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Title: Two Pilgrims' Progress - from fair Florence, to the eternal city of Rome
Author: Pennell, Joseph, Pennell, Elizabeth Robins
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                       [Illustration: "ASPETTI!"
                                    _Page 172._]



                                  TWO

                           PILGRIMS' PROGRESS

                                   BY
                  JOSEPH AND ELIZABETH ROBINS PENNELL
                               AUTHORS OF
                      "_A CANTERBURY PILGRIMAGE_"

                                 BOSTON
                            ROBERTS BROTHERS
                                 LONDON
                              SEELEY & CO.
                                  1887



                           _Copyright, 1886_,
                          BY ROBERTS BROTHERS.


                           University Press:
                    JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE.



                                  TWO
                           Pilgrims' Progress

                                  FROM
                             FAIR FLORENCE,
                                   TO
                       The eternal City of ROME:

                  Delivered under the Similitude of a
                                  RIDE

                         Wherein is Discovered,
                    The manner of their setting out,
                   Their Dangerous Journey; And safe
                      Arrival at the Desired City.

            _And Behold they wrought a Work on the Wheels._
                               _IER.18.3_

                By _Joseph & Elizabeth Robins Pennell_.

                Licensed and Entred according to Order.

                                 _And_
                             _Published By_
                             ROBERTS BROS.
                                 BOSTON
                              MDCCCLXXXVI



                          _A FRIEND'S Apology_

                           _For this Booke._

                        _By CHARLES G. LELAND._


    _Loe! what is this which Ime to sett before ye?
    It is, I ween, a very pleasant Story,
    How two young_ Pilgrimes _who the World would see,
    Did Wheele themselves all over Italy.
    One meant to write on't, whence it may be said
    That for the Nonce hers was the Wheelwright's trade;
    Which is a clever Crafte, for yee have heard
    What flits about as a familiar Word
    Which in a Workshopp often meets the Eare,
    "Bad Wheelwright maketh a good Carpentere,"
    If of a bad one such a Saying's true,
    Oh what, I pray, may not a good one do?
    For by Experience I do declare
    'Tis easier to make Books than build a Chaire._
    Experto crede--I _have tried them Both,
    And sweare a Book is easier--on my Oathe!_

    _He who with her a Pilgriming did go,--_
    That was her Husband. As this Book doth show,
    _Rare skill he had when he would Sketches take,
    And from those Sketches prittie Pictures make.
    She with the Pen could well illuminate,
    He with the Pencil Nature illustrate.
    Oh, is't not strange that what they did so well
    In the Pen way meets in the Name Pen-nell?
    By which the Proverb doth approved appeare,_
    Nomen est Omen,--_as is plain and cleere.
    Which means to say that every Soule doth Bear
    A Name well suited to his charactere._

    _Now, when this Couple unto Mee did come,
    And askt me iff I'de write a little Pome,
    That Tale and Picture as they rouled along
    Might have some small Accomp'niment of Song,
    I set my Pen to Paper with Delighte,
    And quickly had my Thoughts in Black and White.
    Even as_ JOHN BUNYAN _said he did of yore,
    So I, because I'd done the like before.
    Since I was the first man of modern time
    Who on the bycicle e'er wrote a Rime,
    How I a Lady in a Vision saw
    Upon a Wheel like that of Budda's Law,
    Which kept the Path and went exceeding fast;
    Loe! now my Vision is fulfilled at last,
    In this brave writer who with ready Hand
    Hath guided well the Wheel ore many a Land,
    Showing the World by her adventurous Course
    How one may travel fast as any Horse,
    Without a Steed, and stop where'er ye will,
    And have for oats or stable nere a Bill._

    _Now, for the Book I something have to say
    (Pray mark Mee well, good Reader, while_ you _may)._
    They _say that in the Publick some there bee
    Who'll take it ill 'cause it doth Parody_
    JOHN BUNYAN'S Progress. _That can ne'er be said
    By any who_ JOHN BUNYAN'S _Booke have read,
    Since he himself protests against the Whim
    Of those who said the selfsame thing of him,
    And thought he lightly treated solemn Things.
    List the Defence which to this Charge he brings:
    "This Book will make a Traveler of_ Thee,
    _If by its Councill_ thou _wilt guided be.
    And it is writ in such a Dialect
    As may the Minds of listless Men affect.
    It seems a_ NOVELTY, _and yet contains
    Nothing but sound and honest Gospel Strains."_

    _Now I can make no more Apologie
    Than Honest_ JOHN _did make for himself, d'ye see;
    As for the Rest--if you but cast your Eye
    Upon the Pictures ere the Booke ye buy,
    And if of Art you are a clever Judge,
    The Price for it you'll surely not begrudge.
    Now, Reader, I have praysed this Booke to Thee,
    I trust that Thou wilt scan Itt carefullie;
    'T will set before thee Portraiture of Townes,
    Castles and Towres, antient Villes and Downs,
    How rowling Rivers to y^e Ocean hast,
    Of Roadside Inns and many a faire Palast,
    Served up, I ween, with so much gentle Mirthe,
    Thoulte fairly own thou'st gott_ thy _Money's Worth.
    If thou art Cheated Mine shall bee the Sinn,--
    Turn o'er the Page, my Lady, and Begin!_

                   *       *       *       *       *

    _Loe! Vanity Faire!--the Worlde is there,
      Hee and his Wife beside.
    Ye may see it afoot, or from the Traine,
      Or if on a Wheel you ride._



                                  _To

                        CHARLES GODFREY LELAND,

            Who is responsible for our First Work Together,
                                   &
        Who has been the Great-Heart of many a Pilgrimage taken
                            in his Company,

                        We dedicate this Book._



                               CONTENTS.


                                                                PAGE

    THE START                                                     11

    IN THE VAL D'ARNO                                             14

    AT EMPOLI                                                     22

    THE ROAD TO FAIR AND SOFT SIENA                               25

    AT POGGIBONSI                                                 34

    IN THE MOUNTAINS                                              36

    FAIR AND SOFT SIENA                                           45

    AN ITALIAN BY-ROAD                                            61

    MONTE OLIVETO                                                 81

    THROUGH THE WILDERNESS TO A GARDEN                            94

    WE ARE DETAINED IN MONTEPULCIANO                             101

    IN THE VAL DI CHIANA                                         109

    LUCA SIGNORELLI'S TOWN                                       118

    TO PERUGIA: BY TRAIN AND TRICYCLE                            122

    AT PERUGIA                                                   128

    ACROSS THE TIBER TO ASSISI                                   134

    AT ASSISI                                                    138

    VIRGIL'S COUNTRY                                             142

    TERNI AND ITS FALLS                                          155

    IN THE LAND OF BRIGANDS                                      157

    A MIDDLING INN                                               164

    ACROSS THE CAMPAGNA                                          166

    THE FINISH                                                   173

                           *       *       *

    APPENDIX                                                     175



                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

                           *       *       *

                                                                PAGE

    OVER THE PONTE VECCHIO                                        14

    IN THE SUNLIGHT                                               18

    LASTRA                                                        20

    A PERUGINO LANDSCAPE                                          24

    ON THE ARNO--NEAR EMPOLI                                      36

    A SLIGHT OBSTRUCTION                                          40

    NOONTIME                                                      42

    BY THE RIVER                                                  50

    CHIUSURE                                                      68

    MONTE OLIVETO                                                 84

    AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS                                      96

    LEAVING MONTEPULCIANO                                        106

    CORTONA                                                      118

    ON THE HILL                                                  126

    THE BRONZE PONTIFF'S BENEDICTION, PERUGIA                    134

    A FROWN OF DISAPPROVAL, ASSISI                               136

    GATHERING LEAVES                                             146

    "PIPING DOWN THE VALLEY"                                     160

    FROM VIA FLAMINIA, NEAR PONTE MOLLE                          170

    "ASPETTO!"                                                   172



                                  TWO

                          PILGRIMS' PROGRESS.



                        TWO PILGRIMS' PROGRESS.


                               THE START.

                                    "_They are a couple of far-country
                                    men, and, after their mode, are
                                    going on Pilgrimage._"


We stayed in Florence three days before we started on our pilgrimage to
Rome. We needed a short rest. The railway journey straight through from
London had been unusually tiresome because of our tricycle. From the
first mention of our proposed pilgrimage, kind friends in England had
warned us that on the way to Italy the machine would be a burden worse
than the Old Man of the Sea; porters, guards, and custom-house officials
would look upon it as lawful prey, and we should pay more to get it to
Italy than it had cost in the beginning. It is wonderful how clever
one's friends are to discover the disagreeable, and then how eager to
point it out!

Our first experience at the station at Holborn Viaduct seemed to confirm
their warnings. We paid eight shillings to have the tricycle carried to
Dover, porters amiably remarking it would take a pile of money to get
such a machine to Italy. Crossing the Channel, we paid five-and-sixpence
more, and the sailors told us condolingly we should have an awful time
of it in the custom-house at Calais. This, however, turned out a genuine
seaman's yarn. The tricycle was examined carefully, but to be admired,
not valued. "That's well made, that!" one guard declared with
appreciation, and others playfully urged him to mount it. To make a long
story short, our friends proved false prophets. From Calais to Florence
we paid only nine francs freight and thirty-five francs duty at Chiasso.
But unfortunately we never knew what might be about to happen. We
escaped in one place only to be sure the worst would befall us in the
next. It was not until the cause of our anxiety was safe in Florence
that our mental burden was taken away.

But here were more friends who called our pilgrimage a desperate
journey, and asked if we had considered what we might meet with in the
way we were going. There was the cholera. But we represented that to get
to Rome we should not go near the stricken provinces. Then they
persisted that our road lay through valleys reeking with malaria until
November at least. We should not reach these valleys before November,
was our reply. Well, then, did we know we must pass through lonely
districts where escaped convicts roamed abroad; and in and out of
villages where fleas were like unto a plague of Egypt, and good food as
scarce as in the wilderness? In a word, ours was a fool's errand.
Perhaps it was because so little had come of the earlier prophecies that
we gave slight heed to these. They certainly made no difference in our
plans. On October 16, the third morning after our arrival, we rode forth
_sans_ flea-powder or brandy, _sans_ quinine or beef-extract, _sans_
everything our friends counselled us to take,--and hence, according to
them, right into the jaws of death.



                           IN THE VAL D'ARNO.

                                    "_Now their way lay just upon the
                                    bank of the river; here, therefore,
                                    Christian and his companion walked
                                    with great delight._"


The _padrone_ who helped to strap our portfolio and two bags to the
luggage-carrier, our coats to the handle-bars, and the knapsack to J.'s
back, and Mr. Mead, the one friend who foretold pleasure, stood at the
door of the Hotel Minerva to see us off. The sunlight streamed over the
Piazza of Santa Maria Novella and the beggars on the church-steps and
the cabmen who good-naturedly cried "No carriage for you," as we wheeled
slowly on, over to the Via Tornabuoni, past Doni's, by Viesseux's, up
the Lung' Arno to the crowded Ponte Vecchio where for this once at least
we were not attacked by the little shopmen, by the Via de' Bardi, then
back through the Borgo San Jacopo, again along the Lung' Arno, and then
around with the twisting street-car tracks, through the Porta San
Frediano, and out on the broad white road which leads to Pisa.

                 [Illustration: OVER THE PONTE VECCHIO.
                                            _Page 14._]

But even before we left Florence we met with our first accident. The
luggage-carrier swung around from the middle to the side of the
backbone. The one evil consequence, however, was a half-hour's delay.
Beyond the gate we stopped at the first blacksmith's. Had either of us
known the Italian word for "wire," the delay might have been shorter. It
was only by elaborate pantomime we could make our meaning clear. Then
the blacksmith took the matter in his own hands, unstrapped the bags,
and went to work with screw-driver and wire, while the entire
neighborhood, backed by passing pedlers and street-car drivers and
citizens, pronounced the tricycle "beautiful!" "a new horse!" "a
tramway!" When the luggage-carrier was fastened securely and loaded
again, the blacksmith was so proud of his success that he declared
"nothing" was his charge. But he was easily persuaded to take something
to drink the _Signore's_ health. After this there were no further stops.

Our road for some distance went over streets laid with the great stones
of the old Tuscan pavement,--and for tricyclers these streets are not
very bad going,--between tall gray houses, with shrines built in them,
and those high walls which radiate from Florence in every direction, and
keep one from seeing the gardens and green places within. Women plaiting
straw, great yellow bunches of which hung at their waists, and children
greeted us with shouts. Shirtless bakers, their hands white with flour,
and barbers holding their razors, men with faces half shaved and still
lathered, and others with wine-glasses to their lips, rushed to look at
this new folly of the foreigner,--for ours was the first tandem tricycle
ever seen in Italy. At Signa, on the steep up-grade just outside the
town, we had a lively spurt with a dummy engine, the engineer apparently
trying to run us down as we were about to cross the track. After this we
rode between olives and vineyards where there were fewer people. There
was not a cloud in the sky, so blue overhead and so white above the far
hill-tops on the horizon. The wind in the trees rustled gently in
friendliness. Solemn, white-faced, broad-horned oxen stared at us
sympathetically over the hedges. One young peasant even stopped his cart
to say how beautiful he thought it must be to travel in Italy after our
fashion. All day we passed gray olive-gardens and green terraced
hillsides, narrow Tuscan-walled streams dry at this season, and long
rows of slim straight poplars,--"white trees," a woman told us was their
name. Every here and there was a shrine with lamp burning before the
Madonna, or a wayside cross bearing spear and scourge and crown of
thorns. Now we rode by the fair river of Arno, where reeds grew tall and
close by the water's edge, and where the gray-green mountains rising
almost from its banks were barren of all trees save dark stone-pines and
towering cypresses, like so many mountains in Raphael's or Perugino's
pictures. Now we came to where the plain broadened and the mountains
were blue and distant. Mulberries the peasants had stripped of their
leaves before their time, but not bare because of the vines festooned
about them, broke with their even ranks the monotony of gray and brown
ploughed fields. Here on a hill was a white villa or monastery, with
long, lofty avenue of cypresses; there, the stanch unshaken walls and
gates of castle or fortress, which, however, had long since disappeared.
It is true, all these things are to be seen hastily from the windows of
the railway train; but it is only by following the windings and straight
ways of the road as we did that its beauty can be worthily realized.

Later in the afternoon, with a turn of the road, we came suddenly in
view of Capraia, high up above, and far to the other side of the
river,--so far, indeed, that all detail was lost, and we could only see
the outline of its houses and towers and campanile washed into the
whitish-blue sky. And all the time we were working just hard enough to
feel that joy of mere living which comes with healthy out-of-door
exercise, and, I think, with nothing else. Sometimes we rode seeing no
one, and hearing no other sound than the low cries of a cricket in the
hedge and the loud calls of an unseen ploughman in a neighboring field;
then an old woman went by, complimenting us on going so fast without a
horse; and then a baker's boy in white shirt and bare legs, carrying a
lamb on his shoulders. But then, again, we met wagon after wagon, piled
with boxes and baskets, poultry and vegetables, and sleeping men and
women, and with lanterns swinging between the wheels,--for the next day
would be Friday and market-day, and peasants were already on their way
to Florence. There were pedlers, too, walking from village to village,
selling straw fans and gorgeous handkerchiefs. Would not the _Signora_
have a handkerchief? one asked, showing me the gayest of his stock. For
answer I pointed to the bags on the luggage-carrier and the knapsack on
J.'s back. "Of course," he said; we already had enough to carry; would
the _Signora_ forgive him for troubling her? And with a polite bow he
went on his way.

                    [Illustration: IN THE SUNLIGHT.
                                        _Page 18._]

We came to several villages and towns,--some small, where pots and
bowls, fresh from the potter's wheel, were set out to dry; others large,
like Lastra, with heavy walls and gates and old archways, and steps
leading up to crooked, steep streets, so narrow the sun never shines
into them; or like Montelupo, where for a while we sat on the bridge
without the farther gate, looking at the houses which climb up the
hillside to the cypress-encircled monastery at the top. Women were
washing in the stream below, and under the poplars on the bank a priest
in black robes and broad-brimmed hat walked with a young lady. But
whenever we stopped, children from far and near collected around us.
There were little old-fashioned girls, with handkerchiefs tied over
their heads in womanly fashion, who kept on plaiting straw, and small
boys nursing big babies, their hands and mouths full of bread and
grapes. If, however, in their youthful curiosity they pressed upon us
too closely, polite men and women, who had also come to look, drove them
back with terrible cries of _Via, ragazzi!_ ("Go away, children!")
before which they retreated with the same speed with which they had
advanced.

                         [Illustration: LASTRA.
                                    _Page 20._]

Just beyond Montelupo, when a tedious up-grade brought us to a broad
plateau, a cart suddenly came out a little way in front of us from a
side road. A man was driving, and on the seat behind, and facing us,
were two nuns, who wore wide straw hats which flapped slowly up and down
with the motion of the cart. When they saw us, the younger of the two
covered her face with her hands, as if she thought us a device of the
Devil. But the other, who looked the Lady Abbess, met the danger
bravely, and sternly examined us. This close scrutiny reassured her.
When we drew nearer she wished us good-evening, and then her companion
turned and looked. We told them we were pilgrims bound for Rome. At this
they took courage, and the spokeswoman begged for the babies they cared
for in Florence. We gave her a few sous. She counted them quite
greedily, and then--but not till then--benevolently blessed us. They
were going at jog-trot pace, so that we soon left them behind. "_Buon
viaggio_," the Abbess cried; and the silent sister smiled, showing all
her pretty white teeth, for we now represented a temptation overcome.



                               AT EMPOLI.

                                    "_The pilgrim they laid in a large
                                    upper chamber whose window opened
                                    towards the sunrising; the name of
                                    the chamber was Peace; where he
                                    slept till break of day._"


We put up that night at Empoli. The Albergo Maggiore was fair enough,
and, like all large Italian inns, had a clean spacious stable in which
to shelter the tricycle. The only drawback to our comfort was the misery
at dinner of the black-eyed, blue-shirted waiter at our refusal to eat a
dish of birds we had not ordered. He was very eager to dispose of them.
He served them with every course, setting them on the table with a
triumphant "_Ecco!_" as if he had prepared a delicious surprise. It was
not until he brought our coffee that he despaired. Then he retired
mournfully to the kitchen, where his loud talk with the _padrona_ made
us fear their wrath would fall upon us or the tricycle. But later they
gave us candles, and said good-night with such gracious smiles that we
slept the sleep which knows neither care nor fear.

The next morning their temper was as unclouded as the sky. They both
watched the loading of the tricycle with smiling interest. He had seen
velocipedes with two wheels, the waiter said, but never one with three.
And that a _Signora_ should ride, the _padrona_ added, ah! that indeed
was strange! Then she grew confidential. Only occasionally I caught her
meaning, for my knowledge of Italian was small. She had had seven
children, she said, and all were dead but one. And I, had I any? And
where had I bought my dress? She liked it so much; and she took it in
her hand and felt it. Should we stay long in Italy? and sometime we
would come back to Empoli? Her son, a little fellow, was there too. He
had been hanging about the machine when we came down to breakfast, and
ever since. He stood speechless while J. was by, but when the latter
went away for a few minutes,--less shy with me, I suppose, because he
knew I could not understand him as well,--he asked what might such a
velocipede cost? as much perhaps as a hundred francs? But J. coming back
he was silent as before. They all followed us out to the street, the
_padrona_ shaking hands with us both, and the boy standing by the
tricycle to the very last.

