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Title: Irma in Italy - A Travel Story
Author: Reed, Helen Leah, 1860-1926
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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IRMA IN ITALY



[Illustration: PERUGIA. _Frontispiece_
      (_See page 205._)]



    IRMA IN ITALY

    A TRAVEL STORY

    BY

    HELEN LEAH REED


    AUTHOR OF "THE BRENDA BOOKS," "IRMA AND NAP,"
    "NAPOLEON'S YOUNG NEIGHBOR," ETC.


    ILLUSTRATED FROM PHOTOGRAPHS
    AND FROM DRAWINGS BY WILLIAM A. MCCULLOUGH


    BOSTON

    LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

    1908



    _Copyright_, 1908,
    BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.



    _All rights reserved_


    The Tudor Press
    BOSTON, U. S. A.



    To M. E. F.

    A TRUE TRAVELLER



CONTENTS


                                              PAGE

        I. THE START                             1

       II. THE WESTERN ISLANDS                  19

      III. TOWARD THE CONTINENT                 39

       IV. AWAY FROM GIBRALTAR                  60

        V. ON SHORE                             80

       VI. NAPLES AND ITS NEIGHBORHOOD          98

      VII. CAVA AND BEYOND                     111

     VIII. PAESTUM AND POMPEII                 125

       IX. ROMAN DAYS                          146

        X. A QUEEN AND OTHER SIGHTS            169

       XI. TIVOLI--AND HADRIAN'S VILLA         187

      XII. AN ANCIENT TOWN                     203

     XIII. OLD SIENA--AND NEW FRIENDS          215

      XIV. NAP--AND OTHER THINGS               232

       XV. A LETTER FROM FLORENCE              251

      XVI. A CHANGE IN MARION                  270

     XVII. IN VENICE                           288

    XVIII. EXPLANATIONS                        312



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                              PAGE

    Perugia                         _Frontispiece_

    "I wish I could take them all," she said     6

    Naples. A Street View                       84

    "With one girl clutching her dress,
    she could not move fast"                   132

    Pompeii                                    144

    Near La Trinità, Rome                      170

    Rome. Group on Spanish Steps               170

    Cascades at Tivoli                         188

    Wall of Orvieto                            188

    Spires of Florence                         262

    San Marco, Florence                        262

    Siena. General View with Campanile         292

    Ravenna. Theodoric's Tomb                  292

    "As Irma approached, the girl looked up"   296

    Venice. The Grand Canal                    308

    Venice. A Gondolier                        308



IRMA IN ITALY



CHAPTER I

THE START


"OF course it's great to go to Europe; any one would jump at the chance,
but still----"

As the speaker, a bright-eyed girl of sixteen, paused, her companion,
slightly younger, continued:

"Yes, I know what you mean--it doesn't seem just like Irma to go away
before school closes. Why, if she misses the finals, she may have to
drop from the class next year."

"Probably she expects Italy to help her in her history and Latin."

"Travelling is all very well," responded the other, "but there's
nothing better than regular study. Why, here's Irma coming," she
concluded hastily; "she can speak for herself."

"You are surely gossiping about me," cried Irma pleasantly, as she
approached her two friends seated on the front steps of Gertrude's
house. "You have surely been gossiping, for you stopped talking as soon
as you saw me, and Lucy looks almost guilty."

"Listeners sometimes hear good of themselves," replied Lucy, "but we'll
admit we have been wondering how you made up your mind to run away from
school. I shouldn't have dared."

"My father and mother decided for me, when Aunt Caroline said she must
know at once. There was some one else she would invite, if I couldn't
go. I simply could not give up so good a chance to see Europe. But of
course I am sorry to leave school."

"Now, Irma, no crocodile tears." Gertrude pinched her friend's arm as
she spoke. "Fond as I am--or ought to be--of school, I wouldn't think
twice about leaving it all, if I had a chance to shorten this horrid
winter."

"Winter! And here we are sitting in the open air. In six weeks it will
be May, and you won't find a pleasanter month in Europe than our May,"
protested Lucy.

"We intend to have some fine picnics this spring; you'll lose them if
you go," added Gertrude.

"One can't have everything," sighed Irma. "I know that I must lose some
good things if I go away."

"Examinations, for instance," cried George Belman, who had joined the
group.

"And promotions, perhaps," added John.

"But still," continued George, "I say Irma deserves a change for her
unselfishness in having whooping-cough last summer, just to keep Tessie
company."

"Well, it was considerate in Irma to get over it before school opened;
stand up, dear, and let yourself be counted."

"Oh, Gertrude, how silly you are!" but even while protesting Irma rose
slowly to her feet, and her friends, looking at her, noticed that she
was paler and thinner than she had been a year earlier.

"Come, now," said Lucy, rising, and affectionately slipping her arm
around Irma's waist, "tell us your plans. Gertrude knows them, but I
have heard only rumors."

"I am not quite sure myself about it all. Only I am to sail with Aunt
Caroline and Uncle Jim to Naples by the southern route, and, after going
through Italy, we shall be home in July--and a niece of Aunt Caroline's,
or rather of Uncle Jim's, is going with us."

"You didn't tell _me_ that," interposed Gertrude. "You won't miss us
half as much if you have another girl with you. I begin to be jealous."

"If there were ten other girls in our party I'd miss my friends just as
much," said Irma. "Besides, I'll be too busy to take an interest in mere
girls."

"Busy!" It was George who said this, with a little, mocking laugh.

"Yes, busy; busy sightseeing and reading, and perhaps studying a little.
For you know I must take a special examination in September. How
mortifying if I had to stay behind next year!"

"Then I shall drop behind, too, or at least I should wish to," said
George gallantly.

"Did some one speak of summer?" asked Lucy, rising. "Now that the sun
is low I am half frozen. Come, Irma, I will walk to your door with you,"
and, after a word of farewell to the others, the two friends walked away
together.

Irma, now in her second year in the High School, had really enjoyed her
studies, and she was sure that her ancient history was to be made much
more vivid by her journey, and even the dry hours she had spent on Cæsar
would count for much when she reached Italy. It was well, perhaps, that
Irma herself had little to do in preparing for her journey. As it was,
it was hard enough to keep her mind on lessons those last weeks, when
there was so much besides to think of. Still, the March days flew by
swiftly. Irma was to sail from New York the Saturday before Easter,
which this year came very early. A week before she was to start a
steamer trunk arrived from New York, accompanied by a letter from Aunt
Caroline.

"Your mother must have so much to do that I wish to save her a little of
the trouble of shopping," wrote Aunt Caroline, "and I do hope that these
will fit you."

"I can't see that the steamer rug is a very close fit," said Rudolph,
laughing, as Irma held up the warm-looking square of blue and green
plaid. "But the Panama hat's all right,--only the rug and the hat will
look rather queer together."

Into the steamer trunk during the week Irma put many little things that
the girls at school--and indeed some of the boys--gave her as parting
gifts.

"I wish I could take them all," she said, as she stood beside the trunk.
"But there are so many duplicates. I suppose I could use two pinballs
and two brush-holders, but I don't need three needlebooks and half a
dozen toothbrush cases. Oh, dear, and all have been so kind that I wish
they had compared notes first, so that I needn't have so many things I
can't use."

[Illustration: "I WISH I COULD TAKE THEM ALL," SHE SAID.
      (_Page 6._)]

"It's better to have too many than too few," said Tessie sagely.
"Tessie," however, only occasionally, since the ten year old maiden
scorned the diminutive of her earlier years, and insisted that now she
was old enough to be known as "Theresa."

"It's better for you, Theresa," responded Irma, "for some of these
things may find their way to your room. Lucy might let me give you this
needlebook, or at least lend it, for perhaps it wouldn't do to give a
present away."

"Well, I'll borrow it now, to help me remember you when you are gone,"
and Tessie, delighted with her treasure, ran off to her room with it.

During her last days at home Irma realized that Nap was not happy. He
followed her from room to room, and, so far as he could, kept her always
in sight. When she sat down, he lay at her feet with his nose touching
her dress. When she moved she almost stumbled over him; and once, when
she went to close the steamer trunk, there he was inside! He might have
suffered Ginevra's fate, had not Irma happened to look within.

"He truly knows just what you are going to do, and he meant to hide
until the trunk was opened on the ship, so you'd have to take him with
you," cried Tessie.

"Yes," added Chris, "perhaps he thinks that's his only chance of finding
Katie Grimston again. She's still in Europe, isn't she?"

"Well, Katie Grimston shall never have him."

"But she did not give him to you; she wrote she would claim him on her
return."

"Yes, but she isn't here to claim him, and possession is nine points of
the law." Then Irma picked the little creature up and ran away with him.

The boys were very philosophical about their sister's departure.

"If I should stay home they'd be grievously disappointed," Irma confided
to Gertrude. "They are calculating so on the stamps and post cards I am
to collect for them, that I wouldn't dare change my mind."

Mahala's interest, however, made up for the indifference of the boys to
their sister's departure.

"We shall miss you dreadfully," and Mahala sighed heavily, "though it's
a great thing for a person to have the advantage of foreign travel; not
that I'd cross the ocean myself, for what with the danger of meeting
icebergs," she continued cheerfully, "and bursting boilers and all the
other perils of the sea--dear me, I'd feel as if I was taking my life in
my hands to embark on an ocean liner. But I'm glad you're going, Irma.
One of the family ought to have the experience----"

"Of icebergs and bursting boilers," cried Irma. "O Mahala, I am
surprised at you."

"Going to Europe has seemed to me like a dream," continued Irma, turning
to her mother, "but Mahala would change it to a nightmare," and the help
from Aroostook, Maine, withdrew in confusion to the kitchen.

If Irma had thought going to Europe a dream, the dream seemed pretty
nearly true one Saturday morning, when from the deck of the great
steamship she watched the receding dock, until in the crowd she could
barely discern the figure of her father as he stood there waving his
handkerchief. At this moment there were real tears in her eyes, though
she had fully made up her mind not to cry. For the moment a great many
thoughts crowded upon her,--memories of her mother looking from the
window as the coach drove off to the station, of the boys and Tessie
standing at the gate, and Mahala on the steps with Nap in her arms, held
tightly, lest his continued wriggling should at last result in his
running after the carriage.

"It's really very selfish in me to go so far when none of the others
can go," Irma mused, and as the ship moved seaward, she was so lost in
sad thoughts that she hardly heeded Aunt Caroline's "Come, dear. Here is
Marion, whom you haven't met yet."

Turning about, Irma experienced one of the greatest surprises of her
life. Instead of the girl in long skirts whom she expected to see, there
stood by her aunt's side a tall boy, apparently a little older than John
Wall or George Belman. Who could he be? And where was Marian? The boy
had pleasant, brown eyes, but a fretful line about his lips interfered
with the attractiveness of his face.

There was no time for questions. Before Irma could speak, Aunt Caroline
continued, "I do hope you two young people will like each other. Marion,
this is Irma, about whom I have told you so much."

The boy and the girl looked at each other for a moment in silence. Irma
was the first to speak.

"Why--why I thought from your letter that Marion was a girl," she said
awkwardly.

This speech did not better matters. Marion was still silent as he
extended his hand to meet the one that Irma offered him. Then,
acknowledging the introduction with a touch of his hat, he turned on his
heel and walked off.

"Poor boy!" exclaimed Aunt Caroline, as he passed out of sight. "We must
be patient. We must do what we can for him. Had things been different,
he could hardly have come with us. But why did you think Marion a girl?"

"I never heard of a boy named Marian."

"Oh--it's after General Marion. Perhaps my wretched writing made the 'o'
look an 'a'. I didn't refer to our nephew?"

"No, you only said you hoped I'd like Marian, who was the same relation
to Uncle Jim that I am to you," and Irma smiled, remembering that Aunt
Caroline was only an aunt by courtesy,--in other words, an intimate
friend of her mother's.

"Well, we are very fond of Marion--even if he isn't a real nephew--only
we must all make allowances for him," then Aunt Caroline flitted off,
while Irma wondered why allowances must be made for a tall, good-looking
boy, who seemed well able to take care of himself.

Meanwhile, Marion, leaning against a rail at some distance from Irma,
was on the verge of a fit of the blues.

"Thought I was a girl. Oh, yes, I suppose they have told her
everything. Aunt Caroline ought to have had more sense. Anyway, I hate
girls, and I'll try not to see much of this one."

Then Marion, to whom New York Harbor was no novelty, went within, while
Uncle Jim joined Irma, and pointed out many interesting things. The
great city they were leaving looked picturesque to Irma, as she gave its
spires and high buildings a backward glance. The mammoth Liberty,
standing on its little island, held her attention for a moment. Past the
closely built shore of Long Island and the forts on the Westchester
side, they were getting into deeper water, and Irma was straining her
eyes in the direction of Sandy Hook, toward which Uncle Jim was
pointing, when Aunt Caroline hurried up to her: "If you come in now, you
can write a short letter to your mother."

"To my mother?"

"Yes, to send back by the pilot. But you must be quick."

Following her aunt, Irma was soon in the small saloon, where twenty or
thirty persons were writing at small tables or on improvised
lap-tablets. In one corner a ship's officer was tying up bundles of
letters and putting them in the large mail bag that lay beside him.

Irma quickly finished her brief home letter. It was only a word to let
them know she was thinking of them.

As she approached the mail steward, "No, sir, we 'aven't a stamp left,"
she heard him say, "heverybody's been writing. The stamps are hall
gone--hat least the Hamerican."

"Oh, don't we need English stamps?" Irma turned to her aunt.

"No, dear. I am sorry he has no American stamps. I can enclose your
letter with my own to Cousin Fannie, and she'll remail it."

"Oh, but I have stamps. I brought half a dozen with me." An old
gentleman who had vainly asked the steward for a stamp stood near Irma.
She had heard him express annoyance that he must entrust his letter to
the pilot unstamped. "One can seldom trust a friend to put a stamp on a
letter--still less a complete stranger--and this is very important."

"Excuse me," interposed Irma, stepping up to him. She wondered
afterwards how she had dared. "Will you not take one of my stamps?" she
said.

A broad smile brightened the old gentleman's face. "You certainly are
long on stamps, and I am obliged to you for letting me share your
prosperity." Then, stamping his letter, he dropped it into the mail bag.

"I'll take two," said a lady abruptly, approaching Irma, and without so
much as "by your leave," she detached two from Irma's strip of four, and
dropping a nickel into her hand, walked off with a murmured "Thank you."
A second and younger lady then approached.

"Could you let me have two stamps?" she asked politely. "I overheard you
say that you had some."

"Certainly," said Irma, and after thanking her, this applicant, with a
pleasant "Fair exchange is no robbery," slipped into Irma's hand two
Italian stamps. This seemed a much more gracious payment than the
nickel. Later she recalled that the old gentleman had paid her
nothing--and this, she decided, was the most courteous way of all.

The steward had fastened the bag when Marion rushed up to him. "Oh, say,
steward, give me a stamp."

"'Aven't hany, sir."

"Well, you ought to have some."

"Mine are all gone, too," said Irma. "I had half a dozen a few minutes
ago."

"You might have saved some for me," snapped Marion; "why should a girl
write so many letters?"

"I wrote only one," began Irma. "You can give your letter to the pilot."

But Marion's only answer was to tear his letter into fragments. Then he
followed the steward with the bag, and Irma was almost alone in the
deserted saloon.

The letter she had just written was the last word she could send home
for a week. It would be twice as long before she could hear from any of
the family. She began to wish that she had gone back on the pilot boat.
Why, indeed, had she ever left home? She should have waited until they
could all visit Europe together. Now all kinds of things might happen to
Chris or Rudolph or Tessie--or even to her father and mother--and it
might all be over before she could hear a word. She began to be really
unhappy, and again her eyes filled in a desperate feeling of
homesickness.

After this first attack, Irma was, for a time, able to put the family
out of her mind. At the first luncheon on shipboard, which she hardly
tasted, her place at table was between Aunt Caroline and Marion. But at
dinner when Marion appeared he dropped into the seat next to Uncle Jim,
leaving his former place vacant.

"It's only one of Marion's notions," whispered Aunt Caroline. "I fear he
is shy, and doesn't know what to say to you."

Irma was not comfortable in learning that Marion regarded her as a
person to be avoided. "If only Marion had been a friendly girl how much
pleasanter our party would be," she thought.

At first Irma felt she could hardly manage to live in her small
stateroom. But when she had fastened to the wall the linen hold-all her
mother had made, filled with various little things, and had stowed other
small possessions in the drawer under the mirror, she saw the
possibility of adapting herself to her cramped quarters. She soon had a
regular program. She rose with the first morning bugle, and after her
early bath, while Aunt Caroline dozed, dressed quickly.

Then she had a brisk walk on deck before breakfast, which Uncle Jim's
party had at the second table.

Sunday morning--her second day at sea--Irma found a letter by her plate
at breakfast.

"It's from Lucy," she cried, turning it over and over.

"A steamer letter," explained Uncle Jim. "Are you such a landlubber as
not to know that in these days letters follow you regularly on your
voyage?"

A moment later she discerned in a corner, "Care the Purser," and then
she broke the seal.

"What news?" asked Uncle Jim, as she finished.

"All you'd expect from a letter written before I left home. I wonder how
far we are now," she concluded with a sigh.

"Too far for you to swim back," answered Aunt Caroline, reading her
thoughts.

Among the letters that Irma received daily after this, Mahala's was
especially entertaining.

"To dream of a horse," she began, "is a sign of a letter, so I'm
writing because I dreamt of a horse last night, though that isn't the
way it's generally meant to work. Tessie's beginning to live up to many
of the signs I've taught her, and when I told her I hoped your voyage
wouldn't be unlucky because you were leaving Cranston Friday--just after
you started she ran out of the room, and when I went on the steps to see
if she'd gone over to the Flynns', well, just at that very minute
something struck me on the head, and such a mess, all down my face and
over my apron. When I got hold of Tessie she explained that she'd heard
me say that if any one wished on an egg dropped from a second story
window, the wish would come true--if the egg didn't break--but this egg
certainly broke, and I hope it won't cause you ill luck. This wouldn't
require mentioning, only I thought it might make you laugh if you happen
to feel peaked the day you read this letter. We didn't punish Tessie,
because she's feeling kind of bad about you, and she got scared enough
when the egg broke on my head."



CHAPTER II

THE WESTERN ISLANDS


The first day or so of the voyage seemed long to Irma. She could not lie
in a steamer chair, and pretend to read, as Aunt Caroline did. She had
more than a suspicion that her aunt seldom turned the leaves of her
book, and that left to herself she was apt to doze, although each
morning Uncle Jim placed beside her chair a large basket containing
books and magazines.

"Lean back, Irma," Uncle Jim would say, "you are not a real bird that
you need perch on the arm of your chair. Lean back; I will fix your
cushions--as Marion is not here to do this for you," he concluded
mischievously.

"I wonder what Marion does with himself," interposed Aunt Caroline. "We
see him only at meals, and I thought he would be such company for Irma."

"Irma doesn't need him," responded Uncle Jim. "Come, my dear, let us
look at the steerage."

"Don't go below," protested Aunt Caroline. "You don't know what
frightful disease you might catch."

"We'll only look over the railing," and Uncle Jim led Irma to a spot
where she could look down at the steerage passengers, sitting in the sun
on the deck below.

"It's not very crowded," explained Uncle Jim, "on the passage to Europe
at this season. Most of those you see have a free passage because the
authorities fear they may become public charges."

"How hard!"

"No, my dear. Many of them have better food and quarters here than they
ever have on shore."

"Are there many sick among them?"

"The doctor told me of one poor woman who may not live until she
reaches the Azores. She has been working in New Bedford, but when the
doctors told her she could not live long, she was sure the air of the
Western Islands would cure her. So her friends had a raffle, and raised
enough for her passage, and a little more for her to live on after her
arrival here, at least, that's what Marion told me."

"Marion!"

"Yes, he takes a great interest in the steerage. I dare say he knows
those three ferocious-looking desperadoes in the corner."

"Desperadoes!"

"Well, they might be brigands, might they not? at least judging from
their appearance. Most men returning at this season--and not a few of
the women, too--are sent back by our Government because undesirable for
citizenship."

"Oh!" exclaimed Irma. "That explains why so many wear strange clothes.
They are really foreigners."

"Yes. The majority of them have probably never even landed."

As Irma turned away, her interest in the steerage increased rather than
lessened. But when she asked Uncle Jim questions, she found he knew
little about individuals. She wished that Marion would talk to her. She
believed that he could tell her what she wished to know. But as the days
passed Marion did not thaw out. It is true he usually reported the day's
run to Irma, a little ahead of the time when it was marked on the ship's
chart, and if she was not near Aunt Caroline when the steward passed
around with his tea and cakes, he would usually hunt her up. But if she
began to talk to him, he answered in the briefest words, and did not
encourage further conversation.

One day, when he came to the table rather more animated than usual, she
could not help overhearing him describe a visit he had made to the lower
regions of the ship, where he had seen the inner workings of things. She
listened eagerly to his description of the stoking hole with the flames
weirdly lighting up the figures of the busy stokers. This interested her
more than what he told of the machinery and the huge refrigerating
plant.

"The doctor might have asked me, too. It's different from the steerage.
Marion is very selfish, never to think of me. If there were more girls
of my age, I wouldn't care. There isn't a boy in Cranston who would be
so mean."

Soon after this, the day before they reached the Azores, Irma made the
acquaintance of the one girl on board, near her own age. Hitherto Muriel
had looked at her wistfully, not venturing to leave her governess, who
talked French endlessly, as they paced the deck. But now, as Irma was
watching a game of shuffleboard, played by older persons, Muriel
approached and began a conversation, and soon the two were comparing
their present impressions and their future plans.

"I'm awfully tired of Europe," said Muriel. "We go every year, but this
time it may not be so bad, as we are to motor through Italy."

The most of this day the two new friends were together, separating only
to finish the letters that they wished to mail at St. Michael's.

After dinner, when Irma went back to the dining saloon, the mail steward
sat at a table with a scale before him, receiving money for the stamps
he was to put on letters at Ponta Delgada.

"Why, here's my little lady of the stamps," cried a voice in Irma's ear,
and turning, she recognized the little old gentleman, whom she had not
seen since the first day.

Irma returned his greeting, and he went up with her toward the deck.

"It's so mild," she explained, "that my aunt said I might sit outside.
I am so anxious to see land."

"Even if we were nearer shore, there's not moon enough to show an
outline. Why are you so anxious to see land?"

"Because it will be my first foreign country. Except when we sailed from
New York, I had never been out of New England."

"There are worse places to spend one's life in than New England," and
the old gentleman sighed, as he added, "yet in the fifty years since I
left it, I have been back only half a dozen times."

"I suppose you know the Azores," ventured Irma.

"Oh, yes, the country was very primitive in the old days. The interior,
they tell me, has changed little, but the cities are more up to date."

"Cities?"

"Not large cities like ours in America, though Ponta Delgada is the
third largest in Portugal. But there, young ladies of your age dislike
guidebook information, at least out of school."

"Oh, please go on," begged Irma, and for half an hour her new friend
talked delightfully about the Azores and other places.

"Ah, there's Uncle Jim," she exclaimed, as she saw her uncle approaching
under one of the electric lights.

"I never thought of finding you out here alone," cried her uncle.

"Not alone," rejoined Irma, turning to introduce her new friend. But he
had mysteriously disappeared.

"It is high time to come in, if the night air makes you see double,"
said Uncle Jim dryly. But Irma gave no explanations. How could she have
introduced the old gentleman, when she did not know his name?

"Aunt Caroline says please hurry. They are in sight." Thus Marion's
voice and repeated rappings waked Irma the next morning.

"Who are in sight?" she asked sleepily.

"The Azores, of course."

"Oh, dear," cried Irma, forgetting to thank Marion for his trouble.
"Why," she wondered, "did I take this particular morning to oversleep?"
Dressing at lightning speed, after a hurried repast she was soon on
deck. Then, to her disappointment, there was nothing to see. The
islands, wherever they might be, were veiled by a soft mist.

"They have been in sight for hours," some one said. Irma wished she had
asked her steward to call her at dawn. Not until they were well upon
Ponta Delgada did they have their first glimpse of St. Michael's toward
noon, and the warmth of the sun was modified by the thin veil of mist.
Gradually the mist dissolved, and not far away was the green shore, and
behind, a line of low, conical mountains parallel with the coast. Then a
white village appeared, and soon the spires and red roofs of Ponta
Delgada.

Luncheon had been served early, and towards one o'clock the boat
stopped, when still some distance from land. Large rowboats were pushing
out from shore, and one or two tugs carrying the Portuguese flag.

"The tugs are bringing health and customs officers. We can't land until
they have made their examination," Uncle Jim explained.

"How tedious to wait when we shall have so little time at the best!"

"Are we to go in those dreadful little boats?"

"Oh, it's a smooth sea; we'll get there safely enough."

"The town looks decidedly Spanish."

These and many similar remarks floated to Irma's ears. What impressed
her most was the fact that she must descend the steep steps that the
sailors were letting down from the side, and go ashore in a boat.

"It's safe enough," said Aunt Caroline. "Any one is foolish who remains
on the ship. But I am willing to stay here myself."

So Aunt Caroline remained on the boat, and Irma, with Uncle Jim ahead
and Marion behind, went down the long steps cautiously. When she had
taken her seat in the large rowboat, she found herself near Muriel and
her governess. The two girls were soon deep in conversation, while
Marion, some distance away, sat listless and silent.

"Your brother isn't cheerful to-day," said Muriel, as the boat neared
shore.

"He isn't my brother,--far from it," responded Irma, and unluckily at
that moment Marion, rising to be of assistance to the ladies on landing,
was near enough to hear both Muriel's remark and Irma's answer.

"Well, I am very glad not to be her brother," he thought, "and as to
that other girl, she's exactly the kind I don't like." And in this mood
Marion jumped hastily off when the boat pulled up, and running up the
short steps, walked along the quay in solitary sulkiness, with his hands
in his pockets.

"Your cavalier seems to have left you," said Uncle Jim mischievously, as
he helped Irma ashore. "I wonder if he will condescend to join us on our
tour of the town."

When they had pushed their way among the loungers at the wharf, however,
they saw Marion standing near an open carriage, drawn by two underfed
horses.

"How would this suit?" he asked. "The best carriages have been taken.
You know our boat was almost the last."

"Over there are a couple of good automobiles looking for passengers."

For the instant Marion's face clouded. "Oh, of course," added Uncle Jim
hastily. "I had forgotten. That wouldn't do. These horses may prove
better than they look, and as we have no time to lose, let us start."

Before setting off, Uncle Jim turned about to see whether Muriel and
Mademoiselle Potin had found a vehicle. Already they were seated in a
carriage much like the one he had chosen, with horses that looked
equally meek and hungry.

Then Uncle Jim's driver flourished and snapped his whip, and the horses
went off at a lively pace. Irma, indeed, wished they would go more
slowly, that she could get a better idea of the narrow streets. Yet even
as they drove rapidly along she had a definite impression of clean
pavements and small houses, many of them painted in bright colors. After
they had left the little crowd near the wharf, the streets seemed
deserted. Here and there an old man hobbled along, or a woman with a
shawl over her head, or a girl with a large basket of fruit. They met
oddly constructed carts, drawn by donkeys, and once they stopped to buy
fruit from a man who bore a long pole on his shoulders, from one end of
which hung a string of bananas, while from the other dangled a dozen
pineapples.

"Fortunately," said Uncle Jim, "as our time is limited, there are not
many important things to see in Ponta Delgada. We shall be obliged to
look at so many churches in Italy that we can neglect those here."

"I'd like to see the church where Columbus and his sailors gave thanks,
when they landed there after the storm."

"Santa Maria! Miles away!" cried Marion.

"Well," said Irma, slightly snubbed, "even if this isn't the place, it
is interesting to remember that some of these islands had been settled
years and years before America was discovered."

Soon they reached the famous garden, one of the two or three things best
worth seeing in the town. When they walked through the great iron gates
opened by a respectful servitor, at once Irma felt she was in a region
of mystery. The three went along in silence under tall trees whose
branches arched over the broad path.

Turning aside an instant, they gazed down a deep ravine, with banks
moss-grown and covered with ferns. Far below was a little stream, and
here and there the ravine was spanned by rustic bridges. Irma caught a
glimpse of a dark grotto and a carved stone seat.

"It is rather musty here; let us hurry on," suggested Uncle Jim.

"Musty!" protested Irma. "It is like poetry."

"Well, poetry is rather musty sometimes."

Irma could not tell whether or not Marion was in earnest.

Farther in the garden they saw more flowers--waxlike camellias and some
brilliant blossoms that neither she nor her companions could name. But
there were other favorites--fuschias, geraniums, roses, in size and
beauty surpassing anything Irma had ever seen.

"It reminds me of California," said Marion.

"Yes, there is the same soft air combined with the moisture that plants
love. Europe has no finer gardens than one or two of these on St.
Michael's. We'll have no time for another that belonged to José de
Cantos. The owner died a few years ago and left it to the public, with
enough money to keep it up. It has bamboo trees and palm trees and
mammoth ferns and the greenhouses are filled with orchids. But we'll
have to leave that for another visit. It is better now to go where we
can get a general view of this part of the island."

In the course of their walk they had met groups of sightseers from the
ship. But when they were ready to go back they had to turn to a group of
old men and women at work on a garden bed, who, with gesticulations,
directed them to the right path.

"Every one seems old here," said Irma, "even the men sweeping leaves
from the paths with their twig brooms look nearly a hundred."

"The young and strong probably emigrate," said Uncle Jim.

On leaving the garden the coachman took them to the "buena vista," a
hill where they had a lovely view of land and water. Far, far as they
could see, stretched fertile farms with comfortable houses and
outbuildings.

"Small farms," explained Uncle Jim, "ought to mean that a good many
people are very well off, and yet it is said that most of the people
here are poor."

When they were in the center of the town again, they sent their
carriage away, and then Irma and Marion hastened to one of the little
shops on the square, where the former bought post cards and the latter
some small silver souvenirs. They rejoined Uncle Jim at the Cathedral
door, but a glance at its tawdry interior contented them. Uncle Jim
filled Irma's arms with flowers bought from one of the young flower
sellers, and when at last they reached the wharf, they were among the
last to embark for the ship. Muriel and Mademoiselle Potin were waiting
for the same boat, and when they compared notes, the two girls found
that they had seen practically the same things, though in a different
order.

During their two or three hours on shore a fresh breeze had sprung up,
and the waves were high. The boat, making her way with difficulty,
sometimes did not seem perfectly under the control of the stalwart
oarsmen. This at least was Irma's opinion, as she sat there trembling.
Even Muriel, the experienced traveller, looked pale, and Irma wondered
how Marion felt, seated near the bow with his face turned resolutely
away from his friends.

"How huge the ship is," exclaimed Muriel, as they drew near the
_Ariadne_, a great black hulk whose keel seemed to touch bottom.

For a moment Irma had a spasm of fear. What if this great, black thing
should tip over some night! How could she make up her mind to live in it
for another week!

Their rowers rested on their oars a few minutes, while other boats just
ahead were putting passengers aboard. Looking to the decks so far above,
Irma recognized Aunt Caroline waving her handkerchief. If only she could
fly up there without any further battling with the waves!

"Come, Irma," said Uncle Jim. "There isn't the least danger. I will stay
on the boat until the last, and you can step just ahead of me."

All the others, even Muriel and Mademoiselle, had gone up the stairs
before Marion. He was just ahead of Irma, and when he had his footing,
he stood a step or two from the bottom, to help Irma. The men had
difficulty in steadying the boat. But one of them held Irma firmly,
until her feet were on a dry step. Then, as Marion extended his hand to
her, she put out hers when, it was hard to tell how it really happened,
Marion's foot slipped, and instead of helping Irma he fell against her,
almost throwing her into the tossing waves.

Irma, however, fortunately kept her presence of mind. Not only did she
grasp the guard rope quickly, but with her other arm she held Marion
firmly. Their feet were wet by the dashing waves, but there was no
further damage. They had had a great fright, though Marion seemed to
suffer the most. When Irma relaxed her hold, she could walk up to the
deck unaided, but Marion had to be supported by a boatman, until Uncle
Jim, closely following, drew his arm through his, and so helped him to
the deck.

Not even Aunt Caroline realized what had happened, when Irma said she
must go to her room to change her wet shoes. This she did quickly, as
she wished to see all she could of the coast of beautiful St. Michael's.

"Tell me now," said Aunt Caroline, from the depths of her chair, "was
going ashore really worth while?"

"Yes, indeed, you shouldn't have missed it."

"Ah, well, I was there years ago, visiting cousins who lived there. But
they are now dead, and everything would be so changed. I am told they
have electric lights, not only in Ponta Delgada, but in the villages
near by, and I don't suppose you met a single woman in the long capote,
with its queer hood, nor even one man in a dark carpuccia."

"Why, yes," responded Irma, smiling, "I met them on some post cards, but
nowhere else."

Irma hastened through her dinner that evening. Marion did not appear,
but the old gentleman came to her, and placed himself in Aunt Caroline's
vacant chair. He entered into a long conversation--or rather a
monologue, since in answer to Irma's brief questions he did most of the
talking.

He told Irma how isolated the islanders were from one another, so that
on Corvo, and one or two of the others, if the crops fail, or there is
any disaster, they signal for help by means of bonfires. Some of them
have mails to Portugal only once in two or three months. Ponta Delgada
is much better off, with boats at least twice a month to Lisbon, and
fairly good communication with other places. "But if I had time,"
continued the old gentleman, "I could find nothing more healthful and
pleasant than a cruise around these nine Western Islands."

"How large are they?" asked Irma abruptly.

"Well, they cover more water than land. St. Mary, St. Michael's nearest
neighbor, is fifty miles away, and Terceira, the next neighbor, is
ninety miles off. But St. Michael's, the largest of them all, is only
thirty-seven miles long by nine broad, and Corvo, the smallest, you
could almost put in your pocket with its four and a half miles of length
and three of breadth. But what they lack in size they make up in
climate."

"Then I don't see why the men are so ready to leave the islands."

"To make money, my child. If Portugal were better off, the islands would
share her prosperity. But they share the political troubles of the
mother country. Many farms produce barely enough for the tenants, who
have to deal with exacting landlords. But some of the large landowners,
especially those who raise pineapples, grow rich. The oranges and
bananas that they send to Lisbon, and their butter and cheese, too, make
money for the producers. But the islands won't be really prosperous
until they have more manufactures."

In his soliloquy, the old gentleman seemed to have forgotten Irma, and
she was on the point of calling his attention to the particularly high
and rugged aspect of the coast they were then passing, when he
continued, "St. Michael's, I believe, has made a good beginning with
carriages and furniture for its own use, and soap and potato alcohol for
export, and in time--but, my dear child, I am boring you to death----"

"Oh, no, but isn't the coast beautiful, with that veil of mist around
the tops of those mountains; what a pity it grows dark."

"What a pity it has grown so damp that I must order you in," said the
old gentleman kindly, and though he was neither uncle nor aunt, and no
real authority, Irma found herself following him within, as she turned
her back to the Western Islands.



CHAPTER III

TOWARD THE CONTINENT


"Aren't you tired of hearing people wonder when we shall arrive at
Gibraltar?"

"They needn't wonder. This is a slow boat, but we have averaged about
three hundred and twenty-five miles every day, so we must get in early
Tuesday unless something unusual happens. A high wind may spring up, but
even then we are pretty certain to come in sight of Gibraltar before
night."

"Oh, I can hardly wait until then," began Irma. "I hope we can go up on
top of the Rock, and down in the dungeons, and everywhere." Muriel, who
was walking with Irma and Marion, looked surprised at her friend's
enthusiasm, and even a trifle bored.

"Don't talk like a school book," she whispered, and Irma, reddening,
glanced up at Marion, to see if he shared Muriel's strange distaste for
history. But he gave no sign.

Since leaving the Azores, Muriel's frank friendliness for Irma had added
much to the pleasure of the two girls. Though they had been brought up
so differently, they had much in common. Muriel's winters were usually
spent there, but she had also travelled widely. She had been educated by
governesses, and yet Irma could but notice that she was less well
informed in history and had less interest in books than many of her own
friends at home. Irma did not compare her own knowledge with Muriel's,
but an impartial critic would probably have decided that, whatever might
be the real merits of the two systems, Irma had profited the more from
the education given her. In modern French and German, however, Muriel
certainly was proficient, and when she complained of Mademoiselle Potin,
Irma would tell her to be thankful that she had so good a chance to
practice French.

Since the day at St. Michael's, Marion had ceased to avoid Irma, and
though he spent little time with her, he was evidently trying to be
friendly. He never referred to his misadventure coming on board. Aunt
Caroline had brought Irma his thanks.

"He is very nervous, as you must have noticed," she said, "and he may be
unable to talk to you about this. For he feels that he has disgraced
himself again; and though he is incorrect in this, still I appreciate
his feelings, and hope you will accept his thanks."

"Why, there's really nothing to thank me for," began Irma.

"Oh, yes, my dear, we all think differently. You certainly have great
presence of mind. Poor Marion."

In spite of Aunt Caroline's sympathetic tones, Irma did not pity Marion.
He was a fine, manly-looking boy, and the sea air had brought color to
his face, while his fretful expression had almost gone.

After the first day or two at sea Irma had begun to make new
acquaintances. Among them was a little girl who greatly reminded her of
Tessie as she had been a few years earlier. So one day she called her to
listen to the steamer letter from Tessie, that she had found under her
plate that morning.

