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Title: Roman Holidays, and Others
Author: Howells, William Dean
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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By W. D. Howells


  Copyright, 1908, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
  Published October, 1908.














No drop-curtain, at any theatre I have seen, was ever so richly
imagined, with misty tops and shadowy clefts and frowning cliffs and
gloomy valleys and long, plunging cataracts, as the actual landscape of
Madeira, when we drew nearer and nearer to it, at the close of a tearful
afternoon of mid-January. The scenery of drop-curtains is often very
boldly beautiful, but here Nature, if she had taken a hint from art, had
certainly bettered her instruction. During the waits between acts at the
theatre, while studying the magnificent painting beyond the trouble of
the orchestra, I have been most impressed by the splendid variety which
the artist had got into his picture, where the spacious frame lent
itself to his passion for saying everything; but I remembered his
thronging fancies as meagre and scanty in the presence of the stupendous
reality before me. I have, for instance, not even mentioned the sea,
which swept smoother and smoother in toward the feet of those precipices
and grew more and more trans-lucently purple and yellow and green, while
half a score of cascades shot straight down their fronts in shafts of
snowy foam, and over their pachydermatous shoulders streamed and hung
long reaches of gray vines or mosses. To the view from the sea the
island is all, with its changing capes and promontories and bays and
inlets, one immeasurable mountain; and on the afternoon of our approach
it was bestridden by a steadfast rainbow, of which we could only see one
leg indeed, but that very stout and athletic.

There were breadths of dark woodland aloft on this mountain, and
terraced vineyards lower down; and on the shelving plateaus yet farther
from the heights that lost themselves in the clouds there were scattered
white cottages; on little levels close to the sea there were set white
villas. These, as the ship coquetted with the vagaries of the shore,
thickened more and more, until after rounding a prodigious headland we
found ourselves in face of the charming little city of Funchal: long
horizontal lines of red roofs, ivory and pink and salmon walls, evenly
fenestrated, with an ancient fortress giving the modern look of things a
proper mediaeval touch. Large hotels, with the air of palaces, crowned
the upland vantages; there were bell-towers of churches, and in one
place there was a wide splotch of vivid color from the red of the
densely flowering creeper on the side of some favored house. There was
an acceptable expanse of warm brown near the quay from the withered but
unfailing leaves of a sycamore-shaded promenade, and in the fine
roadstead where we anchored there lay other steamers and a lead-colored
Portuguese war-ship. I am not a painter, but I think that here are the
materials of a water-color which almost any one else could paint. In the
hands of a scene-painter they would yield a really unrivalled
drop-curtain. I stick to the notion of this because when the beautiful
goes too far, as it certainly does at Madeira, it leaves you not only
sated but vindictive; you wish to mock it.

The afternoon saddened more and more, and one could not take an interest
in the islanders who came out in little cockles and proposed to dive for
shillings and sixpences, though quarters and dimes would do. The
company’s tender also came out, and numbers of passengers went ashore in
the mere wantonness of paying for their dinner and a night’s lodging in
the annexes of the hotels, which they were told beforehand were full.
The lights began to twinkle from the windows of the town, and the dark
fell upon the insupportable picturesqueness of the prospect, leaving one
to a gayety of trooping and climbing lamps which defined the course of
the streets.

The morning broke in sunshine, and after early breakfast the launches
began to ply again between the ship and the shore and continued till
nearly all the first and second cabin people had been carried off. The
people of the steerage satisfied what longing they had for strange
sights and scenes by thronging to the sides of the steamer until they
gave her a strong list landward, as they easily might, for there were
twenty-five hundred of them. At Madeira there is a local Thomas Cook &
Son of quite another name, but we were not finally sure that the alert
youth on the pier who sold us transportation and provision was really
their agent. However, his tickets served perfectly well at all points,
and he was of such an engaging civility and personal comeliness that I
should not have much minded their failing us here and there. He gave the
first charming-touch of the Latin south whose renewed contact is such a
pleasure to any one knowing it from the past. All Portuguese as Funchal
was, it looked so like a hundred little Italian towns that it seemed to
me as if I must always have driven about them in calico-tented
bullock-carts set on runners, as later I drove about Eunchal.

It was warm enough on the ship, but here in the town we found ourselves
in weather that one could easily have taken for summer, if the
inhabitants had not repeatedly assured us that it was the season of
winter, and that there were no flowers and no fruits. They could not, if
they had wished, have denied the flies; these, in a hotel interior to
which we penetrated, simply swarmed. If it was winter in Funchal it was
no wintrier than early autumn would have been in one of those Italian
towns of other days; it had the same temperament, the same little
tree-planted spaces, the same devious, cobble-paved streets, the same
pleasant stucco houses; the churches had bells of like tone, and if
their facades confessed a Spanish touch they were not more Spanish than
half the churches in Naples. The public ways were of a scrupulous
cleanliness, as if, with so many English signs glaring down at them,
they durst not untidy out-of-doors, though in-doors it was said to be
different with them. There are three thousand English living at Funchal
and everybody speaks English, however slightly. The fresh faces of
English girls met us in the streets and no doubt English invalids

We shipmates were all going to the station of the funicular railway, but
our tickets did not call for bullock-sleds and so we took a clattering
little horse-car, which climbed with us through up-hill streets and got
us to the station too soon. Within the closed grille there the
handsomest of swarthy, black-eyed, black-mustached station-masters (if
such was his quality) told us that we could not have a train at once,
though we had been advised that any ten of us could any time have a
train, because the cars had all gone up the mountain and none would be
down for twenty minutes. He spoke English and he mitigated by a most
amiable personality sufferings which were perhaps not so great as we
would have liked to think. Some of us wandered off down a pink-and-cream
colored avenue near by and admired so much the curtains of
red-and-yellow flowers--a cross between honeysuckles and trumpet
blossoms--overhanging a garden-wall that two friendly boys began to
share our interest in them. One of them mounted the other and tore down
handfuls of the flowers, which they bestowed upon us with so little
apparent expectation of reward that we promptly gave them of the
international copper coinage current in Madeira, and went back to the
station doubtless feeling guiltier than they. Had we not been accessory
after the fact to something like theft and, as it was Sunday, to
Sabbath-breaking besides? Afterward flowers proved so abundant in
Madeira in spite of its being winter, that we could not feel the larceny
a serious one, and the Sunday was a Latin Sabbath well used to being
broken. The pony engine which was to push our slanting car over the
cogged track up the mountain arrived with due ceremony of bell and
whistle, and we were let through the grille by the station-master as
politely as if we had been each his considered guest. Then the climb
began through the fields of sugar-cane, terraced vineyards, orchards of
fruit trees, and gardens of vegetables planted under the arbors over
which the grapes were trained. One of us told the others that the
vegetables were sheltered to save them from being scorched by the summer
sun, and that much of the work among them was done by moonlight to save
the laborers from the same fate. I do not know how he had amassed this
knowledge, and I am not sure that I have the right to impart it without
his leave. I myself saw some melons lolling on one of the tiled roofs of
the cottages where they had perhaps been pushed by the energetic forces
of the earth and sky. The grape-vines were quiescent, partly because it
was winter, as everybody said, and partly because the wine culture is no
longer so profitable in the island. It has been found for the moment
that Madeira is bad for the gout, and this discovery of the doctors is
bad for the peasants (already cruelly overtaxed by Portugal), who are
leaving their homes in great numbers and seeking their fortunes in both
of the Americas, as well as the islands of all the seas. It must be a
heartbreak for them to forsake such homes as we saw in the clean white
cottages, with the balconies and terraces.

But there were no signs of depopulation either of old or young. Smiling
mothers and fathers of all ages, in their Sunday leisure and their
Sunday best, watched our ascent as if they had never seen the like
before, and our course was never so swift but we could be easily
overtaken by the children; they embarrassed us with the riches of the
camellias which they flung in upon us, and they were accompanied by
small dogs which barked excitedly. Our train almost grazed the walls of
the door-yards as we passed through the succession of the one- and
two-story cottages, which dotted the mountain-side in every direction.
When the eye could leave them it was lured from height to height, and at
each rise of the track to some wider and lovelier expanse of the sea. We
could see merely our own steamer in the roadstead, with the Portuguese
war-ship, and the few other vessels at anchor, but we could never
exhaust the variety of those varied mountain slopes and tops. Their
picturesqueness of form and their delight of color would beggar any
thesaurus of its descriptive reserves, and yet leave their beauty almost
unhinted. A drop-curtain were here a vain simile; the chromatic glories
of colored postal-cards might suggest the scene, but then again they
might overdo it. Nature is modest in her most magnificent moods, and I
do not see how she could have a more magnificent mood than Madeira. It
can never be represented by my art, but it may be measurably stated: low
lying sea; the town scattering and fraying everywhere into outlying
hamlets, villas and cottages; steep rising upon steep, till they reach
uninhabitable climaxes where the woods darken upward into the
everlasting snows, in one whole of grandeur resuming in its unity every
varying detail.

[Illustration: 02 FUNCHAL BAY]

I dwell rather helplessly upon the scenery, because it was what we
professedly went up or half up, or one-tenth or-hundredth up, the
mountain for. Un-professedly we went up in order to come down by the
toboggan of the country, though we vowed one another not to attempt
anything so mad. In the meanwhile, before it should be time for lunch,
we could walk up to a small church near the station and see the people
at prayer in an interior which did not differ in bareness and tawdriness
from most other country churches of the Latin south, though it had a
facade so satisfyingly Spanish, because I suppose it was so perfectly
Portuguese, that heart could ask no more. Not all the people were at
prayer within; irregular files of them attended our progress to give us
the opportunity of doing charity. The beggars were of every sort, sex,
and age, and some, from the hands they held out, with fingers reduced to
their last joints, looked as if they might be lepers, but I do not say
they were. What I am sure of is that the faces of the worshippers--men,
women, and children--when they came out of the church were of a
gentleness which, if it was not innocence and goodness, might well have
passed for those virtues. They had kind eyes, which seemed as often blue
as black, and if they had no great beauty they were seldom quite ugly. I
wish I could think we strangers, as they gazed curiously, timorously at
us, struck them as favorably.

An involuntary ferocity from the famine which we began to feel may have
glared from our visages, for we had eaten nothing for three hours, which
was long for saloon passengers. At the first restaurant which we found,
and in which we all but sat down at table, our coupons were not good,
but this was not wholly loss, for we recouped ourselves in the beauties
of the walk on which we wandered along the mountain-side to the right of
the restaurant. At the point where we were no longer confident of our
way an opportune native appeared and Jed us over paths paved with fine
pebbles, sometimes wrought into geometric patterns, and always through
pleasing sun and shade, till we reached a pretty hotel set, with its
gardens before it, on a shelf of level land and commanding a view of our
steamer and the surrounding sea. Tropic growths, which I will venture to
call myrtle, oleander, laurel, and eucalyptus, environed the hotel, not
too closely nor densely, and our increasing party was presently
discovered from the head of its steps by a hospitable matron, who with a
cry of comprehensive welcome ran within and was replaced by a
head-waiter of as friendly aspect and much more English. He said our
coupons were good there and that our luncheon would be ready in two
minutes; for proof of the despatch with which we should be served he
held up the first and second fingers of his right hand. Restored by his
assurance, we did not really mind waiting twice the tale of all his ten
fingers, and we spent our time variously in wandering about the plateau,
among the wonted iron tables and chairs in front of the hotel, in being
photographed in a fairy grotto behind it, and in examining the visitors’
book in the parlor. The names of visitors from South Africa largely
prevailed, for the Cape Town steamers, oftener than any others, touch at
Madeira, but there was one traveller of Portuguese race who had written
his name in bold characters above the cry, “Long live the Portuguese
Republic.” Soon after the Portuguese monarchy ceased to live for a time
in the person of the murdered king and his heir, but it is doubtful if
the health of the potential republic was as great as before.

That bright Sunday morning no shadow of the black event was forecast,
and we gave our unstinted sympathy to our unknown co-republican. The
luncheon, when we were called to it, had merits of novelty and quality
which I will celebrate only as regards the delicate fish fresh from the
sea, and the pease fresh from the garden, with poached eggs fresh from
the coop dropped upon them. The conception of chops which followed was
not so faultless, though the fruit with which we ended did much to
repair any error of kid which may have mistaken itself for lamb. Perhaps
our enthusiasm was heightened by the fine air which had sharpened our
appetites. At any rate, it all ended in an habitual transaction in real
estate by which I became the owner of the place, without expropriating
the actual possessor, and established there those castles in Spain
belonging to me in so many parts of the world.

There remained now nothing for us to do but to toboggan down the
mountain, and we overcame our resolution not to do so far enough to go
and look at the toboggans under the guidance of our head-waiter. When
once we had looked we were lost. The toboggans were flat baskets set on
iron-shod runners, and well cushioned and padded; they held one, two, or
three passengers; the track on which they descended was paved, in gentle
undulations, with thin pebbles set on edge and greased wherever the
descent found a level. A smiling native, with a strong rope attached to
the toboggan, stood on each side of it, and held it back or pulled it
forward, according to the exigencies of the case. It is long since I
slid down hill on a sled of my own, and I do not pretend to recall the
sensation; but I can remember nothing so luxurious in transportation as
the swift flight of the Madeira toboggan, which you temper at will
through its guides and guards, but do not wish to temper at all when
your first alarm, mainly theoretical, passes into the gayety ending in
exultant rejoicing at the bottom of the course.

Our two toboggan men were possibly vigilant and reassuring beyond the
common, but one was quite silently so; the other, who spoke a little
English, encouraged us from time to time to believe that they were
“strong mans,” afterward correcting himself in conformity to the rules
of Portuguese grammar, which make the adjective agree in number with the
noun, and declaring that they were “strongs mans.” We met many toboggan
men who needed to be “strongs mans” in their ascent of our track, with
their heavy toboggans on their heads; but some of them did not look
strong, and our own arrived spent and panting at the bottom. Something
like that is what always spoils pleasure in this world. Even when you
have paid for it with your money, some one else has paid with his person
twice as much, and you have not equalled his outlay when you have tipped
him your handsomest.

A shilling apiece seemed handsome for those “strongs mans,” but
afterward there were watches of the nights when the spirit grieved that
the shilling had not been made two apiece or even half a crown, and I
wish now that the first reader of mine who toboggans down Madeira would
make up the difference for me in his tip to those poor fellows. I do not
mind if he adds a few pennies for the children who ran before our
toboggan and tossed camellias into it, and then followed in the hopes of
a reward, which we tried not to disappoint.

The future traveller need not add to the fee of the authorized and
numbered guide who took possession of us as soon as we got out of our
basket and led us unresisting to a waiting bullock sled. He invited
himself into it, and gave himself the best of characters in the
autobiography into which he wove his scanty instruction concerning the
objects we passed. A bullock sled is not of such blithe progress as a
toboggan, but it is very comfortable, and it is of an Oriental and
litter-like dignity, with its calico cushions and curtains. One could
not well use it in New York, but it serves every purpose of a cab in
Funchal, where we noted a peculiar feature of local commerce which I
hesitate to specify, since it cast apparent discredit upon woman. It
was, as I have noted, Sunday; but every shop where things pleasing or
even useful to women were sold was wide open, and somewhat flaringly
invited the custom of our fellow-passengers of that sex; but there was
not a shop where such things as men’s collars were for sale, or anything
pleasing or useful to man, but was closed and locked fast. I must except
from this sweeping statement the cafes, but these should not count, for
women as well as men frequented them, as we ascertained by going to a
very bowery one on the quay and ordering a bottle of the best and dryest
Madeira. We wished perhaps to prove that it was really not bad for gout,
or perhaps that it was no better than the Madeira you get in New York
for the same price. Even with the help of friends, of the sex which
could have been freely buying native laces, hats, fans, photographs,
parasols, and tailor-made dresses, we could not finish that bottle.
Glass after glass we bestowed on our smiling guide, with no final effect
upon the bottle and none upon him, except to make him follow us to the
tender and take an after-fee for showing us a way which we could not
have missed blindfold. It was rather strange, but not stranger than the
behavior of the captain of the tender, who, when he had collected our
tickets, invited a free-will offering for collecting them, and mostly
got it.

When we were safely and gladly on board our steamer again, we had
nothing to do, until the deck-steward came round with tea, but watch the
islanders swarming around us in their cockles and diving for sixpences
and shillings, which they caught impartially with their fingers and
toes. With so many all shouting and gesticulating, one could not venture
one’s silver indiscriminately; one must employ some particular diver,
and I selected for my investments a poor young fellow who had lost an
arm. With his one hand and his two feet he never failed of the coin I
risked, and I wish they had been many enough to enable him to retire
from the trade, which even in that mild air kept him visibly shivering
when out of the water. I do not know his name, but I commend him to
future travellers by the token of his pathetic mutilation.

By-and-by we felt the gentle stir of the steamer under us; the last
tender went ashore, and the divers retired in their cockles from our
side. Funchal began to rearrange the lines of her streets, while keeping
those of her roofs and house-walls and terraced gardens. We passed out
of the roadstead, we rounded the mighty headland by which we had
entered, and were once more in face of that magnificent drop-curtain,
which had now fallen upon one of the most vivid and novel passages of
our lives.



There is nothing strikes the traveller in his approach to the rock of
Gibraltar so much as its resemblance to the trade-mark of the Prudential
Insurance Company. He cannot help feeling that the famous stronghold is
pictorially a plagiarism from the advertisements of that institution. As
the lines change with the ship’s course, the resemblance is less
remarkable; but it is always remarkable, and I suppose it detracts
somewhat from the majesty of the fortress, which we could wish to be
more entirely original. This was my feeling when I first saw Gibraltar
four years ago, and it remains my feeling after having last seen it four
weeks ago. The eye seeks the bold, familiar legend, and one suffers a
certain disappointment in its absence. Otherwise Gibraltar does not and
cannot disappoint the most exacting tourist.

[Illustration: 04 GIBRALTAR FROM THE BAY]

The morning which found us in face of it was in brisk contrast to the
bland afternoon on which we had parted from Madeira. No flocking
coracles surrounded our steamer, with crews eager to plunge into the
hissing brine for shillings or equivalent quarters. The whitecaps looked
snow cold as they tossed under the sharp north wind, and the tender
which put us ashore had all it could do to embark and disembark us
upright, or even aslant. But, once in the lee of the rocky Africa
breathed a genial warmth across the strait beyond which its summits
faintly shimmered; or was it the welcome of Cook’s carriages which
warmed us so? We were promised separate vehicles for parties of three or
four, with English-speaking drivers, and the promise was fairly well
kept. The carriages bore a strong family likeness to the pictures of
Spanish state coaches of the seventeenth century, and were curtained and
cushioned in reddish calico. Rubber tires are yet unknown in southern
Europe, and these mediaeval arks bounded over the stones with a violence
which must once have been characteristic of those in the illustrations.
But the English of our English-speaking driver was all that we could
have asked for the shillings we paid Cook for him, or, if it was not, it
was all we got. He was an energetic young fellow and satisfyingly
Spanish in coloring, but in his eagerness to please he was less grave
than I could now wish; I now wish everything in Spain to have been in

What was most perfectly, most fittingly in keeping was the sight of the
Moors whom we began at once to see on the wharves and in the streets.
They probably looked very much like the Moors who followed their caliph,
if he was a caliph, into Spain when he drove Don Roderick out of his
kingdom and established his own race and religion in the Peninsula.
Moslem costumes can have changed very little in the last eleven or
twelve hundred years, and these handsome fellows, who had come over with
fresh eggs and vegetables and chickens and turkeys from Tangier, could
not have been handsomer when they bore scimitars and javelins instead of
coops and baskets. They had baggy drawers on, and brown cloaks, with
bare, red legs and yellow slippers; one, when he took his fez off, had a
head shaved perfectly bald, like the one-eyed Calender or the Barber’s
brother out of the _Arabian Nights;_ the sparse mustache and
short-forked beard heightened the verisimilitude. Whether they squatted
on the wharf, or passed gravely through the street, or waited for custom
in their little market among the hen-coops and the herds of rather lean,
dispirited turkeys (which had not the satisfaction of their American
kindred in being fattened for the sacrifice, for in Europe all turkeys
are served lean), these Moors had an allure impossible to any Occidental
race. It was greater even than that of their Semitic brethren, who had a
market farther up in the town, and showed that a Jewish market could be
much filthier than a’ Moorish market without being more picturesque.
Into the web of Oriental life were wrought the dapper figures of the
red-coated, red-cheeked English soldiers, with blue, blue eyes and
incredible red and yellow hair, lounging or hurrying orderlies with
swagger-sticks, and apparently aimless privates no doubt bent ‘upon
quite definite business or pleasure. Now and then an English groom led
an English horse through the long street from which the other streets in
Gibraltar branch up and down hill, for there is no other level; and now
and then an English man or woman rode trimly by.

The whole place is an incongruous mixture of Latin and Saxon. The
strictly South-European effect of the houses and churches is a mute
protest against the alien presence which keeps the streets so clean and
maintains order by means of policemen showing under the helmets of the
London bobby the faces of the native alguazil. In the shops the
saleswomen speak English and look Spanish. Our driver, indeed, looked
more Spanish than he spoke English.

His knowledge of our rude tongue extended hardly beyond the mention of
certain conventional objects of interest, and did not suffice to explain
why we could not see the old disused galleries of the fortifications. I
do not know why we wished to see these; I doubt if we really did so, but
we embittered life for that well-meaning boy by our insistence upon
them, and we brought him under unjust suspicion of deceit by forcing him
to a sort of time-limit in respect to them. We appealed from him to the
blandest of black-mus-tached, olive-skinned bobby-alguazils, who
directed us to a certain government office for a permit. There our
application caused something like dismay, and we were directed to
another office, but were saved from the shame of failure by incidentally
learning that the galleries could not be seen till after three o’clock.
As our ship sailed at that hour, we were probably saved a life-long

Everywhere the rock of the Prudential beetles and towers over the town;
but the fortifications are so far up in the sky that you can really
distinguish nothing but the Marconi telegraphic apparatus at the top.
Along the sea-level, which the town mostly keeps, the war-like harness
of the stronghold shows through the civil dress of the town in barracks
and specific forts and gray battle-ships lying at anchor in the docks.
But all is simple and reserved, in the right English fashion. The
strength of the place is not to be put forth till it is needed, which
will be never, since it is hard to imagine how it can ever be even
attempted by a hostile force. This is not saying, I hope, that an
American fleet could not batter it down, nor leave one letter of the
insurance advertisement after another on the face of the precipice.

There is a pretty public garden at Gibraltar in that part of the town
which is farthest from the steamer’s landing, and this proved the end of
our excursion in our state coach. We found other state coaches there,
and joined their passengers in strolling over the pleasant paths and
trying to make out what bird it was singing somewhere in the trees. We
made out an almond-tree in bloom, after some dispute; and, in fact, the
climate there was much softer than at the landing, so insidiously soft
that it required great force of character to keep from buying the
flowers which some tasteful boys gathered from the public beds. There is
a mild monument or two in this garden, to what memories I promptly
failed to remember afterward; but as there are more military memories in
the world than is good for it, and as these were undoubtedly military
memories, I cannot much blame myself in the matter. After viewing them,
there was nothing left to do but to get lunch, which we got extremely
good at the hotel where a friend led us. There was at this hotel a
head-waiter, in a silver-braided silk dress-coat of a mauve color, who
imagined our wants so perfectly that I shall always regret not taking
more of the omelette; the table-waiter urged it upon us twice with true
friendliness. The eggs must have been laid for it in Africa that morning
at daybreak, and brought over by a Moorish marketman, but we turned from
the poetic experience of this omelette in the greedy hope of better
things. Better things there could not be, but the fish was as good as
the fish at Madeira, and the belief of the chops that they were lamb and
not kid seemed better founded.

There had been an excellent bottle of Rioja Blanca, such as you may have
as good at some Spanish restaurant in New York for as little money; and
the lunch, when reckoned up in English shillings and Spanish undertones,
was not cheap. Yet it was not dear, either, and there was no specific
charge for that silver-braided dress-coat of a mauve color. An English
dean in full clericals, and some English ladies talking in the
waiting-room, added an agreeable confusion to our doubt of where and
what we were, and we came away from the hotel as well content as if we
had lunched in Plymouth or Bath. The table-waiter took an extra fee for
confiding that he was a Milanese, and was almost the only Italian in
Gibraltar; whether he was right or not I do not know, but it was
certainly not his fault that we did not take twice of the omelette.

It is said that living is dear in Gibraltar, especially in the matter of
house rent. The houses in the town are like all the houses of Latin
Europe in their gray or yellowish walls of stone or stucco and their
dark-green shutters. There is an English residential quarter at the east
end of the town, where the houses may be different, for all I know; the
English of our driver or the hire of our state coach did not enable us
to visit that suburb, where the reader may imagine villas standing in
grounds with lawns and gardens about them. The English have prevailed
nothing against the local civilization in most things, while they have
infected it with the costliness of the whole Anglo-Saxon life. We should
not think seven hundred dollars in New York dear for even a quite small
house, but it has come to that in Gibraltar, and there they think it
dear, with other things proportionately so. Of course, it is an
artificial place; the fortress makes the town, and the town in turn
lives upon the fortress.

The English plant themselves nowhere without gathering English
conveniences or conventions about them; Americans would not always think
them comforts. There is at Gibraltar a club or clubs; there is a hunt,
there is a lending library, there is tennis, there is golf, there is
bridge, there is a cathedral, and I dare say there is gossip, but I do
not know it. It was difficult to get land for the golf links, we heard,
because of the Spanish jealousy of the English occupation, which they
will not have extended any farther over Spanish soil, even in golf
links. Gibraltar is fondly or whimsically known to the invaders as Gib,
and I believe it is rather a favorite sojourn, though in summer it is
frightfully hot, held out on the knees and insteps of the rock to the
burning African sun, which comes up every morning over the sea after
setting Sahara on fire.


All this foreign life must be exterior to the aboriginal Spanish life
which has so long outlasted the Moorish, and is not without hope of
outlasting the English. I do not know what the occupations and
amusements of that life are, but I will suppose them unworthy enough.
There must be a certain space of neutral life uniting or dividing the
two, which would form a curious inquiry, but would probably not lend
itself to literary study. Besides this middle ground there is another
neutral territory at Gibraltar which we traversed after luncheon, in
order to say that we had been in Spain. That was the country of many
more youthful dreamers in my time than, I fancy, it is in this. We used
then, much more than now, to read Washington Irving, his _Tales of the
Alhambra,_ and his history of _The Conquest of Granada,_ and we read
Prescott’s histories of Spanish kings and adventures in the old world
and the new. We read _Don Quixote,_ which very few read now, and we read
_Gil Blas,_ which fewer still now read; and all these constituted Spain
a realm of faery, where every sort of delightful things did or could
happen. I for my part had always expected to go to Spain and live among
the people I had known in those charming books, yet I had been often in
Europe, and had spent whole years there without ever going near Spain.
But now, I saw, was my chance, and when the friend who had been lunching
with us asked if we would not like to drive across that neutral
territory and go into Spain a bit, it seemed as if the dream of my youth
had suddenly renewed itself with the purpose of coming immediately true.
It was a charmingly characteristic foretaste of Spanish travel that the
driver of the state coach which we first engaged should, when we
presently came back, have replaced himself by another for no other
reason than, perhaps, that he could so provide us with a worse horse. I
am not sure of this theory, and I do not insist upon it, but it seems

As soon as we rounded the rock of Gibraltar and struck across a flatter
country than I supposed could be found within fifty miles of Gibraltar,
we were swept by a blast which must have come from the Pyrenees, it was
so savagely rough and cold. It may be always blowing there as a Spanish
protest against the English treatment of the neutral territory; in fact,
it does not seem quite the thing to build over that space as the English
have done, though the structures are entirely peaceable, and it is not
strange that the Spaniards have refused to meet them half-way with a
good road over it, or to let them make one the whole way. They stand
gravely opposed to any further incursion. Officially in all the Spanish
documents the place is styled “Gibraltar, temporarily occupied by Great
Britain,” and there is a little town which you see sparkling in the sun
no great way off in Spain called San Roque, of which the mayor is also
mayor of Gibraltar; he visits his province once a year, and many people
living for generations over the Spanish line keep the keys of the houses
that they personally or ancestrally own in Gibraltar. The case has its
pathos, but as a selfish witness I wish they had let the English make
that road through the neutral territory. The present road is so bad that
our state coach, in bounding over its inequalities, sometimes almost
flung us into the arms of the Spanish beggars always extended toward us.
They were probably most of them serious, but some of the younger ones
recognized the _bouffe_ quality of their calling. One pleasant
starveling of ten or twelve entreated us for bread with a cigarette in
his mouth, and, being rewarded for his impudence, entered into the
spirit of the affair and asked for more, just as if we had given

A squalid little town grew up out of the flying gravel as we approached,
and we left our state coach at the custom-house, which seemed the chief
public edifice. There the inspectors did not go through the form of
examining our hand-bags, as they would have done at an American
frontier; and they did not pierce our carriage cushions with the long
javelins with which they are armed for the detection of smuggling among
the natives who have been shopping in Gibraltar. As the gates of that
town are closed every day at nightfall by a patrol with drum and fife,
and everybody is shut either in or out, it may easily happen with
shoppers in haste to get through that they bring dutiable goods into
Spain; but the official javelins rectify the error.

We left our belongings in our state coach and started for that stroll in
Spain which I have measured as two up-town blocks, by what I think a
pretty accurate guess; two cross-town blocks I am sure it was not. It
was a mean-looking street, unswept and otherwise unkempt, with the usual
yellowish or grayish buildings, rather low and rather new, as if
prompted by a mistaken modern enterprise. They were both shops and
dwellings; I am sure of a neat pharmacy and a fresh-looking cafe
restaurant, and one dwelling all faced with bright-green tiles. An
alguazil--I am certain he was an alguazil, though he looked like an
Italian carabiniere and wore a cocked hat--loitered into a police
station; but I remember no one else during our brief stay in that street
except those _bouffe_ boy beggars. Of course, they wished to sell us
postal-cards, but they were willing to accept charity on any terms.
Otherwise our Spanish tour was, so far as we then knew, absolutely
without incident; but when we got too far away to return we found that
we had been among brigands as well as beggars, and all the Spanish
picaresque fiction seemed to come true in the theft of a black chudda
shawl, which had indeed been so often lost in duplicate that it was time
it was entirely lost. Whether it was secretly confiscated by the
customs, or was accepted as a just tribute by the populace from a poetic
admirer, I do not know, but I hope it is now in the keeping of some
dark-eyed Spanish girl, who will wear it while murmuring through her
lattice to her _novio_ on the pavement outside. It was rather heavy to
be worn as a veil, but I am sure she could manage it after dark, and
_could_ hold it under her chin, as she leaned forward to the grille,
with one little olive hand, so that the _novio_ would think it was a
black silk mantilla. Or if it was a gift from him, it would be all
right, anyway.

Our visit to Spain did not wholly realize my early dreams of that
romantic land, and yet it had not been finally destitute of incident.
Besides, _we_ had not gone very far into the country; a third block
might have teemed with adventure, but we had to be back on the steamer
before three o’clock, and we dared not go beyond the second.  Even
within this limit a love of reality underlying all my love of romance
was satisfied in the impression left by that dusty, empty, silent
street. It seemed somehow like the street of a new, dreary, Western
American town, so that I afterward could hardly believe that the shops
and restaurants had not eked out their height with dashboard fronts. It
was not a place that I would have chosen for a summer sojourn; the sense
of a fly-blown past must have become a vivid part of future experience,
and yet I could imagine that if one were born to it, and were young and
hopeful, and had some one to share one’s youth and hope, that Spanish
street, which was all there was of that Spanish town, might have had its
charm. I do not say that even for age there was not a railway station by
which one might have got away, though there was no sign of any trains
arriving or departing--perhaps because it was not one o’clock in the
morning, which is the favorite hour of departure for Spanish trains.

When we turned to drive back over the neutral territory the rock of
Gibraltar suddenly bulked up before us, in a sheer ascent that left the
familiar Prudential view in utterly inconspicuous unimpressive-ness.
Till one has seen it from this point one has not truly seen it. The vast
stone shows like a half from which the other half has been sharply cleft
and removed, that the sense of its precipitous magnitude may
unrelievedly strike the eye; and it seems to have in that moment the
whole world to tower up in from the level at its feet. No dictionary,
however unabridged, has language adequate to convey the notion of it.


The pride of Americans in their native scenery is brought down almost to
the level of the South Shore of Long Island in arriving home from the
Mediterranean voyage to Europe. The last thing one sees in Europe is the
rock of Gibraltar, but before that there have been the snow-topped
Maritime Alps of Italy and the gray-brown, softly rounded, velvety
heights of Spain; and one has to think very hard of the Palisades above
the point where they have been blasted away for road-making material if
one wishes to keep up one’s spirits. The last time I came home the
Mediterranean way I had a struggle with myself against excusing our
sandy landscape, when we came in sight of it, with its summer cottages
for the sole altitudes, to some Italian fellow-passengers who were not
spellbound by its grandeur. I had to remember the Rocky Mountains, which
I had never seen, and all the moral magnificence of our life before I
could withhold the words of apology pressing to my lips. I was glad that
I succeeded; but now, going back by the same route, I abandoned myself
to transports in the beauty of the Mediterranean coast which I hope were
not untrue to my country. Perhaps there is no country which can show
anything like that beauty, and America is no worse off than the rest of
the world; but I am not sure that I have a right to this consolation.
Again there were those

  “Silent pinnacles of aged snow,”

flushed with the Southern sun; in those sombre slopes of pine; again the
olives climbing to their gloom; again the terraced vineyards and the
white farmsteads, with villages nestling in the vast clefts of the
hills, and all along the sea-level the blond towns and cities which
broidei the hem of the land from Marseilles to Genoa. One is willing to
brag; one must be a good American; but, honestly, have we anything like
that to show the arriving foreigner? For some reason our ship was
abating the speed with which she had crossed the Atlantic, and now she
was swimming along the Mediterranean coasts so slowly and so closely
that it seemed as if we could almost have cast an apple ashore, though
probably we could not. We were at least far enough off to mistake Nice
for Monte Carlo and then for San Remo, but that was partly because our
course was so leisurely, and we thought we must have passed Nice long
before we did. It did not matter; all those places were alike beautiful
under the palms of their promenades, with their scattered villas and
hotels stretching along their upper levels, and the ranks of shops and
dwellings solidly forming the streets which left the shipping of their
ports to climb to the gardens and farms beyond the villas. Cannes,
Mentone, Ventimiglia, Ospedeletti, Bordighera, Taggia, Alassio: was that
their fair succession, or did they follow in another order? Once more it
did not matter; what is certain is that the golden sun of the soft
January afternoon turned to crimson and left the last of them suffused
in dim rose before we drifted into Genoa and came to anchor at dusk
beside a steamer which had left New York on the same day as ours. By her
vast size we could measure our own and have an objective perception of
our grandeur.  We had crossed in one of the largest ships afloat, but
you cannot be both spectacle and spectator; and you must match your
magnificence with some rival magnificence before you can have a due
sense of it. That was what we now got at Genoa, and we could not help
pitying the people on that other ship, who must have suffered shame from
our overwhelming magnitude; the fact that she was of nearly the same
tonnage as our own ship had nothing to do with the case.


After the creamy and rosy tints of those daughters of climate along the
Riviera, it was pleasant to find a many-centuried mother of commerce
like Genoa of the dignified gray which she wears to the eye, whether it
looks down on her from the heights above her port or up at her from the
thickly masted and thickly funnelled waters of the harbor. Most European
towns have red tiled roofs, which one gets rather tired of putting into
one’s word paintings, but the roofs of Genoa are gray tiled, and gray
are her serried house walls, and gray her many churches and bell-towers.
The sober tone gratifies your eye immensely, and the fact that your eye
has noted it and not attributed the conventional coloring of southern
Europe to the city is a flattery to your pride which you will not
refuse. It is not a setting for opera like Naples; there is something
businesslike in it which agrees with your American mood if you are true
to America, and recalls you to duty if you are not.

I had not been in Genoa since 1864 except for a few days in 1905, and I
saw changes which I will mostly not specify. Already at the earlier date
the railway had cut through the beautiful and reverend Doria garden and
left the old palace some scanty grounds on the sea-level, where commerce
noisily encompassed it with trains and tracks and lines of freight-cars.
But there had remained up to my last visit that grot on the gardened
hill-slope whence a colossal marble Hercules helplessly overlooked the
offence offered by the railroad; and now suddenly here was the lofty
wall of some new edifice stretching across in front of the Hercules and
wholly shutting him from view; for all I know it may have made him part
of its structure.

Let this stand for a type of the change which had passed upon Genoa and
has passed or is passing upon all Italy. The trouble is that Italy is
full of very living Italians, the quickest-witted people in the world,
who are alert to seize every chance for bettering themselves financially
as they have bettered themselves politically. For my part, I always
wonder they do not still rule the world when I see how intellectually
fit they are to do it, how beyond any other race they seem still
equipped for their ancient primacy. Possibly it is their ancient primacy
which hangs about their necks and loads them down. It is better to have
too little past, as we have, than too much, as they have. But if
antiquity hampers them, they are tenderer of its vast mass than we are
of our little fragments of it; tenderer than any other people, except
perhaps the English, have shown themselves; but when the time comes that
the past stands distinctly in the way of the future, down goes the past,
even in Italy. I am not saying that I do not see why that railroad could
not have tunnelled under the Doria garden rather than cut through it;
and I am waiting for that new building to justify its behavior toward
that poor old Hercules; but in the mean time I hold that Italy is for
the Italians who now live in it, and have to get that better living out
of it which we others all want our countries to yield us; and that it is
not merely a playground for tourists who wish to sentimentalize it, or
study it, or sketch it, or make copy of it, as I am doing now.

All the same I will not deny that I enjoyed more than any of the
improvements which I noted in Genoa that bit of the old Doria
palace-grounds which progress has left it. The gray edifice looks out on
the neighboring traffic across the leanness of a lovely old garden, with
statues and stone seats, and in the midst a softly soliloquizing
fountain, painted green with moss and mould. When you enter the palace,
as you do in response to a custodian who soon comes with a key and asks
if you would like to see it, you find yourself, one flight up, in a long
glazed gallery, fronting on the garden, which is so warm with the sun
that you wish to spend the rest of your stay in Genoa there. It is
frescoed round with classically imagined portraits of the different
Dorias, and above all the portrait of that great hero of the republic. I
do not know that this portrait particularly impresses you; if you have
been here before you will be reserving yourself for the portrait which
the custodian will lead you to see in the ultimate chamber of the rather
rude old palace, where it is like a living presence.

It is the picture of a very old man in a flat cap, sitting sunken
forward in his deep chair, with his thin, long hands folded one on the
other, and looking wearily at you out of his faded eyes, in which dwell
the memories of action in every sort and counsel in every kind. Victor
in battles by land and sea, statesman and leader and sage, he looks it
all in that wonderful effigy, which shuns no effect of his more than
ninety years, but confesses his great age as a part of his greatness
with a pathetic reality.  The white beard, with “each particular hair”
 defined, falling almost to the pale, lean hands, is an essential part of
the presentment, which is full of such scrupulous detail as the eye
would unconsciously take note of in confronting the man himself and
afterward supply in the remembrance of the whole. As if it were a part
of his personality, on a table facing him, covered with maps and papers,
sits the mighty admiral’s cat, which, with true feline im-passiveness,
ignores the spectator and gives its sole regard to the admiral. There
are possibly better portraits in the world than this, which was once by
Sebastiano del Piombo and is now by Titian; but I remember none which
has moved me more.

We tried in vain for a photograph of it, and then after a brief glance
at the riches of the Church of the Annunziata, where we were followed
around the interior by a sacristan who desired us to note that the
pillars were “All inlady, all inlady” with different marbles, and, after
a chilly moment in San Lorenzo, which the worshippers and the masons
were sharing between them in the prayers and repairs always going on in
cathedrals, we drove for luncheon to the hotel where we had sojourned in
great comfort three years before. Genoa has rather a bad name for its
hotels, but we had found this one charming, perhaps because when we had
objected to going five flights up the landlord had led us yet a floor
higher, that we might walk into the garden. It is so in much of Genoa,
where the precipitous nature of the site makes this vivid contrast
between the levels of the front door and the back gate. Many of the
streets have been widened since Heine saw the gossiping neighbors
touching knees across them, but nothing less than an earthquake could
change the temperamental topography of the place. It has its advantages;
when there is a ring at the door the housemaid, instead of panting up
from the kitchen to answer it, has merely to fall down five pairs of
stairs. It cannot be denied, either, that the steep incline gives a
charm to the streets which overcome it with sidewalks and driveways and
trolley-tracks. Such a street as the Via Garibaldi (there is a Via
Garibaldi in every Italian city, town, and village, and ought to be a
dozen), compactly built, but giving here and there over the houses’
shoulders glimpses of the gardens lurking behind them, is of a dignity
full of the energy which a flat thoroughfare never displays or imparts.
Without the inspiration lent us by the street, I am sure we should never
have got to the top of it with our cab when we went to the Campo Santo;
and, as it was, we had to help our horses upward by involuntarily
straining forward from our places. But the Campo Santo was richly worth
the effort, for to visit that famous cemetery is to enjoy an experience
of which it is the unique opportunity.

I wish to celebrate it because it seems to me one of the frankest
expressions of national taste and nature, and I do like simplicity--in
others. The modern Italians are the most literal of the realists in all
the arts, and, as I had striven for reality in my own poor way, I was
perhaps the more curious to see its effects in sculpture which I had
heard of so much. I will own that they went far beyond my expectation
and possibly my wishes; but it is not to be supposed that it is only
inferior artists who have abandoned themselves to the excesses of
fidelity so abundant in the Campo Santo. There are, of course, enough
poor falterings of allegory and tradition in the marble walls and floors
of this vast residence of the dead (as it gives you the cheerful
impression of being), but the characteristic note of the place is a
realism braving it out in every extreme of actuality. Possibly the fact
is most striking in that death-bed scene where the family, life-size and
unsparingly portraitured, and, as it were, photographed in marble, are
gathered in the room of the dying mother. She lies on a bedstead which
bears every mark of being one of a standard chamber-set in the early
eighteen-seventies, and about her stand her husband and her sons and
daughters and their wives and husbands, in the fashions of that day. I
recall a brother, in a cutaway coat, and a daughter, in a tie-back,
embraced in their grief and turning their faces away from their mother
toward the spectator; and doubtless there were others whom to describe
in their dress would render as grotesque. It is enough to say that the
artist, of a name well known in Italy and of uncommon gift, has been as
true to the moment in their costume as to the eternal humanity in their
faces. He has done what the sculptor or painter of the great periods of
art used to do with their historical and scriptural people--he has put
them in the dress of his own time and place; and it is impossible to
deny him a convincing logic.  No sophistry or convention of drapery in
the scene could have conveyed its pathos half so well, or indeed at all.
It does make you shudder, I allow; it sets your teeth on edge; but then,
if you are a real man or woman, it brings the lump into your throat; the
smile fails from your lip; you pay the tribute of genuine pity and awe.
I will not pretend that I was so much moved by the meeting in heaven of
a son and father: the spirit of the son in a cutaway, with a derby hat
in his hand, gazing with rapture into the face of the father’s spirit in
a long sack-coat holding his marble bowler elegantly away from his side,
if I remember rightly. But here the fact wanted the basis of simplicity
so strong in the other scene; in the mixture of the real and the ideal
the group was romanticistic.

There are innumerable other portrait figures and busts in which the
civic and social hour is expressed. The women’s hair is dressed in this
fashionable way or that; the men’s beards are cut in conformity to the
fashion or the personal preference in side whiskers or mustache or
imperial or goatee; and their bronze or marble faces convey the
contemporary character of aristocrat or bourgeois or politician or
professional. I do not know just what the reader would expect me to say
in defence of the full-length figure of a lady in _decollete_ and
trained evening dress, who enters from the tomb toward the spectator as
if she were coming into a drawing-room after dinner. She is very
beautiful, but she is no longer very young, and the bare arms, which
hang gracefully at her side, respond to an intimation of _embonpoint_ in
the figure, with a slightly flabby over-largeness where they lose
themselves in the ample shoulders. Whether this figure is the fancy of
the sorrowing husband or the caprice of the defunct herself, who wished
to be shown to after-time as she hoped she looked in the past, I do not
know; but I had the same difficulty with it as I had with that father
and son; it was romanticistic. Wholly realistic and rightly actual was
that figure of an old woman who is said to have put by all her savings
from the grocery business that she might appear properly in the Campo
Santo, and who is shown there short and stout and common, in her
ill-fitting best dress, but motherly and kind and of an undeniable and
touching dignity.