                  [Illustration: A PERUGINO LANDSCAPE.
                                           _Page 24._]



                       THE ROAD TO FAIR AND SOFT
                                 SIENA.

                                    "_They went till they came into a
                                    certain country whose air naturally
                                    tended to make one drowsy._"

                                    "_Let us not sleep as do others,
                                    but let us watch and be sober._"


It was good to be in the open country again, warming ourselves in the
hot sunshine. The second morning of our ride was better than the first.
We knew beforehand how beautiful the day would be, and how white and
smooth was the road that lay before us. The white oxen behind the
ploughs, and the mules in their gay trappings and shining harness seemed
like old acquaintances. The pleasant good-morning given us by every
peasant we met made us forget we were strangers in the land. A little
way from Empoli we crossed the Ponte d'Elsa, and then after a sharp turn
to the right we were on the road to "fair and soft Siena." It led on
through vineyards and wide fields lying open to the sun, by sloping
hillsides and narrow winding rivers, by villas and gardens where roses
were blooming. In places they hung over the wall into the road. We asked
a little boy to give us one,--for the _Signora_, J. added. But the child
shook his head. How could he? The roses were not his, he said. Once we
passed a wayside cross on which loving hands had laid a bunch of the
fresh blossoms. Sometimes we heard from the far-away mountains the loud
blasting of rocks, and then the soft bells of a monastery; sometimes
even the cracking of the whip of a peasant behind us, driving an
unwilling donkey. Then we would pass from the stillness of the country
into the noise and clamor of small villages, to hear the wondering cries
of the women to which we were already growing accustomed, the piercing
yells of babies, who well secured in basket go-carts could not get to us
quickly enough, and the sing-song repetition of older children saying
their lesson in school, and whom we could see at their work through the
low windows.

About noon we rode into Certaldo,--Boccaccio's town. I know nothing that
interferes so seriously with hero-worship as hunger. I confess that if
some one had said, "You can go either to see Boccaccio's house or to
lunch at a _trattoria_, but both these things you cannot do," our answer
would have been an immediate order for lunch. We went at once to a
_trattoria_ on the piazza where Boccaccio's statue stands. I doubt if
that great man himself ever gathered such numbers about him as we did.
Excited citizens, when the tricycle was put away, stood on the threshold
and stared at us until the door was shut upon them. Then they pressed
their faces against the windows and peered over piles of red and yellow
pears; and every now and then one, bolder than the rest, stealthily
thrust his head in and then scampered off before he could be captured.
This gave a spice of novelty and excitement to our midday meal. We
ordered a very simple lunch,--soup, bread and cheese, coffee and
vermouth. But the _padrona_ had to send out for everything. Her sister,
a young girl as fair as an Englishwoman, was her messenger. We were
scarcely seated before she came back with coffee and a large bottle that
she set before us. This, of course, was the vermouth, and we half filled
our glasses and at once drank a little. The two women stared with a
surprise we could not understand. The fair girl now disappeared on a
second foraging expedition, and stayed away until we had finished our
soup. "_Ecco_, vermouth!" she said on her return, putting another bottle
in front of us. Then we knew the reason of their wonder. We had
swallowed, like so much water, the not over-strong cognac intended only
to flavor our coffee.

Presently the _padrona_ entered into conversation with us. We were
English, she supposed. No; Americans, we told her. At this there was
great rejoicing. They had a brother in America. He lived in a large town
called Buenos Ayres, where he kept a _trattoria_. Like theirs it was the
_Trattoria_ Boccaccio. They were glad to see any one from the same
country, whether from north or south. Was it not all America? The
_padrona_ went upstairs to bring down his picture that we might see it.
Her sister pointed to the purple woollen jersey she wore, and said with
pride her brother had sent it to her. It too was American. They even
called in their old mother, that she might see her son's
fellow-countrymen.

We spent an hour wandering through the old town, on top of the hill, in
which Boccaccio really lived. The sun was shining right down into the
streets, in which the gay kerchiefs of the women, the bunches of straw
at their waists, and their cornstalk distaffs made bright bits of color.
Though we left the tricycle at the _trattoria_, our coming made a stir
in the little place. Our clothes were not like unto those of the
natives, and J.'s knee-breeches and long black stockings made them
wonder what manner of priest he might be. As we stood looking at the
_loggia_ and tower and arched doorway of Boccaccio's house, the
custodian, with a heavy bunch of keys, came to take us through it. But
we declined his services. We cared more for the old streets and walls
and palaces, which, though their greatness has gone, have not been
changed since mediæval times, than for an interior, however fine, whose
mediævalism dates from to-day. The old man turned rather sulkily. J.,
seeing there had been some mistake, explained we had not sent for him.
Then his face cleared. The women had said we wanted him, else he would
never have disturbed us; and he took off his hat, and this time went
away with a friendly _à rivederle_.

The Palazzo Communale, at the highest point of the town, is still
covered with the arms and insignia of other years, of the Medici and
Piccolomini, of the Orsini and Baglioni. Its vaulted doorway is still
decorated with frescos of the Madonna, and saints and angels. But
everywhere the plaster is falling away, and in the courtyard grass grows
between the bricks of the pavement; and instead of pages and
men-at-arms, we there saw only a little brown-faced ragged child
climbing cat-like over the roofs, and a woman scolding him from below.
We left the town by the frescoed gateway, through which we saw the near
hills, gray, bare, and furrowed, the long lines of cypresses, the
stretches of gray olives, the valley below with its vineyards, and the
far mountains, purple and shadowy, the highest topped with many-towered
San Gimignano.

It is better not to be jocund with the fruitful grape in the middle of
the day when one is tricycling. The cognac we had taken at lunch, weak
as it was, and the vermouth made us sleepy and our feet heavy. I
sympathized with the men who lay in sound slumbers in every cart we met.
But their drowsiness forced us into wakefulness. Of the ride from
Certaldo to Poggibonsi, I remember best the loud inarticulate cries of
J. and his calls of "_Eccomi!_" as if he were lord of the land, to
sleeping drivers. The Italian cry of the roads, rising to a high note
and then suddenly falling and ending in a low prolonged one, which is
indispensable to travellers, is not easy to learn. J.'s proficiency in
it, however, made him pass for a native when he limited himself to
howling. But often donkeys darted into ditches and oxen plunged across
the road before the peasants behind them awoke. Like Sancho Panza they
had a talent for sleeping.

Once, after we had climbed a short but steep hill and had passed by
several wagons in rapid succession, we stopped under the shade to rest.
It was a pleasant place. We looked over the broad valley, where the
vines were festooned, not as Virgil saw them, from elm to elm, but from
mulberry to mulberry, and up to San Gimignano, beginning to take more
definite shape on its mountain-top. A peasant in peaked hat and blue
shirt, with trousers rolled up high above his bare knees, crossed the
road and silently examined the tricycle. "You have a good horse," he
then said; "it eats nothing." We asked him if they were at work in his
vineyard. No, he answered; but would we like to look in the wine-press
opposite? And then he took us through the dark windowless building,
where on one side the grape-juice was fermenting in large butts, and on
the other fresh grapes had been laid on sets of shelves to dry. He
picked out two of the finest bunches and gave them to me. When I offered
to pay him he refused. The _Signora_ must accept them, he said.

As the road was now a dead level and lumpy into the bargain, we were
glad when Poggibonsi was in sight. We drew up on a bridge where a man
was standing, to ask him if he knew of a good inn. He recommended the
Albergo dell' Aquila. "It is good," he went on, "and not too dear. This
is not a town where they take one by the neck," and he clutched his own
throat. So to the Albergo dell'Aquila we went. We had only to ride
through the wide avenue of shady trees, past a row of houses, out of one
of which a brown-robed monk came, to rush back at sight of us, past a
washing-place surrounded by busy chattering women, and we were at the
door of the inn.



                             AT POGGIBONSI.

                                    "_Then she asked him whence he
                                    was come and whither he was going;
                                    and he told her. She asked
                                    him also how he got into the way;
                                    and he told her. And last she asked
                                    his name._"


The Albergo dell' Aquila was even more comfortable than the Maggiore in
Empoli. We dined in a room from whose walls King Humbert and his Queen
smiled upon us, while opposite were two sensational and suggestive
brigands in lonely mountain passes. The _padrona_ came up with the
salad, and she and the waiter in a cheerful duet catechised us after the
friendly Italian fashion, and then told us about the visit to their
house of the American consul from Florence; of the hard times the
cholera had brought with it for all Italy; of the bad roads to San
Gimignano and the steep ones to Siena, along which peasants never
travelled without bearing in mind the old saying, _All' ingiù tutti i
santi ajutano; ma all' insú ci vuol Gesù_,--"Going down hill, call upon
the saints; but going up, one needs Jesus." Before long J. joined in the
talk, and the duet became a trio. Never had I been so impressed with his
fluent Italian. Even the _padrona_ was not readier with her words than
he with his. When I spoke to him about it afterwards, he said he
supposed it was wonderful; he had not understood half of it himself.

After dinner and in the twilight we walked through the lively crowded
streets and into the church, where service was just over. A priest in
white surplice left the altar, and another began to put the lights out
when we entered. But in the unlit nave many of the faithful still knelt
in prayer. The town grew quieter as night came on. But just as we were
going to sleep some men went along the street below our window singing.
One in a loud clear tenor sang the tune, the others the accompaniment
like a part song, and the effect was that of a great guitar. Their song
was a fitting good-night to a day to whose beauty there had been not a
cloud.



                           IN THE MOUNTAINS.

                                    "_He saw a most pleasant
                                    mountainous country, beautified
                                    with woods, vineyards, fruits of
                                    all sorts, flowers also with
                                    springs and fountains, very
                                    delectable to behold._"


Though we left Poggibonsi in the beginning of the morning, a large crowd
waited for us at the door of the inn. The _padrona_ said farewell with
many good wishes; men and women we had never seen before called out
pleasantly _à rivederle_, two _carabinieri_ watched us from the other
side of the piazza, the railroad officials at the station cried
"_Partenza! Partenza!_" and then we were off and out of the town. It
would be _su_, _su_, _su_, all the way they told us at the inn, but for
several miles we went fast enough, so that I felt sure the peasants we
passed were still only calling on the saints. The ascent at first was
very gradual, while the road was excellent. There were down as well as
up grades, and for every steep climb we had a short coast. Now we came
out on villas which but a little before had been above us, and now we
reached the very summit of hills from which we looked forth upon
mountain rising beyond mountain,--some treeless and ashen gray, others
thickly wooded and glowing with golden greens and russets, and still
others white and mist-like, and seeming to melt into the soft white
clouds resting on their highest peaks. All along, the hedges were
covered with clusters of red rose-berries and the orange berries of the
pyracanthus. The grass by the roadside was gay with brilliant crimson
pinks, yellow snapdragons and dandelions, and violet daisies. Once we
came to a vineyard where the ripe fruit still hung in purple clusters
from the vines, and where men and women, some on foot and others on
ladders, were gathering and filling with them large buckets and baskets.
At the far end of the field white oxen, their great heads decorated with
red ribbons, stood in waiting. Boys with buckets slung on long poles
were coming and going between the vines. In all the other vineyards we
had passed the vintage was over, so we waited to watch the peasants as,
laughing and singing, they worked away. But when they saw us, they too
stopped and looked, and one man came down from his ladder and to the
hedge to offer us a bunch of grapes.

                [Illustration: ON THE ARNO--NEAR EMPOLI.
                                             _Page 36._]

The only town through which we rode was Staggia, where workmen were busy
restoring the old tower and making it a greater ruin than it had ever
been before. One town gate has gone, but from the battlements of the
other grass and weeds still wave with the wind, while houses have been
built into the broken walls. It is a degenerate little town, and its
degeneracy, paradoxical as it may sound, is the result of its activity.
For its inhabitants have not rested content like those of Lastra with
the mediævalism that surrounds them. They have striven to make what is
old new by painting their church and many of their houses in that
scene-painting style which to-day seems to represent the art of the
people in Italy. Often during our journey we saw specimens of this vile
fashion,--houses with sham windows and shutters, churches with
make-believe curtains and cords,--but nowhere was it so prominent as in
Staggia.

Beyond Monteriggione, whose towers alone showed above its high walls,
the road began to wind upward on the mountain-side. It was such a long,
steady pull that although the surface was perfect we gave up riding and
walked. Our machine was heavily loaded, and not too easy to work over
prolonged up-grades. Besides, we were not time nor record makers, nor
perambulating advertisements, and we had the day before us. We were now
closed in with woods. On either side were chestnuts and dwarf-oaks and
bushes, their leaves all "yellow and black and pale and hectic red." And
occasional openings showed near mountain-tops covered with downy gray
grass and a low growth like heather, and here and there were groups of
dark pines. For an hour at least we were alone with the sounds and
silence of the mountains. The wandering wind whispered in the wood and
black swine rooted in the fallen leaves, but of human life there was no
sign. Then there came from afar a regular tap-tap, low at first, but
growing louder and louder, until, as we drew closer to it, we knew it to
be the steady hammering of stone-breakers. There were two men at work in
this lonely pass, and as we stood talking to them two more came from
under the chestnuts. These had guns on their shoulders, and wore high
boots and the high-crowned conventional brigand hats. Ever since we left
Florence we had seen at intervals in the fields and woods a notice with
the words, "_È vietata la bandita_," which we interpreted as a warning
against the bandits or convicts for whom our Florentine friends had
prepared us. And now we seemed to have come face to face with two of
these brigands. But it turned out that there was little of the bandit
about them save their appearance. Their guns were for birds, and later
on we learned that the alarming signs were merely to forbid the
trespassing of these very gentlemen.

                 [Illustration: A SLIGHT OBSTRUCTION.]

A mile or two farther on, the road began to go down again. We were both
glad to be on the machine after our walk. We could see to the bottom of
the hill, and there was no one in sight. J. let go the brake. None but
cyclers know the delight of a five-minutes coast after hours of up-hill
toiling. They, however, will sympathize with our pleasure in the
mountains near Siena. But when it was at its fullest, and the machine
was going at the rate of about twenty miles an hour, and neither brake
nor back-pedalling could bring it to a sudden halt, a man (or the foul
fiend himself) drove a flock of sheep out from the woods a few feet in
front of us. When we reached them only the first had crossed the road;
of course, all the rest had to follow. They tried to go on right through
the wheels, but only succeeded in getting under them, setting the
machine to pitching like a ship in a heavy sea. But I held on fast; J.
stood on the pedals and screwed the brake down; the little wheel
scattered the sheep like the cow-catcher of an engine, and we brought up
in the gutter. Before we stopped, J. began a moral lecture to the
shepherd, and was showing him how, if the machine had gone over, the
consequences would have been worse for us than for his flock. The
lecture ended rather _im_morally with _accidente voi_, and _imbecile_,
the deadliest of all Italian maledictions, punishable in places by
imprisonment. The shepherd looked as if he was ready to curse us in
return, but before he had time we were out of hearing, though we first
made sure that no sheep were injured. We were none the worse for the
accident, and the tricycle was unhurt, save for a deep dent in the dress
guard.

The rest of our way was divided between walking and riding. The woods
with their solitude and wildness, but not the good road, came to an end.
Once beyond them, we wheeled out by fields where men and women were at
work, their oxen whiter than any we had yet seen, by contrast with the
rich red of the upturned earth. In olive-gardens peasants were eating
their midday meal; men with white aprons, women with enormous Sienese
hats, and dogs and oxen were all resting sociably together. By the
roadside others were making rope, the men twisting and forever walking
backwards, a small boy always turning at the wheel. Scattered on the
hill-tops and by the road were large red-brick farm-houses, instead of
the white ones we had seen near Florence.

                        [Illustration: NOONTIME.
                                     _Page 42._]

At one, where there was a well on the other side of the wall, we asked
for a glass of water. A man brought it to the gate, where he was joined
by three or four others. They stared inquiringly at the tricycle, at the
bags, and at us, while J. squeezed lemon-juice into the water. Then one
opened his mouth very wide and pointed to his teeth: "The little sir,"
he asked, "is he a dentist?"

It was noon when we first saw Siena, and we were then at the very walls.
In the old days it was always said, "More than her gates, Siena opens
her heart to you!" But the heart of him who sat in office by the city
gate was shut against us. When we rode past him he bade us descend. To
our "_Perchè?_" he said it was the law. Oh the vanity of these Sienese!
Through the streets of Florence and over the crowded Ponte Vecchio we
had ridden undisturbed; but in this mountain town, which boasts of but
two hacks, and where donkeys and oxen are the only beasts to be
frightened, we were forced to get down. The dignity of the law-makers of
the city must be respected. So we two weary pilgrims had to walk along
the narrow streets, between the tall palaces, while tanners in red caps,
and women in flowered, white-ribboned _festa_ hats, and priests and
soldiers stared, and one man, with a long push-cart, kept close to us
like an evil genius in a dream. He was now on one side, and now on the
other, examining the wheels, asking endless questions, and always
getting in the way. At all the street corners he hurried on before, and
with loud shouts called the people to come and see. Then he was at our
heels again, shrieking his loud, shrill trade-cry into our very ears. J.
as a rule is not ill-tempered; but there is a limit to all things. The
stupid sheep, the watchful guard, and now this plague of a flower-pedler
brought his patience to an end, and on our way through the town he said
much in good plain English which it was well the citizens could not
understand.



                          FAIR AND SOFT SIENA.

                                    "_For there where I go is enough
                                    and to spare._"

                                    "_Read it so, if you will, in my
                                    Book._"


Even pilgrims of old on their way to Rome sometimes tarried in castle or
village. We could not pass through Siena, discourteous though her first
welcome had been, as we had through smaller and less fair towns. So for
a day or two we put away our tricycle and the "cockle-shells and sandal
shoon" of our pilgrimage. We went to a _pension_, one at which J. had
stayed before, and which he liked. I admit it was better in many ways
than the inns in which hitherto we had slept and eaten. There was carpet
on the floor of our room, and in it easy-chairs and a lounge. There were
elaborate breakfasts at one, and still more elaborate dinners at six,
and there was always a great plenty,--as the Englishwoman who sat next
me, and who I fear had not always fared so well, said when she urged me
to eat and drink more of the fruit and wine set before me. "You can have
all you want in this house," she finished with a sigh, as if her crown
of sorrow was in remembering unhappier things. But we both thought
regretfully of the dining-rooms with the bad prints on the walls, and
the more modest dinners of our own ordering. I think too we had found
more pleasure in the half-understood talk of _padroni_ and waiters than
we did now in the elegant and learned conversation of our
fellow-boarders, for they were all, it seemed, persons of learning and
refinement. There was the retired English major-general who sat opposite
and who had written a book, as he very soon let us know. He recognized
us as Americans before we opened our mouths to speak, which fact he also
let us know by his reminiscences, addressed not to us but to our
neighbors. He had travelled in Spain with Mr. Fillmore, the
ex-President, "the most courteous of gentlemen;" he said he well knew
Mr. Marion Crawford, the talented novelist, and his uncle, "dear old Sam
Ward;" he had counted among his best friends _Bay_ard Taylor, "as you
remember I have said in my book." This same book which made the major so
communicative appeared to have crushed the spirit out of his wife; she
sat silent during dinner, fortifying herself at intervals with weak
whiskey and water.