"Dear Irma, when you read this--for I hope Uncle Jim will give my
letter to you--you will be far out on the ocean, where it is very deep,
with no islands or peninsulas in sight, and I hope you will be careful
not to fall overboard. But please look over the edge of the boat once in
a while to see if there are any whales about. Of course, I hope they
won't be large enough to upset your steamboat, but if you see one,
please take a photograph and send it to me, for I never saw a photograph
of a truly, live whale.

"I can't tell you any news, because I am writing this before you leave
home, so you'll be sure to get it. I would feel too badly to write after
you get started.

                        "From your loving Tessie."

The letter interested little Jean very much. She had already heard about
Tessie and Nap, and now she rushed to the edge of the deck, and when
Irma followed her, the child upturned to her a disappointed face.

"I can't see one."

"One what?"

"A whale--and Tessie will be so disappointed. I know she wants that
photograph."

"No matter, I can take your photograph, only you must smile."

So Jean smiled, and the photograph was taken with the camera that Uncle
Jim had given Irma.

"It will be more fun to look for Gibraltar than for whales. To-morrow we
must all have our eyes open."

"What's Gibraltar?"

"The great big rock where we are going to land."

"I don't want to land on a rock," pouted Jean. "I want to go ashore."

"Oh, we'll go ashore, too."

That evening there was a dance on the ship. The upper deck was covered
with canvas, and canvas enclosed the sides. Gay bunting and English and
American flags brightened the improvised ballroom, and most of the
younger passengers, as well as not a few of the elder, spent at least
part of the evening there.

"Hasn't Marion been here?" asked Aunt Caroline, when she and Uncle Jim
appeared on the scene.

"I haven't seen him," responded Irma.

"What a goose he is!" exclaimed Uncle Jim.

"He's very grumpy, isn't he?" commented Muriel, but Irma made no reply.

On Tuesday Irma was on deck early. In the distance a thin dark line
after a time took on height and breadth.

"Cape Trafalgar!" some one exclaimed.

"Europe at last!" thought Irma.

"What do you think of Spain?" asked Uncle Jim, standing beside her.

"It seems to be chiefly brown cliffs. And so few villages! Where are the
cities?"

"You'll find seaports only where there are harbors. They are not
generally found on rocky promontories."

Irma turned about. Yes, the speaker was indeed Marion, whose approach
she had not observed.

"Oh, Cadiz is not so very far to the north there," interposed Uncle Jim,
in an effort to throw oil on the troubled waters, "and we cannot tell
just what lies behind those heights. What is there, Marion? You've been
in Spain."

But Marion had disappeared.

After passing Trafalgar, the _Ariadne_ kept nearer shore. Now there was
a house in sight, again a little white hamlet lying low at the base of
the brown, bare cliffs.

Far ahead the clouds took on new shapes, and did not change. Could that
be the huge bulk of Gibraltar, seen through a mist?

Uncle Jim laughed when Irma put the question to him.

"You are looking in the wrong direction."

"Then it must be Africa. Oh, I wish we might go nearer."

"In that case you might miss the Rock altogether, and take the chance,
too, of being wrecked on a savage coast."

But the Spanish shore gained in interest. Here and there small fishing
boats pushed out. Sometimes steamboats were in sight, smaller than the
_Ariadne_ yet of good size, traders along the coast from London,
perhaps, to Spanish or French ports. Muriel and Irma amused themselves
guessing their nationality, with Uncle Jim as referee. Strange birds
flew overhead. Then a town, grayish rather than white, and a lighthouse
on the height above.

"Tarifa," some one explained, and those who knew said that Gibraltar
could not be far away. Soon Irma, who had kept her face toward the
African shore, was startled by a voice in her ear. "The Pillars of
Hercules are near; people are so busy gathering up their things to go
ashore that I was afraid you might go to your stateroom for something,
and so miss them."

"You are very kind to think of me," said Irma, turning toward Marion,
for it was he who had spoken. "How I wish we were to land at some of
those strange African places."

"Tangiers might be worth while, but I love this distant view of the
mountains."

"Do you know the name of the African pillar?"

"Yes--Abyla! and Gibraltar, formerly known as Calpé, was the other. It's
a pity we won't have time to go to the top of the Rock. The
Carthaginians used to go up there to watch for the Roman ships. The
British officer on guard at the top of the Rock must have a wonderful
view. Some one told me you can see from the Sierra Nevadas in Spain to
the Atlas in Africa. Just think of being perched up there, fourteen
hundred feet above the sea. If only we could have a whole day at
Gibraltar, we might see something, but now----" and the old expression
of discontent settled on Marion's lips.

"Oh, well, we can probably go around the fortifications," responded
Irma, trying to console him.

"The fortifications! Oh, no, there are miles of them, and the galleries
are closed at sundown, so that we couldn't get into them, even if we had
a pass,--I suppose that's what they call it."

"Well, at least we'll see the town itself, and we can't help running
upon some of the garrison, for there are several thousand soldiers and
officers."

"Oh, I dare say, but it isn't the same thing as visiting Gibraltar
decently. Uncle Jim ought to have planned a trip through Spain. It would
be three times more interesting than Italy."

Irma, who had visited neither country, did not contradict Marion. Enough
for her even a short stay at one of the most famous places in the world,
the wonderful fortress that the British had defended and held so bravely
during a four years' siege more than a century ago.

"Marion is a strange boy," thought Irma. "I wonder why he tries to make
himself miserable."

After passing the jagged and mysterious Pillars of Hercules, Irma soon
saw the huge bulk of Gibraltar not far off, and then it seemed but a
short run until they had gained the harbor. Her heart sank when she
found they were to anchor some distance from shore, for though the water
was still and calm, she did not like the small boats. But Uncle Jim
laughed at her fears, assuring her that they would be taken off in a
comfortable tender.

The tender was slow in coming, and during the time of waiting some
passengers fretted and fumed. "If they don't get us in by sunset they
may not let us land at all. There is such a rule."

When others asserted that there was no such rule, some still fretted,
because after five there would be no chance to visit the fortifications.

"Come, Irma," said Uncle Jim, "these lamentations have some foundation
in fact. But Gibraltar's a small town, and we'll improve our two shining
hours, which surely shine with much heat, by getting our bearings here."

"There's plenty to see," responded Irma. "I suppose those are English
warships in their gray coats, and there's a German flag on that great
ocean liner. It seems to be crowded with men, immigrants, I suppose, for
they are packed on the decks like--like----"

"Yes, like flies on flypaper." And Irma smiled at the comparison.

Not far from a great mole that stretched out, hot and bare in the sun,
two clumsy colliers were anchored; here and there little sailboats
darted in and out, and the small steam ferries plied backward and
forward to the distant wooded shore, which Uncle Jim said was Algeciras.
But it was the gray mass of Gibraltar itself that held Irma's attention.
The town side, seen from the harbor, though less steep than the outline
usually seen in pictures, was yet most imposing. Along its great
breadth, lines of fortifications could be discerned, and barracks,
grayish in color, like the rock itself. There were lines of pale brown
houses that some one said were officers' quarters, and an old ruin, the
remains of an ancient Moorish castle.

A number of passengers were to land at Gibraltar to make a tour of
Spain, among them little Jean. Irma had turned for a last good-by to
them, when Aunt Caroline, joining her, told her that people were already
going on board the tender.

"What are your exact sensations, Irma?" whispered Uncle Jim,
mischievously, "on touching your foot to the soil of Europe? You know
you'll wish to be accurate when you record this in your diary. Excuse me
for reminding you."

"Come, come," remonstrated Aunt Caroline. "Irma may have to record her
feelings on finding that every conveyance into the town has been secured
by other passengers, while a frivolous uncle had forgotten his duty."

But even as she spoke, Marion approached them, walking beside a
carriage, to whose driver he was talking.

"Well done, Marion; so you jumped off ahead, and though it's a
queer-looking outfit, it will probably have to suit your critical aunt."

"It's much better than most carriages here," replied Marion, a trifle
indignantly; "some of them have only one horse."

"You are very thoughtful, Marion," said Aunt Caroline, as they took
their places in the brown, canopied phaeton. "No, not now, not now," she
cried, as a tall, dignified Spaniard thrust a basket of flowers toward
her. "Orange blossoms and pansies are almost irresistible, but it is
wiser to wait until we are on our way back to the boat."

Marion's face had brightened at Aunt Caroline's praise, and thus, in
good humor, he chatted pleasantly with Irma as they drove on. So long
was the procession of vehicles ahead of them that their own carriage
went slowly through the narrow street. A Moor in flowing white robes and
huge turban attracted Irma's attention, as she observed him seated in
the doorway of a warehouse on the dock. Farther on they saw a boy of
perhaps seventeen, similarly arrayed, pushing a baby carriage.

"The servant of an English officer," Uncle Jim explained. "Look your
hardest at him, for we shall not see many of his kind after this. It is
now past the hour when the Moorish market closes. After that all Moors
must be out of the town in their homes outside the gates, except those
employed in private families."

As the carriage turned into the long, crooked thoroughfare that is the
chief business street of Gibraltar, the driver pulled up before a small
shop that had a sign "New York Newspapers."

"He knows what we need; run, Marion, and get us the latest news."

"Yes, Aunt Caroline." But there was disappointment on Marion's face when
he returned a few moments later.

"There was another liner in early this morning, and all the latest
papers are gone. They have only the European editions of New York
papers, and the two I could get are a week old."

"No matter, son, you did the best you could."

"These are two or three days later than the last we saw in New York, and
as they have no bad news, or I might say no news at all, we may be
thankful. But we must move on. In this bustling town there's no time to
stand still."

"What interesting shops!" began Irma.

"Oh, they're ugly and dingy," said Marion.

"In Europe we're almost bound to admire the dingy, if not the ugly,"
returned Uncle Jim.

"Where are we going?" asked Aunt Caroline.

"Out to the jumping-off place," said Marion. "That won't take long.
After that we can go shopping, or at least you can."

"There's a great deal I can enjoy," said Irma pleasantly.

Then they drove on past a park where boys were romping on a gravelled
playground, while in another portion officers played cricket. They
passed many soldiers in khaki, and here and there a red coat. A sloping
road led up to a set of officers' quarters, detached houses, shaded by
tropical trees. Here they noticed a girl on horseback, a young girl of
about Irma's age, with her hair hanging in a long braid beneath her
broad, felt hat, and not far from her two or three girls driving.

At the little Trafalgar burying-ground their driver paused a moment that
they might read the inscriptions on some of the monuments, marking the
burial places of many brave English patriots. They had time for a bare
glance at the old Moorish garden across the road.

"This is the jumping-off place," cried Marion, as they came in sight of
the water. At one side was a pool where the soldiers bathed, and near by
the officers' bathing-houses.

"I know that I should be turning back," said Aunt Caroline. "My special
shop is up Gunners' Lane, and when I have been left there, you others
may inspect the town. At the most there isn't much time."

Marion, however, insisted on staying with Aunt Caroline.

"Very well, then. After we have spent all our money on antiques, we'll
meet you in front of the post office. I noticed it as we came along; and
you must surely be there at half past seven."

"Yes, yes," promised Uncle Jim. "Now, my dear," he said, as he and Irma
returned to the main street, "we can let the carriage go, as we shall
probably spend our time passing in and out of these shops."

It was now after six, and the street was thronged. Many were evidently
working people on their way home from their day's labors, but some were
shoppers with baskets on their arms, and others were evidently tourists,
loitering or running in and out of the shops. It was a good-natured
crowd that pushed and jostled and overflowed into the middle of the
street. Among the throng were many sailors from the ships of war.

For some time Uncle Jim with Irma gazed in the windows, and wandered in
and out of the most promising shops. In his shopping he had one
invariable method. No matter what the object, or its cost, he always
offered half the price asked.

"Is it fair," asked Irma timidly, "to beat them down?"

"It's fair to me," he replied. "In this way I stand a chance of getting
things at something near their value."

"How much is that?"

"Usually one half the asking price. Listen."

So Irma listened while a lady near by was bargaining with the Hindu
salesman.

"Never in my life has such a price been known," he protested, as the
lady held up for inspection a spangled Egyptian scarf. The lady advanced
reasons for her price.

"I cannot make my bread," cried the man, "if I throw my goods away." Yet
he thrust the scarf into the lady's hand, and then sold her a second at
the same price, without a word of argument.

"These men are Orientals," explained Uncle Jim, "and this is their way
of doing business. They mark a thing double or treble what they expect
to get, and would be surprised if you should buy without bargaining.
This man probably goes through this process a dozen times a day after an
ocean liner has come into port, and doubtless congratulates himself on
the extent of his trade."

Uncle Jim further explained that things made in India and Egypt were
brought to Gibraltar at small expense, and could be sold for much less
than in America or France or even Spain. So he bought spangled scarfs
and silver belt buckles, and a number of other little things that he
said would exactly suit Aunt Caroline. But Irma bought nothing, tempting
though many things were. Realizing that all Italy lay before her, she
did not care to draw yet on the little hoard that she was saving for
presents for those at home. After they had visited a number of shops,
Irma remembered that she had several letters to post.

"You can't buy stamps at the post office," said Uncle Jim. "That's one
of the peculiarities of Europe. Stamps are sold where you least expect
to find them, usually in a tobacconist's. I will go to the shop over
there and get some."

A moment later, when Uncle Jim returned with the stamps, a gentleman
whom Irma did not know was with him.

"This is my old friend, Gregory," he said, presenting him to Irma. "If
we had not that appointment to meet your aunt and Marion here, I would
take you to the hotel to see Mrs. Gregory. It is impossible for her to
come out, and I am sorry to miss her."

"Yes, and she will be disappointed at not seeing you. But she is
extremely tired, as we arrived on the German liner this morning, and
to-morrow we start on a fatiguing trip through Spain."

"If it would not take more than a quarter of an hour, there is no reason
why you should not go back to the hotel, Uncle Jim. I can wait here, for
Aunt Caroline and Marion may come along at any minute."

After a little thought, Uncle Jim decided that Irma's plan was
practicable. But he wished her to wait in a phaeton, to whose driver he
gave explicit directions not to go more than a block from the
post-office door.

But when after a quarter of an hour neither Uncle Jim nor Aunt Caroline
had appeared, Irma was greatly disturbed.

"I wouldn't make a good Casabianca," she thought.

Some of her friends from the _Ariadne_ passed her, and one or two
stopped to advise her. "They would have been here ten minutes ago, had
they expected to meet you here." "No, they are probably waiting for you
at the landing." Even the driver shared this view, and at a quarter of
eight Irma drove down to the boat escorted by the carriage in which sat
Muriel and her mother and governess.

"You must stay with us," said Muriel, "until you find your aunt. She's
probably on the tender."

But just at this moment a hand was laid on Irma's arm. Turning about,
she saw that the little old gentleman was beside her.

"Excuse me," he said, "but your aunt is over there. She has not yet gone
aboard the tender." As he pointed to the left, Irma saw Aunt Caroline
and Marion under the electric light near the waiting-room. When she had
reached them the old gentleman was nowhere in sight.

"We forgot that we had agreed on the post office," explained Aunt
Caroline, "at least I thought it was the landing. Then we were afraid to
go back, for fear of making matters worse. But what has become of your
uncle?"

Irma's explanation was not particularly soothing to her aunt.

"If he isn't here soon, he will lose his passage on the _Ariadne_. We
must go on, even without him. Some other boat for Naples will come soon.
We can better spend extra time at Naples than wait here."

"But suppose something has happened to him!" suggested Marion.

"I am not afraid. This isn't the first time he has missed boats--but
still----" Aunt Caroline seemed to waver. The last whistle had been
blown when a figure was seen making flying leaps towards the boat. It
was Uncle Jim, who later explained that he had forgotten to look at his
watch until his friend suddenly reminded him that he had but five
minutes in which to reach the boat. Thereupon he had decided that his
only way was to run as if for his life. Almost exhausted, he was
evidently not a fit subject for reproof, and Aunt Caroline merely
expressed her thankfulness that he had not been detained at Gibraltar.



CHAPTER IV

AWAY FROM GIBRALTAR


As the _Ariadne_ steamed away from Gibraltar, the harbor looked very
unlike that of the afternoon. It was now cool, and dark except when lit
by flashes from the searchlights. The warships that had looked so sombre
in the afternoon were now outlined by rows of tiny electric lights, and
myriads of lights twinkled from the town lying along the face of the
Rock.

With so much beauty outside, Irma could not leave the deck of the
_Ariadne_. As she stood there alone, the little old gentleman
approached. "There is to be a sham fight in the harbor to-night. That
accounts for the unusual illumination."

"It is too beautiful for words. I must stay until we see the other face
of the Rock--the picture side."

"I wish I could stay, but I came only to bring you this. It may be of
use to you, as you can have no dinner."

"No dinner! But I wish none."

"Some of your friends, however, may need something more substantial than
the view. The company is saving an honest penny by allowing those who
went ashore to abstain from dinner. It would have been served as usual,
it was ready, the stewards say, if there had been passengers here to eat
it."

"But they were all ashore."

"The passengers coming on at Gibraltar were here. Others could have
been, but they preferred sightseeing at Gibraltar. Consequently they
were punished."

The company's meanness seemed absurd, but as the old gentleman departed,
Irma thanked him warmly for his gift,--a good-sized basket filled with
fruit and cakes.

For some time Irma strained her eyes for a glimpse of the other side of
the Rock. At length, against the sky rose a huge bulk that might have
escaped a less keen vision. Almost instantly a passing cloud darkened
the sky, and the giant became invisible.

When Irma went inside she found a discontented crowd gathered in
passageways and in the library. Loud were the complaints that greeted
her of the company's cruelty in omitting dinner.

"We went ashore without even our usual afternoon tea, and no one had
time to think of food at Gibraltar."

Irma held out her basket. "A fairy godfather visited me," she said, "but
I really do not know just what he gave me. Come, share it with me."

Aunt Caroline looked surprised; Uncle Jim gave an expressive whistle,
while even on Marion's face was an expression of curiosity.

"I do not even know what is in the basket," repeated Irma, "though the
fairy godfather said it held fruit and cakes."

"I should say so," exclaimed Uncle Jim lifting the cover. "What fruit!
And that cake looks as if it had been made in Paris. Just now these are
much more attractive than those spangled scarfs I wrestled for with that
Hindu. By the way, Irma, are these for show or use? They look too good
to eat."

"Try them and see," answered Irma.

"I'd be more eager to eat if I knew the name of the fairy godfather."

"I don't know it myself," said Irma.

"This feast will dull our appetites for the nine o'clock rarebit,"
interposed Uncle Jim, who had made a test of the basket's contents.

"I am sure a fairy godfather wouldn't use poison," and Aunt Caroline
followed Uncle Jim's example.

When Irma turned to offer the basket to Marion, he had left the group.

"Poor boy," exclaimed Aunt Caroline. "He told me he felt very faint. It
seems he had little luncheon. Perhaps we shall find him in the dining
saloon."

But when they descended to the dining saloon, Marion was not there, nor
did they see him again that night. Yet, if she could not share the old
gentleman's gift with Marion, Irma found Muriel most grateful for a
portion. For some time the two girls sat together at one end of the long
table, comparing notes about Gibraltar. They stayed together so late,
indeed, that just before the lights were put out Aunt Caroline appeared.

"Why, Irma, my dear, after this exciting day I should think you would
need rest earlier than usual."

"Perhaps so, Aunt Caroline. But the day has been so exciting that I
cannot feel sleepy."

"It has grown foggy," said Aunt Caroline, as they went to their room.
"I do not like fog, and I am glad that we have but two or three more
nights at sea."

Once in her berth Irma soon slept. She thought indeed that she had been
asleep for hours, when suddenly she woke. It must be morning! But as she
opened her eyes, not a glimmer of light came through the porthole. What
had wakened her? Then she realized that the boat was still. What had
happened? She was conscious of persons walking on the decks above, of
voices far away, even of an occasional shout. Ought she to waken Aunt
Caroline? While her thoughts were running thus, she had jumped from her
berth, and a moment later, in wrapper and moccasins, had made her way to
the deck. A few other passengers were moving about, and a group of
stewards and stewardesses stood at the head of the stairs, as if
awaiting orders.

"What is it?" she cried anxiously. Before her question had been
answered, some one shoved her arm rather roughly. Looking up she saw
that Marion had come up behind her.

"What are you doing here?" he said brusquely. "You will get your death.
It is very cold."

Irma shivered. In spite of her long cape she was half frozen. The night
air was chilly, and it was on this account that Marion pulled her from
the open door.

"Are we in danger? I thought I wouldn't wake Aunt Caroline until I
knew."

At this moment Marion, unfortunately, smiled. He was fully dressed and
wore a long overcoat. With his well-brushed hair he presented a strong
contrast to poor, dishevelled Irma. Naturally, then, she resented his
smile, occasioned, she thought, by her untidy appearance.

"You are a very disagreeable boy," she cried angrily. "I wish I had told
you so long ago." Thereupon Irma turned toward the stewards, among whom
she recognized the man who took care of her stateroom.

"No, Miss, we're not in danger," he answered. "It's foggy, and there was
something wrong about signals, but we stopped just in time to get clear
of a man-of-war. It would have been pretty bad if she had run into us.
So go back to your bed, Miss; it's all right now, and we're starting up
again."

Marion was unhappy as he watched Irma walking downstairs. Evidently he
had in some way offended her; but how? She was an amiable girl; he was
sure of this. Therefore his own offence must have been very serious. "It
is no use," said Marion bitterly, "I cannot expect people to like me. Of
course, she started with a prejudice, and she will never get over it."

Now Irma, when she returned to her berth, though reassured by what the
steward had said, did not at once fall asleep. For a long time she lay
with eyes wide open listening to many strange sounds, some real, some
imaginary. But at last, when a metallic hammering had continued for
hours, as it seemed to her, she was quite sure something had happened to
the boilers, and she drowsily hoped the _Ariadne_ would keep afloat
until morning. It would be so much easier to get off in the lifeboats by
daylight. Then she must have fallen asleep. At least the next thing of
which she was aware was Aunt Caroline's loud whisper to the stewardess.
"We won't disturb her. She can sleep until luncheon."

Aunt Caroline laughed, when Irma, looking through the curtains of her
berth, asked the time.

"Past breakfast time, my dear, but the stewardess will bring you hot
coffee and toast. You will have only a short hour to wait for luncheon."

Thus Irma broke her record of never missing a meal in the dining-room,
and shortened a day that otherwise would have seemed very long, as the
fog did not clear until late afternoon.

All this day Marion spent in a corner of the library. The ship's
collection of books contained nothing very recent, but in it were one or
two old favorites, whom for the time he preferred as companions to any
of his fellow passengers. As to Irma, he tried to put her out of his
mind. The world for him again became a dull, stupid place, and most of
its inhabitants were his enemies.

Strange as it may seem, Irma had soon forgotten her pettishness of the
night before. Her fright, the noises from the boiler room, all had
seemed a kind of nightmare. So on Thursday, which might be their last
full day at sea, she wondered that Marion, who had seemed so friendly at
Gibraltar, should now be so unsocial.

She and Muriel spent much time together. Though they had not been
fortunate enough to see any whales, they did catch sight of a few
porpoises, spouting in the water not far away, and as the day was
particularly sunny, Irma used her camera to advantage. Not only had she
photographed little Jean and her black nurse earlier, and several
passengers whom she best knew, but she caught the captain and several of
the officers going the rounds at morning inspection, and some of the
crew at fire drill.

She even leaned over the railing and turned her camera toward the
steerage. As she steadied her camera, many turned their eyes toward her.
Two or three smiled and waved their hands in a friendly manner.
Altogether there was not a large number. In the spring, the captain had
told her, not many immigrants returned to Europe. Those now going back
to Italy were chiefly those whom the Government had forbidden to land.
Some others, who had been in America a short time, were also sent back
at the public expense, because likely to become public charges.

Muriel and Irma had frequently speculated about the character of
several whom they had seen on the third cabin deck from day to day. One
group of rough men with bright handkerchiefs twisted about their necks,
and caps pulled over their eyes, they called anarchists, and they had
theories about most of the others. Both girls had a strong desire to
make a tour of the steerage quarters, under the guidance of the ship's
doctor. He assured Aunt Caroline that there was no contagious disease.
One poor woman had consumption, and might not live to reach Italy, and
two or three others were in a decline, but there would be no danger for
the young ladies.

But neither Muriel's mother nor Aunt Caroline would consent to let the
girls see more of the third cabin than they could observe from their own
deck.

"I really believe," said Irma, "that Aunt Caroline thinks I will catch
something from these negatives of the steerage. She is so nervous about
it."

"Then I should think she would be unwilling to have Marion spend so much
time there."

"Marion! oh, she doesn't care to have him down there. I remember what
she said when he asked her one day."

"Well, he goes just the same. I heard my mother and Mademoiselle talking
about it only yesterday."

This so surprised Irma that she closed her camera and took no more
pictures.

"I wonder," she said, as if to change the subject, "why that old woman
sits there in the corner with her hands over her face. Those little
girls, I think, must be her grandchildren. Generally she has the baby in
her arms, but the two older girls seem to be taking care of it to-day,
and the oldest isn't here at all. She's about my age. Why, there she is,
sitting by herself, and her eyes are very red, as if she had been
crying."

Later in the day, after Muriel had left her, Irma sat down on a settee
at the uncovered end of the deck where a number of people, old and
young, were playing shuffleboard. Just then the ship's doctor passed,
and she thought it a good time to ask him about the old woman in the
steerage.

"The old woman is downhearted. Her daughter, the mother of the four
girls, died a couple of days ago. She was longing to live until she
reached Italy, was sure, in fact, that once there she would recover. But
from the first I knew her case was hopeless, and we buried her at sea
the night before we touched at Gibraltar."

"Oh," sighed Irma, "it must be hard for the children."

"Yes, very hard. You see it's only a short time since they went out
from Italy. The father had a trade, but a week or two after landing he
was taken ill, and in another week or two had died. Charitable societies
looked after them for a while. They came under the law that requires
those likely to become a public charge to be sent back. They have no
friends in America."

"I suppose they have in Italy."

"Yes, and though probably they, too, are poor, still the family will be
better off there. With no real wage-earner I do not see what they could
do in your country."

"I can't see what they will do in Italy, if they have no money."

"Oh, they have enough to take them up to Fiesole. That is where they
live. But there, you must know something about it; some of the
passengers are taking up a collection for them."

"Why, no! I have heard nothing of it."

"That's strange, for that young man in your party, Marion Horton, is
interested. He's been very good, too, to another steerage passenger, a
young fellow from Bologna, who is paying his own way back. He has taken
Italian lessons from him, I believe."

"You surprise me," said Irma, as the doctor moved away. Could it be
that Aunt Caroline and Uncle Jim knew nothing of Marion's doings? Later
others spoke to her about the death of the Italian woman and the needs
of her family, and then Muriel came to say that she had given five
dollars to the fund a Mrs. Brown was gathering, "and do you know that
Marion Horton has charge of it? Isn't it funny he never told you?"

The more Irma thought about it the more certain she became that Marion
hesitated about letting Aunt Caroline and Uncle Jim know that he was in
the habit of visiting the steerage. While they had no right, perhaps, to
dictate to a boy of seventeen, still Aunt Caroline had expressed herself
strongly against his going to the third cabin. Evidently he did not wish
her to know that he had disregarded her wishes. What he was unwilling to
tell Aunt Caroline and Uncle Jim, he would hardly confide to Irma. It
happened, however, that at dinner that evening Marion himself told the
story of the old grandmother and her young charges. But though he spoke
of the little fund that had been raised, he did not mention his own
interest in it.

"Some one came to me yesterday," said Uncle Jim, when Marion had
finished, "and I made a contribution. I did not know the exact need, but
you have made it now quite clear."

She approached him as he was starting out on deck.

"Here is a dollar; please add it to the fund," said Irma to Marion after
dinner. Marion glanced at her in astonishment. But he did not take her
money. Instead he waved his hand as if to push it away.

"No, no," he replied. "No, we do not need it. We have enough."

Then, without another glance at Irma, he walked away.

"Does he think I offer too little, or does he dislike me so much that he
won't take my money?" But there was no one to answer her question.

It was now Irma's turn to feel hurt. Small as her offering was, the
dollar meant some sacrifice. At least she had taken it from the little
sum she had set aside for presents for the family and Lucy and Gertrude
and other friends. From her it was a larger sum than twenty dollars from
Muriel. So it was trying to have her intended gift treated disdainfully.

That evening, as she sat on deck, wondering if this would really be her
last night at sea, some one dropped into the empty chair beside hers.

"Why so quiet, god-daughter?" It was the voice of the old gentleman, but
how had he learned that she sometimes called him the "fairy godfather?"
She was glad now to see him. She might not have many more of those
pleasant talks with him, unless, perhaps, their paths should cross in
Italy. But she had never ventured to ask him just where he was going.
Now, contrary to his habit, the old gentleman talked less of the
countries he had visited in the past. In some way, before she realized
it, he had turned the conversation in the direction of Marion, and after
he had left her, Irma was conscious that she had given him much more
information than she ought to have given a stranger.

"Yes, yes," he had exclaimed, "I can see just what he is like. Willful
as ever," and with an abrupt "good night" he had hurried away.

"It isn't quite fair that we should all be so pleased at the prospect
of landing," said Uncle Jim Friday morning. "Every one seems to think
the sooner we are in Naples the better. But we've had a fine trip, no
accidents, few seasick, few homesick. Yet here we are with our steamer
trunks packed, almost ready to swim ashore, rather than stay longer on
the _Ariadne_."

"It's human nature, always longing for change. But we might as well
possess our souls in patience. Those who know say it will be late
afternoon before we even catch a glimpse of the Bay of Naples."

"Oh, Aunt Caroline!"

"There, Irma, you are as impatient as the rest of us. It is really true
that we may not land until evening."

Evidently Aunt Caroline spoke with good authority. It was late afternoon
before they saw the rugged heights of Ischia in the distance. They were
at dinner when they actually passed it, and when they entered the lovely
Bay of Naples, the sun had set, and it was too dark to see its actual
beauties clearly. When at last they were anchored, it was as if they
were in fairyland. The city was a semicircle of brilliant lights curving
in front of them. They were surrounded by boats of every size, all of
them carrying lights.

"Must we land again in tenders?" sighed Irma. "Are there no wharves in
Europe?"

A fine mist was falling.

"Before we go ashore it may be a heavy rain," said Uncle Jim. "If you
agree, we can do as the larger number here intend to do. We can sleep on
shipboard, and in the morning make a fresh start."

The others agreed with Uncle Jim, and remained out on deck to watch the
embarkation of those who were going ashore. While they waited, many
little boats pushed near the _Ariadne_. In one a quartette sang the
sweet Neapolitan songs. In another some stringed instruments played a
soft melody. Sometimes the music stopped, while players or singers
scrambled for the coppers thrown to the boats by passengers on deck.
Then, when the music was resumed, the sound of laughter was mingled with
it.

Presently a procession of immigrants passed along the deck, carrying
bundles and baskets. They made their way slowly to the gangway to
descend to the tender.

"I wonder if they are glad to be coming home," whispered Irma to Uncle
Jim.

"No, I fancy most of them prefer America."

Just then, at the sound of laughter behind them, Irma and her uncle
turned about to see a tall Italian stooping to pick some bananas from
the deck. Over his shoulder was a long string of bananas, bought
probably in the Azores. Some that were overripe had fallen to the deck.
Hardly had he picked these up, when two or three others fell--then
others. The poor fellow was in despair. He did not wish to leave them.
But he had no way of carrying them. For besides the string of bananas he
had to take care of his bundle of clothing carried clumsily under the
other arm. While he stood there half dazed, as a companion stooped to
help him, suddenly there was a movement in the group of bystanders. A
brown linen bag was thrown down at his feet, and a voice cried in
Italian, "There, put your bananas in the bag, put them all in and take
the bag home with you."

"Well done, Marion," cried Uncle Jim, for he and Irma had instantly
recognized Marion's voice. "Come here and tell us how you happened to
think of it."

"Oh, it was easy enough to think of the bag. It was the last thing I
put in the tray of my trunk. I was only afraid I couldn't get back with
it in time. I dare say the poor wretch meant to sell those bananas at a
profit when he lands, and I didn't wish to have his trade spoiled."

"But where in the world did you learn the Italian you hurled at him? He
seemed to understand it, too."

"Oh, I knew a few words before I left home, and here on shipboard I have
managed to pick up a few more."

Did Marion speak with embarrassment, or did Irma imagine this because
she had heard of his going to the steerage for lessons?

"_Addio, addio_," cried the owner of the bananas, who had completed his
task of packing the fruit in Marion's bag.

"_Addio, addio_," responded Marion, while the man, as he passed on to
the gangway, poured forth a flood of thanks.

When the tender had steamed off, Irma went below. She needed a good
night's rest, for breakfast was to be at half past seven.

In the misty morning the tender made a quick run to the dock. Just as
they pushed away from the _Ariadne_ Irma heard a voice crying, "Good-by,
god-daughter." It was the little old gentleman. Since evening she had
not seen him, and now she was ashamed that she had not tried to find him
for a word of farewell.

"Good-by, good-by," she cried, waving her handkerchief. But already he
had slipped back out of sight.

"To whom were you calling?" asked Aunt Caroline.

"To the fairy godfather."

"If you were not generally so sensible, sometimes I should think you
quite out of your mind," rejoined Aunt Caroline. "Except for that fruit
at Gibraltar, your fairy godfather would seem a myth. For neither your
uncle nor I ever saw such a person on the _Ariadne_. Did you, Marion?"

"Of course not," replied Marion shortly.

But Irma only smiled. She knew there was such a person.



CHAPTER V

ON SHORE


The arrival at Naples was much less terrible than many persons had
pictured it to Irma and Aunt Caroline. No one attempted to tear their
chatelaine bags from them; the officers of the _dogana_ were perfectly
civil; no one tried to abstract their trunks. It is true there was a
long and apparently needless delay before their trunks were examined and
marked, but they made light of this when once they were in the carriage
on their way to the hotel.

The busy streets through which they first passed were broad and clean.
Electric cars, hardly different from the American type, ran through
them. The men and women on the sidewalks stepped along briskly. Aunt
Caroline and Uncle Jim made constant contrasts between the Naples of the
present and the past.

"The cholera of '84 had one good result; it enabled the city fathers
here to do away with many old slums, and put these new streets in their
place."

Their way eventually led up a broad avenue that mounted to the heights
above the old city. Once or twice, at a turn of the road, they had a
view of the bay, and of Vesuvius in the distance.

"There, there, Irma," cried Uncle Jim, when they first saw the mountain.
"Let your heart beat as rapidly as it will; you now look on one of the
wonders of the world."

Their hotel was on ground so high that they entered it by a subway, and
thence by elevator to the summit of a rock whereon stood the hotel.
While Uncle Jim was securing rooms, the others, by a common impulse,
rushed out on a balcony, of which they had caught a glimpse.

"Yes, this is Naples!" exclaimed Aunt Caroline, looking down on the
lovely bay, clear and blue. "But," she continued, "Vesuvius is certainly
changed--I did not realize that losing the top would so alter him, or
her. What do you call volcanoes, Irma?"

"Them," responded Irma, and even Marion smiled at her promptness.

While they were still looking at the bay and the distant shores of
Sorrento and Amalfi, Irma suddenly felt two hands clasp themselves over
her eyes.

"Don't forget your friends just because you have a volcano to look at,"
and then, unclasping her hands from Irma's eyes, Muriel stepped in
front, where Irma could see her.

Muriel was one of those who had left the _Ariadne_ the night before, and
as she had not mentioned where she should stay in Naples, Irma and her
party were surprised to see her.

"Isn't it great that we should be here together?" continued Muriel,
after the others had said a word or two of greeting. "The only
disagreeable thing is that I am going on to-morrow, for our motor is
here, and mamma does not wish to wait longer in Naples."

So it happened that though they planned to spend part of the next
morning together, this was the last time that Muriel and Irma saw each
other for several weeks.

"It's well we didn't make plans over night," said Irma, when she joined
the others at _déjeuner_ on the morning of her arrival in Naples. "There
seems to be a fine mist in the air; and probably that means rain."

"Then we won't plan a long drive. You can come shopping with me, Irma,"
said Aunt Caroline. "I wish to look for coral."

"I did not know there was so much coral in the world," said Irma, after
they had been out some time. "Where do they get it?"

"From Japan and Sardinia and--oh--several other places."

"But why should it all come here?"

"Because in Naples they know how to cut coral and cameos better than
elsewhere in the world."

"It is beautiful, of course, and there are so many shades of pink, I
shall never know what is meant when any one calls a thing coral
colored."

"You must choose something for yourself," urged Aunt Caroline, "a little
souvenir of Naples;" and when Irma hesitated she selected for her a
string of pale red beads.

"The very light pink are the most valuable," said Aunt Caroline, "but I
will not suggest a change."

From the shops near the water front they drove over to the Galleria
Umberto I, a huge structure with a glass dome that gave plenty of light
to the shops in the arcades on the street level. Here Irma bought two or
three little gifts for some of her friends at home,--just whom does not
matter now.

The afternoon passed quickly, and Irma was pleased when Aunt Caroline
said it would be wiser to get afternoon tea in a restaurant down town.
Irma herself would have enjoyed the open-air restaurants which she had
noted as they drove around, but in the more conventional place that her
aunt chose, they managed to find a few novelties on the menu.

[Illustration: NAPLES. A STREET VIEW.]

