etc.: Visit to Monte Carlo.

Our visit to Marseilles was made in the earlier part of the year, also to
the Riviera.  On reaching Marseilles after a long and tedious journey, we
proceeded to the “Grand Hotel du Louvre et Paix,” that we had previously
arranged should be our stopping place, during our stay in the city.  The
hotel ’bus was at the station and we were soon safely inside and our
baggage on the top; through some rambling streets we soon found ourselves
at an hotel of no mean pretensions.  The front is facing a very fine
street, and is of massive proportions.  Inside is even better than the
outside.  Everything up-to-date; lovely chandeliers with electric light;
mirrors, carpets of the richest and best quality; writing rooms, coffee
rooms, dining rooms and several hundreds of bed rooms.  We just looked
round and got the number of our bed room and were about to step into the
lift, which had just descended, when to our surprise we met face to face,
a dear old friend of ours, Mrs. Martin, of Glasgow, and she was
apparently as much surprised to see us.  We hurried through our toilet
and went down stairs to learn why she was here alone.  She told us her
father, G. Green, Esq. (a very dear and almost life-long friend of ours)
was returning from a visit to America and the West Indies, and she
expected him and Mrs. Green arriving at Marseilles at once; indeed, she
was just going down to the docks to see if the boat was in.  In the
meantime we had lunch, which just then was very necessary and most
acceptable.  We wanted to see a bit of the city, as our time was limited,
and we could ill afford to lose any of it.  We found the shops fairly
good, but prices very high for anything that was worth having.  We
omitted spending at present, so went back to our hotel where we met Mr.
and Mrs. Green to our great surprise and pleasure.  After the usual
salutations, etc., we wanted to know each other’s programme, to see if we
could not have at least a few days together.  We had arranged to go on to
Mentone, and had booked hotel beforehand; they had decided, with Mrs.
Martin, to go to Cannes the same day, so we arranged to return from
Mentone earlier than we had thought, and visit Cannes; and they arranged
to stay at Cannes till we arrived, and have at least two days with us.
So they left us for Cannes after having some refreshments.  We further
explored the city; the population now numbers nearly half a million, it
is the next largest city in France save Paris.  There is a grand
Triumphal Arch not far from the railway termini, erected to commemorate
the French campaign in Spain.  The docks are most extensive, as they
cover an area of about one hundred and seventy acres, and they must have
cost many millions of pounds sterling.  On the south side of the city may
be seen, a long distance off, “The Notre Dame de la Garde.”  It stands on
a bare rock hill.  To reach it you pass through an enclosure protected by
iron railings, you take tickets and get into an elevator which quickly
raises you over three hundred feet.  From here, however, you have to
reach this curious old Cathedral by many steps.  When you have just
gained the summit, there is a very fine view of the city at your feet,
and of the Mediterranean Sea, with the graceful curves of the coast line
lending enchantment to the view.  The island of Monte Cristo is also well
in sight, reminding you of Dumas’ novel.  It is said that, on the spot
where this church stands, the Druids celebrated their crafts and
mysteries.  Inside there are some very fine columns of blue marble from
the Alps.  The ceilings and walls are hung with pious offerings,
commemorating strange deliverances at sea.  There is an image of the
Virgin in the shape of a flying mermaid, appearing to a ship in a storm.
The Cornish Road or Chemin de Centure, is a great attraction, as it runs
along the coast for a long distance, indeed, it is said to run along the
coast to Naples, following the sea all the way; curving and jutting out,
just as the sea has apparently found the bays and the promontories.  The
principal streets of Marseilles are very broad, and there is some lovely