Then there was the elderly English lady travelling abroad with her
daughter "who has just taken up architecture;" she informed us, "she has
always painted heads till now, but she is fascinated by her
architectural work. Then I, you know, am _so_ fond of water-colors." And
there was the Swedish lady, who could talk all languages, speaking to us
in something supposed to be English, and who was as eager in her pursuit
of food for the body as for the mind. I count the way in which she
greedily swallowed the _vino santo_ in her glass, when our host passed
round the table the second time with his precious bottle, one of the
wonders of our visit to Siena. It was pathetic too to see her
disappointment when he turned away, just before he reached her, his
bottle empty. And there were still others who knew much about pictures
and palaces, statues and studios, and no doubt we might greatly have
profited thereby.

But we liked it better upstairs, where we were alone and there was less
culture. Our window overlooked a high terrace in which marigolds and
many-colored chrysanthemums were blooming, the gardens of the
Piccolomini Palace full of broad-leaved fig-trees and pale olives, and
the wide waste of mountain and moorland stretching from the red city
walls to the high, snow-capped Apennines on the horizon. All the morning
the sun shone in our windows, and every hour and even oftener we heard
the church bells, and the loud, clear bugle-calls from the barracks,
once a monastery, whose mass of red and gray walls rose from the near
olives. They say it snows in Siena in the winter-time, and that it is
cold and bleak and dreary; but I shall always think of it as a place of
flowers and sunshine and sweet sounds.

But best of all were the hours when we wandered through the town, up and
down dark alley-ways and flights of steps, under brick arches, along
precipitate narrow streets where we had to press close to the houses, or
retreat into an open door, to let the wide-horned oxen pass by with
their load; now coming out at the very foot of La Mangia, on the broad,
sunny piazza; now by the tanneries where little streams of brown water
trickled down towards the washing-place at the foot of the hill, and
where the walls were hung with dripping brown skins, probably just as
they were when the little Catherine--her visions already beginning--and
Stefano walked by them and towards home in the fading evening light,
from a visit to the older and married sister Bonaventura. One hour we
were with the past in the shadowy aisles of the Duomo, where Moses and
Trismegistus, Solomon and Socrates, Sibyls and Angels looked up at us
from the pavement, and rows of popes kept watch from above the tall
black and white pillars, while in the choir beyond priests chanted their
solemn psalms. Next we were with the present in the gay Lizza, under the
acacias and yellow chestnuts, by flower-beds full of roses and scarlet
sage, and walls now covered with brilliant Virginia creepers; and out on
the fort above to see a golden sky, and the sun disappearing behind
banks of purple, golden-edged, and red clouds, and pale, misty hills,
and to look back across the hollow to the red town climbing up from low
olive-gardens towards the Duomo on its hill-top, and tall La Mangia
towering aloft from its own little hollow beyond. From every side came
the voices of many people,--of soldiers in the barracks, of women and
children under the trees, of ball-players in the old court below, and of
applauding lookers-on lounging on the marble benches.

                      [Illustration: BY THE RIVER.
                                       _Page 50._]

The tall unfinished arch of the Duomo that rises above houses and
churches, and indeed above everything but the lofty La Mangia and the
Campanile, tells the story of greatness and power and wealth suddenly
checked. But the deadly plague, which carried off so many citizens that
not even enough were left to make their city beautiful as they meant it
should be, could not take away the great beauty it already had, nor kill
the joyousness of its people. There are no Spendthrift Clubs in Siena
now, nor any gay Lanos like him Dante met in the _Inferno_. But there
are still laughter and song loving Sienese who in their own simple
fashion go through life gathering rosebuds while they may. It seemed to
me a very pretty fashion when I saw them holiday-making on Sunday
afternoon, peasants, priests, officers, townspeople, all out in their
Sunday best, and when on the Via Cavour, near the _Loggia_, we met two
wandering minstrels singing love-songs through the town. One played on a
mandolin which hung from his neck by a wide red ribbon, and as he played
he sang. His voice was loud and strong and very sweet, and like another
Orpheus he drew after him all who heard his music. His companion sold
copies of the song, printed on pink paper, gay as the words. He went
bowing and smiling in and out of the crowd,--from the women whose broad
hats waved as they kept time to the singing, to the men who had stuck
feathers in their soft felts worn jauntily on one side; from demure
little girls holding their nurses' hands, to swaggering soldiers. Then
when the first singer rested he, in his turn, sang a verse. There was
with them a small boy who every now and then broke in in a high treble,
so that there was no pause in the singing.

Wherever we went that afternoon, whether by the Duomo or out by the
Porta Romana, on the Lizza or near San Domenico, we saw large written
posters, announcing that at six in the evening there would be, at No. 17
Via Ricasoli, a great marionette performance of the _Ponte dei Sospiri_.
Apparently this was to be the event of the day, and to it we determined
to go. When a little before the appointed hour we came to the Via
Ricasoli, we half expected to see a theatre ablaze with light. What we
did find after much difficulty was a low doorway on the ground floor of
a many-storied palace, and before it a woman by a table, lighting a very
small lamp, to the evident satisfaction of half a dozen youngsters. Over
the open doorway was a chintz curtain; behind it, darkness. This was not
encouraging. But presently a woman with a child came to buy tickets. One
of the groups of youthful admirers was then sent up and a second down
the street, and after they had come back with mysterious bundles another
lamp was produced, lit, and carried inside, and the first two of the
audience followed. It was now five minutes of six, so we also bought our
tickets, three _soldi_, or cents, for each, and the curtain was drawn
for us.

A low crypt-like room with vaulted ceiling; at one end two screens
covered with white sheets; between them a stage somewhat larger than
that of a street Punch, with a curtain representing a characteristic
Sienese brick wall enclosing a fountain; several rows of rough wooden
benches, and one of chairs,--this was what we saw by the dim light of
one lamp. We sat on the last bench. The audience probably would be more
entertaining than the play. But the humble shall be exalted. The woman
on the front row bade us come up higher. The small boy who acted as
usher told us we might have two of the chairs for two _soldi_ more. The
ticket-seller even came in, and in soft pleading tones said that we
might have any places we wanted; why then should we choose the worst?
But we refused the exaltation.

The audience now began to arrive in good earnest. Five ragged boys of
the _gamin_ species, one of a neater order with his little sister by the
hand, two soldiers, a lady with a blue feather in her bonnet, and her
child and nurse, two young girls,--and the benches were almost filled.
Our friend the ticket-seller became very active as business grew brisk.
She was always running in and out, now giving this one a seat, now
rearranging the reserved chairs, and now keeping the younger members of
the audience in order. _Ragazzini_, she called the unruly boys who stood
up on the benches and whistled and sang, so that I wondered what
diminutive she gave the swells on the front row. This was amusing
enough, but our dinner-hour was half-past six. J. looked at his watch;
it was a quarter past. The ever-watchful keeper of the show saw him.
"Ah, the _Signore_ must not be impatient. _Ecco!_ the music was about to
begin." Begin it did indeed, to be continued with a persistency which
made us fear it would never end. The musicians were two. A young man in
velveteen coat and long yellow necktie played the clarionet, and another
the cornet. They knew only one tune,--a waltz I think it was meant to
be,--but that they gave without stint, playing it over and over again,
even while the ticket-seller made them move from their chairs to a long,
high box by the wall; and when a third arrived with a trombone they let
him join in when and as it best pleased him. When we had heard at least
the twenty-fifth repetition of the waltz, had looked at the scuffling of
the _ragazzini_ until even that pleasure palled, had seen the soldiers
smoke _sigaro Cavour_ after _sigaro Cavour_ so that the air grew heavy,
and had watched the gradual growth of the audience until every place was
filled, our patience was exhausted. Behold! we said to the woman with
the gentle voice, it was now seven. The play was announced for six. Was
this right? In a house not far off every one was eating, and two covers
were laid for us. But here we were in this dark room in our hunger,
waiting for marionettes whose wires for aught we knew were broken. She
became penitent. The _signorini_ must forgive her. The wires were not
broken, but he who pulled them had not arrived. There was yet time.
Would we not go and dine and then come back? She would admit us on our
return.

And so we went and had our dinner, well seasoned with polite
conversation. The ticket-agent was true to her word. When we reappeared
at her door, the curtain was pulled at once. In the mean time the
musicians had been suppressed, not only out of hearing but out of sight.
The room was so crowded that many who had arrived during our absence
were standing. Indeed, there must have been by this time fully five
francs in the house. All were watching with entranced eyes the movements
of four or five puppets. The scene represented an interior, which I
suppose, was that of the prison to one side of the Bridge of Sighs. That
it was intended for a cell also seemed evident, because the one portable
piece of furniture on the stage was a low, flat couch of a shape which
as every one who has been to the theatre, but never to prison, knows is
peculiar to the latter. It was impossible to lose sight of it, as the
_dramatis personæ_ made their exits and entrances over it. It was rather
funny to see the villain of the piece after an outbreak of passion, or
an elegant long-haired page in crimson clad, after a gentlemanly speech,
suddenly vault over it. We could not discover what the play was about.
Besides the two above-mentioned characters there was a puppet with a
large red face and green coat and trousers who gave moral tone to the
dialogue, and another with heavy black beard and turban-like head-dress,
and much velvet and lace whom we took to be a person of rank. As they
came in and out by turn, it was impossible to decide which was the
prisoner. With the exception of the jumps over the couch, there was
little action in the performance. Its only two noticeable features
were--first, the fact that villain, page, moralist, and magnate spoke in
exactly the same voice and with the same expression; and, secondly, that
they had an irrepressible tendency to stand in the air rather than on
the floor, as if they had borrowed Mr. Stockton's negative-gravity
machine. The applause and laughter and rapt attention of the audience
proved the play to be much to their liking. But for us inappreciative
foreigners a little of it went a great way. As nothing but talk came of
all the villany and moralizing and grandeur and prettiness,--which may
have been a clever bit of realism of which the English drama is not yet
capable,--and as there was no apparent reason why the dialogue should
ever come to an end, we went away after the next act. The ticket-seller
was surprised at our sudden change from eagerness to indifference, but
not offended. She thanked us for our patronage and wished us a _felice
notte_.

With the darkness the gayety of the town had increased. In the large
theatre a play was being performed by a company of amateurs. Having had
tickets given us, we looked in for a few minutes, but found it as wordy
as that of the puppets. In a neighboring piazza the proprietor of a
large van, like those to be seen at country fairs at home, was
exhibiting a man, arrayed in a suit of rubber, with a large brass
helmet-like arrangement on his head, who, it seemed, could live at the
bottom of the sea, along with Neptune and the Naiads, as comfortably as
on dry shore. _Ecco!_ There was the tank within, where this marvel could
be seen,--a human being living under the water and none the worse for
it! Admission was four _soldi_, but _per militari e ragazzi_ ("for the
military and children") it was but two! So it seems that the soldiers
who abroad are to strike terror into the enemy, at home are ranked with
the young of the land, since like them their name is legion! There were
about a dozen in the crowd, and, all unconscious of the sarcasm, they
hurried up the steps and into the show, while an old man ground out of a
hand-organ the appropriate tune of "_O, que j'aime les militaires!_"

But dramas and shows were not the only Sunday-evening amusements. The
_caffès_ were crowded. Judging from the glimpses we had into little
black, cavern-like wine-shops, another Saint Bernardino is needed to set
makers of gaming-tools in Siena to the manufacture of holier articles.
And more than once, as we walked homewards in the starlight, we heard
the voices of the three minstrels singing of human passion in the
streets where Catherine so often preached the rapture of divine love. If
swans were now seen in visions by fond Sienese matrons, they would wing
their way earthward and not heavenward, as in the days when Blessed
Bernardo's mother dreamed dreams.



                          AN ITALIAN BY-ROAD.

                                    "_And the name of the going up the
                                    side of the hill is called
                                    Difficulty._"

                                    "_Is not the place dangerous? Hath
                                    it not hindered many in their
                                    pilgrimage?_"


We left Siena the morning after the marionette exhibition. The major,
when he heard at breakfast that we were going, asked us point blank
several questions about Boston publishers, his book probably being still
uppermost in his thoughts. Later he sent his card to our room to know at
what hour we started; he wished to see us off. The young lady of
architectural proclivities shook hands and bade us good-by, saying she
had often ridden a sociable with her cousin in England.

After all, there was not much for the major to see. We could not ride
through the streets, and so could not mount the machine for his benefit.
But he was interested in watching us strap the bags to the
luggage-carrier, and pleased because of this opportunity to entertain us
with more American reminiscences. I am afraid his amusement in Siena was
small. In return for the little we gave him he asked us to come and see
him in Rome, where he would spend the winter, and added that if we
expected to pass through Cortona he would like to write a card of
introduction for us to a friend of his there, an Italian who had married
an English lady. Cortona was a rough place, and we might be glad to have
it. He had forgotten his friend's name, but he would run upstairs and
his wife could tell him. In a minute he returned with the written card.
We have had many letters of introduction, but never one as singular as
the major-general's. As he knew our names even less well than that of
his Cortona friends, he introduced us as "an American lady and gentleman
riding a _bicycle_!" Only fancy! as the English say. Our parting with
him was friendly. Then he stood with Luigi and Zara until we disappeared
around the corner of the street.

What a ride we had from Siena to Buonconvento! This time the road was
all _giù_, _giù_, _giù_. It was one long coast almost all the way, and
we made the most of it. We flew by milestone after milestone. Once we
timed ourselves: we made a mile in four minutes. The country through
which we rode was sad and desolate. On either side were low rolling
hills, bare as the English moors, and of every shade of gray and brown
and purple. Here rose a hill steeper than the others, with a black cross
on its summit; and here, one crowned with a group of four grim
cypresses. Down the hillsides were deep ruts and gullies, with only an
occasional patch of green, where women were watching sheep and swine.
Once we came to where three or four houses were gathered around a small
church, but they were as desolate as the land. We heard voices in the
distance, but there was no one in sight. When on a short stretch of
level road we stopped to look at this strange gray land, the grayer
because dark clouds covered the sky, we saw that above the barrenness
the sun shone on Siena, and that all her houses, overtowered by the
graceful La Mangia and the tall Duomo Campanile, glistened in the bright
light.

About five miles from the city the desolation was somewhat relieved, for
there were hedges by the roadside, and beyond sloping olive-gardens and
vineyards. Poplars grew by little streams and sometimes we rode under
oaks. On the top of every gray hill, giving it color, was a farm-house,
rows of brilliant pumpkins laid on its red walls, ears of yellow corn
hung in its _loggia_, and gigantic haystacks standing close by. There
were monasteries too, great square brick buildings with tall towers, and
below spire-like cypresses. But between the farms and fertile fields
were deep ravines and dry beds of streams. The road was lonely. Now and
then flocks of birds flew down in front of the tricycle, or large white
geese came out from under the hedge and hissed at us. For a few minutes
a man driving a donkey-cart made the way not a little lively. He did not
see us until we wheeled by him. Then he jumped as if he had been shot.
"_Dio!_" he exclaimed, "but you frightened me!" He laughed, however, and
whipping up his donkey rattled after us as if eager for a race, talking
and shouting all the while until we were out of hearing. One or two
peasants passed in straw chariot-shaped wagons, and once from a
farm-house a woman in red blouse and yellow apron, with a basket on her
head and a dog at her heels, came towards us. It was in this same
farm-house we met a Didymus. We stopped, as we had a way of doing when
anything pleased us, and he came out to have a better look at the
_tramway_. And how far did we expect to go to-day? he asked. To Monte
Oliveto, we told him, for, like pious pilgrims, we thought to make a
day's retreat with the monks there. "To Monte Oliveto! and in a day, and
on that machine!" and he laughed us to scorn. "In a week, the _Signore_
had better say." Later a stone-breaker's belief in us made some amends
for the farmer's contempt. We were riding then. "_Addio!_" he cried,
even before we reached him.

I shall always remember a little village through which we rode that
morning, because it was there we saw the first large stone-pine growing
by the roadside, which showed we were getting farther south, and because
of the friendliness of a peasant. It was a poor place. The people were
ragged and squalid and sickly, as if the gloom of the hills had fallen
upon them. We asked at a shop for a lemon, but there was not one to be
had. "Wait," cried a woman standing close by, and she disappeared. She
returned almost immediately with a lemon on whose stem there were still
fresh green leaves. "_Ecco!_" she said, "it is from my garden." "How
much?" asked J., as she handed it to him. "Oh, nothing, sir," and she
put her hands behind her back. We made her take a few coppers, for the
children we told her. As far as it lay in her power I think she was as
courteous as those men in a certain Italian town who, in days long past,
fought together for the stranger who came within their gates, so eager
were they all, not to cheat him, as is the way with modern landlords,
but to lodge him at their own expense, so that there were no inns in
that town.

Before we reached Buonconvento the sun came out and the clouds rolled
away. It had rained here earlier in the morning. The roads were sticky
and the machine ran heavily, and trees and hedges were wet with
sparkling raindrops. There is an imposing entrance to the little town, a
pointed bridge over a narrow stream, with a Madonna and Child in marble
relief at the highest point, an avenue of tall poplars with marble
benches set between, and then the heavy brick walls blackened with age,
and the gateway, its high Gothic arch decorated with the old Sienese
wolf and a more recent crop of weeds.

We rode from one end to the other,--a two minutes' ride,--without
finding a _trattoria_. At length we appealed to the crowd. Where was the
_trattoria_? No one understood; and yet that very morning J. had been
asked if he were not a Florentine! Perhaps _monsieur_ speaks French? and
a little Frenchman in seedy clothes jauntily worn, and with an
indescribable swagger, came forward, hat in hand. The effect of his
coming was magical. For unknown reasons, when it was found that J. could
speak French after a fashion, his Italian was all-sufficient. The inn
was here; we were directly in front of it, and the _padrone_, who had
been at our elbows all the time, led the way into it. The Frenchman
gallantly saw us through the crowd to the room where we were to dine. It
was the best _trattoria_ in the place, but poor enough, he said. Such
bread and cheese! horrible! and he shrugged his shoulders and raised his
hands to heaven in testimony thereof. He did not live in Buonconvento,
not he. He came from Paris. Then he complimented J. on his Italian, to
make up in some measure for the failure of the people to appreciate it,
and with a bow that might have won him favor at court, and a "I salute
you, _monsieur_ and _madame_," he politely left us before our dinner was
served. He was a strolling actor, the _padrone_ said; he and his troupe
would give a performance in the evening.

                        [Illustration: CHIUSURE.
                                     _Page 68._]

The fact that we were going to Monte Oliveto annoyed the _padrone_. The
monastery is a too successful rival to his inn. Few travellers, except
those who are on their way to Monte Oliveto, pass through his town, and
few who can help it stay there over night. His list of the evils we
should have to endure was the sauce with which he served our beefsteak
and potatoes. We must leave the post road for one that was stony and
steep. Our velocipede could not be worked over it. It would take hours
to reach the monastery, and we had better not be out after dark, for
there were dangers untold by the way. But when he had said the worst he
became cheerful, and even seemed pleased when we admired his kitchen,
where brass and copper pots and pans hung on the walls, and where in one
corner was a large fireplace with comfortable seats above and a
pigeon-house underneath. But when we complimented him on the walls of
his town, Bah! he exclaimed, of what use were they? They were half
destroyed. They would be no defence in war-times.

He was right. The walls, strong by the gate, have in parts entirely
disappeared, and in others, houses and stables have been made of them.
It is on the open space by these houses that the men have their
playground. They were all there when we arrived, and still there when we
left. Young men, others old enough to be their fathers, and boys were,
each in turn, holding up balls to their noses, and then, with a long
slide and backward twist of the arm, rolling them along the ground,
which is the way Italians play bowls.