If I am giving the reader the impression that I went to the Campo Santo
in my last stop at Genoa, I am deceiving him; I record here the memories
of four years ago. I did not revisit the place, but I should like to see
it again, if only to revive my recollections of its unique interest. I
did really revisit the Pal-lavicini-Durazzo palace, and there revived
the pleasure I had known before in its wonderful Van Dycks. Most
wonderful was and will always be the “Boy in White,” the little serene
princeling, whoever he was, in whom the painter has fixed forever a
bewitching mood and moment of childhood.  “The Mother with two Children”
 is very well and self-evidently true to personality and period and
position; but, after all, she is nothing beside that “Boy in White,”
 though she and her children are otherwise so wonderful. Now that I speak
of her, however, she rather grows upon my recollection as a woman
greater than her great world and proudly weary of it.


She was a lady of that very patrician house whose palace, in its cold
grandeur and splendor, renews at once all one’s faded or fading sense of
the commercial past of Italy, when her greatest merchants were her
greatest nobles and dwelt in magnificence unparalleled yet since Rome
began to be old. Genoa, Venice, Pisa, Florence, what state their
business men housed themselves in and environed themselves with! Their
palaces by the hundreds were such as only the public edifices of our
less simple State capitols could equal in size and not surpass in cost.
Their _folie des grandeurs_ realized illusions in architecture, in
sculpture, and in painting which the assembled and concentrated feats of
those arts all the way up and down Fifth Avenue, and in the millionaire
blocks eastward could not produce the likeness of. We have the same
madness in our brains; we have even a Roman megalomania, but the effect
of it in Chicago or Pittsburg or Philadelphia or New York has not yet
got beyond a ducal or a princely son-in-law. The splendors of such
alliances have still to take substantial form in a single instance
worthy to compare with a thousand instances in the commercial republics
of Italy. This does not mean that our rich people have not so much money
as the Italians of the Renaissance, but that perhaps in their _folie des
grandeurs_ they are a different kind of madmen; it means also that land
and labor are dearer positively and comparatively with us, and that our
pork-packing or stock-broking princes prefer to spend on comfort rather
than size in their houses, and do not like the cold feet which the
merchant princes of Italy must have had from generation to generation. I
shall always be sorry I did not wear arctics when I went to the
Pallavicini-Durazzo palace, and I strongly urge the reader to do so
when he goes.

He will not so much need them out-of-doors in a Genoese January, unless
a _tramontana_ is blowing, and there was none on our half-day. But in
any case we did not walk. We selected the best-looking cab-horse we
could find, and he turned out better than his driver, who asked a
fabulous price by the hour. We obliged him to show his tariff, when his
wickedness was apparent from the printed rates. He explained that the
part we were looking at was obsolete, and he showed us another part,
which was really for drives outside the city; but we agreed to pay it,
and set out hoping for good behavior from him that would make up the
difference. Again we were deceived; at the end he demanded a franc
beyond even his unnatural fare. I urged that one should be reasonable;
but he seemed to think not, and to avoid controversy I paid the
extortionate franc. I remembered that just a month before, in New York,
I had paid an extortionate dollar in like circumstances.

Nevertheless, that franc above and beyond the stipulated extortion
impoverished me, and when we came to take a rowboat back to our steamer
I beat the boatman down cruelly, mercilessly. He was a poor, lean little
man, with rather a superannuated boat, and he labored harder at the oar
than I could bear to see without noting his exertion to him. This was
fatal; instantly he owned that I was right, and he confessed, moreover,
that he was the father of a family, and that some of his children were
then suffering from sickness as well as want. What could one do but make
the fare up to the first demand of three francs after having got the
price down to one and a half? At the time it seemed to me that I was
somehow by this means getting the better of the cabman who had obliged
me to pay a franc more than his stipulated extortion, but I do not now
hope to make it appear so to the reader.


We heard the joyful noise of Naples as soon as our steamer came to
anchor within the moles whose rigid lines perhaps disfigure her famous
bay, while they render her harbor so secure. The noise first rose to us,
hanging over the guard, and trying to get phrases for the glory of her
sea and sky and mountains and monuments, from a boat which seemed to
have been keeping abreast of us ever since we had slowed up. It was not
a largo boat, but it managed to contain two men with mandolins, a mother
of a family with a guitar, and a young girl with an alternate tambourine
and umbrella. The last instrument was inverted to catch the coins, such
as they were, which the passengers flung down to the minstrels for their
repetitions of “Santa Lucia,” “Funicoli-Funicola,” “II Cacciatore,” and
other popular Neapolitan airs, such as “John Brown’s Body” and “In the
Bowery.” To the songs that had a waltz movement the mother of a family
performed a restricted dance, at some risk of falling overboard, while
she smiled radiantly up at us, as, in fact, they all did, except the
young girl, who had to play simultaneously on her tambourine and her
inverted umbrella, and seemed careworn. Her anxiety visibly deepened to
despair when she missed a shilling, which must have looked as large to
her as a full moon as it sank slowly down into the sea.


But her despair did not last long; nothing lasts long in Naples except
the joyful noise, which is incessant and perpetual, and which seems the
expression of the universal temperament in both man and beast. Our
good-fortune placed us in a hotel fronting the famous Castel dell’ Ovo,
across a little space of land and water, and we could hear, late and
early, the cackling and crowing of the chickens which have replaced the
hapless prisoners of other days in that fortress. At times the voices of
the hens were lifted in a choral of self-praise, as if they had among
them just laid the mighty structure which takes its name from its
resemblance to the egg they ordinarily produce. In other lands the
peculiar note of the donkey is not thought very melodious, but in Naples
before it can fade away it is caught up in the general orchestration and
ceases in music. The cabmen at our corner, lying in wait by scores for
the strangers whom it is their convention to suppose ignorant of their
want of a carriage, quarrelled rhythmically with one another; the
mendicants, lying everywhere in wait for charity, murmured a modulated
appeal; if you heard shouts or yells afar off they died upon your ear in
a strain of melody at the moment when they were lifted highest. I am
aware of seeming to burlesque the operatic fact which every one must
have noticed in Naples; and I will not say that the neglected or
affronted babe, or the trodden dog, is as tuneful as the midnight cat
there, but only that they approach it in the prevailing tendency of all
the local discords to soften and lose themselves in the general unison.
This embraces the clatter of the cabs, which are seldom less than fifty
years old, and of a looseness in all their joints responsive to their
effect of dusty decrepitude. Their clatter penetrates the volumed tread
of the myriad feet in a city where, if you did not see all sorts of
people driving, you would say the whole population walked. Above the
manifold noises gayly springing to the sky spreads and swims the clangor
of the church-bells and holds the terrestrial uproar in immeasurable
solution. It would be rash to say that the whole population of Naples is
always in the street, for if you look into the shops or cafes, or, I
dare say, the houses, you will find them quite full; but the general
statement verifies itself almost tiresomely in its agreement with what
everybody has always said of Naples. It is so quite what you expect that
if you could you would turn away in satiety, especially from the
swarming life of the poor, which seems to have no concealments from the
public, but frankly works at all the trades and arts that can be carried
on out-of-doors; cooks, eats, laughs, cries, sleeps, wakes, makes love,
quarrels, scolds, does everything but wash itself--clothes enough it
washes for other people’s life. There is a reason for this in the fact
that in bad weather at Naples it is cold and dark and damp in-doors, and
in fine so bright and warm and charming without that there is really no
choice. Then there is the expansive temperament, which if it were shut
up would probably be much more explosive than it is now. As it is, it
vents itself in volleyed detonations and scattered shots which language
can give no sense of.

For the true sense of it you must go to Naples, and then you will never
lose the sense of it. I had not been there since 1864, but when I woke
up the morning after my arrival, and heard the chickens cackling in the
Castel dell’ Ovo, and the donkeys braying, and the cab-drivers
quarrelling, and the cries of the street vendors, and the dogs barking,
and the children wailing, and their mothers scolding, and the clatter of
wheels and hoops and feet, and all that mighty harmony of the joyful
Neapolitan noises, it seemed to me that it was the first morning after
my first arrival, and I was still only twenty-seven years old. As soon
as possible, when the short but sweet Vincenzo had brought up my
breakfast of tea and bread-and-butter and honey (to which my appetite
turned from the gross superabundance of the steamer’s breakfasts with
instant acquiescence), and announced with a smile as liberal as the
sunshine that it was a fine day, I went out for those impressions which
I had better make over to the reader in their original disorder.
Vesuvius, which was silver veiled the day before, was now of a soft,
smoky white, and the sea, of a milky blue, swam round the shore and out
to every dim island and low cape and cliffy promontory. The street was
full of people on foot and in trolleys and cabs and donkey
pleasure-carts, and the familiar teasing of cabmen and peddlers and
beggars began with my first steps toward what I remembered as the
Toledo, but what now called itself, with the moderner Italian
patriotism, the Via Roma. The sole poetic novelty of my experience was
in my being offered loaves of bread which, when I bought them, would be
given to the poor, in honor of what saint’s day I did not learn. But it
was all charming; even the inattention of the young woman over the
book-counter was charming, since it was a condition of her flirtation
with the far younger man beside me who wanted something far more
interesting from her than any brief sketch of the history of Naples, in
either English or Italian or French or, at the worst, German. She was
very pretty, though rather powdered, and when the young man went away
she was sympathetically regretful to me that there was no such sketch,
in place of which she offered me several large histories in more or less
volumes. But why should I have wanted a history of Naples when I had
Naples itself? It was like wanting a photograph when you have the
original. Had I not just come through the splendid Piazza San
Ferdinando, with the nobly arcaded church on one hand and the
many-statued royal palace on the other, and between them a lake of
mellow sunshine, as warm as ours in June?

What I found Naples and the Neapolitans in 1908 I had found them in
1864, and Mr. Gray (as he of the “Elegy” used to be called on his
title-pages) found them in 1740. “The streets,” he wrote home to his
mother, “are one continued market, and thronged with populace so much
that a coach can hardly pass. The common sort are a jolly, lively kind
of animals, more industrious than Italians usually are; they work till
evening; then they take their lute or guitar (for they all play) and
walk about the city or upon the seashore with it, to enjoy the fresco.”
 There was, in fact, a bold gayety in the aspect of the city, without the
refinement which you do not begin to feel till you get into North Italy.
When I came upon church after church, with its facade of Spanish
baroque, I lamented the want of Gothic delicacy and beauty, but I was
consoled abundantly later in the churches antedating the Spanish
domination. I had no reason, such as travellers give for hating places,
to be dissatisfied with Naples in any way. I had been warned that the
customs officers were terrible there, and that I might be kept hours
with my baggage. But the inspector, after the politest demand for a
declaration of tobacco, ordered only a small valise, the Benjamin of its
tribe, opened and then closed untouched; and his courteous forbearance,
acknowledged later through the hotel porter, cost me but a dollar. The
hotel itself was inexpressibly better in lighting, heating, service, and
table than any New York hotel at twice the money--in fact, no money
could buy the like with us at any hotel I know of; but this is a theme
which I hope to treat more fully hereafter. It is true that the streets
of Naples are very long and rather narrow and pretty crooked, and full
of a damp cold that no sunlight seems ever to hunt out of them; but then
they are seldom ironed down with trolley-tracks; the cabs feel their way
among the swarming crowds with warning voices and smacking whips; even
the prepotent automobile shows some tenderness for human life and limb,
and proceeds still more cautiously than the cabs and carts--in fact, I
thought I saw recurrent proofs of that respect for the average man which
seems the characteristic note of Italian liberty; and this belief of
mine, bred of my first observations in Naples, did not, after twelve
weeks in Italy, prove an illusion. If it is not the equality we fancy
ourselves having, it is rather more fraternity in effect.

[Illustration: 09 OUT-DOOR LIFE IN OLD NAPLES]

The failure of other researches for that sketch of Neapolitan history
left me in the final ignorance which I must share with the reader; but
my inquiries brought me prompt knowledge of one of those charming
features in which the Italian cities excel, if they are not unique. I
remember too vaguely the Galleria, as they call the beautiful glazed
arcade of Milan, to be sure that it is finer than the Galleria at
Naples, but I am sure this is finer than that at Genoa, with which,
however, I know nothing in other cities to compare. The Neapolitan
gallery, wider than any avenue of the place, branching in the form of a
Greek cross to four principal streets, is lighted by its roof of glass,
and a hundred brilliant shops and cafes spread their business and
leisure over its marble floor. Nothing could be architecturally more
cheerful, and, if it were not too hot in summer, there could be no doubt
of its adaptation to our year, for it could be easily closed against the
winter by great portals, and at other seasons would give that out-door
expansion which in Latin countries hospitably offers the spectacle of
pleasant eating and drinking to people who have nothing to eat and
drink. These spectators could be kept at a distance with us by porters
at the entrances, while they would not be altogether deprived of the
gratifying glimpses.

I do not know whether poverty avails itself of its privileges by
visiting the Neapolitan gallery; but probably, like poverty elsewhere,
it is too much interested by the drama of life in its own quarter ever
willingly to leave it. Poverty is very conservative, for reasons more
than one; its quarter in Naples is the oldest, and was the most
responsive to our recollections of the Naples of 1864. Overhead the
houses tower and beetle with their balconies and bulging casements,
shutting the sun, except at noon, from the squalor below, where the
varied dwellers bargain and battle and ply their different trades,
bringing their work from the dusk of cavernous shops to their doorways
for the advantage of the prevailing twilight. Carpentry and tailoring
and painting and plumbing, locksmithing and copper-smithing go on there,
touching elbows with frying and feeding, and the vending of all the
strange and hideous forms of flesh, fish, and fowl. If you wish to know
how much the tentacle of a small polyp is worth you may chance to see a
cent pass for it from the crone who buys to the boy who sells it smoking
from the kettle; but the price of cooked cabbage or pumpkin must remain
a mystery, along with that of many raw vegetables and the more revolting
viscera of the less-recognizable animals.

The poor people worming in and out around your cab are very patient of
your progress over the terrible floor of their crooked thoroughfare,
perhaps because they reciprocate your curiosity, and perhaps because
they are very amiable and not very sensitive. They are not always
crowded into these dismal chasms; their quarter expands here and there
into market-plates, like the fish-market where the uprising of the
fisherman Masaniello against the Spaniards fitly took place; and the
Jewish market-place, where the poor young Corra-dino, last of the
imperial Hohenstaufen line, was less appropriately beheaded by the
Angevines. The open spaces are not less loathsome than the reeking
alleys, but if you have the intelligent guide we had you approach them
through the triumphal arch by which Charles V. entered Naples, and that
is something. Yet we will now talk less of the emperor than of the
guide, who appealed more to my sympathy.

He had been six years in America, which he adored, because, he said, he
had got work and earned his living there the very day he landed. That
was in Boston, where he turned his hand first to one thing and then
another, and came away at last through some call home, honoring and
loving the Americans as the kindest, the noblest, the friendliest people
in the world. I tried, politely, to persuade him that we were not all of
us all he thought us, but he would not yield, and at one place he
generously claimed a pre-eminence in wickedness for his
fellow-Neapolitans. That was when we came to a vast, sorrowful prison,
from which an iron cage projected into the street. Around this cage
wretched women and children and old men clustered till the prisoners
dear to them were let into it from the jail and allowed to speak with
them. The scene was as public as all of life and death is in Naples, and
the publicity seemed to give it peculiar sadness, which I noted to our
guide. He owned its pathos; “but,” he said, “you know we have a terrible
class of people here in Naples.” I protested that there were terrible
classes of people everywhere, even in America. He would not consent
entirely, but in partly convincing each other we became better friends.
He had a large black mustache and gentle black eyes, and he spoke very
fair English, which, when he wished to be most impressive, he dropped
and used a very literary Italian instead. He showed us where he lived,
on a hill-top back of our gardened quay, and said that he paid twelve
dollars a month for a tenement of five rooms there. Schooling is
compulsory in Naples, but he sends his boy willingly, and has him
especially study English as the best provision he can make for him--as
heir of his own calling of cicerone, perhaps. He has a little farm at
Bavello, which he tills when it is past the season for cultivating
foreigners in Naples; he expects to spend his old age there; and I
thought it not a bad lookout. He was perfectly well-mannered, and at a
hotel where we stopped for tea he took his coffee at our table unbidden,
like any American fellow-man. He and the landlord had their joke
together, the landlord warning me against him in English as “very bad
man,” and clapping him affectionately on the shoulder to emphasize the
irony. We did not demand too much social information of him; all the
more we valued the gratuitous fact that the Neapolitan nobles were now
rather poor, because they preferred a life of pleasure to a life of
business. I could have told him that the American nobles were
increasingly like them in their love of pleasure, but I would not have
known how to explain that they were not poor also. He was himself a
moderate in politics, but he told us, what seems to be the fact
everywhere in Italy, that singly the largest party in Naples is the
Socialist party.

He went with me first one day to the beautiful old Church of Santa
Chiara, to show me the Angevine tombs there, in which I satisfied a
secret, lingering love for the Gothic; and then to the cathedral, where
the sacristan showed us everything but the blood of St. Jannarius,
perhaps because it was not then in the act of liquefying; but I am
thankful to say I saw one of his finger-bones. My guide had made me
observe how several of the churches on the way to this were built on the
sites and of the remnants of pagan temples, and he summoned the
world-old sacristan of St. Januarius to show us evidences of a rival
antiquity in the crypt; for it had begun as a temple of Neptune. The
sacristan practically lived in those depths and the chill sanctuary
above them, and-he was so full of rheumatism that you could almost hear
it creak as he walked; yet he was a cheerful sage, and satisfied with
the fee which my guide gave him and which he made small, as he
explained, that the sacristan might not be discontented with future
largesse. I need not say that each church we visited had its tutelary
beggar, and that my happy youth came back to me in the blindness of one,
or the mutilation of another, or the haggish wrinkles of a third. At
Santa Chiara I could not at first make out what it was which caused my
heart to rejoice so; but then I found that it was because the church was
closed, and we had to go and dig a torpid monk out of his crevice in a
cold, many-storied cliff near by, and get him to come and open it, just
as I used, with the help of neighbors, to do in the past.

Our day ended at sunset--a sunset of watermelon red--with a visit to the
Castel Nuovo, where my guide found himself at home with the garrison,
because, as he explained, he had served his term as a soldier. He was
the born friend of the custodian of the castle church, which was the
most comfortable church for warmth we had visited, and to which we
entered by the bronze gates of the triumphal arch raised in honor of the
Aragonese victory over the Angevines in 1442, when this New Castle was
newer than it is now. The bronze gates record in bas-relief the battles
between the French and Spanish powers in their quarrel over the people
one or other must make its prey; but whether it was to the greater
advantage of the Neapolitans to be battened on by the house of Aragon
and then that of Bourbon for the next six hundred years after the
Angevines had retired from the banquet is problematical. History is a
very baffling study, and one may be well content to know little or
nothing about it. I knew so little or had forgotten so much that I
scarcely deserved to be taken down into the crypt of this church and
shown the skeletons of four conspirators for Anjou whom Aragon had put
to death--two laymen and an archbishop by beheading, and a woman by
dividing crosswise into thirds. The skeletons lay in their tattered and
dusty shrouds, and I suppose were authentic enough; but I had met them,
poor things, too late in my life to wish for their further
acquaintance. Once I could have exulted to search out their story and
make much of it; but now I must leave it to the reader’s imagination,
along with most other facts of my observation in Naples.

I was at some pains to look up the traces of my lost youth there, and if
I could have found more of them no doubt I should have been more
interested in these skeletons. For forty-odd years I had remembered the
prodigious picturesqueness of certain streets branching from a busy
avenue and ascending to uplands above by stately successions of steps.
When I demanded these of my guide, he promptly satisfied me, and in a
few moments, there in the Chiaja, we stood at the foot of such a public
staircase. I had no wish to climb it, but I found it more charming even
than I remembered. All the way to the top it was banked on either side
with glowing masses of flowers and fruits and the spectacular vegetables
of the South, and between these there were series of people, whom I
tacitly delegated to make the ascent for me, passing the groups
bargaining at the stalls. Nothing could have been better; nothing that I
think of is half so well in New York, where the markets are on that dead
level which in the social structure those above it abhor; though there
are places on the East River where we might easily have inclined


Other associations of that far past awoke with my identification of the
hotel where we had stayed at the end of the Villa Nazionale. In those
days the hotel was called, in appeal to our patriotism, more flattered
then than now in Europe, Hotel Washington; but it is to-day a mere
pension, though it looks over the same length of palm-shaded,
statue-peopled garden. The palms were larger than I remembered them, and
the statues had grown up and seemed to have had large families since my
day; but the lovely sea was the same, with all the mural decorations of
the skyey horizons beyond, dim precipices and dreamy island tops, and
the dozing Vesuvius mistakable for any of them. At one place there was a
file of fishermen, including a fisherwoman, drawing their net by means
of a rope carried across the carriage-way from the seawall, with a
splendid show of their black eyes and white teeth and swarthy, bare
legs, and always there were beggars, both of those who frankly begged
and those who importuned with postal-cards. This terrible traffic
pervades all southern Europe, and everywhere pesters the meeting
traveller with undesired bargains. In its presence it is almost
impossible to fit a scene with the apposite phrase; and yet one must own
that it has its rights. What would those boys do if they did not sell,
or fail to sell, postal-cards. It is another aspect of the labor
problem, so many-faced in our time. Would it be better that they should
take to open mendicancy, or try to win the soft American heart with such
acquired slang as “Skiddoo to twenty-three”? One who had no postal-cards
had English enough to say he would go away for a penny; it was his
price, and I did not see how he could take less; when he was reproached
by a citizen of uncommon austerity for his shameless annoyance of
strangers, I could not see that he looked abashed--in fact, he went away
singing. He did not take with him the divine beauty of the afternoon
light on the sea and mountains; and, if he was satisfied, we were
content with our bargain.

In fact, it would be impossible to exaggerate in the praise of that
incomparable environment. At every hour of the day, and, for all I know,
the night, it had a varying beauty and a constant loveliness. Six days
out of the week of our stay the sunshine was glorious, and five days of
at least a May or September warmth; and though one day was shrill and
stiff with the _tramontana,_ it was of as glorious sunshine as the rest.
The gale had blown my window open and chilled my room, but with that sun
blazing outside I could not believe in the hurricane which seemed to
blow our car up the funicular railway when we mounted to the height
where the famous old Convent of San Martino stands, and then blew us all
about the dust-clouded streets of that upland in our search for the
right way to the monastery. It was worth more than we suffered in
finding it; for the museum is a record of the most significant events of
Neapolitan history from the time of the Spanish domination down to that
of the Garibaldian invasion; and the church and corridors through which
the wind hustled us abound in paintings and frescos such as one would be
willing to give a whole week of quiet weather to. I do not know but I
should like to walk always in the convent garden, or merely look into it
from my window in the cloister wall, and gossip with my fellow-friars at
their windows. We should all be ghosts, of course, but the more easily
could the sun warm us through in spite of the _tramontana._


I do not know that Naples is very beautiful in certain phases in which
Venice and Genoa are excellent. Those cities were adorned by their sons
with palaces of an outlook worthy of their splendor. But in the other
Italian cities the homes of her patricians were crowded into the narrow
streets where their architecture fails of its due effect. It is so with
them in Naples, and even along the Villa Nazionale, where many palatial
villas are set, they seclude themselves in gardens where one fancies
rather than sees them. These are, in fact, sometimes the houses of the
richest bourgeoisie--bankers and financiers--and the houses which have
names conspicuous in the mainly inglorious turmoil of Neapolitan history
help unnoted to darken the narrow and winding ways of the old city. A
glimpse of a deep court or of a towering facade is what you get in
passing, but it is to be said of the sunless streets over which they
gloom that they are kept in a modern neatness beside which the dirt of
New York is mediaeval. It is so with most other streets in Naples,
except those poorest ones where the out-door life insists upon the most
intimate domestic expression. Even such streets are no worse than our
worst streets, and the good streets are all better kept than our best.

I am not sure that there are even more beggars in Naples than in New
York, though I will own that I kept no count. In both cities beggary is
common enough, and I am not noting it with disfavor in either, for it is
one of my heresies that comfort should be constantly reminded of misery
by the sight of it--comfort is so forgetful. Besides, in Italy charity
costs so little; a cent of our money pays a man for the loss of a leg or
an arm; two cents is the compensation for total blindness; a sick mother
with a brood of starving children is richly rewarded for her pains with
a nickel worth four cents. Organized charity is not absent in the midst
of such volunteers of poverty; one day, when we thought we had passed
the last outpost of want in our drive, two Sisters of Charity suddenly
appeared with out-stretched tin cups. Our driver did not imagine our
inexhaustible benovelence; he drove on, and before we could bring him to
a halt the Sisters of Charity ran us down, their black robes flying
abroad and their sweet faces flushed with the pursuit. Upon the whole it
was very humiliating; we could have wished to offer our excuses and
regrets; but our silver seemed enough, and the gentle sisters fell back
when we had given it.

That was while we were driving toward Posilipo for the beauty of the
prospect along the sea and shore, and for a sense of which any colored
postal-card will suffice better than the most hectic word-painting. The
worst of Italy is the superabundance of the riches it offers ear and eye
and nose--offers every sense--ending in a glut of pleasure. At the point
where we descended from our carriage to look from the upland out over
the vast hollow of land and sea toward Pozzuoli, which is so interesting
as the scene of Jove’s memorable struggle with the Titans, and just when
we were really beginning to feel equal to it, a company of minstrels
suddenly burst upon us with guitars and mandolins and comic songs much
dramatized, while the immediate natives offered us violets and other
distracting flowers. In the effect, art and nature combined to
neutralize each other, as they do with us, for instance, in those
restaurants where they have music during dinner, and where you do not
know whether you are eating the _chef-d’oeuvre_ of a cook or a composer.

It was at the new hotel which is evolving itself through the repair of
the never-finished and long-ruined Palace of Donn’ Anna, wife of a
Spanish viceroy in the seventeenth century, that our guide stopped with
us for that cup of tea already mentioned. We had to climb four nights of
stairs for it to the magnificent salon overlooking the finest
postal-card prospect in all Naples. We lingered long upon it, in the
balcony from which we could have dropped into the sunset sea any coin
which we could have brought ourselves to part with; but we had none of
the bad money which had been so easily passed off upon us. This sort
rather abounds in Naples, and the traveller should watch not only for
false francs, but for francs of an obsolete coinage which you can know
by the king’s head having a longer neck than in the current pieces. At
the bookseller’s they would not take a perfectly good five-franc piece
because it was so old as 1815; and what becomes of all the bad money one
innocently takes for good? One fraudulent franc I made a virtue of
throwing away; but I do not know what I did with a copper refused by a
trolley conductor as counterfeit. I could not take the affair seriously,
and perhaps I gave that copper in charity.

As we drove hotelward through the pink twilight we met many carriages of
people who looked rich and noble, but whether they were so I do not
know. I only know that old ladies who regard the world severely from
their coaches behind the backs of their perfectly appointed coachmen and
footmen ought to be both, and that old gentlemen who frown over their
white mustaches have no right to their looks if they are neither. It
was, at any rate, the hour of the fashionable drive, which included a
pause midway of the Villa Nazionale for the music of the military band.

The band plays near the Aquarium, which I hope the reader will visit at
the earlier hours of the day. Then, if he has a passion for polyps, and
wishes to imagine how they could ingulf good-sized ships in the ages of
fable, he can see one of the hideous things float from its torpor in the
bottom of its tank, and seize Avith its hungry tentacles the food
lowered to it by a string. Still awfuller is it to see it rise and reach
with those prehensile members, as with the tails of a multi-caudate ape,
some rocky projection of its walls and lurk fearsomely into the hollow,
and vanish there in a loathly quiescence. The carnivorous spray and
bloom of the deep-sea flowers amid which drowned men’s “bones are coral
made” seem of one temperament with the polyps as they slowly, slowly
wave their tendrils and petals; but there is amusement if not pleasure
in store for the traveller who turns from them to the company of shad
softly and continuously circling in their tank, and regarding the
spectators with a surly dignity becoming to people in better society
than others. One large shad, imaginably of very old family and
independent property, sails at the head of several smaller shad, his
flatterers and toadies, who try to look like him. Mostly his expression
is very severe; but in milder moments he offers a perverse resemblance
to some portraits of Washington.

All our days in Naples died like dolphins to the music which I have
tried to impart the sense of. The joyful noises which it was made up of
culminated for us on that evening when a company of the street and boat
musicians came into the hotel and danced and sang and played the
tarantella. They were of all ages, sexes, and bulks, and of divers
operatic costumes, but they were of one temperament only, which was glad
and childlike. They went through their repertory, which included a great
deal more than the tarantella, and which we applauded with an enthusiasm
attested by our contributions when the tambourine went round. Then they
repeated their selections, and at the second collection we guests of the
hotel repeated our contributions, but in a more guarded spirit. After
the second repetition the prettiest girl came round with her photographs
and sold them at prices out of all reason. Then we became very
melancholy, and began to steal out one by one. I myself did not stay for
the fourth collection, and I cannot report how the different points of
view, the Southern and the Northern, were reconciled in the event which
I am not sure was final. But I am sure that unless you can make
allowance for a world-wide difference in the Neapolitans from yourself
you can never understand them. Perhaps you cannot, even then.


Because I felt very happy in going back to Pompeii after a generation,
and being alive to do so in the body, I resolved to behave handsomely by
the cabman who drove me from my hotel to the station. I said to myself
that I would do something that would surprise him, and I gave him his
fee and nearly a franc over; but it was I who was surprised, for he ran
after me into the station, as I supposed, to extort more. He was holding
out a franc toward me, and I asked the guide who was bothering me to
take him to Pompeii (where there are swarms of guides always on the
grounds) what the matter was. “It is false,” he explained, and this
proved true, though whether the franc was the one I had given the driver
or whether it was one which he had thoughtfully substituted for it to
make good an earlier loss I shall now never know. I put it into my
pocket, wondering what I should do with it; the question what you shall
do with counterfeit money in Italy is one which is apt to recur as I
have hinted, and in despair of solving it at the moment I threw the
false franc out of the car-window; it was the false franc I have already
boasted of throwing away.

This was, of course, after I got into the car, and after I had suffered
another wrong, and was resolved at least to be good myself. I had taken
first-class tickets, but, when we had followed several conductors up and
down the train, the last of them said there were no first-class places
left, though I shall always doubt this. I asked what we should do, and
he shrugged. I had heard that if you will stand upon your rights in such
a matter the company will have to put on another car for you. But I was
now dealing with the Italian government, which has nationalized the
railroads, but has apparently not yet repleted the rolling stock; and
when the conductor found us places in a second-class carriage, rather
than quarrel with a government which had troubles enough already I got
aboard. I suppose really that I have not much public spirit, and that
the little I have I commonly leave at home; in travelling it is
burdensome. Besides, the second-class carriage would have been
comfortable enough if it had not been so dirty; it looked as if it had
not been washed since it was flooded with liquid ashes at the
destruction of Pompeii, though they seemed to be cigar ashes.

The country through which we made the hour’s run was sympathetically
squalid. We had, to be sure, the sea on one side, and that was clean
enough; but the day was gray, and the sea was responsively gray; while
the earth on the other side was torn and ragged, with people digging
manure into the patches of broccoli, and gardening away as if it had
been April instead of January. There were shabby villas, with
stone-pines and cypresses herding about the houses, and tatters of
life-plant overhanging their shabby walls; there were stucco shanties
which the men and women working in the fields would lurk in at
nightfall. At places there was some cheerful boat building, and at one
place there was a large macaroni manufactory, with far stretches of the
product dangling in hanks and skeins from rows of trellises. We passed
through towns where women and children swarmed, working at doorways and
playing in the dim, cold streets; from the balconies everywhere winter
melons hung in nets, dozens and scores of them, such as you can buy at
the Italian fruiterers’ in New York, and will keep buying when once you
know how good they are. In Naples they sell them by the slice in the
street, the fruiterer carrying a board on his head with the slices
arranged in an upright coronal like the rich, barbaric head-dress of
some savage prince.

Our train was slow and our car was foul, but nothing could keep us from
arriving at Pompeii in very good spirits. The entrance to the dead city
is gardened about with a cemeterial prettiness of evergreens; but, after
you have bought your ticket and been assigned your guide, you pass
through this decorative zone and find yourself in the first of streets
where the past makes no such terms with the present. If some of the
houses of an ampler plan had little spaces beyond the atrium planted
with such flowers as probably grew there two thousand years ago, and
stuck round with tiny figurines, it was to the advantage of the people’s
fancy; but it did not appeal so much to the imagination as the mould and
moss, and the small, weedy network that covered the ground in the
roofless chambers and temples and basilicas, where the broken columns
and walls started from the floors which this unmeditated verdure painted
in the favorite hue of ruin.

Most of the places I re-entered through my recollection of them, but to
this subjective experience there was added that of seeing much newer and
vaster things than I remembered. That sad population of the victims of
the disaster, restored to the semhlance of life, or perhaps rather of
death, in plaster casts taken from the moulds their decay had left in
the hardening ashes, had much increased in the melancholy museum where
one visits them the first thing within the city gates. But their effect
was not cumulative; there were more writhing women and more contorted
men; but they did not make their tragedy more evident than it had been
when I saw them, fewer but not less affecting, all those years ago. It
was the same with the city itself; Pompeii had grown, like the rest of
the world in the interval, and, although it had been dug tip instead of
built up, a good third had been added to the count of its streets and
houses. There were not, so far as I could see, more ruts from
chariot-wheels in the lava blocks of the thoroughfares, but some
convincingly two-storied dwellings had been exhumed, and others with
ceilings in better condition than those of the earlier excavations;
there were more all-but-unbroken walls and columns; some mosaic floors
were almost as perfect as when their dwellers fled over them out of the
stifling city. But upon the whole the result was a greater monotony; the
revelation of house after house, nearly the same in design, did not gain
impressiveness from their repetition; just as the case would be if the
dwellings of an old-fashioned cross-town street in New York were dug out
two thousand years after their submergence by an eruption of Orange
Mountain. The identity of each of the public edifices is easily attested
to the archaeologist, but the generally intelligent, as the generally
unintelligent, visitor must take the archaeologist’s word for the fact.
One temple is much like another in its stumps of columns and vague
foundations and broken altars. Among the later discoveries certain of
the public baths are in the best repair, both structurally and
decoratively, and in these one could replace the antique life with the
least wear and tear of the imagination.

[Illustration: 12 EXCAVATING AT POMPEII]

I could not tell which the several private houses were; but the
guide-books can, and there I leave the specific knowledge of them; their
names would say nothing to the reader if they said nothing to me. In
Pompeii, where all the houses were rather small, some of the new ones
were rather large, though not larger than a few of the older ones. Not
more recognizably than these, they had been devoted to the varied uses
known to advanced civilization in all ages: there were dwellings, and
taverns and drinking-houses and eating-houses, and there were those
houses where the feet of them that abide therein and of those that
frequent them alike take hold on hell. In these the guide stays the men
of his party to prove the character of the places to them from the
frescos and statues; but it may be questioned if the visitors so
indulged had not better taken the guide’s word for the fact. There can
be no doubt that at the heart of paganism the same plague festered which
poisons Christian life, and which, while the social conditions remain
the same from age to age, will poison life forever.

The pictures on the walls of the newly excavated houses are not
strikingly better than those I had not forgotten; but of late it has
been the purpose to leave as many of the ornaments and utensils in
position as possible. The best are, as they ought to be, gathered into
the National Museum at Naples, but those which remain impart a more
living sense of the past than such wisely ordered accumulations; for it
is the Pompeian paradox that in the image of death it can best recall
life. It is a grave which has been laid bare, and it were best to leave
its ghastly memories unhindered by other companionship. One feels that
one ought to be there alone in order to see it aright. One should not

  “Go visit it by the pale moonlight,”

but if one could have it all to one’s self by day, such a gray day as we
had for it, there is no telling what might happen. One thing only would
certainly happen: one would get lost. It never was a town of large area;
and, like all spaces that have been ruined over, it looked smaller than
it would have looked if all its walls were standing with all their roofs
upon them. Still, it was a mesh of streets, out of which you would in
vain have sought your way if you had been caught in it alone; though it
is mostly so level that if you had mounted a truncated column almost
anywhere you could have looked over the labyrinth to its verge.

It was not much crowded by visitors; though there were strings of them
at the heels of the respective guides, with, I thought, a prevalence of
the Germans, who are now overrunning Italy; I am sorry to say they are
not able to keep it cheap, at least for other nationalities. Among these
I noted two little smiling, shining, twinkling Japs, who carried kodaks
for the capture of that classical antiquity which could never really
belong to them. Their want of a pagan past in common with us may be what
keeps us alien even more than the want of a common Christian tradition.

  “The glory that was Greece
  And the grandeur that was Rome”

could never mean to our brown companions what they meant to us; but they
put on a polite air of being interested in the Graeco-Roman ruin, and
were so gentle and friendly that one could almost feel they were
fellow-men. Very likely they were; at any rate, until we are at war with
them I shall believe so.


Our guide, whom we had really bought the whole use of at the gate,
thriftily took on another party, with our leave, and it was pleasant to
find that the American type from Utah was the same as from Ohio or
Massachusetts; with all our differences we are the most homogeneous
people under the sun, and likest a large family. We all frankly got
tired at about the same time at the same place, and agreed that we had,
without the amphitheatre, had enough when we ended at the Street of
Tombs, where the tombs are in so much better repair than the houses. For
myself, I remembered the amphitheatre so perfectly from 1864 that I did
not see how I could add a single emotion there in 1908 to those I had
already turned into literature; and though Pompeii is but small, the
amphitheatre is practically as far from the Street of Tombs, after you
have walked about the place for two hours, as the Battery is from High
Bridge. There is no Elevated or Subway at Pompeii, and even the lines of
public chariots, if such they were, which left those ruts in the lava
pavements seem to have been permanently suspended after the final
destruction in the year 79.

We were not only very tired, but very hungry, and we asked our guide to
take us back the shortest way. I suggested a cross-cut at one point, and
he caught at the word eagerly, and wrote it in his note-book for future
use. He also acted upon it instantly, and we cut across the back yards
and over the kitchen areas of several absent citizens on our way back.
Our guide was as good and true as it is in the nature of guides to be,
but absolute goodness and truth are rather the attributes of American
travellers; and you will not escape the small graft which the guides are
so rigorously forbidden to practise.  Pompeii is no longer in the
keeping of the Italian army; with the Italian instinct of
decentralization the place has claimed the right of self-government, and
now the guides are civilians, and not soldiers, as they were in my far
day. They do not accept fees, but still they take them; and our guide
said that he had a brother-in-law who had the best restaurant outside
the gate, where we could get luncheon for two francs.  As soon as we
were in the hands of the runner for that restaurant the price augmented
itself to two francs and a half; when we mounted to the threshold, lured
on by the fascinating mystery of this increase, it became three francs,
without wine. But as the waiter justly noted, in hovering about us with
the cutlery and napery while he laid the table, a two-fifty luncheon was
unworthy such lords as we. When he began to bring on the delicious
omelette, the admirable fish, the excellent cutlets, he made us observe
that if we paid three francs we ought to eat a great deal; and there
seemed reason in this; at any rate, we did so. The truth is, that
luncheon was worth the money, and more; as for the Vesuvian wine, it had
the rich red blood of the volcano in it, and it could not be bought in
New York for half a franc the bottle, if at all; at thrice that sum in
Naples it was not a third as good.

If there had been anything to do after lunch except go to the train, we
could not have done it, we were so spent with our two hours’ walk
through Pompeii, though the gray day had been rather invigorating.
Certainly it was not so exhausting as that white-hot day forty-three
years before when I had broiled over the same ground under the blazing
sun of a Pompeian November. Yet the difference in the muscles and
emotions of twenty-seven as against those of seventy told in favor of
the white-hot day; and, besides that, in the time that had elapsed a
much greater burden of antiquity had been added to the city than had
accumulated in its history between the year 79 and the year 1864. During
most of those centuries Pompeii had been dreamlessly sleeping under its
ashes, but in the ensuing less than half a century it had wakefully,
however unwillingly, witnessed such events as the failure of secession
and the abolition of slavery, the unification of Italy and Germany, the
fall of the Second Empire, the liberation of Cuba, and the acquisition
of the Philippines, the exile of Richard Croker, the destruction of the
Boer Republic, the rise and spread of the trusts, the purification of
municipal politics, the invention of wireless telegraphy, and the
general adoption of automobiling. These things, and others like them,
had perhaps not aged Pompeii so much as they had aged me, but their
subjective effect was the same, and upon the whole I was not altogether
sorry to have added scarcely a new impression of the place to those I
had been carrying for more than a generation. Quantitatively there were
plenty of new impressions to be had; impressions of more roofs, gardens,
columns, houses, temples, walls, frescos; but qualitatively the Greater
Pompeii was now not different from the lesser which I remembered so

This, at least, was what I said to myself on the ground and afterward in
the National Museum at Naples, where most of the precious Pompeian
things, new and old, are heaped up. They still make but a poor show
there beside the treasures of Herculaneum, where the excavation of a few
streets and houses has yielded costlier and lovelier things than all the
lengths and breadths of Pompeii. But not for this would I turn against
Pompeii at the last moment, as it were, though my second visit had not
aesthetically enriched me beyond my first. I keep the vision of it under
that gray January sky, with Vesuvius smokeless in the background, and
the plan of the dead city, opener to the eye than ever it could have
been in life, inscribed upon the broadly opened area of the gentle
slopes within its gates. Whether one had not better known it dead than
alive, one might not wish perhaps to say; but the place itself is
curiously without pathos; Newport in ruins might not be touching;
possibly all skeletons or even mummies are without pathos; and Pompeii
is a skeleton, or at the most a mummy, of the past.

Seeing what antiquity so largely was, however, one might be not only
resigned but cheerful in the ef-facement of any particular piece of it;
and for a help to this at Pompeii I may advise the reader to take with
him a certain little guide-book, written in English by a very courageous
Italian, which I chanced to find in Naples. Though it treats of the
tragical facts with seriousness, it is not with equal gravity that one
reads that sixteen years before the Vesuvian eruption “the region had
been shaken by strong sismic movements, which induced Pompei inhabitants
to forsake precipitately their habitations. But being the amazement up,
they got one’s home again as soon as the earth was quiet and all fear
and sadness went off by memory.” Signs of the final disaster to follow
were not wanting; the wells failed, the water-courses were crossed by
currents of carbonic acid; “the domestic animals were also very sensible
of the approaching of the scourge; they lost the habitual vivacity, and
having the food in disgust, had from time to time to complain with
mournful wailings, without justified reasons.... The sky became of a
thick darkness,... interrupted only by flashes of light which the
lava reverberated, by the bloody gliding of the thunderbolts, by the
incandescence of enormous projectiles, thrown to an incommensurable
highness.... Death surprised the charming town; houses and streets
became the tombs of the unhappies hit by an atrocious torture.”

The author’s study of the life of Pompeii is notable for diction which,
if there were logic in language, would be admirable English, for while
yet in his mind it must have been “very choice Italian.” He tells us
that “Pompei’s dwellings are surprising by their specific littleness,”
 and explains that “Pompei inhabitants, for the habitudes of the climate
could allow, lived almost always to the open sky,” just as the Naples
inhabitants do now. “They got home only to rest a little, to fulfill
life wants, to be protected by bad weather. They spent much time during
the day in forum, temples, thermes, tennis-court, or intervened to
public sports, religious functions and meetings.... Few houses only
had windows. The sunlight and ventilation to the ancients was given
through empty spaces in the roofs.... Hoofs knocked under the weight
of materials thrown out by Vesuvius; it is undoubted, however, that
roofs were provided with covers or supported terraces. In the middle of
the roofs was cut an overture through which air and light brought their
benefits to the underlaid ambients.... Proprietor disposed the locals
according to his own delight.... So that, there were bed, bath,
dining, talking and game rooms.” In the peristyle “the ground was
gardened, the area shared in flower beds, had narrow paths; herbs,
flowers, shrubs were put with art well in order on flower beds,
delighted from time to time by statues of various subjects,” as may be
noted in the actual restorations of some of the Pompeian houses.