Later, they took a drive through some narrow streets, where Irma saw
many of the peculiarities of Neapolitan street life, of which she had
read a little. There were whole families sitting in front of their
dwellings. In some cases mothers were combing the hair of little
children, or changing their clothes, or bending over what Irma called
"cooking-stands," for they certainly could hardly be considered stoves.

"I wonder what they are cooking," she said, "in those queer copper
kettles or pans. I should not know what to call them."

"Snail soup, perhaps," replied Aunt Caroline, "or more probably
macaroni."

The word "macaroni" seemed to catch their coachman's ear, and turning
toward them, he said some words in Italian so rapidly that Aunt Caroline
hardly understood, and then, urging his horse, drove straight on.

"He said something about 'old men,' and 'eating macaroni,' but I have no
idea what he really means, and I do not like the region where he is
taking us."

Finally, after many windings, they passed up a street on which the
houses were poor, but of a rather better type than those they had seen a
short time earlier.

"There must be an institution near by," said Aunt Caroline, after they
had met, one after the other, several old men wearing a blue uniform.

This conjecture proved correct, for at the end of the street they came
upon a large building, evidently a home for old men.

"Why is the driver so anxious to have us go inside? We really must make
him understand. No, no. No, no!" continued Aunt Caroline, and finally,
by repeating "No, no," and using gesticulations more emphatic than his
own, she made him turn about. But he still continued his pantomime of
carrying his hand to his mouth, as if in the act of eating. This he
varied by occasionally pointing toward the windows of the houses he was
passing, where, as their eyes followed the direction of his finger, Irma
and Aunt Caroline saw other blue-coated old men eating at tables close
to the window.

"I begin to understand," said Aunt Caroline, "he wished us to give these
old men money that they could eat macaroni for us. Now we will let him
do what he will. He has some plan."

A moment later he had driven them to an open space at the junction of
two streets, where a man was cooking macaroni in a large copper vessel.
Two or three little boys who had been following the carriage now stepped
up beside the horses, and they, too, made the gesture in imitation of
eating, at the same time crying, "_Soldi, soldi_."

"Oh, yes, I recall it all now," said Aunt Caroline, laughing. "It was
the same when we were here before." Then she threw some coppers to the
little boys, who immediately handed them over to the man at the cooking
stall. He, in his turn, gave each a heaped-up plate of macaroni cooked
with tomato.

"It would be worth three times the price, though I don't know just what
you gave them, Aunt Caroline, to see those boys eat such a quantity, and
it all disappeared in an instant."

"It is one of the accomplishments of the Neapolitan street boy to devour
at lightning speed great plates of macaroni, in return for the _soldi_
of the stranger. Their manner of conveying the macaroni to their mouths
with the sole use of their fingers is indeed a regular circus trick."

"If the same boys repeat the trick many times a day, I should think they
might have indigestion."

"They are willing to suffer, for they love macaroni. The poorest
Neapolitans eat much uncooked food, not only fruits, but fish and raw
vegetables. But the macaroni with _pomo d'oro_ is a real delicacy. Some
of those old men would probably have done the trick as adroitly as the
boys."

The driver, smiling broadly on account of his success, as he turned
about drove again through squalid narrow streets. Those in the carriage
could here look through open doors into the one untidy room, the _basso_
that formed the abiding place often for a large family.

"In warm weather the men of the family usually sleep in the street,"
said Aunt Caroline, "and when you see the dark, windowless room that is
the only home that many thousands can call their own, you cannot wonder
that day and night so many Neapolitans prefer the streets."

Sometimes a wretched beggar would run after the carriage. "We must make
it a rule in Italy to take no notice of these poor creatures.
Fortunately, I am told, they are far less numerous than they used to be,
and the only way to stop begging is for each to refuse alms. Gradually
they are finding other ways of helping the poor here."

"I feel sorrier for the horses here than for the people," responded
Irma. "There are so many of them, and most look half starved, as well as
ill treated."

"The cruelty of the cab men of Naples is known the world over. Cabs are
cheap, and every one drives, and the cabmen not only snap their long
whips freely, but use them viciously, if so inclined. But some one I was
talking with says that a S. P. C. A. has been started here, and already
has accomplished much good."

"But the donkeys here seem much better cared for. I have noticed
several that look almost fat, and they have pompons of bright wool, and
some metal decorations shining on their harness, and altogether they are
quite gay."

"Those queer-shaped bits of metal," said her aunt, "are devices,
sometimes pagan, and sometimes Christian, that the superstitious Italian
wishes his animals to wear to guard against the evil eye or other ills.
But here we are at the hotel."

"Where do you suppose we have been?" asked Uncle Jim, greeting Irma and
her aunt, as they entered their sitting-room. "And what will you give
for what I have for you?"

"Letters, letters! Give them to us quickly."

"Yes, letters. I found them at our bankers, and also obliged him to
honor my letter of credit, but just now I dare say you would rather have
the letters than the money."

The letters, written so soon after their departure, contained little
news. Yet Irma found hers particularly cheering, because they brought
her so closely in touch with the family at home.

"Napoleon," her mother wrote, "was very low spirited the day you left
home, but with the fickleness of his kind, he now wags his tail
hopefully as if he expected you to-morrow. Mahala's grief is mitigated
by her expectation of post cards from strange places, and Tessie is
wondering about presents. The boys, I am sorry to say, do not let your
absence weigh upon them. Baseball is now the one important thing."

Then followed some directions about taking care of herself, and making
the most of her opportunities.

A short letter from Lucy gave her school news, but Irma sighed, because
there was no word from Gertrude.

That evening, as Irma sat on the balcony after dinner, Marion came near
her.

"You were very good to go with Uncle Jim for our letters. It makes home
seem so much nearer, to know that letters can reach me."

"Yes," said Marion, "I suppose so."

"Was there good news in yours, too?" continued Irma, after a moment of
silence.

Without answering, Marion walked forward to the edge of the balcony.

"Shall I ever learn to practice what mother always preaches," thought
Irma, conscience-stricken lest she had disturbed Marion, "not to ask
direct personal questions?"

Marion continued to walk up and down with his hands in his pockets. Then
he stopped directly in front of Irma. "Tell me what was in your
letters," he said abruptly. "I had none."

So surprised was Irma by Marion's interest, that at first she could
hardly reply.

"Yes," he continued, dropping into a chair beside her, "I should like to
hear about some one else's relations."

Then Irma found her voice, and prefacing her remarks with, "There really
was not much news in the letters I had to-day," she soon found herself
telling Marion all about home, about her father and mother, about Tessie
and the boys and Mahala, and last, but not least, about Nap.

Marion listened attentively, occasionally making some comment that
showed he was really interested in what Irma said.

Then, after perhaps half an hour, he rose as abruptly as he had sat
down, and with a hasty "good night," went indoors.

"Yet after all I have told him, he didn't say a word about his own
family. How queer he is!" thought Irma.

"As we have been better than most travellers in going to morning
service," said Uncle Jim, on Sunday, "we will do as they do by driving
this afternoon. I, for one, wish to see the Cathedral, and there are
other churches worth visiting."

Toward the middle of the afternoon, therefore, the four travellers set
forth for the Cathedral dedicated to San Gennaro (St. Januarius), the
patron saint of Naples. In a cross street, on their way, their carriage
drew up to let a funeral procession pass.

It was a typically Neapolitan procession, yet uncommonly gorgeous, with
its white, open-sided hearse, showing a coffin covered with beautiful
flowers. The hearse was drawn by eight horses, their heads decorated
with yellow, and saddlecloths trimmed with gilt. Close to the horses
were a number of priests carrying lighted candles, and after them two or
three carriages heaped with wreaths.

Irma's attention, however, was most attracted by a dozen weird-looking
men in long, loose garments, with dominoes over their faces, with holes
cut out for eyes, that made them almost ghostly.

"Who are they?" she whispered to Aunt Caroline.

"Professional mourners, my dear, and those men in uniform in the last
carriages are probably family servants."

"Oh, yes," interposed Marion, "that is the way the Romans did. It's one
of their old customs handed down--to have a whole retinue of retainers
in the funeral procession."

As they turned into the broad street toward the Cathedral, the sidewalks
were thronged, and in the distance they heard the music of a band.

Aunt Caroline translated briefly the succession of rapid sentences with
which the driver answered her.

"He says there was a special service in the Cathedral to-day. But the
music goes the other way, and we cannot see the procession."

Inside the church, persons of all ages and conditions were walking
about, boys and girls, young men and women, some of whom carried a baby
in arms, bent old men and women, too, and as there was no service then,
when acquaintances met, they stopped for a chat, as if on a street
corner.

"The Cathedral," explained Aunt Caroline, "is dedicated to St.
Januarius, Naples's patron saint, Bishop of Beneventum, whom Diocletian
put to death. Some of his blood, gathered up by a Christian woman, is
preserved in a vessel in his chapel here. The precious relic is locked
up in boxes within boxes, but twice a year it is brought out with great
ceremony. If the blood liquefies quickly, the superstitious people
believe it a favorable omen for the city; if it does not, they are
downcast at the prospect of great misfortunes for the next six months."

At this moment a sacristan swinging his keys offered to lead them to the
Chapel of St. Januarius, and there they saw the tabernacle with the
relics, and the silver bust of the saint and of thirty other saints.
Though the Chapel contained some fine paintings by Domenichino, its
decorations were rather more florid than beautiful.

The crypt under the church was much more interesting, with its great
bronze doors, and marble columns from a Temple of Apollo that once stood
near the site.

But neither Marion nor Irma cared to linger long in the Cathedral.

"Don't sigh," protested Uncle Jim, as Irma took her place in the
carriage. "This is but the first of scores of churches you'll have to
visit in Italy. Luckily Naples has fewer noteworthy pictures than Rome
or Florence, and your aunt cannot help dealing leniently with us here."

"The only church I wish to see in Naples," said Irma, "is the one where
Conradin is buried."

Marion looked up quickly. "Is Conradin one of your heroes, too?"

"His whole story is so sad," replied Irma, "that I have always been
interested in it. Though he was only seventeen when he died, if he had
lived to be old enough, he would probably have become a real hero."

"Can't a boy of seventeen be a real hero?" asked Marion anxiously.

"I did not mean that he couldn't."

"But you said----" began Marion.

"Stop, children. You'll find yourselves quarrelling," interposed Aunt
Caroline. Then she spoke a word or two to the coachman.

"I have asked him," she said, "to drive us to the Conradin monument."

Within the church all admired the beautiful reliefs from Thorwaldsen's
designs, and the statue itself realized all Irma's ideals of a hero. In
the Piazza del Mercato, they saw two fountains marking the spot where
Conradin and Frederic of Baden were beheaded, by order of Charles of
Anjou.

On their way home, as their carriage skirted the poorer section, where
goats and fowls wandered about as freely as the children who were
playing with them, Uncle Jim told amusing stories of goats he had seen
going intelligently from door to door to be milked by regular customers,
in some cases even walking up several pairs of stairs to the right
apartment.

"I have read those very stories myself," said Irma, "so if you wish to
astonish me, please think of something new."

That evening as she sat on the balcony, Marion approached Irma with an
expression even more serious than usual.

"What is your idea of a hero?" he asked abruptly, as he slipped into the
chair beside her.

"Why, the same as everybody's," responded Irma, after a moment's
hesitation. "A man who does a brave thing, without fear of danger, and
without thinking what he will gain from it."

"Can't a boy be a hero?"

"Yes, indeed--and a girl also," she replied.

"But I noticed to-day that you said Conradin, if he had lived, might
have been a hero, but he was seventeen--just my age."

"I was not thinking especially of his age," said Irma. "I only meant
that thus far Conradin had had no chance to show what great things he
could do. But he might have had chances had he lived longer."

"Oh! Then a hero must do great things."

For the moment Irma was puzzled, not understanding the drift of Marion's
questions. Fortunately she was saved the need of replying by the
appearance of Aunt Caroline, and at the same moment Marion, rising from
his chair, walked off without another word.

Together Aunt Caroline and Irma stood for a few minutes, looking from
the bay, where almost opposite them Vesuvius loomed up against the dull
sky, toward the city at their feet, with its square roofs and occasional
towers, with here and there a few palm trees giving a tropical touch.
The long white road wound like a thread up the hill, and for a moment
Irma felt a returning throb of homesickness. She realized how far she
was from home.



CHAPTER VI

NAPLES AND ITS NEIGHBORHOOD


At Naples Irma saw that if she attempted to record half that interested
her, no diary would be large enough, and if she tried to describe things
at length, there would be time for little else. So she made rather brief
notes, which, when she reached home would recall what she had seen, so
that she could then describe at greater length to the family.

A more experienced traveller might have been less interested in the
Royal Palace, but, since it was her first palace, Irma found in it an
air of romance that Uncle Jim was inclined to scoff at. It was a long,
imposing building, with eight statues on the façade, representing the
different dynasties that had governed Naples: Roger the Norman, Frederic
II of Hohenstaufen, Charles I of Anjou, Alphonse I, Charles V, Charles
III of Bourbon, Joachim Murat, and Victor Emanuel.

"Poor Neapolitans!" exclaimed Uncle Jim. "No wonder they are restless,
so often changing rulers, and until now seldom having kings who cared a
farthing for them. Even before these Normans there were Greeks, Oscans,
Romans, Goths, and Byzantines, all to take their turn here in Southern
Italy. Neapolitans are naturally turbulent and troublesome in America.
It will take them some time to learn to govern themselves."

"We are not out to listen to history lectures. We simply wish to see
things," said Aunt Caroline.

"But this palace is in such bad taste. I am trying to divert your minds
from its hideous furnishings."

Though in her secret heart Irma admired the throne room, with its gold
embroidered, crimson velvet furniture, enormous Sèvres and Dresden
vases, and its more artistic bronze busts, later, perhaps, what she
remembered best of this visit was the magnificent terrace view of the
harbor and the Arsenal.

"Do the Neapolitans get their love of noise from all those ancestors
you were talking about, Uncle Jim?" she asked, as they drove along the
broad Toledo, where the crack of whips, the braying of donkeys, and the
shouts of hawkers prevented conversation. Uncle Jim raised his hand
deprecatingly, as if an adequate reply were then impossible.

"There," cried Aunt Caroline. "I understand why the people of Naples use
gestures so largely. You know they can carry on long conversations
without a word. By use of their hands they can make themselves
understood above the din of the streets."

"A good theory, if gesture were not as common in the country districts
as in Naples."

Here Marion interrupted. "We might stop at the Catacombs to-day, if you
wish."

"I don't wish," cried Irma decidedly.

Marion looked at her with surprise.

"No Catacombs to-day, only Capo di Monte," returned Aunt Caroline.

Then they drove swiftly past one or two squares containing statues, one
a monument to Dante, and at last, at the Bosco, they showed their
permits. They felt the charm of the gardens around Capo di Monte, laid
out in English style, but they did not linger in the Palace itself;
Marion said the Sword of Scandberg was the one thing he had come to see,
and though he spent a few minutes in the armory, he gave but a passing
glance at the high colored Capo di Monte ware.

"My mother has some of that," he said, as Aunt Caroline called his
attention to a particularly beautiful piece.

"Isn't it very valuable?" asked Irma.

He made no reply. Perhaps he did not hear her. But Irma remembered that
she had never before heard Marion refer to his mother.

That very afternoon, while the others rested, Marion explored the city
by himself, and came back in great spirits. He had been up in the
_lanterna_, or lighthouse, where he had had a magnificent view of the
town, and in the Villa del Popolo, a great open square, he had come upon
one of the public readers who daily gather there at a certain hour, and
read aloud from some of the great poets to a circle of auditors; each of
whom had paid a small price for the privilege of listening. He had
glanced also at the University, which has four thousand students and one
hundred professors.

Of the whole party, Marion, indeed, saw the most of Naples. He went
among the fishermen at the wharves; he inspected the old mediæval forts,
Castello St. Elmo, so magnificently situated on the heights, Castello
dell' Ovo by the water, and the others. He brought home many little bits
of amusing folklore, gathered from the boatmen, especially regarding
their belief in the evil eye. In his new, friendly mood, he shared the
results of his wanderings, until Irma began to think him a decidedly
entertaining boy.

The visit to the Museum took a whole day, and tired though she was at
the end, Irma declared she would gladly spend another day there. For
now, for the first time, she saw many a fine statue that she had seen
before only in pictures, and she was surprised to learn that many of
these had been dug up from the ruins of Pompeii; the boy with the
dolphin, the boy with the goose, and the charming Narcissus pleased her
more than the colossal Farnese Hercules and the group of the Farnese
bull.

"Our sculptors cannot get ahead of those old fellows," said Uncle Jim,
"though I can't give the same praise to their painters." And Irma agreed
with him, as she looked at the Pompeian frescoes.

But neither paintings nor sculptures interested her as did the household
utensils, the ornaments, and the jewels from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

"Designers of jewelry and other beautiful things to-day get some of
their best ideas from these treasures of Pompeii," explained Uncle Jim,
after Irma had told him that she had seen Gertrude's mother wear a
bracelet the counterpart of one they were looking at.

Yet as they passed from case to case, and from room to room, Irma
thought less of the beauty, or even of the usefulness of these things,
than of the unhappy people to whom they had belonged who had been buried
under the hot ashes of Vesuvius. In glass vessels she saw grains and
fruits that the lava had preserved from decay, and in the cases there
were loaves of much the same appearance as when the baker took them from
the oven. These homely things brought the sufferings of the Pompeians
much nearer than did the great treasure chests, or some of the more
valuable objects in the collection.

"I feel as if I had been at a funeral," she murmured to Aunt Caroline,
and she was not sorry that the closing hour had come.

"I'll show you something more cheerful to-morrow," suggested Marion.
"They have the most wonderful Aquarium here. It can't be better than
ours in New York, even if it is more famous. So I wish you would come
with me to-morrow and tell me what you think."

"But I have never seen the New York Aquarium," ventured Irma.

"Then you must believe what I tell you about it."

The next morning Irma set off with Marion. She had learned from Uncle
Jim that this Aquarium in Naples, founded by Dr. Dohrn, a German, was
really a scientific institution where students from all parts of the
world could study the lowest forms of marine life, the finest examples
of which are found in the Bay of Naples.

Marion and Irma found that the larger part of the white Aquarium
building was given to rooms for students and to the library. The fish
were in the lower part, underground it seemed to her. As she walked
about from cave to cave, for so she called the glass-fronted caverns
where the fish were swimming about, she began to shiver.

"Are you cold?" asked Marion, anxiously.

"No, but these fish seem more disagreeable than the things from
Pompeii."

"They are certainly different," responded Marion, successfully resisting
a desire to smile.

"I rather like the living coral," continued Irma, "though it seems queer
to see coral branches waving to and fro as if they were getting ready to
swim, and some of the fish are funny, but some are really gruesome. I
shall be haunted for a long time by this horrible thing," pointing to a
jellylike mass that suddenly hurled itself through the water, and sent
out innumerable legs, or arms, ready to grasp and destroy everything
within reach.

After inspecting all the cases, Marion and Irma went out the door behind
two girls who were talking rather loudly.

"How foolish you are, Katie Grimston," cried one of them, and at the
sound of this name Irma looked toward Marion as if expecting some word
from him.

Though he made no comment, he, too, looked with some interest at the
girls, as they stood outside awaiting their carriage.

"Oh, dear," exclaimed Irma, as the two drove away, "I wish I had spoken
to them."

"Do you know them?"

"No, but still I might have spoken, for one called the other 'Katie
Grimston,' and that is the name of the girl that Nap used to belong to.
I wish I had spoken to her."

"One thing may console you: when you once run across people in Europe,
you are sure to meet them again. You know we've been meeting some one
from the ship every day since we landed. But I'll keep my eye open for
your friend, Katie Grimston."

"I shouldn't exactly call her a friend."

"She's a friend until she proves an enemy. But in any case I'll watch
for her. Perhaps she's a friend of mine. I'm sure I know one of those
girls, and, by the way, wouldn't you prefer the New York Aquarium?"

"Yes," responded Irma, "as I have seen only this one, I am sure I'd
prefer the other."

When they returned to the hotel, Marion and Irma found Aunt Caroline and
Uncle Jim enthusiastic over their excursion to Posilipo, declined by the
young people in favor of the Aquarium.

"You missed it, Marion," said Uncle Jim, "the region where we have been
is just filled with classical memories. The Posilipo was a favorite
stamping ground of Virgil's. He wrote the Georgics and the Æneid there,
and you can have as long an argument as you wish with the guides as to
whether the tomb they show is really his or some other fellow's. If you
say it is, Petrarch and Bocaccio, who used to go there, are on your
side. Not far off, between Puteoli and Baiae, Caligula performed some
foolish stunt of his on a bridge of boats. Or, if that doesn't content
you, you can remember that Augustus was fond of the Posilipo. You can
also hunt for the ruins of the villa of Lucullus. Our friends, the Roman
patricians, loved this region. Instead of digging up ruins, your aunt
and I just sat in front of one of the little cafés and incidentally had
a magnificent view."

"Yes, we didn't try to go on to Solfaterra," continued Aunt Caroline,
"though some one who had been there told a tale of fissures from which
gas was exuding, and of remarkable sounds of water boiling violently not
far beneath the surface when you put your ear to the ground."

"Isn't Puteoli the place where St. Paul landed?" asked Irma timidly.

"Yes, my dear, and he found a number of Christians there to welcome
him. Indeed, all the region of the Posilipo and beyond, has so many
associations that we ought to spend a week here."

"Come," said Uncle Jim, "we must all agree to be true philosophers. The
rapid flight of time and the shortness of human life in general compel
us to let many delightful places go unvisited. Like everything in life,
it's a question of choices. While we try to see the most important
things along our route, we must still neglect other things and places
that are not unimportant."

"Capri, for example," murmured Marion.

"Nothing could induce me to repeat that odious trip," and Aunt Caroline
shuddered at the remembrance. "Bad landings, and boats so overcrowded,
combined with rough water, make it positively dangerous, at least to
one's nerves. If I could fly, I'd go there gladly."

"But isn't Capri very beautiful?" queried Irma.

"And the blue grotto something no one should miss?" added Marion.

"You children can go there, if you prefer it to Paestum."

"What is Paestum?" asked Irma.

"Not to know Paestum--and you a school girl fitting for college. Now I
shall insist on your going with me. For certainly, you have one thing to
learn, 'What is Paestum!'" and Uncle Jim walked away, as if quite in
despair at Irma's ignorance.

"Capri really is beautiful," continued Aunt Caroline, turning to Marion
and Irma. "Its men and women are fine types. As I remember there were
quantities of flowers around the pretty little white cottages, and
charming scenery at every turn. I don't know whether the people still
wear their picturesque costumes, and make soft, high-colored ribbons and
weave beautiful white woolen materials. But I imagine it is less changed
than some other parts of Italy, and if you should go there five years
from now, you would probably find it just the same. They still give a
wonderful fête in July or August to ward off the grape disease. They
have celebrated it for centuries with dancing and sports, but, as they
carry a cross at the head of the procession, they fancy it's religious."

"It sounds great," said Marion, "but we can't wait until midsummer. If
I should go, I'd hunt up the ruins of Tiberius's villas. This was his
favorite resort, and so terribly cruel was he that mothers still
threaten bad children that 'Timberio' will get them. I believe a steep
rock is shown from which he used to throw his victims into the sea
below."

"Well done, Marion. If we have time perhaps we'll go to Capri in spite
of the wretched boats. But failing that we'll visit Vedder's studio in
Rome. He has a summer villa at Capri, and if he has not used Capri types
in his pictures, he can tell us about the people."



CHAPTER VII

CAVA AND BEYOND


Uncle Jim had volunteered no explanation about Paestum, neither Aunt
Caroline nor Marion had spoken on the subject, and Irma had been too
busy packing to study her guidebook. So as they left Naples, as she
looked from the railway carriage, she could but wonder what was before
her. Soon passing the thickly settled environs of Naples they were in a
region of small farms. The season had been late, and the vines were not
far advanced, but there were many workers in the fields and some of the
vines trained on poles showed a certain amount of leafage. After a
while, they had passed the slopes of Vesuvius, and then began to
realize, by the panting of their engine, that they were going up hill.

"We stay at Cava for the night, and to-morrow go to Paestum. Of course
you know about Paestum," said Uncle Jim teasingly.

"I am contented with Cava," replied Irma.

At dusk the little Cava station gave no hint of what the place was. A
group of _facchini_ fell upon their baggage, the four were hurried into
a carriage, and after driving through a long, quiet street, they reached
the outskirts. Here, at the entrance of a house in a garden, a fat
landlady welcomed them with many bows. A _facchino_ with a green apron
took some bags, a diminutive _cameriera_, in scarlet skirt and pink
blouse, seized others, and soon Irma found herself in a small room
filled with massive inlaid furniture. Curtesying low, the little
_cameriera_ quickly returned with a can of hot water. Left to herself,
Irma was a trifle lonely, and she was glad when the little maid returned
to guide her to the dining-room. There she heard a strange mixture of
accents, as she entered the room. Her uncle came forward and led her to
a seat. As she watched and listened, she found that her opposite
neighbors were Germans, while beside her was an Italian lady. Now indeed
she was in a foreign country. The dinner, too, was different from the
conventional table d'hôte of their Naples hotel. Irma refused an
elaborate dish of macaroni, remembering the curtains of yellow macaroni
drying in untidy places, that she had noticed from the train.

"If you don't eat macaroni," said Uncle Jim, understanding her
reluctance, "you will often have to go hungry."

In the morning Irma woke to the depressing sound of rain.

"No Paestum, to-day!" exclaimed Uncle Jim, as she took her seat at
breakfast.

"Paestum! What is Paestum?" she asked, and after that he permitted her
to eat in peace.

All the morning the rain poured in torrents, to the discouragement of
two or three parties of automobilists, who had planned a trip to
Paestum, and a return to Naples by the Amalfi road. Most of the men
wandered about the huge house aimlessly, dropping occasionally into a
chair in the sitting-room, trying vainly to help time pass more quickly
by reading the month-old newspapers and magazines on the little center
table. A few wrote letters, and a number of men and women gathered in
little groups to compare notes about past or future travels.

Marion held himself aloof from the three or four other young people in
the house. He sat in the furthest corner of the long drawing-room,
buried in a book, and he said not a word to Irma during the whole
morning. As for Irma, she spent perhaps an hour on her diary that she
had neglected for a day or two. Opposite her, at the center table, was a
girl of about her own age. Often the two paused from their labors--for
the girl was also writing--at about the same moment. Finally the other
girl broke the rather oppressive silence by asking Irma if she was on
her way to or from Naples. Learning that Irma had been in Italy hardly a
week, she informed her that she had been there all winter, and with her
parents was now on her way to Naples. She questioned Irma about the best
shops in Naples, and Irma was able to give her some addresses she
wished. She in turn told Irma of many shops and other things of interest
in Rome and Florence. Those Irma entered carefully in her notebook.
While the two were thus occupied, Marion rose and passed them on his way
to the door. When he had left the room the other girl leaned toward
Irma.

"Isn't that Marion Horton?"

"Why, yes; do you know him?"

"No. But I have heard a great deal about him, as he visits cousins of
mine. It is strange to see him in Europe. I should think he would be at
home now."

"Why shouldn't he be in Europe?"

"Surely you must have heard the story if you left New York only a few
weeks ago."

"I don't know what story you refer to," responded Irma with dignity.
"Marion is travelling with my uncle and aunt. He is a relation of
theirs."

"He is in your party? Then you must have heard----"

But at that moment the porter brought a message summoning Madge Gregg to
get ready at once for a train that would start in half an hour for
Naples. This unexpected departure put all thoughts of Marion Horton out
of Madge's mind. She gathered up her writing materials, bade Irma
good-by, expressing the hope that they might meet again.

"What can the story be?" thought Irma. "Marion is sometimes queer, and
yet--I do not believe he has done anything wrong." Still she felt that
for the present it would be wiser not to question her uncle and aunt
about Marion. Sometime they would tell her what they wished her to know.

After _déjeuner_ the rain ceased, and by three o'clock the sun was
shining.

"This was a fortunate storm that kept us here, for they say that up
there on the hills there's an interesting old monastery, such as we may
not see again. The carriage will be here in ten minutes, so run and get
your bonnet and shawl, as they used to say in old novels," said Uncle
Jim.

Soon they were on their way to the monastery, Uncle Jim, Aunt Caroline,
and Irma.

"Aren't you coming with us?" Aunt Caroline had asked Marion, as they
started.

"Oh, I'll follow; I have arranged with a donkey boy to take me."

"Is it possible that he's going to ride?" asked Aunt Caroline.

"I'm sure I don't know. There are times when it's best not to question
Marion. Haven't you found that out, Irma?" said Uncle Jim.

"I do not know Marion very well," replied Irma.

"But you ought to be great friends, you are so near of an age, and
almost cousins."

The country through which they drove for a quarter of an hour was very
pretty, with many trees and shrubs that looked particularly green and
fresh after the recent rain, and the hilly roads were far less muddy
than they had expected. From one high point they had a delightful view
of the village they had just left, circled by hills. On one was a ruined
castle, on another the remains of an old monastery where a hermit monk
was said to live. Irma felt that now she was indeed in the old world. On
two or three hills she noted slender, gray stone towers, and through
Aunt Caroline the driver explained that they were used for snaring
pigeons.

"From those little openings, like portholes, small white stones are
thrown out, which the pigeons mistake for food, and as they swoop down
upon it they are snared in nets cleverly contrived for their capture."

"That seems cruel," cried Irma.

"But it would be still more cruel to deprive a lot of hungry people of
their pigeon pie," said Uncle Jim.

Now turning their backs on the lovely view, the carriage went up a
higher hill. It passed an occasional simple cottage, and they met two or
three groups of people evidently returning from a visit to the
monastery. They stopped for a moment at a church in front of which was a
stone on which the driver said Pope Urban II had dismounted more than
nine hundred years ago. A few minutes later they were at their goal, the
old Benedictine Monastery, La Trinità della Cava.

"Ought we to go in before Marion arrives?" Aunt Caroline's tone implied
that she thought they should wait.

"Marion is too uncertain, and the hours for visiting the monastery are
limited!"

Soon the door opened, showing a pleasant-faced monk standing there to
welcome them. Before they went within he halted at the entrance,
explaining that a handful of churchmen had established themselves here
in the very early days because on these remote heights they could be
comparatively safe from marauders.

"It is certainly a natural fortress," responded Uncle Jim, looking from
the steep cliff on which they stood to the narrow river bed, far, far
below. "And a few sharp-shooting bowmen up here on the heights could
keep off any number of the enemy. Come, Irma. Can't you imagine the
venturesome Lombards creeping up the ravine, only to be held back by the
storm of arrows?"

"But it could only be for a little time. In the end I am sure that the
bold Northerners won. I don't know how it was in this particular case,
as all traces of the Lombards in this region have now passed away. They
were so few compared with the native races, and now the people here are
Italians pure and simple."

"Your theories are interesting," said Aunt Caroline, as they followed
the monk inside, "but unfortunately for them the convent here was
founded by a member of an old Lombard family. The site was chosen for
defence, probably against marauding nobles."

Their guide spoke clearly and slowly and Aunt Caroline easily
translated what he said. He told them that the convent gave a school and
college training to boys of good family, and that these large and
attractive halls had been provided for them. In the library were some
good old pictures, but the most valuable treasures were the ancient
manuscripts, among them the laws of the Lombards on parchment of the
early eleventh century, and a Bible of the early eighth century. But for
all this there was time for only a passing impression, and Uncle Jim was
rather amused by the awe with which Irma regarded them. On their way out
they saw a number of boys walking up and down the cloisters, arrayed in
long surpliced coats that made them look like very youthful priests.

"They are intended for the Church," explained Aunt Caroline, "but those
smaller boys in ordinary clothes will go into other professions. I am
sorry," she added a moment later, as they stood in an ancient room,
built into the solid rock,--almost the only thing remaining of the
original abbey, "that Marion will miss this. It is too late, our guide
tells me, for us to get admission to the church, and we must bid him
good-by here."

So, after their monk had dropped their visitor's fee in a collection box
near the door, they went down the hills toward Cava di Tirreni. They did
not meet Marion on the way, nor in the course of their drive along the
one-mile, narrow street of the little town. The arcaded shops were dingy
and the houses unattractive.

"In Italy you must get used to these squalid, rather dirty towns in the
heart of a lovely country. The Italians love to herd together, clinging
closely to a habit no longer necessary for defence against enemies, as
it was in the ancient times. Even in America they prefer city to country
life," said Uncle Jim.

The soup plates had been removed when Marion appeared at dinner. He
greeted his friends pleasantly without explaining what had detained him.
Though Aunt Caroline gave a glowing account of their afternoon's trip,
he made no comments beyond a mere "I wish I had been with you."

After dinner he turned to his book, and soon went to his own room on the
plea that he must repack his valise and get to bed early in preparation
for their morning start.

During the evening Irma and Aunt Caroline joined their landlady in the
deserted dining-room to look at some of the antiques in glass cases
along the wall intended for sale. After picking them over carefully,
Aunt Caroline bought one or two old iron knockers and a piece of glass
that she felt sure was Murano. The landlady's husband appeared at just
the right moment to fix the price, and from a secret drawer produced a
bit of old brocade that Aunt Caroline pounced on with exclamations of
delight.

"It won't last until you reach Rome!"

"Oh, indeed it will. But it is for ornament and not use, and the kind of
thing I never _can_ pass by."

After this Aunt Caroline added several other things to her
collection--an old key and lock, and a fine bit of carved wood.

"If only it wouldn't crack and split in our dry atmosphere I would take
some of this inlaid furniture home with me," she said. "Everything in
the house is seemingly for sale even to the bed that Madame our hostess
sleeps on. Although she is married to an Italian, I observe that she
prefers 'Madame' to 'Signora.'"

At this moment the landlady approaching, invited them into the garden.
"As Madame the American lady admired old things she might like to
examine the lion's head at the door. It had belonged to the great
Filangeri family, as indeed did the hotel in the ancient days. Naturally
Madame had observed that this was no ordinary hotel, but a veritable
palace with ancient traditions and legends, and----"

Finally Aunt Caroline stopped her flow of words to show Irma that the
massive lion's head with its open mouth was but a flambeau holder to
light the path of guests at night.

"You will need more than one flambeau to light your path to-night," said
Uncle Jim, joining them, as they stood there reading a tablet with an
interesting inscription. "Remember that we take an early train for
Paestum."

"Paestum--what is Paestum?" rejoined Irma mockingly, as she hurried
ahead of Uncle Jim up the long marble staircase that led to her room.

In the morning, however, long before their train reached Paestum, Irma
knew all about it. The country through which they began to pass, soon
after leaving Salerno, was not closely settled. Farther on there were
great stretches of marshes where cattle roamed about. Marion was
surprised to discover that the so-called buffaloes were quite unlike the
bison, resembling large grayish oxen with a slight hump. They are the
chief beasts of burden for the country people of this region. Uncle Jim
explained that the whole country here was malarious. It had a bad
reputation even in the time of Augustus, and on this account the name of
ancient Poseidonia had been changed to "Pesto," and if you doubt me, you
may look on the map. There, indeed, Irma did find "Pesto" instead of the
more classic name, yet she continued to doubt Uncle Jim's account of its
origin--"Paestum" was evidently from "Poseidonia."



CHAPTER VIII

PAESTUM AND POMPEII


"There is said to be one vehicle in Paestum," remarked Uncle Jim, as
they reached the little station, "and as we are not the only passengers
on this train we might as well make up our minds in advance whether we
shall fight for it or walk."

"Walk," was the unanimous response, and after checking their luggage
they started up a long, dusty road. Some distance from the station an
arch spanned the roadway. "It must have been part of an old town wall,"
said Marion, and at the same moment a tall, short-skirted woman came
toward them, carrying a large stone water jar on her head. In an instant
Irma had focussed her camera, aiming it just as the woman was in the
center of the arch.

"She doesn't seem to object," murmured Aunt Caroline. The woman was now
close to them, and as she passed them she did not even deign to smile or
to look at them directly.

"The Temples! The Temples!" A few minutes later Irma gave an exclamation
of delight.

"How beautiful--with the view of the sea beyond," added Aunt Caroline.

Then all stood still. Before them, with a background of blue sea and
bluer sky, rose the two great temples, the largest of the three edifices
that are now practically the sole remains of a once great
city--Poseidonia--founded six hundred years before Christ, by colonists
from Sybaris in Greece.

"Outside of Athens, there are no finer temples left standing in the
world!" said Uncle Jim.

"Until I read it in my guidebook to-day, I thought one had to go to
Greece to see Greek temples," added Irma.

"Oh, there are several in Sicily," rejoined Marion, in what Irma to
herself called his "high and mighty tone," a tone that always made her
feel that he despised her lack of knowledge.

"Yes," said Aunt Caroline, "but for those of us who are not going now
to Greece or Sicily, these are worth printing on our memories. I dare
say, Marion, with your exactness, you would like to walk around them and
measure them to see whether they are what they are represented to be.
Irma and I will content ourselves with general impressions."

"I might verify the fact that the Temple of Neptune is one hundred and
ninety-six feet long and seventy-nine feet wide, but it would be harder
for me to prove without a ladder that each of the thirty-six columns is
twenty-eight feet high," responded Marion good naturedly.

"No, no," cried Aunt Caroline, "no such uninteresting facts! All I wish
to remember is the soft, mellow brown of the whole structure and its
noble proportions."