Before the afternoon was over we cursed in our hearts the Tuscan
politeness we had heretofore praised. About a mile from Buonconvento the
road to Monte Oliveto divided. We turned to the right. But two peasants
with ox-teams called out from below that we must not go that way. It was
all bad. But to the left it was good, and _piano_, ascending but gently,
and we had much better take it. In an evil moment we did. That it ill
behooves a wise man to seek counsel in every word spoken to him, we
found to our cost. In the first place the ascent was not gentle,--we had
not then learned that an Italian calls every hill that is not as
straight up and down as the side of a house, _piano_,--and in the second
place the road was not good, but vilely bad. Unfortunately, for half a
mile or perhaps more it was fair enough. But when we had gone just so
far that we were unwilling to turn back we discovered our mistake. The
road we had not taken was that built by the monks hundreds of years ago;
we had chosen the new and not yet finished by-way. It was heavy with
dust and dirt, and full of ruts and loose stones. Over it we could not
ride or even push the tricycle without difficulty. It was in keeping,
however, with the abomination of desolation lying to each side. For we
were now in a veritable wilderness, a land of deserts and of pits, where
few men dwell. All around us were naked, colorless chalk-hills, abrupt
precipices and ravines. A few chestnut-trees, a rose-bush covered with
red berries growing from the gray earth, were the only green things we
passed for miles. It was weary and slow work, and the sun was low on the
hill-tops before we came to the point where the two roads met. At some
distance above us we saw a large red building surrounded by cypresses,
and we knew this must be Monte Oliveto Maggiore. So we took heart again.

But our trouble was not over. The road was better only by comparison,
and it was still impossible to ride, and hard work to push or pull the
tricycle. It was built of bricks, which lay as if they had been
carelessly shot out of a cart and left where and how they fell. A little
farther on it divided again. A woman was walking towards us, and J.
asked her which was the road to the convent (_il convento_). "You must
go back," she said; "it lies miles below,--Buonconvento." "These
peasants are fools," said J. in angry English to her very face; but she,
all unconscious, smiled upon us. We went to the left, which fortunately
was just what we ought to have done. But it was provoking that instead
of getting nearer to the monastery, we seemed to be going farther from
it. With one turn of the road it appeared to be above, and with the next
below us. Now it was on one side and now on the other, until I began to
feel as if we were the answer to the riddle I had so often been asked in
my childhood, the mysterious "What is it that goes round and round the
house and never gets in?" Soon the sun set behind the hills, and the sky
grew soft and golden. We met several peasants bearing large bundles of
twigs on their heads. There were one or two shrines, a chapel, and a
farm-house in front of which a priest stood talking to a woman. But on
we went without resting, J. pushing the machine and I walking behind,
womanlike shirking my share of the work. The road grew worse until it
became nothing but a mass of ruts and gullies washed out by the rain,
and led to a hill from which even Christian would have turned and fled.
But we struggled up, reaching the top to see the gate of the monastery
some sixty or seventy feet below. Finally we came to the great brick
gateway which in the dull light--for by this time the color had faded
from the sky--rose before us a heavy black pile, beyond whose archway we
saw only shadow and mystery. As we walked under it our voices, when we
spoke, sounded unnatural and hollow. On the other side the road wound
through a gloomy grove of cypresses, growing so close together that they
hedged us about with impenetrable darkness. Once several silent figures,
moving noiselessly, passed by. Had we, by mischance, wandered into a
Valley of the Shadow of Death?

The cypress grove, after several windings, brought us face to face with
the building at which we had already so often looked from the distance.
Even in the semi-darkness we could see the outline distinctly enough to
know we were standing in front of the church, and that the detached
building a little to our left was a barn or stable. But not a light
shone in a window, not a doorway was in sight. I recalled my convent
experience of bygone years, and remembered that after eight o'clock in
the evening no one was admitted within its walls. Was there a rule like
this at Monte Oliveto, and was six the hour when its bolts and bars were
fastened against the stranger? As we hesitated where to go or what to do
next, three or four workmen came from the stable. J. spoke to them, and
one offered to show him the entrance to the monastery while I waited by
the tricycle. It was strange to stand in the late evening and in the
wilderness alone, with men whose speech I barely understood and whose
faces I could not see. For fully five minutes I waited thus while they
talked together in low voices. But at last I heard one cry, _Ecco!_ here
was the _padrone_; and they all took off their hats. A dog ran up and
examined me, and then a man, who I could just make out in the gloom,
wore a cassock and the broad-brimmed priestly hat, joined the group.
"_Buona sera_," he said to me.

Could I speak to him in French, I asked. Yes, he assented, what was it I
wanted? When I told him we wished to stay in the monastery, he said he
had not expected us. We had not written.

"But," I exclaimed, "we thought strangers were allowed to stay here."

"Yes," he answered; "there is a _pension_ in the monastery, but it is
for artists."

"And my husband is an artist," I interrupted eagerly, for from his
manner I feared he would refuse us admission. After all, what did he
know about us except that, vagrant-like, we were wandering in the
mountains at a most unseasonable hour? Indeed, when later I reflected on
the situation, I realized that we must have seemed suspicious
characters. At this critical moment J. returned. His guide had led him
to a small side-door beyond the church. There he rang and rang again.
The bell was loud and clear, and roused many echoes within, but nothing
else. The guide, perplexed, then led him back. I told him with whom I
was speaking, and he continued the conversation with the _padrone_. Had
they talked in Italian only, or in French, they might have understood
each other; but instead they used a strange mixture of the two, to their
mutual bewilderment. If this kept on much longer we should undoubtedly
spend the night in the open air. In despair I broke in in French: "But,
my father, cannot we stay this one night?"

"Certainly," he said, fortunately dropping all Italian. "That is what I
was explaining to _monsieur_. You can stay, but of course we have
nothing prepared. We will do our best."

If he had said he would do his worst, provided we were rid of the
tricycle for the night, and were ourselves taken indoors where we might
sit down, we should have been thankful.

The bags were unstrapped and given into the care of one of the men, a
place was made for the machine in the stable, and then we followed the
_padrone_ or _Abate_--for this was his real title--to the door where J.
had rung in vain, and which he opened with his key. Within it was so
dark that we groped our way through a hall and a small cloister. Then we
came to a flight of steps, where at the bidding of the _Abate_, as if to
reassure us that we were not being led to secret cells or
torture-chambers, the man carrying our bags struck a solitary match. By
this feeble light we walked up the broad stone stairs and through many
passage-ways, not a sound breaking the stillness but our foot-falls and
their loud echoes, to a door where the _Abate_ left us, and at the same
time the match burnt out. But the next minute he reappeared with a
lighted taper, and at the end of the hall opened another door, lit a
lamp on a table within, and showed us four rooms, which he said were at
our disposal. The beds were not made, but they would be attended to
immediately. He had now to say Office, but at nine supper would be
served. Here was a very comfortable solution to the mystery into which
the massive gateway seemed to lead. The Valley of the Shadow of Death
had turned out to be a Delectable Land!

It was still more comfortable later, when, his Office said, the _Abate_
came back and sat and talked with us. Now he could examine us by a
better light I think he concluded we were not dangerous characters,
probably only harmless lunatics. However that may be, after half an
hour, when the supper-bell rang and we started off for the refectory,
again by the light of his taper, we were the best of friends. The long
corridor, thus dimly seen, seemed interminable. We went down one
stairway to find the door locked against us, then up and down another.
Here the light went out, leaving us in a darkness like unto that of
Egypt. The _Abate_ laughed as if it were the best of jokes. He took J.'s
hand and J. took mine, and thus like three children we went laughing
down the stairway and along more passages, and at last into a long
refectory, at the farther end of which was a lamp, while a door to one
side of that by which we entered opened, and a second monk in white
robes, holding a lighted taper, came in, and when he saw us made a low
bow. As there were no other visitors, we were to eat with him and his
brother monk, the _Abate_ said; and then he gave me the head of the
table, asking me if I were willing to be the Lady Abbess.

If we had been two prodigals he could not have been kinder than he was
now he had given us shelter. If we had been starving like the hero of
the parable, he could not have been more anxious to set before us a
feast of plenty. Nor would any fatted calf have been more to our taste
than the substantial supper prepared for us. We must eat, he said; we
needed it. He had seen us coming up the hill as he talked with a peasant
by the roadside; but _monsieur_ was push-pushing the velocipede and
looking at nothing else, and _madame_ was panting and swinging her arms,
staring straight in front of her, and before he had time, we had passed.
We must drink too; the wine was good for us. We must not mix water with
it; it was Christian, why then should it be baptized? The white-robed
brother spoke little, but he never allowed J.'s plate to remain empty.
When the meat was brought in we were joined by Pirro, a good-sized dog
with no tail to speak of, and Lupo, an unusually large cat, and his
numerous family, who all had to be fed at intervals. But even while
Pirro jumped nimbly into the air after pieces of bread thrown to him,
and Lupo scratched, and his progeny made mournful appeals to be
remembered, and we talked, I looked every now and then down the long
narrow table to where it was lost in deep shadow. The cloth was laid its
entire length, as if in readiness for the banished brothers whenever
they might return. I should not have been surprised then to see the door
open to admit a procession of white-robed monks, all with tapers in
their hands.

The _Abate_ must have realized that to a stranger there was something
uncanny in his dark, silent, deserted monastery, and his last word as he
bade us good-night was, that we were to fear nothing, and sleep in
peace.



                                  _To_

                         _THE ABATE DI NEGRO,_

                      _Of Monte Oliveto Maggiore,_

           _We would say a Word of Thanks for the Golden Days
                     passed in his House Beautiful,
                                and for
              The Great Kindnesses shown us in our farther
                              Journeying._



                             MONTE OLIVETO.

                                    "_But, oh, what a favor is this to
                                    me, that yet I am admitted entrance
                                    here!_"

                                    "_But they are to me golden hours
                                    in which such things happen to me._"


The days we spent at Monte Oliveto were golden days. For we not only
slept there one, but several nights, and the _Abate_ declared we could
remain as long as we might care to. Nothing could be more melancholy and
wild than the country into which we had come. It is the most desolate
part of all that strange desolation which lies to the southeast of
Siena. The mountain on which the monastery is built is surrounded on
every side but one by deep, abrupt ravines. Behind it rise higher
mountains, bare and bleak and gray, like gigantic ash-piles, and on the
very highest peak is the wretched little village of Chiusure. The other
hills around are lower, and from the road by the convent gateway one can
see Siena, pale and blue on the horizon, and southward, over the barren
hill-tops, Monte Amiata. But Monte Oliveto, with its gardens and
orchards and vineyards, is a green place in the midst of the barrenness.
The mountain-sides are terraced, and olives and vines grow almost to the
bottom of the ravine. It was said in old times that the Bishop of Arezzo
was commanded in a vision to call the monastery after the Mount in
Jerusalem. Now-a-days sceptics say the trees on the terraces explain the
name, forgetting that in its beginning this hill was as bare as the
others. Why cannot it be believed, for the legend's sake, that the
olives were planted afterwards because of the name?

The first morning, the _Abate_ took us to see the frescos representing
the life of Saint Benedict, painted on the walls of the large cloister.
I will be honest, and confess that they disappointed us. I doubt whether
the artists were very proud of them. Luca Signorelli, before he had
finished the first side of the cloister, gave up the work, as it is not
likely he would have done had he cared much for it. Sodoma, when he took
his place, was at first so careless that the then abbot took him to
task, but the artist calmly told him more could not be expected for the
price that was paid him. Certainly with neither were these frescos a
labor of love, and this one feels at once. One wonders if this could
have been the same Sodoma who painted the Saint Sebastian in Florence,
and yet there is more charm in his pictures than in those of Signorelli.
But what we cared for most were his portraits of himself, with heavy
hair hanging about his face, and wearing the cloak the Milanese
gentleman, turned monk, had given him, and of his wife and child; and
the pictures of the raven and the other pets he brought with him to the
monastery, to the wonder of the good monks. It is a pity every one
cannot look at these frescos with such loving, reverential eyes as the
_Abate_. He had shown them probably to hundreds of visitors; he had seen
them almost every day for the many years he had been at Monte Oliveto;
but his pleasure in them was as fresh as if it dated but from yesterday.
He told the story of each in turn,--of how in this one the great Saint
Benedict had set the devil to flight, and how in that he had by a
miracle recalled an erring brother; and once he pointed to a palm-tree
in a background. Sodoma, he said, had seen and admired a palm in the
garden of the monastery, and so, after his realistic fashion, had
painted it in just as he had his pets. That very tree was in the garden
still; he would show it to us if we liked.

                     [Illustration: MONTE OLIVETO.
                                       _Page 84._]

There never was such another garden! It is close to the large brick
house or palace by the gateway, where in old times lay visitors were
lodged, and beyond which no woman was ever allowed to pass. It is small,
but in it the monks only raised the rarest trees and plants. Here grew
the precious herbs out of which in the pharmacy, whose windows overlook
the quiet green enclosure, they prepared the healing draughts for which
people came from far and near. The pharmacy is closed now. There is dust
in the corners and on the quaint old chairs. Cobwebs hang from the
ceiling. But brass scales are still on the heavy wooden counter, and
pestle and mortar behind it, and glass retorts of strange shapes in the
corners and above the doors. Majolica jars all marked with the three
mountains, the cross, and the olive-branch,--the _stemma_ of the
monastic order,--are ranged on the brown shelves, many of the large ones
carefully sealed, while from the smaller come forth strange odors of
myrrh and incense and rare ointments. As in the refectory, everything
here is in order for the monks when they return. But they will find more
change in the garden below. The rare plants, the ebony and the hyssop,
the cactuses and the palm (which made us think less of Sodoma's frescos
than we had before), the pomegranates and the artichokes, are all there.
But weeds grow in the paths, and by the old gray well, and in among the
herbs; roses have run riot in the centre of the garden and turned it
into a wild tangled growth. To us it seemed the loveliest spot in Monte
Oliveto. The hours spent in it were like a beautiful idyl of Theocritus
or Shelley. The sun shone and the air was filled with sweet spicy
scents. To one side was the gray mountain, to the other dense cypresses,
and above a blue, cloudless sky. The roses were still in bloom, and as
we lingered there, the _Abate_ went from bush to bush and picked for me
a large bunch of fragrant buds. I hope if the monks ever do come back
that, while they throw open the windows of the pharmacy and let the
light in again upon the majolica and the dark woodwork, they will leave
the gates of the garden locked. It is fairer in its confusion than it
ever could be with weeded paths and well-clipped bushes.

The _Abate_ took us everywhere,--through the empty guest-chambers of the
palace to the tower, now a home for pigeons, from the top of which one
has a wide view of the country, which with its squares of olives and its
gray hills and fields marked by deep furrows, as if by boundary lines,
looks like a large map or geological chart,--through the monastery, with
its three hundred rooms with now but three monks to occupy them; its
cloisters, for there are two besides the large frescoed one; its
_loggie_, where geraniums and other green plants were growing; its great
refectory, beyond the door of which fowl or flesh meat never passed, and
which is now used no longer; and its library, at the very top of the
house, where rows of white vellum volumes are ready for the students who
so seldom come. Then he led us to the church, where there are more
altars than monks to pray before them, and a wonderful choir with inlaid
stalls; and in and out of little chapels, one of which contains the
grotto where blessed Bernardo Tolomei, the founder of the order, lived
for many years after he came to the wilderness, while another was the
first church used by the brotherhood, and the Virgin with angels playing
to her on harps and mandolins, above the altar, was painted long before
Signorelli and Sodoma began their work. Then there was the lemon-grove
to be seen, where the _Abate_ filled our pockets with the ripe fruit
which we were to keep, he said, in case we might be thirsty on the road
some day when there was no wine or water near by to drink. And after
that there was still to be visited the wine-press, with its deep shadows
and dark corners and long subterranean passage to the room below, where
men were filling small casks from large butts, and then carrying them
off on their shoulders to be weighed and stored above. We had to taste
the wine, and I think it, together with the sunshine and the flowers,
must have gone to our heads that morning and stayed there so long as we
were at Monte Oliveto, for everything about us seemed to belong less to
the actual world than to a dreamland full of wonder and beauty, and
sometimes of pathos.

It was the same in the afternoon, when the _Abate_ had gone about his
work,--for he is a busy man, like the centurion with many under
him,--and J. and I wandered alone over the gray hills up to Chiusure.
Life with its hardships must be real enough to the people of this little
village, in which seeds of pestilence sown hundreds of years ago still
bear the bitter fruit of wretchedness. It seems as if the brick walls
which could not keep out the plague have ever since successfully barred
the way to all prosperity, for generation after generation is born
within them but to live and die in poverty. We saw melancholy figures
there,--old hags of women, with thin white hair and bent almost double
under heavy bundles of wood, toiling up steep stony streets with bare
feet, and others crouching in the gloom opposite open doorways. Even the
little priest, who, in his knee-breeches and long frock-coat and braided
smoking-cap with tassels dangling in his eyes, was humorous enough to
look at, was pathetic in his way. For after he had shown us his church
with its decorations, poor as the people who worship in it, and offered
us a glass of wine in his own parlor, he spread on the table before us
some broken pieces of glass easily put together, on which a picture was
painted. Was it of value? he asked, so eagerly that he told without
further words the story of wants but ill supplied. He was willing to
sell it, but he did not know what it was worth. Could we tell him? No,
we could not, we said, for we really knew nothing about it, though we
feared the hopes he had set upon it would never be realized. And then
sadly he gathered together the pieces and put them away again in their
newspaper wrapping.

It was more cheerful outside the gateway. There, in the late afternoon,
the gray olives by the way were more clearly defined against the sky,
and the gray ravines below more indistinct. Beyond, the hills, now all
purple and soft, rolled away to the horizon and to the brilliant red sky
above. One or two lights were lit in distant farm-houses, and once we
heard a far-off bell. Before us the white road led by one green hill on
whose top was a circle of cypresses, and in its centre a black cross, as
in so many old pictures.

But the strangest part of this dream-life was the friendship that sprung
up between us and the monks. I should not have been more surprised if
Saint Benedict and Blessed Bernardo had come back to earth to make
friends with us. It was not only that the _Abate_ acted as our guide
through the monastery,--this he does for every visitor who comes, since
the Government took possession of it and turned it into a public
art-gallery and _pension_ for artists,--but he came to our room early in
the morning to drink his coffee with us, and in the evening, after he
had said his Office, for a little talk. And when we had finished our
supper we sat together long over our wine, talking now in French, now in
English, now in Italian, and occasionally understanding each other. Like
all good fellows, we too had our jokes. But the _Abate's_ favorite was
to tell how he had seen us coming up the mountain, _monsieur_
push-pushing the velocipede and _madame_ puff-puffing behind him. Even
Dom Giuseppe, the other monk,--the third was away,--relaxed from the
dignity with which he had first met us, and took part in the talk and
the laughter. Unreal as seemed these late suppers in the long refectory
in the dim light, with Pirro forever jumping after choice morsels, while
Lupo and his family growled with rage and envy from under the table, we
strayed even farther into Wonderland the second day after our arrival,
when both monks went out for a ride on the tricycle along the mulberry
walk and by Blessed Bernardo's grotto.