As for their spiritual life, “Pompeian’s religion, like by Roman people,
was the Paganism. Deities were worshipped in the temples with prayers,
sacrifices, vows, and festivities.... Banquets to the Deity were
joined to prayers. In fact, dining tables were dressed near the altars,
and all around them on dining beds, _tricli-nari,_ placed Divinities
statues as these were assembled to own account to the joyous banquet.”
 Auspices or auguries “gave interpretation to thunders, lightnings,
winds, rain crashes, comets, or to bird songs and flights....
Horuspices inquired the divine will on the animal bowels, sacrificed to
the altar; they took out further indications by fleshes and bowels
flames when burnt on the altar.”

An important feature of Pompeian social life was the bath, which “was
one of the hospitality duty, and very often required in several
religious functions.... Large and colossal edifices were quite
furnished with all the necessary for care and sport. Besides localities
for all kind of bath--cold, warm, steam bath--didn’t want parks, alleys,
and porticos in order to walk; lists rings for gymnastic exercises,
conversation and reading rooms, localities for theatrical
representations, swimming stations, localities for scientific
disquisitions, moral and religious teachings. The most splendid art
works adorned the ambient.”

When we pass to the popular amusements we are presented with the
materials of pictures vividly realized in _The Last Days of Pompeii,_
but somewhat faded since. “In the beginning gladiators’ rank was made by
condemned to death slaves and war prisoners. Later also thoughtless
young men, who had never learned an advantageous trade, became
gladiators.” In the arena they engaged in sham fights till the
spectators demanded blood. Then, “sometimes one provided one’s self nets
for wrapping up the adversary, who, hit by a trident much, frequently
die. When the gladiator was deadly wounded, forsaking the arm, struck
down and stretching the index, asked the people grace of life. The
spectators decided up his destiny, turning the thumb to the breast, or
toward the ground. The thumb turned toward the ground was the unlucky’s
death doom, and he had without fail the throat cut off.”

Such, dimly but unmistakably seen through our Italian author’s
well-reasoned English, were the ancient Pompeians; and, upon the whole,
the visitor to their city could not wish them back in it. I preferred
even those modern Pompeians who followed us so molestively to the train
with bargains in postal-cards and coral. They are very alert, the modern
Pompeians, to catch the note of national character, and I saw one of
them pursuing an elderly American with a spread of hat-pins, primarily
two francs each, and with the appeal, evidently studied from some fair
American girl: “Buy it, Poppa! Six for one franc. Oh, Poppa, buy it!”

I had again lavished my substance upon first-class tickets, and so had
my Utah friend, who expounded his philosophy of travel as we managed to
secure a first-class carriage. “When I can’t go first-class in Italy,
I’ll go home.” I promptly and proudly agreed with him, but I concealed
my morning’s experience of the fact that in Italy you may sometimes go
second class when you have paid first. I agreed with him, however, in
not minding the plunder of Italian travel, since, with all the
extortions, it would come to a third less than you expected to spend.
His was the true American spirit.



“Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn?” the traveller asks rather
anxiously than defiantly when he finds himself a stranger in a strange
place, and he is apt to add, if he has not written or wired ahead to
some specific hotel, “Which of mine inns shall I take mine ease in?” He
is the more puzzled to choose the more inns there are to choose from,
and his difficulty is enhanced if he has not considered that some of his
inns may be full or may be too dear, and yet others undesirable.

The run from Naples in four hours and a half had been so flattering fair
an experience to people who had last made it in eight that they arrived
in Rome on a sunny afternoon of January preoccupied with expectations of
an instant ease in their inn which seemed the measure of their merit.
They indeed found their inn, and it was with a painful surprise that
they did not find the rooms in it which they wanted. There were neither
rooms full south, nor over the garden, nor off the tram, and in these
circumstances there was nothing for it but to drive to some one else’s
inn and try for better quarters there. They, in fact, drove to half a
dozen such, their demands rising for more rooms and sunnier and quieter
and cheaper, the fewer and darker and noisier and dearer were those they

The trouble was that they found in the very first alien hotel where they
applied an apartment so exactly what they wanted, with its four rooms
and bath, all more or less full south, though mostly veering west and
north, that they carried the fatal norm in their consciousness and
tested all other apartments by it, the earlier notion of single rooms
being promptly rejected after the sight of it. The reader will therefore
not be so much, astonished as these travellers were to learn that there
was nothing else in Rome (where there must be about five hundred hotels,
_hotels garnis,_ and pensions) that one could comparatively stay even
overnight in, and that they settled in that alluring apartment
provisionally, the next day being Sunday, and the crystalline Saturday
of their arrival being well worn away toward its topaz and ruby sunset.
Of course, they continued their search for several days afterward,
zealously but hopelessly, yet not fruitlessly, for it resulted in an
acquaintance with Roman hotels which they might otherwise never have
made, and for one of them in literary material of interest to every one
hoping to come to Rome or despairing of it. The psychology of the matter
was very curious, and involved the sort of pleasing self-illusion by
which people so often get themselves over questionable passes in life
and come out with a good conscience, or a dead one, which is practically
the same thing. These particular people had come to Rome with
reminiscences of in-expensiveness and had intended to recoup themselves
for the cost of several previous winters in New York hotels by the
saving they would make in their Roman sojourn. When it appeared, after
all the negotiation and consequent abatement, that their Roman hotel
apartment would cost them hardly a fifth less than they had last paid in
New York, they took a guilty refuge in the fact that they were getting
for less money something which no money could buy in New York. Gradually
all sense of guilt wore off, and they boldly, or even impudently, said
to themselves that they ought to have what they could pay for, and that
there were reasons, which they were not obliged to render in their
frankest soliloquies, why they should do just what they chose in the

The truth is that the modern Roman hotel is far better in every way than
the hotel of far higher class, or of the highest class, in New York. In
the first place, the managers are in the precious secret, which our
managers have lost, of making you believe that they want you; and,
having you, they know how to look after your pleasure and welfare. The
table is always of more real variety, though vastly less stupid
profusion than ours. The materials are wholesomer and fresher and are
without the proofs, always present in our hotel viands, of a
probationary period in cold storage. As for the cooking, there is no
comparison, whether the things are simply or complexly treated; and the
service is of that neatness and promptness which ours is so ignorant of.

Your agreement is usually for meals as well as rooms; the European plan
is preferably ignored in Europe; and the _table d’hote_ luncheon and
dinner are served at small, separate tables; your breakfast is brought
to your room. Being old-fashioned, myself, I am rather sorry for the
small, separate tables. I liked the one large, long table, where you
made talk with your neighbors; but it is gone, and much facile
friendliness with it, on either hand and across the board. The rooms are
tastefully furnished, and the beds are unquestionable; the carpets
warmly cover the floor if stone, or amply rug it if of wood. The
steam-heating is generous and performs its office of “roasting you out
of the house” without the sizzling and crackling which accompany its
efforts at home. The electricity really illuminates, and there is always
an electric lamp at your bed-head for those long hours when your remorse
or your digestion will not let you sleep, and you must substitute some
other’s waking dreams for those of your own slumbers. Above all, there
is a lift, or elevator, not enthusiastically active or convulsively
swift, but entirely practicable and efficient. It will hold from four to
eight persons, and will take up at least six without reluctance.

It must be clearly understood that the ideal of American comfort is
fully and faithfully realized, and if the English have reformed the
Italian hotels in respect of cleanliness, it is we who have brought them
quite to our domestic level in regard to heat and light. But if we want
these things in Rome, we must pay for them as we do at home, though
still we do not pay so much as we pay at home. The tips are about half
our average, but whether they are given currently or ultimately I do not
know. Who, indeed, knows about others’ tips anywhere in the world? I
asked an experienced fellow-citizen what the custom was, and he said
that he believed the English gave in going away, but he thought the
spirits of the helpers drooped under the strain of hope deferred, and he
preferred to give every week. The donations, I understood, were pooled
by the dining-room waiters and then equally divided; but gifts bestowed
above stairs were for the sole behoof of him or her who took them.
Germans are said to give less than Anglo-Saxons, and it is said that
Italians in some cases do not give at all. But, again, who knows? The
Italians are said never to give drink money to the cabmen, but to pay
only the letter of the tariff. If I had done that in driving about to
look up worse hotels than the one I chose first and last, I should now
be a richer man, but I doubt if a happier. Two cents seems to satisfy a
Roman cabman; five cents has for him the witchery of money found in the
road; but I must not leave the subject of hotels for that of cabs,
however alluringly it beckons.

The reader who knows Italy only from the past should clear his mind of
his old impressions of the hotels. There is no longer that rivalry
between the coming guest and the manager to see how few or many candles
can be lighted in his room and charged in the bill; there are no longer
candles, but only electricity. There is no longer an extortion for
hearth-fires which send all the heat up the chimney; there are steam
radiators in every room. There is no longer a tedious bargaining for
rooms; the price is fixed and cannot be abated except for a sojourn of
weeks or months. But the price is much greater than it used to be--twice
as great almost; for the taxes are heavy and provisions are dear, and
coal and electricity are costly, and you must share the expense with the
landlord. He is not there for his health, and, if for your comfort, you
are not his invited guest. As I have intimated, an apartment of four
rooms with a bath will cost almost as much, with board, as the same
quarters in New York, but you will get far more for your money in Rome.
If you take a single room, even to the south, in many first-class Roman
hotels it will cost you for room and board only two dollars or two and a
half a day, which is what you pay for a far meaner and smaller room
alone in New York; and the Roman board is such, as you can get at none
but our most expensive houses for twice the money. Generally you cannot
get a single room and bath, but at present a very exclusive hotel is
going up in a good quarter which promises, with huge English signs, a
bath with every room and every room full south. One does not see just
how the universal sunny exposure is to be managed, but there can be no
question of the baths; and, with the steam radiators everywhere, the
northernmost room might well imagine itself full south.

Nearly all the hotels have a pleasant tea-room, which is called a winter
garden, because of a pair of palm-trees set under the centre of its
glass roof and the painted bamboo chairs and tables set about. This sort
of garden is found even in the hotels which are almost of the grade of
pensions and of their prices; but generally the pensions proper are
without it. Their rates are much lower, but quite as good people
frequent them, and they are often found in good streets and sometimes
open into or overlook charming gardens; the English especially seem to
like the pensions, which are managed like hotels. They are commonly
without steam-heat, which might account for their being less frequented
by Americans.

There are two supreme hotels in Rome--one in the Ludovisi quarter, as it
is called, and the other near the Baths of Diocletian, which Americans
frequent to their cost, for the rates approach a New York or London
magnificence. The first is rather the more spectacular of the two and is
the resort of all the finer sort of afternoon tea-drinkers, who find
themselves the observed of observers of all nationalities; there is
music and dress, and there are titles of every degree, with as much
informality as people choose, if they go to look, or as much state if
they go to be looked at; these things are much less cumbrously contrived
than with us. The other hotel, I have the somewhat unauthorized fancy,
is rather more addicted to very elect dinner-parties and suppers. Below
these two are an endless variety of first-rate and second-rate houses,
both in the newer quarter of the city, where the villa paths have been
turned into streets, and in the old town on all the pleasant squares and
avenues. There is a tradition of unhealth concerning the old town which
the modern death-rate of Rome shows to be unjust; at the worst these
places have more dark and damp, and the hotels are not steam-heated.

It has seemed to me that there are not so many _hotels garnis_ in Rome
as there used to be in Italian cities, but they, too, abound in pleasant
streets, and the stranger who has a fancy for lodgings with breakfast in
his rooms, and likes to browse about for his luncheon and dinner, will
easily suit himself. If it comes to taking a furnished apartment for the
season, there is much range in price and much choice in place. The
agents who have them to let will begin, rather dismayingly, “Oh,
apartments in Rome are very dear.” But you learn on inquiry that a
furnished flat in the Ludovisi region, in a house with a lift and full
sun, may be had for two hundred dollars a month. From this height the
rents of palatial apartments soar to such lonely peaks as eight hundred
and sink to such levels as a hundred and twenty or a hundred; and for
this you have linen and silver and all the movables and utensils you
want, as well as several vast rooms opening wastefully from one to
another till you reach the salon. The rents of the like flats, if
vacant, would be a quarter or a third less, though again the agents
begin by telling you that there is very little difference between the
rents of furnished and unfurnished flats.  The flats are in every part
of the old town and the new; and some are in noble sixteenth and
seventeenth century palaces, such as we are accustomed to at home only
in the theatre. My own experience is that everybody, especially in
houses where there are no lifts, lives on the top floor. You pass many
other floors in going up, but you are left to believe that nobody lives
on them. When you reach the inhabited levels, you find them charming
inside for their state and beauty, and outside for their magnificent
view, which may be pretty confidently relied upon to command the dome of
St. Peter’s. That magnificent stone bubble seems to blow all round the

When you have taken your furnished flat, the same agency will provide
you a cook at ten or twelve dollars a month, a maid at seven dollars, a
lady’s maid at eight or nine dollars, and so on; the cook will prefer to
sleep out of the house. Then will come the question of provisions, and
these seem really to be dear in Rome. Meats and vegetables both are
dear, and game and poultry. Beef will be forty cents a pound, and veal
and mutton in proportion; a chicken which has been banting for the table
from its birth will be forty cents; eggs which have not yet taken active
shape are twenty-five and thirty cents throughout winters so bland that
a hen of any heart can hardly keep from laying every day. I am afraid I
am no authority on butter and milk, and groceries I do not know the
prices of; but coffee ought to be cheap, for nobody drinks anything but
substitutes more or less unabashed.

For the passing stranger, or even the protracted so-journer, whose time
and money are not too much at odds, a hotel is best, and a hotel in the
new quarter is pleasanter than one in the old quarters. Ours, at any
rate, was in a wide, sunny, and (if I must own it) dusty street, laid
out in a line of beauty on the borders of the former Villa Ludovisi,
where the aging or middle-aging reader used to come to see Guercino’s
“Aurora” in the roof of the casino. Now all trace of the garden is
hidden under vast and vaster hotels and great blond apartment-houses,
and ironed down with trolley-rails; but the Guercino has been spared,
though it is no longer so accessible to the public. Still, there is a
garden left, and our hotel, with others, looks across the sun and dust
of its street into the useful vegetation of the famous old Capuchin
convent, with the church, to which I came so eagerly so long ago to
revere Guido’s “St. Michael and the Dragon” and the decorative bones of
the good brothers braided on the walls and roofs of the crypt in the
indissoluble community of floral and geometric designs.

[Illustration: 14 THE CAPUCHIN CHURCH, ROME]

All through the months of February and March I woke to the bell that
woke the brothers to their prayers before daybreak and burst the
beauty-sleep of the hotel-dwellers, who have so far outnumbered the
monks since the obliteration of the once neighboring villa. This was, of
course, a hardship, and one thought things of that bell which the monks
were too good to say; but being awake, and while one was reading one’s
self to sleep again, one could hear the beginning of the bird singing in
the modern garden in the rear which followed upon the bell-ringing. I do
not know what make or manner of bird it was that mostly sang among the
palms and laurels and statues, but it had a note of liquid gold, which
it poured till a certain flageo-lettist, whom I never saw, came to the
corner under the villa wall and blew his soul into one end of his
instrument and out of the other in the despondent breathings of most
melancholy music. Then, having attuned the spirits of his involuntary
listeners to a pensive sympathy, he closed with that international hymn
which does not rightly know whether it is “My Country, ‘tis of Thee,” or
“God Save the King,” but serves equally for the patriotism of any
English or Americans in hearing. I do not know why this harmless hymn,
which the flageolettist gave extremely well, should always have seemed
to provoke the derision of the donkey which apparently dwelt in harmony
with the birds in that garden, but the flageolettist had no sooner ended
than the donkey burst into a bray, loud, long, and full of mockery, with
a close of ironical whistling and most insolent hissing; you would think
that some arch-enemy of the Anglo-Saxon race was laughing the new-felt
unity of the English and Americans to scorn. Later, but still before
daylight, came the wild cry of a boy, somewhere out of perdition,
following the deep bass invitation of his father’s lost spirit to buy
his wares, whatever they were. We never knew, but we liked that boy’s
despairing wail, and would not have missed it for ever so much extra
slumber. When all hope of more sleep was past there was no question of
the desirability of the boy who visibly arranged his store of oranges on
the curbstone under the villa wall, and seemed to think that they had a
peculiar attraction from being offered for sale in pairs. His cry filled
the rest of the forenoon.

The Italian spring comes on slowly everywhere, with successive snubs in
its early ardor from the snows on the mountains, which regulate the
climate from north to south. We could not see that it made more speed
behind the sheltering walls of the Capuchin convent garden than in other
places. The old gardener whom we saw pottering about in it seemed to
potter no more actively at the end of March than at the beginning of
February; on the first days of April a heap of old leaves and stalks was
sending up the ruddy flame and pleasant smell that the like burning
heaps do with us at the like hour of spring--in fact, vegetation had
much more reason to be cheerful throughout February than at any time in
March. Those February days were really incomparable. They had not the
melting heat of the warm spells that sometimes come in our Februaries;
but their suns were golden, and their skies unutterably blue, and their
airs mild, yet fresh. You always wanted a heavy coat for driving or for
the shade in walking; otherwise the temperature was that of a New
England April which was resolved to begin as it could carry out. But
March came with cold rains of whole days, and with suns that might
overheat but could not be trusted to warm you. The last Sunday of
January I found ice in the Colosseum; but that was the only time I saw
ice anywhere in Rome. In March, however, in a moment of great
exasperation from the mountains, it almost snowed. Yet that month would
in our climate have been remembered for its beauty and for a prevailing
kindness of temperature. The worst you could say of it was that it left
the spring in the Capuchin garden where it found it. But possibly, since
the temporal power was overthrown, the seasons are neglected and
indifferent. Certainly man seems so in the case of the Capuchin convent.
Great stretches of the poor old plain edifice look vacant, and the high
wall which encloses it is plastered and painted with huge advertisements
of clothiers and hotels and druggists, and announcements of races and
other events out of keeping with its character and tradition.

The sentimentalists who overrun Rome from all the Northern lands will
tell you that this is of a piece with all the Newer Rome which has
sprung into existence since the Italian occupation. Their griefs with
the thing that is are loud and they are long; but I, who am a
sentimentalist too, though of another make, do not share them. No doubt
the Newer Rome has made mistakes, but, without defending her
indiscriminately, I am a Newer-Roman to the core, perhaps because I knew
the Older Rome and what it was like; and not all my brother and sister
sentimentalists can say as much.


Rome and I had both grown older since I had seen her last, but she
seemed not to show so much as I the forty-three years that had passed.
Naturally a city that was already twenty-seven centuries of age (and no
one knows how much more) would not betray the lapse of time since 1864
as a man must who was then only twenty-seven years of age. In fact, I
should say that Rome looked, if anything, younger at our second meeting,
in 1908, or, at any rate, newer; and I am so warm a friend of youth (in
others) that I was not sorry to find Rome young, or merely new, in so
many good things. At the same time I must own that I heard no other
foreigner praising her for her newness except a fellow-septuagenarian,
who had seen Rome earlier even than I, and who thought it well that the
Ghetto should have been cleared away, though some visitors, who had
perhaps never lived in a Ghetto, thought it a pity if not a shame, and
an incalculable loss to the picturesque. These also thought the Tiber
Embankments a wicked sacrifice to the commonplace, though the mud-banks
of other days invited the torrent to an easy overflow of whole quarters
of the town, which were left reeking with the filth of the flood that
overlay the filth of the streets, and combined with it to an effect of
disease and of discomfort not always personally unknown to the lover of
the picturesque. There used to be a particular type of typhoid known as
Roman fever, but now quite unknown, thanks to the Tiber Embankments and
to the light and air let into the purlieus of that mediaeval Rome for
which the injudicious grieve so loudly. The perfect municipal
housekeeping of our time leaves no darkest and narrowest lane or alley
unswept; every morning the shovel and broom go over the surfaces
formerly almost impassable to the foot and quite impossible to the nose.

I am speaking literally as well as frankly, and though I can understand
why some envious New-Yorker, remembering our blackguard streets and
avenues, should look askance at the decency of the newer Rome and feign
it an offence against beauty and poetry, I do not see why a Londoner,
who himself lives in a well-kept town, should join with any of my
fellow-barbarians in hypocritically deploring the modern spirit which
has so happily invaded the Eternal City. The Londoner should rather
entreat us not to be humbugs and should invite us to join him in
rejoicing that the death-rate of Rome, once the highest in the civilized
world, is now almost the lowest. But the language of Shakespeare and
Milton is too often internationally employed in deploring the modernity
which has housed us aliens there in such perfect comfort and safety. One
must confine one’s self to instances, and one may take that of the
Ludovisi Quarter, as it is called, where I dwelt in so much peace and
pleasure except when I was reminded that it was formed by plotting the
lovely Villa Ludovisi in house lots and building it up in attractive
hotels and apartment-houses.  Even then I did not suffer so keenly as
some younger people, who had never seen the villa, seemed to do, though
there are still villas to burn in and about Rome, and they could not
really miss the Ludovisi. It was a pretty place, but not beyond praise,
and the quarter also is pretty, though also not beyond praise. The villa
was for the pleasure and pride of one family, but it signified, even in
its beauty, nothing but patrician splendor, which is a poor thing at
best; and the quarter is now for the pleasure and pride of great numbers
of tourists, mostly of that plutocracy from which a final democracy is
inevitably to evolve itself. I could see no cause to beat the breast in
this; and in humbler instances, even to very humble, I could not find
that things were nearly as bad in Rome as they have been painted.

There is no doubt but at one time, directly after the coming of the
capital, Rome was badly overbuilt. There is no doubt, also, that Rome
has grown up to these rash provisions for her growth, and that she now
“stuffs out her vacant garments with her form” pretty fully. One must
not say that all the flats in all the houses are occupied, but most of
them are; and if now the property of the speculators is the property of
the banks, the banks are no bad landlords, and the law does not spare
them the least of their duties to their tenants; or so, at least, it is

Another typical wrong to the old Rome, or rather to the not-yet Rome,
was the building-up, beyond the Tiber, of the Quarter of the Fields, so
called, where Zola in his novel of _Rome_ has placed most of the squalor
which he so lavishly employs in its contrasts.  In these he shows
himself the romanticist that he always frankly owned he was in spite of
himself; but after I had read his book I made it my affair to visit the
scenes of poverty and misery in the Quartiere dei Prati. When I did so I
found that I had already passed through the quarter without noting
anything especially poor or specifically miserable, and I went a third
time to make sure that I had not overlooked something impressively
lamentable. But I did not see above three tenement-houses with the wash
hung from the windows, and with the broken shutters of poverty and
misery, in a space where on the East Side or the North Side in New York
I could have counted such houses by the score, almost the hundred. In
this quarter the streets were swept every morning as they are everywhere
in Rome, and though toward noon they were beginning to look as slovenly
as our streets look when they have just been “cleaned,” I knew that the
next morning these worst avenues of Rome would be swept as our best
never have been since the days of Waring.

Beyond the tenements the generous breadth of the new streets has been
bordered by pleasant stucco houses of the pretty Italian type,
fleetingly touched but not spoiled by the taste of the _art nouveau,_
standing in their own grounds, and not so high-fenced but one could look
over their garden-walls into the shrubs and flowers about them. Like
suburban effects are characteristic of the new wide residential streets
on the hither side of the Tiber, and on both shores the streets expand
from time to time into squares, with more or less tolerable new
monuments--say, of the Boston average--in them. The business streets
where they bear the lines of the frequently recurrent trams are spacious
and straight, and though they are not the Corso, the Corso itself, it
must be remembered, is only a street of shops by no means impressive,
and is mostly dim under the overtowering walls of palaces which have no
space to be dignified in. Now and then their open portals betray a
glimpse of a fountained or foliaged court, but whether these palaces are
outwardly beautiful or not no one can tell from what sight one can get
of them; no, not even the most besotted sentimentalist of those who
bewail the loss of mediaeval Rome when they mean Rome of the
Renaissance. How much of that Rome has been erased by modern Rome I do
not know, but I think not so much as people pretend. Some of the ugly
baroque churches have been pulled down to allow the excavation of
imperial Rome, but there are plenty of ugly baroque churches left. It is
said the princely proprietors of the old palaces which are let in
apartments along the different Corsos (for the Corso is several) are
going to pull them down and put up modern houses, with the hope of
modern rents, but again I do not know. More than once the fortuities of
hospitality found one the guest of dwellers in such stately domiciles,
and I could honestly share the anxiety with which they spoke of these
rumors; but there are a great many vast edifices of the sort, and I
should not be surprised if I went back to Rome after another forty-three
years to find most of them standing in 1951 where they now stand in
1908. Rome was not built in a day, and it will not be unbuilt or rebuilt
within the brief period that will make me one hundred and fourteen years
old. By that time I shall have outlived most of the medievalists, and I
can say to the few survivors: “There, you see that new Rome never went
half so far as you expected.”

But no doubt it will go further than it has yet gone, in the way that is
for the good and comfort of mankind. In one of the newer quarters, of
which the Baths of Diocletian form the imperial centre, my just American
pride was flattered by the sign on a handsome apartment-house going up
in gardened grounds, which advertised that it was to be finished with a
lift and steam-heating. Many of the newer houses are already supplied
with lifts, but central heating is as yet only beginning to spread from
the hotels, where steam has been installed in compliance with the
impassioned American demand to be warm all round when one is in-doors.
New Rome is not going so fast and so far but that it will keep, to
whatever end it reaches, one of the characteristic charms of the old and
older Rome. I shall expect to see when I come back in 1951 the same or
the like corners of garden walls, with the tops of shining foliage
peering over them, that now enchant the passer in the street; from the
windows of my electric-elevatored, steam-heated apartment I shall look
down into the seclusion of gardens, with the golden globes of orange
espaliers mellowing against the walls, and the fountain in the midst of
oleanders and of laurels

  “Shaking its loosened silver in the sun.”

Slim cypresses will then as now blacken through the delicate air against
the blue sky, and a stone-pine will spread its umbrella over some
sequestered nook. By that time the craze for the eucalyptus which now
possesses all Italy will be over, and every palm-tree will be cut down,
while the ilex will darken in its place and help the eternal youth of
the marbles to a greener old age of moss and mould in the gloom of its
spreading shade. All these things beautifully abound in Rome now, as
they always have abounded, and there is no reason to fear that they will
cease to abound.

Rome grows, and as Italy prospers it will grow more and more, for there
must forever be a great and famous capital where there has always been
one. The place is so perfectly the seat of an eternal city that it might
well seem to have been divinely chosen because of the earth and heaven
which are more in sympathy there than anywhere else in the world. The
climate is beyond praise for a winter which is mild without being weak;
there is a summer of tolerable noonday heat, and of nights deliciously
cool; the spring is scarcely earlier than in our latitudes, but the fall
is a long, slow decline from the temperature of October to the lowest
level of January without the vicissitudes of other autumns. The
embrowning or reddening or yellowing leaves turn sere, but drop or cling
to their parent boughs as they choose, for there is seldom a frost to
loosen their hold, and seldom a storm to tear them away.

So it is said by those who profess a more intimate acquaintance with the
Roman meteorology than I can boast, but from the little I know I can
believe anything of it that is of good report. Everywhere the prevalence
of the ilex, the orange, the laurel, the pine, flatters January with an
illusion of June, and under our hotel windows I was witness of the
success of the sycamore leaves in keeping a grip of their native twigs
even after the new buds came to push them away. In the last days of
March a plum-tree hung its robe of white blossoms over the wall of the
Capuchin convent from the garden within; but the almond-trees had been
in bloom for six weeks before, and the deeper pink of the peach had more
warmly flushed the suburbs for fully a fortnight.

Still, a mild winter and an endurable summer will not of themselves make
a great capital, and it was probably the Romans themselves who in the
past made Rome the capital of the world, first politically and then
religiously.  Whether they will make it so hereafter remains to be seen.
In the sense of all the Italians being Romans, I believe, with my
profound faith in the race, that they are very capable of doing it; and
they will have the help of the whole world in the work, or what is most
liberal and enlightened in the whole world. As it is, Rome has a pull
with Occidental civilization which forever constitutes her its head
city. The only European capitals comparable with her are London, Paris,
and Berlin; one cannot take account of New York, which is merely the
commercial metropolis of America, with a possibility of becoming the
business centre of both hemispheres. Washington is still in its nonage
and of a numerical unimportance in which it must long remain almost
ludicrously inferior to other capitals, not to dwell upon its want of
anything like artistic, literary, scientific, and historical primacy. It
is the voluntary political centre of the greatest republic of any time
and of a nation which is already unrivalled in its claim upon the
future. But it is not of the involuntary and unconscious growth of a
capital like London, which is the centre of a mighty state, deep-rooted
in the past, and the capital of that Anglo-Saxon race of which we are
ourselves a condition, and of a colonial empire without a present equal.
Paris is France in the sense of representing the intense life of a
nation unsurpassed in the things which enlighten and ennoble the human
intellect and advance mankind. Berlin is the concentration of the strong
will of a state which has made itself great out of the weak will of
sundry inferior states, homogeneous in their disunity more than in any
positive quality, and which stands for a political ideal more nearly
reactionary, more nearly mediaeval, than any other modern state. Berlin
is not German as Paris is French, and Rome is not so exclusively
Italian. In fact, her greatness, accomplished and destined, lies in just
the fact that she is not and never can be exclusively Italian. Human
interests too universal and imperative for the control of a single race,
even so brilliant and so gifted as the Italian race, which is naturally
and necessarily in possession, centre about her through history,
religion, art, and make every one at home in the city which is the
capital of Christendom. Now and then I saw some shining and twinkling
Japs going about with Baedekers, and I imagined them giving a modest and
unprejudiced mind to Rome without claiming, tacitly or explicitly, the
right to dispute the Italian theory and practice in its control. But
every Occidental stranger (if any one of European blood is a stranger in
the home of Christianity) I knew to be there in a mood more or less
critical, and in a disposition to find fault with the Rome which is now
making, or making over.


We journeyers or sojourners can do this without expense or inconvenience
to ourselves, and we can easily blame the Italian conception of the
future city which, to name but one fact, has made it possible for us to
visit her in comfort at every season and to come away without having
come down with the Roman fever. In spite of the sort of motherly, or at
the worst step-motherly, welcome which she gives to all us closely or
distantly related children of hers; in spite of her immemorial fame and
her immortal beauty; in spite of her admirable housekeeping, in which
she rises every morning at daybreak and sweeps clean every hole and
corner of her dwelling; in spite of her wonderful sky, her life-giving
air; in spite of the level head she keeps in her political affairs, and
the miraculous poise she maintains between the antagonism of State and
Church; in spite of her wise eclecticism in modern improvements; in
spite of her admirable hygiene, which has constituted her one of the
healthiest, if not the healthiest city in Europe; in spite of the
solvency which she preserves amid expenses to which the vast scale of
antiquity obliges her in all her public enterprises (a thing to be
hereafter studied), we, the ungracious offspring of her youth, come from
our North and West and censure and criticise and carp. I have seldom
conversed with any fellow-visitor in Rome who could not improve her in
some phase or other, who could not usefully advise her, who, at the
best, did not patronize her. I offer myself as almost the sole example
of a stranger who was contented with her as she is, or as she is going
to be without his help; and I am the more confident, therefore, in
suggesting to Rome an expedient by which she can repair the finances
which her visitors say are so foolishly and wastefully mismanaged in her
civic schemes. A good round tax, such as Carlsbad levies upon all
sojourners, if laid upon the multitudinous tourists joining in such a
chorus of criticism of Rome would give them the indefeasible right to
their opinions and would help to replete a treasury which they believe
is always in danger of being exhausted.


As I have told, the first visit I paid to the antique world in Rome was
at the Colosseum the day after our arrival. For some unknown reason I
was going to begin with the Baths of Caracalla, but, as it happened,
these were the very last ruins we visited in Rome; and I do not know
just what accident diverted us to the Colosseum; perhaps we stopped
because it was on the way to the Baths and looked an easier conquest. At
any rate, I shall never regret that we began with it.

After twoscore years and three it was all strangely familiar. I do not
say that in 1864 there was a horde of boys at the entrance wishing to
sell me postcards--these are a much later invention of the Enemy--but I
am sure of the men with trays full of mosaic pins and brooches, and
looking, they and their wares, just as they used to look. The Colosseum
itself looked unchanged, though I had read that a minion of the wicked
Italian government had once scraped its flowers and weeds away and
cleaned it up so that it was perfectly spoiled. But it would take a good
deal more than that to spoil the Colosseum, for neither the rapine of
the mediaeval nobles, who quarried their palaces from it, nor the
industrial enterprise of some of the popes, who wished to turn it into
workshops, nor the archeology of United Italy had sufficed to weaken in
it that hold upon the interest proper to the scene of the most
stupendous variety shows that the world has yet witnessed. The terrible
stunts in which men fought one another for the delight of other men in
every manner of murder, and wild beasts tore the limbs of those glad to
perish for their faith, can be as easily imagined there as ever, and the
traveller who visits the place has the assistance of increasing hordes
of other tourists in imagining them.

I will not be the one to speak slight of that enterprise which marshals
troops of the personally conducted through the place and instructs them
in divers languages concerning it. Save your time and money so, if you
have not too much of either, and be one of an English, French, or German
party, rather than try to puzzle the facts out for yourself, with one
contorted eye on your Baedeker and the other on the object in question.
In such parties a sort of domestic relation seems to grow up through
their associated pleasures in sight-seeing, and they are like family
parties, though politer and patienter among themselves than real family
parties. They are commonly very serious, though they doubtless all have
their moments of gayety; and in the Colosseum I saw a French party
grouped for photography by a young woman of their number, who ran up and
down before them with a kodak and coquettishly hustled them into
position with pretty, bird-like chirpings of appeal and reproach, and
much graceful self-evidencing. I do not censure her behavior, though
doubtless there were ladies among the photographed who thought it
overbold; if the reader had been young and blond and _svelte,_ in a
Parisian gown and hat, with narrow russet shoes, not too high-heeled for
good taste, I do not believe he would have been any better; or, if he
would, I should not have liked him so well.

On the earlier day which I began speaking of I found that I was
insensibly attaching myself to an English-hearing party of the
personally conducted, in the dearth of my own recollections of the local
history, but I quickly detached myself for shame and went back and
meekly hired the help of a guide who had already offered his services in
English, and whom I had haughtily spurned in his own tongue. His
English, though queer, was voluminous; but I am not going to drag the
reader at our heels laden with lore which can be applied only on the
spot or in the presence of postal-card views of the Colosseum. It is
enough that before my guide released us we knew where was the box of
Caesar, whom those about to die saluted, and where the box of the
Vestals whose fatal thumbs gave the signal of life or death for the
unsuccessful performer; where the wild beasts were kept, and where the
Christians; where were the green-rooms of the gladiators, who waited
chatting for their turn to go on and kill one another. One must make
light of such things or sink under them; and if I am trying to be a
little gay, it is for the readers’ sake, whom I would not have perish of
their realization. Our guide spared us nothing, such was his conscience
or his science, and I wish I could remember his name, for I could
commend him as most intelligent, even, when least intelligible.
However, the traveller will know him by the winning smile of his
rosy-faced little son, who follows him round and is doubtless bringing
himself up as the guide of coming generations of tourists. There had
been a full pour of forenoon sunshine on the white dust of the street
before our hotel, but the cold of the early morning, though it had not
been too much for the birds that sang in the garden back of us, had left
a skim of ice in damp spots, and now, in the late gray of the afternoon,
the ice was visible and palpable underfoot in the Colosseum, where
crowds of people wandered severally or collectively about in the
half-frozen mud. They were, indeed, all over the place, up and down, in
every variety of costume and aspect, but none were so picturesque as a
little group of monks who had climbed to a higher tier of the arches and
stood looking down into the depths where we looked up at them, denned
against the sky in their black robes, which opened to show their under
robes of white. They were picturesque, but they were not so monumental
as an old, unmistakable American in high-hat, with long, drooping
side-whiskers, not above a purple suspicion of dye, who sat on a broken
column and vainly endeavored to collect his family for departure.
Whenever he had gathered two or three about him they strayed off as the
others came up, and we left him sardonically patient of their adhesions
and defections, which seemed destined to continue indefinitely, while we
struggled out through the postal-card boys and mosaic-pin men to our
carriage. Then we drove away through the quarter of somewhat jerry-built
apartment-houses which neighbor the Colosseum, and on into the salmon
sunset which, after the gray of the afternoon, we found waiting us at
our hotel, with the statues on the balustrated wall of the villa garden
behind it effectively posed in the tender light, together with the
eidolons of those picturesque monks and that monumental American.


We could safely have stayed longer, for the evening damp no longer
brings danger of Roman fever, which people used to take in the
Colosseum, unless I am thinking of the signal case of Daisy Miller. She,
indeed, I believe, got it there by moonlight; but now people visit the
place by moonlight in safety; and there are even certain nights of the
season advertised when you may see it by the varicolored lights of the
fireworks set off in it. My impression of it was quite vivid enough
without that, and the vision of the Colosseum remained, and still
remains, the immense skeleton of the stupendous form stripped of all
integumental charm and broken down half one side of its vast oval, so
that wellnigh a quarter of the structural bones are gone.


With its image there persisted and persists the question constantly
recurrent in the presence of all the imperial ruins, whether imperial
Rome was not rather ugly than otherwise. The idea of those
world-conquerors was first immensity and then beauty, as much as could
survive consistently with getting immensity into a given space. The
question is most of all poignant in the Forum, which I let wait a full
fortnight before moving against it in the warm sun of an amiable
February morning.  On my first visit to Rome I could hardly wait for day
to dawn after my arrival before rushing to the Cow Field, as it was then
called, and seeing the wide-horned cattle chewing the cud among the
broken monuments now so carefully cherished and, as it were, sedulously
cultivated. It is doubtful whether all that has since been done, and
which could not but have been done, by the eager science as much
involuntarily as voluntarily applied to the task, has resulted in a more
potent suggestion of what the Forum was in the republican or imperial
day than what that simple, old, unassuming Cow Field afforded. There
were then as now the beautiful arches; there were the fragments of the
temple porches, with their pillars; there was the “unknown column with
the buried base”; there were all the elements of emotion and meditation;
and it is possible that sentiment has only been cumbered Avith the
riches which archaeology has dug up for it by lowering the surface of
the Cow Field fifteen or twenty feet; by scraping clean the buried
pavements; by identifying the storied points; by multiplying the
fragments of basal or columnar marbles and revealing the plans of
temples and palaces and courts and tracing the Sacred Way on which the
magnificence of the past went to dusty death. After all, the imagination
is very childlike, and it prefers the elements of its pleas-ures simple
and few; if the materials are very abundant or complex, it can make
little out of them; they embarrass it, and it turns critical in
self-defence. The grandeur that was Rome as visioned from the Cow Field
becomes in the mind’s eye the kaleidoscopic clutter which the
resurrection of the Forum Romanum must more and more realize.

If the visitor would have some rash notion of what the ugliness of the
place was like when it was in its glory, he may go look at the plastic
reconstruction of it, indefinitely reduced, in the modest building
across the way from the official entrance to the Forum. One cannot say
but this is intensely interesting, and it affords the consolation which
the humble (but not too humble) spirit may gather from witness of the
past, that the fashion of this world and the pride of the eyes and all
ruthless vainglory defeated themselves in ancient Rome, as they must
everywhere when they can work their will. If one had thought that in
magnitude and multitude some entire effect of beauty was latent, one had
but to look at that huddle of warring forms, each with beauty in it, but
beauty lost in the crazy agglomeration of temples and basilicas and
columns and arches and statues and palaces, incredibly painted and
gilded, and huddled into spaces too little for the least, and crowding
severally upon one another, without relation or proportion. Their mass
is supremely tasteless, almost senseless; that mob of architectural
incongruities was not only without collective beauty, but it was without
that far commoner and cheaper thing which we call picturesqueness. This
has come to it through ruin, and we must give a new meaning to the word
vandalism if we would appreciate what the barbarians did for Rome in
tumbling her tawdry splendor into the heaps which are now at least
paint-able. Imperial Rome as it stood was not paintable; I doubt if it
would have been even photographable to anything but a picture post-card

But as yet I wandered in the Forum safe from the realization of its
ugliness when it was in its glory. I cannot say that even now it is
picturesque, but it is paintable, and certainly it is pathetic. Stumps
of columns, high and low, stand about in the places where they stood in
their unbroken pride, and though it seems a hardship that they should
not have been left lying in the kindly earth or on it instead of being
pulled up and set on end, it must be owned that they are scarcely
overworked in their present postures. More touching are those
inarticulate heaps, cairns of sculptured fragments, piled here and there
together and waiting the knowledge which is some time to assort them and
translate them into some measure of coherent meaning. But it must always
be remembered that when they were coherent they were only beautiful
parts of a whole that was brutally unbeautiful. We have but to use the
little common-sense which Heaven has vouchsafed some of us in order to
realize that Rome, either republican or imperial, was a state for which
we can have no genuine reverence, and that mostly the ruins of her past
can stir in us no finer emotion than wonder. But necessarily, for the
sake of knowledge, and of ascertaining just what quantity and quality of
human interest the material records of Roman antiquity embody,
archaeology must devote itself with all possible piety to their
recovery. The removal, handful by handful, of the earth from the grave
of the past which the whole Forum is, tomb upon tomb, is as dramatic a
spectacle as anything one can well witness; for that soil is richer than
any gold-mine in its potentiality of treasure, and it must be strictly
scrutinized, almost by particles, lest some gem of art should be cast
aside with the accumulated rubbish of centuries. Yet this drama,
poignantly suggestive as it always must be, was the least incident of
that morning in the Forum which it was my fortune to pass there with
other better if not older tourists as guest of the Genius Loci. It was
not quite a public event, though the Commendatore Boni is so well known
to the higher journalism, and even to fiction (as the reader of Anatole
France’s _La Pierre Blanche_ will not have forgotten), that nothing
which he archaeologically does is without public interest, and this
excursion in the domain of antiquity was expected to result in
identifying the site of the Temple of Jupiter Stator. It was conjectured
that the temple vowed to this specific Jupiter for his public spirit in
stopping the flight of a highly demoralized Roman army would be found
where we actually found it. Archaeology seems to proceed by hypothesis,
like other sciences, and to enjoy a forecast of events before they are
actually accomplished. I do not say that I was very vividly aware of the
event in question; I could not go now and show where the temple stood,
but when I read of it in a cablegram to the American newspapers I almost
felt that I had dug it up with my own hands.

[Illustration: 18 THE ROMAN FORUM]

Of many other facts I was at the time vividly aware: of the charm of
finding the archaeologist in an upper room of the mediaeval church which
is turning itself into his study, of listening to his prefatory talk, so
informal and so easy that one did not realize how learned it was, and
then of following him down to the scene of his researches and hearing
him speak wisely, poetically, humorously, even, of what he believed he
had reason to expect to find. We stood with him by the Arch of Titus and
saw how the sculptures had been broken from it in the fragments found at
its base, and how the carved marbles had been burned for lime in the
kiln built a few feet off, so that those who wanted the lime need not
have the trouble of carrying the sculptures away before burning them. A
handful of iridescent glass from a house-drain near by, where it had
been thrown by the servants after breaking it, testified of the
continuity of human nature in the domestics of all ages. A somewhat
bewildering suggestion of the depth at which the different periods of
Rome underlie one another spoke from the mouth of the imperial well or
cistern which had been sunk on the top of a republican well or cistern
at another corner of the arch. In a place not far off, looking like a
potter’s clay pit, were graves so old that they seem to have antedated
the skill of man to spell any record of himself; and in the small
building which seems the provisional repository of the archaeologist’s
finds we saw skeletons of the immemorial dead in the coffins of split
trees still shutting them imperfectly in. Mostly the bones and bark were
of the same indifferent interest, but the eternal pathos of human grief
appealed from what mortal part remained of a little child, with beads on
her tattered tunic and an ivory bracelet on her withered arm. History in
the presence of such world-old atomies seemed an infant babbling of
yesterday, in what it could say of the Rome of the Popes, the Rome of
the Emperors, the Rome of the Republicans, the Rome of the Kings, the
Rome of the Shepherds and Cowherds, through which a shaft sunk in the
Forum would successively pierce in reaching those aboriginals whose
sepulchres alone witnessed that they had ever lived.