Then, looking to the slightly smaller structure at the left, she added,
"The Basilica is less complete and less imposing. It has something of
the attractiveness of a younger sister."

"I don't like its color as well, but I suppose both are faded."

"Undoubtedly, though originally they were both covered with stucco to
imitate marble; the pediment was adorned with sculptures, and the temple
held other works of art."

They were now crossing the rough field between them and the Temple of
Neptune. Some of those who had come with them in the train were
wandering about the interior--if a roofless space without walls may be
called an interior--and a larger group had gone with the uniformed guide
toward the more distant Temple of Ceres.

"That pinkish flower over there must be asphodel," said Uncle Jim. "Now
don't rush to gather it, Irma. It would be far wiser to sit here and
test the luncheon the padrone provided for us. Here is a good place, and
Marion will open the box."

As Uncle Jim made room at the base of a great Doric column, Irma gave a
little scream.

"Oh, it's only a little lizard--no, two little lizards, and you can't
blame them for showing alarm at a party of American invaders. Why, even
Marion doesn't object to them."

A deep flush rose on Marion's cheek. Irma was looking at him as Uncle
Jim spoke, and saw that he pressed his lips tightly, as if to suppress
an angry reply.

"Before he opens the box," continued Uncle Jim, whose spirits were
rising, "I can tell exactly what that pasteboard receptacle
contains,--two hard-boiled eggs for each of us, a fine assortment of
chicken legs and wings, some butter, some salt, several unbuttered rolls
almost too hard to eat, and an orange apiece."

"You must have prepared the menu yourself," said Irma, laughing; "for
things are absolutely what you said, except," and she opened a little
package, "here is a piece of cheese."

"Oh, yes, I forgot the cheese. But I have opened too many Italian
luncheon boxes not to know what to expect, and in ten years they haven't
changed."

"_Muore di fame, muore di fame_," whined a small voice in their ears.
Looking about, Irma saw a girl of twelve or fourteen, with a shawl over
her head, carrying her hand to her mouth in the well-known gesture of
hunger.

"_Muore di fame_ (I am dying of hunger)," she repeated, standing in
front of the four picnickers, while at the same time she turned her head
from side to side as if fearing some one's approach.

"It is the _custode_," exclaimed Uncle Jim; "begging here on Government
property is probably against the rules, and she fears he will return
before we have given her all our luncheon."

"No, no," he cried, but the girl reached out her hand as if to snatch.

"Oh, give her something," cried Marion, "or at least I will; the poor
thing may be starving."

"_Muore di fame, muore di fame_," repeated the girl, catching the
sympathetic note in his voice. Then, just as he had given her a roll and
a chicken leg she took to her heels, disappearing over a hedge of bushes
between the temple enclosure and a partly ploughed field that stretched
between them and the sea.

A moment later the _custode_ came around the corner of the temple, thus
explaining the girl's sudden flight. At the same time two dogs appeared,
sniffing for their share of the luncheon. More polite than the girl,
however, when told to go away, they went off some distance, sitting on
their haunches and still eyeing the party hungrily.

It was now Irma's turn to be sympathetic.

"That little one makes me think of Nap, and I just can't help giving
him a wing with something on it."

"Just wait until we have finished."

Obedient to this suggestion, Irma waited, and at last there was a good
heap of bones as well as some scraps of bread on which the two little
creatures fell greedily.

Later, making her way with difficulty over the brambles, Irma reached
the grass beyond the strip of ploughed land. She carried a little
package containing rolls, an orange or two, and a little chicken. She
had gone ahead of the others to get a photograph from this point of
view. She had already taken nearer views of portions of the columns and
base with Aunt Caroline posed for comparative size, looking a veritable
pigmy.

The temples, with the background of hills, were less imposing from the
other side. The eye could not help seeing not only the temple, but a lot
of ugly little houses in the far background near the station.

"_Muore di fame, muore di fame_," cried two voices, one after the
other. The girl with the shawl had crept up behind Irma, and a larger
girl stood beside her. The first girl was a pitiable object, yet Irma
knew that she had lately had something to keep her from starvation. The
other was fairly well dressed, and for her Irma felt no sympathy. In
fact the two had a manner so impertinent that she took no notice of the
oft-repeated monotonous "_Muore di fame_."

But she cast anxious glances toward the temples. Why did her uncle and
aunt delay coming! Then she caught a glimpse of them just entering the
Basilica. One of her tormentors now jerked her skirt, the other shook
her hand in her face.

Irma waved them back, crying, "_Andate, andate_" (go away, go away), in
Aunt Caroline's most effective tone.

The girls grew bolder and dashed at Irma as if to take both her camera
and her package. Yet Irma, though frightened, was determined not to
surrender either.

At last, when she attempted to call for help, she could not make a
sound loud enough to be heard by her uncle or aunt. Of course she had
not stood still all this time, but with one girl clutching her dress she
could not move fast, especially as she was now in the ploughed ground,
into which her feet sank deeper with every step. There was no occasion
to fear, as the girls could accomplish no very desperate deed before
help came, but Irma's spirit was up, and her nerves irritated by the
constant "_Muore di fame_." So she held the package of food more closely
than the camera, and the older girl, watching her chance, rushed off
with it, while the other, making a dash at Irma's head, tore off her
hat.

[Illustration: "WITH ONE GIRL CLUTCHING HER DRESS, SHE COULD NOT MOVE
FAST." (_Page 132._)]

"Help, help," cried Irma, finding her voice as the amateur brigands ran
toward the road. Then, almost at the same moment, something flew past
her so quickly that she could hardly tell what it was. A minute later he
had reached the two girls, who were unaware of the avenger's presence
until too late to escape. When the flying figure stood still Irma
recognized Marion, and a moment later he was back at her side, holding
triumphantly aloft the hat and the camera.

"Did they hurt you?"

"Is it ruined?" The two young people spoke in one breath.

"No, of course they didn't hurt me," responded Marion, with some
indignation, while Irma wondered why a little stream of blood trickled
down his cheek.

"No," said Irma, in the same tone, "of course my hat isn't ruined," and
she smoothed out the crushed ribbon bows, and plucked off one of the
wings that had been broken in the tussle.

Then Marion wiping his face discovered a scratch. "I thought one of
those girls had mighty sharp claws," he said, and Irma, opening her bag,
presented him with a strip of thin court-plaster from the case John Wall
had given her as a parting present, and then they retraced their steps
toward the Basilica, where their elders were awaiting them.

"You haven't explored the temples," said Aunt Caroline. "You can get a
very good idea of the interior by examining the stones that show the
position of the altar, and----"

"Oh, I don't care about temples now, not until I have studied more. I
just like to look about and wonder what the town was like with all its
people moving here, when these fields were streets, or----"

"There, there," interposed Aunt Caroline. "When I look about, I can only
think that in a solitary place like this I should hate to be attacked by
brigands. At the present moment we are monarchs of all we survey. Even
the _custode_ is lost to sight, though perhaps he'd appear if we were in
real danger."

"I didn't find him of much use," she began, but at a warning glance
from Marion, she was silent.

"I wish we had time to go down by the sea, where the Greeks originally
landed. As it's much lower land, the temples must show up wonderfully
well."

"You must give up the seashore this time. We can barely catch the train,
after visiting the Temple of Ceres. Come, children."

But Irma and Marion remained seated.

"Oh, Aunt Caroline, we'd rather wait a while; we'll go back part way by
the town wall, and meet you under the Siren's Arch, that would be much
more fun. You can dig for the Roman remains that they say lie hidden in
that field over there. You know this is one of the towns that remained
faithful to Rome in Hannibal's time. Ugh," concluded Marion suddenly,
wincing, as if in pain.

"Oh, it's nothing," he replied to Irma's inquiries. "Perhaps I ran too
hard in the field over there. You were a brick not to tell Aunt Caroline
about it; she would have come down on me mighty hard."

Though Irma did not understand Marion's meaning, she thanked him for
recovering her camera.

"It was nothing at all; the little wretches were probably more than
half in fun and wouldn't have dared keep it long, with the _custode_
likely to pounce on them, for I suppose one of them, at least, lives in
that miserable little house beyond the fence. But it's strange that
Uncle Jim didn't ask about the court-plaster on my face. His eyes are
generally so sharp. But see what I've found for you," he concluded,
picking up something near the base of the great, weather-beaten column
beside which they sat.

Irma gave an exclamation of delight as he put in her hand a small piece
of the travertine that in some way had been broken off from the column,
inside which was a tiny shell,--a shell now exposed to the light for the
first time in the more than two thousand years since the temples were
built. When she had tied this up in a corner of her handkerchief, and
had pressed two of the pink blossoms that Uncle Jim called "asphodel"
between the leaves of her notebook, Irma felt that she indeed had begun
to collect classical trophies.

From the old town wall, several sections of which are still in fair
condition, Marion and Irma took their last view of Paestum and the
surrounding plain. "I suppose the old Poseidonians used to go up in that
corner tower and watch for their enemies," said Marion.

"Well, Aunt Caroline and Uncle Jim are not enemies, yet we can watch for
them. Ah, there we are! And if we return to the road now we can reach
the station ten minutes ahead of them and have time to select post cards
before train time."

"It will be dusk," said Aunt Caroline, as they took their places in the
crowded train, "before we reach Pompeii. I am sorry we have to give up
the beautiful Amalfi drive on the high, rocky road above the sea. But
that rainy day at Cava was a lost day, and the telegram your uncle
received as we left Naples requires him to hurry to Rome to keep a
business engagement. To-morrow, Pompeii, and the morning after we leave
Naples for Rome."

Of the Amalfi drive Irma caught a glimpse from a curve in the road
above picturesque Salerno, and even away from the sea, looking toward
the mountains they had glimpses of snow-clad peaks in strange contrast
with the summer-like aspect of the country nearer them. But the people
she saw at the stations along the way interested Irma almost more than
the scenery. At Salerno station, especially, there were peasants of a
very strange type. One man with a beard of long growth, in coat and
trousers of sacking, carried a long axe, as if bound for the woods.
Another brigandish creature with khaki trousers and a slouched hat wore
a long black cloak, an end of which was thrown over his shoulders. Two
girls setting out on a journey wept bitterly, as an old gray-headed
woman kissed them good-by. One carried her belongings in two fairly
large baskets, and the other had a white sacking bag for hers, with a
few extra things tied up in a black handkerchief. The girls wore no
hats, but like all the other women at the station they had their hair
elaborately bedecked with combs, front, back, and side combs, until Irma
wondered how their heads could bear the weight. _Carbonieri_, with their
picturesque cocked hats, strutted across the platform. A railroad
official with red pipings on his hat and gilt buttons on his coat also
added to the gaiety of the scene.

"What are we waiting for?" at last Marion cried impatiently.

"The horn man doesn't dare blow until every one in Salerno visits this
train."

At this moment the little man with brass buttons on his coat blew his
small brass trumpet, and the train set off for Pompeii, still a couple
of hours away.

From Pompeii Irma wrote her first long letter to Gertrude, long in
comparison with the one sent from the ship. But she had plenty of time
that evening after dinner, and though tired after her hours of strolling
in the ruined city, she felt in the mood for writing. Moreover, Gertrude
had especially asked her to describe Pompeii, and having promised, Irma
knew that the most sensible thing was to make good her promise promptly.

"My dear Gertrude," she began. "After all I am not to see Herculaneum,
although you hoped I would. But a man we met to-day said we need not be
sorry we have no time for Herculaneum. It gave him a kind of smothered
feeling, and he did not stay there long. They have not yet dug out
enough to make it really interesting, and all the fine statues have been
taken to the Naples Museum, so there isn't so much to see yet, and it is
all underground.

"But Pompeii is different. In one way it is cheerful, though at times I
had an awfully melancholy feeling when I looked about at those roofless
buildings and remembered how they had been destroyed, with thousands of
people, all in an instant. Our hotel is close to the entrance, in fact
my bedroom window looks out on the gate, and when I went to bed it
seemed uncanny to be sleeping near so gruesome a place. But in the
morning, when I saw two or three carriages standing there and loafers
lounging about and tourists going in and out of the little curiosity
shop next door, I forgot everything, except that I was a sightseer, too.

"There is nothing shut up about Pompeii, and I am glad I left the Museum
until the last, for that took away some of my cheerful feeling.

"I was surprised when we first began to move about, to see such enormous
paving-stones in their narrow streets, and you can hardly believe that
the chariot wheels could wear such deep ruts. The horses' feet must
sometimes have slipped down between the stones.

"The houses have no roofs, and from the street they are so small that I
could think of nothing but playhouses. Some of them open out when you go
inside and have more than one court. They all have at least one court,
with rooms opening off it, and some have little fountains in the center,
and sometimes the white marble basins are beautifully carved and there
is grass growing around the margin, and even bright plants and vines are
trained here and there, just as in the time of the live Pompeians.

"As you walk about you can tell which room was a kitchen and which a
bathroom, for they used lead pipes just like ours. In the smaller houses
the family used to spend most of their time in the atrium. The sleeping
rooms were generally tiny, and the poor slaves were put in little
cubby-holes upstairs.

"The frescoes on some walls are bright, but I think our taste has
changed, for Marion and I did not admire them so very much. In one
lovely house I saw where the Young Narcissus had been found. The
original is in the Naples Museum, but a copy is here in its old place.
Another interesting house is where they found the graceful statue of a
dancing faun. I saw the house that Bulwer calls the house of Glaucus, in
the 'Last Days of Pompeii,' and there in front of it is the inscription
in mosaics, _Cave canem_, which I needn't translate for you. They are
always uncovering new houses, and one of the newest, the 'House of the
Vetii,' is the most beautiful, partly because they have left most of the
things in the places where they found them, instead of sending them off
to museums. The frescoes here are the most fascinating little Cupids
playing games and amusing themselves. Of course one carries away only a
general impression of these houses. There are traces of bright color
everywhere inside, chiefly red and yellow. The bases of many of the
columns in the houses were one of these colors. Some streets were full
of shops--_tabernae_. Would you have known what that meant? You can see
the marble-covered counters, and the earthen jars for oil and wine and
other things. One market has paintings on the walls, showing that
various kinds of provisions were sold there, and in a large pit in the
center quantities of fish scales were found. Probably that was where the
fish were kept. Instead of quart measures like ours, I saw a set of
marble basins side by side, with holes in the bottom to let the liquid
run out into the buyer's jars. Most of the shops are labelled, so you
can tell what was sold there. On some walls are notices scratched, that
take the place of our posters, though Uncle Jim says they have more to
do with politics than with buying and selling.

"The great baths astonished me, for they had hot and cold water and
different rooms for people to pass through, like a Turkish bath. You
can't say it's a good thing that Pompeii was destroyed, but as long as
it _had_ to be, it's fine that they have excavated it. To see for
yourself how these people lived is better than a hundred lessons in
history. Of course it gives you an awful feeling when you stand by the
villa of Diomedes and hear that the bodies of eighteen women and
children were found there. They had fled to the cellar and had food
enough with them to last some time, but the ashes sifted in and they
were found with wraps over their heads and hands out trying to shield
themselves.

"Diomedes, with keys in his hand, was at the door, and a slave carrying
money and valuables. I haven't time to tell you about the Forum and the
Basilica and the theatre. Just imagine the fifty or sixty gladiators,
whose bodies were found in the gladiators' barracks! Most of them wore
heavy manacles, and what they must have suffered when they found they
could not escape!

"When I walked up the street of Tombs, where you get the best view of
Vesuvius, I could not help thinking that in spite of its calm appearance
the mountain is a very dangerous neighbor, and I am rather glad that we
have decided not to make the ascent.

"Afterwards when I stood on a small hill, it was hard to believe that
under the green slopes in front of us there lay perhaps as large a part
of Pompeii as they have yet uncovered. Who knows what wonderful things
may yet be found, though it may take more than fifty years to finish the
work? It was up here that I dared pick a few tiny buttercups, that I
send you as a souvenir of Pompeii.

[Illustration: POMPEII.]

"The town has a bricky look as you see it from the hill, that's one
reason, I suppose, why it seems so modern. After all, the greater part
of the inhabitants of Pompeii escaped alive. They fled at the first
warning. When the eruption stopped for a while, many went back for their
valuables, or because they thought it was all over, and there were some
old and sick who, perhaps, couldn't be moved at first. All these two
thousand were caught in the second fearful eruption. Casts of some of
the bodies are in the little museum on the grounds, but I hardly looked
at them, and, in fact, we spent very little time there because we had
seen the same kind of things at Naples. This is a fearfully long letter,
but I hope I shall find a longer one from you at Rome, where we go from
Naples by the morning express to-morrow."



CHAPTER IX

ROMAN DAYS


When Irma awoke on her first morning in Rome, she felt that one of her
real desires was gratified. She was in the city she most wished to see.
Looking at her watch she found it was too early for breakfast, and she
did not care to go down ahead of the others in this new, strange hotel.
So, seated in an easy-chair, she tried to recall some of the incidents
of her journey of the day before, the five hours' ride that had seemed
long, on account of the heat. The country through which they passed had
been interesting, though she had seen few of the picturesque peasants
working in the fields that she expected to see on every side. In the
distance, however, she had had glimpses of snow-clad mountains, and
occasionally on a hill a monastery or castle, or even a small walled
town.

Then across a vast plain to the right was the unmistakable dome of St.
Peter's. Yes, she could write home that at the first sight of Rome her
heart had beaten quicker. After the sunny ride from the station through
crowded streets all, even the indefatigable Uncle Jim, had been tired,
too tired, after unpacking, to do anything but rest, until at five
o'clock they had gone to the large hotel near by for afternoon tea.

"This isn't Rome," Aunt Caroline had said, as they sat there over their
tea and cakes, listening to the music. "It is the Waldorf-Astoria, and
these people moving about are largely Americans. To-morrow we shall see
Rome."

"To-day is to-morrow," murmured Irma, in her easy-chair, "and I wonder
what we shall see first in Rome. I am sure I should never know where to
begin."

Aunt Caroline decided for her. Then when they first set out, she would
not tell her just what they were to see until they had mounted the steps
of an old casino; after passing through a little courtyard,--all that
remained of the once fine Rospigliosi garden.

"Look up," cried Aunt Caroline, as they stood in the large salon hung
with pictures, and there on the ceiling, more beautiful than any
reproduction, Irma saw the familiar Aurora, the godlike auburn-haired
vision and the spirited horses: Apollo seen in a strong yellowish light,
and the attendant hours in robes shading from blue to white, and from
green to white, with reddish browns in the draperies of the nymph
nearest him, and Aurora herself, a lovely figure, scattering flowers in
his path.

In the beautiful gallery, with its carvings and paintings, there were
other fine pictures, but as she went away Irma still remembered only the
Aurora.

The warm sun beat on their heads as they re-entered their carriage. "The
Roman summer has begun," said Aunt Caroline, "though it is only May. We
must accustom ourselves now to a daily siesta and save our strength; but
first for letters."

A rapid drive brought them to their bankers, opposite the Spanish
Steps. Irma recognized the place immediately from pictures she had seen,
and while Aunt Caroline went inside for letters, she ran across the
piazza to buy a bunch of roses from one of the picturesque flower girls
gathered on the lower steps. But when, on the house at the right-hand
corner, she read an inscription stating that in this house John Keats
had died, she immediately unfolded her camera. She was so interested in
her photograph, that when she saw her aunt standing by the carriage she
recrossed the street without the flowers.

"Here are letters for all of us," said Aunt Caroline, "even for Marion;
two for him, the first he has had, poor boy!"

"Aunt Caroline," asked Irma, for the first time since they sailed
venturing to put the question, "why do you say 'poor boy' when you speak
of Marion?"

Aunt Caroline, who usually answered questions so quickly, was silent for
so long that Irma wondered if her audacity had offended her. Then she
replied gravely, "Marion has had a most unhappy experience. It is hard
to say yet whether he is to be blamed or pitied. Until he is ready to
talk about it, your uncle and I prefer not to speak on the subject, even
with Marion himself. But when the right time comes, you shall know all
about it."

With this Irma, for the present, had to be content. But she realized
that the idle remarks of her acquaintance at Cava had some foundation in
fact. At _déjeuner_ Aunt Caroline gave Marion his letters, and Irma
noticed that his face reddened as he looked at the envelopes, and that
then he put them unopened in his pocket. This she thought a strange way
of treating his first home letters. But then Marion was a strange boy.

Irma herself had impatiently torn open her own letters even while in the
carriage, and had partly read Gertrude's before reaching her hotel.

"We miss you awfully," she wrote, "and Lucy and I hope you won't be so
taken up with that other girl that you'll forget all about us."

"She hadn't received my Azores letter about Marion," mused Irma, "when
she wrote that. I am sure I wish that Marion were a girl instead of such
a queer kind of boy."

"You remember," continued Gertrude, "how jealous you used to be of
Sally? Yes, you were, though you wouldn't admit it; well that's the way
I feel about your Marian. But even if I am jealous, I do hope that you
look better than when you left home, and that you are having a perfectly
stunning time. I suppose you will be in Rome when you get this, and I
wonder if you have seen the Queen--I mean Margherita. I have a
photograph of her that I love, so don't dare come back without seeing
her so you can tell me if she is like it. No matter if she hasn't
invited you to call, just leave your card, and perhaps they will let you
in accidentally. We miss you terribly at school. Until we are called up
to recite we never know whether our translations are right. I wonder if
you find the old inscriptions in Rome more fun than Cæsar. We've just
had a week of early warm weather, and we girls have decided to let John
Wall and George Belman fight for the head of the class."

"The letter sounds just like Gertrude," said Irma, as she finished, "and
though it has no news, it makes home seem much nearer."

"Yet you sighed when you finished it; you mustn't let us think you are
homesick," and Aunt Caroline patted Irma's shoulder, as they entered the
house together.

"There's only one thing for to-day," said Uncle Jim, after _déjeuner_,
as they waited for the carriage. "There are said to be three hundred and
sixty-five churches in Rome, and if you intend to see them all, you must
begin at once with the largest and most important."

"But I don't intend to see them all," expostulated Irma, "nor a tenth of
them."

"Then you must begin with St. Peter's just the same. You have been in
the Eternal City now nearly twenty-four hours without visiting St.
Peter's. Such a thing is unheard of and will bring disgrace on us all.
Ah, here's the carriage, and your reform will begin."

"Talk of floods in the Tiber," cried Irma, as they drove along the bank
of the historic stream. "A little river like that could never do any
damage. It could not be energetic enough to overflow its banks,
especially when it's so fenced in."

"Even in modern times the embankment has sometimes failed to keep it in
place," said Uncle Jim, "and in its three miles of wanderings the yellow
Tiber is sometimes hard to manage. There, there, doesn't that please
you?" and Irma answered with an exclamation of delight, glancing beyond
the bridge to the other side, where she had her first view of the Castle
St. Angelo, Hadrian's tomb, the antique circular structure around which
clusters so much history.

But their horses were quick, and their driver did not stop for a long
view; and after a turn or two they were soon crossing the sunny, paved
piazza in front of St. Peter's, with its obelisk and fountain.

"This is to be only the most general view. You must come again some day
when there is a great ceremony, when you can see various dignitaries;
now you are merely to get a first impression."

"A first impression!" cried Irma. "Can I put it into words? It's a
tremendous building; I shall never see another as large, and yet, it
doesn't seem too large. What a great man the architect was!"

"I have been reading up a little to-day," said Marion, "so things are
fresh in my mind. I won't pretend I'll remember them to-morrow, but it's
true that this is not the first church on the spot. In the beginning
there was a circus of Nero's here, where that beautiful emperor was in
the habit of torturing Christians to death. There's a tradition that St.
Peter himself was burned here, and so Constantine built the first St.
Peter's over the spot. Perhaps we can go down into the tomb to-day."

"But this isn't Constantine's church?" There was a decided note of
interrogation in Irma's voice. Perhaps it would have been better for her
not to ask the question, for Marion's reply was in the nature of a snub.

"Any one can see that this St. Peter's is comparatively new. It was
begun by Julius II in the first part of the sixteenth century, and
Bramante probably made the original plans."

"Why, I thought Michelangelo----"

"Yes, my dear," interposed Uncle Jim, "in the end Michelangelo did come
to the rescue of the first plan. For after Bramante died, leaving the
building far from completed, some of his successors made changes that
affected the beauty of the building. I believe the dome was largely the
result of Michelangelo's skill."

"It took long enough to finish it!" exclaimed Marion, who had been
looking at his guidebook. "It was not consecrated until 1626, more than
a hundred years after Bramante's death."

"Just six years after the landing of the Pilgrims," added Irma.

"To compare small things with great," said Uncle Jim, with a laugh.

"Which is which?" asked Irma, and for the moment no one answered.

"Perhaps you don't care for guidebook information. But up to the end of
the seventeenth century, St. Peter's had cost about fifty million
dollars, and it now takes about eighteen thousand dollars a year to
maintain it."

"The salary of one of our ambassadors for a year," interpolated Irma.
"Don't laugh," she cried, "that's the way I always try to remember
things."

"Then," continued Marion, "perhaps you will remember the height of the
dome, four hundred and thirty-five feet from the cross to the pavement,
is twice that of Bunker Hill Monument."

"We are getting into the realm of useless knowledge," protested Uncle
Jim, "and as this is but a bird's-eye view, we need only remember the
beautiful proportions of the dome and the grandeur of the whole. Yet
there are one or two things to see now. I must point out Canova's tomb
of Clement XIII, and over there, by the door leading to the dome, you'll
find Canova's monument to the last of the Stuarts. You ought to go over
there and shed a tear or two, Irma, for you doubtless have the usual
school girl sentimentality for the Stuarts. There are busts of the Old
Pretender and his two sons."

"Guidebook information would probably be as useful as that of a
misguided guide," said Irma, refusing to express herself about the
Stuarts.

"Twenty-nine altars and one hundred and forty-eight columns," read
Marion.

"Come," said Uncle Jim, "don't listen to him. I can show you something
better worth seeing," and he led her to the nave, where he showed her in
the pavement the round slab of porphyry on which the emperors were
formerly crowned.

"Why, Charlemagne, of course," began Irma, and then she reddened. For
Marion was standing near, and she suddenly realized that Charlemagne had
been dead eight hundred years before St. Peter's was consecrated.

"Oh, it was in Constantine's church that Charlemagne was crowned, but
though this slab is older than the present St. Peter's, I doubt that he
or his earlier successors stood on it, and best of all, I doubt that
Marion can inform us," he concluded in a whisper.

When at last the four turned toward the door, Irma noticed the people
about her more than she had on entering. Bareheaded peasants were
walking about in groups; laboring men, who had stolen an hour from work,
bowed before various altars. Tourists of all nations were studying
mosaic pictures, sculptured tombs, or were gazing at the priests in rich
vestments and the altar boys in one of the chapels where there was a
service. Here an old woman hobbled along, and there was a mother with
two or three awestruck children. There were two or three soldiers in
uniform, and several long-coated priests, visitors evidently from
outside Rome.

"It is the People's Church," said Aunt Caroline, "the church of the
people of the whole world," she added. "There may not be as many
languages as there are people in this large building, but I'll warrant a
dozen nations are represented here."

The fifteenth century bronze doors of St. Peter's amused Irma, with
their curious mingling of Christian and pagan subjects, Europa and the
bull, Ganymede, as well as scenes directly from the scriptures. She had
a chance to admire her favorite Charlemagne, whose statue on horseback
and one of Constantine were on either side of the entrance.

"Over there," and Uncle Jim pointed to the left, "is the German
cemetery, which Constantine originally filled with earth from Mt.
Calvary, and made the first Christian burying ground. We have as little
time for that to-day as for the sacristy with its treasures, or the
chapels with their pictures and sculptures. There is just one other
important thing to see before we reach our hotel. Wake up, _cocchiere_,
here we are."

As they drove between the colonnades away from St. Peter's and then
along the Tiber bank, Uncle Jim called their attention to the new Rome
rising on every side.

"It is the Rome of the masses," he said. "Many of these tall apartment
houses are occupied by people of very moderate means. And see that great
public building across the river! It is as ugly as some of our own city
halls."

Their coachman now took a turn through narrow streets, crowded with
people, to Aunt Caroline's disgust. "There may be all kinds of diseases
floating about here."

But hardly had her protest been heard, when they drove up in front of a
portico that Marion recognized at once. "The Pantheon! We were thinking
so much of the narrow streets that we did not see where we were."

"Yes," responded Uncle Jim, "the Pantheon. He brought us the shortest
way. I suppose you know this is the only ancient building in Rome. Walls
and vaulting are the same as in the time of Hadrian. It goes back even
farther than Hadrian, for Augustus's son in law, Agrippa, founded the
temple, dedicated probably to the gods of the seven planets. When
paganism died, it had no use for many years until Phocas the Tyrant
presented it to the Pope, and it was dedicated to the Christian religion
in 604."

"You can't mention anything happening in our country just then," said
Aunt Caroline, turning to Irma.

"I might, but I won't, though I do remember that this was several
hundred years earlier than our Leif Ericson," she retorted. "Uncle Jim,
you did very well, even though you had to turn to your notebook."

"I'll admit that I had read up a few figures for this occasion, you and
Marion sometimes put me so to the blush. But what do you think of it?"

For a full minute Irma was silent as she looked around the vast
interior. "I am afraid," she began, "I am afraid that I like it better
than St. Peter's. In some way it seems grander."

"You needn't be afraid; older and wiser persons have been heard to say
the same thing. A circular building is always impressive, and no
interior in the world has finer proportions than this. In some ways it
isn't what it once was. The bronze casings of part of the walls one of
the popes once stripped off to make cannon for St. Angelo, and in the
eighteenth century the beautiful marbles of the attic story above were
covered with whitewash, but nothing can destroy the beautiful
proportions."

"Don't tell us what they are," urged Aunt Caroline. "It would destroy
half the effect to hear what it is in feet and inches."

"There's just one thing Irma ought to know, since she quite scorns a
guidebook now. That open aperture in the centre of the dome that looks
like a small hole is thirty feet across. It is the only way of lighting
the building."

"What do they do when it rains?" asked Irma.

"Why, they let it rain."

"Marion," exclaimed Aunt Caroline, "if you are willing to repeat so aged
and infirm a joke as that, you must be feeling better."

Marion glanced toward Irma, but she made no sign as to whether or not
she, too, scorned the joke.

"Twenty-eight wagon loads of bones," she was saying.

"Yes, my dear, it was dedicated to Santa Maria ad Martyres, and
naturally this was regarded as a more fitting place than the Catacombs
for their final interment. Yet the sacredness of the place didn't
prevent Constans II from stripping the gilt tiles from the dome to use
in Constantinople. But now you are to look at only two tombs on your way
out, this of Victor Emanuel, which is always covered with wreaths, and
over there Raphael's tomb--only a passing glance at each--and notice the
wonderfully beautiful marbles of the pavement. It would repay you
sometime to study them, and the--run, my dear, ask your aunt to hurry,"
he concluded hastily.

"We shall have time for the Corso," said Uncle Jim, as they drove off.

But the Corso proved disappointing to Marion and Irma.

"It is neither wide nor long, and why people with fine carriages and
footmen should enjoy driving here at the end of a pleasant spring
afternoon I can't understand," complained Marion. "Why, it's so crowded
that there's no particular pleasure in being here."

"That's why most people are driving here, to see and be seen; that's
part of the fun of living for the idler Italians, and as they can't sit
about in piazzas like their countrymen and women a few grades below
them, exchanging nods from a carriage is the next best thing. And you
can't deny that the shop windows are attractive."

"It's almost like driving for pleasure on Washington Street, in Boston,"
said Irma, scornfully, "only it's a little less crowded, and there are
no surface cars."

"Though you speak sarcastically, young lady, just now I won't attempt to
stand up for Il Corso," retorted Uncle Jim.

"It doesn't begin to compare with Fifth Avenue," said Marion.

"It doesn't pretend to, young patriot. I simply brought you here to do
as the Romans do fine afternoons. Some day you'll drive on the Pincian
at the fashionable hour, and after that I'd like to hear your American
comparisons."

"But where in the world can you find a street short as Il Corso with
more associations with great men? Over there's the house where Shelley
wrote 'The Cenci,' and Goethe's home in Rome is not far away. A little
off at one side you'll find Donizetti's house, and on the other Sir
Walter Scott's, and just ahead of us is the Bonaparte Palace, where
Madame Letitia spent her sad later years. You hardly have to turn out of
your way to find the remains of old temples, and there in the Piazza is
the Marcus Aurelius Column."

"Oh, it's inter--," but with the word unfinished, Marion put his hand to
his hat as if to bow to some one in a passing carriage. He did not
really bow, however, and the others noticed that he reddened deeply.

"That looked like the fairy godfather!" cried Irma.

"Whom I consider a myth," responded Uncle Jim.

But Marion said nothing.

Irma's first week in Rome seemed to pass almost as quickly as her first
day. Though she had been sightseeing constantly, she still had not seen
the Colosseum, the Forum, or the Vatican treasures. Each day was not
long enough. In the morning she usually visited some gallery with her
aunt. But in the warmer hours, from twelve to three, they rested. Some
object of interest and a drive took the later afternoon, and by evening
all were too tired to do anything but sit about and compare experiences
with one another or with their hotel acquaintances.

"I haven't forgotten your advice," wrote Irma in a long letter to her
mother, "to remember clearly at least one or two things from each
gallery. In the Borghese there is Canova's beautiful statue of Pauline,
Napoleon's sister, and Titian's Holy and Profane Love, and in the
Colonna that enormous ceiling painting--I almost broke my neck looking
up at it--of the Battle of Lepanto, where some Prince Colonna fought,
and some wonderful ivory carvings, one of them, in a few square inches,
shows all the figures of Michelangelo's Last Judgment. Then in the Doria
is Velasquez' Pope Julius X, in his red robes, and some Claude Lorraines
that I liked.

"Then I loved Domenichino's Sybil, in the Borghese, and I can never
forget the Saint Sebastians I have seen. It may be wicked to laugh at a
martyr, but it is almost wickeder for artists to make a good man look
like a pincushion stuck full of arrows. The Doria Palace is the
handsomest of all, with its gilded furniture and fine ceilings and
polished floors. How gorgeous it must have looked when a ball was given
there in the old days. I'd like to have seen the private apartments and
the Colonna gardens. They say it was from a building in the Colonna
Gardens that Nero watched Rome burning. On certain days these galleries
are free, but generally you pay admission to a regular ticket taker in a
gilt-banded cap. I wonder if the princes who own these palaces make
money by showing their pictures, or if public spirit leads them to open
their houses.

"One day Marion and I went to the Lateran where the popes lived before
they had the Vatican, and please tell Tessie that the first thing we
looked at was the Scala Sancta, or Holy Stairs, that they say were in
Pontius Pilate's house in Jerusalem, over which Christ once walked. On
this account people must go up and down them on their knees. But it is
only on Holy Week that many do this. There are twenty-eight marble
steps, although all you can see, as you look through the narrow door, is
the wooden covering that protects them. The Empress Helena,
Constantine's mother, brought them here. Tessie used to be interested in
these Holy Stairs on account of a picture in one of her Sunday-school
books, and she will be glad to know I have seen them.

"Everything around the Lateran reminds one of Constantine. St. John
Lateran has the site of a church he founded, and near it is the
Baptistery where he was baptized. The font is green basalt, and there
are beautiful porphyry columns and lovely gold mosaics on a blue ground.

"Opposite, in the piazza, is an obelisk Constantine brought from the
Temple of the Sun at Thebes, and set up in the Circus Maximus. Three or
four hundred years ago they found it in three pieces buried under ruins,
and decided to place it here. Uncle Jim says there are more obelisks
here than in all the rest of the world, and people who study hieroglyphs
find Rome a better place than Egypt.

"Marion is good company, and often wishes to see just the same thing
that I do, and then sometimes he doesn't; and I must say he always seems
to suit himself. He knows a great deal. He has usually studied with
private tutors and he has read everything. But he won't talk about his
family. I don't even know whether he has any brothers or sisters.

"He was splendid the other day when we went to the Capitoline Museum,
from the minute we began to walk up the broad stairs toward the statue
of Marcus Aurelius. He pointed out the places where Tiberius Gracchus
was slain, and not far away, though so long afterwards, Rienzi, too.

"Then he explained that though most of the buildings now on the
Campodoglio were by Michelangelo, this had been a centre for public
offices even under the first emperors. The Tabularium, where all old
records were kept, is under the palace of the Senators. We had not time
for it, but Marion had been there before, and he says it is almost the
only building now left of the time of the Republic. Then we walked
through the Capitoline Museum and I recognized many statues,--the Dying
Gladiator and Hawthorne's Marble Faun and the busts of the Emperors.
Marion says nearly all have been identified from coins, and are truer
than the heads of philosophers and poets that we saw. Then there is the
famous mosaic picture of the doves that shows even the shadows, which
came from Hadrian's villa, like so many things in marble and porphyry I
have seen this week.

"There are many relics from the ancient graves, gold bracelets and
other ornaments, and old inscriptions. They are not always easy to read,
but here is one to amuse the boys that Marion translated for me. I can't
give the exact words, but it was the epitaph of a boy eleven and a half
years old who had worked himself to death in a competition to recite
Greek verses. After we had seen all we wished in the museums, Marion
took me through a narrow way, the Via Tarpeia, and past the German
Embassy and then through a garden, where we paid an old lady a fee, and
then, but of course you have guessed it, we were standing on the famous
Tarpeian Rock. We looked down from the rock into a rather poor and
commonplace street, and I tried to imagine what it was like in the old,
old times when this was the edge of Rome, and Tarpeia was killed there
for betraying the city to the invaders.