The last day of our stay a number of visitors arrived,--a priest from
Perugia, two nuns, and two English ladies. They were not expected, and
dinner had to be prepared for them. The _Abate_ is never pleased when
guests come without giving him warning. When we met him in the refectory
a little after twelve, we could see his patience had been tried. We must
pardon him for being late, he said, but he had had to find something to
eat for all these people. Were they to dine with us? we asked. No,
indeed, was his answer; they were not members of the community. This
confirmed our doubts as to whether we might not be monks without knowing
it; for the first morning the _Abate_ had given us a key of the great
front door by which we could let ourselves in at all hours, without any
ringing of bells or calling of porters; so that we felt as if we
belonged to the convent. These visitors were the thorns in his present
life, the _Abate_ continued, and we were his roses. Then he brought out
a bottle of the _vino santo_ which he makes himself and prizes so highly
that he never sells it as he does the other wines, and a plate of grapes
for which he had sent a great distance. And when dinner was over he bade
the servant put all that was left of grapes and wine away. They were for
the community, and not for common folk. He introduced us to the Perugian
priest, who might possibly, he said, be of use to us in Perugia. The
latter almost embraced J. in his protestations of good-will, and came
running back several times to press his hand, and say in a French of his
own invention that we must call often during our stay in his city.



                       THROUGH THE WILDERNESS TO
                               A GARDEN.

                                    "_Now he bethought himself of
                                    setting forward._"

                                    "_Here, also, they had the city
                                    itself in view, and they thought
                                    they heard all the bells therein to
                                    ring to welcome them thereto._"


We left the monastery the next morning. It took courage on our part; but
we knew it was best to go quickly. Every day we fell more under the
dreamy influence of the place and became less willing for action. We
must hasten from Monte Oliveto for the very reason which led Blessed
Bernardo to it,--to flee temptation. The _Abate_ was in our room by
half-past seven. Dom Giuseppe was in the church saying Mass, but had
sent his farewells. He himself had not yet said Mass, so he could not
drink his coffee with us, but he sat by while we had ours. We should not
reach San Quirico till noon, he feared, and we must have something in
our pockets to eat in the mean time; and he went to his room and came
back with two cakes. He brought besides two letters he had written
introducing us to monks at San Pietro in Perugia. Then he came
downstairs and out to the stable, though he was fasting, and the morning
was wet and cloudy and cold. We did not get on the tricycle at once. We
remembered the road too well. The _Abate_ walked by our side, now and
then patting J. on the back and calling him affectionately "Giuseppe,
Giuseppe;" and he kept with us until, at some little distance from the
gateway, we mounted the machine. After he had said good-by, he stood
quietly watching us. Then there came a turn in the road which hid him
from us, and when we saw him again he was walking on the footpath below
the cypresses, with two little boys who had come out with him. He was on
his way to take Dom Giuseppe's place at the altar. And then we went on
sadly, for we knew we should not come to another resting-place where
there was such perfect relief for pilgrims that are weary and faint in
the way.

As the road was difficult going up, so was it dangerous coming down, and
again we had to walk. To add to our discomfort, before long it began to
rain, and it was so cold we had to blow on our fingers to keep them
warm. During the night it had snowed on the far mountain-ranges. Beyond
Buonconvento, when we returned to the post-road we went fast enough; but
only for a while. There were more mountains to cross, up which J. could
not go very fast because of the burden, or knapsack, that was on his
back. Out of very shame I took my share in pushing and pulling the
tricycle. Once or twice we had long coasts; but in places the road was
sandy, and in descending wound as often as a small St. Gothard railway.
Coasting would have been too great a risk, especially as I never could
back-pedal going down hill, though on upgrades J. but too often
complained that, like Dante on the hillside, my firm foot ever was the
lower.

                [Illustration: AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS.
                                             _Page 96._]

The way still lay between and over hills of chalk, and we rode for miles
through monotonous barrenness. It rained at intervals, but at times the
sun almost broke through the clouds that followed it in long gray sweeps
from the white masses on the snow-capped mountains bounding the horizon.
To our right, Monte Amiata, bare and rugged, and with white top, was
always in sight; and once above it the clouds rolled away leaving a
broad stretch of greenish blue sky. There were many crosses by the
wayside, and they were different from any we had yet seen. On each, over
spear and sponge and crown of thorns, was a black cock, rudely carved to
look as if it crowed. Just before we came to San Quirico, and towards
noon, we saw at the foot of one of these crosses an old weary-looking
peasant, with head bowed as if he listened for the Angelus.

We were prepossessed against San Quirico before we reached it. Olives
with vines hanging from them in defiance of Virgil, brown fields, and
red and yellow trees, could not reconcile us to the long climb up the
mountain. It was worth our trouble, however, if only to see the
cathedral. We left the tricycle at the _trattoria_, and at our leisure
looked at the portal and its pillars, with quaintly carved capitals of
animals and birds, and at those others, joined together with a
Celtic-like twist and resting on leopards, and then at the two
sea-monsters above. And while we wondered at the grotesque gargoyles on
the walls, and the two figures for columns, and the lions on the south
doorway, two _carabinieri_ from a neighboring window examined us as if
we were equal curiosities. This fine building is an incongruity in San
Quirico, which--for our first impressions proved right--is at best but a
poor place. We were cheated in it as we had never been before. When we
went back to the _trattoria_ four men were eating their dinner inside
the fireplace in the kitchen. But we were ushered into what I suppose
was the best room. It was dining-room and bed-chamber combined. On one
side was a long table, on the other the bed. The dressing-table served
as buffet, and the _padrona_ brought from its drawers the cheese and
apples for our dessert. In the garden below--for we were in the second
story--weeds like corn grew so tall that they shaded the window. What
happened in that room, and the difference that arose between the
_padrona_ and ourselves, are facts too unpleasant to recall. But I am
sure the next foreigners who went to San Quirico heard woful tales of
the evil doings of the two _Inglesi_ who came on a velocipede.

After San Quirico there was the same barrenness, and only indifferent
roads over rolling country. Until within half a mile of Pienza, where
the hedges began again, not a tree grew by the roadside, and the only
signs of vegetation were the reeds in the little dark pools dotting the
gray fields. It was still bitterly cold, and my fingers tingled on the
handles. Once we passed a farm-house where a solitary woman watched a
herd of black swine, and once we met the diligence; that was all.

We rode into Pienza, though our way lay to one side of it. But we were
curious to see the cathedrals and palaces Pius II. built there in the
vain hope of turning his native village into an important town. Of all
the follies of proud popes, I think this was the greatest. As well might
he have hoped by his single effort to cover the _creta_, or chalk, with
roses, as to raise a prosperous city in its midst. We saw the great
brown buildings marked with the fine crescents of the Piccolomini and
the papal tiara and keys, as out of place in Pienza as the cathedral
seemed in San Quirico; we looked closer at the old stone well and its
beautiful wrought-iron work. J. made a sketch of a fine courtyard, and
then we were on the road again.

Near Montepulciano we came to a thickly wooded country, riding for
several miles between chestnuts and oaks. There were open places, too,
from which we saw far below the fair Val di Chiana, and in the distance
Lake Thrasymene, pale and silvery, and close by olive-gardens, through
whose gray branches we looked at the purple mountains and their snowy
summits. Above were broad spaces of bright sky, for the dark clouds were
rolling away beyond the lake, and those that floated around Monte Amiata
were now glistening and white. We had left the wilderness for a garden.
All the bells rang out as if in welcome when, after working up the long
road, so winding that at times the city was completely hidden, we
wheeled into the now dark and cold streets of Montepulciano.



                   WE ARE DETAINED IN MONTEPULCIANO.

                                    "_They were therefore here in evil
                                    case, and were far from friends and
                                    acquaintances._"

                                    "_Why, truly, I do not know what
                                    had become of me there, had not
                                    Evangelist happily met me._"


It was in this high hill town that one of the pilgrims fell by the way.
For two days J. was too ill to ride, and we feared our pilgrimage had
come to an end. We stayed at the Albergo Marzocco. It was on the fifth
floor of an old palace, and the entrance was through the kitchen. The
_padrone_ and his family were very sociable. Almost immediately his wife
wanted to know the trade of the _Signore_. "Ah! an artist. _Ecco me!_ I
am a washerwoman!"

She was also cook. From the dining-room we could watch her as she
prepared our meals. When she kept us waiting too long we had only to
step into the kitchen and stand over her until the dish we had ordered
was ready. We could look too into an adjacent room where during our stay
one daughter of the house forever ironed table-cloths, while a second
added up endless accounts.

But friendly as these people were, they were stupid. The _padrone_ had a
_pizzicheria_, or pork-shop, across the street. When anything was wanted
at the Albergo it was brought from the shop. Every time I went to my
window I saw messengers on their way between the two establishments. But
no man can serve two masters; the _pizzicheria_ drove a more thriving
trade, and the Albergo suffered in consequence. It was left in the
charge of a youth of unparalleled stupidity, who seldom understood what
we asked for, and when he did, declared it something not to be had. But
a friend was sent to us in our need.

It happened in this way. The first morning we went out for a walk. As we
started, and were passing the palace with the Etruscan inscriptions on
the heavy stones of its lower wall, a Harlequin newly painted in red and
white struck nine from a house-top near by. In the Via dell' Erbe women,
their heads covered with gay handkerchiefs or wide-brimmed, high-crowned
felt hats, were selling vegetables and fruit. Just in front of us,
walking hand in hand, were three beggars, two blind and one lame, and an
old brown monk with a wine-cask on his shoulder. At almost every turn we
saw through an archway the three far-away lakes of Montepulciano,
Chiusi, and Thrasymene. But it was now J. began to feel ill, and we went
to a _caffè_ and called for cognac. As we sat there the door opened and
a young Italian dressed _à l'Anglaise_, even to his silver-headed cane,
came in. He took a seat at the table next to us. When his coffee was
brought he asked the waiter if he had seen the English lady and
gentleman who arrived the evening before on a velocipede. No, the waiter
had not; he knew nothing of these foreigners. There was a pause, while
the young Italian sipped his coffee. But presently he turned to us and
said in good English, but with a marked accent:--

"I beg pardon, sare, but was it not you who came to Montepulciano on a
tricycle?"

"Yes," said J., but rather curtly, for he was just then very miserably.

"Ah, I thought so!" continued the Italian, well satisfied with the
answer. "I have seen it,--a Humber. It is a beautiful machine. I myself
do ride a bicycle,--the _Speecial Cloob_. You know it? I do belong to
the Cyclists' _Touring Cloob_ and to the _Speedvell Cloob_. All the
English champions do belong to that _Cloob_. I did propose some one for
director at the last meeting; you will see my name on that account in
the papers. Here is my card, but in the country around Montepulciano all
call me Sandro or Sandrino. I have ridden from Florence to Montepulciano
in one day. I have what you call the wheel fever,"--and he smiled
apologetically and stopped, but only to take breath.

We were fellow-cyclers, and that was enough. He was at once our friend,
though our greeting in return was not enthusiastic, and our record would
have disgusted the _Speedvell Cloob_. He could sympathize. He was
feeling _vary bad_ himself, because the day before he had gone on his
bicycle as far as Montalcino with a gun to _keel the leetle birds_. It
was too far even for a champion. But he had taken the waters--Janos: he
had great faith in the waters.

The cognac by this time had made J. better, and we started to leave the
_caffè_. Sandrino, to give him his Montepulciano name, insisted on
paying for everything. We must let him have that favor, he said, and
also another. He was not a native of the town,--he was a Roman, as he
supposed we could see by his nose,--but still he would like to do us the
honors of the place. He would take us to see so fine a church we could
not but be pleased with it; it was only a step. Foolishly we went. The
step was a long one. It took us half-way down the mountain-side to the
Madonna di San Biagio. But J. was now really too wretched to look at
anything, and we turned back at once. As we walked slowly up again,
Sandrino explained that he had lived in England several years; and it
turned out that he had the English as well as the wheel fever. All his
clothes were from London, he said, even his flannels; and he pulled down
his sleeve that we might see. He smoked English tobacco,--a friend sent
it to him; and he showed us the small paper box tied with a string in
which he kept it. And most of his news was English, too. His friends
wrote him. He had just had a letter--see--and he opened it. There had
been fearful riots in England. He cared much for the politics of the
country. But the refrain of all he said was praise of cycling. He
offered to ride with us when we left Montepulciano. He could go any day
but the next, which was his twenty-first birthday, when he was to have a
great dinner and many friends and much wine. He would call, if we would
allow him; and with profession of great friendship he left us at the
door of the Albergo.

                 [Illustration: LEAVING MONTEPULCIANO.
                                          _Page 106._]

He was true to his word. Indeed, I do not know what had become of us but
for his kindness. After our return from our walk, J. was unable to leave
his room. We were both depressed by this unlooked-for delay, and
Sandrino not only helped to amuse, but was of practical use to us. He
came twice the following day. The first time he stopped, he said, to
tell us he did hear from friends in Castiglione del Lago, who, if we
should ride to-morrow, would be glad to see us at lunch. "There will be
nothing much," he concluded; "they will make no preparations. It will be
some _leetle_ thing." Though in the first glory of his twenty-one years,
he went with me to a druggist's to act as interpreter. But I think he
was repaid by his pleasure in carrying back a bottle of his favorite
waters. The boy, when he saw it, with his usual cleverness followed into
the room bringing three glasses. If we had asked for three he doubtless
would have brought one. Sandrino's second visit was in the evening after
he had eaten his great dinner and drunk much wine, which had again made
him feel _vary bad_. Had we ever tasted the famous Montepulciano, "king
of all wine"? he asked. No? Well, then, we must before leaving the town.
It was not to be had anywhere else, and indeed even in Montepulciano
could not be bought in the _caffè_ or shops. He had been presented with
many bottles.

He repeated his invitation to lunch in Castiglione, and it seemed that
other friends in a villa near Cortona would also be charmed to see us,
and to give us wine if we were tired.



                         IN THE VAL DI CHIANA.

                                "_Thy company, O sweet Evangelist,
                                how desirable it is to us poor
                                pilgrims._"

                                "_Then I saw in my dream they went
                                very lovingly on together._"


The next morning J. was much better, and we decided to ride. Sandrino
arrived at half-past seven and breakfasted with us. In the uniform of
the _Speedvell Cloob_, its monogram in silver on his cap, he was even
more English than he had been the day before. Our last experience at the
Albergo was characteristic. The waiter, overcome by Sandrino's
appearance, became incapable of action. We called for our coffee and
rolls in vain. Finally we all, our guest included, made a descent upon
the kitchen and forced him to bestir himself.

It was Sunday morning, and the news of our going had been noised abroad.
The aristocracy as well as the people turned out to see us off. Many of
Sandrino's friends lingered in the barber-shop across the street; others
waited just without the city gate with his mother and sister. When
Sandrino saw the crowd here, he sprang upon his _Speecial Cloob_, worked
with one foot and waved the other in the air, rode to the little park
beyond and back, and then jumped off, hat in hand, at his mother's side,
with the complacent smile of a champion. Indeed, the whole ride that day
savored of the circus. He went down hills with his legs stretched
straight out on either side. On level places he made circles and fancy
figures in the road. Whenever we passed peasants,--and there were many
going to church,--he shrieked a warning shrill as a steam-engine
whistle. No wonder he said he had no use for a bell! He spoke to all the
women, calling them his "beautiful cousins." And in villages the noise
he made was so great that frightened people, staring at him, could not
look behind, so that several times we all but rode over men and women
who walked backward right into our wheels. And all the while J., like
the ring-master, kept calling and shrieking, and no one paid the least
attention to him.

Our way was through the beautiful Val di Chiana, no longer pestilential
and full of stenches as in Dante's day, but fresh and fair, and in
places sweet with clematis. There were no fences or hedges, and it
stretched from mountains to mountains, one wide lovely park. About
half-way to Castiglione we came to the boundary line between Tuscany and
Umbria,--a canal with tall poplars on its banks, throwing long
reflections into the water below, where a boat lay by the reeds. We
stopped there some little time. Sandrino was polite, but I could see he
did not approve. What would the _Speedvell Cloob_ have thought? Farther
on, when we waited again near a low farm-house under the oaks, he
wheeled quickly on. But presently he came back. "Oh," he said, "I
thought you must have had an accident!"

There could be no lovelier lake town than Castiglione del Lago. The high
hill on which it stands projects far into Lake Thrasymene. The olives
which grow from its walls down the hillside into the very water are
larger and finer, with more strangely twisted trunks, than any I have
ever seen. As we came near the town we rode between them, looking
beneath their silvery-gray branches out to the pale blue lake beyond. A
woman came from under their shade with a bundle of long reeds on her
head; a priest passed us on a donkey.

We left our machines in a stable at the foot of the hill and walked
through the streets. Here Sandrino's invitation came to nought; his
friends were away. Whatever _leetle thing_ we had must be found
elsewhere. So we went to a _trattoria_, where another of his friends, a
serious, polite young man who, we learned afterwards, owns the town and
all the country thereabout, sat and talked with us while we ate our
lunch. Poor Sandrino! He had to pay for his English clothes and foreign
friends! The _padrona_, backed by her husband from the kitchen below,
asked him no less than five francs for our macaroni and wine. A dispute,
loud because of the distance between the disputants, followed; but in
the end Sandrino paid four francs, though half that sum would have been
enough. It was some consolation for us to know that, _forestieri_ as we
were, we had never been cheated so outrageously, not even in San
Quirico.

It was pleasant wandering through the town, with the grave young man as
guide, to the Palazzo Communale, where the red and white flag of the
Duke of Cornia waving outside was the same as that painted in the old
frescos within, and where councilmen holding council bowed to us as we
passed; and then to the old deserted castle which, with its gray
battlemented walls and towers, was not unlike an English ruin. But it
was pleasanter when, Sandrino having kissed his friend, we were on the
road again, riding between yellow mulberries by the side of the lake.
Sheep were grazing on the grassy banks; donkeys and oxen were at rest in
the meadows. But the peasants, Mass heard, were at work again. Women on
ladders were stripping the mulberries of their leaves; men on their
knees were digging in the fields.

At the villa, Sandrino's friends were at home. At the gate the gay
bicycler gave his war-cry. A young lady ran out between the roses and
chrysanthemums in the garden and by the red wall where yellow pumpkins
were sunning, to welcome him. Then her mother and sister came and also
gave him greeting. They received us with courtesy. We were led into the
drawing-room, a bare, barn-like place with cold brick floor, where there
were three or four chairs, a table, an old piano, faded cretonne
curtains hung on rough sticks at the windows, and small drawings pinned
on the walls. A man in blue coat and trousers, such as the peasants
wear, followed us in and sat down by the young ladies. He was one of her
men, the _Signora_ explained. Then we had the wine Sandrino promised,
and we became very friendly. One of the daughters knew a little English,
but when we spoke to her she hid her face in her hands and laughed and
blushed. She never, never would dare to say a word before us, she
declared. She was very arch and girlish. One minute she played a waltz
on the piano; the next she teased Sandrino, and there was much
pleasantry between them. The mother spoke French after a fashion, but
when she had anything to say she relapsed into Italian. She lived in
Rome, she said. We must come and see her there. But would we not now
stay at her villa all night, instead of in Cortona? Then she squeezed my
hand. "_Vous êtes bien sympathique_," she said, and I think she meant to
compliment me. Her husband, it seems, was a banker in Rome, and would be
pleased, so she told us through Sandrino's interpretation, to do
anything and everything for us.