It is the voluble sorrow common to all the emotional visitors in Rome
that the past of the different generations has not been treated by the
present with due tenderness, and the Colosseum is a case notoriously in
point. But, if it was an Italian archaeologist who destroyed the wilding
growths in the Colosseum and scraped it to a bareness which nature is
again trying to clothe with grass and weeds, it ought to be remembered
that it is another Italian archaeologist who has set laurels all up and
down the slopes of the Forum, and has invited roses and honeysuckles to
bloom wherever they shall not interfere with science, but may best help
repair the wounds he must needs deal the soil in researches which seem
no mere dissections, but feats of a conservative, almost a constructive
surgery. It is said that the German archaeologists objected to those
laurels where the birds sing so sweetly; perhaps they thought them not
strictly scientific; but when the German Kaiser, who always knows so
much better than all the other Germans put together, visited the Forum,
he liked them, and he parted from the Genius Loci with the imperial
charge, “Laurels, laurels, evermore laurels.” After that the emotional
tourist must be hard indeed to please who would begrudge his laurels to
Commendatore Boni, or would not wish him a perpetual crown of them.


It is not every undeserving American who can have the erudition and
divination of the Genius Loci in answer to his unuttered prayer during a
visit to even a small part of the Roman Forum. But failing the company
of the Commendatore Boni, which is without price, there are to be had
for a very little money the guidance and philosophy, and, for all I
know, the friendship of several peripatetic historians who lead people
about the ruins in Rome, and instruct them in the fable, and doubtless
in the moral, of the things they see. If I had profited by their
learning, so much greater, or at least securer, than any the average
American has about him, I should now be tiring the reader with knowledge
which I am so willingly leaving him to imagine in me. If he is like the
average American, he has really once had some nodding acquaintance with
the facts, but history is apt to forsake you on the scene of it, and to
come lagging back when it is too late. In this psychological experience
you feel the need of help which the peripatetic historian supplies to
the groups of perhaps rather oblivious than ignorant tourists of all
nations in all languages, but preferably English. We Anglo-Saxons seem
to be the most oblivious or most ignorant; but I would not slight our
occasionally available culture any more than I would imply that those
peripatetic historians are at all like the cicerones whom they have so
largely replaced. I believe they are instructed and scholarly men; I
offer them my respect; and I wish now that I had been one of their daily
disciples, for it is full sixty years since I read Goldsmith’s _History
of Rome._ As I saw them, somewhat beyond earshot, they and their
disciples formed a spectacle which was always interesting, and, so far
as the human desire for information is affecting, was also affecting.
The listeners to the lecturers would carry back to their respective
villages and towns, or the yet simpler circles of our ordinary city
lift, vastly more association with the storied scene than I had brought
to it or should bring away. In fact, there is nothing more impressive in
the floating foreign society of Rome than its zeal for self-improvement.
No one classes himself with his fellow-tourists, though if he happens to
be a traveller he is really one of them; and it is with difficulty I
keep myself from the appearance of patronizing them in these praises,
which are for the most part reverently meant. Their zeal never seemed to
be without knowledge, whatever their age or sex; the intensity of their
application reached to all the historical and actual interests, to the
religious as well as the social, the political as well as the financial;
but, fitly in Rome, it seemed specially turned to the study of
antiquity, in the remoter or the nearer past. There was given last
winter a series of lectures at the American School of Archaeology by the
head of it, which were followed with eager attention by hearers who
packed the room. But these lectures, which were so admirably first in.
the means of intelligent study, seemed only one of the means by which my
fellow-tourists were climbing the different branches of knowledge. All
round my apathy I felt, where I did not see, the energy of the others;
with my mind’s ear I heard a rustle as of the turning leaves of
Baedekers, of Murrays, of Hares, and of the many general histories and
monographs of which these intelligent authorities advised the
supplementary reading.

If I am not so mistaken as I might very well be, however, the local
language is less studied than it was in former times, when far fewer
Italians spoke English. My own Italian was of that date; but, though I
began by using it, I found myself so often helped for a forgotten
meaning that I became subtly demoralized and fell luxuriously into the
habit of speaking English like a native of Rome. Yet tacitly, secretly
perhaps, there may have been many people who were taking up Italian as
zealously as many more were taking up antiquity. One day in the Piazza
di Spagna, in a modest little violet of a tea-room, which was venturing
to open in the face of the old-established and densely thronged parterre
opposite, I noted from my Roman version of a buttered muffin a tall,
young Scandinavian girl, clad in complete corduroy, gray in color to the
very cap surmounting her bandeaux of dark-red hair. She looked like some
of those athletic-minded young women of Ibsen’s plays, and the pile of
books on the table beside her tea suggested a student character.  When
she had finished her tea she put these books back into a leather bag,
which they filled to a rigid repletion, and, after a few laconic phrases
with the tea-girl, she went out like going off the stage. Her powerful
demeanor somehow implied severe studies; but the tea-girl--a massive,
confident, confiding Roman--said, No, she was studying Italian, and all
those books related to the language, for which she had a passion. She
was a Swede; and here the student being exhausted as a topic, and my own
nationality being ascertained, What steps, the tea-girl asked, should
one take if one wished to go to New York in order to secure a place as
cashier in a restaurant?

My facts were not equal to the demand upon them, nor are they equal to
anything like exact knowledge of the intellectual pursuits of the many
studious foreign youth of all ages and sexes whom one meets in Rome. As
I say, our acquaintance with Italian is far less useful, however
ornamental, than it used to be. The Romans are so quick that they
understand you when they speak no English, and take your meaning before
you can formulate it in their own tongue. A classically languaged
friend of mine, who was hard bested in bargaining for rooms, tried his
potential landlord in Latin, and was promptly answered in Latin. It was
a charming proof that in the home of the Church her mother-speech had
never ceased to be spoken by some of her children, but I never heard of
any Americans, except my friend, recurring to their college courses in
order to meet the modern Latins in their ancient parlance. In spite of
this instance, and that of the Swedish votary of Italian, I decided that
the studies of most strangers were archaeological rather than
philological, historical rather than literary, topographical rather than
critical. I do not say that I had due confirmation of my theory from the
talk of the fellow-sojourners whom one is always meeting at teas and
lunches and dinners in Rome. Generally the talk did not get beyond an
exchange of enthusiasms for the place, and of experiences of the
morning, in the respective researches of the talkers.

Such of us as were staying the winter, of course held aloof from the
hurried passers-through, or looked with kindly tolerance on their
struggles to get more out of Rome in a given moment than she perhaps
yielded with perfect acquiescence. We fancied that she kept something
back; she is very subtle, and has her reserves even with people who pass
a whole winter within her gates. The fact is, there are a great many of
her, though we knew her afar as one mighty personality. There is the
antique Rome, the mediaeval Rome, the modern Rome; but that is only the
beginning. There is the Rome of the State and the Rome of the Church,
which divide between them the Rome of politics and the Rome of fashion;
but here is a field so vast that Ave may not enter it without danger of
being promptly lost in it. There is the Rome of the visiting
nationalities, severally and collectively; there is especially the
Anglo-American Rome, which if not so populous as the German, for
instance, is more important to the Anglo-Saxons. It sees a great deal of
itself socially, but not to the exclusion of the sympathetic Southern
temperaments which seem to have a strange but not unnatural affinity
with it. So far as we might guess, it was a little more Clerical than
Liberal in its local politics; if you were very Liberal, it was well to
be careful, for Conversion lurked under many exteriors which gave no
outward sign of it; if the White of the monarchy and the Black of the
papacy divide the best Roman families, of course foreigners are more
intensely one or the other than the natives. But Anglo-Saxon life was
easy for one not self-obliged to be of either opinion or party; and it
was pleasant in most of its conditions.  In Rome our internationalities
seemed to have certain quarters largely to themselves. In spite of our
abhorrence of the destruction and construction which have made modern
Rome so wholesome and delightful, most of us had our habitations in the
new quarters; but certain pleasanter of the older streets, like the Via
Sistina, Via del Babuino, Via Capo le Case, Via Gregoriana, were our
sojourn or our resort.  Especially in the two first our language filled
the outer air to the exclusion of other conversation, and within doors
the shopmen spoke it at least as well as the English think the Americans
speak it. It was pleasant to meet the honest English faces, to recognize
the English fashions, to note the English walk; and if these were
oftener present than their American counterparts, it was not from our
habitual minority, but from our occasional sparsity through the panic
that had frightened us into a homekeeping foreign to our natures.

In like manner our hyphenated nationalities have the Piazza di Spagna
for their own. There are the two English book-stores and the circulating
libraries, in each of which the books are so torn and dirty that you
think they cannot be quite so bad in the other till you try it; there
seems nothing for it, then, but to wash and iron the different Tauchnitz
authors, and afterward darn and mend them. The books on sale are, of
course, not so bad; they are even quite clean; and except for giving out
on the points of interest where you could most wish them to abound,
there is nothing in them to complain of. There is less than nothing to
complain of in the tea-room which enjoys our international favor except
that at the most psychological moment of the afternoon you cannot get a
table, in spite of the teas going on in the fashionable hotels and the
friendly houses everywhere.  The toast is exceptional; the muffins so
far from home are at least reminiscent of their native island; the tea
and butter are alike blameless. The company, to the eye of the friend of
man, is still more acceptable, for, if the Americans have dwindled, the
English have increased; and there is nothing more endearing than the
sight of a roomful of English people at their afternoon tea in a strange
land. No type seems to predominate; there are bohemians as obvious as
clerics; there are old ladies and young, alike freshly fair; there are
the white beards of age and the clean-shaven cheeks of youth among the
men; some are fashionable and some outrageously not; peculiarities of
all kinds abound without conflicting. Some talk, frankly audible, and
others are frankly silent, but a deep, wide purr, tacit or explicit,
close upon a muted hymn of thanksgiving, in that assemblage of mutually
repellent personalities, for the nonce united, would best denote the
universal content.

Hard by this tea-room there is a public elevator by which the reader
will no doubt rather ascend with me than, climb the Spanish Steps
without me; after the first time, I never climbed them. The elevator
costs but ten centimes, and I will pay for both; there is sometimes
drama thrown in that is worth twice the money; for there is war, more or
less roaring, set between the old man who works the elevator and the
young man who sells the tickets to it. The law is that the elevator will
hold only eight persons, but one memorable afternoon the ticket-seller
insisted upon giving a ticket to a tall, young English girl who formed
an unlawful ninth. The elevator-man, a precisian of the old school,
expelled her; the ticket-seller came forward and reinstated her; again
the elder stood upon the letter of the law; again the younger demanded
its violation. The Tuscan tongue in their Roman mouths flew into
unintelligibility, while the poor girl was put into the elevator and out
of it; and the respective parties to the quarrel were enjoying it so
much that it might never have ended if she had not taken the affair into
her own hands. She finally followed the ticket-seller back to his desk,
to which he retired after each act of the melodrama, and threw her
ticket violently down. “Here is your ticket!” she said in English so
severe that he could not help understanding and cowering before it.
“Give me back my money!” He was too much stupefied by her decision of
character to speak; and he returned her centimes in silence while we got
into our cage and mounted to the top, and the elevator-man furiously
repeated to himself his side of the recent argument all the way up. This
did not prevent his touching his hat to each of us in parting, and
assuring us that he revered us; a thing that only old-fashioned Romans
seem to do nowadays, in the supposed decay of manners which the
comfortable classes everywhere like to note in the uncomfortable. Then
some ladies of our number went off on a platform across the house-tops
to which the elevator had brought us, as if they expected to go down the
chimneys to their apartments; and the rest of us expanded into the
Piazza Trinita de’ Monti; and I stopped to lounge against the uppermost
balustrade of the Spanish Steps.

It is notable, but not surprising, how soon one forms the habit of this,
for, seen from above, the Spanish Steps are only less enchanting than
the Spanish Steps seen from below, whence they are absolutely the most
charming sight in the world. The reader, if he has nothing better than a
post-card (which I could have bought him on the spot for fifty a franc),
knows how the successive stairways part and flow downward to right and
left, like the parted waters of a cascade, and lose themselves at the
bottom in banks of flowers. No lovelier architectural effect was ever
realized from a happy fancy; but, of course, the pictorial effect is
richer from below, especially from the Via dei Condotti, where it opens
into the Piazza di Spagna. I suppose there must be hours of the day, and
certainly there are hours of the night, when in this prospect the Steps
have not the sunset on them. But most of the time they have the sunset
on them, warm, tender; a sunset that begins with the banks of daffodils
and lilies and anemones and carnations and roses and almond blossoms,
keeping the downpour of the marble cascades from flooding the piazza,
and mounts, mellowing and yellowing, up their gray stone, until it
reaches the Church of Trinita de’ Monti at the top.

[Illustration: 19 SPANISH STEPS]

There it lingers, I should say, till dawn, bathing the golden-brown
facade in an effulgence that lifelong absence cannot eclipse when once
it has blessed your sight. It is beauty that rather makes the heart
ache, and the charm of the Steps from above is something that you can
bear better if you are very, very worthy, or have the conceit of feeling
yourself so. It is a charm that imparts itself more in detail and is
less exclusively the effect of perpetual sunset. From the parapet
against which you lean you have a perfecter conception of the
architectural form than you get from below, and you are never tired of
seeing the successive falls of the Steps dividing themselves and then
coming together on the broad landings and again parting and coming

If there were once many models, male, female, and infant, brigands,
peasants, sages, and martyrs, lounging on the Spanish Steps, as it seems
to me there used to be, and as every one has heard say, waiting there
for the artists to come and carry them off to their studios and transfer
them to their canvases, they are now no longer there in noticeable
number. I saw some small boys in steeple-crowned soft hats and short
jackets, with their little legs wound round with the favorite bandaging
of brigands; and some mothers suitable for Madonnas, perhaps, with babes
at the breast; there was a patriarchal old man or two, ready no doubt to
pose for the prophets, or, at a pinch, for yet more celestial persons;
but for the rest the Steps were rather given up to flower-girls,
fruit-peddlers, and beggars pure and simple, on levels distinctly below
those infested by the post-card peddlers. The whole neighborhood abounds
in opportunities for charity, and at the corner of the Via Sistina there
is a one-legged beggar who professes to black shoes in the intervals of
alms-taking, and who early made me his prey. If sometimes I fancied
escaping by him to my lounge against the parapet of the steps, he
joyously overtook me with a swiftness of which few two-legged men are
capable; he wore a soldier’s cap, and I hoped, for the credit of our
species, that he had lost his leg in battle, but I do not know.

On a Sunday evening I once hung there a long time, watching with one eye
the people who were coming back from their promenade on the Pincian
Hill, and with the other the groups descending and ascending the Steps.
On the first landing below me there was a boy who gratified me, I dare
say unconsciously, by trying to stand on his hands; and a little
dramatic spectacle added itself to this feat of the circus. Two pretty
girls, smartly dressed in hats and gowns exactly alike, and doubtless
sisters, if not twins, passed down to the same level. One was with a
handsome young officer, and walked staidly beside him, as if content
with her quality of captive or captor. The other was with a civilian, of
whom she was apparently not sure. Suddenly she ran away from him to the
verge of the next fall of steps, possibly to show him how charmingly she
was dressed, possibly to tempt him by her grace in flight to follow her
madly. But he followed sanely and slowly, and she waited for him to come
up, in a capricious quiet, as if she had not done anything or meant
anything. That was all; but I am not hard to suit; and it was richly
enough for me.

[Illustration: 20 TOWARD THE PINCIAN HILL]

Her little comedy came to its denouement just under the shoulder of the
rose-roofed terrace jutting from a lowish, plainish house on the left,
beyond certain palms and eucalyptus-trees. It is one of the most sacred
shrines in Rome, for it was in this house that the “young English poet
whose name was writ in water” died to deathless fame three or fourscore
years ago. It is the Keats house, which when he lived in it was the
house of Severn the painter, his host and friend. I had visited it for
the kind sake of the one and the dear sake of the others when I first
visited Rome in 1864; and it was one of the earliest stations of my
second pilgrimage. It is now in form for any and all visitors, but the
day I went it had not yet been put in its present simple and tasteful
keeping. A somewhat shrill and scraping-voiced matron inquired my
pleasure when she followed me into the ground-floor entrance from
somewhere without, and then, understanding, called hor young daughter,
who led me up to the room where Keats mused his last verse and breathed
his last sigh. It is a very little room, looking down over the Spanish
Steps, with their dike of bloom, across the piazza to the narrow stretch
of the Via del Babuino. I must have stood in it with Severn and heard
him talk of Keats and his ultimate days and hours; for I remember some
such talk, but not the details of it. He was a very gentle old man and
fondly proud of his goodness to the poor dying poet, as he well might
be, and I was glad to be one of the many Americans who, he said, came to
grieve with him for the dead poet.

Now, on my later visit, it was a cold, rainy day, and it was chill
within the house and without, and I imputed my weather to the time of
Keats’s sojourn, and thought of him sitting by his table there in that
bare, narrow, stony room and coughing at the dismal outlook. Afterward I
saw the whole place put in order and warmed by a generous stove, for
people who came to see the Keats and Shelley collections of books and
pictures; but still the sense of that day remains. The young girl
sympathized with my sympathy, and wished to find a rose for me in the
trellis through which the rain dripped. She could not, and I suggested
that there would be roses in the spring. “No,” she persisted, “sometimes
it makes them in the winter,” but I had to come away through the reeking
streets without one.

When it rains, it rains easily in Rome. But the weather was divine the
evening I looked one of my latest looks down on the Spanish Steps. The
sun had sunk rather wanly beyond the city, but a cheerful light of
electrics shone up at me from the Via dei Condotti. I stood and thought
of as much as I could summon from the past, and I was strongest, I do
not know why, with the persecutions of the early Christians. Presently a
smell of dinner came from the hotels around and the houses below, and I
was reminded to go home to my own _table d’hote._ My one-legged beggar
seemed to have gone to his, and I escaped him; but I was intercepted by
the sight of an old woman asleep over her store of matches. She was not
wakened by the fall of my ten-centime piece in her tray, but the boy
drowsing beside her roused himself, and roused her to the dreamy
expression of a gratitude quite out of scale with my alms.



My visit to the Roman Forum when the Genius Loci verified to my
ignorance and the intelligence of my companions the well-conjectured
site of the Temple of Jupiter Stator was not the first nor yet the
second visit I had paid the place. There had been intermediate mornings
when I met two friends there, indefinitely more instructed, with whom I
sauntered from point to point, preying upon their knowledge for my
emotion concerning each. Information is an excellent thing--in others;
and but for these friends I should not now be able to say that this
mouldering heap of brickwork, rather than that, was Julius Caesar’s
house; or just where it was that Antony made his oration over the waxen
effigy which served him for Caesar’s body. They helped me realize how
the business life and largely the social life of Rome centred in the
Forum, but spared me so much detail that my fancy could play about among
its vanished edifices without inconvenience from the clutter of shops
and courts and monuments which were ultimately to hem it in and finally
to stifle it. They knew their Forum so well that they could not only
gratify any curiosity I had, but could supply me with curiosity when I
had none. For the moment I was aware that this spot or that, though it
looked so improbable, was the scene of deeds which will reverberate
forever; they taught me to be tolerant of what I had too lightly
supposed fables as serious traditions closely verging on facts. I
learned to believe again that the wolf suckled Romulus and Remus,
because she had her den no great way off on the Palatine, and that
Romulus himself had really lived, since he had died and was buried in
the Forum, where they showed me his tomb, or as much of it as I could
imagine in the sullen little cellar so called. They also showed me the
rostrum where the Roman orators addressed the mass-meetings of the
republican times, and they showed me the lake, or the puddle left of it,
into which Curtius (or one of three heroes of the name) leaped at an
earlier day as a specific for the pestilence which the medical science
of the period had failed to control. In our stroll about the place we
were joined by one of the several cats living in the Forum, which
offered us collectively its acquaintance, as if wishing to make us feel
at home. It joined us and it quitted us from time to time, as the whim
took it, but it did not abandon us wholly till we showed a disposition
to believe in that lake of Curtius, so called after those three
public-spirited heroes, the first being a foreigner. Then the cat, which
had more than once stretched itself as if bored, turned from us in
contempt and went and lay down in a sunny corner near the tomb of
Romulus, and fell asleep.

[Illustration: 22 TRAJAN’S FORUM AND COLUMN]

It is quite possible that my reader does not know, as lately I did not,
that the Roman Forum is but one of several forums connected with it by
ways long centuries since buried fathoms deep and built upon many
stories high. But I am now able to assure him that in the whole region
between the Roman Forum and the Forum of Trajan, which were formerly
opened into each other by the removal of a hill as tall as the top of
Trajan’s Column, you pass over other forums hidden beneath your feet or
wheels. You cannot be stayed there, however, by the wonders which
archaeology will yet reveal in them (for archaeology has its relentless
eye upon every inch of the ground above them), but you will certainly
pause at the Forum of Trajan, where archaeology, as it is in
Commendatore Boni, has had its way already. In fact, until his work in
the Roman Forum is finished, the Forum of Trajan must remain his
greatest achievement, and the sculptured column of the great emperor
must serve equally as the archaeologist’s monument. I do not remember
why in the old time I should have kept coming to look at that column and
study the sculptured history of Trajan’s campaigns, toiling around it to
its top. I think one could then get close to its base, as now one
cannot, what with the deepening of the Forum to its antique level and
the enclosure of the whole space with an iron rail. The area below is
free only to a large company of those cats which seem to have their
dwelling among all the ruins and restorations of ancient Rome. People
come to feed the Trajan cats with the fish sold near by for the purpose,
and one morning, in pausing to view his column from the respectful
distance I had to keep, I counted no less than thirteen of his cats in
his forum. They were of every age and color, but much more respectable
in appearance than the cats of the Pantheon, which have no such sunny
expanse as that forum for their quarters, but only a very damp corner
beside the temple, and seem to have suffered in their looks and health
from the situation. It was afterward with dismay that I realized the
fatal number of the Trajan cats coming to their breakfast that morning
so unconscious of evil omen in the figure; but as there are probably no
statistics of mortality among the cats of Rome, I shall never know
whether any of the thirteen has rendered up one of their hundred and
seventeen lives.

However, if I allowed myself to go on about the cats of Rome, either
ancient or modern, there would be no end. For instance, in a statuary’s
shop in the Via Sistina there is a large yellow cat, which I one day saw
dressing the hair of the statuary’s boy. It performed this office with a
very motherly anxiety, seated on the top of a high rotary table where
ordinarily the statuary worked at his carving, and pausing from time to
time, as it licked the boy’s thick, black locks, to get the effect of
its labors. On other days or at other hours it slept under the
table-top, unvexed by the hammering that went on over its head. Even in
Rome, where cats are so abundant, it was a notable cat.

If you visit the Roman Forum in the morning you are only too apt to be
hurried home by remembrance of the lunch-hour. That, at any rate, was my
case, but I was not so hungry that I would not pause on my way hotelward
at what used to be the Temple of Vesta in my earlier time, but which, is
now superseded by the more authentic temple in the Forum. I had long
revered the first in its former quality, and I now paid it the tribute
of unwilling renunciation. It is so nearly a perfect relic of ancient
Rome and so much more impressive, in its all but unbroken peristyle,
than the later but recumbent claimant to its identity that I am sure the
owners of the little bronze or alabaster copies of it scattered over the
world must share my pious reluctance. The custodian is still very proud
of it, and would have lectured me upon it much longer than I let him; as
it was, he kept me while he could cast a blazing copy of the _Popolo
Romano_ into the cavernous crypt under it, apparently to show me how
deep it was. He may have had other reasons; but in any case I urge the
traveller to allow him to do it, for it costs no additional fee, and it
seems to do him so much good. If it is not very near lunch-time, let the
traveller look well about him in the dusty little piazza there, for the
Temple of Fortune, with its bruised but beautiful facade, is hard by, as
much in the form that Servius Tullius gave it as could well be expected
after all this time.

Perhaps the Circus of Marcellus is on the traveller’s way home to lunch;
but he will always be passing the segment of its arcaded wall, filled in
with mediaeval masonry; and he need not stop, especially if he has his
cab by the hour, for there is nothing more to be seen of the circus. A
glimpse, through overhanging foliage, of the steps to the Campidoglio,
with Castor and Pollux beside their horses at top, may be a fortunate
accident of his course. If this happens it will help to rehabilitate for
him the Rome of the paganism to which these divinities remained true
through all temptations to Judaize during the unnumbered centuries of
their sojourn, forgotten, in the Ghetto. It is hardly possible that his
glimpse will include even the top of Marcus Aurelius’s head where he
sits his bronze charger--an extremely fat one--so majestically in the
piazza beyond those brothers, as if conscious of being the most noble
equestrian statue which has ridden down to us from antiquity.

A more purposed sight of all this will, of course, supply any defects of
chance, though I myself always liked chance encounters with the
monuments of the past. I had constantly cherished a remembrance of the
nobly beautiful facade which is all that is left of the Temple of
Neptune, and I meant deliberately to revisit it if I could find out
where it was. A kind fortuity befriended me when one day, driving
through the little piazza where it lurks behind the Piazza Co-lonna, I
looked up, and there, in awe-striking procession, stood the mighty
antique columns sustaining the entablature of mediaeval stucco with
their fluted marble. I could not say why their poor, defaced, immortal
grandeur should have always so affected me, for I do not know that my
veneration was due it more than many other fragments of the past; but no
arch or pillar of them all seems so impressive, so pathetic. To make the
reader the greatest possible confidence, I will own that I passed five
times through the Piazza Colonna to my tailor’s in the next piazza (at
Rome your tailor wishes you to try on till you have almost worn your new
clothes out in the ordeal) before I realized that the Column of Marcus
Aurelius was not the more famous Column of Trajan. There is, in fact, a
strong family likeness between these columns, both being bandaged round
from bottom to top with the tale of the imperial achievements and having
a general effect in common; but there is no brother or cousin to the
dignity of that melancholy yet vigorous ruin of the Temple of Neptune,
or anything that resembles it in the whole of ancient Rome. It survives
having been a custom-house and being a stock-exchange without apparent
ignominy, while one feels an incongruity, to say the least, in the
Column of Marcus Aurelius looking down on the sign of the Mutual Life
Insurance Company of New York.  Whether this is worse than for the
Palazzo di Venezia to confront the American Express Company where it is
housed on the other side of the piazza I cannot say. What I can say is
that I believe the Temple of Neptune would have been superior to either
fate; though I may be mistaken.

Ruin, nearly everywhere in Rome, has to be very patient of the
environment; and even the monuments of the past which are in
comparatively good repair have not always the keeping that the past
would probably have chosen for them. One that suffers as little as any,
if not the very least, is the Pantheon, on whose glorious porch you are
apt to come suddenly, either from a narrow street beside it or across
its piazza, beyond the fountain fringed with post-card boys and their
bargains. In spite of them, the sight of the temple does mightily lift
the heart; and though you may have had, as I had, forty-odd years to
believe in it, you must waver in doubt of its reality whenever you see
it. It seems too great to be true, standing there in its immortal
sublimity, the temple of all the gods by pagan creation, and all the
saints by Christian consecration, and challenging your veneration
equally as classic or catholic. It is worthy the honor ascribed to it in
the very latest edition of Murray’s _Handbook_ as “the best-preserved
monument of ancient Rome”; worthy the praise of the fastidious and
difficult Hare as “the most perfect pagan building in the city”; worthy
whatever higher laud my unconsulted Baedeker bestows upon it. But I
speak of the outside; and let not the traveller grieve if he comes upon
it at the noon hour, as I did last, and finds its vast bronze doors
closing against him until three o’clock; there are many sadder things in
life than not seeing the interior of the Pantheon. The gods are all
gone, and the saints are gone or going, for the State has taken the
Pantheon from the Church and is making it a national mausoleum. Victor
Emmanuel the Great and Umberto the Kind already lie there; but otherwise
the wide Cyclopean eye of the opening in the roof of the rotunda looks
down upon a vacancy which even your own name, as written in the
visitors’ book, in the keeping of a solemn beadle, does not suffice to
fill, and which the lingering side altars scarcely relieve.

I proved the fact by successive visits; but, after all my content with
the outside of the Pantheon, I came to think that what you want in Rome
is not the best-preserved monument, not the most perfect pagan building,
but the most ruinous ruin you can get. I am not sure that you get this
in the mouldering memorials of the past on the Palatine Hill, but you
get something more nearly like it than anything I can think of at the
moment. In that imperial and patrician and plutocratic residential
quarter you see, if you are of the moderately moneyed middle class, what
the pride of life must always come to when it has its way; and your
consolation is full if you pause to reflect how some day Fifth Avenue
and the two millionaire blocks eastward will be as the Palatine now is.

Riches and power are of the same make in every time, though they may
wear different faces from age to age; and it will be well for the very
wealthy members of our smart set to keep this fact in mind when they
visit that huge sepulchre of human vainglory.

But I will not pretend that I did so myself that matchless April morning
when I climbed over the ruins of the Palatine and found the sun rather
sickeningly hot there. That is to say, it was so in the open spaces
which were respectively called the house of this emperor and that, the
temple of this deity or that, whose divine honors half the Caesars
shared; in the Stadium, beside the Lupercal, and the like. The Lupercal
was really imaginable as the home of the patroness wolf of Rome, being a
wild knot of hill fitly overgrown with brambles and bushes, and looking
very probably the spot where Caesar would thrice have refused the crown
that Antony offered him. But for the rest, one ruin might very well pass
for another; a temple with a broken statue and the stumps of a few
columns could very easily deceive any one but an archaeologist.
Fortunately we had the charming companionship of one of the most amiable
of archaeologists, who was none the less learned for being a woman; and
she made even me dimly aware of identities which would else have been
lost upon me. To be sure, I think that without help I should have known
the Stadium when I came to it, because it seemed studied from that in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, and, though it was indefinitely more
dilapidated, was so obviously meant for the same sorts of games and
races. I do not know but it was larger than the Cambridge Stadium,
though I will not speak so confidently of its size as of that deathly
cold in the vaults and subterranean passages by which we found our way
to the burning upper air out of the foundations and basements of palaces
and temples and libraries and theatres that had ceased to be.

[Illustration: 23 THE ROSTRA IN THE FORUM]

One of the most comfortable of these galleries was that in which
Caligula was justly done to death, or, if not Caligula, it was some
other tyrant who deserved as little to live. But for our guide I should
not have remembered his slaughter there, and how much satisfaction it
had given me when I first read of it in Goldsmith’s _History of Rome;_
and really you must not acquaint yourself too early with such facts, for
you forget them just when you could turn them to account. History is apt
to forsake you in the scene of it and come lagging hack afterward; and
you cannot hope always to have an archaeologist at your elbow to remind
you of things you have forgotten or possibly have not known. Suetonius,
Plutarch, De Quincey, Gibbon, these are no bad preparations for a visit
to the Palatine, but it is better to have read them yesterday than the
day before if you wish to draw suddenly upon them for associations with
any specific spot. If I were to go again to the Palatine, I would take
care to fortify myself with such structural facts from Hare’s _Walks in
Rome,_ or from Murray, or even from Baedeker, as that it was the home of
Augustus and Tiberius, Domitian and Nero and Caligula and Septimius
Severus and Germanicus, and a very few of their next friends, and that
it radically differed from the Forum in being exclusively private and
personal to the residents, while that was inclusively public and common
to the whole world. I strongly urge the reader to fortify himself on
this point, for otherwise he will miss such significance as the place
may possibly have for him.  Let him not trust to his impressions from
his general reading; there is nothing so treacherous; he may have
general reading enough to sink a ship, but unless he has a cargo taken
newly on board he will find himself tossing without ballast on those
billowy slopes of the Palatine, where he will vainly try for definite

The billowy effect of the Palatine, inconvenient to the explorer, is its
greatest charm from afar, in whatever morning or evening light, or sun
or rain, you get its soft, brownish, greenish, velvety masses. Distance
on it is best, and distance in time as well as space. If you can believe
the stucco reconstruction opposite the Forum gate, ruin has been even
kinder to the Palatine than to the Forum, with which it was equally ugly
when in repair, if taken in the altogether, however beautiful in detail.
As you see it in that reproduction, it is a horror, and a very vulgar
horror, such a horror as only unlimited wealth and uncontrolled power
can produce. If you will think of individualism gone mad, and each
successive personality crushing out and oversloughing some other,
without that regard for proportion and propriety which only the sense of
a superior collective right can inspire, you will imagine the Palatine.
Mount Morris, at One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street, if unscrupulously
built upon by the multimillionaires thronging to New York and seeking to
house themselves each more splendidly and spaciously than the other,
would offer a suggestion in miniature of what the Palatine seems to have
been like in its glory. But the ruined Mount Morris, even allowing for
the natural growth of the landscape in two thousand years, could show no
such prospect twenty centuries hence as we got that morning from a bit
of wilding garden near the Convent of San Bonaventura, on the brow of
the Palatine. Some snowy tops pillowed themselves on the utmost horizon,
and across the Campagna the broken aqueducts stalked and fell down and
stumbled to their legs again. The Baths of Caracalla bulked up in
rugged, monstrous fragments, and then in the foreground, filling the
whole eye, the Colosseum rose and stood, and all Rome sank round it. The
Forum lay deep under us, vainly struggling with the broken syllables of
its demolition to impart a sense of its past, and at our feet in that
bit of garden where the roses were blooming and the plum-trees were
blowing and the birds were singing, there stretched itself in the grass
a fallen pillar wreathed with the folds of a marble serpent, the emblem
of the oldest worship under the sun, as I was proud to remember without
present help. It was the same immemorial, universal faith which the
Mound Builders of our own West symbolized in the huge earthen serpents
they shaped uncounted ages before the red savages came to wonder at
them, and doubtless it had been welcomed by Rome in her large, loose,
cynical toleration, together with cults which, like that of Isis and
Osiris, were fads of yesterday beside it. Somehow it gave the humanest
touch in the complex impression of the overhistoried scene.  It made one
feel very old, yet very young--old with the age and young with the youth
of the world--and very much at home.


I was myself part of the antiquity with which I have been trying to be
honest; and, though my date was no earlier than the seventh decade of
the nineteenth century, still so many and such cataclysmal changes had
passed over Rome since my time that I was, as far as concerned my own
consciousness, practically of the period of the Pantheon, say. The
Pantheon, in fact, was among my first associations with Rome. I lodged
very near it, in the next piazza, so that, if we were not
contemporaries, we were companions, and I could not go out of my hotel
to look up a more permanent sojourn without passing by it. Perhaps I
wished to pass by it, and might really have found my way to the Corso
without the Pantheon’s help.

I have no longer a definite idea why I should have made my sojourn in
the very simple and modest little street called Via del Gambero, which
runs along behind the Corso apparently till it gets tired and then
stops. But very possibly it was because the Via del Gambero was so
simple and modest that I chose it as the measure of my means; or
possibly I may have heard of the apartment I took in it from wayfarers
passing through Venice, where I then lived, and able to commend it from
their own experience of it; people in that kind day used to do such
things. However it was, I took the apartment, and found it, though
small, apt for me, as Ariosto said of his house, and I dwelt in it with
my family a month or more in great comfort and content. In fact, it
seemed to us the pleasantest apartment in Rome, where the apartments of
passing strangers were not so proud under Pius IX. as they are under
Victor Emmanuel III. I do not know why it should have been called the
Street of the Lobster, but it may have been in an obscure play of the
fancy with the notion of a backward gait in it that I came to believe
that, in the many improvements which had befallen Rome, Via del Gambero
had disappeared. Destroyed, some traveller from antique lands had told
me, I dare say; obliterated, wiped out by the march of municipal
progress. At any rate, I had so long resigned the hope of revisiting the
quiet scene that when I revisited Rome last winter, after the flight of
ages, and one day found myself in a shop on the Corso, it was from
something like a hardy irony that I asked the shopman if a street called
Via del Gambero still existed in that neighborhood. I said that I had
once lodged in it forty-odd years before; but I believed it had been
demolished. Not at all, the shopman said; it was just behind his place;
and what was the number of the house? I told him, and he laughed for joy
in being able to do me a pleasure; me, a stranger from the strange land
of sky-scratchers _(grattacieli),_ as the Italians not inadequately
translate sky-scrapers. If I would favor him through his back shop he
would show me how close I was upon it; and from his threshold he pointed
to the corner twenty yards off, which, when I had turned it, left me
almost at my own door.

In that transmuted Rome Via del Gambero, at least, was wholly unchanged,
and there was not a wrinkle in the front of the house where we had
sojourned so comfortably, so contentedly, in our incredible youth. I had
not quite the courage to ring and ask if we were at home; but, standing
across the way and looking up at the window, it seemed to me that I
might have seen my own young face peering out in a somewhat suspicious
question of the old eyes staring up so fixedly at it. Who was I, and
what was I doing there? Was I waiting, hanging idly about, to see the
Armenian archbishop coming to carry my other self in his red coach to
the Sistine Chapel, where we were to hear Pius IX. say mass? There was
no harm in my hanging about, but the street was narrow and there was a
chance of my being ground up by some passing cart against the wall there
behind me if I was not careful. I could not tell my proud young double
that we were one, and that I was going in the archbishop’s red coach as
well; he would never have believed it of my gray hairs and sunken
figure. I could not even ask him what had become of the grocer near by,
whom I used to get some homely supplies of, perhaps eggs or oranges, or
the like, when I came out in the December mornings, and who, when I said
that it was very cold, would own that it was _un poco rigidetto,_ or a
little bit stiffish. The ice on the pavement, not clean-swept as now,
but slopped and frozen, had been witness of that; the ice was gone and
the grocer with it; and where really was I? At the window up there, or
leaning against the apse of the church opposite? What church was it,
anyway? I never knew; I never asked. Why should I insist upon a common
identity with a man of twenty-seven to whom my threescore and ten could
only bring perplexity, to say the least, and very likely vexation? I
went away from Via del Gambero, where the piety of the reader will seek
either of myselves in vain. In my earlier date one used to see the red
legs of the French soldiers about the Roman streets, and the fierce
faces of the French officers, fierce as if they felt themselves
wrongfully there and were braving it out against their consciences. Very
likely they had no conscience about it; they had come there over the
dead body of the Roman Republic at the will of their rascal president,
and they were staying there by the will of their rascal emperor, to keep
on his throne the pope from whom the Italians had hoped for unity and
liberty. No one is very much to blame for anything, I suppose, and very
likely Pius IX. had not voluntarily disappointed his countrymen, who may
have expected too much. But then the French had been there fifteen
years, and were to be there another fifteen years yet. Now they are
gone, with the archbishop’s red coach, and the complaisant grocer, and
the young man of twenty-seven in Via del Gambero, and the rest of the
things that the sun looked on and will look on the like of again, no
doubt, in our monotonous round of him.

To-day, instead of the red legs of the French soldiers, you see the blue
legs of the Italian soldiers, and instead of the fierce faces of their
officers, the serious, intelligent, mostly spectacled faces of the
Italian officers, in sweeping cloaks of tender blue verging on lavender.
They are soldierly men none the less for their gentler aspect, and
perhaps something the more; and a better thing yet is that there are
comparatively few of them. There are few of the privates also, far fewer
than the priests and the students of the ecclesiastical schools, who
dress like priests and go dashing through the streets in files and

I have an impression that one sees about the proportion of Italian
soldiers in Rome that one sees of American soldiers in Washington, or,
at least, not many more. The barracks are apparently outside the walls;
there you meet cavalry going and coming, and detachments of
_bersaglieri;_ or riflemen, pushing on at their quick trot, or plainer
infantry trudging wearily. Certainly, in a capital where the Church
holds itself prisoner, there is no show of force on the part of its
captors; and this is pleasant to the friend of man and the lover of
Italy for other reasons. In the absence of the military you can imagine
that not only does the state not wish to boast its political supremacy
in the ancient capital of the Church, but it does not desire to show the
potentiality of holding its own against the republic which is instinct
there. The monarchy is the consensus of all the differing wills in
Italy, which naturally would not for the most part have chosen a
monarchy. But never was a monarchy so mild-mannered or seated so firmly,
for the present at least, in the affection and reason of its people.

This is not the place (as writers say who have not prepared themselves
with the requisite ideas at a given point) to speak of the situation in
Rome; and I meant only to note that there are more ecclesiastics than
conscripts to be seen there. Of all the varying costumes of the varying
schools, none is so pleasing, so vivid, as that of the German students
as they rush swiftly by in their flying robes of scarlet. The red
matches the ruddy health in their cheeks, and there is a sort of
gladness in their fling that wins the liking as well as the looking; so
that almost one would not mind being a German student of theology one’s
self. There are other-costumes running in color from violet, and blue
with orange sashes, to unrelieved black and black trimmed with red; but
I cannot remember which nationality wears which.


I am not sure but one sees as many priests in Rome now as in the times
when they ruled it; and I am no such Protestant that I will pretend I do
not like a monsignore when I meet him, either in the street or at
afternoon tea, as one sometimes may. I have no grudge against priests of
any rank; but I did not seek to see them at the functions, as I used in
the old days to do. Shall I say that I now rather tolerated than
welcomed myself there through the hospitality which so freely opens the
churches of the Church to all comers of whatever creed? What right had
I, a heretic and recusant, to come staring and standing round where the
faithful were kneeling and praying? If we could conceive of our
fast-locked conventicles being thrown as freely open, could we conceive
of Catholics wandering up and down their naves and aisles while the
hymning or preaching went on? After being so high-minded in the matter,
shall I confess that I was a good deal kept out of the churches by the
cold in them? It was a sort of stored cold, much greater than that
outside, though there was something warming to the fancy, at least, in
the smoke and smell of the incense.

Even with the Church of the Capuchins, which we lived opposite, I was
dilatory, though in my mediaeval days it had been one of the first
places to which I hurried. In those days everybody said you must be sure
and go to the Capuchins’, because Guide’s “St. Michael and the Enemy”
 was there, and still more because the wonderful bone mosaics in the
cemetery under the church were not on any account to be missed. I
suspect that in both these matters I had then a very crude taste, but it
was not from my greater refinement that I now let the Capuchin church go
on long un-revisited. It was, for one thing, too instantly and
constantly accessible across the street there; and it is well known
human nature is such that it will not seek the line of the least
resistance as long as it can help. Besides, I could hardly believe that
it was really the Capuchin church which I had once so hastened to see,
and I neglected it almost two months, contenting myself with the display
of those hand-bills on the convent walls, spreading largely and
glaringly incongruous over it. When I did go I found the Guido
ridiculous, of course, in the painter’s imagination of the archangel as
a sort of dancing figure in a _tableau vivant,_ and yet of a sublime
authority in the execution. To be more honest, I had little feeling
about it and less knowledge.

It was not so cold in the church as I had expected; and in the
succession of side chapels, beginning with the St. Michael’s and opening
into one another, we found a kind of domesticity close upon cosiness,
which we were enjoying for its own sake, when we were aware of a pale,
gentle young girl who seemed to be alone there. She asked, in our
unmistakable native accents, if we were going to see the Capuchin
mosaics in their place below; and one of us said, promptly, No, indeed;
but relented at the shadow of disappointment that came over the girl’s
face, and asked, Was she going? The girl said, Oh, she guessed she could
see them some other time; and then she who had spoken ordered him who
had not spoken to go with her. I do not know what question of propriety
engaged them with reference to her going alone with the handsome young
monk waiting to accompany her; but he was certainly too handsome for a
monk of any age. We followed him, however, and I had my usual nausea on
viewing the decoration of the ceilings and walls of the place below; it
always makes me sick to go into that place; between realizing that I am
of the same make as the brothers composing those mosaics, and trying to
imagine what the intricate patterns will do at the Resurrection Day, I
cannot command myself. Neither am I supported by the sight of some
skeletons, the raw material of that grewsome artistry, deposited whole
in their coffins in the niches next the ground, though their skulls
smile so reassuringly from their cowls; their cheeriness cannot make me
like them. But my companion seemed to be merely interested; and I
fancied her deciding that it all quite came up to her expectations,
while I translated for her from the monk that the dead used to be left
in the hallowed earth from Jerusalem covering the ground before they
were taken up and decoratively employed, but that since the Italian
occupation of Rome the art had fallen into abeyance. She said nothing,
but when we came out she stood a moment on the pavement beside our cab
and confessed herself a New England girl, from an inland town, who was
travelling with relatives. She had been sick, and she had come alone, as
soon as she could get out, to see the wonders of the Capuchin church,
because she had heard so much of them. We said we hoped she had been
pleased, and she said, “Oh yes, indeed,” and then she said, “Well,
good-bye,” and gently tilted away, leaving us glad that there could
still be in an old, spoiled world such sweetness and innocence and
easily gratified love of the beautiful.