architecture.  I give a picture, as I took the snap-shot of what stands
at the junction of three or four of their main streets.  The city is well
surrounded by hills, covered with vineyards and oliveyards; and the
country round, for some distance, is specked with white country houses.
Our stay is of short duration, so good-bye to the port, to the shops, to
the Cathedral.  Our hotel bill is to be settled, and, this done, the
great lumbering ’bus is awaiting us.  We say adieu to our French waiters,
boots and Concierge, and are soon at the railway station and in the train
for Mentone.  Leaving Marseilles we noticed the scenery began to be
rugged and rocky, for some distance.  The sea, however, was a great
attraction, the blue Mediterranean is I think always pleasing to look at;
and we could feel the pure bracing air as it came up from the sea.  About
two hours brought us to an important station called Toulon.  This is said
to be the Plymouth of France.  The dockyard and fleet of Toulon were
destroyed by a British force under Sir Sidney Smith, detached from the
fleet of Lord Hood, in November, 1793.  There is a wonderful history
attached to this city, which I have neither the time nor the disposition
to enter upon.  Our train was delayed here, so I dismounted to get some
oranges, when, to my dismay, the train moved on and left me hatless on an
open platform.  However, I found it was only to move to the tank to take
water.  In ten minutes’ time it returned, so set at rest my little wife’s
troubles and my own.  We soon left behind us this apparently prosperous
and busy town, and were again surrounded by hills and the sea.
Landscapes of bays and promontories, rocks and ravines.  To my mind I
have seen nothing in all my travels (and I have been over four
continents) to equal the stretch of coast and country from Marseilles to
Mentone.  It is beyond all question the loveliest part of the fair land
of France.  On all sides as the train steams along it is pretty, gay and
captivating, as the sunny shores are washed by the rolling sea, and an
azure sky is overhead; and beyond, in the background, you can
occasionally see lines of lofty hills crowned with eternal snow.  As we
passed the various stations, as Nice, the scenery becomes richer and more
beautiful.  Lovely avenues bordered with flowers, winding through the
plain; and shady footpaths meandering among fields of asphodel and
lavender.  As we passed St. Raphael Station we noticed a very peculiar
formation of the sea-shore.  On we sped through the most beautiful
scenery, palm trees began to seem plentiful; the first I saw looked so
lovely I took my camera and got a snap-shot; but as we proceeded they
became quite common.  At Nice, the races were just over, and we saw
numerous horses and horsemen leaving the race course.  We had passed
Cannes, and after which, Monte Carlo, and soon reached our destination
where we remained for a few days (Mentone).  We had selected, as was our
custom, a hotel beforehand, this time it was “Hotel de Mentone.”  So on
the arrival of our train in the station we looked out for the hotel
omnibus.  We were surrounded by porters to carry our baggage, and almost
a quarrel ensued which should have the job.  However, we were conducted
to the ’bus and very quickly driven to the hotel named.  We found it all
we could wish, indeed, the most comfortable and best managed we had found
in all our travels.  The manager, M. C. Husson, is the very acme of
kindness and attention, our wants seemed to be anticipated and met most
expeditiously.  Our bedroom, large and airy, facing and within one
hundred yards of the blue Mediterranean; the garden full of the most
lovely palm trees.  My little wife said: “this is like paradise.”  The
climate of this lovely town is very mild, and fogs, they tell us, are
unknown.  It is surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains, consequently
no north or east winds affect them; the hills intervening between these
Alpine Mountains and the town and the sea, are covered with gardens of
the orange tree (in full fruitage when we saw them January 18th); also
the lemon and olive tree.  Mentone is a favourite winter resort for
English visitors.