"Without Marion I never could have found the Rock, and I don't believe
Uncle Jim and Aunt Caroline would have taken the trouble to go there."



CHAPTER X

A QUEEN--AND OTHER SIGHTS


Irma was descending the Spanish Steps one morning on her way to the
piazza when she heard Marion calling her. Turning her head, she saw him
hastening toward her.

"What's your hurry?" he cried.

"I can't hurry going down these steps. I am on my way to return a book
for Aunt Caroline. Then----"

"Well, what then?"

"I haven't decided."

"Then come with me to Rag Fair, and after that I have something else for
the afternoon. Aunt Caroline says she won't try to go out to-day, her
cold is worse and Uncle Jim intends to stay in to read to her, and I,
well, she said I must look out for you."

Marion said the last a trifle sheepishly, adding, "Of course I will do
whatever you wish. But I am sure you will like my plan."

"Yes, provided you haven't the Catacombs in mind, or that awful church
with bones and skulls for decorations."

"The Cappuccini; no, we won't go there."

"And you won't ask me to ride around Aurelian's wall on a bicycle?"

"No, though you'd find it great fun! I don't know anything I have
enjoyed better. The towers are so picturesque and they were useful, too.
I went up in one to see the little rooms inside the walls that the
soldiers occupied, and the guard-rooms, up there more than forty feet.
They certainly had a good chance to see the enemy at a long distance. If
you and Aunt Caroline would drive some day, I'd point things out to
you."

"Perhaps we will, but now--" Irma had taken out her camera. "Oh, I wish
I could get a photograph, but I suppose they will run when they see what
I want."

"They" made a picturesque group, slowly mounting the steps, a mother
with babe in arms, a shawl thrown over her head, a half-grown girl in a
faded pink gingham, and a little boy in a shabby velveteen suit and felt
hat with a feather over his curls.

[Illustration: NEAR LA TRINITÀ, ROME.]

[Illustration: ROME. A GROUP ON SPANISH STEPS.]

"The boy is probably an artist's model, dressed for effect. I am not
sure about the others, but I can make them stand for you."

"Oh! Please!" Whereupon Marion stepped up to the woman, spoke a few
words in Italian, and lo, they at once grouped themselves picturesquely
in a spot where the sun fell in just the right way for a photograph.
Irma took her place, snapped her camera, turned the key, took a second
snap, in case anything should go wrong with the first and murmured,
"_Grazie, grazie_," one of her few Italian words.

"_Niente, niente, signorina_," said the girl, who seemed to be the
spokesman of the party, looking inquiringly at Marion.

Then almost instantly Marion dropped a small piece of silver in her
hand.

"That's the way to get them to stand," he said laughing; "generally the
smallest copper will fetch them."

"But you gave more."

"Oh, this was a group of four. I have noticed that little chap before,
selling flowers. He's very amusing."

Soon Irma had returned her library book, and by various short cuts
Marion led her to the Palazzo Cancelleria, near which the so-called Rag
Fair is held every Wednesday.

They found a series of canvas booths, where a great variety of things
was displayed. The sellers, more numerous than the buyers, praised their
wares at the tops of their voices, if Irma or Marion even glanced toward
them.

"I should call it a rummage sale, and things are rather rubbishy," said
Irma.

At this moment a man thrust a pair of silver-mounted opera glasses in
Marion's face, naming a ridiculously low price. With some difficulty,
Marion shook him off. "Nothing would induce me to buy them."

"But they seemed very cheap."

"Yes, but that's the reason. I believe they were stolen."

"Oh, but would the police allow it?"

"Not if they knew it, but these people keep such things hidden. Perhaps
other goods are stolen, too. There are some pretty things here."

"Aunt Caroline might find some old lace or embroidery that she'd like,
but for my own part I am disappointed. However, we've seen the Rag Fair,
and we can cross that off our list of sights."

Leaving the Fair and the voluble merchants, after a walk of a block or
two Marion suggested that they go home by trolley. This pleased Irma,
who had not yet ridden in the Roman cars.

When the conductor came for their fare, Marion gave a cry of surprise.

"What is it?" asked Irma.

"Well, it's worse than ridiculous. I have lost my purse. My last small
piece of money was the silver bit I gave to the girl on the Spanish
Steps. I know I had my purse then."

While they were talking Irma put her own little purse in Marion's hand,
and he paid their fare.

"Let us go back to the Rag Fair," she said. "Some one there must have
taken it. You know how they were jostling us."

"There'd be no good in going back. The person who took it would hardly
return it. Besides there wasn't much in it, not more than two hundred
_liri_."

"Two hundred _liri_, forty dollars." Irma rapidly transferred the sum to
American money. Why, that was more than she had brought from home as
extra spending money and for little gifts, and Marion could say it was
nothing.

"It is worth trying to find," she suggested mildly.

"If there was any chance of finding it, but we'd only waste time. It's
too near luncheon, and I'm anxious to carry out my afternoon plan."

"How strange Marion is!" thought Irma. "It doesn't disturb him in the
least to lose money, and yet some little thing that no one can account
for will give him a fit of blues for two or three days."

At three in the afternoon Irma came down to the hotel office, looking
cool and comfortable in her simple pongee suit.

"I am awfully curious," she said, as Marion helped her into the
carriage. "Aunt Caroline says she knows where we're going, but she
wouldn't spoil your fun."

Marion only smiled, as he directed the coachman, "To the Villa Corsini,"
and the words conveyed little to Irma, beyond the fact that a villa was
Italian for "park" and not for "country house," as in English. After a
quarter of an hour through a part of Rome she did not know, at last they
came to some rather poor streets, where people were lounging about their
doors as if expecting something.

"I suppose they're not turning out just to see us pass."

"Who knows? Perhaps they have heard that we are distinguished American
visitors."

Soon they turned in toward a park, before whose gate stood a number of
carriages and automobiles.

"We shall be here an hour," said Marion in Italian, and the driver bowed
comprehendingly.

Showing their tickets, they went up a broad avenue past fine trees and
occasional flower-beds. "It's a garden party for some kind of a
charity," Marion explained, "and I thought it would be fun to see some
of the princesses and marchionesses who are running it. There was a long
list of them in the newspapers yesterday."

"Yes, it will be fun," responded Irma, really surprised that Marion
should willingly waste an hour on what might be called a society affair.
That wasn't the way with most boys, and from what she had seen of
Marion, she had not thought him fond of society.

Soon they came in sight of a long table, where many men and women were
drinking and serving tea. Near it was a large marquee into which they
looked as they passed, with a table handsomely spread and decorated with
flowers and bright streamers. At one end of the apartment several
handsome chairs were placed.

"Some special guest must be coming," said Irma, "but the lawn is good
enough for me. Let us go toward those chairs under the trees." For a
minute or two they watched the gay scene at the long table.

"It is evidently a family affair," said Marion. "Every one seems to know
every one else. Those men are not bad looking, for Italians," he
concluded.

"Many of the ladies are beautiful," responded Irma, "and what lovely
gowns! I suppose they are in the height of fashion, but I should think
they'd hate to trail them over the ground."

Presently a most attractive lady, whom Irma had especially noticed,
approached them.

"Will you have your tea now?" she asked in English, with the slightest
accent that showed it was not her native language.

"I will have it sent you at once," she continued, "and some cakes."

Without waiting for a reply, in a moment she had returned to the table,
from which a young girl soon came bringing a tray with cups of tea and a
plate of tiny cakes.

"Yes, she is expected at once," the young girl replied to some question
of Marion's that Irma had not heard.

"The Queen, the Queen Margherita," cried Irma. "You are expecting to see
the Queen."

"You are a good guesser," retorted Marion. "For when I read that
Margherita had promised to attend this fête I thought it would be fun
for you to come. I know your friend Gertrude has been anxious to have
you see her, and there may not be another chance unless you should make
up your mind to ask an audience."

"Hardly," replied Irma smiling, "and I do hope she will come."

Before the two had finished their tea, the groups at the large table
moved forward, forming a semicircle near the marquee. The other
strangers, who like themselves were at little tables under the trees,
rose and moved toward the crowd. In a few minutes a little group came up
the avenue from the gate. Irma's whole attention was fastened on the
gracious lady in the centre, who leaned a trifle on her parasol handle,
as she bowed to those who greeted her on each side.

"I should know her anywhere," cried Irma; "her face is as sweet as in
the photographs I have seen. Look, they are kissing her hand."

Margherita paused a moment, as if to take in the whole scene before her.
Irma noticed that although she was scarcely above middle height, in her
soft black gown and wide black hat she had an air of grace and elegance
that would have distinguished her, even among those who did not know
that she was the widow of King Humberto.

"How pleased Gertrude will be that I have seen her!" she exclaimed, as
Queen Margherita entered the marquee, attended by a number of those who
had been in attendance upon the tables, "and it is all owing to you,"
she added, turning to thank Marion for his thoughtfulness. "As King
Victor Emanuel and Queen Elena have gone to their country place, we are
not likely to see any other royalties in Italy. But _now_ I can write
home that I have seen Queen Margherita."

A little later, as Irma and Marion passed the marquee on their way to
the carriage, they paused to glance within, where Margherita sat,
talking with much animation, the centre of a circle of ladies.

"Well, young people," said Uncle Jim at dinner that evening, "you have
had a giddy day, with rag fairs and fêtes and things of that kind.
To-morrow we return to hard, earnest sightseeing, the Borgia apartments
at the Vatican and the Vatican Library. Your aunt wishes you to go while
her cold lasts, so she has a reasonable excuse for not travelling the
several miles necessary to see these things."

"Fortunately I am strong," said Marion, "and Irma seems equal to any
amount of walking."

"I'm not sure," Irma protested, "that I wish to see more in the Vatican.
I enjoyed the sculptures the other day, and the paintings in Raphael's
Stanze. Perhaps I am wrong, but I would almost like to leave Rome
without seeing the rest of the Pope's palace. Just now I recall clearly
all the frescoes: the School of Athens and the Borgo, and Parnassus and
the others, and then the Ascension in the gallery, with that wonderful
yellowish light. I am contented to remember nothing else of the
Vatican."

"Oh, that will never do, the largest palace in the world, with a
thousand different apartments, covering thirteen and a half acres, and
you wish to remember it by a few frescoes and one large painting!"

"The greatest frescoes in the world. I've heard you say that yourself."

"Oh, yes, but the treasures of the Vatican are all great, and you must
have a chance to judge between what you've seen of Raphael and what you
will see of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. Those popes of the
Middle Ages were wise in their day, especially after Nicholas V, in
1450, who decided to make the Vatican the most imposing palace in the
world by bringing under one roof all the papal offices. Since then the
building has been constantly enlarged and improved. But now only a small
part is occupied by the Papal Court. Certain days and hours most of the
Vatican treasures are shown to visitors. If you could spend all your
time there for a week, you would not have seen half."

Next day Uncle Jim decided not to go with the young people to the
Vatican, and so again Marion was Irma's guide.

"I am less afraid of the Swiss guards than I was the first day," said
Irma, as they passed the Pope's soldiers in their brilliant red and
yellow uniforms, on their way to the Scala Regia.

"Oh," responded Marion, "they wouldn't dare touch a visitor. Just wait
a moment, I've forgotten exactly where we go first."

So they waited, while Marion turned the leaves of his guidebook, and
then he felt a hand on his shoulder, and heard in Italian a very
positive "Move on." He looked into the frowning face of a Swiss guard,
and without further ado he moved rapidly up the broad staircase.

"There," said Irma, when out of hearing of the soldiers. "What did I
tell you? They might have done something terrible. You know we are not
in Italy now. The Vatican is the Pope's country."

"And the Pope is one of the best-hearted men in the world. Why, actually
you are trembling! I suppose they have rules to keep people moving, but
they wouldn't dare harm an American."

Irma, however, was disturbed by this incident, and was not sorry a few
minutes later to find herself one of several in an anteroom waiting the
guide to take them through the library.

"A library!" she exclaimed, when they had entered the vast hall, "but
where are the books?"

"In these glass cases--listen to the guide."

Not until the end of their tour of the great hall did they learn that
the library, in the ordinary sense of books and manuscripts available
for students, was not open to ordinary visitors. The so-called library
through which the guide led them was high vaulted, and more than two
hundred feet long, with painted ceiling, floors of marble mosaics from
ancient temples and baths, and exquisite marble columns also from
ancient buildings. In the end they saw some books worth seeing: the
oldest Bible in existence, a manuscript of the fourth century, and an
old second century Virgil. Of later times there was a volume of Henry
VIII's love letters to Anne Boleyn, and many exquisitely illustrated
manuscripts, among them a Natural History illuminated by Raphael and his
pupils.

"I wish he'd cut it short," said Marion, as the guide gave long
descriptions of each manuscript that he pointed out in its case, or in
the drawers that he sometimes unlocked.

"I rather enjoy what he says about the manuscripts as you translate it
for me," responded Irma, "but he need not describe every present given
to every pope. Vases are vases, and we know all these things were
presents to one pope or another. They are all costly and some are
beautiful. But I am getting tired."

It would not have been possible, even had they dared try to hurry the
loquacious guide. Before they left the hall Irma almost forgot her
fatigue in looking at the ancient paintings, inscriptions, and other
relics of early Christians. Again, as at the Lateran, she sighed deeply
at the pathos of the little things brought from the Catacombs, combs and
small toilet articles, little brooches, and other pieces of simple
jewelry.

"You are really tired!" exclaimed Marion, as they passed through the
glass door out of the hall. "But in the Sistine Chapel you can sit
down."

So it happened that after Irma had looked into a mirror held under the
ceiling, on which are painted Michelangelo's frescoes--the sibyls and
the prophets, and the well-known Adam and Eve, Irma from a bench along
the side looked with more or less interest at the paintings opposite her
by Pinturicchio and other masters.

A girl of sixteen, however, is not expected to have the interest of her
elders in old masters, as Irma frankly acknowledged.

"Of course I know the Last Judgment of Michelangelo's is a great
altarpiece, but I do not care to look at it longer. I'm very glad,
though, that you brought me to the Sistine Chapel. When I read about the
great church ceremonies in which the Pope takes part, I can imagine the
crowd here, and the Pope in the centre and----"

Before Irma had finished speaking, from behind a wooden partition that
screened some men repairing the mosaic pavement, one of the workers
stepped out, and with a finger of one hand on his lips, lifted the other
on high with one finger significantly extended. When he saw that he had
gained Marion's attention, he held up a small object, as if he wished
Marion to examine it. Then Marion went forward, and the man put the
object in his hand.

"Cheap enough for a franc," said Marion, displaying a small octagon of
mosaics, green, red, and white.

"Why it's the same pattern as the pavement there."

"Of course, that's why I bought it," he replied, "as a souvenir of the
Sistine Chapel."

"But ought you to take it?" asked Irma. "Had he the right to sell it?"

An expression of anger crossed Marion's face.

"Do you think I would do what is not right? Come," he continued, "we
ought to be on our way out."

Then he strode on, keeping far enough ahead of Irma to prevent
conversation. "He is certainly like a spoiled child!" she thought, "and
I fancied we were getting on so well together."

The drive back to the hotel was rather silent, as well as hot. "In our
hottest weather it is never like this," thought poor Irma. She was glad
enough to reach the shelter of the cool hotel.

"Did you see where the papal dominions end and Italy begins?" asked
Uncle Jim at _déjeuner_.

"No? Then you didn't look in the right place. There is one window from
which the guide could have shown you a soldier of the Pope's on guard,
while at a short distance a sentry from the Italian army is pacing up
and down."

"From one or two windows I caught sight of the beautiful Vatican
gardens," Irma replied, "and even if the Pope is a prisoner, he must
find a great deal to enjoy in his walks."

"_If_ he is a prisoner," began Uncle Jim.

"He is certainly a voluntary prisoner," said Aunt Caroline, "but the
subject is too large a one to discuss now."

Marion was silent, evidently sulking. But Aunt Caroline understood him,
for when he left the table without a word she made no comment.



CHAPTER XI

TIVOLI--AND HADRIAN'S VILLA


"Tivoli," said Irma, as they sat at luncheon in a pleasant garden not
far from the cascades, "has disappointed me."

"In what way?" asked Uncle Jim.

"Oh, the name sounds so bright and frivolous that you expect it to be
very gay here, and it isn't."

"The cataracts are lively."

"Yes, they foam and roar like the falls of Lodore, when you reach them,
but Tivoli itself is a crowded little town, and the people seem solemn.
Even the Temple of the Sibyl is shabby and dirty, without looking old."

"Irma turning pessimist," cried Uncle Jim. "But the town isn't the
whole of Tivoli. Villa d'Este is charming enough, unless it has changed
since my day, and then there's the road to Hadrian's villa!"

Marion took neither one side nor the other in the discussion. He had
talked to Irma little enough since their Vatican visit a day or two
before. Yet he was always polite, and she judged from the past that his
sulkiness would not last long.

The drive to the Villa d'Este was short, and as she stood on the terrace
looking over the tops of the pointed cypresses, Irma admitted that this
view alone was worth seeing.

"Ligorio, whom Cardinal Ippolito d'Este employed to construct this
villa, was certainly an artist," said Aunt Caroline, "and I am sure it
is true that there are few finer Renaissance villas in Italy."

[Illustration: WALL OF ORVIETO.
      (_See page 211._)]

[Illustration: CASCADES AT TIVOLI.]

"If only it were not going to ruin so fast. Broken statuary and
moss-grown fountains are not very cheerful. But perhaps there are some
amusing stories connected with the place. What has the guide been saying
to you?" said Uncle Jim.

"Oh, he has been telling me that he is one of the most remarkable
guides in Europe, with government certificates and letters of
recommendation from innumerable tourists. The German Emperor depended on
him, so he says, on his visit two or three years ago, and, ah, yes--"
The guide had brought the party to a stop as he pointed to a stone bench
at the end of a path.

"Yes," continued Aunt Caroline, "let us sit down, one by one, for this
is the bench on which the Kaiser rested to get full enjoyment of the
vista of the house on the terrace at the end of the long avenue of
pointed cypresses. But come, he says he has even a finer view to show."

A few minutes' walk brought the party to a wall bounding one side of the
garden, whence they had a wide outlook over a flourishing country.

"He says," interpreted Aunt Caroline, "that where that large factory
stands was Maecenas's villa, and that Horace also had a farm not far
away."

"I could contradict him if it were worth while," said Uncle Jim,
"although it is true enough that many eminent Romans, including Augustus
himself, had villas in this neighborhood. But there are few sites of
which we are sure, except that of Hadrian's villa a hundred years
later."

The guide continued to pour out information and misinformation until
the party returned to the carriage, and he was even anxious to go with
them to Hadrian's villa.

"No, there we shall not need him," said Uncle Jim decidedly. "I have
studied the plans, and as we shall not attempt to explore a very large
part of the one hundred and seventy-nine acres, I believe I am equal to
my task of guide."

Leaving their carriage at the entrance, the party was soon at the
custodian's house. Here Aunt Caroline and Irma lingered to compare
pictures of Hadrian's villa as it is, with sketches showing the artist's
ideal of its original splendor. Other tourists were wandering about the
vast ruins, and the custodian was occupied with the first comers.

"Whether a palace or a collection of palaces, it is the most surprising
ruin I have ever seen," said Aunt Caroline. "Imagine what it must have
been in Hadrian's day! Many of the finest statues now in Rome were
unearthed here a few centuries ago, and these mosaic pavements and
broken columns give us an idea of the whole. It was really, I suppose, a
collection of magnificent buildings with baths and great halls and even
quarters for the imperial troops."

Irma, walking about, had a strange feeling of loneliness; she had never
seen a building so vast. It brought before her more vividly than
anything else she had seen the greatness of the Roman emperors. She
wished to be by herself, undisturbed by Aunt Caroline's continuous
explanations and Uncle Jim's facetious comments.

"Over there," said Marion, whom she met unexpectedly at a turn, "an
opening in the trees gives a fine view of the valley, with Tivoli on the
hills beyond."

As Marion did not offer to accompany her to the spot toward which he
pointed, Irma went on alone. Uncle Jim and Aunt Caroline were not far
away, and would doubtless follow soon enough.

"It was very good in Marion to tell me of this view," thought Irma, as
she looked over the valley. "He is getting over his sulkiness."

After waiting a few minutes, longer perhaps than she realized, Irma
turned back to the place where Marion had spoken to her. But now there
was no one in sight but a distant custodian, who was engrossed by a
tourist. "Where is Marion?" thought Irma, "and why did Uncle Jim and
Aunt Caroline turn about so quickly?"

At this moment she saw a small cube of green marble in her path. Though
it was very like the marble of the pavement on which she stood, she
could see no broken place.

"What a perfect paperweight it would make!" she thought. "I couldn't
have a finer souvenir from Hadrian's villa."

But as she was about to pick it up, the custodian suddenly turned his
head. She wondered if she were doing wrong. Yet the little green cube
still fascinated her and she waited until the custodian and the tourist
had moved out of sight.

While she waited Irma made a few notes in her book, and when she at last
felt that she could safely do it, she picked up the little piece of
marble and dropped it in her bag.

But now where should she go? She had a vague idea of the general
direction, yet she knew that a wrong turn might lead her far from the
entrance. How foolish she had been not to consult the custodian, and all
for a wretched piece of marble! For the moment she felt like throwing it
away.

The feeling of melancholy she had had since first entering the villa now
increased. The sun was low, and as she looked at her watch she saw it
was but ten minutes of train time.

"If, by any chance, we should become separated, you and Marion must
surely be at the station five minutes before train time," Uncle Jim had
said, while they were still in the carriage, pointing out the little
structure, where the steam tram for Rome made a stop.

"That is why they went on," thought Irma, "they supposed Marion was with
me, and now what _will_ they think?"

Now, strange though it may seem, when the tram pulled away from the
little station, Uncle Jim and Aunt Caroline did not realize Irma's
absence. After a hurried cup of tea, they had rushed for the cars with a
number of other passengers.

"Where's Irma?" Aunt Caroline had asked anxiously, as she took her own
seat.

"Oh, she's in the next car; I saw Marion helping her on." This was Uncle
Jim's honest opinion. But the girl whom Marion was assisting politely,
happened not to be Irma, but another girl of her general appearance, as
it seemed to near-sighted Uncle Jim.

Meanwhile Marion, quite unconscious that Irma was not with his uncle and
aunt in the forward car, surrendered himself to a book.

Poor Irma! She was not ashamed of the tears that began to fall, when
after several minutes' walk she found herself back at a point near where
she had found the unlucky bit of marble. It was far from a pleasant
prospect that she might spend the night at Hadrian's villa, twenty-five
miles from Rome.

She had no intention, naturally, of sitting still, and she felt sure
that eventually, probably even before dark, she might find her way out
to the custodian's house. The last tram for the day had returned to
Rome, and she wondered who would give her shelter for the night.

"Crying won't help," and she wiped away what she meant should be her
last tear. "I am sure I know the general direction, and if----"

"Hello, hello," cried a cheerful voice behind her, "a lady in distress,
and no one but me to rescue her. This is _remarkable_."

Irma started to her feet, almost ready to throw her arms around the
speaker, whom she had instantly recognized. Before her stood the fairy
godfather.

It did not take long to explain the situation, though the old gentleman
was rather outspoken in his words of blame for Marion and Uncle Jim.

"Your uncle evidently thought the boy was looking after you, and I must
say he deserves punishment, if he has gone back to Rome without you."

"Oh, it is my fault for not staying with the others."

"Well, well, that can be settled later; meanwhile, if you have really
seen all you wish of Hadrian's villa, I will conduct you outside, where
I have a carriage and pair. We can soon reach Tivoli, where I can send a
telegram that will meet your friends when they reach the end of the
route."

"But when shall I go back to Rome?"

"On the regular railroad from Tivoli. Fortunately it has an evening
train. Ah, here we are!"

As Irma waited at the little building at the entrance to the grounds,
where post cards and other relics were sold, she saw a piece of marble,
almost the counterpart of the one that had made her lose her way. She
did not buy it, in spite of her first impulse.

"I believe it's not wrong for me to keep the other piece," she thought.
"In one way it has taught me a lesson."

On their way to Tivoli the old gentleman seemed more inclined to get
Irma's impressions of Rome, rather than to talk freely himself. She did
not, therefore, venture to ask where he had been since their landing at
Naples, nor even whether he had been long in Rome.

This last question seemed unnecessary, as the old gentleman's
conversation showed a wide acquaintance with modern as well as ancient
Rome. Irma had begun, however, to ask him one or two questions about
Roman school children, when without replying he said abruptly, "Now,
tell me, don't you think there are too many churches in Rome?"

"There _are_ a great many," replied Irma, smiling, "and I shall not have
seen more than a tenth of them, even if I stay here a month longer."

"Then you do not care for them?"

"Oh, I simply haven't time. Indeed, I care for some of them. I used to
think church legends rather hard to believe, but now they mean much more
to me. Perhaps I did not like San Pietro in Montorio as well as some
others when I first saw it the other day, but it meant more when I found
they believe it is built on the very spot where the apostle was
martyred, and so, while the church of San Paolo seems too large and
splendid, still it is beautiful to have a church to mark St. Paul's
burial place."

"Yes, Rome constantly reminds us what the martyrs suffered. You came out
the San Lorenzo gate to-day?"

"Yes."

"Well, the church of San Lorenzo just beyond honors St. Lawrence, whose
story is one of the most pathetic. He was assistant to the Bishop Sextus
II, and when the latter was condemned to death he begged that he might
die with him. 'In three days you shall follow me,' said Sextus. St.
Lawrence was a young man of great personal beauty, and he had been a
devoted friend to the poor. Sextus directed him to distribute the
treasure of the Church among the poor, and when he was asked by the
Tyrant to show the treasure, he gathered about him those he had helped.
His bravery and piety converted his jailer, Hippolytus, and he met his
death--roasting on a gridiron--with the greatest bravery. Whether the
story is wholly true, there was certainly a brave martyr named Lawrence.
St. Cecilia, too, is another martyr who ought to interest you. Ah, Rome
is full of such memories! But this is not a cheerful subject for a girl
who has lost her relatives." In an instant the old gentleman had turned
the subject, giving Irma an entertaining account of Easter week
celebrations that he had once seen in Rome.

As a result of the despatch from Tivoli, Uncle Jim was at the station to
meet Irma.

"You gave us a great fright," he said reproachfully. "We did not
discover that you were missing until we had almost reached Rome."

"Don't scold the young lady," said the fairy godfather. "It was the
fault of that boy." He spoke so sternly that Irma was glad Marion was
not present. Yet Uncle Jim did not resent this speech. It almost seemed
as if he had met the old gentleman before. Then, with a bare
acknowledgment of the thanks that Uncle Jim showered on him for his care
of Irma and his thoughtfulness in telegraphing, the old gentleman jumped
into a carriage and drove rapidly away.

"Do you know him, Uncle Jim?" asked Irma.

"I must have seen him on the _Ariadne_," he replied.

"My dear Chris and Rudolph," wrote Irma a few days later.

"This is to be a long letter, because we have a rainy day and I can
spare the time. For my trunk is packed, and to-morrow we leave Rome.

"In the first place, you wish to know about the seven hills. Well, I
believe they are all here, only they have been so built upon or so
levelled that they are hard to find. Even in old times the Palatine and
the Aventine were the only hills worth speaking of, and they are still
fairly steep. Not so long ago they showed a small hut on the Palatine
called Romulus's house that had been preserved since the earliest days.
So it seems certain that Romulus and Remus were real people, and if we
needed more proof, not long since they discovered an old tomb in the
Forum which they are quite sure was the grave of Romulus. I have looked
down into it, and am willing to believe this, too. On the Palatine now
are the ruins of the enormous palaces of the emperors. Generally only
parts of the high walls are standing, but from these you get an idea of
the grandeur of ancient Rome. On the walls of one house (The House of
the Pages it is supposed to be) they found a rough little drawing, such
as a boy might scratch on a blackboard to-day, the picture of a donkey,
and under it: 'Work, little ass, as I have worked, and may it profit
thee.'

"Besides the palaces they have unearthed the small house of Germanicus,
in which we saw some good wall paintings, and what would interest you
more, lead pipes for carrying water, almost like those we use in our
houses.

"We spent one day in the Forum with a special guide, who made everything
so plain! I saw the place where Cæsar fell at the foot of Pompey's
statue. They are constantly unearthing new things in the Forum, and Aunt
Caroline says it is really twice as large as it was when she was last
here. The beautiful House of the Vestals interested me the most.

"The Colosseum is some distance from the Forum, and you know it from
photographs. Only no picture can really give you a good idea of its
size. When you stand inside you feel as if you were hardly larger than a
fly.

"Rome, for the first few days, seemed like a big, new city, with bright
shops and rushing trolley cars and _carabinieri_ in cocked hats
sauntering about. But I soon began to see old Rome everywhere. You have
to patch it together as you go about. Pavements and columns from ancient
temples are found in the Middle Age churches. Alabaster and colored
marbles from all over the world were brought to Rome, and as late as the
fifth century there were thirty-six marble arches, hundreds of temples,
and many great baths, circuses, and fine private houses, besides the
rows of tall houses arranged in flats in which ordinary people lived.
There were also a great many fine statues, nearly all of which have
disappeared. In the Middle Ages, when people wished to build new houses
and churches, they simply pulled down some fine old Roman temple or
palace and so got building materials without any expense. But there is
enough of ancient Rome left to help form a picture of what it was.
Sometime I hope you will see it all, the old wall with its towers, the
Appian Way with its tombs and monuments.

"But old Rome is only a part of what we enjoy. The streets are bright
and gay with so many people driving about, and soldiers in uniforms
sometimes marching, sometimes walking along the sidewalks like ordinary
people. Then often we meet twenty or thirty school children dressed just
alike, taking exercise in the care of sisters, or priests in their
church dress. Then there are a great many theological students studying
in Rome, and some of them wear broad red or broad blue sashes, or have
other colored trimmings on their long black robes.

"I dare say you are disappointed that we have not seen the king and
queen--I wrote mother about Margherita--but I have been all through the
royal palace, the Quirinal, and will tell you about it when I come
home."



CHAPTER XII

AN ANCIENT TOWN


"I feel sorrier even than I expected," said Irma, as their train drew
out of the station at Rome. "No other city can be half as interesting."

"Just wait, my dear," replied Uncle Jim; "wherever you go in Italy you
will find more churches and pictures than you can properly grasp. You
are a pretty good sightseer, but in another month you will have had
enough."

"It isn't antiquities and pictures that I mind leaving," responded Irma
smiling; "but I was only beginning to realize how many pleasant people
there are in Rome."

"You and your aunt were certainly getting rather frivolous; teas and
calls and that kind of thing are a great waste of time in a city full of
churches. Remember, to improve your mind is your chief object in coming
abroad." Uncle Jim had assumed a mock-serious manner.

"To improve her health," interposed Aunt Caroline; "and I have written
her mother that she has gained six pounds and has recovered her red
cheeks."

"So you attribute this improvement to teas, and not to churches!"

"Our little bit of social life the past week or two has been good for us
both. Americans away from home often seem unexpectedly interesting, and
we have enjoyed hearing little things about the Roman winter that we
might not have heard if I had not met so many New York and Philadelphia
acquaintances. Then we have seen some of our artist friends at work in
their studios, and this has been entertaining."

"Don't forget the shops, Aunt Caroline. Even if I haven't had much money
to spend I have enjoyed shopping, and I think I have done very well with
Roman souvenirs. Sometimes I have wished I could spend just a little
more, and yet I have done very well."

If Irma had been looking at Marion, she might have seen that he was
observing her more closely than the pages of the book that earlier had
seemed to absorb him.

As they journeyed, Uncle Jim reminded Irma that they were travelling
toward the sources of the Tiber, and at one station he told her that
here she might go off to Perugia, the home of Perugino and Raphael.

"Orvieto," he added, "is a town set on a small mountain by itself, and I
hope you will like the funicular."

"By funicular!" cried Marion, in a tone of disgust; "that's the kind of
thing I particularly hate."

"You might go around by carriage. There is a winding road, as I
remember, but it takes much longer."

When they arrived at Orvieto, Marion, however, entered the strange
little train that was to be pulled up the steep ascent by underneath
cable.

"Look back at the view," urged Aunt Caroline, when they were almost at
the top. Turning her head Irma beheld a beautiful sight, the broad
valley lying far beneath and the distant hills. Then glancing toward
Marion she saw that he was leaning upon the seat in front and steadying
himself as if to brace himself against disaster.

"Sit up straight," called Uncle Jim, mischievously. "You cannot
possibly fall out, and if the car slips we shall all perish together."

Then Irma noticed that Marion bit his lip, as if angry, and made no
effort to look at the view.

A short drive from the end of the funicular brought them to an
old-fashioned hotel.

"A little rest, a little _déjeuner_, and then the cathedral!" exclaimed
Aunt Caroline. "I can hardly wait to see it. That is the only thing that
brings people to this queer little town."

"It is surely a queer little hotel, and we are the only Americans here,"
thought Irma, observing the guests at the other tables, a stout,
long-frocked priest, a uniformed officer, and two or three swarthy
Italians, apparently prosperous business men.

Soon after _déjeuner_ they set out, and a turn or two brought them to
the piazza of the Duomo, or cathedral.

For a moment all stood silent, as the sun shining full on the façade
showed them an enormous picture.

"Isn't it the most wonderful thing you ever saw?" cried Aunt Caroline,
and Irma thought it too beautiful for words. For those who had planned
and those who had carried out the plans had managed to give to the
little hill town a church that any city in the world might envy.
Beautiful pictures in mosaic in rich tones and gold backgrounds occupy
the upper part of the front. The marble pillars are exquisitely carved,
and around the large rose window are marble statues of apostles and
saints, while fine bronze emblems also form part of the decorations.

"I would really rather not go inside," said Irma, when Uncle Jim
proposed their seeing the interior. "I should like to sit here for an
hour and simply look at this beautiful, enormous picture," and she
raised her eyes to the high, pointed gables of the cathedral, far, so
far above her.

While she was speaking Uncle Jim had crossed the street to a group of
boys gathered on the cathedral steps.

"Yes," he said, as he returned, "they are actually playing cards, and
they didn't show the slightest signs of guilt when I looked over their
shoulders."

"Just think of being so intimate with this cathedral that you could play
games on its steps without thinking of the front."

"And those bareheaded women repairing the pavement never glance at the
church."

"Oh, Marion," protested Aunt Caroline, "don't give her a penny. Here are
two more old women hobbling along, and if you give to one you will have
the whole hospital at your back. I am sure there is some kind of an
institution there at the corner of the piazza."

Marion smiled good humoredly, and took his hand from his pocket, without
producing the bit of silver that the old woman evidently expected.

Two other old women came along, one leaning heavily on a crutch, the
other with a heavy woollen shawl over her head in spite of the heat of
the day.

"But just think what a fine time they could have with my half franc to
spend."

"You will find some more worthy cause, if you need a cause on which to
waste your money. There--there--go--go," cried Aunt Caroline to the
three old women, who had now come close up to her, mumbling and making
signs of hunger.

"Come, Irma, inside the cathedral," and laying her hand on Irma's arm,
Aunt Caroline crossed the street, while Uncle Jim and Marion followed:
and if the truth be told, as soon as Aunt Caroline's back was turned,
the very coin that had been burning Marion's pocket quickly transferred
itself to the hand of the most importunate of the old women. This, at
least, was Irma's impression, as she looked around before entering the
cathedral door, attracted by the rather peculiar striking of a clock.
Looking in the direction of the sound she gave an exclamation of
surprise that led Aunt Caroline to turn also. There on a building at the
corner stood a life size figure of a small man hitting a bell with a
hammer, and thus informing the town of the hours and quarter hours
without the need of a clock face.

The cool, white interior of the cathedral was a pleasant change from the
hot piazza. The pillars were of marble, striped black and white like the
outside. The young people admired some of the old frescoes by Fra
Angelico and Signorelli, and watched the priest copying the head of
Virgil, one of several poets of the future life chosen to decorate one
chapel. But when Aunt Caroline drew out her book to sketch some
architectural details Irma sighed audibly.

Only Marion, however, heard and understood the sigh.

"Aunt Caroline," he said, "while you are drawing, Irma and I might
ramble around the town. The streets are so narrow that there would be no
fun driving, and you never care to walk in the sun."

"Certainly, children. Run off by yourselves. You needn't apologize for
tiring of the society of your elders. As we have so little time here I
intend to devote myself to the cathedral inside and out. Only remember
what you see, and please don't get lost."

So Irma and Marion set off by themselves. Although they had been
informed that the little Municipal Museum contained many interesting
vases and ornaments found in the ancient Etruscan tombs so numerous in
this neighborhood, they decided to omit the museum.

"We saw so many of those things in the National Museum at Rome," sighed
Irma, "and these cannot be any finer. Aren't you tired of museums? There
must be much to see here, for Orvieto is such an old, old town."

"Yes," assented Marion, "and we might as well begin to set ourselves
against museums, for Uncle Jim says that all the Italian towns, no
matter how small, are stuffed full of local pride, and have municipal
museums, and even art galleries that they tax the poor people heavily to
support. If no one should visit them then taxes would be lighter, and
the poor Italians would be happier, and not so many would be driven to
emigrate to America."

While Irma laughed at the absurdity of his reasoning she also thought
that Marion was a very clever boy.