Taking Rome so easily, so provisionally, while waiting the eventualities
of the colds which mild climates are sure to give their frequenters from
the winterlands, I became aware of a latent anxiety respecting St.
Peter’s. I did not feel that the church would really get away without
our meeting, but I felt that it was somehow culpably hazardous in me to
be taking chances with it. As a family, we might never collectively
visit it, and, in fact, we never did; but one day I drove boldly (if
secretly) off alone and renewed my acquaintance with this contemporary
of mine; for, if you have been in Rome a generation and a half ago, you
find that you are coeval not only with the regal, the republican, and
the imperial Rome, but with each Rome of the successive popes, down, at
least, to that of Pius IX. St. Peter’s will not be, by any means, your
oldest friend, but it will be an acquaintance of such long standing that
you may not wish to use it with all the frankness which its faults
invite. If you say, when you drive into its piazza between the sublime
colonnades which stretch forth their mighty embrace as if to take the
whole world to the church’s heart, that here is the best of St. Peter’s,
you will not be wrong. If you say that here is grandeur, and that there
where the temple fronts you grandiosity begins, you will be rhetorical,
but, again, you will not be wrong. The day of my furtive visit was sober
and already waning, with a breeze in which the fountains streamed
flaglike, and with a gentle sky on which the population of statues above
the colonnades defined themselves in leisure attitudes, so recognizable
all that I am sure if they had come down and taken me by the hand we
could have called one another by name without a moment’s hesitation.
Every detail of a prospect which is without its peer on earth, but may
very possibly be matched in Paradise, had been so deeply stamped in my
remembrance that I smiled for pleasure in finding myself in an
environment far more familiar than any other I could think of at the
time. It was measurably the same within the church, but it was not quite
the same in the reserves I was obliged to make, the reefs I was obliged
to take in my rapture. The fact is, that unless you delight in a
hugeness whose bareness no ornamentation can, or does at least, conceal,
you do not find the interior of St. Peter’s adequate to the exterior. In
the mere article of hugeness, even, it fails through the interposition
of the baldachin midway of the vast nave, and each detail seems to fail
of the office of beauty more lamentably than another.

I had known, I had never forgotten, that St. Peter’s was very, very
baroque, but I had not known, I had not remembered how baroque it was.
It is not so badly baroque as the Church of the Jesuits either in Rome
or in Venice, or as the Cathedral at Wuerzburg; but still it is badly
baroque, though, again, not so baroque in the architecture as in the
sculpture. In the statues of most of the saints and popes it could not
be more baroque; they swagger in their niches or over their tombs in an
excess of decadent taste for which the most bigoted agnostic, however
Protestant he may be, must generously grieve. It is not conceivably the
taste of the church or the faith; it is the taste of the wicked world,
now withered and wasted to powerlessness, which overruled both for evil
in art from its evil life. The saints and the popes are, aesthetically,
lamentable enough; but the allegories in bronze or marble, which are
mostly the sixteenth-century notions of the Virtues, are
inexpressible--some of these creatures ought really to be put out of the
place; but I suppose their friends would say they ought to be left as
typical of the period. In the case of that merciless miscreant, Queen
Christina of Sweden, who has her monument in St. Peter’s, there would be
people to say she must have her monument in some place; but, all the
same, remembering Monaldeschi--how he was stabbed to death by her
command, the kinder assassins staying their hands from time to time,
while his confessor went vainly to implore her pardon--it is shocking to
find her tomb in the prime church in Christendom. At first it offends
one to see certain pontiffs with mustaches and imperials and goatees;
but, if one reflects that so they wore them in life, one perceives right
in it; only when one comes to earlier or later popes, bearded in
medieval majority or shaven in the decent modern fashion, one can endure
those others only as part of the prevailing baroque of the church.
Canova was not so Greek or even so classic as one used to think him, but
one hardly has a moment of repose in St. Peter’s till one comes to a
monument by him and rests in its quiet. It is tame, it is even weak, if
you like; but compared with the frantic agglomeration of gilt clouds and
sunbursts, and marble and bronze figures in the high-altar, it is
heavenly serene and lovely.

There were not many people in St. Peter’s that afternoon, so that I
could give undisturbed attention to the workman repairing the pavement
at one point and grinding the marble smooth with a slow, secular
movement, as if he were part of its age-Ions: waste and repair. Another
day, the last day I came, there were companies of the personally
conducted, following their leaders about and listening to the lectures
in several languages, which no more stirred the immense tranquillity
than they themselves qualified the spacious vacancy of the temple: you
were vaguely sensible of the one and of the other like things heard and
seen in a drowse. It was a pleasant vagueness in which all angularities
of feeling were lost, and you were disposed to a tolerance of the things
that had hurt or offended you before. As a contemporary of the edifice,
throughout its growth, you could account for them more and more as of
their periods. Perhaps through your genial reconciliation there came,
however dimly, a suggestion of something unnatural and alien in your
presence there as a mere sightseer, or, at best, a connoisseur much or
little instructed. If you had been there, say, as a worshipper, would
you have been afflicted by the incongruities of the sculptures or by the
whole baroque keeping? Possibly this consideration made you go away much
modester than you came. “After all,” you may have said, “it is not a
gallery; it is not a museum. It is a house of prayer,” and you emerged,
let us hope, humbled, and in so far fitted for renewed joy in the
beauty, the glory of the sublime colonnades.



If any one were to ask me which was the most beautiful church in Rome I
should temporize, and perhaps I should end by saying that there was
none. Ecclesiastical Rome seems to have inherited the instinct of
imperial Rome for ugliness; only, where imperial Rome used the instinct
collectively, ecclesiastical Rome has used it distributively in the
innumerable churches, each less lovely than the other. This position
will do to hedge from; it is a bold outpost from which I may be driven
in, especially by travellers who have seen the churches I did not see. I
took my chances, they theirs; for nobody can singly see all the churches
in Rome; that would need a syndicate.

If imperial Rome was beautiful in detail because it had the Greeks to
imagine the things it so hideously grouped, ecclesiastical Rome may be
unbeautiful in detail because it had not the Goths to realize the beauty
of its religious aspiration--that is, if it was the Goths who invented
Gothic architecture; I do not suppose it was. Anyway, there is said to
be but one Gothic church in Rome, and this I did not visit, perhaps
because I felt that I must inure myself to the prevalent baroque, or
perhaps from mere perversity. I can merely say in self-defence that, on
the outside, Santa Maria sopra Minerva no more promised an inner beauty
than Il Gesu, which is the most baroque church in Rome, without the
power of coming together for a unity of effect which baroque churches
sometimes have. It is a tumult of virtuosity in painting, in sculpture,
in architecture. Statues sprawl into frescoed figures at points in the
roof, and frescoed figures emerge in marble at others. Marvels of riches
are lavished upon chapels and altars, which again are so burdened with
bronze gilded or silver plated, and precious stones wrought and
unwrought, that the soul, or if not the soul the taste, shrinks dismayed
from them. Execution in default of inspiration has had its way to the
last excess; there is nothing that it has not done to show what it can
do; and all that it has done is a triumph of misguided skill and power.
But it would be a mistake for the spectator to imagine that anything has
been done from the spirit in which he receives it; everything is the
expression of devoted faith in the forms that the art of the time

In the monstrous marble tableau, say, of “Religion Triumphing Over
Heresy,” he may be very sure that the artist was not winking an ironical
eye where he made Faith spurning Schism with her foot look very much
like a lady of imperfect breeding who has lost her temper; he was most
devoutly in earnest, or at least those were so, both cleric and laic,
for whom he wrought his prodigy. We others, pagans or Protestants, had
better understand that the children of the Church, and especially the
poor children, were serious through all the shows that seem to us
preposterous; they had not renounced something for nothing; if they
bowed that very fallible thing, Reason, to Dogma, they got faith for
their reward and could gladly accept whatever symbol of it was offered

[Illustration: 26 CHURCH OP ARA COELI]

No matter how baroque any church was, it could express something of this
sincerity, and in their way the worshippers seemed always simply at home
in it. In San Lorenzo in Lucina, where I went to see the truly sublime
“Crucifixion” by Guido (there is also a bar of St. Lawrence’s gridiron
to be seen, but I did not know it at the time) I liked the
unconsciousness of the girl kneeling before the high altar and
provisionally gossiping with the young sacristan before she began her
devotions. She gave her mind to them when he asked me if I wished to see
the Guido, for I could see her lips moving while she shared my
veneration of that most affecting masterpiece; the more genuinely
affecting because it expresses the rapture and not the anguish of the
Passion. I have no doubt she was grateful when the sacristan proposed my
having the electric light turned on it, and when, though that I knew it
would cost me something more, I assented.

They have the electric light now in all the holy places, and notably in
the dungeon where St. Peter was imprisoned, and where the custodian was
so proud of it, as the latest improvement, and as far more satisfactory
than candles. The shrine of the miraculous Bambino in the Church of Ara
Coeli is also lighted by electricity, which spares no detail of the
child’s apparel and appearance. To other eyes than those of faith it has
the effect of a life-size but not life-like doll, piously bedizened and
jewelled over, but rather ill-humored looking, or, if not that, proud
looking or severe looking. To the eyes in which its sickbed visits have
dried the tears it must wear an aspect of heavenly pity and beauty; and
I am very willing to believe that these are the eyes which see it
aright. As it was, and taking it literally, it seemed far less
mechanical and unfeeling than the monk who pulled it out and pushed it
back on its wheeled platform. But he must get tired of showing it to the
unbelievers who come out of curiosity, and very likely I should, if I
were in his place, as nonchalantly wipe across the glass front of the
shrine the card with the Bambino’s legend printed in various languages
on it, which you may then buy with the blessing from the glass for
whatever you choose to give.

Where art and antiquity are so abundant as in Rome, the Bambino incident
is probably what the reader, when he has visited the Church of Ara Coeli
will chiefly remember, and I will not pretend to be any better than the
reader, though I will say that I have a persistent sense of something
important about the roof; and there are the Pinturrichio frescos, which
an old Sienese like me must have the taste for. The not easily praiseful
Hare says it is “one of the most interesting of Christian churches,” and
without allowing that there are any other sorts of churches I may allow
that this is one of the least unlovely in Rome. Trinita de’ Monti seemed
to be another, but only, I dare say, subjectively, because of the
exquisite pleasure we had one afternoon in March when we went into it
for the nuns’ singing of the Benediction. That, we had been told, was
something which no one coming to Rome should miss; and we were so
anxious not to miss it that on our way to the Pincian Hill we stopped at
the foot of the church-steps, and reassured ourselves of the hour
through the kindness of an English-speaking nurse-maid at the bottom and
of a gentle nun at the top, who both told us the hour would be exactly

When we came back at that time and bought our way into the church by
rightful payment to the two blind beggars who guarded its doors, we
found it packed with people who bad been more literally punctual. They
were of all nations, but a large part were Anglo-Americans, and a young
girl of this race rose and gave her seat, with a sweet insistence that
would not be denied, to that one of us who deserved it most. He who was
left leaning against the soft side of a pillar hesitated whether to make
some young priests spreading over undue space on one of the benches push
up, and he enjoyed a rich moment of self-satisfaction in his
forbearance. He was there, to be sure, an alien and a heretic, out of
mere curiosity, and they were there probably so rapt in their devout
attention that they did not notice their errant step-brother, and so did
not think to offer him the hospitality of their mother church’s house.
But he would not make any such allowance; he condemned them with the
unsparing severity of the strap-hanger in a trolley-car, who blushes
with shame for the serried rows of men sitting behind their newspapers.
When he was at his wit’s end to find excuse for them a priest on another
bench made room, and he sank down glad to forgive and forget; but now he
would not have yielded his place to any other Protestant in Christendom.

In the collective curiosity he lost the sense of self-reproach for his
own, and eagerly bent his gaze on the group of officiating priests at
the high altar beyond the grille of the choir. The altar was all a blaze
of electric lights, and there was a novel effect in their composition in
the crosses resting diagonally on either side of it. Next the grille
showed the feathers and fashions of the mothers and sisters of the young
girls from the school of the adjoining Convent of the Sacred Heart, and
midway between these visitors, like a flock of white birds stooping on
some heavenly plain, the white veils of the girls stretched in lovely
levels to left and right. Nothing could have attuned the spirit for the
surprise awaiting it like this angelic sight; and when the voices of the
nuns fell suddenly from the organ gallery, behind all the people, like
the singing of the morning stars molten in one adoring music and falling
from the zenith down, whatever moments of innocent joy life might have
had it could have had none surpassing that.

But when we came out the self-mockery with which life is apt to recover
itself from any exaltation began. In returning from the Pincio the only
cab we had been able to get was the last left of the very worst cabs in
Rome, and we had bidden the driver wait for us at the church-steps, not
without some hope that he would play us false.  But there he was, true
to his word, with such disciplined fidelity as that of the Roman
sentinels who used to die at their posts; and we mounted to ours with
the muted prayer that we, at least, might reach home alive. This did not
seem probable when the driver whipped up his horse. It appeared to have
aged and sickened while we were in the church, though we had thought it
looked as bad as could be before, and it lurched alarmingly from side to
side, recovering itself with a plunge of its heavy head away from the
side in which its body was sinking. The driver swayed on his box, having
fallen equally decrepit in spite of the restoratives he seemed to have
applied for his years and infirmities.  His clothes had put on some such
effect of extreme decay as those of Rip Van Winkle in the third act;
there was danger that he would fall on top of his falling horse, and
that their raiment would mingle in one scandalous ruin. Via Sistina had
never been so full of people before; never before had it been so long to
that point where we were to turn out of it into the friendly obscurity
of the little cross street which would bring us to our hotel. We could
not consent to arrive in that form; we made the driver stop, and we got
out and began overpaying him to release us. But the more generously we
overpaid him the more nobly he insisted upon serving us to our door. At
last, by such a lavish expenditure as ought richly to provide for the
few remaining years of himself and his horse, we prevailed with him to
let us go, and reached our hotel glad, almost proud, to arrive on foot.


Hare tells me, now it is too late, that I may reach the Church of Santa
Maggiore by keeping straight on through the long, long straightness of
the Via Sistina.  I reached that church by quite another way after many
postponements; for I thought I remembered all about it from my visit in
1864. But really nothing had remained to me save a sense of the
exceptional dignity of the church, and the sole fact that the roof of
its most noble nave is thickly plated with the first gold mined in South
America, which Ferdinand and Isabella gave that least estimable of the
popes, Alexander VI. Now I know that it is far richer than any gold
could make it in the treasures of history and legend, which fairly
encrust it in every part.  Doubtless some portion of this wealth my
fellow-sightseers were striving to store up out of the guide-books which
they bore in their hands and from which they strained their eyes to the
memorable points as they slowly paced through the temple. Some were
reading one to another in bated voices, and I thought them ridiculous;
but perhaps they were wise, and rather he was ridiculous who marched by
them and contented himself with a general sense of the grandeur, the
splendor. More than any other church except that of San Paolo fuori le
Mura, Santa Maria Maggiore imparts this sense, for, as I have already
pretended, St. Peter’s fails of it. Without as well as within the church
is spacious and impressive from its spaciousness; but it seems more
densely fringed than most others with peddlers of post-cards and mosaic
pins. On going in you can plunge through their ranks, but in coming out
you do not so easily escape. One boy pursued me quite to my cab, in
spite of my denials of hand and tongue. There he stayed the driver while
he made a last, a humorous appeal. “Skiddoo?” he asked in my native
speech. “Yes,” I sullenly replied, “skiddoo!” But it is now one of the
regrets which I shall always feel for my wasted opportunities in Rome
that I did not buy all his post-cards. Patient gayety like his merited
as much.

As it was, I drove callously away from Santa Maria Maggiore to San
Pietro in Vincoli, where I expected to renew my veneration for
Michelangelo’s Moses. That famous figure is no longer so much in the
minds of men as it used to be, I think; and, if one were to be quite
honest with one’s self as to the why and wherefore of one’s earlier
veneration, one might not get a very distinct or convincing reply. Do
sculptors and painters suffer periods of slight as authors do? Are
Raphael and Michelangelo only provisionally eclipsed by Botticelli and
by Donatello and Mino da Fiesole, or are they remanded to a lasting
limbo? I find I have said in my notes that the Moses is improbable and
unimpressive, and I pretended a more genuine joy in the heads of the two
Pollajuolo brothers which startle you from their tomb as you enter the
church. Is the true, then, better than the ideal, or is it only my
grovelling spirit which prefers it? What I scarcely venture to say is
that those two men evidently lived and still live, and that
Michelangelo’s prophet never lived; I scarcely venture, because I
remember with tenderness how certain clear and sweet spirits used to bow
their reason before the Moses as before a dogma of art which must be
implicitly accepted. Do they still do so, those clear and sweet spirits?


The archaeologist who was driving my cab that morning had pointed out to
me on the way to this church the tower on which Nero stood fiddling
while Rome was burning. It is a strong, square, mediaeval structure
which will serve the purpose of legend yet many centuries, if progress
does not pull it down; but the fiddle no longer exists, apparently, and
Nero himself is dead. When I came out and mounted into my cab, my driver
showed me with his whip, beyond a garden wall, a second tower, very
beautiful against the blue sky, above the slim cypresses, which he said
was the scene of the wicked revels of Lucrezia Borgia. I do not know why
it has been chosen for this distinction above other towers; but it was a
great satisfaction to have it identified. Very possibly I had seen both
of these memorable towers in my former Roman sojourn, but I did not
remember them, whereas I renewed my old impressions of San Paolo fuori
le Mura in almost every detail.

That is the most majestic church in Rome, I think, and I suppose it is,
for a cold splendor, unequalled anywhere. Somehow, from its form and
from the great propriety of its decoration, it far surpasses St.
Peter’s. The antic touch of the baroque is scarcely present in it, for,
being newly rebuilt after the fire which destroyed the fourth-century
basilica in 1823, its faults are not those of sixteenth-century excess.
It would be a very bold or a very young connoisseur who should venture
to appraise its merits beyond this negative valuation; and timid age can
affirm no more than that it came away with its sensibilities unwounded.
Tradition and history combine with the stately architecture, which
reverently includes every possible relic of the original fabric, to
render the immense temple venerable; and as it is still in process of
construction, with a colonnaded porch in scale and keeping with the body
of the basilica, it offers to the eye of wonder the actual spectacle of
that unstinted outlay of riches which has filled Rome with its
multitudes of pious monuments--monuments mainly ugly, but potent with
the imagination even in their ugliness through the piety of their
origin. Where did all that riches come from?

Out of what unfathomable opulence, out of what pitiable penury, out of
what fear, out of what love? One fancies the dying hands of wealth that
released their gift to the sacred use, the knotted hands of work that
spared it from their need. The giving continues in this latest Christian
age as in the earliest, and Rome is increasingly Rome in a world which
its thinkers think no longer believes.

From San Paolo we were going to another shrine, more hallowed to our
literary sense, and we drove through the sweet morning sunshine and
bird-singing, past pale-pink clouds of almond bloom on the garden
slopes, with snowy heights far beyond, to the simple graveyard where
Keats and Shelley lie. Our way to the Protestant cemetery held by some
shabby apartment-houses of that very modern Rome which was largely so
jerry-built, and which I would not leave out of the landscape if I
could, for I think their shabbiness rather heightens your sense of the
peaceful loveliness to which you come under the cypresses, among the
damp aisles, so thickly studded with the stones recording the death in
exile of the English strangers lying there far from home. In a faulty
perspective of memory, I had always seen the graves of the two poets
side by side; but the heart of Shelley rests in a prouder part of the
cemetery, where the paths between the finer tombs are carefully kept;
and the dust of Keats lies in an old, plain, almost neglected corner,
well off beyond a dividing trench. It seems an ungracious chance which
has so parted the two poets so inextricably united in their fame; it is
as if here, too, the world would have its way; but, of course, it is
only at the worst an ungracious chance. Keats, at least, has the
companionship of the painter Severn, the friend on whose “fond breast
his parting soul relied,” and who has here followed him into the dust.

A few withered daisies had been scattered in the thin grass over the
poet, and one hardly dared lift one’s eyes from them to the
heartbreaking epitaph which one could not spell for tears.


It was but a few minutes’ walk from the hotel to the Porta Pinciana,
and, if you took this short walk, you found yourself almost before you
knew it in the Villa Borghese. You might then, on your first Sunday in
Rome, have fancied yourself in Central Park, for all difference in the
easily satisfied Sunday-afternoon crowd. But with me a difference began
in the grove of stone-pines, and their desultory stretch toward the
Casino, where in the simple young times which are now the old we had
hurried, with our Kugler in our hands and other reading in our heads, to
see Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love (it has got another name now) and
Canova’s Pauline Bonaparte, who was also the Princess Borghese, and all
the rest of the precious gallery. However, if I had any purpose of
visiting the Casino now, I put it aside, and contented myself with the
gentle sun, the gentle shade, and the sweet air, which might have had
less dust in it, breathing over grass as green in late January as in
early June. I did not care so much for a mounted corporal who was
jumping his horse over a two-foot barrier in the circular path rounding
between the Villa Borghese and the Pincian Hill, though his admirers
hung in rows on the rail beside it so thickly that I could hardly have
got a place to see him if I had tried. But there was room enough to the
fathers and mothers who had brought their children, and young lovers who
had brought each other for the afternoon’s outing, just as the people in
Central Park do, and, no doubt, just as any Sunday crowd must do in the
planet Mars, if the inhabitants are human. There was a _vacherie_ nearby
where not many persons were drinking milk or even coffee; it is never
the notion of the Italians that amusement can be had only through the
purchase of refreshments.


I did not get as far as the Casino till the last Sunday of our Roman
stay, though we came again and again to the park (as we should call it,
rather than villa), sometimes to walk, sometimes to drive, and always to
rejoice in its loveliness. It was not now a very guarded, if once a very
studied, loveliness; not quite neglect, but a forgottenness to which it
took kindly, had fallen upon it; the drives seemed largely left to take
care of themselves, the walks were such as the frequenters chose to make
over the grass or through the woods; the buildings--the aviary, the
conservatory, the dairy, the stables--which formed part of the old
pleasance, stood about, as if in an absent-minded indifference to their
various roles. The weather had grown a little more wintry, or, at least,
autumnal, as the season advanced toward spring, and one day at the end
of February, when we were passing a woody hollow, the fallen leaves
stirred crisply with a sound like that of late October at home. We had
been at some pains and expense to put home four thousand miles away, but
this sound was the sweetest and dearest we had heard in Rome, and it
strangely attuned our spirits to the enjoyment of the fake antiquities,
the broken arches, pediments, columns, statues, which, in a region
glutted with ruin, the landscape architect of the Villa Borghese had
fancied putting about in pleasing stages of artificial dilapidation. But
there was nothing faked in the dishevelled grass of the little stadium,
with its gradines around the sides, and the game of tennis which some
young girls were playing in it. Neither was there anything ungenuine in
the rapture of the boy whom we saw racing through the dead leaves of
that woody hollow in chase of the wild fancies that fly before boyhood;
and I hope that the charm of the plinths and statues in the careless
grounds behind the soft, old, yellow Casino was a real charm. At any
rate, these things all consoled, and the turf under the pines, now
thickly starred with daisies, gave every assurance of being original.

When we came last the daisies were mingled with clustering anemones,
which seem a greatly overrated sort of flower, crude and harsh in color,
like cheap calico. If it were not for their pretty name I do not see how
people could like them; yet the children that day were pouncing upon
them and pulling them by handfuls; for the Villa Borghese is now state
property and is free to the children of the people in a measure quite
beyond Central Park. They can apparently pull anything they want, except
mushrooms; there are signs advising people that the state draws the line
at mushrooms.

It was once more a Sunday, and it was a free day in the Casino. The
trodden earth sent up its homely, kindly smell from many feet on their
way to the galleries, which we found full of people looking greater
intelligence than the frequenters of such places commonly betray. They
might have been such more cultivated sight-seers as could not afford to
come on the paydays, and, if they had not crowded the room so, one might
have been glad as well as proud to be of their number. They did not
really keep one from older friends, from the statues and the pictures
which were as familiarly there in 1908 as in 1864. In a world of
vicissitudes such things do not change; the Sacred and Profane Love of
Titian, though it had changed its name, had not changed its nature, and
was as divinely serene, as richly beautiful as before. The Veroneses
still glowed from the walls, dimming with their Venetian effulgence all
the other pictures but the Botticellis and the Francias, and comforting
one with the hope that, if one had always felt their beauty so much, one
might, without suspecting it, have always had some little sense of art.
But it was probably only a literary sense of art, such as moves the
observer when he finds himself again in the presence of Canova’s Pauline
Borghese. That is there, on the terms which were those no less of her
character than of her time, in the lasting enjoyment of a publicity
which her husband denied it in his lifetime; but it had no more to say
now than it had so many, many years ago. As, a piece of personal history
it is amusing enough, and as a sermon in stone it preaches whatever
moral you choose to read into it.  But as the masterpiece of the
sculptor it testifies to an ideal of his art for which the world has
reason to be grateful. Criticism does not now put Canova on the height
where we once looked up to him; but criticism is a fickle thing,
especially in its final judgments; and one cannot remember the behavior
of the Virtues in some of the baroque churches without paying homage to
the portrait of a lady who, whatever she was, was not a Virtue, but who
yet helped the sculptor to realize in her statue a Venus of exceptional
propriety. Tame, yes, we may now safely declare Canova to have been, but
sane we must allow; and we must never forget that he has been the
inspiration in modern sculpture of the eternal Greek truth of repose
from which the art had so wildly wandered, He, more than any other,
stayed it in the mad career on which Michelangelo, however remotely, had
started it; and we owe it to him that the best marbles now no longer
strut or swagger or bully.

It was by one of those accidents which are the best fortunes of travel
that I visited the Villa Papa Giulio, when I thought I was merely going
to the Piazza del Popolo, to which one cannot go too often. A chance
look at my guide-book beguiled me with the notion that the villa was
just outside the gate; but it was a deceit which I should be glad to
have practised on me every February 17th of my life. If the villa was
farther off than I thought, the way to it lay for a while through a
tramwayed suburban street delightfully encumbered with wide-horned oxen
drawing heavy wagon-loads of grain, donkeys pulling carts laden with
vegetables, and children and hens and dogs playing their several parts
in a perspective through which one would like to continue indefinitely.
But after awhile a dim, cool, curving lane leaves this street and
irresistibly invites your cab to follow it; and sooner than you could
ask you get to the villa gate. There a gatekeeper tacitly wonders at
your arriving before he is well awake, and will keep you a good five
minutes while he parleys with another custodian before he can bring
himself to sell you a ticket and let you into the beautiful, old,
orange-gray cloistered court, where there is a young architect with the
T-square of his calling sketching some point of it, and a gardener
gently hacking off from the parent stems such palm-leaves as have
survived their usefulness. Beyond is the famous fountained court, and a
classic temple to the right, and other structures responsive to the
impulses of the good Pope Julius III., who was never tired of adding to
this pleasure palace of his. It was his favorite resort, with all his
court, from the Vatican, and his favorite amusement in it was the
somewhat academic diversion of proverbs, which Ranke says sometimes
“mingled blushes with the smiles of his guests.”

Lest the reader should think I have gone direct to Ranke for this
knowledge, I will own that I got it at second-hand out of Hare’s _Walks
in Rome,_ where he tells us also that the pope used to come to his villa
every day by water, and that “the richly decorated barge, filled with
venerable ecclesiastics, gliding through the osier-fringed banks of the
Tiber,... would make a fine subject for a picture.” No doubt, and if
I owned such a picture I would lose no time in public-spiritedly
bestowing it on the first needy gallery. Our author is, as usual,
terribly severe on the Italian government for some wrong done the villa,
I could not well make out what. But it seems to involve the present
disposition of the Etruscan antiquities in the upper rooms of the
casino, where these, the most precious witnesses of that rather
inarticulate civilization, must in any arrangement exhaust the most
instructed interest. Just when the amateur archaeologist, however, is
sinking under his learning, the custodian opens a window and lets him
look out on a beautiful hill beyond certain gardens, where a bird is
singing angelically. I suppose it is the same bird which sings all
through these papers, and I am sorry I do not know its name. But we will
call it a blackcap: blackcap has a sweet, saucy sound like its own note,
and is the pretty translation of _caponero,_ a name which the bird might
gladly know itself by.


Villa Papa Giulio is but a little place compared with something on the
scale of the Villa Pamfili Doria though from its casino it has a charm
far beyond that. What it may once have been as to grounds and gardens
there is little to show now, and the Pamfili Doria itself had not much
to show in gardens, though it had grounds, and to spare. It is, in fact,
a large park, though whether larger than the Villa Borghese I cannot
say. But it has not been taken by the state, and it is so far off on its
hills that it is safe from the overrunning of city feet. It is safe even
from city wheels, unless they are those of livery carriages, for
numbered cabs are not suffered in its proud precincts. You partake of
this pride when you come in your rubber-tired _remise,_ and have the
consolation of being part of the beautiful exclusiveness. It costs you
fifteen francs, but one must suffer for being patrician, even for a
single afternoon.  Outside we had the satisfaction of seeing innumerable
numbered cabs drawn up, and within the villa gates of meeting or passing
the plebeians who had come in them, and were now walking while we were
smoothly rolling in our victoria. The day was everything we could ask,
very warm and bright below the Janiculum, on which we had mounted, and
here on the summit delicious with cool currents of air. There had been
beggars, on the way up, at every point where our horses must be walked,
and we had paid our way handsomely, so that when we went back they bowed
without asking again; this is a convention at Rome which no
self-respecting beggar will violate; they all touch their hats in
recognition of it.

The beautiful prospect from a certain curve of the drive after you have
passed the formal sunken garden, at which you pause, is the greatest
beauty of the Villa Pamfili Doria. You stop to look at it by the impulse
of your coachman, and then you keep on driving round, in the long
ellipse which the road describes, through grassy and woody slopes and
levels, watered by a pleasant stream, and through long aisles of pine
and ilex. We thought twice round was enough, and told the driver so, to
his evident surprise and to our own regret, so far as the long aisle of
ilex was concerned, for I do not suppose there is a more perfect thing
of its kind in the world. The shade under the thick sun-proof roofing of
horizontal boughs was practically as old as night, and on our second
passage of its dim length it had some Capuchin monks walking down it,
who formed the fittest possible human interest in the perspective. Off
on the grass at one side some Ursuline nuns were sitting with their
pupils, laughing and talking, and one nun was playing ball with the
smaller girls, and mingling with their shouts her own gay, innocent
cries of joy as she romped among them. Nothing could have been prettier,
sweeter, or better suited to the place; all was very simple, and
apparently the whole place was hospitably free to the poor women who
ranged over it, digging chiccory for salad out of the meadows. The
daisies were thick as white clover, and the harsh purple of the anemones
showed everywhere.

The casino is plainer than the casino of the Villa Borghese, and is not
public like that; its sculptures have been taken to the Doria palace in
the city; and there is no longer any excuse for curiosity even to try
penetrating it. It stands on the left of the road by which you leave the
villa, and to the right on the grassy incline in full view of the casino
was something that puzzled us at first. It did not seem probable that
the gigantic capital letters grown in box should be spelling the English
name Mary, but it proved that they were, and later it proved that this
was the name of the noble English lady whom the late Prince Pamfili
Doria had married. Whether they marked her grave or merely commemorated
her, it was easy to impute a pathos to the fancy of having them there,
which it might not have been so easy to verify. You cannot attempt to
pass over any ground in Rome without danger of sinking into historical
depths from which it will be hard to extricate yourself, and it is best
to heed one’s steps and keep them to the day’s activities.  But one
could not well visit the Villa Pamfili Doria without at least wishing to
remember that in 1849 Garibaldi held it for weeks against the whole
French army, in his defence of republican Rome. A votive temple within
the villa grounds commemorates the invaders who fell in this struggle;
on a neighboring height the Italian leader triumphs in the monument his
adoring country has raised to him.

If we are to believe the censorious Hare, the love of the hero’s
countrymen went rather far when the Roman municipality, to please him,
tried to change the course of the Tiber in conformity with a scheme of
his, and so spoiled the beauty of the Farnesina garden without
effecting a too-difficult piece of engineering. The less passionate
Murray says merely that “a large slice of this garden was cut off to
widen the river for the Tiber embankment,” and let us hope that it was
no worse. I suppose we must have seen the villa in its glory when we
went, in 1864, to see the Raphael frescos in the casino there, but in
the touching melancholy of the wasted and neglected grounds we easily
accepted the present as an image of the past. For all we remembered, the
weed-grown, green-mossed gravel-paths of the sort of bewildered garden
that remained, with its quenched fountain, its vases of dead or dying
plants, and its dishevelled shrubbery, were what had always been; and it
was of such a charm that we were gratefully content with it. The truth
is, one cannot do much with beauty in perfect repair; the splendor that
belongs to somebody else, unless it belongs also to everybody else,
wounds one’s vulgar pride and inspires envious doubts of the owner’s
rightful possession. But when the blight of ruin has fallen upon it,
when dilapidation and disintegration have begun their work of atonement
and exculpation, then our hearts melt in compassion of the waning
magnificence and in a soft pity for the expropriated possessor, to whom
we attribute every fine and endearing quality. It is this which makes us
such friends of the past and such critics of the present, and enables us
to enjoy the adversity of others without a pang of the jealousy which
their prosperity excites.

There was much to please a somewhat peculiar taste in our visit to the
Farnesina. The gateman, being an Italian official, had not been at the
gate when we arrived, but came running and smiling from his gossip with
the door-keeper of the casino, and this was a good deal in itself; but
the door-keeper, amiably obese, was better still in her acceptance of
the joke with which the hand-mirror for the easier study of the roof
frescos was accepted. “It is more convenient,” she suggested, and at the
counter-suggestion, “Yes, especially for people with short necks,” she
shook with gelatinous laughter, and burst into the generous cry, “Oh,
how delightful!” Perhaps this was because she, too, had experienced the
advantage of perusing the frescos in the hand-mirror’s reversal. At any
rate, she would not be satisfied till she had returned a Roland for that
easy Oliver. Her chance came in showing a Rubens in one of the rooms,
with the master’s usual assortment of billowy beauties, when she could
say--and she ought to have known--that they had eaten too much macaroni.
It was not much of a joke; but one hears so few jokes in Rome.

Do I linger in this study of simple character because I feel myself
unequal to the ecstasies which the frescos of Raphael and his school in
that pleasure dome demanded of me? Something like that, I suppose, but I
do not pride myself on my inability. It seemed to me that the coloring
of the frescos had lost whatever tenderness it once had; and that what
was never meant to be matter of conscious perception, but only of the
vague sense which it is the office of decoration to impart, had grown
less pleasing with the passage of time. There in the first hall was the
story of Cupid and Psyche in the literal illustration of Apuleius, and
there in another hall was Galatea on her shell with her Nymphs and
Tritons and Amorini; and there were Perseus and Medusa and Icarus and
Phaeton and the rest of them. But, if I gave way to all the frankness of
my nature, I should own the subjects fallen silly through the old age of
an outworn life and redeemed only by the wonderful skill with which they
are rendered. At the same time, I will say in self-defence that, if I
had a very long summer in which to keep coming and dwelling long hours
in the company of these frescos, I think I might live back into the
spirit which invented the fables, and enjoy even more the amusing taste
that was never tired of their repetition. Masterly conception and
incomparable execution are there in histories which are the dreams of
worlds almost as extinct as the dead planets whose last rays still reach
us and in whose death-glimmer we can fancy, if we will, a unity of life
with our own not impossible nor improbable. But more than some such
appeal the Raphaels and the Giulio Romanos of the Farnesina hardly make
to the eye untrained in the art which created them, or unversed in the
technique by which they will live till the last line moulders and the
last tint fades.

We came out and stood a long time looking up in the pale afternoon light
at the beautiful face of the tenderly aging but not yet decrepit casino.
It was utterly charming, and it prompted many vagaries which I might
easily have mistaken for ideas. This is perhaps the best of such
experiences, and, after you have been with famous works of art and have
got them well over and done with, it is natural and it is not unjust
that you should wish to make them some return, if not in kind, then in
quantity. You will try to believe that you have thought about them, and
you should not too strictly inquire as to the fact. It is some such
forbearance that accounts for a good deal of the appreciation and even
the criticism of works of art.


If the joke of the door-keeper at the Farnesina was not so delicate in
any sense as some other jokes, it had, at least, the merit of being
voluntary. In fact, it is the only voluntary joke which I remember
hearing in the Tuscan tongue from the Roman mouth during a stay of three
months in the Eternal City. This was very disappointing, for I had
always thought of the Italians as gay and as liking to laugh and to make
laugh. In Venice, where I used to live, the gondoliers were full of
jokes, good, bad, and indifferent, and an infection of humor seemed to
spread from them to all the lower classes, who were as ready to joke as
the lower classes of Irish, and who otherwise often reminded one of
them.  The joking habit extended as far down as Florence, even as Siena,
and at Naples I had found cabmen who tempered their predacity with
_bonhomie._ But the Romans were preferably serious, at least with the
average American, though, if I had tried them in their English instead
of my Italian, it might have been different. At times I thought, they
felt the weight of being Romans, as it had descended to them from
antiquity, and that the strain of supporting it had sobered them. In any
case, though there was shouting by night, and some singing of not at all
the Neapolitan quality and still less the Neapolitan quantity, there was
no laughing, or, as far as I could see, smiling by day.

Yet one day there was a tragedy in front of the hotel next ours which
would have made a dog laugh, as the saying is, unless it was a Roman
dog. It was a quarrel, more or less murderous, between a fat, elderly
man and an agile stripling of not half his age or girth, of whom the
tumult about them permitted only fleeting glimpses. By these the elder
seemed to be laboriously laying about him with a five-foot club and the
younger to be making wild dashes at him and then escaping to the skirts
of the cabmen, mounted and dismounted, who surrounded them. Now and then
a cabman drove out of the mellee very excitedly, and then turned and
drove excitedly back into the thick of it. All the while the dismounted
cabmen pressed about the combatants with their hands on one another’s
backs and their heads peering carefully over one another’s shoulders.
On the very outermost rim of these, more careful than any, was one
of those strange images whom you see about Italian towns in couples,
with red-braided swallowtail coats and cocked hats, those carabinieres
--namely, who are soldiers in war and policemen in times of peace. Any
spectator from a foreign land would have thought it the business of such
an officer of the law to press in and stop the fighting; but he did not
so interpret his duty. He gingerly touched the shoulders next him with
the tips of his fingers, and now and then lifted himself on the tips of
his toes to look if the fight had stopped of itself or not.

At last the fat, elderly man, whom his friends--and all the throng
except that one wicked youth seemed his friends--were caressing in
untimely embraces and coaxing in tones of tender entreaty, burst from
them, and, aiming at the head of his enemy, flung his club, to the
imminent peril of all the bystanders, and missed him. Then he frankly
put himself in the hands of his friends, who lifted him into a cab,
where one of them mounted with him and stayed him on the seat, while the
cabman drove rapidly away. The wicked youth had vanished in unknown
space; but the carabiniere, attended by a group of admirers, marched
boldly up the middle of the street, and the crowd, with whatever
reluctance, persuaded itself to disperse, though the cabmen, to the
number of ten or twenty, continued to drive around in concentric circles
and irregular ellipses. In five minutes not an eye-witness of the fray
remained, such being the fear of the law, not so much in those who break
it as in those who see it broken, and who dread incurring the vengeance
of the culprit, if he is acquitted, or of his family if he is convicted
on their testimony. The quarrel had gone on a full quarter of an hour,
but the concierge of the hotel in front of which it had raged professed
to have known nothing of it, having, he said, been in-doors all the
time. A cabman whom we eliminated from the hysterical company of his
fellows and persuaded to drive us away to see a church attempted to
ignore the whole affair when asked about it. With difficulty he could be
made to recollect it, and then he dismissed it as a trifle. “Oh,” he
said, “chiacchiere di donnicciuole,” which is something like “Clatter
of little old women,” a thing not worth noticing. He had, if we could
believe him, not cared to know how it began or ended, and he would not
talk about it.

Later, still interested by the action of the carabiniere in guarding the
public security in his own person, I asked an Italian gentleman, who
owned to have seen the affair, why the officer did not break through the
crowd and arrest the fighters. “They had knives,” he explained, and it
seemed a good reason for the carabiniere’s forbearance, as far as it
went; but I thought of the short work the brute locust of an Irish
policeman at home would have made of the knives. My friend said he had
himself gone to one of the municipal police who was looking on at a
pleasant remove and said, “Those fellows have knives; they will kill
each other,” and the municipal policeman had answered, with the calm of
an antique Roman sentinel on duty in time of earthquake, “Let them

I could not approve of so much impartiality, but afterward it seemed to
me I had little to be proud of in the shorter and easier method of our
own police, as contrasted with the caution of that Roman carabiniere who
left the combatants to the mild might of their friends’ moral suasion.
It was better that the youth should escape, if he did, without a
vexatious criminal trial; he may have been no more to blame than the
other, who, I learned, had been carried off, in the honorable manner I
saw, to a doctor and had his stab looked to. It was not dangerous, and
the whole affair ended so. Besides, as I learned, still longer
afterward, when it was quite safe for a cabman from the same stand to
speak, the combatants were not Romans, but peasants from the Campagna,
who had come in with their market-carts and had become heated with the
bad spirits which the peasants have the habit of drinking five or six
glasses of when they visit Rome. “What we call benzine,” my cabman
explained. “We Romans,” he added from a moral height, “drink only a
glass or two of wine, and we never carry knives.”

He may have been right concerning the peacefulness of the Romans and
their sobriety, and I am bound to say that I never saw any other violent
scene during my stay. Sometimes I heard loud quarrelling among our
cabmen, and sometimes I was the subject of it, when one driver snatched
me, an impartial prey, from another. But the bad feeling, if there was
really any, quickly passed, and some other day I fell to the cabman who
had been wronged of me. I had not always the fine sense of being booty
which I had one day on coming out of a church and blundering toward the
wrong cab. Then the driver whom I had left waiting at the door seized me
from the very cab of an unjust rival with the indignant cry, “E roba
mia!” (He’s my stuff!). It was not quite the phrase I would have chosen,
but I had no quarrel, generally speaking, with the cabmen of Rome. To be
sure, they have not a rubber tire among them, and their dress leaves
much to be desired in professional uniformity. Not one of them looks
like a cabman, but many of them in picturesqueness of hats and coats
look like brigands. I think they would each prefer to have a fur-lined
overcoat, which the Roman of any class likes to wear well into the
spring; but they mostly content themselves with an Astrakhan collar,
more or less mangy. For the rest, some of them will point out the
objects of interest as you pass, and they are proud to do so; they are
not extortionate, and, if you overpay them ever so little (which is
quite worth while), they will not stand upon a matter of lawful fare. A
two-cent tip contents them, one of four cents makes them your friends
for life; as for a five-cent tip, I do not know what it does, but I
advise the reader when he goes to Rome to try it and see.

One fine thing is that the cabmen are in great superabundance in Rome,
and the number of barrel-ribbed, ewe-necked, and broken-kneed horses is
in no greater proportion than in Paris. Still, the average is large,
though, if you will go to the stand, you may select any horse you please
without offence. It was a cheerful sight, verging upon gayety, to see
every morning the crowd of cabs at our stand and to hear the drivers’
talk, sometimes rising into protest and mutual upbraiding. But one
Thursday morning, the brightest of the spring, a Sunday silence had
fallen on the place, and a Sabbath solitude deepened to the eye the
mystery that had first addressed itself to the ear. Then, suddenly, we
knew that we were in the presence of that Italian conception of a
general strike which interprets itself as a _sciopero._ It is saying
very little of that two days’ strike to say that it was far the most
impressive experience of our Roman winter; in some sort it was the most
impressive experience of my life, for I beheld in it a reduced and
imperfect image of what labor could do if it universally chose to do
nothing. The dream of William Morris was that a world which we know is
pretty much wrong could be put right by this simple process. The trouble
has always been to get all sorts of labor to join in the universal
strike, but in the Italian _sciopero_ of four years ago the miracle was
wrought from one end of the peninsula to the other.