Mother and daughters, men and maids, all walking amiably together, came
to the garden gate with us. The _Signora_ here squeezed my hand a second
time. The skittish young lady said "good-by" and then hid behind a bush,
and her sister gave us each some roses. It was here too we were to part
with Sandrino. He must be back in Montepulciano by six; more friends
were coming. Would we write him postal cards to tell him of the distance
and time we made? And that map of Tuscany we said we would give him,
would we not remember it? He was going to take some great rides, and it
would help him. Then we turned one way, and he, riding his best for the
young ladies, the other, to be seen by us no more.

It was roses all the way to Cortona. They grew in villa gardens and
along the road up the mountain; there were a few even among the olives,
on the terraces whose stone embankments make the city from below look as
if it were surrounded by many walls instead of one only. Near the town
we met two young lovers, their arms around each other's waists, and a
group of men who directed us in our search for the inn up a short steep
hill leading away from the main road. Above, inside the city gate,
several other citizens told us we must go down again, for the road we
had left led right by the door. Clearly the Albergo della Stella--for
that was its name--was not well known in Cortona. After a climb of three
miles it was provoking to go even a foot out of our way, and we turned
back in no cheerful mood. It was more disheartening when, having finally
come to the Albergo, we found the lower floor, by which we entered, the
home of pigs and donkeys and oxen. The major was right, I thought;
Cortona was a rough place. The contrast when on the third floor of this
establishment we were shown into a large, clean, really well-furnished
room with window overlooking the valley, made us neglect to drive a
close bargain with the _padrona_,--a neglect for which we suffered
later.



                        LUCA SIGNORELLI'S TOWN.

                                    "_By this time the pilgrims had a
                                    desire to go forward._"


The principal event of our stay in Cortona was a hunt for Luca
Signorelli's house. Why we were so anxious to find it I did not know
then, nor do I now; but we were very earnest about it. At the start a
youth pursued us with the persistence of a government spy. It was
useless to try and dodge him. No matter how long we were in churches or
by what door we came out, he was always waiting in exactly the right
place. In our indignation we would not ask him the way, but we did of
some other boys, who forthwith led us such a wild-goose chase that I
think before it was over there was not a street or corner of the town
unvisited by us.

                        [Illustration: CORTONA.]

We next employed an old man as guide. Of course he knew all about Luca
Signorelli. He could show us all his frescos and pictures in Cortona.
Some of them were bad enough, as he supposed the _Signore_ knew; they
were painted in the artist's youth. But we wanted to see his house? Ah!
we had but to follow him, and he led us in triumph to that of Pietro da
Cortona. As this would not do, he consulted with an old woman, who
recommended a visit to a certain _padre_. The _padre_ was in his
kitchen. He had never heard of Signorelli's house, and honestly admitted
his ignorance. But could he show us some fine frescos or sell us
antiquities? This failing, our guide hunted for some friends who, he
declared, knew everything. But they were not in their shop, nor in the
_caffè_, nor on the piazza, and in despair he took us to see another
priest. The latter wore a jockey-cap and goggles, and was a learned man.
He had heard of a life of Signorelli by a German. He had never read it,
nor indeed could he say where it was to be had; but he knew there was
such a book. He was certain our hunt was useless, since Signorelli had
lived in so many houses the city could not afford to put tablets on them
all, and so not one was marked. He himself was a professional
letter-writer, and if the _Signore_ had any letters he wished written--?
We then gave up the search and dismissed the old man with a franc,
though he declared himself still willing to continue it. It was in this
way we saw Cortona.

For the last few days we had begun to be haunted by the fear of the
autumn rains. If they were as bad as Virgil says, and were to fall in
dense sheets, tearing the crops up by the roots, while black whirlwinds
set the stubble flying, and vast torrents filled ditches and raised
rivers, the roads must certainly be made unridable. Since the morning we
left Monte Oliveto the weather had been threatening, and now in Cortona
there were heavy showers. As we sat in our room at the Albergo after our
long tramp, and J. made a sketch from the window, we saw dark clouds
gradually cover the sky. The lake, so blue yesterday, was gray and dull.
The valley and the mountains were in shadow, save where the sun breaking
through the clouds shone on a small square of olives and spread a golden
mist over Monte Amiata. Before J. had finished, the gold faded into
white and then deepened into purple, and we determined to be off early
in the morning.



                        TO PERUGIA: BY TRAIN AND
                               TRICYCLE.

                                    "_Now you must note that the City
                                    stood upon a mighty hill, but the
                                    pilgrims went up that hill with
                                    ease._"


The next day I was tired and in no humor for riding. J. wanted once to
try the tricycle without luggage over the Italian roads. It was settled
then between us that I should go alone by train to Perugia, where we
should meet. Before seven we had our breakfast and the _padrona_ brought
us her bill. Because we had not bargained in the beginning she
overcharged us for everything; but we refused to pay more than we knew
was her due. There was the inevitable war of words, more unpleasant than
usual because her voice was loud and harsh and asthmatic. She grew
tearful before it was over, but finally thanked us for what we gave her,
and asked us to come again so gently that we mistrusted her. I thought
it wise to wait with the bags at the station, though my train would not
start till eleven.

It was a beautiful coast down the mountain between the olives, four
miles with feet up. The clouds had rolled away during the night, and it
was bright and warm at the station when J. left me to go on his way. It
was quiet too, and for some time I was alone with the porters. But
presently a young woman with a child in her arms came by. She stopped
and looked at me sympathetically. I spoke to her, and then she came
nearer and patted me on the shoulder and said, "_Poverina!_" It seems
she had seen J. bring me to the station and then turn back by himself. I
do not know what she thought was the trouble, but she felt sorry for me.
She was the wife of the telegraph operator, and lived in rooms above the
station. She took me to them, and then she brought me an illustrated
translation of "Gil Blas" to look at while she made me a cup of coffee.
Every few minutes she sighed and said again, "_Poverina!_" She gave me
her card,--Elena Olas, _nata_ Bocci, was her name. I wrote mine on a
slip of paper, and when the train, only an hour late, came, we parted
with great friendship.

A regiment of soldiers was on its way to Perugia and made the journey
very lively. Peasants who had somehow heard of its coming were in wait
at every station with apples and chestnuts and wine, over which there
was much noisy bargaining. At other times the soldiers sang. As the
train carried us by the lake from which the mountains in the distance
rose white and shadowy and phantom-like, and by Passignano,--built right
in the water, with reeds instead of flowers around the houses, where
fishermen were out in their boats near the weirs,--and then by Maggiore
and Ellora on their hill-tops, I heard the constant refrain of the
soldiers' song, and it reminded me of my friend at Cortona, for it was a
plaintive regret for "_Poverina mia!_" Then there came a pause in the
singing, and a voice called out, "_Ecco_, Perugia!" I looked from the
carriage window, and there, far above on the mountain, I saw it, white
and shining, like a beautiful city of the sun.

At the station J. met me. He had been waiting an hour, having made the
thirty-six miles between Cortona and Perugia in three hours and a half.
He too had had his adventures. Beyond Passignano he met a man on foot
who spoke to him, and to whom he said, "_Buon Giorno_." "Good-morning,"
cried the man in good cockney English, and J. in sheer astonishment
stopped the tricycle. The tramp--for tramp he was--explained that he was
an Englishman and in a bad way. He had been at Perugia with a circus
which had little or no success, and the rascally Frenchman who managed
it had broken up and made off, leaving him with nothing. He was now on
his way to Florence, where he wanted to be taken on by Prince Strozzi,
who kept English jockeys. But in the mean time he was hungry and had no
money, and must tramp it all the way. J. bethought him of the card to
the gentleman of Cortona who had married an English wife. We had not
used it, and it seemed a pity to waste it. The English lady doubtless
would be glad of an opportunity to help a countryman. So he gave it to
the tramp, together with a franc for his immediate wants. The latter
looked at the money. He supposed he could do something with it, he
grumbled. He really was grateful, however, for he offered to push the
machine up a hill down which he had just walked. But J. telling him to
hurry on, engaged instead the services of a small boy who was going his
way. For pay, he gave the child a coast down the other side into his
native village, than which _soldi_ could not have been sweeter. Did not
all his playmates see him ride by in his pride?

Arriving in Perugia, J. himself was a hero for a time. Many officers
with their wives were in the station, and in their curiosity so far
forgot their usual dignity as to surround him and pester him with
questions as to his whence and whither and what speed he could make.

                      [Illustration: ON THE HILL.
                                     _Page 126._]

It is a long way from the station up the mountain to the town, but we
went faster than we ever climbed mountain before, for we tied the
tricycle to the back of the diligence. J. rode and steered it, but I sat
inside, ending my day's journey as I had begun it, in commonplace
fashion. The driver was full of admiration. We must go to Terni on our
velocipede, he said; in the mountains beyond Spoleto we should go
down-hill for seven miles. _Ecco!_ no need of a diligence then!



                              AT PERUGIA.

                                    "_And did see such things there,
                                    the remembrance of which will stick
                                    by me as long as I live._"


The _padrone_ of the Albergo at Perugia was a man of parts. He could
speak English. When we complimented him on a black cat which was always
in his office, he answered, with eyes fixed on vacancy, and pausing
between each word like a child saying its lesson:
"Yes-it-is-a-good-cat. I-have-one-dog-and-four-cats.
This-cat-is-the-fath-er-of-the-oth-er-cats.
One-are-red-and-three-is-white." And when we had occasion to thank him,
he knew enough to tell us we were very much obliged.

But we gave him small chance to display his powers. There was little to
keep us in the Albergo, when, after a few minutes' walk we could be in
the piazza, where the sun shone on Pisano's fountain, and on the Palazzo
of the Baglioni and the Duomo opposite. But what a fall was there! A
couple of _gendarmes_, priests walking two by two, a few beggars, were
the only people we saw in this broad piazza, where at one time men and
women, driven to frenzy by the words of Saint Bernardino, spoken from
the pulpit by the Duomo door, almost fell into the fire they had kindled
to burn their false hair and ornaments, their dice and cards; and where
at another Baglioni fought, with the young Raphael looking on to paint
later one at least of the combatants; and where the beautiful Grifonetto
lay in death agony, the avengers of his murdered kinsmen waiting to see
him die, the heads of his fellow-assassins looking grimly down from the
Palazzo walls, and Atalanta, his mother, giving him forgiveness for the
deed, for which but yesterday she had cursed him. In the aisles of the
Duomo, once so stained with the blood of the Baglioni that they had to
be purified with wine before prayers could again be offered in them, a
procession of white-robed priests and acolytes, bearing cross and
censer, passed from one chapel to another before a congregation of two
or three old women. It was the same in the narrow streets; all is now
still and peaceful where of old Baglioni, single-handed, kept back the
forces of Oddi, their mortal foes. Only the memory of their fierceness
remains; though I have two friends who say that in the dark street
behind the Palazzo, where brave Simonetto and Astore fought the enemy
until corpses lay in piles around them, they one night heard voices
singing sadly, as if in lamentation; and these voices led them onwards
under one archway and then another until suddenly the sounds ceased. But
when they turned to go homewards, lo! they had lost their way. The next
morning they returned that they might by daylight see whence the music
could have come. But all along the street was a dead wall. None but
spirits could have sung there; and what spirits would dare to lift their
voices in this famous street but those of Baglioni?

It must be the degeneracy of modern warriors that sets these heroes of
the old school to singing lamentations. The Grifonettos and Astores who
feasted on blood, could they come back to life and their native town,
would have little sympathy with the captains and colonels who now drink
tamarind-water in the _caffè_, booted and spurred though the latter be.
The _caffè_ is everywhere the lounging-place of Italian officers, but in
Perugia it seemed to be their headquarters. There was one on the Corso,
a few doors from the Palazzo, which they specially patronized. They were
there in the morning even before the shops were opened, and again at
noon, and yet again in the evening, while at other times they walked to
and fro in front of it, as if on guard. But though the youngest as well
as the oldest patronized it, the distinctions of rank between them were
observed as scrupulously as Dickens says they are with the Chatham and
Rochester aristocracy. The colonel associated with nothing lower than a
major, the latter in turn drawing the line at the captain, and so it
went down to the third lieutenant, who lorded it only over the common
soldier. On the whole, I think the lesser officers had the best of it;
for whether they eat cakes and drank sweet drinks, or played cards, they
were always sociable and merry. Whereas, sometimes the colonel sat
solitary in his grandeur, silent except for the few words with the boy
selling matches as he hunted through the stock to find a box with a
pretty picture.

We were long enough in Perugia to carry the _Abate's_ letters to San
Pietro. The monks to whom they were written were away, but a third came
in their place and gave us welcome. He showed J. the inner cloister, to
which I could not go: women were not allowed there. It was because of my
skirts, he said; and yet he too wore skirts, and he spread out his
cassock on each side. While they were gone I waited in the church. I
wonder if ghostly voices are never heard within it. The monks, long
dead, whose love and even life it was to make it beautiful until its
walls and ceilings were rich and glowing, its choir a miracle of
carving, and its sacristy hung with prayer-inspiring pictures, have,
like the Baglioni, cause to bewail the degenerate latter day. The beauty
they created now lives but for the benefit of a handful of monks whose
monastery is turned into a Boys' Agricultural School, and for the
occasional tourist. Later from the high terrace of the park opposite San
Pietro we saw the boys in their blue blouses digging and hoeing in the
fields under the olives, where probably the monks themselves once
worked. There is in this little park an amphitheatre with archway,
bearing the Perugian griffin in the centre. It is shaded by dense
ilex-trees, from whose branches a raven must once have croaked; for evil
has come upon the place, as it has upon the gray monastery so near.
Instead of nobles and men-at-arms and councillors of state, two or three
poor women with their babies sat on the stone benches gossiping. And as
we lingered there in the late afternoon there came from San Pietro the
sound, not of monks chanting vespers, but of some one playing the "Blue
Danube" on an old jingling piano. Only the valley below, and the Tiber
winding through it, and the mountains beyond are unchanged.



                      ACROSS THE TIBER TO ASSISI.

                                    "_And I slept and dreamed again and
                                    saw the same two pilgrims going
                                    down the mountains along the
                                    highway towards the city._"


When we left Perugia in the early morning we passed first by the statue
of Julius II., thus receiving, we said to each other, the bronze
pontiff's benediction. We imagined this to be an original idea; but it
is useless to try to be original. Since then we have remembered the same
thought came to Miriam and Donatello when they made the statue their
trysting-place. Then we rode through the piazza, where a market was
being held, and where at one end a long row of women holding baskets of
eggs stood erect, though all around other women and even men, selling
fruits and vegetables, sat comfortably on low stools.

       [Illustration: THE BRONZE PONTIFF'S BENEDICTION, PERUGIA.
                                                    _Page 134._]

On the other side of the Porta Romana we saw that while Perugia was
bright and clear in the sunlight, a thick white mist covered the valley,
so that it looked as if a great lake, bounded by the mountains, lay
below. The chrysanthemums and marigolds, hanging over high garden walls,
and the grass by the road-side glistened with dew. Shining silver
cobwebs hung on the hedges. Before many minutes, so fast did we go, we
were riding right into the mist. We could see but a few feet in front of
us, and the olives on either side, through the heavy white veil, looked
like spectres. We passed no one but a man carrying a lantern and a cage
of owls. It seemed but natural that so uncanny a ride should lead to a
home of shadows. And when we came to the tomb of the Volumnii at the
foot of the mountain we left the tricycle without, and went down for a
while into its darkness and damp. When we came out the mist had
disappeared and the road lay through sunshine.

A little farther on we had our first near view of the Tiber. We crossed
it by the old Ponte San Giovanni, so narrow that there was not room for
us to pass a boy and a donkey just in front. J. called, and the boy
pushed his donkey close to the stone wall; but for all that we could not
pass. Even as J. called he was stopped by a sudden sharp pain in his
side, the result probably of his descent into the tomb while he was
still warm; for he had back-pedalled coming down the mountain. And so we
waited for many minutes on the bridge to see, not the yellow Tiber one
always hears about, but a river blue in mid-stream, white where it came
running over the mill-wheel and down the dam, and red and yellow and
green where it reflected the poplars and oaks, and the skirts and
handkerchiefs of the women washing on its banks. But after the bridge we
left the river, for we were bound for Assisi. We had a quiet, peaceful
ride for several miles on the Umbrian plain, where in the old times no
one dared to go without the permission of the Baglioni, between
vineyards and fields where men were ploughing, and through insignificant
little villages, until we came out upon the large piazza in front of
Santa Maria degli Angeli. It was crowded with peasants, for market was
just over, and there came from every side the sound of many voices. When
we rode by we were surrounded at once, two or three men keeping close to
our side to sing the praises of the hotels at Assisi and shower their
cards upon us. They pursued us even into the church, and as far as the
little hermitage beneath the dome, to tell us that each and all could
speak English.

             [Illustration: A FROWN OF DISAPPROVAL, ASSISI.
                                               _Page 136._]

If the Umbrians about Assisi were always like this, Saint Francis was a
wise man to hide himself in the woods and make friends with beasts and
birds. Over the sunny roads beyond Santa Maria, where he and Fra Egidio
walked singing and exhorting men and women to repentance, we wheeled
imploring, or rather commanding, them to get out of the way. It was a
hard pull up the mountain-side, the harder because the great monastery
on its high foundations seemed always so far above us. When almost at
the city gate a monk in brown robes, the knotted cord about his waist,
passed. He stopped to look, but it was with a frown of disapproval; I
think Saint Francis would have smiled.



                               AT ASSISI.

                                    "_Methought these things did ravish
                                    my heart; I would have stayed at
                                    that man's house a twelvemonth but
                                    that I knew I had farther to go._"


It was just noon when we reached Assisi, but we rode no more that day.
We spent the afternoon in the town of Saint Francis. The Albergo we
selected from the many recommended was without the large cloisters of
the monastery. The waiter at once remembered that J. had been there
before, though eighteen months had passed since his first visit. The
_Signore_ had two ladies with him then, he said. He was delighted with
the velocipede. It was the first time in all his life he had seen one
with three wheels. Nothing would do but he must show us the finest road
to Rome. He spread our map on the table as we eat our dinner, and put on
his glasses,--for he was a little bad in the eyes, he explained,--and
then he pointed out the very route we had already decided upon. _Ecco!_
here, between Spoleto and Terni, we should have a long climb up the
mountain, but then there would be seven miles down the other side. Ah!
that would be fine! This long coast to Terni was clearly to make up for
the hardships we already had endured on toilsome up-grades.

After dinner we went to the church. Goethe, when he was in Assisi, saw
the old Roman Temple of Minerva,--and then, that his pleasure in it
might not be disturbed, refused to look at anything else in the town,
and went quickly on his way. But when I passed out of the sunlight into
the dark lower church and under the low rounded arches to the altar with
Giotto's angels and saints above, it seemed to me he was the loser by
his great love for classic beauty. Many who have been to this wonderful
church have written descriptions of it, but none have really told, and
indeed no one can ever tell, how wonderful it is. The upper church, with
its great lofty nave and many windows through which the light streams in
on the bright frescoed walls, is beautiful. But this lower one, with its
dark, subdued color and dim light, and the odor of incense which always
lingers in it, is like the embodiment of the mystery and love that
inspired the saint in whose honor it was built. In it one understands,
for the first time perhaps, what it is for which the followers of Saint
Francis gave up life and action. Whoever was long under the influence of
this place must, I thought, always stay,--like the old gray-haired monk
we saw kneeling before a side altar rapt in contemplation. And yet on
the very threshold we found three or four brothers laughing and joking
with two women,--Italian Dr. Mary Walkers they must have been, for they
wore men's collars and cravats and coats, with field-glasses slung over
their shoulders, and stiff gray hats, and they were smoking long _sigare
Cavour_. They were artists, and had been painting, oh, so badly! in the
church all the morning.