Then they wandered through the narrow streets of Orvieto, passing under
stone arches, looking in at various shops, where shoemakers or tinsmiths
or tailors were working in rather primitive fashion. Irma photographed
one or two old churches, and at last they came to a wall that seemed to
hold the town from tumbling down the high hill. There they had a wide
view across a lovely valley.

While they stood there, three or four well-dressed children surrounded
them, asking for money, and going through the usual form of speech, "We
are dying of hunger." Far from sympathizing, Marion and Irma only
laughed as they drove the children away, and finally the children, too,
burst into loud laughter as they retreated.

"I never imagined an Italian town as clean as this," said Irma, as they
walked over the big cobblestones of a sidewalkless thoroughfare. "It
looks as if it had been swept and scrubbed, and yet I am sorry for the
people so near the beautiful country, who yet must live in a closely
built town."

"Oh, many probably work in the fields below there, young as well as old.
Though they don't need the protection of a fortified town, as they did
in the Middle Ages, they still love to huddle together."

Before returning to the hotel, the two went to another edge of the town.
A public garden covered the site of the old fortress, but from a ruin of
the ancient castle they formed an idea of what it had been in its days
of usefulness.

"Give me your camera for a moment," cried Marion, as Irma leaned against
the wall looking over the Valley of the Tiber, toward the Umbrian hills.

"Now, stand still, just as you are," and when she heard the click she
turned to thank Marion.

"You must be a thought reader. I was wishing I might have a picture
taken here to send home, but----"

"You weren't afraid to ask me?"

"Well--you might have thought I was vain--or something. It always seems
so silly to wish to have one's own picture taken. But this is for
Gertrude. She tried to make me promise to have one taken in every town
we visited."

"I really believe you'd rather please Gertrude than any one else. I am
almost sorry I took the photograph." Marion turned away half angrily,
and Irma could not tell whether or not he was in earnest, as they
followed the custodian of the garden, who had been insisting that they
must see the _pozzo_, or old well.

When they had looked down into its gloomy depths of a couple of hundred
feet the man seemed rather disappointed that neither of them would
descend part way.

"The remarkable thing about it is that the spiral staircase is so built
that donkeys with buckets went down on one side, and came up on the
other with water."

"But who cares about that now?" cried Irma impatiently.

As they turned away from the well, they saw a hotel omnibus approaching,
and a moment later Aunt Caroline was calling to them.

"We were so afraid we might miss you. They insisted on bringing us down
early for the funicular, and here are your bags. But this is better than
being late, and it will give your uncle and me a chance to visit the
famous well." Whereat Irma and Marion exchanged smiles, though it did
not seem worth while to dissuade their elders from seeing one of the few
sights of the old town.

"It will be a quarter of an hour before the train starts for Siena, and
they ought to have some way of killing time."

"By the way," continued Marion, as they waited for the train, "you may
be glad to hear that you were right and I was wrong, the other day about
my purse."

"The one that was stolen?"

"Yes. I ought to have reported it, as you said. It contained a piece
of--well--something that I wouldn't have lost for anything. I only found
it out when I came to pack this morning. I had thought it was in its
box. But when to-day I found the box empty, I remembered that I had it
in my purse to take to a jeweler's to repair."

"Can't you report it now?"

"Oh, it's absolutely too late, now that we have left Rome."

At this moment the train came in.



CHAPTER XIII

OLD SIENA--AND NEW FRIENDS


When Irma looked out of her window before breakfast her first morning at
Siena, she was surprised to see before her not a town street, but what
seemed a section of farming country, with vegetable gardens and
occasional small cottages. She saw men and women at work in the fields,
and she wondered whether she were awake or asleep. For her impression of
Siena, as they had driven through the streets the night before, was of a
closely built town. When she had dressed, she hastened from her room to
see what impression she would get from a front window.

It seemed to be a morning of surprises, for as she passed a
sitting-room at the head of the stairs, she heard Marion laughing, yes,
actually laughing, and other voices were mingled with his in
conversation and laughter, too.

So surprised was Irma that she paused, with her hand on the banister,
and a moment later Marion stood beside her.

"Come in, there is some one here you ought to meet," he said, and almost
before she realized it he had led her into the room. The faces of the
two girls who stood near the window were certainly not exactly the faces
of strangers, and yet she could not tell where she had previously seen
them.

"Miss Grimston, Miss Sanford, this is Irma Derrington."

At these words of Marion's she realized who the strangers were, the two
girls she had seen at the Naples Aquarium.

"Don't I come in for an introduction, too?" said a boy's voice, almost
before Irma had a chance to say a word to the two girls, and at the same
moment a tall, blue-eyed boy came forward with a smile. "I am Richard
Sanford," he said pleasantly.

"Come, children, come to breakfast," cried Uncle Jim, now appearing at
the door; "your aunt will have her coffee upstairs."

Then he started back. "Excuse me," he said, "I did not realize that
Siena was so full of young Americans," and then Marion repeated the
introductions.

In the breakfast room a table was found where all the young people could
sit together, under the vigilant eye of Uncle Jim, "a chaperon _pro
tem_," as he called himself, whose chief duty it was to see that they
did not let their conversation interfere with their appetites. Before
the meal ended he had made them admit that he had done his duty.

"We have seen all the most important things in Siena," Katie Grimston
explained, "but we had arranged to be here a week, and that gives us two
days more. Mrs. Sanford happens to be rather tired to-day, and while she
is resting we can go about with you if you'd like to have us."

"Indeed we should," responded Uncle Jim, "for if you have been over the
ground, you can probably save us many steps."

"Of course we won't promise to go everywhere, but we can save you time
at first."

A little later Irma was at the door, ready to start. The street in front
of the house looked like the street of some pleasant New England suburb.
The houses seemed comparatively modern. But not so very far away she
caught glimpses of roofs crowded together, and of the tower of a large
church.

Marion and Katie and Uncle Jim had gone off a little ahead of the
others, and Irma found herself with Richard Sanford and his sister.

"Let us take a short cut to the Duomo," said Richard. "We've always
driven, but it would really be more fun to walk."

The girls assented, and the three set off in good spirits. But Richard,
although he asked his way once or twice, did not pay close attention to
directions, and they quickly found themselves going down a steep, narrow
street that had no sidewalk, and was paved with large stones that made
walking difficult. The street was full of people, chiefly women and
little children, and some of the children gathered around the Americans
as they passed along.

"The only thing I know about the cathedral," protested Irma, when they
found themselves at the bottom of the long street, "is that it occupies
the highest land in Siena, which I am sure we shall never reach if we
keep going down hill."

"Patience, patience," cried Richard pleasantly. "I'll show you that I
am a regular Duke of York," and he stepped aside to talk with an
intelligent-looking woman in a doorway, who gesticulated while she
talked.

"Her gestures tell me more than her words," said Richard, "and all we
have to do, evidently, is to turn a corner or two and go up hill again."

"Oh, Richard, you are so heedless. You should have thought twice before
bringing us down here," cried his sister.

"But think what fun to go up those queer little stepping-stones," and
with a long stride Richard was soon so far ahead of them that again the
only sensible thing was to follow.

For a moment he was out of sight around a corner, and when they came
upon him, he was on the steps of a building that was at a considerably
lower level than the cathedral towering above. Then they followed him
within, and Ellen fortunately withheld her word of reproof, which might
otherwise have seemed an interruption to a service that was going on.

"A christening," she whispered to Irma; "this must be the baptistery."

"See, there are two of them. I believe they are twins." Both girls now
drew nearer to the font. There were several persons besides the priest,
and two of the women wore cloaks with bright linings, one blue, one
pink. The lady of the pink-lined cloak held in her arms a baby with a
cloak of the same color, and a baby in a blue cloak was held by the
wearer of the blue-lined cloak.

"I wish we could look at them," whispered Ellen, as the children and
their train turned away from the font. "I do so love to see twins," and
then, to the surprise of both girls, the baby in the blue cloak was
carried out of the baptistery, followed by her parents and grandparents,
without a farewell to the baby in the pink cloak; while the parents of
the other child sat down for a minute or two before taking him away.

"They are not twins. They are not even brother and sister," cried Ellen,
in a tone of great dejection.

"As if that made any difference!" exclaimed Richard, overhearing her.
"Oh, Ellen, you can be such a goose. But come, after you have admired
Donatello's stunning St. John, we must go outside and take a few more
steps up to the cathedral."

From the piazza the black and white striped marble, the gabled front
and its fine sculptures, reminded Irma of the Orvieto Duomo. But it had
not the rich color of the other. On each side of the door were columns
surmounted by a marble wolf.

"Oh, you must get used to _La Lupa_ in Siena. You know the story goes
that Siena was founded by Senus, son of Remus, hence the Sienese claim
the wolf as their especial emblem. You'll see it everywhere. Now follow
me and listen attentively, young ladies, and you'll find you can 'do'
this vast Duomo in the shortest time on record. No, no."

The last was said to a guide who was following them closely, a
half-grown boy, who was not easily shaken off.

"Richard really is a very good guide," whispered Ellen. "He knows so
many stories about everything, and when he doesn't remember he can make
up something just as interesting."

In consequence of this remark of Ellen's, Irma was not always sure how
much was truth and how much imagination, in the legends that Richard
rapidly told of saints and church dignitaries, painted on the walls, or
done in graffito in the marble pavement. But of one thing she was
certain, she had never seen a building so complete in its carvings,
whether of wood or marble, its paintings and gildings. She admired the
tall flagstaffs captured at Montaperti, though they seemed out of place
in a church. She stood long, studying the details of the exquisite
marble pulpit by Nicholas Pisano, when Richard exclaimed, "The most
beautiful pulpit in Europe. He worked on it for three years, and then
received for it--about thirty dollars."

"Is that the truth or a legend?" she asked, smiling.

"The real true truth," he answered. "I saw it in a book of accounts in
the Municipal building. They have a great many interesting manuscripts
there. The letters of Catherine of Siena, and many other autographs
would fetch their weight in gold in our country."

"An autograph wouldn't weigh very much," suggested Irma.

But Richard took no notice of the interruption.

"Well, I made a particular note about Nicholas Pisano. So I am sure I am
right. But come, if you wish to do the cathedral in the shortest known
time, we must go at once to the library."

"I am not in so tremendous a hurry."

"Ah, that's because you have no idea how much there is in Siena. See,
there's the librarian letting one group of victims go. We can easily
slip in."

The room they now entered, though small, was beautifully decorated.
Above the rich woodwork were ten frescoes on the walls, each a complete
scene from the life of some hero.

"He is Enio Sylvio Piccolomini," explained their self-appointed guide,
"who became Pope Pius II, and isn't that a funny scene where he is
trying to persuade the king of Scotland to harry the border so that
Henry VI of England may have so much to do at home that he won't
interfere with the affairs on the continent?"

"Oh, but the colors are so rich, and Enio Sylvio, if he looked like
that, must have been a very interesting person."

Richard laughed at Irma's seriousness.

"Pinturicchio knew how to please Pope Pius III, the nephew of Enio
Sylvio, who engaged him to paint these pictures. But still, on the
whole, I imagine that the Piccolomini were rather interesting. For
generations they held the chief offices in the church here in Siena, and
in the years they were fighting with the Tolmei, they kept things pretty
lively. But in Enio Sylvio's time the worst of the Civil Wars were over.
But now come," and Richard looked at his watch. "You can have only five
minutes for all these illuminated books."

"Oh, more than that," cried Ellen.

"No, my dear, that is enough for a general impression, which is all you
would retain if you were to spend an hour here."

The five minutes, however, lengthened into ten before Ellen and Irma
were ready to leave the fascinating folios in their leather bindings.
They were all books of devotion, some of them music books, with the
chants of the church, and all of them illustrated with tiny paintings
rich in color.

"It is all very well to hurry us," said Ellen, as they walked toward the
door of the Duomo, "but you spent a whole morning here, and this is my
first visit, as well as Miss Derrington's."

"You have a good enough general impression," replied Richard, with a
laugh; "and what more can any one expect, on a first visit?"

"Evidently," thought Irma, "Richard Sanford looks on sightseeing much as
Uncle Jim does."

A little later, at the great door, Irma and her friends almost ran into
Uncle Jim, behind whom walked Katie Grimston and Marion.

"Well, you must have taken the longest way round; where in the world
have you been, Katie?" asked Ellen.

"Oh, we came through the town, and there were so many nice little shops
there that I had to stop, as I always do," replied Katie, whose hands
were full of little bundles. "Besides, none of us were in a great hurry
for the cathedral. You know I have been all through it," and she glanced
coquettishly at Richard. "If you wish us to go on with you now, we can
as well as not," she added.

"You must suit yourself, but as Marion and his uncle have not been here,
I should think you'd like to give them the advantage of your superior
knowledge."

Then Uncle Jim spoke for himself. "I really think Marion and I ought to
take a turn around inside, if nothing more. But Miss Grimston----"

"Oh, of course I'd rather do what you do," said Katie, turning her back
to Richard, who thereupon went outside. Then after Irma had had a word
or two with Uncle Jim, she and Ellen found Richard near a carriage.

"It is too warm to walk, and I am going to take you down to the Campo.
It is the most interesting spot here in Siena and I wish to be the first
to show it to you."

"Oh, not more interesting than St. Catherine's house," said Ellen.

"More interesting to me, and I believe it will be to Miss Derrington,"
said Richard.

As they drove along, Irma realized that it was indeed strange that she
should be so contented in the company of Ellen and Richard, two persons
of whom she had not even heard until this very morning. As if he read
her thoughts, Richard said rather abruptly, "I suppose Marion hasn't had
a chance to tell you that he and I used to go to school together in New
York. That was years ago, when we were first out of the kindergarten.
Lately he has studied at home, and I've been off at boarding school, so
I have seen him only occasionally in my holidays. You must have seen
more of him, Ellen."

"Oh, no," responded his sister. "Until to-day, I had hardly even seen
him since he was a small boy. Of course I felt very sorry for him this
winter."

"Ah, here we are!" and Richard signalled the driver to pull up, as they
reached the end of a narrow street.

"Oh, it is picturesque!" cried Irma, looking at the square before her.
The great open space was hardly a square, but a piazza tending toward a
semicircle, and slightly lower than the street. On the side farthest
from them were several fine buildings, from one of which rose a high,
square tower, of which Irma remembered to have seen many pictures. Then
she recalled something she had just read. Surely Richard would know.

"Yes," responded Richard. "This is the very tower they are copying for
the Provincetown monument. What a genuine Yankee you are to remember.
There," continued Richard, "this is the famous Campo. It is in a hollow,
where the three hills of Siena meet. How I should like to have seen it
five or six hundred years ago, on one of those days when a fisticuff
game was going on, or one of the more exciting donkey races. Oh, it
makes our sports to-day seem tame, when we read what these old Sienese
used to do. You see," he continued, without waiting for the girls to ask
questions, "at one of these fisticuff fights one Sunday before Carnival,
the fighters on one side grew so excited when driven off the ground that
they fell upon their opponents with sticks and stones, and then with
lances and darts, and all of Siena crowded to the neighborhood. The
soldiers, the greatest men of the city, too, tried in vain to stop them,
and some of the soldiers were killed. Then people who lived in the very
palaces we're looking at threw stones out of their windows, but the mob
only threatened to set fire to the houses."

"Well, how did it end?" asked Ellen impatiently.

"Oh, the fight would probably have continued to this day, if some one,
after several soldiers had been killed, had not thought of getting the
Bishop of Siena, and all the Friars here to come down to the Campo, and
when they began to march in a solemn procession right through the thick
of the fight, carrying the cross and other religious emblems, of course
the fighting stopped. But naturally their games were not often as
exciting as this."

"What were the donkey races like?"

"Oh, quite different. The city was divided into _contrade_, or
districts, and on the days of the races each district appeared with its
captain and other officers, with its special banner, and a donkey
painted in its colors. The game was to get the donkeys to go twice
around the Campo. No one on the field was permitted to have a weapon of
any kind, not even a finger ring, but they could fight and push and do
all in their power to prevent any donkey's winning, except that of their
own district. After the donkey races died out they used to have buffalo
races; you know," in a tone of contempt, "the kind of buffaloes they
have in Italy, and later horse races, which they still have."

"Here on the Campo? How I should like to see them."

"Then you must come here the second of July or the middle of August. The
_Palio_ is the name given to the race, and as the city is still divided
into _contrade_, these horses are mounted by representatives of the
different ones. But I have a friend who came here one summer, and he
says that in spite of the crowds and the display of rich banners and
colors these races are now rather tame affairs."

"Nothing is what it used to be," said Ellen, half mockingly. "My
brother," she explained, turning to Irma, "is romantic, and always
longing for the past, in spite of which I don't believe he would have
cared to live in Italy in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries."

"Well, they did some things better than we can, the men of those days.
Just come for a moment to the Palazzo Municipio, and I'll show you some
pictures that will make you envy the Sienese."

As the girls followed he marched them rapidly from room to room,
decorated with enormous frescoes, in which were shown the victories of
the Sienese over their neighbors, especially over their chief rival,
Florence. From the great Council Hall they passed to the Hall of the
Nine, who at one time were supreme in the Government of Siena. After one
or two efforts Irma ceased trying to understand the allegorical figures
that had almost as large a place in the pictures as the historical. But
the color was so beautiful, and generally the paintings were so pleasing
that she restrained the laugh that was often on her lips, when something
appeared to her particularly absurd. But Richard, who had been here
before, had the meanings of the allegories, as well as the historical
incidents, at his tongue's end.

In one room, he told them, a treacherous leader of the Sienese forces
had been entrapped and stabbed to death by The Fifteen, who then were
the rulers of Siena, and he would have described fully these
blood-curdling events, if Ellen had permitted.

Finally, as they drove towards home, Richard pointed out several old
palaces in which leading families had lived, and in almost every case he
had a tale of Salimbeni or Tolomei or Saraceni in the days when the
followers of one great house would kill hundreds of the followers of the
other. "When," said Richard, "these narrow streets literally ran blood
in those old days of Guelph and Ghibelline."

"Thank you," said Irma faintly, as they reached their hotel, "I feel as
if I had swallowed a whole history."

"Well," responded Richard, "I thought it was well for you to accomplish
all you could this morning, for I don't see why you shouldn't make quick
work with Siena, and go on with us to-morrow or the next day to San
Gimignano."

"I don't know, I am sure, what Aunt Caroline's plans are," said Irma,
"but I can ask her."

Yet she realized that she could not repeat Richard's strange name.
"San--what?"



CHAPTER XIV

NAP--AND OTHER THINGS


A whole day as strenuous as the morning Richard had provided would have
been too much for Irma's strength. Fortunately Aunt Caroline came to her
rescue, and insisted on a rest during the early afternoon, and
prescribed a drive later. But after driving a short time, Aunt Caroline
herself suggested visiting the Oratory of San Bernardino, and one or two
other churches where certain masterpieces of Sodoma and other great
artists were to be seen.

In the evening, after dinner, Uncle Jim brought in a number of letters,
forwarded from Rome. There were three for Marion, whose face brightened
perceptibly as he glanced at the envelopes.

"Here are two from Cranston," added Uncle Jim, as he gave Irma hers.

"Cranston," exclaimed Katie, "is there any one here from Cranston? That
is where my grandmother lives."

"I know it," rejoined Irma, whereupon Katie tossed her head with a
little air of exaggerated surprise, as if to say, "And how does it
happen that you know anything about my grandmother?"

"But I do not know your grandmother," continued Irma. "She has been away
ever since I lived there. It is only Nap,--the little dog----"

She could not bring herself to say "your little dog," even if she had
been willing to admit Katie's ownership.

Instantly Katie comprehended. "Oh, you are the girl," she said, "who
found my little Pat."

"Rescued him," began Aunt Caroline, who well knew the story.

"Whereby hangs a tale," added Uncle Jim.

"A dog's tail?" queried Richard, with a boy's desire to make a joke,
although he didn't yet understand the story of this particular Nap.

"I am sure I am very much obliged to you for taking care of my dog,"
said Katie, "though my relations would have kept him for me."

"They didn't seem able to," thought Irma.

"Well, he's Irma's dog now," said Uncle Jim decidedly. "You would be
quite sure he knows to whom he belongs if you could see him follow Irma
about, as I saw him last summer."

"Nap, as you call him, 'Pat' as I say, is still my dog. I have never
given him away. Every one knows that," and Katie looked in defiance at
Irma.

"As the bone of contention is so far away, by which I do not mean that
Pat is unduly thin, it seems as if we might leave the subject in peace
for the present."

"Of course," continued Katie, "I did not expect to be in Europe so long.
But I am to join grandma in Paris next month, and a week or two later we
shall sail. I shall be glad enough to see Pat again."

There was no more just then for Irma to say. She wondered if Katie
really meant what she said. Later, when they were alone, she would ask
her.

Soon Katie left the sitting-room, and Marion and Irma and one or two
others for whom letters had come proceeded to read them.

Richard, who had been politely silent for some time, now turned to
Irma, when he saw she was at leisure. "Would you mind telling us about
the little dog. All I could understand was that Katie intends to have
her own way about something, and when that is the case, it is very hard
to make her change her mind."

"I should like to hear about it, too," said Marion. "I know just a
little about Nap."

"I'll tell you what," cried the resourceful Richard. "There's a little
balcony outside, at the end of the hall, just large enough for four. If
we go there, Ellen, Marion, and Miss Derrington, we can have the whole
story, without disturbing any one else."

"There's really little enough to tell," began Irma, as they seated
themselves outside. "Only, about three years ago, a little less,
perhaps, when I first went to Cranston to live, one morning I met a boy
with a small dog. He asked me to buy it to save it from being shot. The
lady who owned it was going abroad, he said, and had ordered it shot.
But he thought it cruel, and was willing to sell it. Well, I took a
great fancy to the little creature, he had such lovely brown eyes; and
while I was wondering whether I could buy him, Gertrude came along, and
between us we bought him. Gertrude is always so generous." For a moment
Irma was silent, as her mind went back to that memorable October day,
and to the way in which the little dog had helped settle the
misunderstanding between her and Gertrude.

"Then we had to name him, and happened to choose Nap, which sounds so
much like his original 'Pat' that he must have felt pleased."

"But where does Katie come in?" asked Richard.

"That's the strange part of it. We took Nap with us on an excursion to
Concord, and there we ran across Ada Amesbury, who is old Mrs.
Grimston's granddaughter. Nap and she recognized each other at once,
because, you see, he really belonged to Katie Grimston, whose home, you
know, is in Concord."

"Well, if Mrs. Grimston or Katie wished to have the dog shot, just
because they were going to Europe, I can't see why they should object to
your having him!"

"Oh, naturally that story of the boy's was only made up. He saw a
chance to get a little money by selling the dog, and Katie's family
thought Pat was lost. Ada Amesbury was to have taken care of him in
Katie's absence. When I first heard about it I thought I ought to give
Nap up, but Mrs. Amesbury said it was fair for me to keep him until
Katie's return."

"I should say so!" interpolated Richard.

"But now Katie has stayed away so long it will be very hard for us to
part with Nap, especially for my little sister Tessie,--Theresa, I
mean."

"Oh, you and Katie can surely settle the matter now," said Ellen. "She
should be glad enough to let you keep him. A dog is a great trouble to
any one who travels much."

"I suppose Katie will stay at home for some time after she returns.
Perhaps I oughtn't to say Katie behind her back, but I know so many who
speak of her in that way. She has quantities of friends in Cranston."

"Ellen," said Richard, "even though Katie is our cousin, don't you know
her well enough to be sure that if she has once said she would claim
Nap, she is not likely to give in, or give up, or whatever you call it?"

"That's the worst of it," said Ellen; "she isn't easy to influence."

"Oh, well," sighed Irma, "I suppose if she is so fond of Nap, she has a
right to him. Of course we have written to Mrs. Grimston and Ada has
written to Katie, but she has always said she expected to have the dog
on her return."

"You could easily get another pet dog," interposed Marion, who thus far
had taken no part in the discussion.

"It couldn't possibly be the same," and Marion knew that Irma was
despondent.

"It is cold," cried Ellen. "Let us go back to the sitting-room," and as
they passed through the dimly lit hall, Marion saw Irma wipe away a
tear. Had she known that he noticed this, and had she thought the matter
worth explaining, she might have told him that Nap was not alone
responsible for the tear, but that behind it was the feeling of
homesickness, her very strong desire to see Tessie and the boys and her
parents, and yes, even Mahala and Gertrude, and in fact every one in
Cranston.

Marion this evening was more sympathetic than usual, because he had
received a letter with better news than any he had had since leaving
home. Yet such was his reticence that he could not talk of it, even to
Aunt Caroline.

On their return to the sitting-room, when Irma was introduced for the
first time to Mrs. Sanford, she partly understood the reason for
Richard's extreme energy. Mrs. Sanford was pale and delicate in
appearance, and as Richard's father had long been dead, she could see
that he not unnaturally had to take great responsibility, and had had to
make plans that under other conditions would have been first proposed by
his mother.

"It seems a great pity," he was saying to Aunt Caroline, "that you
should not go on with us to San Gimignano. It's a fine drive, right
through the heart of Tuscany, to the queerest old town. You may never
have such a chance again."

"Richard!" exclaimed his mother, smiling, even while her tone held more
or less reproof.

"A chance, I mean, to go with us."

"One carriage would hardly hold seven persons."

"No, there would be two carriages, and each would have a pair of these
fine Sienese horses. I have never seen stronger or better kept beasts in
Europe, and one carriage shall be driven by that rosy-cheeked
_cocchiere_, who has been so devoted to you, mother, and we'll find his
twin for the other carriage, and when any two in one carriage grow tired
of any other two, why they will change places with the others. And we'll
have two huge luncheon baskets for supper on the way, for of course to
avoid the heat we must leave late in the afternoon. Oh, it will be
great; and it's only twenty-five miles, and if you wished you couldn't
go by train, nearer than Poggibonsi."

"You seem to have it so well arranged that the rest of us need not say
or do anything," said Uncle Jim, with an attempt at sarcasm that could
not cut very deep.

"Well, what do the others say? You, Marion, for example?"

"Oh, it might be worth trying," responded Marion, and when no one really
disagreed with Richard, he felt that the matter was settled as he
wished.

The next day Aunt Caroline and Uncle Jim devoted themselves to the
Accademia. With Ellen and Marion, Irma did walk through the Accademia,
with its countless pictures, a complete exhibition of the renowned
Sienese school, but there were very few paintings before which she cared
to linger.

"You won't go shopping with me?" asked Aunt Caroline, as she turned
away. "They make fine old furniture here and beautiful carved frames."

"Yes, and genuine old masters,--madonnas, bambinos, and all the saints,"
said Marion. "Some one has been telling me about them."

"Ah, but I am not looking for an old master," said Aunt Caroline, "and I
shall like the furniture all the better if it isn't old."

The rest of this morning the young people strolled along the narrow
picturesque streets, occasionally going inside some old building where
Richard knew there was something to see, or standing at a corner, he
would give them the details of some bloody street combat between Guelphs
and Ghibellines. Once he took them up into a high building, from which
they viewed the old city wall, and from the same window he pointed
toward the field of Montaperto where the Sienese completely routed their
great enemies, the Florentines.

"The battlefield is six miles away," he explained. "I am only pointing
in its general direction. It's hard to believe that the Sienese killed
twelve thousand Florentines and made six thousand prisoners, though that
was when Siena had a hundred thousand inhabitants, instead of
twenty-five thousand, as now."

Richard took them to the Litza, the pretty park that is thronged with
Sienese, old and young, every afternoon, and he explained the nearness
of the farms that Irma had noticed between the Litza and the back of
their hotel.

Finally in the afternoon she went with Richard and Marion to visit the
house of the famous Saint Catherine, in the street of the dyers, for
Catherine's father, Bernincasa, had been a dyer, and in this small house
Catherine was born in 1347.

Every room of the small house on this steep street had been turned into
a chapel or oratory. Life-size paintings of St. Catherine were on the
wall. The pavement she had trodden was covered with wooden slats. The
rooms where, as a little girl, she had helped her mother in her humble
household tasks were now richly decorated with paintings. There was a
certain solemnity in all the rooms, in the smaller oratories, as in the
larger lower church. The pictures on the walls spoke of the saint's good
deeds, and Richard told stories he had read of her kindness to the poor,
of her comfort to prisoners, in one case staying by young Niccolo di
Toldo, holding his head even while the executioners were severing it.
One of her missions was to the pope at Avignon, another to Rome, where
she went with a band of her disciples, and her influence made itself
felt wherever she was.

"She must have been a wonderful woman. Her memory is as fresh in Siena
as if she had lived but last year, and the reverence for her began even
before her death, more than six hundred years ago."

The rest of the afternoon passed quickly, and all the young people spent
the evening pleasantly together. Although Irma was aware of a slight
unfriendliness on Katie's part, the two girls talked and laughed about
Cranston people, some of whom Katie knew better than Irma, as she had
made many visits at her grandmother's in Cranston.

When the day dawned when Mrs. Sanford and her party were to drive to
San Gimignano, it was clear that Richard had carried his point. Aunt
Caroline at breakfast announced that she had decided to shorten her stay
at Siena. "Our trunks have already gone on to Florence, and there is
nothing to prevent our driving to San Gimignano with the Sanfords." The
plan pleased Irma, who was really anxious to see the strange town that
Richard had described. Uncle Jim professed to be resigned to anything
that suited Aunt Caroline; and Marion, although he said nothing, was
evidently interested in what promised to be a novel experience.

Accordingly, toward four o'clock, two large comfortable carriages drove
up to the door of the _pension_, each drawn by a pair of sturdy horses,
with a young, red-cheeked, amiable driver. All the employes of the
house, down to the cook and a little scullion, lined up beside the door,
with hands extended for the centimes and francs that Uncle Jim and
Richard doled out, some of the boarders waved a good-by from the little
balcony--and then they were off.

At first Marion and Aunt Caroline were in the carriage with Mrs. Sanford
and Katie.

"Families do get so bored by one another travelling," said Richard.
"That's one reason I hoped we might take this trip together. Any one who
grows particularly tired of any one else has only to ask to exchange to
the other carriage. Ellen and I usually get on very well together, but
Katie----"

"Hush, Richard," and Ellen laid a warning finger on her brother's lips.

The road over which they travelled was hard and smooth, and although
houses were few, there was much of interest on every side. Richard
invented many tales by the way, about noble Florentines riding this
road, only to be waylaid and killed by Sienese rivals. In his stories
the Sienese were always as successful as they were in the paintings on
the walls of the public buildings in Siena. Once they stopped to look
back, and the coachman chose the most favorable point for a last view of
the city wall, with one of the old gates.

Richard and Ellen both understood Italian, and spoke it fairly well.

"I have just been complimenting the _cocchiere_ on his accent," said
Richard, "and he took it quite as a matter of course. He says that every
one knows that only in Siena can one hear the true Italian, and that the
strangers who wish to speak Tuscan properly come to Siena to study."

"I thought that it was Florence where one must go," said Ellen.

"Hush, hush," whispered Richard; "if our coachman should understand you,
I should fear for our lives. The very horses might run away and dash us
into a ditch. Florence and Siena forsooth!"

The coachman himself did his part in entertaining them. He pointed out
the entrance to one estate, and told a story or two about its owner,
whose house was set far back and hidden from the road by extensive
woods.

"Where do the working people live who cultivate these great farms?"
asked Ellen, and the man answered by pointing to a large house in the
distance. "Sometimes twenty or thirty people live in one of the houses
of the _contadino_, or farmer. Their real home is in some town, but they
stay with the farmer while he needs them."

Even with the best of company a long ride on a warm afternoon becomes
tiresome. After a time Irma found herself counting the milestones, or
kilometre stones, and she saw that instead of being perfectly plain
blocks, most of them had some little carved ornament. On one hill they
saw a wall that enclosed an old town, and the coachman could hardly find
words to express the rapidity with which the population was diminishing.

"Why in the world should any one wish to live on the top of a hill?"
asked Uncle Jim. "It was all very well when war was their occupation,
but in these piping days of peace it would be too much like work to have
to mount that hill daily for the protection of that old castle wall."

After a while the party came to a place where they could draw up by the
side of the road and examine their lunch baskets.

"The first hotel luncheon I ever saw," exclaimed Uncle Jim, "without
chicken legs and butterless rolls."

"You never before had me to order for you," said Richard. "I know their
tricks and their manners, and so I did a little shopping on my own
account. At this time of day I knew we would need nothing very
substantial, and now you may praise the Sienese fruit and pastry to your
heart's content, for that luncheon came chiefly from the little shops,
and not from the landlady's larder."

"We can show appreciation without mere words." And soon the luncheon
was finished to the last crumb, with due appreciation.

The air was cooler, and shortly they were passing through a factory town
at the foot of a hill. As working hours were just over, people were
sitting at their open doors, or going in and out of the little shops,
much as they would in a New England village. Indeed, Uncle Jim said it
made him think of a certain New Hampshire town that he knew well, until,
as the horses clattered up the hilly street, suddenly at one side were
the high substantial walls of a mediæval town.

Through an open gate they could see the old, narrow streets and high
houses. In the beginning there had been but a castle here, around which
the town had grown. Now, in modern times, it had spread all over the
hill, or perhaps had spread up from the little mill that had had its
first humble beginning on the stream below.

"I seem to be looking at history as it is made," said Irma.

"That's a fine way of putting it," cried Richard.

"Irma sees things exactly as they are," added Uncle Jim.

Soon they had descended the other side of the high hill they had so
lately mounted. Ahead of them, and still a good distance away, was
another hill with a coronet of slender towers.

"San Gimignano!" exclaimed Richard.

"I have never seen it before, but I know it from the pictures. Isn't it
picturesque? I wanted to surprise you, Ellen, so I have said hardly
anything to you about it. But you all know," and he included Uncle Jim
and Irma in his remarks, "that you are soon to be inside of the one town
in Italy that has kept its old mediæval towers. If the whole town is as
quaint as the towers, you will thank me for bringing you here."

"We thank you now," said Uncle Jim.

"Why is the carriage ahead waiting for us?" asked Ellen.

"Katie thought you might like to come in here for the rest of the
journey."

"Probably Katie herself wishes to change," whispered Richard.

Whereupon Ellen jumped lightly from the carriage, and a moment later she
and Katie had exchanged places.

San Gimignano lost none of its picturesqueness as they drew near it,
passing olive orchards and vineyards as they went up the hill.

"What a beautiful country!" cried Irma. "The people up there must be
very happy if it is all as pretty."

It was now growing dusk, and the horses took the last turn very quickly.
Irma noticed that Katie was quiet. Could it be that she and Marion had
had some disagreement? The driver hurried on through an arched gateway.

"Oh, a narrow, city street," cried Irma, in a tone of disappointment.

"No matter," responded Richard, as their horse clattered along. "We'll
get some fun out of it to-morrow. Now, in the dusk, I'll admit it does
look rather like a tenement district."

After their long, warm drive, it wasn't a pleasing prospect to find
their hotel on this narrow street instead of in a pleasant garden, as
Katie said she had pictured it.

"At least it is different from any other hotel we have seen," said
Ellen, philosophically, "and we hoped San Gimignano would be rather
queer."

"But not this kind of queerness," Katie continued to protest.



CHAPTER XV

A LETTER FROM FLORENCE


Irma had been two or three days in Florence before she had time to write
the long letter to Tessie that for some time she had been planning.

"Dear Tessie," she began:

"Though I have sent you messages and post cards, this is my first
letter. I know you do not care to hear much about pictures and churches,
of which I have seen almost too many, so I will tell you about other
things. I can't say much about foreign children, only that they all seem
shy, except the little girls who beg, and the little boys who wish to be
our guides, and I am sorry to say that sometimes, just to get rid of
them, we give them the penny that we know is not good for them. They
want all the money they can get from _forestieri_, for we are
_forestieri_ here.

"The Italian children seem to have long school hours, and that is one
reason we do not see many of them about. When we do see a group together
it troubles Aunt Caroline that they are not playing, but simply standing
about solemnly. Sometimes, when we pass a station in the middle of the
day, we see a little boy with a loaf of bread under his arm, cutting off
a slice with a jack-knife. That probably is all he has for breakfast,
and perhaps his dinner will be nothing but a dish of macaroni.

"Well, all we have ourselves for breakfast is chocolate and some rolls
and butter. Older people take coffee. If we ask for a boiled egg we can
have it, but we are trying to live as the Italians do. After breakfast
we go sightseeing, and we are always half starved by one o'clock, when
we have _déjeuner_. Everything then is served in courses, and if you are
late you simply have to go without the things that were served before
you sat down. In the middle of the day we rest, for it is as hot as our
hottest summer from twelve to three. After that we drive, or visit some
church or museum, ending with afternoon tea. If you happen to have
friends at some hotel, it is fun to drop in there. But over all the
pastry shops, that are almost like restaurants, you see the sign
'afternoon tea.' It is the one English expression most Italians seem to
know.

"Dinner is served in courses like _déjeuner_. But whatever else they
give us, we are sure of one thing, a course of chicken and salad. By the
time the chicken comes to me, it is generally all wings, which I never
eat. None of us ever eat salad, because we are suspicious of the water
it is washed in.

"You have not had many railroad journeys, and so the little cars and
engines might not seem as funny to you as they do to us. Each car is
divided into little compartments, with room for five persons on each
side, and there you have to sit and stare at the persons opposite. But
we have generally been fortunate enough to have a carriage to ourselves.