In our hotel we found some interesting people, some of them from England;
and those who could speak English were to us, more than usually
interesting.  We seemed to be specially drawn toward a lady and gentleman
from Southend-on-Sea—a Mr. Brown and Miss Brown, his daughter.  She made
herself particularly useful and nice to my little wife.  We were
strangers, and all about us a strange tongue was spoken and new customs
in vogue.  Miss Brown most kindly offered her aid at any time and on any
point that was desired.  This was most gratefully accepted, and in a few
days we were fast friends.  A correspondence has been kept up since we
left, so that in all likelihood the friendship formed in Mentone will be
continuous and pleasant.  We took our walks each morning along the fine
promenade in the clear fresh sunshine and bracing sea breeze, so we could
feel we were gaining strength and getting a real good bracing up.  We
took lunch, more than once, at a sweet little Swiss restaurant,
everything was scrupulously clean and sweet.  We visited the Park
Gardens, where the band was every day discoursing sweet music.  These
gardens are filled on two sides with orange trees; and as we passed them
the fruit was just lovely, ripe and ready for plucking.  The borders and
beds were full of the most beautiful flowers in full bloom.  I got two or
three snapshots of this pretty place and surroundings.

                     [Picture: Miss Brown at Mentone]

We visited the cemetery on the hillside.  It is difficult to reach, as
there are so many steps, but it is well worth a visit.  Here are laid to
rest the dust of many generations.  We found marble monuments in memory
of several English residents, who had died in Mentone and were buried
here.  The graves or mausoleums are carefully kept.  Flowers bloom most
luxuriantly, and intertwine themselves in and around the sculpture on all
sides.  Some graves have, built over them, a small tent or room, which is
adorned with pictures and filled with flowers.  Here the relations of the
deceased come, and seem to commune with the departed; at any rate they
find some kind of solace in spending a little time near the sacred dust
of loved ones.  We visited the Market Place, and on market day too, to
see the costers from the country in dresses quaint and queer, with their
donkeys and carts of the rudest make.  One would really have liked to
have laughed at their simplicity.  The fruit, flowers and vegetables were
of a very fine quality; nothing so large in England.  New potatoes in
January, and new green peas, tomatoes; indeed, everything that our
gardens will produce in June, they get here in January.  Monte Carlo is
only a few miles from Mentone, and there is a tram running; so we
determined to pay a visit to this interesting place before we left the
Riviera.  A lovely day found us on the tram en route for Monte Carlo.  Up
the hillsides our tram went, and round some curves that to us seemed
dangerous, across some deep ravines, ascending, then descending, for the
road is along the rocky mountain side.  In about forty minutes we reached
this place of notoriety.  It is certainly one of the loveliest places
under the sun.  Someone has said “it is my ideal, in outward appearance,
of what heaven will be.”  Words are too poor to paint the beauties of
Monte Carlo.  Some of the places in my native county, Derbyshire, such as
“Lovers’ Leap,” “Monsale Dale,” “High Tor,” and others, but on a small
and insignificant scale, remind me of the Riviera, only the sea and
climate is lacking.

                    [Picture: The Casino, Monte Carlo]



CHAPTER XVII.


Monte Carlo: Its Casino and gardens: Leave taking at Mentone of Mr. and
Miss Brown: Arrival at Cannes: Meeting Mr. and Mrs. Green: Cannes, its
scenery, etc.: Visit to Grasse: Journey to Paris: London: Home, Sweet
Home.