The sun was setting when we left the monastery and walked through the
streets, now silent and deserted, where Francis in his gay youth
wandered with boon companions, singing not hymns but love-songs. A small
boy came and walked with us, and, unbidden, acted as our guide. Here was
the Duomo, he said, and here the Church of Santa Chiara; and, when we
were on the road without the city gate, _Ecco!_ below, Santa Maria degli
Angeli! For from where we stood we looked down upon the huge church
rising from the plain, where even now there are scarcely more houses
than in the days when Franciscans, coming from far and near to hold
counsel with their founder, built their straw huts upon it. Our
self-appointed guide was a bright little fellow, and never once begged
like the other children who followed us. So when he showed us the road
to Foligno where we must ride on the morrow, J. gave him a _sou_. At the
door of the Albergo he said he must go home, but not to supper; he never
had any. He asked at what time we should leave in the morning, when he
would like to come and say good-by. _Felice notte_--"a happy
night"--were his last words as he turned away.



                           VIRGIL'S COUNTRY.

                                    "_If we have such ill speed at our
                                    first setting out, what may we
                                    expect betwixt this and our
                                    journey's end!_"


The next morning, with a select company of ragged boys, our young guide
arrived in time to see us start. When I came out he nodded in a friendly
way, as if to an old acquaintance, to the wonder and admiration of the
other youngsters. The waiter, his glasses on, came to the gate with us.
Two monks standing there asked how far we were going on our velocipede.
"To Rome?" they cried. "Why, then, here are two pilgrims and two
priests!" Our guide and his friend ran down the mountain-side after us
until we gave the former another _sou_, when they at once disappeared.
It seemed a little ungrateful; but I did not give him much thought, for
just then J. bade me back-pedal with all my might. The machine went very
fast, despite my hard work, and to my surprise J. suddenly steered into
a stone-pile by the roadside. "The brake is broken!" was his explanation
as we slowly upset.

Fortunately, however, the upright connecting the band of the brake with
the handle had only slipped out of place, and though we could not fix it
in again securely, J. could still manage to use it. This, so far as we
could see, was the one defect in our tricycle, but defect it was. A nut
on the end of the upright would have prevented such an accident. But
this is one of the minor particulars in which tricycle-makers--and we
have tried many--are careless. We had the rest of the coast without
interruption. Half-way down, our little friend and his followers ran out
from under the olives; he had taken a short cut that he might see us
again.

From Assisi to Terni was a long day's ride by towns and villages,
through fair valleys and over rough mountains. From the foot of the
mountain at Assisi, past Monte Subasio, which, bare and rocky, towered
above the lower olive-covered hills, the road was level until we rode by
Spello with its old Roman gateway and ruined amphitheatre. But the hill
here was not steep, and then again there came a level stretch into
Foligno, the first lowland town to which we had come since we left
Poggibonsi, and which, with its mass of roofs and lofty dome rising high
above the city walls, looked little like the Foligno in Raphael's
picture. Already in our short ride--for it is but ten miles from Assisi
to Foligno--we noticed a great difference in the people. It was not only
that many of the women wore bodices and long earrings, and turned their
handkerchiefs up on top of their heads, but they, and the men as well,
were less polite and more stupid than the Tuscans or Umbrians about
Perugia.

Few spoke to us, and one woman to whom we said good-morning was so
startled that she thanked us in return, as if unused to such civilities.
For all J.'s shouts of _a destra_--to the right--and _Eccomi!_ they
would not make room for us; and now in Foligno one woman, in her
stupidity or obstinacy, walked directly in front of the machine, and
when the little wheel caught her dress, through no fault of ours, cried
"_Accidente voi!_"--the _voi_, instead of _le_, being a far greater
insult than the wishing us an accident. Then she walked on, cursing in
loud voice, down the street, by the little stream that runs through the
centre of the town, and into the market-place where Saint Francis, in
mistaken obedience to words heard in ecstasy, sold the cloth he had
taken from his father that he might have money to rebuild the church of
San Damiano.

Even the beasts we met were stupid as the people. At our coming, horses,
donkeys, and oxen tried to run. We therefore looked for at least a
skirmish when, beyond Foligno, a regiment of cavalry in marching order
advanced upon us. But the soldiers stood our charge bravely. Only the
officer was routed and retreated into the gutter. Then, forgetting
military discipline, he turned his back upon his men to see us ride.

We were now on the old Via Flaminia and in the valley of the
Clitumnus,--Virgil's country. The poet's smiling fields and tall, stiff
oaks, his white oxen and peasants behind the plough or enjoying the cool
shade, were on either side. Crossing the fields were many stony beds of
streams, dry at this season, lined with oaks and chestnuts, under whose
shade women were filling large baskets with acorns and leaves. The
upturned earth was rich and brown. Through the trees or over them we saw
the whitish-blue sky, the purple mountains, some pointed like pyramids,
and the gray olive hills with little villages in their hollows, and
before long Trevi on its high hill-top. And then we came to the temple
of the river god Clitumnus, of which Pliny writes, and where the little
river, in which Virgil says the white flocks for the sacrifice bathed,
runs below, an old mill on its bank and one willow bending over it.

                    [Illustration: GATHERING LEAVES.
                                        _Page 146._]

At the village of Le Vene, near the source of the stream, we stopped at
a wine-shop to eat some bread and cheese. There was no one there but the
_padrone_ and a dwarf who wore a decent suit of black clothes and had a
medallion of the Pope on his watch-chain. He had come in a carriage
which waited for him at the door. I think he was a drummer. He drank
much wine, and spoke to us in a vile patois. Indeed, the people
thereabout all spoke in dialects worse, I am sure, than any Dante heard
at the mouth of Hell. The dwarf had travelled, and had been in Florence,
where he had seen a velocipede, but not like ours. It was finer, or
perhaps he should say more commodious. The seats were side by side, and
it had an umbrella attached, and it was worked by the hands. It went,
oh, so fast! and he intimated that we could not hope to rival its speed.
I suppose our machine without an umbrella seemed to him like a ship
without a sail. But I think he had another tale to tell when, ten
minutes later, he having started before we did, we passed him on the
road. We were going so fast I only had time to see that in his wonder
the reins fell from his hands.

Then came the small, wretched village of San Giacomo, with its old
castle built up with the houses of the poor, and then Spoleto, where we
lunched in a _trattoria_ of the people which was much troubled by a
plague of flies. A company of Bersaglieri, red caps on the backs of
their heads and blue tassels dangling down their backs, sat at one
table, ordering with much merriment their soup and meat and macaroni to
be cooked _à la Bersagliere_; at another, two young men were evidently
enjoying an unwonted feast; and at the table with us were three
peasants, one of whom had brought his bread in his pocket: he eat his
soup for dessert, and throughout the meal used his own knife in
preference to the knife and fork laid at his place. Two dogs, a cat, and
a hen wandered in from the piazza and dined on the bits of macaroni
dropped by the not over-careful soldiers. The waiter greeted us
cordially. He too had a machine, he said, but had never heard of
velocipedes with three wheels. His had but two; the _Signore_ must see
it. And before he would listen to our order for lunch, he showed J. his
bicycle,--a bone-shaker. He was very proud of it. He had ridden as far
as Terni. Ah! what a beautiful time we should have before the afternoon
was over! Seven miles down the mountain!

The thought of this coast made us leave Spoleto with light hearts,
though we knew that first must come a hard climb. But if the road was as
perfect as it had been all the morning, there was not much to dread. It
was half-past two when we started from the _trattoria_, but we were
fifteen minutes in walking to the other end of the town. There was no
use riding. The streets were narrow and steep, and crowded with stupid
men and women and donkeys, and with officers who instead of controlling
were controlled by their horses. Beyond the gate the ascent at first was
gradual and we rode easily, even as we worked looking back to the famous
old aqueduct and the shadowy heights of Norcia. For some distance we
went by the dried-up bed of a wide stream, meeting many priests on foot
and peasants on donkeys. But as the way became steeper we left the
stream far below, and came into a desolate country, where the mountains
were covered with scrub-oaks, and priests and peasants disappeared; only
one old man kept before us, making short cuts up the mountain-side, but
after a while he too rode out of sight.

We soon gave up riding. J. tied a rope to the tricycle and pulled while
I pushed. The sun was now hidden behind the mountain and the way was
shady. But still it was warm work and wearisome; for before long the
road became almost perpendicular and was full of loose stones. How much
more of this was there, we asked a woman watching swine on the hillside?
"A mile," was her answer; and yet she must have known there were at
least three. Finally, after what seemed hours of toiling, we asked
another peasant standing in front of a lonely farm-house how much
farther it still was to the top. "You are here now," she said. She at
least was truthful. A few feet more, and we looked down a road as
precipitous as that up which we had come, and so winding that we could
see short stretches of it, like so many terraces, all the way down the
mountain. We walked for about a hundred yards, and it was as hard to
hold back the machine as before it had been to push it. Then we began to
ride, but the strain on the brake loosened the handle a second time. We
dismounted, and J. tried to push it back into place: it snapped in two
pieces in his hands. Here we were, eight miles from Terni, in a lonely
mountain road in the evening,--the sun had already set,--with a
brakeless machine, which, if allowed to start down-hill with its heavy
load of two riders and much baggage, would soon be more unmanageable
than a runaway horse. The seven miles' coast to which we had looked
forward for days, was to be a walk after all. Like the King of France
and his twenty thousand men, we had marched up the mountain that we
might march down again. Is it any wonder that we both lost our tempers,
and that an accident was the smallest evil we wished the manufacturers
of our tricycle? Because they cared more for lightness than for
strength,--since record-making is as yet the chief end of the
cycling,--the necks of people who ride for pleasure are forsooth to be
risked with impunity!

However, there was nothing to do but to walk into Terni. It was very
cold, and we had to put on our heavy coats. Presently the moon rose
above the mountains on our left. By its light we could see the white
road,--now provokingly good, but steep and winding and all unknown,--the
hills that shut us in on every side, and, far below, the stream making
its way through the narrow pass. The way was unpleasantly lonely and
silent. Now for an hour or more we went wearily on without hearing a
sound but our steady tramp; and now we passed a farm-house within which
many voices were raised in anger, while from the barn a dog barked
savagely upon our coming. At times we thought we saw in the distance a
castle with tall towers or an old ruin, but when we drew near we found
in its place great rocks and cliffs of tufa. Once we went through a
small village. The way here was not so steep, and for a few minutes we
rode. Just beyond the houses three men, driving home a large white bull,
walked in the middle of the road. J. shouted, that they might give us
more space to pass; but they only laughed, and tried to set the bull on
us with loud cries of _Via!_ Before the last died away we were walking
again.

On and on we walked, all the time holding back the tricycle. But at last
we began to meet more people. Men with carts and donkeys went by at long
intervals, but they spake never a word, and we too were silent. Now and
then we heard the near tinkling of cow-bells, and came to olive-gardens,
where in the moonlight the black twisted trunks took grotesque goblin
shapes, and the branches threw a network of shadows across our path.
Then we came to a railroad, and we knew we were at the foot of the
mountains, and that Terni was not far off. We were at the end of the
seven miles' coast and could ride again. Two men just then coming our
way, J. asked them how far we were from the town; but they stood still
and stared for answer. A second time he asked, and still they were
speechless. "_Imbecile!_" he cried, and we left them there dumb and
motionless. Not far beyond the road divided, and on either side were a
few houses. A woman (or a fiend in female form) sat in front of one.
"Which is the way to Terni?" we asked. She was silent. Once more we
asked. _Chi lo sa?_--"Who knows?"--she answered. This was more than
tired human nature could endure; J. turned upon her with a volley of
choice Italian abuse. It conquered her as the prayers of Saint Anthony
vanquished her sister demons. She arose and meekly showed us the way.

In another minute the lights of Terni were in sight. Then we wheeled by
a foundry with great furnace in full blast, by a broad avenue with rows
of gas-jets, to the gates of the city, to find them shut. There was a
second of despair, but J. was now not to be trifled with, and he gave a
yell of command which was an effectual "open-sesame." And so we rode on
through lively streets and piazza to the hotel, to supper, and to bed!



                          TERNI AND ITS FALLS.

                                    "_Well, keep all things so in thy
                                    mind, that they may be as a goad in
                                    thy sides to prick thee forward in
                                    the way thou must go._"

                                    "_What thing so deserving as to
                                    turn us out of the way to see it?_"


I know little of Terni, except that in the month of October the hotel is
so cold that the waiter comes into the dining-room in the morning with
hat on, and wrapped in overcoat and muffler, and that there is an
excellent blacksmith in the town; for the next morning, as soon as J.
had had the brake mended, he paid the bill and loaded the tricycle. The
_padrone_ was surprised at the shortness of our stay. Did we not know
there were waterfalls, and famous ones too, but three miles distant? We
could not take the time to visit them? Well, then, at least we must look
at their picture; and he showed us a chromo pasted on the hotel omnibus.
I am afraid he took us for sad Philistines; but the fear of another kind
of waterfall was still a goad to hurry us onward. Now we were so near
our journey's end, no wonder, however great, could have led us from the
straight path.



                        IN THE LAND OF BRIGANDS.

                                    "_But by this place Christian went
                                    without much danger, whereat I
                                    somewhat wondered_."


There was a great _festa_ that day, and all along the street and out on
the country road we met men and women in holiday dress carrying baskets
and bunches and wreaths of pink chrysanthemums. In Narni, on the heights
which Martial called inaccessible, men were lounging in the piazza or
playing cards in the _caffè_. For the shepherds alone there was no rest
from every-day work. Before we reached even Narni, but ten miles across
the valley from Terni, we saw several driving their sheep and goats into
the broad meadows. They wore goat-skin breeches, and by that sign alone
we should have known we were nearing Rome. We lunched at Narni on coffee
and cakes, for it was the last town through which we should pass on that
day's ride. It was here that Quintus, in its Roman prosperity, stayed so
long that Martial reproached him for his wearisome delay. Could he come
to it now, I doubt if his friend would have the same reason for
complaint. It did not seem an attractive place, and when we asked a man
about the country beyond, he said it was "_bruto_." We did not learn
till afterwards that this applied to the people, and not to the country,
and that here we ought to have been briganded.

We were now high up on the mountain,--on one side steep rocks, on the
other a deep precipice. Far below in a narrow valley ran the little
river Nar, and on the bank above it the railroad. It was not an easy
road to travel, and often the hills were too steep to coast or to climb.
The few farm-houses by the way were closed, for the peasants had gone to
church. We saw an occasional little gray town crowning the top of sheer
gray cliffs, like those in Albert Dürer's pictures, or an old castle
either deserted or else with farm-house built in its ruins, where
peasants leaned over the battlemented walls. But the only villages
through which we rode were Otricoli, just before we descended to the
valley of the Tiber, where we created so great a sensation that an old
woman selling chestnuts--cooked, I think, by a previous generation--was
at first too frightened to wait on us, and Borghetto, on the other side
of the valley, where we saw in the piazza the stage from Cività
Castellana, in which town we were to spend the night.

There were a few people abroad. In the loneliest part of the mountain an
old man in a donkey-cart kept in front of us on a long upgrade.
Interested in the tricycle, he forgot the donkey, which gave up a
straight for a spiral course, and monopolized the road. J. angrily asked
its driver which side he meant to take. But the old man heaped coals of
fire on his head by offering to carry us up in his wagon. After we left
him far behind, we passed two travellers resting by the wayside. Their
bags lay on the ground, and they looked weary and worn. They gave us
good-day, and where we were going they of course wanted to know. They
too were bound for Rome, it turned out, and had come from Bologna. After
the two gentlemen of Bologna, we overtook a group of merry peasants,
coats slung over their shoulders for no possible reason but the sake of
picturesqueness, and hats adorned with gay pompons of colored paper and
tinsel. One carried branches of green leaves and red fruit like
cherries, and as we went by he gave us a branch and wished us a good
journey. Next went by an old woman, who said with a smile that we could
go without horse or donkey,--a witticism heard so often it could no
longer make us laugh. And then a little boy all alone came "piping down
the valley wild."

               [Illustration: "PIPING DOWN THE VALLEY."]

We went with much content over the plain by the Tiber, where there were
broad grassy stretches full of sheep and horses, and here and there the
shepherds' gypsy-looking huts. It was such easy work now, that we eat
our chestnuts as we rode; but beyond the bridge, on which Sixtus V. and
Clement VIII. and Gregory XIII., in true papal fashion, have left their
names, the hills began again. On we toiled, beneath shady oaks and by
rocky places, until we came out on a wide upland. From the treeless road
the meadows rolled far beyond to high mountains, on whose sloping side
the blue smoke of charcoal-burners curled upward. The moon already had
risen, and in the west the setting sun filled the sky with glowing amber
light, against which the tired peasants going home were sharply
silhouetted.

We were glad to see Cività Castellana. One or two men in answer to our
questions had told us we were close to it, but we did not believe them.
The fields seemed to stretch for miles before us, and there was not a
house or tower in sight. But suddenly the road turned and went
down-hill, and there below was the city perched on tufa cliffs, a deep
ravine surrounding it. Two _carabinieri_, in cocked hats and folded
cloaks like the famous two solitary horsemen, were setting out on their
night patrol. Vespers were just over in the church near the bridge, and
along the way where happy little Etruscan schoolboys once whipped
homewards their treacherous schoolmaster, little Italian boys and girls,
let loose from church, ran after us, torturing us with their shrill
cries. Soon their elders joined them, and we were closely beset with
admirers. The town too was in a hubbub about us, and in the streets
through which we wheeled, men and women came from their houses to follow
in our train. At the door of the Albergo, where we were detained for
several minutes, the entire population collected. We had difficulty in
getting a room. The _festa_, the _padrone_ said, had brought many
country people into the town, and the inns were full to overflowing. If
J. would go with him he would see what could be done for us. The search
led them through three houses. In the mean time I kept guard over the
machine. It was well I did, for once J. had gone the natives closed upon
me. Toddling infants and gray-haired men, ragged peasants and gorgeous
officers pushed and struggled together in their desire to see. Every now
and then a stealthy hand was thrust through the crowd and felt the tire
or tried the brake. I turned from left to right crying, "_Guarda!
Guarda!_" I lifted exploring hands from the wheels. But in vain. What
was one against so many? A man sitting in the doorway took pity on my
sad plight. He came out, and with a stick mowed the people back. Then J.
returned, having found a room in the first house, which the _padrone_
had thought fit to conceal until the last.



                            A MIDDLING INN.

                                    "_The good of the place is before
                                    you._"

                                    "_But here they tarried and slept._"


The Albergo of Cività Castellana was but a middling inn. The _padrone_,
in English tweed, high boots, and Derby hat, looked half cockney, half
brigand. His wife wore an elaborate false front, and much lace about her
neck. But they were far finer than their house. We were lodged in the
garret, in a room the size of a large closet. The way to it led through
another bed-chamber, long and low, in which four cots were ranged in a
row along the wall. When we crossed it on the way downstairs to dinner I
devoutly prayed that on our return four nightcaps would not be nodding
on the pillows. Later in the evening, when we had dined, we strolled out
to the piazza. To see the life of an Italian town you have only to go to
the _caffè_. We went to one near the Albergo. There were two tables in
it. We sat at the smaller, and at the other were four ragged boys
playing cards!