In the Roman strike of last April a partial miracle of the same nature
was illustratively wrought, with the same alarming effect on the

As with the national strike, the inspiration of the Roman strike came
from the government’s violent dealing with a popular manifestation which
only threatened to be mischievous. A stone-mason was killed by falling
from a scaffolding, and his funeral was attended by so many hundreds,
amounting to thousands, of workmen that the police conceived, not quite
unjustifiably, that it was to be made the occasion of a demonstration,
especially as the proposed route of the procession lay through the
Piazza di Venezia, under the windows of the Austrian Embassy, Austria
being always a red rag to the Italian bull and peculiarly irritating
through the reservation of the Palazzo Venezia to the ancient enemy at
the cession of Venice to Italy. The mourners were therefore forbidden to
pass that way, and the police forces were drawn up in the Piazza Gesu,
before the Jesuit church, with a strong detachment of troops to support
them. Their wisdom in all this was very questionable after what
followed, for the mourners insisted on their rights and would go no way
but through the Piazza di Venezia. When the dispute was at its height
two wagons laden with bricks appeared on the scene. The mourners swarmed
upon them, broke the bricks into bats, and hurled them at the police.
They had apparently the simple-hearted expectation that the police would
stand this indefinitely, but the brickbats hurt, and in their paroxysms
of pain the sufferers began firing their revolvers at the mourners. Four
persons were killed, with the usual proportion of innocent spectators.
At night the labor unions met, and the _sciopero_ was proclaimed as an
expression of the popular indignation; but the police had been left with
the victory. Whether it was not in some sort a defeat I do not know, but
a retired English officer, whom I had no reason to think a radical, said
to me that he thought it a great mistake to have let the police oppose
the people with firearms. Soldiers should alone be used for such work;
they alone knew when to fire and when to stop, and they never acted
without orders. In fact, the troops supporting the police took no part
in the fray, as the workmen’s press recognized with patriotic rejoicing.

The next morning a signal silence prevailed throughout the city, where
not a wheel stirred or the sound of a hoof broke the hush of the
streets. We had noted already that there were seven Sundays every week
in Rome, as was fit in the capital of the Christian religion, but this
Thursday was of an intenser Sabbath stillness than any first day of the
week that we had yet known. There was the clack of passing feet in the
street under our windows, but we looked out upon a yawning void where
the busy cabs had clustered, and the cabmen had socially chaffed and
quarrelled, and entreated the stranger in the cabman’s superstition that
a stranger never knows when he wants a cab. Now he could have walked all
over Rome without being once invited to drive. Except for here and there
a private carriage, or the coupe evidently of a doctor, the streets were
empty, and the tourists had to join the citizens in their pedestrian

The shopkeepers had been notified to close their places of business on
the tacit condition of having their windows broken for non-compliance,
but in the early forenoon they were still slowly and partially putting
up their shutters. You could get in through the darkened doors up till
noon; after that it was more and more difficult. But it would be hard to
say how far and how deep the _sciopero_ went. In our hotel we knew of it
only the second day through the failure of the morning rolls, for there
had been no baking overnight. Most of the in-door service was of Swiss
or other foreign extraction, and the mechanism of our comfort, our
luxury, was operated as usual. Our floor _facchino,_ or porter, went to
the meeting of the unions in the evening, being an Italian. Otherwise
the strike fell especially on the helpless and guiltless foreigner, who
might be, and very often was, in sympathy with the strikers. He had to
walk to the ruins, the galleries, the gardens, the churches, if he
wanted anything of them; he could not get a carriage even from a stable.

Between the hotels and the station the omnibus traffic was suspended.
The railroads being national, push-carts manned by the government
employes carried the baggage to and fro, but if one wanted to arrive or
depart one had to do it on foot. Tragical scenes presented themselves in
relation to this fact. In the afternoon, as I walked up the street
toward the great railroad station, I saw coming down the middle of it a
strange procession of ladies and gentlemen of every age, gray-haired
elders and children of tender years, mixed with porters and push-carts,
footing it into the region of the fashionable hotels. They were all
laden according to their strength, and people who had never done a
stroke of work in their lives were actually carrying their own
hand-bags, rugs, and umbrella-cases. It was terrible.

It was terrible for what it was, and terrible for what it suggested, if
ever that poor dull beast of labor took the bit permanently into its
teeth, or, worse yet, hung back in the breeching and inexorably balked.
What would then become of us others, us ladies and gentlemen who had
never done a stroke of work and never wished to do one? Should we be
forced to the hard necessity of beginning? Could we remain in the
comfortable belief that we gave work, or must we be made to own
distastefully that it had always been given to us? Should we be able to
flatter ourselves with the notion that we had once had dependents
because we had money, or should we realize that we had always been
dependents because of our having money?

These were the hateful doubts which the Roman strike suggested to the
witness, or, at least, one of the witnesses, who has here the pleasure
of unburdening himself upon the reader. Yet there was something amusing
in the situation; there was a joke--that rarest of all things in
Rome--latent in it, which one suspected only from the amiable, the
all-but-smiling behavior of the strikers. There was not the slightest
disorder during the two days that the strike lasted. When it was called
off at a meeting of the unions on Saturday night, one of the seven
Sundays of the Roman week dawned upon an activity at the neighboring
cab-stand no peacefuller and not much gayer than the silence and
solitude of the mornings previous. As for the general effect in the
city, you would hardly have known that particular Sunday from those
which had gone by the names of Friday and Saturday. Throughout Italy
there is now a Sunday-closing law whose effect in a land once of joyous
Sabbaths strikes some such chill to the heart as pierces it in Boston on
that day, or in the farther eastern or western avenues of New York, when
the Family Entrances are religiously locked.

The Italian state has, in fact, so far taken the matter in charge as to
have established a secular holiday, coming once a week, which has almost
disestablished the holidays of the Church, formerly of much more
frequent occurrence.  This secular holiday, which every workman has a
right to, he may neither give nor sell to his master. He may not even
loaf it away in the place where he works, lest he should be
clandestinely employed. He must go out of the shop or house or factory
or foundry, and spend his ten hours where he cannot be suspected of
employing them in productive industry for hire. This law has been
enacted in accordance with the will of the unions and no doubt in
correction of great abuses. Neither masters nor men now recognize the
old-fashioned _festa_ as they once did. Whether the men like the new
holiday so well, I did not get any of them explicitly to say. Of course,
they cannot all take it at once; they must take it turn about, and they
may not find their enforced leisure so lively as the old voluntary
saints’ days, when their comrades were resting, too. As for the masters,
one of the employers of labor, whom I found filling his man’s place,
would merely say: “It is the new law. No doubt we shall adjust ourselves
to it.” He did not complain.


Shortly after our settlement in the Eternal City, which has so much more
time to be seen than the so-journer has to see it, I pleased myself with
the notion of surprising it by visiting in a studied succession the many
different piazzas. This, I thought, would acquaint me with the different
churches, and on the way to them I should make friends with the various
quarters. Everything, old or new, would have the charm of the
unexpected; no lurking ruin would escape me; no monument, whether column
or obelisk, statue, “storied urn or animated bust” or mere tablet, would
be safe from my indirect research. Before I knew it, I should know Rome
by heart, and this would be something to boast of long after I had
forgotten it.

I could not say what suggested so admirable a notion, but it may have
been coming by chance one day on the statue of Giordano Bruno, and
realizing that it stood in the Campo di Fieri, on the spot where he was
burned three hundred years ago for abetting Copernicus in his
sacrilegious system of astronomy, and for divers other heresies, as well
as the violation of his monastic vows. I saw it with the thrill which
the solemn figure, heavily draped, deeply hooded, must impart as mere
mystery, and I made haste to come again in the knowledge of what it was
that had moved me so. Naturally I was not moved in the same measure a
second time. It was not that the environment was, to my mind, unworthy
the martyr, though I found the market at the foot of the statue given
over, not to flowers, as the name of the place might imply, but to such
homely fruits of the earth as potatoes, carrots, cabbages, and, above
all, onions. There was a placidity in the simple scene that pleased me:
I liked the quiet gossiping of the old market-women over their baskets
of vegetables; the confidential fashion in which a gentle crone came to
my elbow and begged of me in undertone, as if she meant the matter to go
no further, was even mattering. But the solemnity of the face that
looked down on the scene was spoiled by the ribbon drawn across it to
fasten a wreath on the head, in the effort of some mistaken zealot of
free thought to enhance its majesty by decoration. It was the moment
when the society calling itself by Giordano Bruno’s name was making an
effort for the suppression of ecclesiastical instruction in the public
schools; and on the anniversary of his martyrdom his effigy had suffered
this unmeant hurt. In all the churches there had been printed appeals to
parents against the agnostic attack on the altar and the home, and there
had been some of the open tumults which seem in Rome to express every
social emotion. But the clericals had triumphed, and an observer more
anxious than I to give a mystical meaning to accident might have
interpreted the disfiguring ribbon over Bruno’s bronze lips as a new
silencing of the heretic.

[Illustration: 31 THE CARNIVAL (AS IT ONCE WAS)]

I certainly did not construe it so, and, if my notion of serially
visiting the piazzas of Rome was not prompted by my chance glimpse of
the Campo di Fiori, it was certainly not relinquished because of any
mischance in my meditated vision of it. I had merely reflected that I
could not hope to carry out my scheme without greater expense both in
time and money than I could well afford, for, though cabs in Rome are
swift and cheap, yet the piazzas are many and widely distributed; and I
finally decided to indulge myself in a novelty of adventure verging
close upon originality. It had always seemed to me that the happy
strangers mounted on the tiers of seats that rise from front to back on
the motor-chariots for seeing New York and looking down, even from the
lowest place, on the life of our streets had a peculiar, almost a
bird’s-eye view of it which I might well find the means of a fresh
impression. But I never had the courage, for reasons which I have not
the courage to give, though the reader can perhaps imagine them. In Rome
I did not feel that the like reasons held; of all the unknown, I was one
of the most unknown; by me nobody would be put to the shame of
recognizing an acquaintance on the benches of the like chariot, or
forced to the cruelty of cutting him in my person. When once I had fully
realized this, it was only a question of the time when I should yield to
the temptation which renewed itself as often as I saw the stately
automobile passing through the storied streets, with its English legend
of “Touring Rome” inscribed on the back of the rear seat. There remained
the question whether I should go alone or whether I should ask the
countenance of friends in so bold an enterprise. When I suggested it to
some persons of the more courageous sex, they did not wait to be asked
to go with me; they instantly entreated to be allowed to go; they said
they had always wished to see Rome in that way; and we only waited to be
chosen by the raw and blustery afternoon which made us its own for the

It was the eve of the last sad day of such shrunken and faded carnival
as is still left to Rome, and there were signs of it in the straggling
groups of children in holiday costume, and in here and there a pair of
young girls in a cab, safely masked against identification and venting,
in the sense of wild escape, the joyous spirits kept in restraint all
the rest of the year. Already in the Corso, where our touring-car waited
for us at the first corner, a great cafe was turning itself inside out
with a spread of chairs and tables over the sidewalk, which we found
thronged on our return with spectators far outnumbering the merrymakers
of the carnival. Our car was not nearly so packed, and when we mounted
to the benches we found that the last and highest of them was left to
the sole occupancy of a young man, well enough dressed (his yellow
gloves may have been more than well enough) and well-mannered enough,
who continued enigmatical to the last. There was a German couple and
there were some French-speaking people; the rest of us were bound in the
tie of our common English. The agent of the enterprise accompanied us,
an international of undetermined race, and beside the chauffeur sat the
middle-aged, anxious-looking Italian who presently arose when we made
our first stop in the Piazza Colonna and harangued us in three
languages--successively, of course--concerning the Column of Marcus
Aurelius. He did not use the megaphone of his American confrere; and
from the shudder which the first sound of his voice must have sent
through a less fastidious substance than mine I perceived that an
address by megaphone I could not have borne; to that extreme of excess
even my modernism could not go. As it was, there was an instant when I
could have wished to be on foot, or even in a cab, with a red Baedeker
in my hand; and yet, as the orator went on, I had to own that he was
giving me a better account of the column than I could have got for
myself out of the guide-book. He spoke first in French, with an Italian
accent and occasionally an Italian idiom; then he spoke in English, and
then in a German which suffered from his knowledge of English.

He sat down, looking rather spent with his effort, and on the way to our
next stop, at the Temple of Neptune, the agent examined us upon our
necessities in the article of language. He himself spoke such good
English that we could not do otherwise than declare that we could get on
perfectly with an address in French. The German pair, perhaps from
patriotic grudge, denied a working knowledge of the unfriendly tongue.
The solitary on the back seat, being asked in his turn, graciously
answered, “Toutes les langues me sont egales,” and thereafter we
suffered with the orator only through French and German.

The reply which decided the matter launched us upon yet wider conjecture
regarding the unknown: was he a retired courier, a concierge out of
place, a professor of languages on his holiday, or merely an amateur of
philological studies? His declared proficiency was manifested in
unexpected measure as we drove away from the Temple of Neptune on
through the narrow street leading to it. Every motor has its peculiar
note, and our car had something like the scream of a wild animal in
pain, such as might have justly alarmed a stouter spirit than that of
the poor little cab-horse which we encountered at the corner of this
street. It reared, it plunged; when our chauffeur held us in it still
backed and filled so dangerously that the mother and children
overflowing the cab followed the example of the driver in spilling to
the ground. Then our good international, the agent, jumped down and,
mounting to the coachman’s seat, took the reins and urged the horse
forward, while its driver pulled it by the bridle. All was of no effect
till the solitary of the back seat rose in his place and shouted to the
frightened creature in choice American: “What d’ you mean, there? Come
on! Come on, you fool!” Then, as if it had been an “impenitent mule” in
some far-distant Far-Western incarnation, this Eoman cab-horse
recognized the voice of authority; it nerved itself against the
imaginary danger, and came steadily forward; our agent regained his
place, and we moved shriekingly on to the next object of interest. It
was not quite the note blown from level tubes of brass in the progress
of a conqueror, but we did not lack the cheers of a disinterested
populace, which at several points impartially applauded our orator’s
French and German versions of his not always tacit Italian.

Our height above the cheers helped preserve us from the sense of
anything ironical in them, and there was an advantage in the outlook
from our elevation which the wayfarer in cab or on foot can only
imagine. No such wayfarer can realize the vast scope and compass of our
excursion, which was but one of two excursions made on alternate
afternoons by the Touring-Rome wagons. It included, perhaps not quite in
the following order, after the Temple of Neptune, such objects of prime
importance as the Palazzo Madama, where Catharine de’ Medici once dwelt
and where the Italian Senate now holds its sessions; the Fountain of
Trevi, the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, the new Palace of Justice and
the Cavour monument beyond the Tiber, the Castle of Sant’ Angelo, the
Vatican and St. Peter’s, the Janiculum and the Garibaldi monument on it,
and the stupendous prospect of the city from that supreme top, the
bridge that Horatius held in Macaulay’s ballad, the island in the Tiber
formed after the expulsion of the Tarquins by the river sand and drift
catching on the seed-corn thrown into the stream from the fields
consecrated to Mars, the Temple of Fortune, the once-supposed House of
Rienzi, and the former Temple of Vesta; the Palatine Hill and the
Aventine Hill, the Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, the Campidoglio, the
Theatre of Marcellus, the worst slum in Rome, where the worst boy in
Rome, flown with Carnival, will try to board your passing car; back to
Piazza Colonna through Piazza Monte Citerio, where the Italian House of
Deputies meets in the plain old palace of the same name.

The mere mention of these storied places will kindle in the reader’s
fancy a fire which he will feel all the need of if ever he verifies my
account of them in touring Rome on so cold an afternoon as that of our
excursion. The wind rose with our ascent of every elevation, if it did
not fall with our return to a lower level; on the Janiculum it blew a
blizzard in which the incongruous ilexes and laurels bowed and writhed,
and some groups of almond-trees in their pale bloom on a distant upland
mocked us with a derisive image of spring. At the foot of the steps to
the Campidoglio, where some of our party dismounted to go up and view
the statue of Marcus Aurelius, it was so cold that nothing but the sense
of a strong common interest prevented those who remained from persuading
the chauffeur to go on without the sight-seers.  But we forbore, both
because we knew we were then very near the end of our tour, and because
we felt it would have been cruel to abandon the lady who had got out of
the car only by turning herself sidewise and could not have made her way
home on foot without sufferings which would justly have brought us to
shame. Certain idle particulars will always cling to the memory which
lets so many ennobling facts slip from it; and I find myself helpless
against the recollection of this poor lady’s wearing a thick
motoring-veil which no curiosity could pierce, but which, when she
lifted it, revealed a complexion of heated copper and a gray mustache
such as nature vouchsafes to few women.

The crowd, which thickened most in the Piazza di Venezia, had grown more
and more carnivalesque in attire and behavior. We had been obliged to
avoid the more densely peopled streets because, as our international
explained, if the car had slowed at any point the revellers would have
joined our excursion of their own initiative and accompanied us to the
end in overwhelming numbers. They wellnigh blocked the entrance of the
Corso when we got back to it, and the cafe where we had agreed to have
tea was so packed that our gay escapade began to look rather gloomy in
the retrospect. But suddenly a table was vacated; a waiter was caught,
in the vain attempt to ignore us, and given such a comprehensive order
that we could see respect kindling in his eyes, and before we could
reasonably have hoped it be spread before us tea and bread and butter
and tarts and little cakes, while scores of hungry spectators stood
round and flatteringly envied us. In this happy climax our adventure
showed as a royal progress throughout. We counted up the wonders of our
three hours’ course in an absolutely novel light; and we said that
touring Rome was a thing not only not to be despised, but to be forever
proud of.

For myself, I decided that if I were some poor hurried fellow-countryman
of mine, doing Europe in a month and obliged to scamp Rome with a couple
of days, I would not fail to spend two of them in what I must always
think of as a triumphal chariot. I resolved to take the second
excursion, not the next day perhaps, but certainly the day after the
next, and complete the most compendious impression of ancient,
mediaeval, and modern Rome that one can have; but the firmest resolution
sometimes has not force to hold one to it. The second excursion remains
for a second sojourn, when perhaps I may be able to solve the question
whether I was moved by a fine instinct of proportion or by mere innate
meanness in giving our orator at parting just two francs in recognition
of his eloquence. No one else, indeed, gave him anything, and he seemed
rather surprised by my tempered munificence. It might have been
mystically adjusted to the number of languages he used in addressing us;
if he had held to three languages I might have made it three francs; but
now I shall never be certain till I take the second excursion with a
company which imperatively requires English as well as French and
German, and with no solitary in yellow gloves to whom all languages are

To this end I ought to have thrown a copper coin into the Fountain of
Trevi as we passed it. You may return to Rome without doing this, but it
is well known that if you do it you are sure to come back. The Fountain
of Trevi is alone worth coming back for, and I could not see that it
poured scanter streams than it formerly poured over brimming brinks or
from the clefts of the artificial rocks that spread in fine disorder
about the feet of its sea-gods and sea-horses; but they who mourn the
old papal rule accuse the present Italian government of stinting the
supply of water. To me there seemed no stint of water in any of the
fountains of Rome. In some a mere wasteful spilth seems the sole design
of the artist, as in the Fontana Paolina on the Janiculum, where the
cold wash of its deluge seemed to add a piercing chill to our windy
afternoon. The other fountains have each a quaint grace or absolute
charm or pleasing absurdity, whether the waters shower over groups of
more or less irrelevant statuary in their basins or spout into the air
in columns unfurling flags of spray and keeping the pavement about them
green with tender mould. The most sympathetic is the Fountain of the
Triton, who blows the water through his wreathed horn and on the coldest
day seems not to mind its refluent splash on his mossy back; in fact, he
seems rather to like it.

[Illustration: 32 THE FOUNTAIN OF TREVI]

He is one of many tritons, rivers, sea-gods, and aqueous allegories
similarly employed in Rome and similarly indifferent to what flesh and
blood might find the hardship of their calling. I had rashly said to
myself that their respective fountains needed the sun on them to be just
what one could wish, but the first gray days taught me better. Then the
thinly clouded sky dropped a softened light over their glitter and
sparkle and gave them a spirituality as much removed from the suggestion
of physical cold as any diaphanous apparition would suggest. Then they
seemed rapt into a finer beauty than that of earth, though I will not
pretend that they were alike beautiful. No fountain can be quite ugly,
but some fountains can be quite stupid, like, for instance, those which
give its pretty name to the Street of the Four Fountains and which
consist of two extremely plain Virtues and two very dull old Rivers,
diagonally dozing at each other over their urns in niches of the four
converging edifices. They are not quite so idiotic under their
disproportionate foliage as the conventional Egyptian lions of the
Fountain of Moses, with manes like the wigs of so many lord chancellors,
and with thin streams of water drooling from the tubes between their
lips. But these are the exceptional fountains; there are few sculptured
or architectural designs which the showering or spouting water does not
retrieve from error; and in Rome the water (deliciously potable) is so
abundant that it has force to do almost anything for beauty, even where,
as in the Fontana Paolina, it is merely a torrent tumbling over a
facade. It is lavished everywhere; in the Piazza Navona alone there are
three fountains, but then the Piazza Navona is very long, and three
fountains are few enough for it, even though one is that famous Fountain
of Bernini, in which he has made one of the usual rivers--the Nile, I
believe--holding his hand before his eyes in mock terror of the ungainly
facade of a rival architect’s church opposite, lest it shall fall and
crush him. That, however, is the least merit of the fountain; and
without any fountain the Piazza Navona would be charming; it is such a
vast lake of sunshine and is so wide as well as long, and is so mellowed
with such rich browns and golden grays in the noble edifices.

I do not know, now, what all the edifices are, but there are churches,
more than one, and palaces, and the reader can find their names in any
of the guidebooks. If I were buying piazzas in Rome I should begin with
the Navona, but there are enough to suit all purses and tastes. The
fountains would be thrown in, I suppose, along with the churches and
palaces; but I really never inquired, and, in fact, not having carried
out my plan of visiting them all, I am in no position to advise
intending purchasers. What I can say is that if you are in a hurry to
inspect, that kind of property, and in immediate need of a piazza, you
cannot do better than take the wagon for touring Rome. In two days you
can visit every piazza worth having, including the Piazza di Spagna,
where there is a fountain in the form of a marble galley in which you
can embark for any fairyland you like, through the Via del Babuino and
the Piazza del Popolo. Come to think of it, I am not so sure but I would
as soon have the Piazza del Popolo as the Piazza Navona. If the
fountains are not so fine, they are still very fine, and the Pincian
Hill overtops one side of the place, with foliaged drives and gardened
walks descending into it.

Everything of importance that did not happen elsewhere in Rome seems to
have happened in the Piazza del Popolo, and I may name as a few of its
attractions for investors the facts that it was here Sulla’s funeral
pyre was kindled; that Nero was buried on the left side of it, and out
of his tomb grew a huge walnut-tree, the haunt of demoniacal crows till
the Madonna appeared to Paschal II. and bade him cut it down; that the
arch-heretic Luther sojourned in the Augustinian convent here while in
Rome; that the dignitaries of Church and State received Christina of
Sweden here when, after her conversion, she visited the city; that
Lucrezia Borgia celebrated her betrothal in one of the churches; that it
used to be a favorite place for executing brigands, whose wives then
became artists’ models, and whose sons, if they were like Cardinal
Antonelli, became princes of the Church. So I learn from Hare in his
_Walks in Rome,_ and, if he enables me to boast the rivalry of the
Piazza Navona in no such array of merits, still I will not deny my love
for it. Certainly it was not a favorite place for executing brigands,
but the miracle which saved St. Agnes from, cruel shame was wrought in
the vaulted chambers under the church of her name there, and that is
something beyond all the wonders of the Piazza del Popolo for its pathos
and for its poetry. But, if the Piazza Navona had no other claim on me,
I should find a peculiar pleasure in the old custom of stopping the
escapes from its fountains and flooding with water the place I saw
flooded with sun, for the patricians to wade and drive about in during
the very hot weather and eat ices and drink coffee, while the plebeians
looked sumptuously down on them from the galleries built around the



It would be a very bold or very incompetent observer of the Roman
situation who should venture upon a decided opinion of the relations of
the monarchy and the papacy. You hear it said with intimations of
special authority in the matter, that both king and pope are well
content with the situation, and it is clearly explained how and why they
are so; but I did not understand how or why at the moment of the
explanation, or else I have now forgotten whatever was clear in it. I
believe, however, it was to the effect that the pope willingly remained
self-prisoned in the Vatican because, if he came out, he might not only
invalidate a future claim upon the sovereign dignity which the Italian
occupation had invaded, but he might incur risks from the more
unfriendly extremists which would at least be very offensive. On his
part, it was said that the king used the embarrassment occasioned by the
pope’s attitude as his own defence against the anti-Clericals, who
otherwise would have urged him to far more hostile measures with the
Church. The king and the pope were therefore not very real enemies, it
was said by those who tried to believe themselves better informed than

To the passing or tarrying stranger the situation does not offer many
dramatic aspects. When you are going to St. Peter’s, if you will look up
at the plain wall of the Vatican palace you will see two windows with
their shutters open, and these are the windows of the rooms where Pius
X. lives, a voluntary captive; the closed blinds are those of the rooms
where Leo XIII. died, a voluntary captive. Whatever we think of the
wisdom or the reason of the papal protest against the occupation of the
States of the Church by the Italian people, these windows have their
pathos. The pope immures himself in the Vatican and takes his walks in
the Vatican gardens, whose beauty I could have envied him, if he had not
been a prisoner, when I caught a glimpse of them one morning, with the
high walls of their privet and laurel alleys blackening in the sun.

But otherwise the severest Protestant could not cherish so unkind a
feeling toward the gentle priest whom all men speak well of for his
piety and humility. It is a touching fact of his private life that his
three maiden sisters, who wish to be as near him as they can, have their
simple lodging over a shop for the sale of holy images in a street
opening into the Piazza of St. Peter’s. We all know that they are of a
Venetian family neither rich nor great; their pride and joy is solely in
him, as it well might be, and it is said that when they come to hear him
in some high function at the Sistine Chapel their rapture of affection
and devotion is as evident as it is sweet and touching.

Their relation to him is the supremely poetic fact of a situation which
even one who knows of it merely by hearsay cannot refuse to feel. The
tragical effect of the situation is in the straining and sundering of
family ties among those who take one side or the other in the difference
of the monarchy and papacy. I do not know how equally Roman society, in
the large or the small sense, is divided into the Black of the Papists
and the White of the Monarchists (for the mediaeval names of Neri and
Bianchi are revived in the modern differences), but one cannot help
hearing of instances in which their political and religious opinions
part fathers and sons and mothers and daughters. These are promptly
noted to the least-inquiring foreigner, and his imagination is kindled
by the attribution of like variances to the members of the reigning
family, who are reported respectively blacker and whiter if they are not
as positively black or white as the nobles. Some of these are said to
meet one another only in secret across the gulf that divides them
openly; but how far the cleavage may descend among other classes I
cannot venture to conjecture; I can only testify to some expressions of
priest-hatred which might have shocked a hardier heretical substance
than mine.

One Sunday we went to the wonderful old Church of San Clemente, which is
built three deep into the earth or high into the air, one story above or
below the other, in the three successive periods of imperial, mediaeval,
and modern Rome. It was the day when the church is illuminated, and the
visitors come with their Baedekers and Hares and Murrays to identify its
antiquities of architecture and fresco; it was full of people, and, if I
fancied an unusual proportion of English-speaking converts among them,
that might well have been, since the adjoining convent belongs to the
Irish Dominicans. But I carried with me through all the historic and
artistic interest of the place the sensation left by two inscriptions
daubed in black on the white convent wall next the church. One of these
read: _“VV. la Repubblica”_ (Long live the Republic), and the other:
_“M. ai Preti”_ (Death to the Priests). No attempt had been made to
efface them, and as they expressed an equal hatred for the monarchy and
the papacy, neither laity nor clergy may have felt obliged to interfere.
Perhaps, however, it was rightly inferred that the ferocity of one
inscription might be best left to counteract the influence of the other.
I know that with regard to the priests you experience some such effect
from the atrocious attacks in the chief satirical paper of Rome, The
name of this paper was given me, with a deprecation not unmixed with
recognition of its cleverness, by an Italian friend whom I was making my
creditor for some knowledge of Roman journalism; and the sole copy of it
which I bought was handed to me with a sort of smiling abhorrence by the
kindly old kiosk woman whom I liked best to buy my daily papers of. When
I came to look it through, I made more and more haste, for its satire of
the priests was of an indecency so rank that it seemed to offend the
nose as well as the eye. To turn from the paper was easy, but from the
fact of its popularity a painful impression remained. It was not a
question of whether the priests were so bad as all that, but whether its
many readers believed them so, or believed them bad short of it, in the
kind of wickedness they were accused of.

There can be no doubt of the constant rancor between the Clericals and
the Radicals in their different phases throughout Italy. There can be
almost no doubt that the Radicals will have their way increasingly, and
that if, for instance, the catechism is kept in the public schools this
year, it will be cast out some other year not far hence. Much, of
course, depends upon whether the status can maintain itself. It is, like
the status everywhere and always, very anomalous; but it is difficult to
imagine either the monarchy or the papacy yielding at any point.
Apparently the State is the more self-assertive of the two, but this is
through the patriotism which is the political life of the people. It
must always be remembered that when the Italians entered Rome and made
it the capital of their kingdom they did not drive out the French
troops, which had already been withdrawn; they drove out the papal
troops, the picturesque and inefficient foreign volunteers who remained
behind. Every memorial of that event, therefore, is a blow at the
Church, so far as the Church is identified with the lost temporal power.
One of the chief avenues is named Twenty-second September Street because
the national troops entered Rome on that date; the tablets on the Porta
Pia where they entered, the monument on the Pincio to the Cairoli
brothers, who died for Italy; the statues of Garibaldi, of Cavour, of
Victor Emmanuel everywhere painfully remind the papacy of its lost
sovereignty. But the national feeling has gone in its expression beyond
and behind the patriotic occupation of Rome; and no one who suffered
conspicuously, at any time in the past, for freedom of thought through
the piety of the fallen power is suffered to be forgotten. On its side
the Church enters its perpetual protest in the self-imprisonment of the
pope; and here and there, according to its opportunity, it makes record
of what it has suffered from the State. For instance, at St. John
Lateran, which theoretically forms part of the Leonine City of the Popes
and is therefore extraterritorial to Italy, a stretch of wall is
suffered to remain scarred by the cannon-shot which the monarchy fired
when it took Rome from the papacy.

Doubtless there are other monuments of the kind, but their enumeration
would not throw greater light on a situation which endures with no
apparent promise of change. The patience of the Church is infinite; it
lives and it outlives. Remembering that Arianism was older than
Protestantism when Catholicism finally survived it, we must not be
surprised if the Roman Church shall hold out against the Italian State
not merely decades, but centuries. In the meanwhile to its children from
other lands it means Rome above all the other Romes; and on us, its
step-children of different faiths or unfaiths, its prison-house--if we
choose so to think of the Vatican--has a supreme claim, if we love the
sculpture of pagan Rome or the painting of Christian Rome.

We swarm to its galleries in every variety of nationality, with
guide-books in every tongue, and we are very queer, for the most part,
to any one of our number who can sufficiently exteriorate himself to get
the rest of us in perspective. It is probably well that most of us do
not stagger under any great knowledge of the crushing history of the
place, which has been the scene of the most terrible experiences of the
race, the most touching, the most august. Provisionally ignorant, at
least, we begin to appear at the earliest practicable hour before the
outermost stairway of the Vatican, and, while the Swiss Guards still
have on their long, blue cloaks to keep their black and yellow legs
warm, mount to the Sistine Chapel. Here we help instruct one another, as
we stand about or sit about in twos and threes or larger groups, reading
aloud from our polyglot Baedekers while we join in identifying the
different facts.  Here, stupendously familiar, whether we have seen it
before or not, is Michelangelo’s giant fresco of the Judgment, as
prodigious as we imagined or remembered it; here are his mighty Prophets
and his mighty Sibyls; and here below them, in incomparably greater
charm, are the frescos of Botticelli, with the grace of his Primavera
playing through them all like a strain of music and taking the soul with


It is the same crowd in the Raphael Stanze, but rather silenter, for by
now we have taught ourselves enough from our Baedekers at least to read
them under our breaths, and we talk low before the frescos and the
canvases. Some of us are even mute in the presence of the School of
Athens, whatever reserves we may utter concerning the Transfiguration.
If we are honest, we more or less own what our impressions really are
from those other famous works, concerning which our impressions are
otherwise altogether and inexpressibly unimportant; it is a question of
ethics and not aesthetics, as most of our simple-hearted company suppose
it to be; and, if we are dishonest, we pretend to have felt and thought
things at first-hand from them which we have learned at second-hand from
our reading. I will confess, for my small part, that I had more pleasure
in the coloring and feeling of some of the older canvases and in here
and there a Titian than in all the Raphaels in the Stanze of his name.

I was not knowing his works for the first time; no one perhaps does
that, such is the multiplicity of the copies of them; and I vividly
remembered them from my acquaintance with the originals four decades
before, as I had remembered the Michelangelos; but in their presence and
in the presence of so many other masterpieces in the different rooms,
with their horrible miracles and atrocious martyrdoms, I realized as for
the first time what a bloody religion ours was. It was such relief, such
rest, to go from those broilings and beheadings and crucifixions and
Sayings and stabbings into the long, tranquil aisles of the museum where
the marble men and women, created for earthly immortality by Greek art,
welcomed me to their serenity and sanity. The earlier gods might have
been the devils which the early Christians fancied them, but they did
not look it; they did not look as if it was they that had loosed the
terrors upon mankind out of which the true faith has but barely
struggled at last, now when its relaxing grasp seems slipping from the
human mind. I remembered those peaceful pagans so perfectly that I could
have gone confidently to this or that and hailed him friend; and though
I might not have liked to claim the acquaintance of all of them in the
flesh, in the marble I fled to it as refuge from the cruel visions of
Christian art. If this is perhaps saying too much, I wish also to hedge
from the wholesale censure of my fellow-sight-seers which I may have
seemed to imply. They did not prevail so clutteringly in the sculpture
galleries as in the Sistine Chapel and the Stanze. One could have the
statues as much to one’s self as one liked; there were courts with
murmuring fountains in them; and there was a view of Rome from a certain
window, where no fellow-tourist intruded between one and the innumerable
roofs and domes and towers, and the heights beyond whose snows there was
nothing but blue sky. It was a beautiful morning, with a sun mild as
English summer, which did not prevent the afternoon from turning cold
with wind and raining and hailing and snowing. This in turn did not keep
off a fine red sunset, with an evening star of glittering silver that
brightened as the sunset faded. At Rome the weather can be of as many
minds in March as in April at New York.

But through all one’s remembrance of the Roman winter a sentiment of
spring plays enchantingly, like that grace of Botticelli’s Primavera in
his Sistine frescos. It is not a sentiment of summer, though it is
sometimes a summer warmth which you feel, and except in the steam-heated
hotels it does not penetrate to the interiors. In the galleries and the
churches you must blow your nails if you wish to thaw your fingers, but,
if you go out-of-doors, there is a radiant imitation of May awaiting
you. She takes you by your thick glove and leads you in your fur-lined
overcoat through sullen streets that open upon sunny squares, with
fountains streaming into the crystal air, and makes you own that this is
the Italian winter as advertised--that is, if you are a wanderer and a
stranger; if you are an Italian and at home you keep in the out-door
warmth, but shun the sun, and in-doors you wrap up more thickly than
ever, or you go to bed if you have a more luxurious prejudice against
shivering. If you are a beggar, as you very well may be in Rome, you
impart your personal heat to a specific curbstone or the spot which you
select as being most in the path of charity, and cling to it from dawn
till dark. Or you acquire somehow the rights of a chair just within the
padded curtain of a church, and do not leave it till the hour for
closing. The Roman beggars are of all claims upon pity, but preferably I
should say they were blind, and some of these are quite young girls, and
mostly rather cheerful. But the very gayest beggar I remember was a
legless man at the gate of the Vatican Museum; the saddest was a sullen
dwarf on the way to this cripple, whose gloom a donative even of
twenty-five centessimi did not suffice to abate.


It had seemed to me that in the afternoons of the old papal times, so
dear to foreigners who never knew them, I used to see a series of
patrician ladies driving round and round on the Pincio, reclining in
their landaus and shielding their complexions from the November suns of
the year 1864 with the fringed parasols of the period. In the doubt
which attends all recollections of the past, after age renders us
uncertain of the present, I hastened on my second Sunday at Rome in
February, 1908, to enjoy this vision, if possible. I found the Pincio
unexpectedly near; I found the sunshine; I found the familiar winter
warmth which in Southern climates is so unlike the summer warmth in
ours; but the drive which I had remembered as a long ellipse had
narrowed to a little circle, where one could not have driven round
faster than a slow trot without danger of vertigo. I did not find that
series of apparent principessas or imaginable marchesas leaning at their
lovely lengths in their landaus. I found in overwhelming majority the
numbered victorias, which pass for cabs in Rome, full of decent
tourists, together with a great variety of people on foot, but not much
fashion and no swells that my snobbish soul could be sure of. There was,
indeed, one fine moment when, at a retired point of the drive, I saw two
private carriages drawn up side by side in their encounter, with two
stout old ladies, whom I decided to be dowager countesses at the least,
partially projected from their opposing windows and lost in a delightful
exchange, as I hoped, of scandal. But the only other impressive
personality was that of an elderly, obviously American gentleman, in the
solitary silk hat and long frock-coat of the scene. There were other
Americans, but none so formal; the English were in all degrees of
informality down to tan shoes and at least one travelling-cap. The
women’s dress, whether they were on foot or in cabs, was not striking,
though more than half of them were foreigners and could easily have
afforded to outdress the Italians, especially the work people, though
these were there in their best.


There was a band-stand in the space first reached by the promenaders,
and there ought clearly to have been a band, but I was convinced that
there was to be none by a brief colloquy between one of the cab-drivers
(doubtless goaded to it by his fair freight) and the gentlest of Roman
policemen, whose response was given in accents of hopeful compassion:

CABMAN: _“Musica, no?”_ (No music?)

POLICEMAN: “_Forse l’ avremo oramai”_ (Perhaps we shall have it

We did not have it at all that Sunday, possibly because it was the day
after the assassination of the King of Portugal, and the flags were at
half-mast everywhere. So we went, such of us as liked, to the parapet
overlooking the Piazza del Popolo, and commanding one of those prospects
of Rome which are equally incomparable from every elevation. I, for my
part, made the dizzying circuit of the brief drive on foot in the dark
shadows of the roofing ilexes (if they are ilexes), and then strolled
back and forth on the paths set thick with plinths bearing the heads of
the innumerable national great--the poets, historians, artists,
scientists, politicians, heroes--from the ancient Roman to the modern
Italian times. I particularly looked up the poets of the last hundred
years, because I had written about them in one of my many forgotten
books, till I fancied a growing consciousness in them at this encounter
with an admirer; they, at least, seemed to remember my book. Then I went
off to the cafe overlooking them in their different alleys, and had tea
next a man who was taking lemon instead of milk in his. Here I was beset
with an impassioned longing to know whether he was a Russian or
American, since the English always take milk in their tea, but I could
not ask, and when I had suffered my question as long as I could in his
presence I escaped from it, if you can call it escaping, to the more
poignant question of what it would be like to come, Sunday after Sunday,
to the Pincio, in the life-long voluntary exile of some Americans I
knew, who meant to spend the rest of their years under the spell of
Rome. I thought, upon the whole, that it would be a dull, sad fate, for
somehow we seem born in a certain country in order to die in it, and I
went home, to come again other Sundays to the Pincio, but not all the
Sundays I promised myself.

On one of these Sundays I found Roman boys playing an inscrutable game
among the busts of their storied compatriots, a sort of “I spy” or “Hide
and go whoop,” counting who should be “It” in an Italian version of
“Oneary, ory, ickory, an,” and then scattering in every direction behind
the plinths and bushes. They were not more molestive than boys always
are in a world which ought to be left entirely to old people, and I
could not see that they did any harm. But somebody must have done harm,
for not only was a bust here and there scribbled over in pencil, but the
bust of Machiavelli had its nose freshly broken off in a jagged fracture
that was very hurting to look at. This may have been done by some
mistaken moralist, who saw in the old republican adviser of princes that
enemy of mankind which he was once reputed to be. At any rate, I will
not attribute the mutilation to the boys of Rome, whom I saw at other
times foregoing so many opportunities of mischief in the Villa
Bor-ghese. One of them even refused money from me there when I
misunderstood his application for matches and offered him some coppers.
He put my tip aside with a dignified wave of his hand and a proud
backward step; and, indeed, I ought to have seen from the flat, broad
cap he wore that he was a school-boy of civil condition. The Romans are
not nearly so dramatic as the Neapolitans or Venetians or even as the
Tuscans; but once in the same pleasance I saw a controversy between
school-boys which was carried on with an animation full of beauty and
finish. They argued back and forth, not violently, but vividly, and one
whom I admired most enforced his reasons with charming gesticulations,
whirling from his opponents with quick turns of his body and many a
renunciatory retirement, and then facing about and advancing again upon
the unconvinced. I decided that his admirable drama had been studied
from the histrionics of his mother in domestic scenes; and, if I had
been one of those other boys, I should have come over to his side

The Roman manners vary from Roman to Roman, just as our own manners, if
we had any, would vary from New-Yorker to New-Yorker. Zola thinks the
whole population is more or less spoiled with the conceit of Rome’s
ancient greatness, and shows it. One could hardly blame them if this
were so; but I did not see any strong proof of it, though I could have
imagined it on occasion. I should say rather that they had a republican
simplicity of manner, and I liked this better in the shop people and
work people than the civility overflowing into servility which one finds
among the like folk, for instance, in England. I heard complaints from
foreigners that the old-time deference of the lower classes was gone,
but I did not miss it. Once in a cafe, indeed, the waiter spoke to me in
_Voi_ (you) instead of _Lei_ (lordship), but the Neapolitans often do
this, and I took it for a friendly effort to put me at my ease in a
strange tongue with a more accustomed form. We were trying to come
together on the kind of tea I wanted, but we failed, if I wanted it
strong, for I got it very weak and tepid. I thought another day that it
would be stronger if I could get it brought hotter, but it was not, and
so I went no more to a place where I was liable to be called You instead
of Lordship and still get weak tea. I think this was a mistake of mine
and a loss, for at that cafe I saw some old-fashioned Italian types
drinking their black coffee at afternoon tea-time out of tumblers, and
others calling for pen and ink and writing letters, and ladies sweetly
asking for newspapers and reading them there; and I ought to have
continued coming to study them.

As to my conjectures of republican quality in the Romans, I had explicit
confirmation from a very intelligent Italian who said of the anomalous
social and political situation in Rome: “We Italians are naturally
republicans, and, if it were a question of any other reigning family, we
should have the republic. But we feel that we owe everything, the very
existence of the nation, to the house of Savoy, and we are loyal to it
in our gratitude. Especially we are true to the present king.” It is
known, of course, that Menotti Garibaldi continues the republican that
his father always was, but I heard of his saying that, if a republic
were established, Victor Emmanuel III. would be overwhelmingly chosen
the first president. It is the Socialists who hold off unrelentingly
from the monarchy, and not the republicans, as they can be differenced
from them. One of the well-known Roman anomalies is that some members of
the oldest families are or have been Socialists; and such a noble was
reproached because he would not go to thank the king in recognition of
some signal proof of his public spirit and unselfish patriotism. He
owned the generosity of the king’s behavior and his claim upon popular
acknowledgment, but he said that he had taught the young men of his
party the duty of ignoring the monarchy, and he could not go counter to
the doctrine he had preached.