It seems as if Nature had lavished her richest treasures on Monte Carlo.
Its terraces covered with palms; its orange groves and oliveyards; its
massive hotels of marble; its azure sky and ever blue Mediterranean
sparkling at its foot.  Then there is the Casino, “the gambling hell,” as
it has been called.  A building upon which no money or care has been
spared to make it an attraction, and it has undoubtedly been a success,
for thousands throng its rooms daily. We had no difficulty in getting
inside.  I presented my card to an official in braided coat, who, when he
saw it, and had given a look at us, I presume, thought it would be safe
to give us admission, and took us to a ticket box where the usual
entrance ticket was granted, and we were admitted inside.  Oh! what a
scene!  Tables covered with green baize and marked with figures; the
gamblers or players crowded round every table, staking mostly five franc
pieces; sometimes one five franc piece and sometimes five.  Two men
representing the bank with hooks or rakes, drew in the cash, as the
Roulette declared for the bank; the winners raking their gains in as the
tale of the Roulette was in their favour.  The faces of the players were
a study and tempted one to moralize and try to predict the effect of this
sort of thing on the character of the gamblers.  It is an awful thing to
be caught in the clutches of a gambling saloon—this one in particular.
There are many tables, all full; and crowds round waiting for an
opportunity.  We went through the vast building, it is richly carpeted
and the upholstering is of the best; settees, mirrors, chandeliers, etc.,
all give to it an appearance of wealth.  Monte Carlo is in the territory
of Monaco, which is the smallest independent state in Europe at least.
It only covers about eight square miles.  It formerly included Mentone
and Roccabruna, but these have been ceded to France for four million
francs.  The Palace of the Prince is on the promontory or rock just below
the Casino.  Surrounding it are some lovely gardens, and the appearance
of some protection in the shape of cannon, etc.; these, however, would be
useless if they were ever needed.  It is said that his chief revenue is
from the Casino, which pays him about two hundred thousand pounds per
annum.  The population under the Prince is now about ten thousand.  I
took a snap-shot or two, and we strolled about until weary, then we found
our way to the tram and in about an hour were in our hotel enjoying
table-de-hote.  Our time for leaving Mentone had arrived, and again we
packed, at least, my little wife did.  We said good-bye, with reluctance,
to a place that had given us so much pleasure; also to our new found
friends—specially Miss Brown—my dear wife had grown quite fond of her.  I
think it was because she showed such kindness to us when we arrived, also
she spoke English; and that, in itself, attracts an Englishman when away
from home.  The leave taking between them was quite affectionate and,
doubtless, correspondence will follow.  We left Mentone in the lovely
sunshine, and from under the lovely palm trees, and were soon passing
Monaco, Monte Carlo and Nice.  We reached Cannes all safe and sound.  A
lovely motor carriage was at our disposal for the “Hotel de la Plage.”
We were met by our old friend—George Green, Esq., and his good wife and
daughter, Mrs. Martin, who also had a friend with her from Glasgow, Mrs.
Giles.  They gave us a hearty welcome to our hotel, second to none on the
continent, I think, and lovely for situation, close by the sea; and
surrounded with the most lovely semi-tropical plants, as the photo or
snap-shot shows.  We enjoyed the two or three days immensely with our
friends in this lovely spot; for Cannes is lovely.  The Bay of Cannes
surpasses, it is said, the Bay of Naples for beauty.  “Then there is the
Cape of Antibes, with its gardens of dreamland and fairies!”  The Estrel,
with its profound solitude, and with its masses of red porphyry, like
buildings erected by the Titians; with its arid soil covered with crooked
pines, raising their branches towards the pure azure sky.  Cannes is said
to be a vast garden, where the flowers are scattered in profusion by
Nature with a lavish and never wearying hand.  There is also the orange,
the lemon, the oleander, the pepper plant, and the palm tree; all growing
side by side with the olive, the oak, and the stone pine.  Of Cannes, it
is said: “She is the daughter of the Sirens, and sprang into existence
one morning under the glowing kisses of the sun.”  It has had a chequered
history, but it is now merged into the liberty of a gay and prosperous
town of thirty-five thousand inhabitants.

 [Picture: Mr. and Mrs. Green, Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Wardle and Mrs. Giles at
                                 Cannes]

Over twenty thousand visitors come to Cannes for the winter to escape the
northern fogs and frosts.  Mr. Green and I strolled the Promenade and
talked over olden times.  The ladies enjoyed their tete-a-tete and their
shopping expeditions; so the days slipped quickly away and we must lose
our friends, who go to Marseilles, then by sea to Glasgow.  So again we
say good-bye, expecting, however, to meet again soon in London.  They
leave early for Marseilles in order to catch their steamer.  We visited
Grasse the day after they left us.  This is about twenty miles from
Cannes by rail, and it lies up in the mountains; it is about one thousand
feet above the sea level, yet it is surrounded by the Alps, at least east
and north.  The town has a population about fifteen thousand, and is
built on the slope of a hill.  It is steep climbing up from the station.
Facing the town is a lovely valley or plain, where they cultivate
flowers.  The town is largely supported by the manufacturing of scent.
There are several factories; one factory sends away over eleven million
francs worth of scents yearly.  It is a town of great interest.  It has a
fine old Cathedral, also some fairly good shops.  The streets being on
the hillside are not easy to walk along.  Our stay was only for a few
hours, but long enough to satisfy us; the place was health-giving and
very interesting.  On arriving at our hotel in Cannes we were tired; so
after the usual table-de-hote and rest, we went to bed early, as the
following morning we were to pack up and go.  After the usual tips, bill
settling, etc., we left Cannes and its many attractions, and as we
rounded the bay we could see the town for miles with its white hotels,
etc., amidst the luxuriant palm trees.  We soon lost sight of the town
and were spinning over deep ravines with rugged sides; there with jutting
spurs of rock; here the sea pushing up in inlets and creeks, sparkling in
the rays of the southern sun.  Our train hurried us away from scenes of
such perfect loveliness, past Toulon, and about 7.30 we reached
Marseilles.  Here we met again Mrs. Martin and her friend Mrs. Giles.  We
only stayed here about half-an-hour, but we began to feel the change in
the atmosphere, and our rugs were brought into use, as we were travelling
all night.  About midnight we reached Lyons, and on looking out we found
the snow was falling thick and fast.  Oh! what a change in a few hundred
miles!  The sunny south was now behind us, and again we must face the
biting frost and snow of winter.