Fortunately we were the first to go to bed in the garret. All through
the night, however,--for the mattress was hard and I slept little,--I
heard loud snores and groans, and the sound of much tossing to and fro.
We rose early in the morning, but when we opened our door the cots were
empty, though they had not been so long.



                          ACROSS THE CAMPAGNA.

                                    "_They compassed them round on
                                    every side; some went before, some
                                    behind, and some on the right, some
                                    on the left._"

                                    "_Here they were within sight of
                                    the city they were going to, also
                                    here met them some of the
                                    inhabitants thereof ... and drawing
                                    near the city they had yet a more
                                    perfect view thereof._"


Early as we were, the whole town was stirring when we came downstairs.
But who ever knew the hour when the people of an Italian town were not
up and abroad? No sooner did J. bring the tricycle from the stable,
where it had been kept all night, to the Albergo, than the piazza was
again crowded. On they all came with us, men, women, and children,
hooting and shouting, jumping and dancing through the vilely paved
streets, and finally sprawling over the walls and on the rocks beyond
the gate.

There they stayed until we had gone down the hill over the bridge,
crossing the stream at its foot, and up the hill on the opposite side,
passing from their sight around the first curve. Soon we were on an
upland and now really at the beginning of the Campagna. The morning was
cold. For many miles we rode through a champaign gleaming white with
frost. But as the sun rose higher in the heavens, and the yellow light,
which at first was spread over the sky, faded and left a clear blue
expanse above, the air grew warmer and the frost disappeared. The road
wound on and on between oak woods and wide cultivated fields, and green
grassy plains which gradually changed into great sweeps of rolling
treeless country, like the moors. By the roadside were thick bushes of
low green sage and tangled blackberries, and in places the broad
flagstones of the old Flaminian Way, with weeds and dandelions and
pretty purple flowers growing from the crevices. Sometimes a paving of
smaller stones stretched all across the road, so that for a minute or
two we were badly shaken, or else, coming on them suddenly at the foot
of a hill, all but upset. Truly, as has been said, it could have been no
joke for the old Romans to ride.

To our left rose the great height of Soracte, not snow-covered as Horace
saw it, but bare and brown save where purple shadows lay. At first we
met numbers of peasants all astride of donkeys, going towards Cività
Castellana, families riding together and eating as they went. Later,
however, no one passed but an occasional lonely rider (who in his long
cloak and high-pointed hat looked a genuine Fra Diavolo), or else
sportsmen and their dogs. It was strange that though we saw many of the
latter, we never once heard the singing or chirping of birds. There were
hillsides and fields full of large black cattle, or herds of horses, or
flocks of sheep and goats. There were shepherds, too, sleeping in the
shade or by the roadside, leaning on their staffs or ruling their flock
with rod and rustic word, as in the days when Poliziano sung. And if
there was no bird's song to break the silence of the Campagna, there was
instead a loud baaing of sheep, led by the shrill piercing notes of the
lambs. If it was to such an accompaniment that Corydon and Thyrsis sang
in rivalry, their song could have been poetical only in Virgil's verse.

How hard we worked now that our pilgrimage was almost ended! We scarcely
looked at the little village through which we wheeled, and where a White
Brother was going from door to door, nor at the ruins which rose here
and there in the hollows and on the slopes of the hills; and when at
last we saw on the horizon the dome coming up out of the broad
undulating plain, we gave it but a short greeting, and then hurried on
faster than ever. We would not even go to Castel Nuovo, which lies a
quarter of a mile or so from the road, but eat our hasty lunch in a
_trattoria_ by the wayside, while a man--an engineer he said he
was--showed us drawings he had made on his travels, and asked about our
ride. How brave it was of the _Signora_ to work! he exclaimed, and how
brave of the _Signore_ to sketch from his velocipede!

And after this "the hills their heights began to lower," and with feet
up we went like the wind, and every time we looked at the dome it seemed
larger and more clearly defined against the sky. But about six miles
from Rome our feet were on the pedals again and we were working with all
our might. Sand and loose stones covered the road, which grew worse
until, in front of the staring pink quarantine building, the stones were
so many that in steering out of the way of one we ran over another, and
the jar it gave us loosened the screw of the luggage-carrier. We were so
near Rome we let it go. This was a mistake. But a little farther, and
the whole thing gave way, and bags and knapsack rolled in the dust. It
took some fifteen minutes to set it to rights again; and all the time we
stood in the shadeless road, under a burning sun, for the heat in the
lower plains of the Campagna was as great as if it were still summer. As
the luggage-carrier was slightly broken, we were afraid to put too great
a strain upon it, and for the rest of the journey the knapsack went like
a small boy swinging on behind.

          [Illustration: FROM VIA FLAMINIA, NEAR PONTE MOLLE.
                                                 _Page 170._]

Like those other pilgrims, we were much discouraged because of the way.
But at last, wheeling by pink and white _trattorie_, whose walls were
covered with illustrated bills of fare, and coming to an open place
where street-cars were coming and going, the Ponte Molle, over a now
yellow Tiber, lay before us, and we were under the shadow of the dome we
from afar had watched for many hours. Over the bridge we went with cars
and carts, between houses and gardens and wine-shops, where there was a
discord of many hurdy-gurdies, to the Porta del Popolo, and so into
Rome.

_Carabinieri_ were lounging about the gate, and carriages were driving
to the Pincian; but we rode on and up the street on the right of the
piazza. When we had gone a short distance we asked a man at a corner our
way to the Piazza di Spagna. We should have taken the street to our
left, he said, but now we could reach it by crossing the Corso
diagonally. As we did so we heard a loud _sst_, _sst_ behind us, and we
saw a _gendarme_ running up the street; but we went on. When we wheeled
into the Piazza di Spagna, however, a second, almost breathless, ran out
in front of us, and cried, _Aspetti!_ ("Wait!") But still we rode.
_Aspetti!_ he cried again, and half drew his sword. In a minute we were
surrounded. Models came flying from the Spanish steps; an old countryman
carrying a fish affectionately under his arm, bootblacks, clerks from
the near shops, young Roman swells,--all these and many more gathered
about us.

"_Aspetti!_" the _gendarme_ still cried.

"_Perchè?_" we asked.

And then his fellow-officer, whom we had seen on the Corso, came up.
"Get down!" he said, in fierce tones of command.

"_Perchè?_" we asked again.

"_Per Christo!_" was his only answer.

The crowd laughed with glee. Hackmen shouted their applause. It was
ignominious, perhaps, but the wisest policy, to get down and walk to our
hotel.



                              THE FINISH.

                                    "_It pities me much for this poor
                                    man: it will certainly go ill with
                                    him at the last._"


What pilgrim of old times thought his pilgrimage really over until he
gave either out of his plenty or nothing in alms? Two months later we
too gave our mite, not to the church or to the poor, but to the
Government; for we were then summoned before a police magistrate and
fined ten francs for "_furious_ riding on the Corso, and refusing to
descend when ordered."

And so our pilgrimage ended.



                               APPENDIX.

                      VETTURINO _versus_ TRICYCLE.

                           BY JOSEPH PENNELL.

                            _From "Outing."_


  Who has not journeyed through a country with his favorite author long
 before he makes the actual trip himself? and who, when he comes to see
with his own eyes that at which he has hitherto looked through some one
   else's, does not find himself his best guide? Long before I came to
Italy I had travelled along its highways and by-ways with many authors,
    more especially with Hawthorne in his "Italian Note-Book," and Mr.
    Howells in his "Italian Journeys" and "Venetian Life." When it was
finally my good fortune to make the journey myself, I was at first lucky
enough to have for a companion, not his books, but Mr. Howells himself;
 and I frankly confess I found him far more delightful and satisfactory
  in person than in print. A year later I started for the same country,
  this time encumbered with a wife and a tricycle. Mr. Howells could no
  longer be my _cicerone_: in the first place he was back in Boston,--I
 might add, as if in parenthesis, calling me "lucky dog" for being able
    to go so soon again over the well-known ground; and, in the second
place, because the route I now intended to take is not described in his
 books. But it is in Hawthorne's "Note-Book," a volume which, as I have
just said, I had frequently studied. But of course I forgot to put it in
my knapsack, and so had not a chance to see it until I arrived in Rome.
           When I there looked into it, naturally in a more critical
 spirit--inspired by personal knowledge of the subject--than I ever had
before, the first thing that struck me was the advantage I had had over
  my old master in travelling by tricycle instead of by diligence. From
   the little village of Passignano to Rome we had followed exactly the
 same road, and though we began our rides at its opposite ends, I could
       still easily compare the time we had made, and the comfort and
 convenience and pleasure we had enjoyed by the way. As this comparison
may be interesting to many who intend some day to make the cycling tour
       of Italy, I will here briefly indicate Hawthorne's experience,
                principally as to time and roads, and then mine:--


          HAWTHORNE'S JOURNEY
              TO FLORENCE.                         MY NOTES.


         FIRST DAY OF TRIP.                   LAST DAY OF TRIP.

  We passed through the Porta del    We left Cività Castellana at a
  Popolo at about 8 o'clock, and     quarter of eight. Road so rough,
  ... began our journey along the    had to walk down-hill and up
  Flaminian Way.... The road was     again. (So did Hawthorne's
  not particularly picturesque. The  party.) Road very picturesque,
  country undulated, but _scarcely   and, before long, a distant
  rose into hills_.... Finally came  glimpse of St. Peter's. Began to
  to the village of Castel Nuovo di  see, and occasionally to feel,
  Porta ... between 12 and 1....     the paving of the old Flaminian
  Afternoon, Soracte rose before     Way, which is abominable. Made of
  us.... The road kept trending      flagstones thrown roughly
  towards the mountain, following    together, or else little blocks,
  the line of the old Flaminian      like the Roman pavement. Coming
  Way, which we could see at         on a stretch of it, at the foot
  frequent intervals close beside    of a hill, and hidden with dust,
  the modern track. It is paved      smashed our luggage-carrier, and
  with large flagstones, laid so     loosened the machine,--more than
  accurately together that it is     the whole trip had done. Passed
  still, in some places, as smooth   Rignano,--usual sensation,--good
  and even as the floor of a         _café_. Under Soracte all
  church, and everywhere the tufts   morning. Reached Castel Nuovo di
  of grass found it difficult to     Porta at 11. (Distance to this
  root themselves into the           village from Cività Castellana
  interstices.... Its course is      much farther than from it to
  straighter than that of the road   Rome, yet we reached it one hour
  of to-day.... I forget where we    sooner than Hawthorne did,
  finally lost it.... Passed         starting out from Rome.) Road got
  through the town of Rignano--road  worse and worse. Finally nothing
  still grew more and more           but ruts and stones. Hills not to
  picturesque.... Came in sight of   be laughed at (though Hawthorne
  the high, flat table-land, on      thought them scarcely
  which stands Cività                perceptible). Arrived at the
  Castellana.... After passing over  Porta del Popolo about half-past
  the bridge, I alighted with J.     one. (About three and a half
  and R. and made the ascent on      hours' better time than
  foot.... At the top our vetturino  Hawthorne.) Distance, thirty-five
  took us into the carriage again,   Italian miles.
  and quickly brought us to what
  appears to be a very good
  hotel.... After a splendid dinner
  we walked out into the little
  town, etc.


            SECOND DAY.                  OUR SECOND DAY FROM ROME.

  Roused at 4 o'clock this morning;  (We never got up at any such
  ... ready to start between 5 and   unearthly hours as Hawthorne
  6.... Remember nothing             indulged in.) Left Terni at 11
  particularly till we came to       o'clock, having been obliged to
  Borghetto.... After leaving        get a new brake made. Terni, dead
  Borghetto, we crossed the broad    level, in low valley,--straight,
  valley of the Tiber.... Otricoli   wide road, ten miles across the
  by and by appeared.... As the      valley,--surface of the road
  road kept ascending, and as the    good. Just outside of Narni road
  hills grew to be mountainous, we   climbs up a steep hill into the
  had taken on two additional        town. (There must have been an
  horses, making six in all, with a  earthquake since Hawthorne's
  man and boy ... to keep them in    time, as Terni, which he saw in a
  motion.... Murray's guide-book is  high and commanding position, now
  exceedingly vague and              stands in the lowest part of the
  unsatisfactory along this          valley, with mountains all
  route.... Farther on [we saw] the  around.) From Narni up nearly all
  gray tower of Narni.... A long,    the way to Otricoli, with the
  winding street passes through      exception of here and there such
  Narni, broadening at one point     a steep descent that we had to
  into a market-place; ... came out  hold the machine back with all
  from it on the other side.... The  our might, riding for several
  road went winding down into the    hours was almost impossible.
  peaceful vale.... From Narni to    (Wish we had had six horses, a
  Terni I remember nothing that      man, and a boy to pull us on.)
  need be recorded. Terni, like so   From Otricoli, down and all
  many other towns in the            across the valley, excellent
  neighborhood, stands in a high     riding to Borghetto; then big
  and commanding position.... We     hill up, out on to the Campagna,
  reached it between 11 and 12....   and up and down--good road--all
  It is worth while to record, as    the way to Cività Castellana,
  history of _vetturino_ commissary  which we reached between 6 and 7.
  customs, that for breakfast we     Terrible sensation!!! (This day
  had coffee, eggs, and bread and    Hawthorne came in two hours
  butter; for lunch, an omelette,    ahead; but he had six horses and
  stewed veal, figs and grapes, and  the hills in his favor.) We eat
  two decanters of wine; for dinner  every day coffee, bread and
  an excellent vermicelli soup, two  butter, and rolls in the morning;
  young fowls fricasseed, and a      for lunch, a beefsteak, or
  hind-quarter of roast lamb, with   macaroni, and fruit, _no wine_,
  fritters, oranges, and figs, and   but fresh lemons and water; for
  two more decanters of wine.        dinner, soup, two meats, fruit,
                                     and a _fiasco_ of wine. Distance
                                     about thirty-three Italian miles.
                                     (We carried Baedeker, and not
                                     Murray, and found it not
                                     unsatisfactory.)


            THIRD DAY.                             THIRD DAY.

  At 6 o'clock this morning ... we   Left Assisi about 8. Splendid
  drove out of the city gate of      coast down into the valley.
  Terni.... Our way was now through  Beautiful ride over the
  the vale of Terni.... Soon began   undulating road, past Spello to
  to wind among steep and lofty      Foligno, not stopping in the
  hills.... Wretched villages....    latter place, excepting to have
  At Strettura we added two oxen to  accidents wished us by an old
  our horses, and began to ascend    woman we almost ran over. Then
  the Monte Somma, which ... is      through the beautiful valley of
  nearly four thousand feet high     the Clitumnus--grand road--lovely
  where we crossed it. When we came  day and wonderfully fair country.
  to the steepest part of the        (We saw no beggars.) Rode by the
  ascent, Gaetano _allowed us to     little temple spoken of by Pliny.
  walk_.... We arrived at Spoleto    Ate some bread and cheese at Le
  before noon.... After lunch ...    Vene. Reached Spoleto at one;
  we found our way up a steep and    lunched; then rode up the steep
  narrow street that led us to the   street, through the gate at the
  city gate.... Resumed our          other end of the city, and then
  journey, emerging from the city    began a tremendous climb of six
  into the classic valley of the     miles over Monte Somma, most of
  Clitumnus.... After passing Le     which we had to walk. At last had
  Vene, we came to the little        hard work to push. Coming finally
  temple ... immortalized by         to the top, found the descent on
  Pliny.... I remember nothing else  the other side even steeper.
  of the valley of Clitumnus,        Where it was a little less steep,
  except that the beggars ... were   we got on the machine, put on the
  well-nigh profane in the urgency   brake, which came off in my hand.
  of their petitions. The city of    Bad brake was the one defect in
  Terni seems completely to cover a  our tandem. Had to walk the rest
  high peaked hill.... We reached    of the way. In Strettura, men set
  Foligno in good season _yesterday  bull on us. (Not quite so
  afternoon_. [This passage really   pleasant as Hawthorne's
  belongs to his fourth day of       experience.) Arrived in Terni at
  travel, but as it shows at what    8 o'clock, having walked the last
  time of the third day he reached   few miles by moonlight,--about
  Foligno, I have included it with   forty miles all together, of
  the third.]                        which we walked fully the last
                                     fourteen. (Made in one day what
                                     Hawthorne did in a day and a
                                     half.)


            FOURTH DAY.                         FOURTH DAY.

  I have already remarked that it    (Expenses of this trip about five
  is still possible to live well in  francs a day each.) Rode from
  Italy at no great expense, and     Perugia to Assisi, a distance of
  that the high prices charged to    fourteen miles, in about two
  _forestieri_ are artificial, and   hours. Splendid coast down the
  ought to be abated.... We left     hill outside of Perugia (up which
  Foligno betimes in the morning;    Hawthorne walked). Crossed the
  ... soon passed the old town of    Tiber. Visited Santa Maria degli
  Spello.... By and by we reached    Angeli. Awful stitch in my side.
  Assisi. We ate our _déjeûner_,     Climbed up into Assisi, where we
  and resumed our journey.... We     stayed all afternoon, to recover,
  soon reached the Church of St.     and to see the church.
  Mary of the Angels.... By and by
  came to the foot of the high hill
  on which stands Perugia, and
  which is so long and steep that
  Gaetano took a yoke of oxen to
  aid his horses in the ascent. We
  all, except my wife, walked a
  part of the way up.... The coach
  lagged far behind us.


           FIFTH DAY.                          FIFTH DAY.

Left Perugia about 3 o'clock         I covered their fifth and sixth
to-day, and went down a pretty       days' ride, this time by myself on
steep descent.... The road began to  the tricycle, in three hours and a
ascend before reaching the village   half actual riding time, and was
of Mugione; ... between 5 and 6 we   pulled up the long hill into
came in sight of the Lake of         Perugia, in a most easy and
Thrasymene, ... then reached the     delightful way, behind the
town of Passignano. (He stayed       diligence.
there all night.


           SIXTH DAY.

We started at 6 o'clock ... [for
Arezzo]. We saw Cortona, like so
many other cities in this region,
on its hill, and arrived about noon
at Arezzo.


From Arezzo, Hawthorne went directly to Florence in one day, over a road
which Italian cyclers have told me is excellent, and which is the
post-road to Rome. We went by way of Montepulciano and Siena, being
between two and three weeks on the way. I hope this short account of
about one third of our ride will convince other people that cycling is
far quicker than the old posting system, far pleasanter than riding in a
stuffy railway-carriage, which whirls you through tunnels, and far the
best way in which to see Italy,--a country which abounds in magnificent
roads, and which should be thoroughly explored by all cyclers who care
for something beside record-making.


           University Press: John Wilson and Son, Cambridge.



                           Transcriber Notes:

Passages in italics were indicated by _underscores_.

Small caps were replaced with ALL CAPS.

Throughout the dialogues, there were words used to mimic accents of the
speakers. Those words were retained as-is.

In three instances there were cases where the word "eat" appeared one
expect the word "ate". No change was made.

The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up
paragraphs and so that they are next to the text they illustrate.

In the Appendix, the pages were reformatted to to make it easier to read
in an electronic form.

Errors in punctuations and inconsistent hyphenation were not corrected
unless otherwise noted.





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