If I venture to speak now of a very extraordinary trait of the municipal
situation at Rome, it must be without the least pretence to authority or
to more than such superficial knowledge as the most incurious visitor to
Rome can hardly help having. In the capital of Christendom, where the
head of the Church dwells in a tradition of supremacy hardly less
Italian than Christian, the syndic, or mayor, is a Jew, and not merely a
Jew, but an alien Jew, English by birth and education, a Londoner and an
Oxford man. More yet, he is a Freemason, which in Italy means things
anathema to the Church, and he is a very prominent Freemason. With
reference to the State, his official existence, though not inimical, is
through the fusion of the political parties which elected him hardly
less anomalous. This combination overthrew the late Clerical city
government, and it included Liberals, Republicans, Socialists, and all
the other anti-Clericals. Whatever liberalism or republicanism means,
socialism cannot mean less than the economic solution of regality and
aristocracy in Europe, and in Italy as elsewhere. It does not mean the
old-fashioned revolution; it means simply the effacement of all social
differences by equal industrial obligations. So far as the Socialists
can characterize it, therefore, the actual municipal government of Rome
is as antimonarchical as it is antipapal. But the syndic of Rome is a
man of education, of culture, of intelligence, and he is evidently a man
of consummate tact. He has known how to reconcile the warring elements,
which made peace in his election, to one another and to their outside
antagonists, to the Church and to the State, as well as to himself, in
the course he holds over a very rugged way. His opportunities of
downfall are pretty constant, it will be seen, when it is explained that
if a measure with which he is identified fails in the city council it
becomes his duty to resign, like the prime-minister of England in the
like case with Parliament, But Mr.  Nathan, who is as alien in his name
as in his race and religion, and is known orally to the Romans as Signor
Nahtahn, has not yet been obliged to resign. He has felt his way through
every difficulty, and has not yet been identified with any fatally
compromising measure. In such an extremely embarrassing predicament as
that created by the conflict between the labor unions and the police
early in April, and eventuating in the two days’ strike, he knew how to
do the wise thing and the right thing. As to the incident, he held his
hand and he held his tongue, but he went to visit the wounded workmen in
the hospital, and he condoled with their families. He was somewhat
blamed for that, but his action kept for him the confidence of that
large body of his supporters who earn their living with their hands.

It is said that the common Romans do not willingly earn their living
with their hands; that they like better being idle and, so far as they
can, ornamental. In this they would not differ from the uncommon Romans,
the moneyed, the leisured, the pedigreed classes, who reproach them for
their indolence; but I do not know whether they are so indolent as all
that or not. I heard it said that they no longer want work, and that
when they get it they do not do it well--a supposed effect of the
socialism which is supposed to have spoiled their manners. I heard it
said more intelligently, as I thought, that they are not easily
disciplined, and that they cannot be successfully associated in the
industries requiring workmen to toil in large bodies together; they will
not stand that. Also I heard it said, as I thought again rather
intelligently, that where work is given them to do after a certain
model, they will conform perfectly for the first three or four times;
then their fatal creativeness comes into play, and they begin to better
their instruction by trying to improve upon the patterns--that is, they
are artists, not artisans. They must please their fancy in their work or
they cannot do it well. From my own experience I cannot say whether this
is generally or only sometimes true, but I can affirm that where they
delayed or erred in their work they took their failure very amiably. I
never saw sweeter patience than that of the Roman matron who had
undertaken a small job of getting spots out of a garment, and who quite
surpassed me in self-control when she announced, day after appointed
day, that the work was not done yet or not done perfectly; she was
politeness itself.

On the other hand, some young ladies at a fashionable concert which the
queen-mother honored with her presence did not seem very polite. They
kept on their immense hats, as women still do in all public places on
the European continent, and they seized as many chairs as they could for
friends who did not come, and at supreme moments they stood up on their
chairs and spoiled such poor chance of seeing the queen-mother as the
stranger might have had. While the good King Umberto lived the stranger
would have had many other chances, for it is said that the queen showed
herself with him to the people at the windows of their palace every
afternoon; but in her widowhood she lives retired, though now and then
her carriage may be seen passing through the streets, with four special
policemen on bicycles following it. These waited about the doorway of
the concert-hall that afternoon and formed a very simple, if effective,
guard. In fact, it might be said that in its relations with the popular
life the reigning family could hardly be simpler. The present king and
queen are not so much seen in public as King Umberto and Queen
Margherita were, but it is known from many words and deeds that King
Victor Emmanuel wishes to be the friend, if not the acquaintance, of his
people. When it was proposed to push the present tunnel, with its walks
and drives and trolley-lines, under the Quirinal Palace and gardens, so
as to connect the two principal business quarters of the city, the king
was notified that the noise and jar of the traffic in it might interfere
with his comfort. He asked if the tunnel would be for the general
advantage, and, when this could not be denied, he gave his consent in
words to some such effect as “That settles it.” When the German Emperor
last visited Rome he is said to have had some state question as to
whether he should drive on a certain occasion to the Palatine with the
king’s horses or the pope’s.  He who told the story did not remember how
the question was solved by the emperor, but he said, “Our king walked.”

All this does not mean republican simplicity in the king; a citizen king
is doubtless a contradiction in terms anywhere out of France, and even
there Louis Philippe found the part difficult. But there is no doubt
that the King of Italy means to be the best sort of constituional king,
and, as he is in every way an uncommon man, he will probably succeed.
One may fancy in him, if one likes, something of that almost touching
anxiety of thoughtful Italians to be and to do all that they can for
Italy, in a patriotism that seems as enlightened as it is devoted. If I
had any criticism to make of such Italians it would be that they
expected, or that they asked, too much of themselves. To be sure, they
have a right to expect much, for they have done wonders with a country
which, without great natural resources except of heart and brain,
entered bankrupt into its national existence, and has now grown
financially to the dimensions of its vast treasury building, with a
paper currency at par and of equal validity with French and English
money. If the industrial conditions in Italy were so bad as we
compassionate outsiders have been taught to suppose, this financial
change is one of the most important events accomplished in Europe since
the great era of the racial unifications began. No one will pretend that
there have not been great errors of administration in Italy, but
apparently the Italians have known how to learn wisdom from their folly.
There has been a great deal of industrial adversity; the cost of living
has advanced; the taxes are very heavy, and the burdens are unequally
adjusted; many speculators have been ruined, and much honestly invested
money has been lost. But wages have increased with the prices and rents
and taxes, and in a country where every ounce of coal that drives a
wheel of production or transportation has to be brought a thousand miles
manufactures and railroads have been multiplied.

The state has now taken over the roads and has added their cost to that
of its expensive army and navy, but no reasonable witness can doubt that
the Italians will be equal to this as well as their other national
undertakings. These in Rome are peculiarly difficult and onerous,
because they must be commensurate with the scale of antiquity. In a city
surviving amid the colossal ruins of the past it would be grotesque to
build anything of the modest modern dimensions such as would satisfy the
eye in other capitals. The Palace of Finance, at a time when Italian
paper was at a discount almost equal to that of American paper during
the Civil War, had to be prophetic of the present solvency in size. The
yet-unfinished Palace of Justice (one dare not recognize its beauty
above one’s breath) must be planned so huge that the highest story had
to be left off if the foundations were to support the superstructure;
the memorial of Victor Emmanuel II. must be of a vastness in keeping
with the monuments of imperial Rome, some of which it will partly
obscure. Yet as the nation has grown in strength under burdens and
duties, it will doubtless prove adequate to the colossal architectural
enterprises of its capital. Private speculation in Rome brought disaster
twenty-five years ago, but now the city has overflowed with new life the
edifices that long stood like empty sepulchres, and public enterprises
cannot finally fail; otherwise we should not be digging the Panama Canal
or be trying to keep the New York streets in repair. We may confide in
the ability of the Italians to carry out their undertakings and to pay
the cost out of their own pockets. It is easy to criticise them, but we
cannot criticise them more severely than they criticise themselves; and
perhaps, as our censure cannot profit them, we might with advantage to
ourselves, now and then, convert it into recognition of the great things
they have accomplished.


The day that we arrived in Rome the unclouded sun was yellow on the
white dust of the streets, which is never laid by a municipal
watering-cart, though sometimes it is sprinkled into mire from the
garden-hose of the abutting hotels; and in my rashness I said that for
Rome you want sun and you want youth. Yet there followed many gray days
when my age found Rome very well indeed, and I would not have the
septuagenarian keep away because he is no longer in the sunny sixties.
He may see through his glasses some things hidden even from the eyes of
the early forties. If he drives out beyond the Porta Pia, say, some
bright afternoon, and notes how the avenue between the beautiful old
villas is also bordered by many vacant lots advertised for sale as well
as built up with pleasant new houses, he will be able to carry away with
him the significant fact that a convenient and public-spirited
trolley-line has the same suburban effect in Rome, Italy, as in Rome,
New York. If he meets some squadrons of cavalry or some regiments of
foot, in that military necessity of constant movement which the civilian
can never understand, he may make the useful reflection that it is much
better to have the troops out of the city than in it, and he can praise
the wisdom of the Italian government accordingly. On the neighboring
mountains the presence or absence of snow forms the difference between
summer and winter in Rome, and will suggest the question whether, after
all, our one continental weather is better than the many local weathers
of Europe; and perhaps he will acquire national modesty in owning that
there is something more picturesque in the indications of those azure or
silvery tops than in his morning paper’s announcement that there is or
is not a lower pressure in the region of the lakes.

At any rate, I would not have him note the intimations of such a drive
at less worth than those of any more conventional fact of his Roman
sojourn. If one is quite honest, or merely as honest as one may be with
safety, one will often own to one’s self that something merely
incidental to one’s purpose, in visiting this memorable place or that,
was of greater charm and greater value than the fulfilment of a direct
purpose. One happy morning I went, being in the vicinity, to renew the
acquaintance with the Tarpeian Rock, which I had hastened to make on my
first visit to Rome. I had then found it so far from such a frightfully
precipitous height as I had led myself to expect that I came away and
rather mocked it in print. But now, possibly because the years had
moderated all my expectations in life, I thought the Tarpeian Rock very
respectably steep and quite impressively lofty; either the houses at its
foot had sunk with their chimneys and balconies, or the rock had risen,
so that one could no longer be hurled from it with impunity. We looked
at it from an arbor of the lovely little garden which we were let into
beyond the top of the rock, and which was the pleasance of some sort of
hospital. I think there were probably flowers there, since it was a
garden, but what was best was the almond-tree covering the whole space
with a roof of bloom, and in this roof a score of birds that sang

[Illustration: 36 THE BATHS OF DIOCLETIAN]

I am aware of bringing a great many birds into these papers; but really
Rome would not be Rome without them; and I could not exaggerate their
number or the sweetness of their song. They particularly abounded in the
cloistered and gardened close of the Cistercian Convent, which three
hundred years ago ensconsed itself within the ruinous Baths of
Diocletian. I have no fable at hand to explain what seems the special
preference of the birds for this garden; it is possibly an idiosyncrasy,
something like that of the cats which make Trajan’s Forum their favorite
resort. All that I can positively say is that if I were a bird I would
ask nothing better than to frequent the cypresses of that garden and
tune my numbers for the entertainment of the audience of extraordinary
monsters in the aisles below, which bea’in plinths of clipped privet and
end marble heads of horses, bulls, elephants, rhinoceroses, and their
like. I do not pretend to be exact in their nomination; they may be
other animals; but I am sure of their attention to the birds. I am not
quite so sure of the attention of the antique shapes in the rooms of the
Ludovisi collection looking into the close. I fancy them preoccupied
with the in-doors cold, so great in all Italian galleries, and scarcely
tempered for them by the remote and solitary brazier over which the
custodians take turns in stifling themselves.  They cannot come down
into the sun and song of the garden, to which the American tourist may
return from visiting them, to thaw out his love of the beautiful.

They are not so many or so famous as their marble brothers and sisters
in the Vatican Museum, but the tourist should not miss seeing them.
Neither should he miss any accessible detail of the environing ruins of
the Diocletian Baths. Let him not think because they are so handy, and
so next door, as it were, to the railway station where he arrives, and
to Cook’s office where he goes for his letters next morning, that they
are of less merit than other monuments of imperial Rome. They are not
only colossally vast, but they are singularly noble, as well as so
admirably convenient. Because they are so convenient, the modern Romans
have turned their cavernous immensity to account in the trades and
industries, and have built them up in carpenters’ and blacksmiths’ and
plumbers’ shops, where there is a cheerful hammering and banging much
better than the sullen silence of more remote and difficult ruins. In
color they are a very agreeable reddish brown, though not so soft to the
eye as the velvety masses of the Palatine, which at any distance great
enough to obscure their excavation have a beauty like that of primitive
nature. I do not know but you see these best from the glazed terrace of
that restaurant on the Aventine which is the resort of the well-advised
Romans and visitors, and from which you look across to the mount of
fallen and buried grandeur over a champaign of gardens and orchards. All
round is a landscape which I was not able to think of as less than
tremendous, with the whole of Rome in it, and the snow-topped hills
about it--a scene to which you may well give more than a moment from the
varied company at the other tables, where English, German, French, and
Americans, as well as Italians, are returning to the simple life in
their enjoyment of the local dishes, washed down with golden draughts of
local wine, served ciderwise in generous jugs.

If your mind is, as ours was in that place, to drive farther and see the
chapter-house of the Knights of Malta, clinging to the height over the
Tiber, and looking up and down its yellow torrent and the black boats
along the shore, with universal Rome melting into the distance, you must
not fail to stop at the old, old Church of St. Sabina. You will
naturally want to see this, not only because there in the cloister (as
the ladies can ascertain at the window let into the wall for their
dangerous eyes to peer through from the outside) is the successor of the
orange-tree transplanted from the Holy Land by St. Dominic six or seven
hundred years ago; not only because one of the doors of the church,
covered with Bible stories, is thought the oldest wood-carving in the
world, but also because there will be sitting in his white robes on a
bench beside the nave an aged Dominican monk reading some holy book,
with his spectacles fallen forward on his nose and his cowl fallen back
on his neck, and his wide tonsure gleaming glacially in the pale light,
whom nothing in the church or its visitors can distract from his

It is very, very cold in there, but he probably would not, if he could,
follow you into the warm outer world and on into the garden of the
Knights, who came here after they had misruled Malta for centuries and
finally rendered a facile submission to General Bonaparte of the French
Republican army in 1798. Their fixing here cannot be called anything so
vigorous as their last stand; but, without specific reference to the
easy-chairs in their chapter-house, it may be fitly called their last
seat; and, if it is true that none of plebeian blood may enjoy the
order’s privileges, the place will afford another of those satisfactions
which the best of all possible worlds is always offering its admirers.
Even if one were disposed to moralize the comfortable end of the poor
Knights harshly, one must admit that their view of Rome is one of the
unrivalled views, and that the glimpse of St. Peter’s through the
key-hole of their garden-gate is little short of tin-rivalled. I could
not manage the glimpse myself, but I can testify to the unique character
of the avenue of clipped box and laurel which the key-hole also
commands. Lovers of the supernatural, of which I am the first, will like
to be reminded, or perhaps instructed, that the Church of the Priory
stands on the spot where Remus had a seance with the spiritual
authorities and was advised against building Rome where he proposed,
being shown only six vultures as against twelve that Romulus saw in
favor of his chosen site. The fact gave the Aventine Hill the fame of
bad luck, but any one may safely visit it now, after the long time that
has passed.

I do not, however, advise visiting it above any other place in Rome.
What I always say is, take your chances with any or every time or place;
you cannot fail of some impression which you will always like recurring
to as characteristically delightful. For instance, I once walked home
from the Piazza di Spagna with some carnival masks frolicking about me
through the sun-shotten golden dust of the delicious evening air, and I
had a pleasure from the experience which I shall never forget. It was as
rich as that I got from the rosy twilight in which I wandered homeward
another time from the Piazza di Venezia and found myself passing the
Fountain of Trevi, and lingered long there and would not throw my penny
into its waters because I knew I could not help coming back to Rome
anyhow. Yet another time I was driving through a certain piazza where
the peasants stand night long waiting to be hired by the proprietors who
come to find them there, and suddenly the piety of the Middle Ages stood
before me in the figure of the Brotherhood of the Misericordia, draped
to the foot and hooded in their gray, unbleached linen. The brothers
were ranged in a file at the doors of the church ready to visit the
house of sickness or of mourning, barefooted, with their eyes showing
spectrally through their masks and their hands coming soft and white out
of their sleeves and betraying the lily class that neither toils nor
spins and yet is bound, as in the past, to the poorest and humblest
through the only Church that knows how to unite them in the offering and
acceptance of reciprocal religious duties.

In Rome, as elsewhere in Catholic countries, it seemed to me that the
worshippers were mostly of the poorer classes and were mostly old women,
but in the Church of the Jesuits I saw worshippers almost as well
dressed as the average of our Christian Scientists, and in that church,
whose name I forget, but which is in the wide street or narrow piazza
below the windows of the palace where the last Stuarts lived and died,
my ineradicable love of gentility was flattered and my faith in the
final sanctification of good society restored by the sight of gentlemen
coming to and going from prayer with their silk hats in their hands.

The performance of ritual implies a certain measure of mechanism, and
the wonder is that in the Catholic churches it is not more mechanical
than it actually is. I was no great frequenter of functions, and I
cannot claim that my superior spirituality was ever deeply wounded;
sometimes it was even supported and consoled. I noted, without offence,
in the Church of San Giuseppe how the young monk, who preached an
eloquent sermon on the saint’s life and character, exhausted himself
before he exhausted his topic, and sat down between the successive heads
of his discourse and took a good rest. It was the saint’s day, which
seemed more generally observed than any other saint’s day in Rome, and
his baroque church in Via Capo le Case was thronged with people, mostly
poor and largely peasants, who were apparently not so fatigued by the
preacher’s shrill, hard delivery as he was himself. There were many
children, whom their elders held up to see, and there was one young girl
in a hat as wide as a barrel-head standing up where others sat, and
blotting out the prospect of half the church with her flaring brim and
flaunting feathers. The worshippers came and went, and while the monk
preached and reposed a man crept dizzyingly round the cornice with a
taper at the end of a long pole lighting the chandeliers, while two
other men on the floor kindled the candles before the altars. As soon as
their work was completed, the monk, as if he had been preaching against
time, sat definitely down and left us to the rapture of the perfected
splendor. The high-altar was canopied and curtained in crimson, fringed
with gold, and against this the candle-flames floated like yellow
flowers. Suddenly, amid the hush and expectance, a tenor voice pealed
from the organ-loft, and a train of priests issued from the sacristy and
elbowed and shouldered their way through the crowd to the high-altar,
where their intoning, like so many

  “Silver snarling trumpets ‘gan to glide,”

and those flower-like flames and that tenor voice seemed to sing
together, and all sense of mortal agency in the effect was lost.


How much our pale Northern faith has suffered from the elimination of
the drama which is so large an element in the worship of the South could
not be conjectured without offence to both. Drama I have said, but, if I
had said opera, it would have been equally with the will merely to
recognize the fact and not to censure it. Many have imagined a concert
of praise in heaven, and portrayed it as a spectacle of which the elder
Christian worship seems emulous. Go, therefore, to Rome, dear
fellow-Protestant, with any measure of ignorance short of mine, but
leave as much of your prejudice behind you as you can. You are not more
likely to become a convert because of your tolerance; in fact, you may
be the safer for it; and it will prepare you for a gentler pleasure than
you would otherwise enjoy in the rites and ceremonies which seem exotic
in our wintrier world, but which are here native to the climate, or, at
least, could not have had their origin under any but oriental or
meridional skies. The kindlier mood will help you to a truer
appreciation of that peculiar keeping of the churches which the stranger
is apt to encounter in his approach. Be tender of the hapless mendicants
at the door; they are not there for their pleasure, those blind and halt
and old. Be modestly receptive of the good office of the whole tribe of
cicerones, of custodians, of sacristans; they can save you time, which,
though it is not quite the same as money, even in Rome is worth saving,
and are the repository of many rejected fables waiting to be recognized
as facts again. I, for instance, committed the potential error of wholly
rejecting with scorn the services of an authorized guide to the Church
of St. John Lateran because he said the tariff was three francs. But
after wandering, the helpless prey of my own Baedeker, up and down the
huge temple, I was glad to find him waiting my emergence where I had
left him, in the church porch, one of the most pathetic figures that
ever wrung the remorseful heart.

His poor black clothes showed the lustre of inveterate wear; his
waistcoat would have been the better for a whole bottle of benzine; his
shoes, if they did not share the polish of those threadbare textures,
reciprocated the effect of his broken-spirited cuffs and collar, and the
forlorn gentility of his hat. His beard had not been shaved for three
days; I do not know why, but doubtless for as good a reason as that his
shirt had not been washed for seven. It was with something like a cry
for pardon of my previous brutality that I now closed with his unabated
demand of a three-franc fee, and we went with him wherever he would,
from one holy edifice to another of those that constitute the church;
but I will not ask the reader to follow us in the cab which he mounted
into with us, but which would not conveniently hold four. Let him look
it all up in the admirably compendious pages of Hare and Murray, and
believe, if he can, that I missed nothing of that history and mystery.
If I speak merely of the marvellous baptistery, it is doubtless not
because the other parts were not equally worthy of my wonder, but
because I would not have even an enemy miss the music of the singing
doors, mighty valves of bronze which, when they turn upon their hinges,
emit a murmur of grief or a moan of remorse for whatever heathen uses
they once served the wicked Caracalla at his baths. Not to have heard
their rich harmony would be like not having heard the echo in the
baptistery of Pisa, a life-long loss.

Heaven knows how punctiliously our guide would have acquainted us with
every particular of the Lateran group, which for a thousand years before
the Vatican was the home of the popes. We begged off from this and that,
but even indolence like mine would not spare itself the sight of the
Scala Santa. That was another of the things which I distinctly
remembered from the year 1864, and I did not find the spectacle of the
modern penitents covering the holy steps different in 1908. Now, as
then, there was something incongruous in their fashions and aspirations,
but one could not doubt that it was a genuine piety that nerved them to
climb up and down the hard ascent on their knees, or, at the worst, that
it was good exercise. Still, I would rather leave my reader the sense of
that most noble facade of the church, with its lofty balustraded
entablature, where the gigantic Christ and ten of his saints look out
forever to the Alban hills.


One of the most agreeable illusions of travel is a sort of expectation
that if you will give objects of interest time enough they will present
themselves to you, and, if they will not actually come to you in your
hotel, will happen in your way when you go out. This was my notion of
the right way of seeing Rome, but, as the days of my winter passed, so
many memorable monuments failed not merely to seek me out, but stiffly
held aloof from me in my walks abroad, that I began to feel anxious lest
I should miss them altogether.  I had, for instance, always had the
friendliest curiosity concerning Tivoli and Frascati as the two most
amiable Roman neighborhoods, and hoped to see both of them in some
informal and casual sort; but they persisted so long in keeping off on
* their respective hills that I saw something positive on my part must be
done. Clearly I must make the advances; and so when, one morning of
mid-March, a friend sent to ask if we would not motor out to Tivoli with
him and his family, I closed eagerly with the chance of a compromise
which would save feeling all round. My friend has never yet known how he
was bringing Tivoli and me together after a mutual diffidence, but, as
he was a poet, I am sure he will be glad to know now.

Our road across the Campagna lay the greater part of the distance beside
the tram-line, but at other points parted with it and stretched rough,
if lately mended, and smooth, if long neglected, between the wide,
lonely pastures and narrow drill-sown fields of wheat. The Campagna is
said to be ploughed only once in five years by the peasants for the
proprietors, who have philosophized its fertility as something that can
be better restored by the activities of nature in that time than by
phosphates in less. As they are mostly Roman patricians, they have
always felt able to wait; but now it is said that northern Italian
capital and enterprise are coming in, and the Campagna will soon be
cropped every season, though as yet its chief yield seemed to be the
two-year-old colts we saw browsing about. For some distance we had the
company of the different aqueducts, but their broken stretches presently
ceased altogether, and then for other human association we had, besides
the fencings of the meadows, only the huts and shelters scattered among
the grassy humps and hollows. There were more humps than I had
remembered of the Campagna, and probably they were the rounded and
turfed-over chunks of antiquity which otherwhere showed their naked
masonry unsoft-ened and unfriended by the passing centuries. At times a
dusty hamlet, that seemed to crop up from the roadside ditches, followed
us a little way with children that shouted for joy in our motor and dogs
that barked for pleasure in their joy. Women with the square linen
head-dress of the Roman peasants stood and stared, and sallow men, each
with his jacket hanging from one of his shoulders, seemed stalking
backward from us as we whirled by. Here and there we scared a horse or a
mule, but we did not so much as run over a hen; and both man and beast
are becoming here, as elsewhere, reconciled to the automobile. Now and
then a carter would set his team slantwise in our course and stay us out
of good-humored deviltry, and when he let us pass would fling some chaff
to the fresh-faced English youngster who was our chauffeur.

“I suppose you don’t always understand what those fellows say,” I
suggested from my seat beside him.

“No, sir,” he confessed. “But I give it to ‘em back in English,” he
added, joyously.

He rather liked these encounters, apparently, but not the beds of sharp,
broken stone with which the road was repaired. It was his belief that
there was not a steam-roller in all Italy, and he seemed to reserve an
opinion of the government’s motives in the matter with respect to
motors, as if he thought them bad.

The scenery of the Campagna was not varied. Once we came to a
battlemented tomb, of mighty girth and height, as perdurable in its
masonry as the naked, stony hills that in the distance propped the
mountains fainting along the horizon under their burden of snow. But as
we drew nearer Tivoli the hills drew nearer us, and now they were no
longer naked, but densely covered with the gray, interminable stretch of
the olive forests. The olive is the tree which, of all others, is the
friend of civilized man; it is older and kinder even than the apple,
which is its next rival in beneficence; but these two kinds are so like
each other, in the mass, that this boundless forest of olives around
Tivoli offered an image of all the aggregated apple-orchards in the
world. Where the trees came closest to the road they seemed to watch our
passing, each with its trunk aslant and its branches akimbo, in a
humorous make-believe of being in some joke with us, like so many
gnarled and twisted apple-trees, used to children’s play-fellowship. You
felt a racial intimacy with the whimsical and antic shapes which your
brief personal consciousness denied in vain; and you rose among the
slopes around Tivoli with a sense of home-coming from the desert of the
Campagna. But in the distance to which the olive forests stretched they
lost this effect of tricksy familiarity. They looked like a gray sea
against the horizon; more fantastically yet, they seemed a vast hoar
silence, full of mystery and loneliness.

If Tivoli does not flourish so frankly on its oil as Frascati on its
wine, it is perhaps because it has of late years tacitly prospered as
much on the electricity which its wonderful and beautiful waterfalls
enable it to furnish as abundantly to Rome as our own Niagara to
Buffalo. The scrupulous Hare, whose _Walks in Rome_ include Tivoli, does
not, indeed, advise you to visit the electrical works, but he says that
if you have not strength enough for all the interests and attractions of
Tivoli it will be wise to give yourself entirely to the cascades and to
the Villa d’Este, and this was what we instinctively did, but in the
reverse order. Chance rewarded us before we left the villa with a sight
of the electric plant, which just below the villa walls smokes
industriously away with a round, redbrick chimney almost as lofty and as
ugly as some chimney in America. On our way to and fro we necessarily
passed through the town, which, with its widish but not straightish
chief street, I found as clean as Rome itself, and looking, after the
long tumult of its history, beginning well back in fable, as peaceable
as Montclair, New Jersey. It had its charm, and, if I could have spent
two weeks there instead of two hours, I might impart its effect in much
more circumstance than I can now promise the reader. Most of my little
time I gladly gave to the villa, which, with the manifold classic
associations of the region, attracts the stranger and helps the
cataracts sum up all that most people can keep of Tivoli.


The Villa d’Este is not yet a ruin, but it is ruinous enough to win the
fancy without cumbering it with the mere rubbish of decay. Some
neglected pleasances are so far gone that you cannot wish to live in
them, but the forgottenness of the Villa d’Este hospitably allured me to
instant and permanent occupation, so that when I heard it could now be
bought, casino and all, for thirty thousand dollars, nothing but the
want of the money kept me from making the purchase. I indeed recognized
certain difficulties in living there the year round; but who lives
anywhere the year round if he can help it? The casino, standing among
the simpler town buildings on the plateau above the gardens, would be a
little inclement, for all its frescoing and stuccoing by the
sixteenth-century arts, and in its noble halls, amid the painted and
modelled figures, the new American proprietor would shiver with the
former host and guests after the first autumn chill began; but while it
was yet summer it Avould be as delicious there as in the aisles and
avenues of the garden which its balustrated terrace looked into. From
that level you descend by marble steps which must have some trouble in
knowing themselves from the cascades pouring down the broken steeps
beside them, and companionably sharing their seclusion among the
cypresses and ilexes. You are never out of the sight and sound of the
plunging water, which is still trained in falls and fountains, or left
to a pathetic dribble through the tattered stucco of the neglected
grots. It is now a good three centuries and a half since the Cardinal
Ippolito d’.Este had these gardens laid out and his pleasure-house built
overlooking them; and his gardener did not plan so substantially as his
architect. In fact, you might suppose that the landscapist wrought with
an eye to the loveliness of the ruin it all would soon fall into, and,
where he used stone, used it fragilely, so that it would ultimately
suggest old frayed and broken lace. Clearly he meant some of the
cataracts to face one another, and to have a centre from which they
could all be seen--say the still, dull-green basin which occupies a
large space in the grounds between them. But he must have meant this for
a surprise to the spectator, who easily misses it under the trees
overleaning the moss-grown walks which hardly kept themselves from
running wild. There is a sense of crumbling decorations of statues,
broken in their rococo caverns; of cypresses carelessly grouped and
fallen out of their proper straightness and slimness; of unkempt bushes
crowding the space beneath; of fragmentary gods or giants half hid in
the tangling grasses. It all has the air of something impatiently done
for eager luxury, and its greatest charm is such as might have been
expected to be won from eventual waste and wreck. If there was design in
the treatment of the propitious ground, self-shaped to an irregular
amphitheatre, it is now obscured, and the cultiavted tourist of our day
may reasonably please himself with the belief that he is having a better
time there than the academic Roman of the sixteenth century.

Academic it all is, however hastily and nonchalantly, and I feel that I
have so signally failed to make the charm of the villa felt that I am
going to let a far politer observer celebrate the beauties of the other
supreme interest of Tivoli. When Mr. Gray (as the poet loved to be
called in print) visited the town with Mr. Walpole in May, 1740, the
Villa d’Este by no means shared the honors of the cataracts, and Mr.
Gray seems not to have thought it worth seriously describing in his
letter to Mr. West, but mocks the casino with a playful mention before
proceeding to speak fully, if still playfully, of the great attraction
of Tivoli: “Dame Nature... has built here three or four little
mountains and laid them out in an irregular semicircle; from certain
others behind, at a greater distance, she has drawn a canal into which
she has put a little river of hers called the Anio,... which she has
no sooner done, but, like a heedless chit, it tumbles down a declivity
fifty feet perpendicular, breaks itself all to shatters, and is
converted into a shower of rain, where the sun forms many a bow--red,
green, blue, and yellow.... By this time it has divided itself, being
crossed and opposed by the rocks, into four several streams, each of
which, in emulation of the greater one, will tumble down, too: and it
does tumble down, but not from an equally elevated place; so that you
have at one view all these cascades intermixed with groves of olive and
little woods, the mountains rising behind them, and on the top of one
(that which forms the extremity of the half-circle’s horns) is seated
the town itself. At the very extremity of that extremity, on the brink
of the precipice, stands the Sibyls’ Temple, the remains of a little
rotunda, surrounded with its portico, above half of whose beautiful
Corinthian pillars are still standing and entire.”

For the reader who has been on the spot the poet’s words will paint a
vivid picture of the scene; for the reader who has not been there, so
much the worse; he should lose no time in going, and drinking a cup of
the local wine at a table of the restaurant now in possession of Mr.
Gray’s point of view. I do not know a more filling moment, exclusive of
the wine, than he can enjoy there, with those cascades before him and
those temples beside him; for Mr. Gray has mentioned only one of the
two, I do not know why, that exist on this enchanted spot, and that
define their sharp, black shadows as with an inky line just beyond the
restaurant tables. One is round and the other oblong, and the round one
has been called the Sibyls’, though now it is getting itself called
Vesta’s--the goddess who long unrightfully claimed the temple of Mater
Matuta in the Forum Boarium at Rome. As Vesta has lately been
dispossessed there by archaeology (which seems in Rome to enjoy the
plenary powers of our Boards of Health), she may have been given the
Sibyls’ Temple at Tivoli in compensation; but all this does not really
matter. What really matters is the mighty chasm which yawns away almost
from your feet, where you sit, and the cataracts, from their brinks,
high or low, plunging into it, and the wavering columns of mist weakly
striving upward out of it: the whole hacked by those mountains Mr. Gray
mentions, with belts of olive orchard on their flanks, and wild paths
furrowing and wrinkling their stern faces. To your right there is a
sheeted cataract falling from the basins of the town laundry, where the
toil of the washers melts into music, and their chatter, like that of
birds, drifts brokenly across the abyss to you. While you sit musing or
murmuring in your rapture, two mandolins and a guitar smilingly intrude,
and after a prelude of Italian airs swing into strains which presently,
through your revery, you recognize as “In the Bowery” and “Just One
Girl,” and the smile of the two mandolins and the guitar spreads to a
grin of sympathy, and you are no longer at the Cafe Sibylla in Tivoli,
but in your own Manhattan on some fairy roof-garden, or at some
sixty-cent _table d’hote,_ with wine and music included.

It was a fortnight later that we paid our visit to Frascati, not proudly
motoring now, but traversing the Campagna on the roof of a populous
tram-car, which in its lofty narrowness was of the likeness of an
old-fashionable lake propeller. The morning was, like most other
mornings in Rome, of an amiability which the afternoons often failed of;
but none of us passengers for Frascati doubted its promise as we
gathered at the tram-station and tried for tickets at the little booth
in a wall sparely containing the official who bade us get them in the
car. We all did this, whatever our nation--American, English, German, or
Italian--and then we mounted to the hurricane-deck of our propeller and
entered into a generous rivalry for the best seats. We had a roof over
our heads, and there were curtains which we might have drawn if we could
have borne to lose a single glimpse of the landscape, or if we would not
rather have suffered the chill which our swift progress evoked from the
morning’s warmth after we left the shelter of the city streets. We
passed through stretches of the ancient aqueducts consorting on familiar
terms with rows of shabby tenement-houses, and whisked by the ends of
wide, dusty avenues of yet incomplete structure, and by beds of
market-gardens, and by simple feeding-places for man and beast, with the
tables set close in front of the stalls. An ambitiously frescoed casino
had a gigantic peacock painted over a whole story, and the peach-trees
were in bloom in the villa spaces. When we struck into the Campagna we
found it of like physiognomy with the Campagna toward Tivoli.

There was very little tillage, but wide stretches of grazing-land, with
those lumps of turfed or naked antiquity starting out of them, and
cattle, sheep, and horses feeding over them, the colts’ tails blowing
picturesquely in the wind that seemed more and more opposed to our
advance. It dropped, at times, where we paused to leave a passenger near
one of those suburbs which the tram-lines are building up round Rome,
but on our course building so slowly that our passengers had to walk
rather far from the stations before they reached home. There were other
pedestrians who looked rather English, especially some ladies making for
the gate of a kind, sunny walled old villa, where there was a girl
singing and a gardener coming slowly down to let them in. Nearer
Frascati were many neat, new stone houses, where Eoman families come out
to stay the spring and fall seasons, and even the summer. But these
looked too freshly like the suburban cottages on a Boston trolley-line;
and we perversely found our delight in a fine breadth of brown woods for
the very reason of that homelikeness which gave us pause in the houses.
The trees looked American; there were American wood-roads penetrating
the forest’s broken and irregular extent; there was one steep-sided
ravine worth any man’s American money; and the dead leaves littered the
sylvan paths with an allure to the foot which it was hard for the head
to resist.

Elsewhere the tram-line that curved upward to Fras-cati was flanked,
after it left the Campagna’s level, with vineyards as measureless as the
olive orchards of Tivoli. There was yet, at the end of March, no sign of
leaf on the newly trimmed vines, which were trained on long poles of
canes brought together in peaks to support them and netting the
hill-slopes with the endless succession of their tops. The eye wearied
itself in following them as in following the checkered wiring of the
Kentish hop-fields, and was glad to leave them for the closer-set, but
never too closely set, palaces of Frascati: the sort of palaces which we
call cottages in our summer cities, and the Italians call casinos from
the same instinctive modesty. When we began to doubt of our destination,
our car passed a long, shaded promenade, and then stopped in a cheerful
square amidst hotels and restaurants, with tables hospitably spread on
the sidewalks before them.

We decided not to lunch at that early hour, but we could not keep our
eyes from feasting, even at eleven o’clock in the morning, on the
wonderful prospect that tempted them, on every hand, away from the more
immediate affair of choosing one out of the many cabs that thronged
about our arriving train. The cabs of Frascati are all finer than the
cabs of Rome, and the horses are handsomer and younger and stronger; we
could have taken the worst of the equipages that contested our favor and
still fared well; but we chose the best--a glittering victoria and an
animal of proud action, with a lustrous coat of bay. He wore a ring of
joyous bells; he had, indeed, not a headstall of such gay colors as some
others; but you cannot have everything, and his driver was of a mental
vividness which compensated for all the color wanting in his horse’s
headstall, and of a personal attraction which made us ambitious for his
company on any terms. He quickly reduced us from our vain supposition
that carriages in a country-place should be cheaper than in a city;
because, as he proved, there were fewer strangers to hire them and they
ought logically to be dearer. So far from accepting our modest standards
of time and money, he all but persuaded us to employ him for the whole
day instead of a few hours at a price beyond our imagination; and he
only consented to compromise on a half-day at an increased figure.

We supposed that it was the negotiation which drew and held the
attention of all the leisure of Frascati, and that it was the driver and
our relation to him rather than the horse and our relation to it that
concentrated the public interest in us; and when we had convinced him
that we had no wish but to see some of the more immediate and memorable
villas, we mounted to our places in the victoria and drove out through
the reluctantly parting spectators, who remained looking after us as if
unable to disperse to their business or pleasure.


Our driver decided for us to go first to the Villa Falconieri, which had
lately been bought and presented by a fond subject to the German
Emperor, and by him in turn bestowed on the German Academy at Rome. In
the cold, clean, stony streets of Frascati, as we rattled through them,
there breathed the odor of the great local industry; and the doorways of
many buildings, widening almost in a circle to admit the burly tuns of
wine, testified how generally, how almost universally, the vintage of
that measureless acreage of grapes around the place employed the
inhabitants. But there was little else to impress the observer in
Frascati, and we willingly passed out of the town in the road climbing
the long incline to the Villa Falconieri, with its glimpses, far and
near, of woods and gardens. It was a road so much to our minds that
nothing was further from us than the notion that our horse might not
like it so well; but, at the first distinct rise, he stopped and wheeled
round so abruptly, after first pawing the air, that there could be no
doubt where the popular interest we had lately enjoyed in Frascati had
really originated. Probably our horse’s distinguishing trait was known
to everybody in Frascati except his driver. He, at least, showed the
greatest surprise at the horse’s behavior, as unprecedented in their
acquaintance, which he owned was brief, for he had bought him in Rome
only the week before. With successive retreats to level ground he put
him again and again at the incline, but as soon as the horse felt the
ground rising under his feet he lifted them from it and whirled round
for another retreat. All this we witnessed from an advantageous point
at the roadside which we had taken up at his first show of reluctance;
and at last the driver suggested that we should leave it and go on to
the Villa Falconieri on foot. On our part, we suggested that he should
attempt some other villa which would not involve an objectionable climb.
He then proposed the Villa Mandragone, and the horse seemed to agree
with us. As we drove again through the clean, cold, stony streets, with
the rounded doorways for the wine-casks, we fancied something clearly
ironical in the general interest renewed by our return. But we tried to
look as if we had merely done the Villa Falconieri with unexampled
rapidity, and pushed on to the Villa Mandragone, where, under the roof
of interlacing ilex toughs, our horse ought to have been tempted on in a
luxurious unconsciousness of anything like an incline. But he was
apparently an animal which would have felt the difference between two
rose-leaves and one in a flowery path, and just when we were thinking
what a delightful time we were having, and beginning to feel a gentle
question as to who the pathetic little cripple halting toward us with a
color-box and a camp-stool might be, and whether she painted as well as
a kind heart could wish, our horse stopped with the suddenness which we
knew to be definite. The sensitive creature could not be deceived; he
must have reached rising ground, and we sided with him against our
driver, who would have pretended it was fancy.

It was now noon, and we drove back to the _piazza,_ agreeing upon a less
price in view of the imperfect service rendered, and deciding to collect
our thoughts for a new venture over such luncheon as the best hotel
could give us. It was not so good a hotel as the lunch it gave. It was
beyond the cleansing tide of modernity which has swept the Roman hotels,
and was dirty everywhere, but with a specially dirty, large, shabby
dining-room, cold and draughty, yet precious for the large, round
brazier near our table which kept one side of us warm in romantic
mediaeval fashion, and invited us to rise from time to time and thaw our
fingers over its blinking coals. The bath in which our chicken had been
boiled formed a good soup; there was an admirable _pasta_ and a
creditable, if imperfect, conception of beefsteak; and there was a
caraffe of new Frascati wine, sweet, like new cider. If we could have
asked more, it would not have been more than the young Italian officer
who sat in the other corner with his pretty young wife, and who allowed
me to weave a whole realistic fiction out of their being at Frascati so
out of season.

Just as I was most satisfyingly accounting for them, our late driver
alarmed me by appearing at the door and beckoning me to the outside. The
occasion was nothing worse than the presence of a man who, he said, was
his brother, with a horse which, upon the same authority, was without
moral blame or physical blemish. If anything, it preferred a mountain to
a plain country, and could be warranted to balk at nothing. The man, who
was almost as exemplary as the horse, would assume the unfulfilled
contract of the other man and horse with a slight increase of pay; and
yet I had my doubts. The day had clouded, and I meekly contended that it
was going to rain; but the man explicitly and the horse tacitly scoffed
at the notion, and I yielded. I shall always be glad that I did so, for
in the keeping of those good creatures the rest of our day was an
unalloyed delight. It appeared, upon further acquaintance, that the man
paid a hundred dollars for the horse; his brother had paid a hundred and
twenty-five for the balker; but it was the belief of our driver that it
would be worth the difference when it had reconciled itself to the
rising ground of Frascati; as yet it was truly a stranger there. His own
horse was used to ups and downs everywhere; they had just come from a
long trip, and he was going to drive to Siena and back the next week
with two ladies for passengers, who were to pay him five dollars a day
for himself and horse and their joint keep. He said the ladies, whose
names he gave, were from Boston; he balked at adding Massachusetts, but
I am sure the horse would not; and, if I could have hired them both to
carry me about Italy indefinitely, I would have gladly paid them five
dollars a day as long as I had the money. The fact is, that driver was
charming, a man of sense and intelligence, who reflected credit even
upon his brother and his brother’s horse: one of those perfect Italian
temperaments which endear their possessors to the head and heart, so
that you wonder, at parting, how you are going to live without them.

We did not excite such vivid interest in Frascati at our second start as
at our first; but, as we necessarily passed over the same route again,
we had the applause of the children in streets now growing familiar, and
a glad welcome back from the pretty girls and blithe matrons of all ages
rhythmically washing in the public laundry, who recognized us in our new
equipage. The public laundry is always the gayest scene in an Italian
town, and probably our adventures continued the subject of joyous
comment throughout the day which was now passing only too rapidly for
us. We were again on the way to the Villa Falconieri, and while our
brave horse is valiantly mounting the steep to its gate this is perhaps
as good a place as any to own that the Villa Falconieri and the Villa
Man-dragone were the only sights we saw in Frascati. We did, indeed,
penetrate the chill interior of the local cathedral, but as we did not
know at the time that we were sharing it with the memory of the young
Stuart pretender Charles Edward, who died in Frascati, and whose
brother, Cardinal York, placed a mural tablet to him in the church, we
were conscious of no special claim upon our interest. We ought, of
course, to have visited the Villa Aldobrandini and the Villa Ruffinella
and the Villa Graziola and the Villa Taverna, but we left all these to
the reader, who will want some reason for going to Frascati in person,
and to whom I commend them as richly worth crossing the Atlantic for.
Doubtless from a like motive we left the ruins of Tusculum unvisited,
just as at Tivoli we refrained from diverging to Hadrian’s Villa--the
two things supremely worthy to be seen in their respective regions. But,
if I had seen only half as much as I saw at Frascati--the Villa
Falconieri, namely--I should feel forever over-enriched by the

Slowly an ancient servitor, whose family had been in the employ of the
Falconieri for a century, advanced as with the burden of their united
years and opened the high gate to us and delivered us over to a mild
boy. He bestowed on us, for a consideration, a bunch of wild violets,
and then, as if to keep us from the too abrupt sight of the repairs and
changes going on near the casino, led us first to the fish-pond, in the
untouched seclusion of a wooded hill, and silently showed us the
magnificent view which the top commanded, if commanded is not too proud
a word for a place so pathetic in its endearing neglect. It had once
been the haunt of many a gay picnicking crew in hoops and bag-wigs and
all the faded fashion of the past, when hosts and guests had planned a
wilder escapade than the grove before the casino invited, with its
tables of moss-painted marble. There would have been an academic poet,
or more than one, in the company, and they would have furnished forth
the prospect with phrases far finer than any I have about me, who can
only say that the Cam-pagna, clothed in mist and cloud-shadowed, swam
round the upland in the colors of a tropic sea.