"When we arrive at a station, we always find a row of men in blue
cotton blouses and conductors' caps lined up waiting to carry our bags.
They are the _facchini_, or porters, and each one tries to carry several
bags, for it is the law that he shall be paid ten centimes, or two
cents, for each piece of luggage he carries.

"We got rid of crowded railway carriages and _facchini_, when we went
from Siena to Florence. For we drove all the way, staying one day at San
Gimignano, the most curious place we have seen. We wouldn't have thought
of going there but for Richard Sanford, whose family we met in Siena.
Just think! His cousin, Katie Grimston, is travelling with him and his
mother. Katie Grimston, who says that Nap still belongs to her; and I am
afraid she really will take him away from us. But to return to San
Gimignano. It is on the top of a high hill, and has a wall going
completely around it, with handsome great arches, or gates.

"There are eight tall towers in the town, and five on the walls. But
none of them are considered safe now for visitors to climb, though we
had all we could do to keep Marion and Richard from trying one or two of
them. The people of San Gimignano were divided into two great parties,
Guelph for the pope and Ghibelline for the emperor. From the towers,
belonging to the leading families in the town, they could do any amount
of harm to their enemies in the streets below, and also keep a lookout
for outside enemies on their way from Siena.

"Next to the towers (which, to be honest, look a great deal like
factory chimneys of gray stone) you would like the pictures in the
cathedral that tell all the old Bible stories, especially the one where
they are building the Ark, with Noah and his family and all the animals
standing about and looking on.

"In another church some beautiful frescoes by Gozzoli tell the story of
St. Augustine's life. One, where he is shown going to school with his
books under his arm, is very entertaining.

"All the young people seem to have left San Gimignano. There are none
but middle-aged and old, and I never in one place saw so many bent old
men and women. The town itself is so gray and old and poor that we were
glad to leave it. We had enjoyed our drive from Siena so much that Aunt
Caroline and Mrs. Sanford thought we might as well drive to Florence.
This was forty miles, and we all got rather tired. But the country was
beautiful, and after our sixty miles of it by carriage, we feel that we
know just what Tuscany is. The farmers use great white oxen for their
work, white and large and smooth skinned. They made more impression on
us than anything else we saw.

"Now we feel quite at home in Florence. My room looks out on the Arno,
the river that runs through the centre of the city. Not far away I see
the famous Ponte Vecchio, or old bridge. Give my love to every one,
especially Mahala and Nap.

                        "Your affectionate sister,

                             "Irma."

Hardly had Irma signed her letter, when Ellen Sanford came into the
room.

"The door was half open, and you did not hear my knock. But what a long
letter. My family never gets anything but post cards from me when I am
travelling."

"Well, this is to my little sister. I promised her one long letter."

"I am glad it's finished, for now you can go out with me. Katie went off
in great spirits, because she had managed to get Marion and Richard both
to go shopping with her; the boys hate shops, too. Your uncle and aunt
have taken mother driving, and so what shall we do?"

"Let us go to the Medici Chapel. I am tired of galleries. I shall need a
week to digest what I saw yesterday at the Uffizi."

"What suits you will suit me," said Ellen, and soon the girls were
driving toward San Lorenzo.

"These booths remind me of the Rag Fair at Rome," said Irma, glancing at
the display of trinkets and small household articles on canvas-shaded
tables, in an open space near the church. "Only these things are much
cheaper. But what a crowd. Italians seem to like open-air shopping."

Within the lofty church the girls saw much to admire, especially the
sculptures by Thorwaldsen, Donatello, and Verocchio. But the tomb of
Cosimo de Medici, "the father of his country," was a plain porphyry
slab.

"The great monument must be somewhere else." And Irma followed Ellen to
the old sacristy, where, though they saw other Medici tombs, they knew
these were not what they sought. In the new sacristy were Michelangelo's
famous statues of Lorenzo, with the figures of Dawn and Twilight at the
base, and of Guiliano, with Day and Night. But beautiful as these were,
they knew they must search further.

At last some one directed them to a door outside, at the other end of
the church, and then with tickets they entered the mausoleum.

"Ah," said Irma, "it is really all I expected. Some one told me it was
not in good taste, and it is not really completed. But a building like
this is more impressive than if decorated with paintings. The pavement
is beautiful, and the walls of exquisite marbles seem built to last
forever."

"There are not many statues," said Ellen.

"No, but I dare say they meant to have more. It is because the grandeur
of the Medicis didn't last that this interests me, Ellen. In the Palazzo
Vecchio and the Riccardi Palace we have seen them painted as conquering
heroes, and every one of them holds his head as if he owned the world."

"They did own a good bit of their little world in their own day."

"That is just what I mean. We have the paintings and the statues, and we
know all that Cosimo the first and Lorenzo the Magnificent did for
Florence by encouraging art and establishing museums and libraries. But
the later men who were not so great built this chapel, and when I look
on these magnificent tombs, and remember what harm came to Savonarola
through a de Medici, and what harm Catherine de Medici did----"

"Oh, Irma, I believe they did more good than harm in the world, and
this tomb is a splendid memorial."

"Yes, it is; only the effect it has on me is different from its effect
on you."

"Now for the library," said Irma, as they turned away from the tomb,
"and after that I will try to show you something quite different."

"This isn't at all like a library," exclaimed Ellen, as they stood in
the high-roofed hall of the Laurentian Library. "There are no bookcases,
and why are these pews here?"

Before Irma could reply, an attendant explained that Irma's pews were
stands for the valuable manuscripts, and he added that Michelangelo had
designed them as well as the fine wooden ceiling of the great room. He
permitted the girls to look at the manuscripts in substantial covers
chained to the stands. Many of them were Greek and Latin classics of
great age. Others were in Italian, and exquisitely illuminated, like the
_Canzone_ of Petrarch, with portraits of Petrarch and Laura. Ellen
bought large copies of these portraits, with the delicate coloring
exquisitely reproduced, and Irma sighed, as she realized how seldom she
herself could spend money on things she liked.

"Ask him the way to the cloisters," she whispered, as they bade the
librarian good-by; and Ellen, when she had interpreted his reply, asked,
"But why should we go to the cloisters?"

"Oh, you will see," and Irma looked at her watch. "We are in good time.
It is only quarter of twelve."

"In good time for what?" persisted Ellen, as they entered the cloistered
enclosure at one side of San Lorenzo, and walked along the arcades to
read the many memorial tablets on wall and pavement.

"I will tell you," said Irma. "This is a kind of Animal Rescue League, a
refuge for stray cats. Persons anxious to get rid of their cats bring
them here, and those who wish to adopt cats come here for them. They say
that the stray cats of Florence hide here in corners and on roofs."

"Well, if I needed a cat I shouldn't know how to find it here. There
certainly isn't one in sight."

"Well, that's why twelve o'clock is the important hour. Exactly on the
stroke of twelve the cats are fed with meat. They seem to know the time,
and come rushing down from roofs and chimneys, and after they are fed
people choose the cats they want."

"Hark! Isn't twelve striking now?" asked Ellen, as the bells of many
churches began to peal loudly. "It is certainly striking twelve; but I
see no cats."

"I don't understand it," said Irma. "I read a long account the other
day, in a book that described Florence."

"Here is the custodian; I will ask him."

After talking for several minutes with the custodian, Ellen turned with
a smile to Irma. "This is the place where the cats used to be fed, and
it was a very ancient custom to let stray cats have refuge here. But
many of them refused to be adopted and became so wild that now they are
all given over to a society, I suppose like the prevention of cruelty.
Your book was not up to date, though it is not very long since the
feeding of the cats was given up."

"Well, I am glad that we have seen the place where they used to feed
them. I can at least describe it to Tessie. I am always trying to see
things that will entertain her when I go home."

At _déjeuner_ Katie was in great spirits; she had bought a number of
pretty things, and had kept the two boys with her all the morning, on
the pretext that she was in great need of their advice. Among her
purchases a long double necklace of large amber beads was especially
beautiful, and Irma praised it generously.

"I would rather have them than anything I have seen in Florence; any
piece of jewelry," she added quickly.

Uncle Jim and Aunt Caroline exchanged significant glances.

After _déjeuner_ Richard and Ellen invited Irma to go with them to San
Marco.

"Mother and Katie say they wish simply to drive, and Marion, I believe,
is going with them to San Miniato, and your aunt thinks you might not
care for the Accademia to-day," said Ellen, as she gave Irma her own
invitation. "But Richard is sure you would enjoy San Marco and
Savonarola."

[Illustration: SPIRES OF FLORENCE.]

[Illustration: SAN MARCO, FLORENCE.]

So in the early afternoon the three friends found themselves
wandering in the beautiful cloisters of the old monastery, with its
little flower garden in the centre, and its great pine, whose trunk was
wreathed with ivy. They walked around a second cloistered garden whose
rosebeds were fenced in by a row of pointed bricks. Seated on a bench,
they looked up at the tiny windows of the second story, and wondered if
the garden that Savonarola had looked on was much like this.

"We must not sit here long," and, as he spoke, Richard walked over to
one of the frescoes painted on the brick walls under the arches. He
called Irma's attention to those by Fra Angelico, representing scenes in
the life of Christ.

"The monastery," he explained, "was suppressed forty years ago, and the
whole building is now a museum. There are some beautiful paintings in
the chapter house and the refectory, but I am most anxious to see the
cells upstairs, nearly all of which are decorated with paintings by Fra
Angelico and his pupils."

"Richard," said Ellen, "I see that this is to be one of the occasions
when you are going to appear terribly wise and talk like a book.
Sometimes, when you are particularly pleased with things in general, you
are so frivolous that I feel that I ought to explain you to some one,
but to-day I believe that you are going to the opposite extreme."

"No matter," interposed Irma. "You know all about San Marco, but I am
less wise."

"Well spoken, young lady," said Richard, in the tone which Irma already
had learned to associate with his fun-making mood. "But I cannot pretend
to have any knowledge about San Marco, or Savonarola or Fra Angelico
that you and my sister might not already possess, if you have read your
books carefully. First, as to Savonarola; he became Prior of San Marco
in 1490, and when he preached in the church here, the whole piazza in
front was crowded hours before the doors opened, and shopkeepers did not
think it worth while to open their shops until the great preacher's
sermon was over. He made religion seem a simple thing, within the reach
of all who tried to live pure lives. He addressed himself to the poor
and to the young; and he especially blamed the love of luxury that was
spreading in Florence, though he encouraged artists to use their talents
on religious pictures."

"Well, we all know that," said Ellen, mildly.

"Then you remember how on the last day of Carnival, 1497, his followers
went from house to house collecting books and pictures and musical
instruments and other things that they thought had an evil influence,
and burned them all in a great fire in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. I
will point out the place later."

"I should like to see it," responded Irma, to whom Richard had turned.

"Savonarola had made many enemies by his plain speaking, and though for
a time Florence seemed to have had a change of heart, when the Pope
Alexander VI excommunicated him, the supporters of the de Medici power
went against him, and at last San Marco was stormed, and Savonarola was
carried away to death."

"Yes--yes--it is a very sad story. It is pleasanter to go into these
cells and remember how Savonarola encouraged art. Let us look at these
frescoes carefully," and the three walked on slowly, stopping a moment
at the entrance to each cell, where, on the whitewashed walls, were
exquisite paintings by Fra Angelico, his brother Fra Benedetto, and Fra
Bartolommeo. At last, after a turn or two at the end of the corridor,
they came to the Prior's Cell, with Fra Bartolommeo's frescoes on the
wall.

"Of course you recognize Savonarola," said Richard, "and that other is
his friend Benievieni, and look at these smaller cells inside; here is
his hair shirt and his rosary and this bit of old wood, as the
inscription says, is from the pile on which he was burnt."

"Ugh!" cried Irma, "I don't like it"; and she turned to look at
Savonarola's sermons and his crucifix.

The three were silent as they left the dormitories of the good brothers
of San Marco, especially when they remembered the great prior, whose
terrible death the fickle Florentines in time repented.

"Time is so precious to-day," said Richard, as they left San Marco.

"And why, pray?" asked Ellen.

"Because you have me with you, dear sister. You cannot be sure when I
shall be ready to go with you again."

"Indeed!" responded Ellen. "We are not sure that we shall need you
again."

"Well, then, since time is precious, we will drive for a moment to S.
Annunziata to see something fine and something funny."

Soon they were in the little courtyard of the church, and after leaving
them for a moment Richard returned with a sacristan, carrying keys. He
unlocked the doors of the corridor surrounding the court, in which were
some fine frescoes by Andrea del Sarto and two or three other great
painters. After they had admired these paintings, while their guide
moved off toward some other visitors, Richard said, "Here is the
'something funny,'" and he pointed to a number of small, crude paintings
at the end of the corridor.

"They _are_ funny; what in the world are they?" asked Irma.

"You mustn't laugh, even though they seem funny. Come here, and I will
explain," and Richard pointed to one that showed a man falling headlong
down a steep flight of stairs. "This man, you see, escaped death from a
broken neck, on the date put above the picture, and this one, on the
deck of the ship tossing about so wildly on the ocean, was saved from
shipwreck, and this other in the carriage with two wildly prancing
horses was evidently not fatally injured, and this woman in bed,
surrounded by her weeping family, was apparently at the point of death,
when her patron saint saved her."

"Oh," exclaimed Ellen. "Then these are pious offerings, and I won't
laugh at them. It is rather a pretty idea to show thankfulness in this
way, and we oughtn't to laugh, even if they could not have Del Sartos or
Botticellis for their artists."

On their way home, they looked at the spot in front of the Palazzo
Vecchio, now marked by a stone, where Savonarola was burned, and his two
chief followers, Fra Domenico and Fra Silvestro.

"When I leave Florence," said Irma, "I shall remember the Palazzo
Vecchio more because it was the prison of Savonarola than for anything
else."

"But you haven't forgotten the wonderful great halls, and the gildings
and paintings. There are no halls more splendid in Florence."

"No, I haven't forgotten them, and I remember Uncle Jim told us the Hall
of the Five Hundred was built from the plans of Savonarola for his great
Council, and Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. But the return of the
de Medici changed all this, and instead, every inch of space records the
greatness of the de Medici and their victories over the enemies of
Florence. But the great statue of Savonarola is there, and I believe his
memory will last the longest."

"You are right," responded Richard absentmindedly. He had just seen a
flower girl with a basket of exquisite roses.

"Oh, Richard, you are extravagant," cried Ellen, as the girl emptied
her basket.

"One can't be extravagant with flowers in Florence," he replied.

Katie and Marion were standing at the door when they reached the hotel.

"Where did you get those roses?" Katie asked, as they descended from the
carriage with their arms full.

"Gathered them, of course," replied Richard promptly, although the
question had not been addressed to him.

"Richard gathered them for us," added Ellen. "He is a brother worth
having."

"Marion and I didn't see any like them," said Katie.



CHAPTER XVI

A CHANGE IN MARION


It was the evening of Constitution Day, the Italian Fourth of July.

Aunt Caroline and Irma, seated in the doorway of the hotel, watched the
passing crowd. On the Arno in front of the house, not far from the Ponte
Vecchio, were several boats decorated with flags and paper lanterns.
There was also a large float, and the voluble porter explained that a
chorus was to be stationed there during the evening to sing.

"Where is Marion?" asked Uncle Jim.

"He has walked to the Cascine with Katie and Richard and Ellen. I wished
to stay with Aunt Caroline," replied Irma.

"I am afraid Katie has cut you out with Marion," exclaimed Uncle Jim.

"How foolish!" protested Aunt Caroline. "Irma has no such ideas. Marion
has never exerted himself for Irma, and she has always been too busy to
think of him."

"When it's quite dark," continued Uncle Jim, "we must walk over to the
Piazza in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. They say the illumination of the
tower is the thing best worth seeing, better even than the fireworks
these crowds are waiting for."

A little later the three stood in front of the tall gray tower of the
old palace, whose outlines were wonderfully beautiful, set in a frame of
fire made up of countless tiny lamps.

"Hello," cried a voice, "we didn't expect to see you here." Richard was
the speaker, and with him were Marion and Ellen.

"Where is Katie?" asked Aunt Caroline.

"Oh, she and Marion have had some kind of a spat, and she insisted on
our leaving her at the hotel."

"Spat! Nonsense!" interposed Ellen.

"Well, a quarrel by any other name will do just as well. I'm glad she
can stay with mother. One of us ought to be with her."

Marion made no reply to Richard. But he walked beside Ellen on their way
back to the hotel, while Richard helped Irma find a way through the
throng.

"What a quiet, orderly crowd!" cried Aunt Caroline, "and to-day their
Fourth of July!"

"It's only after they have crossed the Atlantic that foreigners grow
uproarious. There seems to be more law and order over here."

The Lungarno was packed with people when they reached the hotel, so all
went upstairs to Aunt Caroline's room, that overlooked the river and the
boat from which the fireworks were sent off. There were one or two set
pieces, the chorus on the large float sang several part songs, and at
intervals showers of stars of all colors fell from the Roman candles and
rockets sent up from the boats.

It was late when they began to separate. "Where is Marion?" asked Aunt
Caroline, when the lights were turned on, and the others came to bid her
good night.

"He must have gone to his room," said Uncle Jim. "I noticed half an hour
ago that he was not here."

"Perhaps he didn't like the noise," said Richard, with what sounded like
a slight shade of sarcasm. "His nerves are not very strong."

The next morning, when Irma went to breakfast, none of the older
members of her party were at the table, and Marion, too, was missing.

"Of course Marion didn't give it to me," she heard Katie say, as she
took her seat.

"It's certainly very strange that it should be the same device as his
small seal."

"Probably they wouldn't look at all alike, if you should bring them
together and compare them."

"Can mine eyes deceive me?" Richard assumed a tragic tone.

"It's the ring that Katie has around her scarf." Ellen explained to
Irma. "Richard is sure that Marion gave it to her. But he ought to
believe Katie when she says this is not so."

Irma looked closely at the ring through which Katie had pulled the end
of her silk necktie. The dragon carved on the agate stone certainly
seemed familiar. Yes, she recalled the same dragon on an old-fashioned
seal that Marion had shown her one day; at least it looked the same,
though of course the dragon was by no means an uncommon device. But
after all, this was no affair of hers. If Katie said Marion had not
given the ring to her there seemed to be no reason for Richard to doubt
Katie's word. Suppose even that he had loaned it to her, why should her
cousin concern himself about it?

After breakfast Katie and Ellen drove to their dressmaker's, and just as
Irma had finished a home letter Marion appeared in the reading-room.

"I had an early breakfast," he explained, "and have been out walking.
Now I wish some one would take a trolley ride with me. Will _you_ go?"

At first Irma could hardly believe the invitation was meant for her; she
had been so little with Marion the past fortnight.

But when she saw that he undoubtedly meant her, she accepted gladly.

"It does not matter where we go," he cried, as the car started. "I
simply wish to see what the suburbs are like out this way."

Soon they had passed beyond the old narrow streets, and were running
through a broad avenue of the newer Florence that has begun to drive the
old city out of sight.

After a word or two to the conductor, "Why, this is a car for Fiesole,"
said Marion. "I had meant to drive out there some day, but now----"

He did not finish the sentence, but later in the morning Irma realized
what he had had in mind when he spoke.

"Fiesole," Marion began to explain, "the old Faesulae, was an important
place long before Florence. I believe there are imposing Etruscan
fortifications still to be seen up there on the hill. But Fiesole was
conquered and destroyed in the early part of the twelfth century, and
Florence soon became rich. Many English and Americans have country
villas at Fiesole. It is not so damp there as in Florence. There are
several people I know living out there, if I cared to see them."

"Oh, we don't come to Europe to see Americans," said Irma, noticing a
severe expression on Marion's face, such as she had seen before, when
Americans were spoken of.

After leaving the car they rambled around the pleasant, shady roads of
Fiesole for an hour or more, visiting the piazza and the old church. At
the terminus they had to wait a little time for the car by which they
were to return. While standing near a little shop where they had made
some purchases, a tall girl rushed up to Marion, and, seizing his hand,
first raised it to her lips, and then poured out a flood of words.

Marion reddened, pulled his hand away, and looked puzzled, as the girl
began to talk. But before she had finished her long, long sentence, his
face cleared, and he turned toward Irma.

"She was on the _Ariadne_; her mother died. Perhaps you remember."

Of course Irma remembered. This was the girl upon whom she had so often
looked from the deck above the steerage, the girl for whose family
Marion had raised the subscription.

When the girl's words at last came to an end, Marion tore a leaf from
his notebook and gave it to her, after he had written something upon it.

"_Grazie, grazie_," she cried, and then, when he shook his head to some
request of hers, "_A rivederci_, signor and signorina," she cried, as
they stepped toward the approaching car on which they were to return to
the city.

"Now, I will explain," said Marion, as they rode toward Florence.
"Luisa hopes some time to return to America, and I have given her my
mother's address, in case she should need advice from us." ("The second
time," Irma thought, "I have heard Marion speak of his mother.")

"She was greatly disappointed," continued Marion, "that we could not go
up to see the family. They have a little house back there on the hills,
and with the subscription raised on the ship they could lease it for
five years, and they have a little besides to keep them going until
their garden is grown. The grandmother hopes to sell enough flowers and
vegetables in Florence to pay for clothes and things they can't raise on
the farm. It's surprising, though, how little it takes for people to
live on over here. Luisa says she earns something by working for a
cousin who has one of those little shops at the terminus, two days in
the week."

While Marion talked, Irma longed to ask why he had been unwilling to add
her little gift to the money he had raised for Luisa's family on the
_Ariadne_. But, in spite of his being so friendly now, she did not quite
dare question him. Later in the day, however, when alone with Aunt
Caroline, she told her about Luisa, and brought up the matter of the
subscription.

"Oh," said Aunt Caroline, "I can partly explain that subscription to
you. Marion told me little at the time, but since then we have had a
talk. Indeed he is much more inclined to confide in me than when we
first left New York. He says that he spent more or less time among the
steerage passengers coming over, and when he found money did not come in
readily for Luisa's family, he decided to make up the whole amount
himself.

"He seldom changes his mind, when once he has decided upon a certain
thing, and so when you offered your money he did not think it right to
take it. You know Marion has a great deal of money of his own, and he
could afford to do all that was necessary for this poor Italian family.
I am sorry, however, that he hurt your feelings, for really Marion is
goodhearted. Of course he has had a particularly hard time this year,
and has not yet got over the effects of all he has been through."

"Now," thought Irma, "I will ask Aunt Caroline to tell me all about
Marion. Every one else seems to know, and I hate mysteries." But before
she had a chance to ask the question, Marion and Uncle Jim appeared on
the scene, and the opportunity was lost.

After this the days at Florence passed swiftly. Aunt Caroline was
absorbed in the galleries, and Uncle Jim or Mrs. Sanford spent much time
there with her. The young people did their sightseeing by themselves,
Richard, Ellen, Irma, and Marion, at least. Katie seemed, as Richard put
it, "disaffected." She said she had been in Europe too long to care to
spend much time over galleries and historical places.

"Shopping is much more necessary now, as I am to sail so soon, and
grandmamma is willing to pay duty on any amount of things."

So, while Katie bought embroidered dresses, and spent hours over
fittings, the others made what Ellen called "pilgrimages." Once it was
to the old palace that had been Michelangelo's home, lately presented to
Florence by a descendant of his brother. There they saw furniture and
smaller belongings of the great man, manuscripts and sketches and plans
of some of his great works, and on the walls of one room a series of
paintings representing dramatic incidents in his life.

"And yet he died almost a century before Plymouth was settled," said
Irma, returning to the historical comparisons of the first part of her
trip.

Again, one day, rambling through a narrow street, they came to the
so-called "house of Dante," a tiny dwelling with small rooms and steep
stairs, and though Marion tried to throw cold water on the enthusiasm of
the girls by telling them that no one now really believed this to be the
house where Dante had lived, they only laughed at him.

"No one can prove that it is _not_ the house where he was born; and
every one knows that it belonged to his father. But at any rate it's a
charming little museum, and since I have seen all the interesting
manuscripts and books there, I am more anxious than ever to read Dante,"
and Ellen patted her brother's arm, adding, "No, Richard, what we wish
to believe we will believe, especially when it's true."

"Just like a girl," responded Richard, smiling.

One other day they made a pilgrimage to the Protestant cemetery, chiefly
to please Ellen, who wished to see the grave of Elizabeth Barrett
Browning. They found it without trouble, a plain marble sarcophagus on
Corinthian columns, with no inscription except the initials of the poet
and the date of her death. Near the sarcophagus a few pink roses were in
bloom.

"How I wish I dared pick one," sighed Ellen.

"Why not?" asked Richard. "There's no one but us to see, and we won't
tell."

Irma was not sure how much in earnest Richard was, but she believed he
was only in fun, for he made no reply to Ellen's, "Oh, I think there's
nothing worse than carrying away flowers and stones as souvenirs. I have
known people to do such silly things. Surely you remember Hadrian's
villa."

Now Irma, although she had no clue to Ellen's reference, at once
recalled her own success in securing a fragment of marble from this same
villa of Hadrian's, and what it had almost cost her. Even while she
recalled it, it seemed to her that Marion glanced significantly toward
her, yet she was sure she had never told him what had caused her to miss
her train on that eventful evening.

One never to be forgotten day, Irma, Uncle Jim, and Aunt Caroline went
down to Perugia. Mrs. Sanford and her party had been there before their
arrival in Siena, and Marion, who said he hadn't time for both,
preferred a trip to Pisa. But to Irma, the railway journey itself,
through tunnels, past mountain towns, around the lovely shores of Lake
Thrasymene, was something long to be remembered.

"If I hadn't come to Perugia," she said to Uncle Jim, "I suppose I
shouldn't have known what I had missed, but now it seems as if I
shouldn't have really known Italy without coming here. It is so much
larger than Orvieto, and brighter, and yet it is a hill town with
streets that tumble into one another, and picturesque arches, and though
it hasn't an Orvieto Cathedral, it has more beautiful churches than one
expects to find in a place of its size. Then that perfect little
Merchants' Exchange! One could spend a day there studying the frescoes.
There are more quaint carvings on the outside of the buildings than in
most places we have seen, and in spite of this broad main street, with
the trolley cars running through it, it seems still a mediæval town, a
cheerful one, not a melancholy one like San Gimignano. Then I shall be
very proud when I go home to say that I have actually been in the house
where Raphael lived and taught before the world knew how great he really
was."

"A long speech for a little girl," said Uncle Jim, "but it doesn't
explain your unwillingness to stay with your aunt this morning while she
makes a careful study of the exhibition of Umbrian art."

"Why, I think it _does_ explain it. I was there long enough to learn
Perugino by heart, his funny little bodyless angels, and his young men
with thin, graceful legs and small skull caps, and of course his
beautiful color."

Uncle Jim laughed at Irma's characterization of Perugino. "And is that
all you remember of that great building with its treasures of art, as
the books might say?"

"Of course not," said Irma indignantly. "I remember quantities of other
things. Raphael, and all those strange, pious Umbrian painters, and the
beautiful silver chalices from the churches, and all the carved
crucifixes. On the ship going home Aunt Caroline will be able to talk to
us for hours about these things, describing them exactly. Isn't it much
better for a girl of my age to enjoy this lovely view? Come, let us sit
down on a bench in the little piazza in front of the hotel. As we look
off to the valley, so far below, we seem to be on the edge of a high
mountain. Every one in Perugia seems to enjoy the view. See, there are
two soldiers strolling about; a group of priests; well to do children
riding around in that donkey cart; half a dozen others who are almost in
rags watching them; several strangers besides ourselves; two or three
dignitaries of the town. So it's a very popular place."

Again Uncle Jim smiled at Irma's astuteness. Then he left her to enjoy
the view still longer, while he went down to the Municipal Building, to
"rescue" Aunt Caroline, as he expressed it, from too long a stay at the
exhibition of Umbrian art.

On her return to Florence the next evening, Irma wrote Lucy about her
visit to Assisi. She had promised this before she left home, as Lucy had
especially asked her to see for herself the thornless roses growing in
St. Francis's Garden.

"I have seen the garden," she wrote, "in the cloister back of the
church, and here is a leaf from the thornless rosebushes. The good
brothers have these leaves already pressed on little cards, as souvenirs
of the visit to St. Mary of the Angels, St. Francis's church. Inside the
great church they have preserved the tiny church in which St. Francis
preached, and also the cell in which he died. The great church of San
Francesco on the hill above where St. Francis was buried was built in
his memory. His body was finally buried there. It is an enormous
building, and I will try to tell you here about the beautiful frescoes
describing his life. But I have some photographs for you, and they show
all his great deeds told in pictures.

"I wish I had time to tell you about Florence. But in six weeks I shall
be at home again, and then how much I shall have to say! It seems to me
that all the paintings you and I like best are here, and in color they
are so beautiful. The Pitti Gallery is wonderful. It is in a great
palace where the de Medicis (of course) once lived. It now belongs to
the king, and his rooms are most beautiful. But the gallery is quite
apart from the rest of the palace, and filled with the greatest
paintings, Titian and Raphael and Andrea del Sarto and Botticelli and
Bronzino, and some time, when I am older, I hope to come back and study
them and criticise them just as I hear people doing now. Now I simply
enjoy them.

"There are always many people copying in the galleries, especially in
the Uffizi, and the other day we saw two sisters in their convent dress
at work at easels. I suppose they were painting for their convents.
There are so many things in Florence I wish we could look at together,
the cathedral and Giotto's tower, and the wonderful della Robbia
reliefs; you know the small cast of the singing boys that your mother
gave you Christmas. Then, though this is different, I wish you could see
the green, pointed hills that are outside of Florence on two sides. When
I first saw them they seemed like old friends, I had seen them in so
many paintings by the old painters who worked in Florence. I thought
they put them in just for ornament, but now I know they couldn't help
it. This was the background they were most used to here.

"But there! I have seen so many things besides pictures--the old
palaces, like fortresses, and the people who seem so gentle, though they
are descendants of all those old fighters who thought nothing of killing
one another when they had had the slightest disagreement (or often when
they hadn't had any) just because their ancestors were enemies. Yet in
some ways they were very good to one another. Yesterday we met a
queer-looking procession, hardly a procession, for there were not more
than a dozen men, but they wore long black robes, with hoods, and black
masks over their faces, and holes cut for their eyes, and, really, they
were terrifying.

"Uncle Jim explained that they were the Misericordia, or Brothers of
Mercy. Rich and poor belong to it, and have for centuries, and when a
man is on duty, when he hears a certain bell ring--I think it's in the
Campanile--he stops whatever he is doing and goes to the headquarters of
the brothers to learn whether he is to watch with some sick man, or help
bury some dead person with no friends to follow him to the grave.

"I have been disappointed not to see more picturesque costumes here, but
in the cities they are never seen, and seldom in the country. The
apprentice boys in different trades wear big aprons, and the nursemaids
have great caps with long, colored streamers, but that is all.

"I feel rather mean, sometimes, when I think how hard you all are
working now, and I am just amusing myself. When you get this,
examinations will be about over, and I do wonder if George Belman will
be at the head of the class.

"Well, even if I am idle now, I may have to study hard enough in August.
I won't be able to make the excuse that I am not well.

                        "Hastily,

                             "Irma."



CHAPTER XVII

IN VENICE


"I wouldn't have missed Bologna for anything," said Ellen, one very warm
June morning, as Mrs. Sanford and Mr. and Mrs. Curtin and the young
people in their care found themselves on the train between Bologna and
Ravenna. "If every Italian city would have arcades over the sidewalks
like those in almost every street of Bologna, life would be better worth
living."

"So the arcades made the most impression on you," said Uncle Jim
smiling. "And what have you to say of Bologna, Mrs. Sanford?"

"Well I am glad to have found that it is really true that there were
learned women in Italy in the Middle Ages. I certainly cannot forget
that I have seen a statue to a woman professor of the fourteenth
century, who used to lecture in this university at Bologna. If there
were women professors, there must have been women students."

"Ellen thinks the little tombs on pillars outside the churches were the
strangest things she saw," cried Katie.

"Not stranger than the leaning towers," interposed Irma. "I suppose the
people of Bologna must be terribly afraid of earthquakes. I hated even
to drive near the leaning towers."

"I did not know we were to tell only strange things we had seen," said
Aunt Caroline. "I was most impressed by the Accademia. You others did
not stay long enough in the gallery. Besides Raphael's St. Cecilia,
there are very many pictures worth seeing; no one can really have a good
idea of Guido Reni without coming to Bologna."

"Well, I enjoyed the drive through the park, and our glimpse of
Carducci's house on the way back. It was all so restful after the noise
of the streets," said Uncle Jim.

"There are certainly many beautiful churches in Bologna, and more
homelike-looking palaces than I have seen anywhere else in Italy," said
Mrs. Sanford. "We might have enjoyed a longer stay there."

"I didn't think much of the shops," interposed Katie. "There was hardly
a thing I wanted to buy." Whereat the others smiled, as shopping was
Katie's favorite pastime.

"You'll find them worse in Ravenna, for that is not only a decaying, but
a decayed city, from all the accounts I've heard."

"I almost wish we were not going there," added Aunt Caroline. "They say
it's full of malaria."

"Oh, in one short day and night we can keep out of the way of germs."

It was noon when they reached Ravenna, tired enough after a warm
journey.

"Dante's tomb is only a step from here," said Marion to Irma, as they
finished _déjeuner_. "Bring your camera and we'll go out and take a shot
at it." Irma posed herself in front of the door of the domed building
containing the remains of the great poet, while Marion took a snapshot.
They stopped for a minute to read an inscription on an opposite house,
where Garibaldi had been entertained, and turning another corner, with
some little trouble, Marion found the simple dwelling where Lord Byron
had lived during his year or two in Ravenna.

"Now," began Marion, "if you can get Ellen to come, I move that we
three drive about the town. I am tired of too large a crowd, or perhaps
it is the weather. But this is one of the days when more than three
would spoil all the fun of looking at things."

As the suggestion pleased Ellen, the three started out in their carriage
ahead of the others. There were no trolley cars; few people were moving
around in the long, dusty streets; and many of the larger houses, or
palaces, were indeed deserted mansions, with no signs of life about
them.

"First to Theodoric's tomb," Marion had announced, as they started, and
as they drove along he talked entertainingly about old Ravenna,
especially in the last days of the Roman Empire, when the Emperor
Honorius held court there, believing the place to be safe against the
barbarians. Later, after the fall of Rome, Theodoric made this his city,
and tried to revive the Western Empire.

"Ravenna used to be a great seaport," said Marion, "with a harbor for a
large fleet, but the sea has been gradually receding until now it is
five miles away."

"These marshes and this little creek, I suppose, are all that the sea
has left Ravenna as a reminder of those days," said Irma.

"Yes," responded Marion, "but Theodoric's tomb is a thing we shall
remember better." And the girls agreed with him a few minutes later,
when they stood in the garden in front of the gray walls of the
impressive circular mausoleum.

"Oh, please stand still a moment," cried Marion, as they leaned over a
particularly beautiful rosebush; then a click came from the camera.

"I hate to have my picture taken when I am not expecting it," cried
Ellen.

"Don't worry! Theodoric's tomb will quite overshadow us," responded
Irma, in mock consolation.

After this the three drove from one church to another to see the
splendid mosaics that are Ravenna's chief treasures. Saints and emperors
and other great personages were there in all the glory of rich color,
and scriptural truths were taught in the symbols of the early Church.

"Although the figures are sometimes out of drawing and the designs
rather queer, it is just the same in these mosaics as in some of the old
frescoes; they were put on the church walls to teach truth to the mass
of people who could not read, and that is why I do not laugh at them."

[Illustration: SIENA. GENERAL VIEW, WITH CAMPANILE.
      (_See page 227._)]

[Illustration: RAVENNA. THEODORIC'S TOMB.]

It seemed to Irma, when the whole party met at dinner that evening, that
Katie was displeased with somebody or something. Had Richard been
teasing her? For teasing was a cousinly privilege which he often
exercised. Was she annoyed that she had not been asked to join Marion's
particular group of three? For the present there seemed to be no answer.

The next day, after a warm journey of several hours, the whole party
stood on the steps of the railway station at Venice, waiting to see
their luggage put aboard the gondola. "How strange it seems to wait for
a boat instead of a cab to take one from the station to a hotel," and
Irma watched the water of the canal break with a slight wavelike motion
against the steps.

"Yes," responded Richard, who happened to be standing next her, "and
here we part for the present. I wish our rooms were in the same hotel,
but since that cannot be, Ellen and I, at least, will try to give you
all we can of our society."

"Please do," said Irma. "Ellen says you will be only a few doors away.
Good-by, good-by," she concluded, as Richard helped his mother and Ellen
and Katie into a gondola, where they sat rather stiffly with their bags
piled up behind them in the stern.

"Is it what you expected?" asked Aunt Caroline, as they glided in their
own gondola over the Grand Canal.

"Yes," sighed Irma; "it's more than I expected. I know that I shall be
perfectly happy in Venice."

But although Venice did not disappoint Irma, many things in this Queen
of the Adriatic were different from her expectations. She soon
discovered that it was possible to walk almost as far in Venice as in
any other large city, provided you did not object to threading your way
sometimes through narrow passages and over curving bridges.

"Has any one ever counted the bridges in Venice?" she asked one day.
"There must be hundreds of them," she said on the second day of her stay
there, when she and Marion had had a long walk that had ended in the
great Piazza in front of San Marco.