We reached Paris about 11 a.m., and soon found our way to “Hotel du
Nord.”  We spent a night at the “Magenta Hotel,” where we found friends
in Dr. Mochwyn Hughes and his sister, who were going into Switzerland.
We decided to “do Paris,” as they say, in a motor.  So we engaged one and
were quickly through some of the busy streets of this wonderful city.  We
visited Notre Dame, of course, and went inside.  There was a funeral
cortege, and the mourners sitting by the bier; while the priests, with
their incantations, mummeries and ceremonies, and genuflections, just by.
We felt how little was the comfort to be had here for the grief stricken
relatives.  From here we passed the great Eiffel Tower, the Bourse, the
Louvre, the Tuileries, the Champs Elysees, the Bois de Boulogne, and the
New Opera House.  The Pont Neuf or the New Bridge over the Seine.  Then
to the tomb where lies all that remains of the great Napoleon.  Here,
with uncovered heads, we gazed into the grand mausoleum, and were
constrained to moralize on the vanity of human ambition; and of how
short-lived and unsatisfactory all worldly wealth, pomp and pleasure.  We
passed the Pantheon and several places of great interest, but time flies
and we must away from Paris.  My wife, however, had become quite friendly
and even affectionate with Miss Hughes, so at parting there was the usual
promise of postcards, etc.  We spent a little time with Mrs. Martin and
her French friend, then to the railway, and in a few hours ride we found
ourselves once again in Calais.  We were not long in finding our way to
the boat, our travels had made us quite experts in getting from boat to
train and from train to boat.  My little wife had to go below; Mrs.
Martin, who travelled with us, bravely stood it.  However, we faced the
sea bravely because we knew that beyond it lay our home and loved ones
anticipating our home-coming.  I spent my time on deck, and really got a
good blow from the briny.  We landed at Dover safe and well; and, after a
very little time, we were on the train, bound for the great city of
London.  It was dark as we travelled through the country, so we could not
see the places of interest.  We were glad to reach the “Manchester
Hotel,” our home from home.  The Manager, Mr. Hanscomb, received us with
a warm welcome; and soon we felt we were amongst English people and could
again enjoy an English meal in the English fashion.  Only a night in the
city and again we are entrained for Nottingham.  We had travelled now
nearly two thousand five hundred miles.  Oh! the anticipation!  The
slowness of the train, as we thought; though it was a fast train.  We,
however, reached Home, sweet Home, safely and well, after many strange
experiences; and Oh! what a Welcome! from my precious daughter, Ivy, and
son Gordon, and dear Auntie; then our dearest baby boy, with his smiles
and his dimples; and oh! what a hug!  Welcome home, was apparent even
from the servants, and we thought there is much truth in Leonard Cooke’s
poetry:

    “We have basked in the far off Eastern Sun,
    ’Neath skies of unchanging gold;
    Held by the spell of the Orient
    With its mystery and charm untold.

    But, Oh! to the heart that is English,
    There is nought in a distant clime
    As fair as a field in England
    Decked out in the summer time.

    There is joy in the white faced daisy,
    No country afar can excel;
    There’s a charm that out rivals the orchids
    In the tints of the pimpernel.

    There’s a scent in the fields of England
    Rich spices can ne’er surpass,
    A pang to the heart of the exile;
    ’Tis the scent of the cool green grass.”

                                * * * * *

                                 [FINIS].





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