"Some one has counted them, of course, but I can only guess that there
are several hundred. But here we are at the heart of Venice. Isn't it
great?"

"Yes, this is just what I expected; it is almost too beautiful to be
real," and Irma stood in front of the great church with its gilded
domes, its mosaic pictures, and the four bronze horses from
Constantinople, over the main entrance, forming, as a whole, a picture
of which the eye could never weary.

"Let us not go inside to-day," said Marion.

"Oh, I would rather get a general impression of the piazza. That
beautiful building, white and yellow, must be the Doge's Palace. Ah,
yes, and there is the Lion of St. Mark's on his column. But who is that
odd-looking saint on the other column, standing on a crocodile?"

"St. Theodore, I believe. It's a wonder that he can continue to look so
pleasant, since he was quite cut out by St. Mark."

"I don't understand."

"Oh, St. Theodore was the patron saint of Venice. He was a Byzantine
saint, by the way, until some Venetian sea captains at Alexandria, where
St. Mark was buried, took offence at the way the relics of the saint
were treated by the sultan. They got the priests in charge to view the
matter as they did, and so the body was secretly delivered to their
care. On the voyage to Venice the saint saved the vessel from shipwreck,
and after their arrival St. Mark threw all others into the shade.
Nevertheless, St. Theodore smiles on, as if he had nothing to forgive."

"It is an interesting story; and is it perfectly true?" queried Irma.

"As true as any Richard would tell you," replied Marion.

"Oh, the pigeons, the pigeons!" cried Irma, turning about and walking
toward a spot where scores of pigeons were gathering around a girl who
was scattering handfuls of peas from a little basket. As Irma
approached, the girl looked up, and then----

"Why, Irma Derrington!" she cried, and she let her basket fall to the
ground as she rushed toward Irma.

[Illustration: "AS IRMA APPROACHED, THE GIRL LOOKED UP."
      (_Page 296._)]

"It really is Muriel," said Irma, as she hastened toward her friend.

"Why haven't you written in all these weeks?" cried Muriel
reproachfully, after the first exchange of greetings.

"How could I without your address?"

"Didn't I give you our banker's?"

"Indeed you did not; but you might have written to me."

"Indeed I hadn't the slightest idea how to reach you. But no matter,
I hope you will be in Venice a week at least."

"Yes, indeed; and here is Marion Horton. You remember him."

At this moment Mademoiselle Potin came forward from the shade of one of
the arcades in front of the shops, where she had been watching Muriel,
and while Marion talked with her politely for a few minutes, Muriel,
speaking in an undertone, said, "How much brighter Marion Horton looks.
And is it possible that he goes about with you? He was generally so glum
and unsocial on the ship. He looks stronger now, too."

"Oh, Aunt Caroline says he has gained in every way, and lately we have
been travelling with a Mrs. Sanford and her son and daughter and----"

"Richard and Ellen? Oh, I know them quite well."

"Then you know how lively Richard is, and I think their being with us
has made Marion come out of his shell."

"When he's pleasant I should think he might be very good company. But
Mademoiselle Potin has been telling me about him, and I should think he
has had good reason to feel a little melancholy."

"There," thought Irma, "I won't let another day pass without finding
out from Aunt Caroline what it is that every one else knows about
Marion, that makes him seem an object of sympathy."

Meanwhile Marion had approached the girls.

"Of course you both have some story to account for the pigeons, and each
story is probably different."

"I have no story, except that they are regarded as almost sacred, and it
would be a great sin for any one to kill them."

"To be _caught_ killing them," interposed Marion, "but I have an idea
that many a pigeon pie in Venice is indebted to these same pigeons of
St. Mark's. But if you have nothing better, I will tell my story. It is
simply that some carrier pigeons brought good news to Enrico Dandolo,
the Crusader, when he was besieging Candia, and since that time these
pigeons and their descendants have been under the special protection of
the city."

"It is certainly great fun to feed them," said Muriel, "and if you come
here often, you'll see all kinds of people doing it,--old and young,
rich and poor. Why, I have seen a man sit for an hour by that pillar,
feeding them."

"As your basket quite emptied itself when you let it fall, let us go
over to one of those little tables outside the restaurant and have some
tea. We may, may we not, Mademoiselle Potin? And you will join us?"

During the pleasant half hour spent over the tea and cakes, pigeon after
pigeon approached them, looking, evidently, for stray crumbs. One was
even so bold as to hop up on the table, and would not be driven away
until Muriel had fed it.

"It is all delightful," said Irma, "only I must write to Tessie about
these pigeons, and I have so much to do. I am growing selfish. The air
of Venice makes me wish to do nothing but enjoy myself."

Later, when they went to the spot where the gondolas were waiting, they
found that Muriel's hotel was in a different direction from theirs.

"Please come to see me to-morrow," she cried, as she glided away. "You
know I cannot always do what I wish to."

"That means that perhaps her mother may not let her come to call on
you," commented Marion.

"Nonsense," cried Irma.

Katie was on the balcony of the hotel, as they made their landing. She
seemed surprised to see them. "I thought you were going to walk back,"
she said.

As she spoke, she put her hand to her collar. This attracted the
attention of both Irma and Marion, and Irma saw that Katie wore around
her tie the circlet with the dragon's head, and she could not help
noticing a strange expression on Marion's face as he too observed it.

That very evening, when she and Aunt Caroline were alone, Irma
remembered the question she had so often meant to ask about Marion.

"When we first left home," responded her aunt, "I could not have
answered you. What I said might have prejudiced you against Marion. But
things have changed, and even he could not object to my telling you now.

"It is not a complicated story. Marion's father died when he was a
little boy. He has no sisters, and his only brother is a few years older
than he. Herbert, I am afraid, has always been his mother's favorite,
because he is much livelier than Marion, and fonder of people. But
though most persons would call Herbert the more amiable, he has a
terrible temper, and all who have seen him under its influence know how
unreasonable he can be. One day, last winter, both boys were out in
Herbert's motor. While going very fast it seriously injured a child.
There were no witnesses to the accident, and the motor did not stop. But
a mile farther on, when they had begun to slow down, Marion signalled a
mounted policeman, told him there had been an accident, and obliged
Herbert to turn back. By this time the child's parents had come out, and
a crowd had collected. The boys were arrested, but soon had bail. At the
trial Marion refused to utter a word against his brother, for I will say
this for Herbert, he did admit that he was acting chauffeur. At last
Marion had to admit that Herbert was going much faster than the law
permits. Herbert's lawyer tried to show that the child's carelessness
caused the accident. But further testimony of Marion's changed this. As
Herbert was of age, the judge decided to make an example of him, and he
was sentenced to jail for a short period, and in addition had a fine to
pay. The child by this time was almost well, and many persons thought
the punishment excessive."

"I should think it was his brother who should be pitied, and not
Marion."

"Ah, many persons thought that Marion by a word might have put Herbert
in a better light. His mother took the view that it was Marion, and not
Herbert, who had disgraced the family. Some newspapers wrote articles
criticising him, and one published his photograph, labelled "An
unbrotherly brother." Now Marion himself had had a nervous breakdown
during the winter after an attack of measles. When he had given his
testimony at the trial he fainted and had to be carried from the room.
The strain had been too much. Your Uncle Jim and I at once invited him
to go abroad with us (for his father was an intimate friend and
classmate of your uncle's) when we heard that his mother would not even
speak to him. The strange thing was that while other relatives were so
bitter toward Marion, Herbert did not blame him. Yet in all these weeks
Marion had no letter from Herbert until we reached Siena. Even now I
think his mother has not written him."

"He has been very badly treated," said Irma. "I cannot see that Marion
did anything wrong."

"I will say this. Marion himself is partly to blame for being so cut off
from his relatives. He, too, has a temper. When he found that several
blamed him, he wrote a disrespectful letter to an uncle of his father's,
who is really very fond of him, saying that he hoped never to speak to
one of the family again, or something to that effect. Mr. Skerritt is
joint guardian of Marion with your uncle--and----"

Here Aunt Caroline paused. Then she added, "When Marion is twenty-five
he will have a large income. Even now he has more money to spend than
would be wise for most boys. But fortunately he is not a spendthrift."

"Thank you," said Irma, when her aunt had finished. "I understand Marion
better than I did. If he should speak to me about this, I suppose I can
say that I sympathize with him."

"Certainly, and I hope that he will be more inclined to talk now, since
Herbert has forgiven him."

"I don't see what he had to forgive."

"I am only speaking from the family's point of view."

The next morning, as Irma sat in her favorite corner of the little
balcony overhanging the Grand Canal, Marion approached her. On a small
round table that a waiter had moved out for her, she had set a
pasteboard box containing most of her souvenirs for the family at home.
There was nothing very valuable, though these pretty trifles had taken
all the money Irma had brought from home; cameo pins from Naples, one or
two mosaics from Rome, some strings of Roman pearls, an amber necklace
from Florence, a leather cover stamped in gilt for books, and a couple
of strings of Venetian beads, so dainty and fine that in her inmost
heart she rather begrudged giving them away.

"What is this?" asked Marion, holding up an envelope.

"That? Oh, that has the asphodel you gathered at Paestum, and in that
small box is the fossil shell you gave me the day you rescued my camera
from that foolish little girl."

"How long ago that seems," responded Marion. "We have seen so many
places since then that Paestum is ancient history, and yet it is little
more than a month away."

"I haven't forgotten," said Irma. "I thought you were very brave."

"Brave!" Marion colored. "I should think you'd call me a regular duffer
when you remember what a fool I made of myself getting on board the
_Ariadne_ at St. Michael's. I can tell you I felt awfully ashamed to
think that a girl had saved me from a tumble into the water. I haven't
forgotten what I owe you, though I haven't been able to get even yet."

"Oh, yes, you have. You saw that I wasn't any too brave the night I
thought we were going to sink."

"Ah, that was natural. For you know we had barely escaped collision with
a man of war. But what's this?"

While talking, Irma had opened a small package, and Marion, fumbling
with things on the table, had come across the piece of green marble from
Hadrian's villa.

For a moment Irma hesitated, then she plunged into the story of the way
she had missed the train that memorable afternoon.

"Aha!" exclaimed Marion, "and you were the girl who disapproved of my
buying that tile from the Sistine Chapel." Then he started as if to go
into the house. "Excuse me," he said. "I'll be back in a minute."

When Marion returned he had the octagonal tile in his hand. "Fair
exchange is always a good thing," he said, "and if you will take this, I
would like to have the Hadrian marble. It will be a good reminder to me
of something I can't explain just now."

"Yes, you may exchange," said Irma, hesitatingly. For in her inmost
heart she preferred her own marble. Yet, this was almost the first favor
Marion had ever asked of her.

"Thank you," said Marion. "I was altogether too ugly about that tile,
but to tell you the truth I have had so much nagging this year, before I
left home, that I've been too ready to defend myself."

"I know," responded Irma.

Marion looked up suddenly, as if he wondered how much she knew. But Irma
said nothing.

Not far from the hotel some gondolas were tied to the poles that marked
their station. Marion leaned forward and signalled, and the nearest
gondolier glided up.

"Put these trinkets away. I will leave the box in the office," said
Marion, "and we can go out for an hour."

Irma accepted the invitation gladly enough, and the two were on the
point of starting when Richard and Ellen appeared. Marion invited them
also, and soon the four young people were gliding past S. Maria della
Salute up toward the railway station.

"There," said Richard, as they passed one beautiful palace after
another. "If this were not Marion's party, I could tell you all kinds of
wonderful stories as we go along. But as it is, I must content myself
with saying, 'This is the Palace where Robert Browning spent so much
time, and where he finally died. There, on that corner, lives Don
Carlos. He and the parrot are not visible to-day, but you can almost
look into the kitchen windows and see the most wonderful collection of
copper kettles. When Lord Byron lived in that gray-fronted edifice, he
was in the habit of taking a daily swim in the waters of the Grand
Canal. I would like to tell you about the Dandolos and Foscari, and all
the others, including the Falieri. Some of them were beheaded; some had
their eyes put out, and----"

"Don't, Richard," cried Ellen. "The Venetians were almost as
bloodthirsty as the Florentines and Romans, and I wonder at their cruel
deeds when I look about at all the beauty here."

"Oh, there are also highly romantic stories, if I only had time to tell
them, not bloodthirsty, but full of sentiment," continued Richard, in
the tone that always meant he was only half in earnest. "The Merchant of
Venice, for instance, and here we are at the Rialto, which of course
makes you think of Shylock, though it was the section back there, and
not the bridge, that Shakespeare had in mind."

"I walked through the Merceria the other day," said Ellen. "You know
it's the street that runs from this bridge to the clock tower opposite
St. Mark's."

"Did you find many bargains?" asked Marion suddenly.

"A few, though we were not out to shop. But it was great fun to see the
real Venetians hurrying along almost like Americans."

At this moment one of the little steamboats that constantly ply up and
down the Grand Canal seemed to be bearing down upon them. Irma gave a
little scream, but already the gondolier had pushed his craft away so
adroitly that they barely felt the swash.

[Illustration: VENICE. THE GRAND CANAL.]

[Illustration: VENICE. A GONDOLIER.]

Once or twice they pulled up at some landing to have a better view of
an old building or Campo, and always an aged man arose from some corner,
boathook in hand, to help them ashore, waiting until their return to
receive the small fee that custom has decreed.

At last, as they glided homeward, and came in sight of their hotel, Irma
discerned Katie standing on the balcony.

"Irma," said Marion, in an undertone, for evidently he, too, had seen
Katie, "has Katie said anything to you about Nap lately?"

"No, not for some time."

"Well, I hoped she would say you could keep Nap."

"Aha, Marion," cried Richard, "I believe I understand why you have spent
so much time with Katie lately, escorting her around to places I
wouldn't have taken the trouble to go. I see why you did it."

"Why?" asked Ellen; "why should he need a special reason?"

"Perhaps he didn't need it. But I believe he has set out to make Katie
give up Nap to Irma, but," and he turned toward Marion with a flourish
of his hat, "I'll bet you almost anything that you don't succeed. Katie
is my cousin, and I know."

As they landed at the steps of the hotel, Katie greeted them
pleasantly.

"The rest of us have had a splendid afternoon. We've been shopping."

"Of course," interposed Richard.

"Oh, this time we went to such interesting palaces, full of wonderful
old furniture and pictures, collectors' places; and your aunt, Irma, has
bought any amount of lovely things. And then, over across the way, we
saw them making mosaics, and I have bought some beautiful long slender
iridescent glass vases."

"You can buy the same in New York," murmured Richard, "and we'll have
all the trouble of carrying these vases home. Probably they'll be put in
a basket for _me_ to carry."

Then in a sudden spirit of mischief: "Katie," cried Richard, "did Marion
give you that arrangement for your scarf? I don't know whether to call
it a pin or a ring."

"Nobody gave it to me," she replied, in a tone of annoyance.

"Then _where_ did you get it?" It was Marion who spoke sharply.

Katie made no answer.

"Did you advertise it?" asked Marion.

Even to Katie this question seemed as puzzling as to the others.

"I don't know what you mean," she replied. "I bought it at Rome."

"Oh," said Marion, and it was quite evident that he did not believe her.

"Well," said Katie, "if you must know, I bought it at the Rag Fair, and
very cheap it was. Every one tells me that I have a great bargain, for
the carving on the stone is very fine, and I wouldn't part with it for
anything."

Marion made no comment after Katie's speech, and instantly Irma
understood the whole thing. This was the "something else" that Marion
had lost with the two hundred liri in his purse. It had probably been
stolen by some one at the fair. Certainly it was easy now to account for
Katie's bargain.



CHAPTER XVIII

EXPLANATIONS


"I am sorry," Aunt Caroline was saying, as she and Irma and Uncle Jim
drifted along in a gondola, "that you will lose Milan. Perhaps you might
have gone up with your uncle on his trip last week, but it seemed hot."

"It was hot," interposed Uncle Jim. "And I had so much business that I
could have given no time to showing Irma around. She could have seen the
Cathedral, of course, which, after all, is one of the most beautiful in
the world, and different from the others you have seen in Italy; and she
could have visited one or two delightful galleries. But I doubt that
your head will retain an impression of half those you've already
visited. If you will accept my impression of Milan, you will know just
what it is, a busy, bustling city, full of energetic people who are
making their way upward. If the rest of Italy could catch the spirit of
Milan, the whole country would soon be prosperous. In fact the spirit of
independence is so strong that car conductors, policemen, and
shopkeepers, as well as cabmen, are insolent, and inclined to look down
on the _forestieri_. Sometime, when you return to Italy in cooler
weather, you can visit Milan; but be thankful you didn't go there with
me last week."

"We shall have a warm journey back to Naples, and if your business were
not so pressing, I should be inclined to go to Switzerland. While she is
over here, Irma ought to see----"

"Oh, no, no," interrupted Irma, without waiting for Aunt Caroline to
finish the sentence. "Really I do not need to see more. I ought, that
is, I _must_ go home."

"Why, my dear child," cried Aunt Caroline, "I had no idea you were
getting homesick. I thought you were enjoying everything."

"Yes, I am enjoying everything," replied Irma, "and that is why I feel
as if I can hardly wait to see them all at home. I just long to tell
them about everything, and I don't want Tessie to grow up before I see
her again. And if Katie gets to Cranston before I do, she will take Nap
away, and perhaps I may never see him again. Oh, I am glad we are going
home." Irma's voice now broke completely, and she made no attempt to
hide her tears.

"There, my dear, it is the warm weather. The climate of Venice is too
relaxing----"

"We'd get home sooner, Irma, if we should give up our Mediterranean
passage and take a boat from Havre or Cherbourg. Perhaps you would like
to start to-morrow with Mrs. Sanford's party. You wouldn't lose sight of
Katie then," said Uncle Jim mischievously.

"Nonsense," rejoined Aunt Caroline. "A few days more or less will be
nothing to Irma, when once her face is turned toward the United States."

"I feel better now," cried Irma. "Those were only makebelieve tears, but
I do feel better to be going home. I am glad that we are not to be away
three months more, and, if you please, I would rather not go to the
Bridge of Sighs to-day."

"You can look at it without any qualms," said Uncle Jim, "for our
matter of fact historians say that since that bridge was built more than
two hundred years ago, only one prisoner has been sent across to the
_pozzi_, under sentence of death."

"_Pozzi?_" asked Irma.

"Yes, _pozzi_, or wells, is a good name for those dungeons across from
the palace. The water used to rise two feet in them, and the poor wretch
had to spend his time on a kind of trestle. I went through the _pozzi_
the other day, but I shouldn't care to have you or your aunt there; they
are too depressing for tender-hearted people."

"Why not take a last look at the Doge's Palace to-day; that would be
more cheerful," suggested Aunt Caroline.

"Certainly," and in a short time their gondola was at the steps near St.
Mark's, the usual old man rose from his slumbers and steadied the
gondola with his hook, and the three, after getting their tickets,
wandered through the immense halls of the Doge's Palace.

"When I was here the other day," said Irma, "the carvings and gildings
and the enormous paintings dazzled me. Yes, I feel it is the same now,
and I believe, after all, I care more for the general impression. I
cannot remember each separate painting."

"Why should you try to?" asked Uncle Jim. "These gray-bearded doges in
their caps and ermine-trimmed cloaks are much alike, whether Titian or
Veronese, or some other one of the great masters painted them."

"Doesn't it seem as if those old doges were pretty conceited," said
Irma, "to have themselves painted in sacred pictures with the Madonna
and Christ?"

"But you will notice that they are generally in an attitude of humility,
and perhaps in that way they meant to attribute their greatness to
something besides themselves."

"A Doge could not do whatever he wished. Weren't they something like our
presidents, simply elected to be the executive officer of the state?"
asked Aunt Caroline.

"Yes, it was the Great Council, and not the Doge, that held the supreme
power, at least until the time of the Council of Ten. But the Doge,
although at first chosen for only a year, was often re-elected term
after term, and with his councillors he often had great power."

"Yet the Venetians didn't like him to have too great power?"

"Oh, no. You noticed the black tablet in the great hall in place of the
portrait of Marino Faliero, beheaded for his ambition."

"Yes, I have read about him, but I feel almost sorrier for Ludovico
Manin, the last Doge. You know the French made him abdicate in 1797, and
they burnt his Doge's bonnet, and the Libro d'oro--the Golden Book of
Venetian nobility under the Liberty-tree, and they say this nearly broke
his heart, although he lived a number of years longer. When he died he
left all his fortune to some charity."

"The history of Italy is full of tragedies," responded Uncle Jim. "So
don't waste your sorrow on any one man, even though he is the last of
the doges."

A little later the three were in front of St. Mark's.

"I must look my last at the Piazza," said Irma.

"But I thought you were coming down this evening to hear the band play."

"Oh, yes, but there will be such a crowd that we shall only sit at the
little tables."

"Yes, and sip lemonade."

"Of course. It is Muriel's party. It is singular that we have seen her
so little. But the music and the lemonade and all we shall have to say
to each other--for she goes away to-morrow--will prevent my thinking
much of the Piazza. Just now," and Irma half closed her eyes, "I am
imagining the day when the Venetians gathered here to decide whether or
not they should help the Crusaders. What a grand sight it must have
been; and now, I open my eyes and see nothing but pigeons."

"Aunt Caroline," said Irma, as they glided homeward, "I like Venice
better than any other place. There seem to be more really old buildings
here than anywhere else. I have not tried to remember the great pictures
as I did in Rome and Florence. I have a general impression of Bellini
and the Vivarini, Titian and Veronese and Tintoretto, they are the great
Venetian painters, but I cannot describe any one picture."

"We hardly expect a girl of your age to care for artistic details,"
responded Aunt Caroline, smiling. "You could probably tell more about
the palaces."

"I am not sure that I could describe a single one of them, so that any
one would recognize it. It is the effect of Venice as a whole that
pleases me, even if it isn't just what artists paint it. The palaces are
really much grayer than they look in pictures, and there are never many
sails on the canal, and even down toward the Lido there is seldom one of
those bright painted sails."

"Is there any other thing that falls below your expectations?"

"Oh, some things are different, but I like them all the better. I used
to think that only gondolas and small pleasure boats went on the Grand
Canal. But there are so many other things--these little steamboats that
pass constantly up and down, and take people so quickly and cheaply, and
those large _barche_ that are like express wagons. Why, the other
morning I sat at my window before breakfast, and first a large gondola
passed, loaded with vegetables; and then a larger one piled high with
bricks for building; and then it really looked so funny--some family was
moving, and there was a boat full of furniture, with the mother and
children sitting at one end, while the father and eldest son were
pushing it on with their long sticks. Then the gondolas, too! I thought
they were only pleasure boats; but the other day, when I saw a funeral
procession going across to the island where the cemetery is, I realized
they took the place of horses and carriages for everything."

"I believe there isn't a horse in all Venice," said Uncle Jim, "and
only two or three at the Lido. But here we are," and a moment later they
had landed at the hotel.

That evening, in spite of the charm of the music on the Piazza, and the
evident gaiety of the crowd of listeners, the young people of the
Sanford and Curtin parties were less gay than usual. Muriel, the next
morning, was to start for the Dolomites, and later in the day Mrs.
Sanford and her party were to begin their journey to Paris, allowing a
few days for Switzerland on the way.

"Irma," whispered Richard, in one of the pauses of the music, "I must
tell you that I think Marion and Katie have struck a bargain about Nap.
It seems Marion was able to prove that that ring we have seen Katie wear
around her scarf really belongs to him. He showed her his initials
inside. They were very small, but could be seen under a glass. He lost a
purse one day when he visited the Rag Fair in Rome."

"Yes, I was with him," said Irma.

"Well, the same day Katie and a friend whom we met at our hotel in Rome
also went to the fair. The ring was offered for sale at one of the
booths, and Katie took a great fancy to it. She ought to have known it
was stolen; for she got it for almost nothing."

"Then she can afford to give it back to Marion; for of course she ought
to do so."

"That's just the point. Katie hates to give it up; I heard her talking
to Marion about it. She said she'd like to buy it, but he wouldn't
listen to that. Then he began to talk about your little dog, and I am
pretty sure it ended in Katie's promising to give up all claim to the
dog if Marion would let her keep the ring. Rather it was just the other
way. Marion made the offer and Katie agreed, but it amounts to the same
thing, and as soon as Katie is out of the way Marion will tell you."

It happened, however, that after all the good-byes had been said to
Muriel and her mother and Mademoiselle Potin, the other young people and
their elders walked home to their hotel. It chanced that Katie was near
Irma part of the way, and thus had a chance to announce her decision
about Nap.

"After all," she said, "a dog is a great trouble, and Nap is so much
better acquainted with your family that I think I will let him stay with
them."

"Oh, thank you," replied Irma, wishing she felt free to tell Katie what
she had heard about Marion's offer. "Thank you," she repeated. "It would
break my little sister's heart to give him up, and I should feel very
badly myself."

At this moment they reached a bridge where they went single file. When
they were on the level road again, Irma found herself beside Aunt
Caroline, and she had no chance to discuss Nap either with Katie or
Marion.

"Our last evening together!" exclaimed Richard, as they reached the
hotel. "There's a faint moon, and if so young a thing as that can sit up
late, why not we?" and before Aunt Caroline and Mrs. Sanford had time to
protest, four young people were seated around the little table on the
balcony overlooking the Canal, and Richard had sent the waiter for what
he called "a last lemonade."

Marion had not joined the others. He stood with his hand on the railing.
The water was lapping the steps just below him.

"Don't fall in," cried Richard, from his seat at the table. "You look as
if you were meditating a bath. But it's late, and in spite of the moon
the water is cold."

As Richard spoke the girls turned their heads in Marion's direction,
and there, under their very eyes, Marion was hurling his coat from him.
With his hand on the railing a moment later he had sprung into the Grand
Canal.

The others jumped to their feet; Katie screamed, and in an instant
Richard might have plunged after Marion, had he not seen a reason for
Marion's act. Some one had fallen into the water, and Marion had made
his wild leap to rescue him. It all happened very quickly, and when, a
few minutes later, rescuer and rescued stood on the balcony some
distance from where Marion had gone in, the latter was seen to be a boy
of about ten. He was evidently more frightened than hurt, and he
whimpered a little as the crowd gathered around him.

"I don't see how it could have happened," cried Katie. "No one _ever_
falls from a gondola," and her tone implied that this particular boy
could not possibly have been in need of rescuing.

"But he _did_ fall in; you can see that for yourself; a small boy can
always get into impossible mischief."

There was certainly no doubt that this particular small boy had managed
to elude both his mother and the gondolier. Sitting on the prow, he had
been screened for the moment by the cabin. Then a sudden impulse had led
him to creep to the very end, where he raised himself to shake his hand
in defiance at the gondolier. At this moment a passing steamboat gave a
new motion to the gondola and threw the little fellow into the water.

"Oh, but really it was nothing," cried Marion. "The water was not deep,
and the gondolier would have been in almost as soon as I--and----"

"Nonsense, nonsense, boy; when you do a brave thing take the credit that
is your due."

Irma started at the voice. She was one of the crowd that had drawn
nearer to Marion.

"I saw the whole thing," continued the voice. "You acted without a
shadow of fear, but this chill may be bad for you."

"Come, Marion, I will go with you to your room," and Richard led the
unresisting Marion away, only too glad to escape the eyes of the curious
who had come from the numerous reading and reception rooms on the first
floor, at the rumor of an accident.

"Billy," said the mother of the boy, who had caused all the excitement,
"this is the last time I'll let you sit up after eight o'clock, no
matter how you tease."

"Madame," interposed the voice that a few moments earlier had praised
Marion, "I would advise you to take your little boy at once to his room.
His escapade might have cost him his life, and might have had serious
results for my nephew, who is only recovering from the effects of a
shock to his nerves. Put your little boy to bed at once, Madame."

Then the mother and the little boy and a number of sympathizing friends
walked off, while the fairy godfather, for of course it was he whose
voice Irma had recognized, took Irma's hand in his.

"Well, my child, we haven't met since I brought you back from Hadrian's
villa. I found I couldn't safely keep so near Marion without really
explaining myself. But the time hadn't come. He wrote me a pretty savage
letter before he left New York. He thought I was one of those who had
accused him of cowardice. This was a mistake on his part. But in the
mood he was in three months ago, it would have been useless to try to
change his mind. I had occasion to come to Italy myself, and there
seemed to be no reason why I should not come on the ship with him. I
knew that in the company of your aunt and uncle and yourself," and the
old gentleman smiled at Irma, "he would have influences that ought to
lift him out of his depression."

"Did Uncle Jim and Aunt Caroline know?" asked Irma.

"Yes, they knew after a while that I was hovering near. But I did not
mean to dog Marion's steps, especially after I had seen at Rome that he
was beginning to be himself again. At first Marion was unaware that I
had come to Europe, but when a letter of apology was forwarded from him
to me, I thought the time had come to tell him. So I had written him
that I would see him soon.

"He is really a fine, manly fellow, and it hurt him very much that he
should have been so unjustly blamed. But I know that you, as well as
your uncle and aunt, have been very patient with him, and now, well, now
I must have a little talk with him before he falls asleep. I am to sail
with you from Naples. Good night."

Irma thought it quite the natural thing for the fairy godfather to
disappear in this sudden fashion. When she had answered the questions
that Richard showered upon her, she ran up to Aunt Caroline's room.

"So you have always known about the fairy godfather."

"I had never known him by that name until you gave it to him," said Aunt
Caroline, smiling. "But as Mr. Skerritt, I have always felt that he was
one of Marion's best friends. I spoke of him to you the other day when I
told you Marion's story. Perhaps he mentioned that he is going back on
the ship with us. Do you realize that in three days you will be sailing
away from Italy?"

"It is hard to realize it."

"But you are glad to go home?" queried Aunt Caroline.

"I am a little more homesick than when I left home," responded Irma,
"but I have enjoyed every minute in Italy."

The evening before leaving Venice Irma made a long entry in her diary:
"No one knows how glad I am to be going home. Four months is a long time
to be away from one's own country, and especially from one's family. Of
course I have enjoyed everything, and I have learned even more than I
expected, and I am so grateful for the trip. But there's no place I
would rather see now than Cranston.

"To-night I had such a surprise. Aunt Caroline came to my room, carrying
a large pasteboard box. Then she opened it and showed me a lovely amber
necklace, just like one I had admired in Florence. 'This is a present
for you from Marion,' she said, 'and these other little things he hopes
you will give to Tessie and the boys and Mahala. You will know how to
divide them.'

"I won't attempt to describe them, only I know Tessie will be delighted
with the little flock of bronze pigeons, because I have written her
about the pigeons of St. Mark's. There was even a silver-mounted leather
collar for Nap. 'You may wonder at Marion's thoughtfulness,' explained
Aunt Caroline, 'but he says you have taught him to think of others
besides himself, and he appreciates your patience with him when he was
so unamiable.'

"It is true that Marion _did_ seem rather disagreeable at first, and
perhaps I didn't try to like him because I was so disappointed that he
was not a girl. But now--well, I only hope Chris and Rudolph will know
as much as he does when they are his age. So I told Aunt Caroline that
the whole trouble had been that I didn't try to understand him at first.
Then she smiled, and added, 'Marion is sure that he has learned a great
deal from you, especially how to govern his temper. But he says
particularly, that no one is to thank him for these things. It is as if
you had bought them yourself, for everything in the box is something he
heard you admire, when you and he were out together. I believe there's
something from every city we have been in. He says the money part
doesn't count at all for everything there represents your taste.'

"But I think I shall find some way of thanking him, if not now,
sometime when our trip is over, and really, if it hadn't been for
Marion, I am sure that I should not have had half as much fun."



_A Story for Younger Girls_

IRMA AND NAP

By HELEN LEAH REED

Author of "Amy in Acadia," The "Brenda" Books, etc.

Illustrated by Clara E. Atwood. 12mo. $1.25

[Illustration]

A brightly written story about children from eleven to thirteen years of
age, who live in a suburban town, and attend a public grammar school.
The book is full of incident of school and home life.

The story deals with real life, and is told in the simple and
natural style which characterized Miss Reed's popular "Brenda"
stories.--_Washington Post._

There are little people in this sweetly written story with whom all will
feel at once that they have been long acquainted, so real do they seem,
as well as their plans, their play, and their school and home and
everyday life.--_Boston Courier._

Her children are real; her style also is natural and pleasing.--_The
Outlook_, New York.

Miss Reed's children are perfectly natural and act as real girls would
under the same circumstances. Nap is a lively little dog, who takes an
important part in the development of the story.--_Christian Register_,
Boston.

A clever story, not a bit preachy, but with much influence for right
living in evidence throughout.--_Chicago Evening Post._


LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

254 WASHINGTON STREET, BOSTON



HELEN LEAH REED'S

"BRENDA" BOOKS


The author is one of the best equipped of our writers for girls of
larger growth. Her stories are strong, intelligent, and wholesome.--_The
Outlook_, New York.

Miss Reed's girls have all the impulses and likes of real girls as their
characters are developing, and her record of their thoughts and actions
reads like a chapter snatched from the page of life.--_Boston Herald._


BRENDA, HER SCHOOL AND HER CLUB

Illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith. 12mo. $1.50.

One of the most natural books for girls. It is a careful study of
schoolgirl life in a large city, somewhat unique in its
way.--_Minneapolis Journal._


BRENDA'S SUMMER AT ROCKLEY

Illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith. 12mo. $1.50.

It is a wholesome book, telling of a merry and healthy
vacation.--_Dial_, Chicago.


BRENDA'S COUSIN AT RADCLIFFE

Illustrated by Alice Barber Stephens. 12mo. $1.50.

No better college story has been written.--_Providence News._


BRENDA'S BARGAIN

Illustrated by Ellen Bernard Thompson. 12mo. $1.50.

The story deals with social settlement work, under conditions with which
the author is familiar.--_The Bookman_, New York.


AMY IN ACADIA

Illustrated by Katherine Pyle. 12mo. $1.50.

A splendid tale for girls, carefully written, interesting and full of
information concerning the romantic region made famous by the
vicissitudes of Evangeline.--_Toronto Globe._


BRENDA'S WARD

Illustrated by Frank T. Merrill. 12mo. $1.50.

The story details the experience of a Chicago girl at school in Boston,
and very absorbing those experiences are--full of action and
diversity.--_Chicago Post._


LITTLE, BROWN, & COMPANY, _Publishers_
254 WASHINGTON ST., BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS



NAPOLEON'S YOUNG NEIGHBOR

By HELEN LEAH REED

_Illustrated, 12mo. $1.50_


Mrs. Abell's story, retold and made vivid with a true story-teller's
art, forms the theme of the present book, which combines singularly well
the veracity of history and the attractiveness of fiction.--_Living
Age_, Boston.

It should have a very wide circulation, since it puts Napoleon, for the
first time, before the minds of children as a playmate and a friend; and
they will go back to him in later reading as one whom they enjoyed in
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HIGGINSON.

[Illustration]

A most beautiful story of the great Napoleon's exile on the island of
St. Helena, and his friendship for a little English girl. A book of
interest to children and grown-ups, magnificently written.--_Chicago
Advance._

In this readable and delightful volume the author portrays in story form
the character and doings of Napoleon Bonaparte in his days of exile at
St. Helena.--_Journal of Education_, Boston.

It has the advantage of being probably the only book for the young on
its subject in existence.--_New York Commercial._

The author understands the art of telling stories for young people in a
very entertaining manner. Her style is simple and natural, and even
historic facts are transmuted by her into entertaining tales.--_New York
Sun._


LITTLE, BROWN, & CO., _Publishers_, BOSTON



New Illustrated Edition of The Spinning-Wheel Series


THE SPINNING-WHEEL SERIES

BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT. New Illustrated Edition. Uniform in size with the
Illustrated Edition of The Little Women Series, printed from entirely
new plates, with new and attractive cover design. 4 vols. 12mo.
Decorated cloth, in box, $6.00. Separately, $1.50.


1. SPINNING-WHEEL STORIES

With 8 full-page pictures and vignette on titlepage by Wm. A.
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2. SILVER PITCHERS

With 8 full-page pictures and vignette on titlepage by J. W. F. Kennedy.
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3. PROVERB STORIES

With 8 full-page pictures and vignette on titlepage by Ethel Pennewill
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4. A GARLAND FOR GIRLS

With 12 full-page pictures and vignette on titlepage by Clara E. Atwood
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Four volumes of healthy and hearty stories so told as to fascinate the
young people, while inculcating sturdy courage and kindness to the weak
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It is not rash to say that Miss Alcott's stories were never more
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"Little Men," "Little Women," and their successors classics in their
kind.--_Boston Transcript._


LITTLE, BROWN, & COMPANY
_Publishers_, 254 WASHINGTON STREET, BOSTON, MASS.



[Transcriber's Notes


Italic typeface in the original book is indicated with _underscores_.

Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters' errors; otherwise,
every effort has been made to remain true to the author's words and
intent.

Page 16, added the word "to" ("the seat next to Uncle Jim").

Page 74, changed "Wilful" to "Willful" ("Willful as ever").

Page 82, changed "dejeuner" to "déjeuner" ("at déjeuner on the morning")

Page 159, changed "Lief" to "Leif" ("earlier than our Leif Ericson").

Page 165, changed "Domenchino" to "Domenichino" ("I loved Domenichino's
Sybil").

Page 202, changed "see" to "seen" ("you are disappointed that we have not
seen")

Page 234, added the word "in" ("Katie looked in defiance at Irma").

Page 257, changed "Guiliano" to "Giuliano" ("and of Giuliano, with Day
and Night").]





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