Our mild boy waited a decent moment, as if to let me do better, and then
led down to the casino, round through a wooded valley where there were
some men with fowling-pieces, whom I objected to in tones, if not in
terms. “What are they shooting?” “They are shooting larks, signore.”
 “What a pity!” “But the larks are leaving Italy, now, and going north.”
 It was a reason, like many another that humanity is put to it in giving,
and I do not know that I missed any larks, later, from an English meadow
where I saw them spiring up in song, and glad as if none of their
friends had been shot at the Villa Falconieri. In fact, I did not see
those fowlers actually killing any; and I can still hope they were not
very good shots.

The workmen who were putting the place in repair were lunching near the
casino, in a litter of lumber and other structural material, but the
casino itself seemed as yet unprofaned by their touch. At any rate, we
had it quite to ourselves, let wander at will through its cool, bare,
still spaces. If there was a great deal to see, there was not much to
remember, or to remember so much as the satirical frescos of Pier Leone
Ghezzi, who has caricatured himself as well as others in them. They are
not bitter satires, but, on the contrary, very charming; and still more
charming are the family portraits frescoed round the principal room.
Under one curve of the vaulted ceiling the whole family of a given time
is shown, half-length but life-size, looking down pleasantly on the
unexpected American guests who try to pretend they were invited, or at
least came by mistaking the house for another. Better even than this
most amiable circle, or half-circle, of father, mother, and daughter are
the figures of friends or acquaintances or kinsfolk: figures not only
life-size, but full-length, in panels of the walls, in the very act of
stepping on the floor and coming forward to greet their host and hostess
from the other walls. They did not visibly move during our stay, but I
know they only waited for us to go; and that at night, especially when
there was a moon, or none, they left their backgrounds and mingled in
the polite gayeties of their period. One could hardly help looking over
one’s shoulder to see if they were not following to that farthermost
room called Primavera, which is painted around and aloft like a very
bower of spring, with foliage and flowers covering the walls and
dropping through the trellis feigned overhead. Of all the caprices of
art, which in Italy so loved caprice, I recall no such pleasing
playfulness as in the decoration of these rooms.  If you pass through
the last you may look from the spring within on no fairer spring without
bordering the shores of the Campagna sea.

It was so pathetic to imagine the place going out of the right Italian
keeping that I attributed a responsive sadness to the tall, handsome,
elderly woman who had allowed us the freedom of the casino. Her faded
beauty was a little sallow, as the faded beauty of a Roman matron should
be, and her large, dark eyes glowed from purpling shadows.

“And the German Emperor owns it now?”

“Yes, they say he has bought it.”

“And the Germans will soon be coming?”

“They say.”

She would not commit herself but by a tone, an inflection, but we knew
very well what she and the frescoed presences about us thought. I wish
now I could have stayed behind and got the frescos to tell me just how
far I ought recognize her sorrow in my tip, but one must always guess at
these things, and I shall never know whether I rewarded the aged
gatekeeper according to the century of service his generations had
rendered those of the frescos.

We were going now to the Villa Mandragone, but we had not yet the
courage for the rise of ground where we had failed before, and we
entreated our driver to go round some other way, if he could, and
descend rather than ascend to it. He said that was easy, and it was when
we came away that we passed through that ilex avenue which we had not
yet penetrated in its whole length, and where we now met many
foot-passengers, lay and cleric, who added to the character of the
scene, and saw again the little cripple artist, now trying to seize its
features, or some of them. I did not see whether she was succeeding so
well as in pity she might and as I knew she did.

In spite of our triumph with the Villa Mandragone in this second
attempt, we can never think it half as charming as the Villa Falconieri.
I forget what cardinal it was who built it so spacious and splendid,
with three hundred and sixty-five windows, in honor of the calendar as
reformed by the reigning pope, Gregory XIII. It is a palace enclosing a
quadrangle of whole acres (I will not own to less), with a stately
colonnade following as far round as the reader likes. When he passes
through all this magnificence he will come out on a grassy terrace, with
a fountain below it, and below that again the chromatic ocean of the
Cam-pagna (I have said sea often enough). A weird sort of barbaric
stateliness is given to the place by the twisted and tapering pillars
that rise at the several corners, with colossal masques carven at the
top and the sky showing through the eye-hollows, as the flame of torches
must often have shown at night. But for all the outlandish suggestion of
these pillars, the villa now belongs to the Jesuits, who have a college
there, where only the sons of noble families are received for education.
As we rounded a sunny wall in driving away, we saw a line of people, old
and young of both sexes, but probably not of noble families, seated with
their backs against the warm stone eating from comfortable bowls
a soup which our driver said was the soup of charity and the daily dole
of the fathers to such hungry as came for it. The day was now growing
colder than it had been, and we felt that the poor needed all the soup,
and hot, that they could get.

After a vain visit to Grotta Ferrata, which was signally disappointing,
in spite of the traces of a recent country fair and the historical
merits of a church of the Greek rite, with a black-bearded monk coming
to show it through a gardened cloister, we were glad to take the tram
back to Rome and to get into the snug inside of it. The roof, which had
been so popular and populous in the morning, was now so little envied
that a fat lady descended from it and wedged herself into a row of the
interior where a sylph would have fitted better but might not have added
so much to the warmth. No one, myself of the number, thought of getting
up, though there were plenty of straps to hang by if one had chosen to
stand. This was quite like home, and so was it like home to have the
conductor ask me to wait for my change, with all the ensuing fears that
wronged the long-delayed remembrance of his debt. In some things it
appears that at Rome the Romans do as the Americans do, but I wish we
were like them in having such a place as Frascati within easy tram-reach
of our cities.


[Illustration: 41 THE MARBLE FAUN]

In the days of the earlier sixties, we youth who wished to be thought
elect did not feel ourselves so unless we were deeply read in
Hawthorne’s romance of _The Marble Faun._ We made that our aesthetic
handbook in Rome, and we devoutly looked up all the places mentioned in
it, which were important for being mentioned; though such places as the
Tarpeian Rock, the Forum, the Capitoline Museum, and the Villa Bor-ghese
might secondarily have their historical or artistic interest. In like
manner Story’s statue of Cleopatra was to be seen, because it was the
“original” of the imaginary sculptor Kenyon’s Cleopatra, and a certain
mediaeval tower was sacred because it was universally identified as the
tower where the heroine Hilda lived dreaming and drawing, and fed the
doves that circled around its top. We used to show the new arrivals
where Hilda’s tower was, and then stand with them watching the pigeons
which made it unmistakable. I should then have thought I could never
forget it, but I must have passed it several times unnoting in my latest
Roman sojourn, when one afternoon in a pilgrimage to the Via del Gambero
a contemporary of that earlier day glanced around the narrow piazza
through which we were passing and, seeing a cloud of doves wheeling
aloft, joyfully shouted, “Look! There is Hilda’s tower!” and if Hilda
herself had waved to us from its battlements we could not have been
surer of it. The present vanished, and we were restored to our
citizenship in that Rome of the imagination which is greater than any
material Rome, and which it needs no archaeologist to discover in its
indestructible integrity.

No one to-day, probably, visits the Capitoline Museum for the Faun of
Praxiteles because it gave the romance its name; but at my latest sight
of it I remembered it with a thrill of the young piety which first drew
me to it, and involuntarily I looked again for the pointed, furry ears,
as I had done of old, to make sure that it was really the Marble Faun of
Hawthorne. I was now, however, for no merit of mine, in official and
scientific company with which it would have been idle to share my
satisfaction in the verification of the Faun’s ears. Instead of boasting
it, I listened to very interesting talk of the deathless Dying
Gladiator, who is held to have been originally looked at more from below
than he has been seen in modern times, and who is presently to be lifted
to something like his antique level. He, in fact, requires this from the
spectator who would feel all his pathos, as we realized in sitting down
and looking a little upward at him.


In his room and in the succession of the rooms filled with his immortal
bronze and marble companions I was as if with ghosts of people I had
known in some anterior life. They were so familiar that I felt no need
to go about asking their names, even if the archaeologists had in
several cases given them new names. I should have known certain of them
by traits which remain in the memory long after names have dropped out
of it. Julius Caesar, with his long Celtic upper-lip, still looked like
the finer sort of Irish-American politician; Tiberius again surprised me
with the sort of racial sanity and beauty surviving in his atrocious
personality from his mother’s blood; but the too Neronian head of
Nero, which seems to have been studied from the wild young miscreant
when trying to look the part, had an unremembered effect of chubby
idiocy. A thing that freshly struck me in the busts of those
imperialities, which of course must have been done in their lifetimes,
was not merely that the subjects were mostly so ugly and evil but that
the artists were apparently safe in showing them so. The men might not
have minded that, but how had the sculptors managed to portray the women
as they did and live? Perhaps they did not live, or live long; they are
a forgotten tribe, and no one can say what became of any given artist
after executing the bust of an empress; his own execution may have
immediately followed. But what is certain is that those ladies are no
lovelier in their looks than they were in their lives; to be sure, in
their rank they had not so great need of personal charm as women of the
lower class. The most touching face as well as the most dignified and
beautiful face among them is that of the seated figure which used to be
known as that of Agrippina but which, known now as that of a Roman
matron, does not relieve the imperial average of plainness. The rest
could rival the average American society woman only in the prevailing
modernity of their expression; imperial Rome was very modern, as we all
know, and nothing in our own time could be more up to date than the
lives and looks of its smart people.

The general impression of the other marbles of the Capitoline Museum
remains a composite of standing, sitting, stooping, and leaning figures,
of urns and vases, of sarcophaguses and bas-reliefs. If you can be
definite about some such delightful presence as that old River dozing
over his fountain in the little cold court you see first and last as you
come and go, it is more than your reader, if he is as wise as you wish
him, can ask of you. I have been wondering whether he could profitably
ask of me some record of my experiences in the official and scientific
company with which I was honored that day at the Campidoglio; but I
should have to offer him again a sort of composite psychograph of
objects printed one upon another and hardly separable in their
succession. There would be the figure of Marcus Aurelius, commanding us
with outstretched arm from the back of the bronze charger which would
not obey Michelangelo when he bade it “Go,” not because it was not
lifelike, but because it was too fat to move.  Against the afternoon
sky, looking down into the piazza with dreamy unconcern from their
vantage would be the statues on the balustrated roof of the museum.
There would be the sense, rather than the vision, of the white shoulders
of Castor and Pollux beside their steeds above the dark-green garden
spaces on either hand; there would be the front of the Church of Ara
Coeli visible beyond the insignificance of Rienzi’s monument; and
filling in the other end of the piazza which Michelangelo imagined, and
not the Romans knew, there would be the palace of the senator, to which
the mayor and the common council of modern Rome now mount by a double
stairway, and presumably meet at the top in proceeding to their
municipal labors. Facing the museum would be the palace of the
Conservatori, where in the noblest of its splendid halls the present
company would find itself in the carved and gilded arm-chairs of the
conservators, seated at an afternoon tea-table and restoring itself from
the fatigues of more and more antique art in the galleries about. After
this there would be the gardened court of the palace, with a thin lawn,
and a soft little fountain musing in the midst of it, and the sunset
light lifting on the wall where the fragments of Septimius Severus’s
marble map of Rome order themselves in such coherence as archaeology can
suggest for them.

In the palace of the Senator (who was not, as I dare say the reader
ignorantly supposes, a residuum of the old Roman senate, but was the
dictator whom the mediaeval republic summoned from within or without
to be its head and its safeguard from the aristocracy) there would be,
beyond the chamber where the actual city council of Rome meets under the
presidency of the mayor, the great public rooms bannered and memorialled
around with heroic and historic blazons; and last there would be the
private room where the syndic devotes himself to civic affairs when he
can turn from the sight of the Roman Forum, with a peripatetic
archaeologist lecturing a group of earnest Americans, while long,
velvety shadows of imperial purple stretch from the sunset on the softly
rounded and hollowed ruins of the Palatine.

But, if each of these bare facts could be parted from the others and
intelligently presented, what would it avail with the reader who has
never seen the originals of my psychograph? It is from some such
question, and not from want of a hospitable will, that I hesitate to ask
him to go with me on a golden morning of March and spend it in the Villa
Medici on the Pincian Hill. If I could I should like to pour its
yellowness and mellowness round him, perfumed with a potpourri of
associations from the time of Lucullus down through every mediaeval and
modern time to that very day, when I knew Carolus Duran to be living
somewhere in these beauteous bounds as the head of the French Academy
which has its home in them. The academic garden-paths, with a few happy
people wandering between their correctly balanced passages of box; the
blond facade of the casino looking down with its statues and reliefs on
these parterres; a young girl vanishing up an aisle of the grove beside
the garden into whatever dream awaited her youth in the leafy dusk; an
old American pair gazing after her from the terrace, with the void of
the vanished years aching in their hearts for the Rome that was once
young with them: does this represent to the reader an appreciable
morning in the Villa Medici? He may be grateful to me if he does, and if
he likes. I cannot do more for him without doing less, and yet I know it
is a palette rather than a picture I am giving him.

[Illustration: 43 IN THE VILLA MEDICI]

All the while I was there, the guest of the French nation by the payment
of fifty centimes gate-money, I was obscurely resenting its retention of
a place which Bonaparte bestowed upon the First Republic with so much
other loot from Italy. But now I have lately heard that the magnanimous
Third Republic is going to restore it to the people rightfully its
owners, and the remembrance of my morning in the Villa Medici will
remain a pure joy. So few joys in this world, even in the very capital
of it, are without some touch of abatement. I could not so much as visit
the Catacombs of Domatilla without suffering a frustration which, though
incidental merely, left a lasting pang of unrequited interest. As we
drew toward the place, I saw in a field the beginning of one of those
domestic dramas which are not attributable to Italy alone. Three
peasants, a man and two women, were engaged in controversy which, on his
side, the man supported with both hands flapping wildly at the heads of
the women, who alertly dodged and circled around him in the endeavor to
close in upon him. It was instantly conjecturable, if not apparent, that
they were his wife and daughter, and that he was the worse for the
vintage of their home acre, and would be the better for being got into
the house and into bed. The conjecture enlisted the worthier instincts
of the witness on the side of the mother and daughter; but he was in no
hurry to have the animated action brought to a close, and was about to
tell his cabman to drive very, very slowly, when suddenly the cab
descended into a valley, and when the eager spectator rose to his former
level again the stone wall had risen with him, and he never knew the end
of that passage of real life.

It was impossible to bid the cabman drive back for the close of the
scene; the abrupt conclusion must be accepted as final; but it is proof
of the charm I found in the gentle guide who presently began to marshal
us among the paths of the subterranean sanctuary and cemetery that for
the moment my bitter sense of loss was assuaged, and it only returns now
at long intervals. Such as the woman actors in this brief scene were
some early Christians might have been, and it must have been the
stubborn old pagan spirit I saw surviving in the husband and father. He
was probably such a vessel of wrath as, being filled with Bacchus, would
have lent itself to the persecuting rage of Domitian and helped drive
the emperor’s gentle cousin Domatilla into the exile whence she returned
to found a Christian cemetery in her villa. One understands, of course,
under the villa; for the catacombs in some places reach as many as five
levels below the surface. I will not follow the reader with that kind
guide who will cheer his wanderings through those sunless corridors of
death, where many of the sleepers still lie sealed within their tombs on
either hand, and show him by the smoky taper’s light the frescos which
adorn the cramped chapels. I prefer to stand at the top of the entrance
and ask him if he noticed how the artist sometimes seemed not to know
whether he was pagan or Christian, and did not mind, for instance,
putting a Mercury at the heads of the horses in an Ascent of Elijah.
Perhaps the artist was really a pagan and thought a Greek god as good as
a Hebrew prophet any day; art was probably one of the last things to be
converted, having a presentiment of the dark and bloody themes the new
religion would give it to deal with.

The earthy scent of the catacomb will cling to the reader’s clothes, and
he will have two minds about keeping for a souvenir the taper which he
carried, and which the guide wraps in a bit of newspaper for him; he may
prefer the flower which he is allowed to gather from the tiny garden at
the entrance to the catacombs. Yet these Catacombs of Domatilla are
among the cheerfulest of all the catacombs, and a sense of something
sweet and appealing invests them from the memory of the gentle lady
whose piety consecrated them as the last home of the refugees and
martyrs. They are of the more recent Roman excavations, but I do not
know whether later or earlier than those which have revealed the house
of the two Christian gentlemen, John and Paul, of unknown surname, where
they suffered death for their faith, under the Passionist church named
for them. Twenty-four rooms on the two stories have been opened, and
there are others yet to be opened; when all are laid bare they will
perfectly show what a Roman city dwelling of the better sort was like in
the mid-imperial time. The plan differs from that of the average
Pompeian house as much as the plan of a cross-town New York dwelling
would differ from that of the average Newport cottage. The rooms are
incomparably smaller than those of the mediaeval palaces of the Roman
nobles, and the decoration is sometimes crudely mixed of pagan and
Christian themes and motives; the artists, like the painters of the
Domatilla catacombs, were probably lingering in the old Greek tradition.

The young Passionist father who showed us through the church and the
house under it made us wait half an hour while he finished his lunch,
but he was worth waiting for. He was a charming enthusiast for both,
radiantly yet reverently exulting in their respective treasures, and
justly but not haughtily proud of the newly introduced electricity which
lighted the darkness of the underground rooms and corridors. He told us
he had been twenty years a missionary in Rumania, where he had possibly
acquired the delightful English he spoke. When he would have us follow
him he said, “All persons come this way,” and he politely spoke of the
wicked emperor whose bust was somehow there as Mr. Commodus. With all
his gentleness, however, that good father had a certain smiling severity
before which the spirit bowed. He had made us wait half an hour before
he came to let us into the church, and during the hour we were with him
there he kept the door locked against an unlucky lady who arrived just
too late to enter with us. Not only this, but he utterly refused to go
back with her singly and show her the things we had seen. Perhaps it
would not have been decorous; they do not let ladies, either singly or
plurally, into the garden of the convent, which is memorable among many
other facts as being the retreat of Mr. Commodus when he suffered from
sleeplessness, and where he once carelessly left his list of victims
lying about, so that his friend Marcia found it and, reading her name in
it, joined with other friends in his assassination. The sex has indeed
had much restraint to bear from the Church, but in some respects it has
been rendered fearless in the assertion of its rights. With poor women
one of these is the indefeasible right to ask alms, and I admired the
courage, almost the ferocity, of the aged crone whom I had promised
charity in coming to the place and who rose up as I was being driven
past her, in going away, and stayed my cabman with a clamor which he
dared not ignore. Her reproaches continued through the ensuing
transaction, and followed him away with stings which instinct and
experience taught her how to implant in his tenderest sensibilities.

A chapter much longer than any I have written here might well be devoted
to the study of the clerical or secular guides in the minor churches of
Rome. They are of every manner and degree of kindliness, mixed with a
fair measure of intelligence and a very fitting faith in the legends of
their churches. You soon get on terms of impersonal intimacy with them,
and you cannot come away without sharing their professional zeal, and
distinguishing for the moment in favor of their respective churches
above every other. It did not matter whether it was that newest church
in the Quartiere dei Prati, or that most venerable among the oldest
churches, the Church of San Gregorio: I found a reason for agreeing with
the sacristan upon its singular claims. These were especially enforced
by the good dame, the only woman sacristan I remember, who would not
spare us a single object of interest in San Gregorio’s, which is indeed
for the visitor of Anglo-Saxon race supremely rich in its associations
with the conversions of his ancestors from heathenism.

[Illustration: 44 THE BATHS OF CARACALLA]

Being myself of Cymric blood, and of a Christianity several hundred
years older than that of the ordinary Anglo-Saxon traveller, I am afraid
that it was from a rather patronizing piety that I visited the church
where the great St. Gregory dismissed to their mission in England St.
Augustine and his fellow-apostles on one of the greatest days of the
sixth century. I might have stayed to imagine them kneeling among the
people who then thronged the genially irregular piazza, but as we came
up some ecclesiastical students were playing ball there, their robes
tucked into their girdles for their greater convenience, and we made our
way at once into the church. It forms one of a consecrated group of
edifices enshrining the memory of the best of the popes, who was also
the greatest; and here or in the adjacent convents a score of miracles
were wrought through the heavenly beauty of his life. Of these miracles,
of whose inspiration you must feel the poetry even if you cannot feel
their verity, the loveliest has its substantial witness in one of the
little chapels next the church. There you may see with your eyes and
touch with your hands the table at which St. Gregory fed every morning
twelve poor men, till one morning a thirteenth appeared in the figure of
Christ the Lord, as if to own them His disciples. The chapel which
enshrines the table is one of three, quaint in form and rich in art,
standing in the garden called St.  Silvia’s, after the mother of St.
Gregory. As we came out through it the westering sun poured the narrow
court before the chapel full of golden light and threw the black shadow
of a cypress across the way that a file of Comaldolese monks were taking
to the adjoining convent. They were talking cheerily together, and swung
unheeding by in their white robes so near that I could almost feel the
waft of them across the centuries that parted their faith and mine.

We had come to St. Gregory’s from the Baths of Caracalla, which we had
set out to see on the first of our Roman holidays, and, after turning
aside for the Coliseum, had now visited on next to the last of them. The
stupendous ruin could scarcely have been growing in the ten or twelve
weeks that had passed, but a bewildering notion of something like this
obsessed me as I saw it bulking aloof in overhanging cliffs and
precipices, through the cool and bright April air, against a sky of
absolute blue. As if it had been cast up out of the earth in some
convulsive throe of nature, it floundered over its vast area in
shapeless masses which seemed to have capriciously received the effect
of human design in the coping of the inaccessible steeps, in the arches
flinging themselves across the spaces between the beetling crags, in the
monstrous spring and sweep of the vaults, in the gloom of the cavernous
apertures of its Titanic walls. For the moment its immensity dwarfed the
image of all the other fragments of the Roman world and set definite
bounds to their hugeness in the mind. It seemed to have been not so much
a single edifice as a whole city, the dwelling instead of the resort of
the multitudes that once thronged it. The traces of the ornamentation
which had enriched it everywhere and which it had taken ages of ravage
to strip from it, accented its savage majesty, and again the sentiment
of spring in the fresh afternoon breeze and sunshine, and the innocent
beauty of the blooming peach and cherry in the orchards around, imparted
to it a pathos in which one’s mere brute wonder was lost. But it was a
purely adventitious pathos, and it must be owned here, at the end, that
none of the relics of ancient Rome stir a soft emotion in the beholder,
and, as for beauty, there is more of it in some ivy-netted fragment of
some English abbey which Henry’s Cromwell “hammered down” than in the
ruin of all the palaces and temples and theatres and circuses and baths
of that imperial Rome which the world is so well rid of.


We left Rome with such a nostalgic pang in our hearts that we tried to
find relief in a name for it, and we called ourselves Romesick.
Afterward, when we practised the name with such friends as we could get
to listen, they thought we said homesick. Being better instructed, they
stared or simpered, and said, “Oh!” That was not all we could have
asked, but Rome herself would understand, and, while we were seeking
this outlet for our grief, she followed us as far as she could on her
poor, broken aqueducts. At places they gave way under her, and she fell
down, but scrambled up again on the next stretch of arches, like some
fond cripple pursuing a friend on crutches; when at last our train
outran them, and there was no longer an arch to halt upon, she gave up
the vain chase and turned back within her walls, where we saw her domes
and bell-towers fading into the heaven to which they pointed.

It was a heaven of better than absolute blue, for there were soft, white
clouds in it, and the air that our Sunday breathed under it was, at the
beginning of April, as bland as that of an American May-end. The orchard
trees were in bloom--peach and plum, cherry and pear--whenever you chose
to look at them, and all nature seemed to rejoice in the cessation of
the two days’ strike which had now enabled us to drive to the station
instead of walking and carrying our bags and bundles. There were so many
of these that we had taken two cabs, and at the station our drivers
attempted to rejoice with nature in an overcharge that would have
recouped them for the loss suffered in their recent leisure. But as we
were then leaving Koine, and were not yet melted with the grief of
absence, I had the courage to resist their demand. Long before we
reached Leghorn I was so Romesick that I would have paid them anything
they asked.

When we emerged from the suburbs upon the open Campagna, we passed
through many fields of wheat, more than we had yet seen on the grassy
waste, but there were also many flocks of sheep feeding with the cattle
in pastures. Now and then we passed a wretched hut which seemed to be
the dwelling of the shepherds we saw tending the flocks, and here and
there we came upon a group of farm buildings, all of straw, whether for
man or beast, set within a sort of squalid court, with a frowzy
suggestion of old women and children about the doors of the cottages. We
saw no men, though there must have been men off at work in the fields
with the younger women.

As we drew near Civita Vecchia the sea widened on our view, wild with a
wind that seemed to have been blowing ever since the stormy evening in
1865 when, after looking at the tossing ships in the harbor, we decided
to take the diligence for Leghorn, rather than the little steamer we had
meant to take. From our pleasant train we now patronized Civita Vecchia
with a recognition of its picturesqueness, unvexed by the choice that
then insisted on itself, though the harbor was as full of shipping as of
old. There was time to run out for a cup of coffee at the station
buffet, where there had been neither station nor buffet in our young
time: but doubtless then as now there had been the lonely graveyard
outside the town, with its sea-beaten, seaward wall. We buried there the
last of our Roman holidays under a sky that had changed from blue to
gray since our journey began, and mournfully set out faces northward in
the malarial Maremma.

If the Maremma is as malarial as it is famed, it does not look it. There
were stretches of hopeless morass, with wide acreages under water, but
mostly, I should say, it was rather a hilly country. Now and then we ran
by a stony old town on a distant summit like the outcropping of granite
or marble, and there were frequent breadths of woodland, oak and pine
and, I dare say, walnut and chestnut. Evidently there had been efforts
to reclaim the Maremma from its evil air and make it safely habitable,
and the farther we penetrated it the more frequent the evidences were.
There were many new buildings of a good sort, and of wood as well as
stone; when we came to Grosetto, where we had spent a memorable night
after being overturned in the Ombrone, in the attempt of our diligence
to pass its flood, we were aware, in the evening light, of a prosperity
which, if not excessive for the twoscore years that had passed, was
still very noticeable. I should not quite say that the brick wall of the
city had been scraped and scrubbed, but it looked very neat and new,
and there was a pleasant suburb under it where the moat might have been,
and people were coming and going who had almost the effect of commuters;
at least, they seemed to have come out to their homes by trolley. We
resisted an impulse to dismount and go up to the inn in the heart of the
town where we had spent that “night of memory and of sighs.”

But we searched the horizon round for the point on the highway where our
diligence had failed of the track between the telegraph-poles and softly
rolled with us in the muddy waters, like an elephant taking a bath, but,
so far from finding it, we could not even find the highway. We began to
have our doubts of what we had always believed had happened, and
remained as snugly as we could in our compartment, where, to tell the
truth, we were not very snug. In too fond a reliance on the almanac, the
Italian government had cut off the steam which ought to have heated it,
and the cold from the hills, on which we saw snow, pierced our rugs and
cushions; but, if we had known what we were coming to in Leghorn, we
should have thought ourselves very enviable.

I do not know exactly how far it is from the station in Leghorn to the
hotel where we had providently engaged rooms with a fire in at least one
of them, but I should say at a rough calculation it was a hundred miles
as we covered the distance in a one-horse omnibus, through long,
straight streets, after ten o’clock at night. The streets and houses
were mostly dark, as houses of good habits should be at that hour, but,
after passing through a wide, lonely piazza, we struck into a street
longer and straighter than the others, and drew up at our hotel door
opposite an hilarious cafe, where there seemed a general rejoicing of
some sort. We were unable to make out just what sort, or to join in it
without knowing, though it lasted well toward morning, and we were up
often during the night to see that the fire did not die out of our one
porcelain stove and leave us to perish of cold.

In Leghorn the good Baedeker says that all the hotels are good, and this
sweeping verdict may be true if taken in the sense that one is as good
as another, but they are of the old Italian type which our winter in
Rome had taught us to think obsolete; now we found that it was only
obsolescent. We had written to bespeak a room with fire in it, and this
was well, for the hotel was otherwise heated only by the bodies of its
frequenters, who, when filled with Chianti, might emit a sensible
warmth; though it was very modern in being lighted with electricity, and
having a lift, in which, after a tepid supper, we were carried to our
apartment. We had our landlord’s company at supper, and had learned from
him that the most eminent of American financiers, who shall not
otherwise be identified here, was in the habit, when coming to Leghorn,
of letting him know that he was bringing a party of friends, and
commanding of him a banquet such as he alone knew how to furnish a
millionaire of that princely quality. After that we were not so much
surprised as grieved to find that our elderly chambermaid had profited
by our absence to gather all the coals out of our one stove into two
_scaldini,_ which were bristling before her where she knelt when we
opened the door upon her. She apologized, but still she carried away the
coals, and we were left to rekindle the zeal of our stove as best we
could. It was not a large stove, and it seemed to feel its inadequacy to
the office of taking the chill off that vast, dim room, where it
cowered, dark and low upon the floor, with a yearning, upward stretch of
its pipe lost in space before it reached the lowermost goddess in the
allegory frescoed on the ceiling. If it had been a white porcelain
stove, that might have helped, but it was of a gloomy earthen color that
imparted no more cheer than warmth.

We rebuilt our fire, after many repeated demands for kindling, which had
apparently to be sawed and split in a distant wood-yard before we could
get it, and then the long, arctic night set in, unrelieved by the noisy
gayeties of the cafe across the way. These burst from time to time the
thin film of sleep which formed like a coating of ice over the
consciousness, and then one could only get up and put more wood into the
despairing stove and more clothes on the beds. Well for us that we had
thought to bring all our travelling rugs with us in straps, instead of
abandoning them with our other baggage in the station till next day!
But, even with these heaping the hotel blankets and com-forters, we
shivered, and a superannuated odor that had lurked in the recesses of
those rooms, to which the sun or wind had never pierced, grew with the
growing cold, and haunted the night like something palpable as well as
sensible--the materialization of smells dead and buried there long ago.
It was wonderful how little way the electric bulb shed its beams in that
naughty air; it would not even light the page which at one time was
opened in the vain hope that the author would help the benumbing cold to
bring torpor if not slumber to the weary brain.

It is really impossible to say where or how we breakfasted, but it was
somehow managed, and then search was made by the swiftest conveyance for
the hotel which we had heard of outside the city, as helping make
Leghorn the watering-place it is for Italians in the summer, and in the
winter as being steam-heated and appointed with every modern comfort for
the passing or sojourning stranger. It was all that and more, and only
for the fear that I should seem to join it in advertising its merits I
should like to celebrate it by name. But perhaps it is as well not; if I
did, all my readers would swarm upon that hotel, and there would be no
room for me, who hope some day to go back there and spend an old age of
luxurious leisure. There was not only steam-heat in the public rooms of
the ground floor, but there was furnace heat in all the corridors, and
there were fireplaces in certain chambers, which also looked out on the
sea, to Corsica and Elba and other isles of it, and would be full of sun
as soon as the cold rain closed a fortnight’s activity. That which
diffused a blander atmosphere than steam or radiator, register and
hearth, however, was the kind will, the benevolent intelligence, which
imagined us, and which would not then let us go. We had become not only
agnostic as respected the possibility of warmth in Leghorn, we were open
sceptics, aggressive infidels. But the landlord himself followed us from
one room to another, lighting fires here and there on the hearth, making
us feel the warm air rising from the furnace, calling us to witness by
palpation the heat of the radiators, soothing our fears, and coaxing our
unfaith. His wife joined him in Italian and his son in English, and, if
I do not say that these amiable people were worthy all the prosperity
which was not then apparent in their establishment, may I never be
comfortably lodged or fed again. Our daily return for what we got was a
poor twelve francs each; but fancy a haughty American landlord caressing
us with such sweet and reassuring civility for any sum of money! Those
gentle people made themselves our friends; there was nothing they would
not do, or try to do, for us, in the vast, pink palace where we were
never twenty guests together, and mostly eight or ten, with the run of a
reading-room where there were the latest papers and periodicals from
London and Paris, and with a kitchen whence we were served the best
luncheons and dinners we ate in Europe.

The place had the true out-of-season charm. There were two stately
dining-rooms besides the one where we dined, and there were pleasant
spaces where we had afternoon tea or after-dinner coffee, and from which
a magnificent stairway ascended to the upper halls, and a quiet lift
waited our orders, with the landlord or his son to take us up; and so
lonely and quiet and gentle, with porters and chambermaids speaking
beautiful Tuscan, and watchful attendants everywhere prophesying and
fulfilling our wants. It was a keeping to make the worst believe in
their merit, and we were not the worst. Outside, the environment
flattered or rewarded us with a garden of laurel and other evergreens,
and with flower-beds where the annuals were beginning to show the
gardener’s designs in their sprouting seeds. Beyond these ample villa
bounds a tram-car murmured to and from the well-removed city, and beyond
its track lay a line of open-air theatres and variety shows and bathing
establishments, as at our own Atlantic City, but here in enduring
masonry instead of the provisional wood of our summer architecture.


This festive preparation intimated the watering-place supremacy which
Leghorn enjoys in Italy, and which must make our quiet hotel in the
season glisten and twitter and flutter with the vivid national life. The
preparation includes a delightful drive by the seashore, with groves and
gardens, to the city gate and indefinitely beyond it, which we one day
followed as far as an old fort, where a little hotel had nestled with
every promise of simple comfort. There was a neighboring village of no
very exciting interest, and I do not know that the Italian Naval
Academy, which we passed on the way, was very exciting, though with its
villa grounds it had a pleasing rural effect. Hard by our hotel, in a
piazza that seemed to have nothing to do but surround it, was the
colossal bust of an Italian admiral, or the like, which had not the
impressiveness of a colossal full-length figure, but which rendered the
original with the faithful realism of the Genoese Campo Santo sculpture.
In compensation there was, toward the city, near the ship-yards where
the great Italian battle-ships are built, the statue of their builder--a
man who looked it--standing at large ease, with one hand in his
pantaloons pocket, and not apparently conscious of the passer’s gaze.
Beyond the ship-yard, in which a battle-ship was then receiving the last
touches, was a statue for which I could not claim an equal
unconsciousness. In fact, it challenged the public attention and even
homage as it extended the baton of command and triumphed over the four
Moorish or Algerine corsairs who, in their splendid nudity, were chained
to the several corners of the monument and owned themselves
galley-slaves. The Medicean grand-duke who lords it over them, and who
erected this monument in honor of himself for the victories his admirals
had gained in sweeping the pirates from the seas, is a very proud
presence, and is certainly worthy of the admiration which his bronze
requires from the spectator. I instantly suspected this monument of
being the chief sculpture of Leghorn, and I did not wonder that a
_valet de place_ was lying in wait for me there to make me observe that
from a certain point I could get all four of the galley-slaves’ noses in
perspective at once. Upon experiment I did not find that I could do
this, but I imputed my failure to want of merit in myself and not the
monument, and I willingly paid half a franc for the suggestion; if all
one’s failures cost so little, one could save money. I was going then to
view at close quarters the port of Leghorn, which is famous for its mole
and lighthouse and quarantine, the first of their kind in their time.
The old port, with the fortifications, was the work of a natural son of
Queen Elizabeth’s Earl of Leicester, whose noble origin was so
constantly recognized by the Tuscan grand-dukes that he came at last to
be accepted as Lord Dudley by the English. From his day, if not from his
work, the prosperity of Leghorn began, and the English have always had a
great part in it. Early in the nineteenth century there were a score of
great British merchants settled there, and, though afterward they
declined in number, the trade with England did not decline, and the
trade with America has always been such that American merchants and
captains have fully shared in the commerce directly or indirectly. Both
the old and the new port were a scene of pleasant activity the pleasant
afternoon when I visited them, and were full of varied sail as well as
many steamers, loading or unloading for or from the Mediterranean ports,
east and west, and the Hanseatic cities and the far coasts of Norway.

Any seaport is charming and full of romantic interest, but an Italian
port has always a prime picturesqueness. Its sailors are the most
ancient mariners, and they look full of history, and capable, each of
them, of discovering a continent. I cannot say that I saw any nascent
Columbus in the tanned and tarry company I met, but I do not deny that
there was one. Leghorn is still in her lusty youth, being not much older
than our Boston in the prosperity which has not failed her since the
Medici divined her importance toward the close of the sixteenth century,
and fortified her harbor till she was one of the strongest places on the
Mediterranean. With a hazy general consciousness of her modernity in
mind, I had imagined her yet more modern, and I was somewhat surprised
to read, in a rather airy and ironical but very capable local guidebook
called _Su e Giu per Livorno_ (or _Up and Down Leghorn),_ that the place
was settled twenty-six hundred and fifty-six years before Christ. The
author records this with a smile, and then, by a leap over some forty
centuries, he finds firm footing in the fact that the great Countess
Matilde, then much bothering about in the affairs of her Tuscan
neighbors everywhere, gave the Livornese coasts to Pisa in 1103. This
seems to have been the signal for the Genoese, eleven years later, to
ravage and destroy the Pisan settlements; but later the Pisans,
confirmed in their possession by the Emperor of Germany, rebuilt and
embellished the port. A century after, Charles of Anjou demolished it,
and then the Pisans fortified it some more. Then, in the last years of
the thirteenth century, the Florentines, Lucchese, and Genoese
devastated the whole territory of Pisa, and left Leghorn only one poor
little church. Well throughout the fourteenth century there were wars
between these republics, and Leghorn suffered the consequences, being,
as our author says, “according to custom, assailed, taken, wasted, and
destroyed.” But before that century was out she seems to have flourished
up again, and to have received with all honor Gregory XL, returning from
Avignon to Rome and bringing the papacy back from its long exile to the
Eternal City.

The Genoese now sold Leghorn to Milan, and in 1407 she was sold to
France for twenty-six thousand florins, which seems low for a whole
city. But in less than ten years we find the Genoese back again, and
strengthening and adorning her at the greatest rate. It was quite time
now that she should be visited by a virulent pestilence, and that,
having passed to Florence in the meanwhile, she should have been ceded
without a blow to Charles VIII. of France. But in a year she was once
more in the hold of Florence and helping that republic fight her enemies
the Pisans, and her other enemies under the Emperor Maximilian of

More fortifying, embellishing, and pestilence followed, and in 1429
Michelangelo came to inspect the new fortifications which the Florentine
republic had built at Leghorn to repair the damages she had suffered.
The next year the republic fell, and Alessandro de’ Medici, who came in
master at Florence, took Leghorn into the favor which his family
continued to show her to the end. The first Cosimo greatly improved her
harbor, dug canals, and built forts, but he let the Spaniards, for a
pleasure to Charles V., place garrisons in Florence, Pisa, and Leghorn,
and the Spaniards remained six years at Leghorn. In the last year of the
sixteenth century Ferdinand erected to himself the superb monument with
the four captive corsairs at the corners, whose noses I had failed to
get in range, and in the meanwhile many great public works had been
constructed and the city desolated by another plague. It was now time
for the English to appear in those waters, and in 1652 they were
defeated by the Dutch off Leghorn. About seventy-five years later the
grippe paid Leghorn a first visit, and not long after a violent
earthquake shook down many buildings and killed many women and children;
but the authorities did what they could to secure the city in future by
declaring the day a perpetual fast, and forbidding masking and dancing
on it.

No disaster worth recording befell the city till Bonaparte came with the
Rights of Man in 1796 and left a French garrison, which evacuated the
place the next year, after having levied a fine of two million francs.
The year after that Nelson occupied it with eight thousand English
troops, and the following year the French reoccupied it and sacked the
churches and imposed another fine nearly as great as the first. After
the Napoleonic victories in the Italian wars, they seem to have come
back again and fined the city two million francs more. They now remained
five years, and in the mean time a Livornese, Giovanni Antonio Giaschi,
invented a submarine-boat for attacking and destroying war-vessels, and
a Spanish ship brought the yellow-fever. In 1808 Napoleon gave all
Tuscany, and Leghorn with it, to his sister Elisa, but when in 1814 he
was deposed, Leghorn was restored to the Tuscan grand-dukes and
garrisoned for them by German troops, an earthquake having profited by
the general disorder meantime to pay it another visit. The grand-duke
now being driven out of Florence by Murat, he took refuge at Leghorn,
which fell a prey to an epidemic of typhus. The first steam-vessel
appared there in 1818, and in 1835 the Asiatic cholera; in 1847 a
telegraphic line to Pisa was opened.

In 1848 the revolutions prevalent throughout Europe had their effect at
Leghorn. The citizens shared in the uprising against the grand-duke, and
elected among its representatives F. D. Guerrazzi, once famous as the
first of Italian novelists and a man of generous mind and heart, who
duly suffered arrest and imprisonment when the grand-duke was restored
by the Austrians. He was sentenced to fifteen years’ prison with hard
labor, but later his sentence was commuted to exile. He lived to return
and take part in the Italian unification in 1860, and in 1866 he led the
movement against making peace with Austria unless all her
Italian-speaking provinces were ceded to Italy. He died in 1873, and is
remembered in Leghorn by a monument very ineffective as a whole, but
singularly interesting in certain details.

I have omitted from this catalogue of events many of peaceful interest,
such as visits from popes, princes, and poets, and I am not sure I have
got in all the plagues and earthquakes. Perhaps I have the more
willingly suppressed a few war-like facts, in the interest of the
superstition I had cherished that Leghorn was without a history, or that
it had no more history than, most American cities of equal date with its
commercial importance, which began with the wise hospitality of the
Medici to merchants of all races and nations, religions and races,
settled there, and especially to the Spanish Jews who came in great
numbers to the city that it was a common saying that you had as well
strike the duke as strike a Jew in Leghorn.  Greeks, Turks, Armenians
were protected equally with English and Dutch, and infidel and heretic
were alike free in their worship. It was the great prison of the
galley-slaves, who were chiefly the pirates and corsairs taken on the
high seas by the duke’s ships. These captives not only served as models
for the Moors at the base of his monument, but they must have been very
useful in the different public works which he and his successors carried
out. Now they and their like are gone, and though the Greeks, the
Armenians, the English, and the Scotch still have their churches, I do
not suppose there is a mosque in all Leghorn.

[Illustration: 46 THE CANAL AT LEGHORN]

I do not speak very confidently, because my researches in that sort were
not exhaustive. I indeed visited the cathedral, not wholly because Inigo
Jones had something to do in planning it, but because I had formed the
habit of visiting churches in Rome, and I mechanically went into one
wherever I saw it. Generally speaking, I think that they were rather
bare in painting or sculpture, but they were such churches as in America
one would go a long way to see and think one’s self well rewarded by
their objects of interest. I do not know what defence to offer for not
having visited the galleries of the Museo Civico, where by actual count
in the guide-book I missed one hundred and sixty-nine works of art,
though just how many masterpieces I am not able to say: probably one out
of every ten was a masterpiece. But, if I did not much resort to the
churches and galleries in Leghorn, I roamed gladly through its pleasant
streets and squares, and by the shores of the canals which once gave it
the name of New Venice, and which still invite the smaller shipping up
among its houses in right Venetian fashion. The streets of Leghorn are
not so straight as they are long, but many are very straight, and the
others are curved rather than crooked. The longest and straight-est were
streets of low dwelling-houses, uncommon in Italian towns, where each
family lived under its own roof with a little garden behind, and a
respective entrance, as people still mostly do in our towns. From the
force of the mid-April sun in these streets I realized what they might
be in summer, and, if I lived in Leghorn, I would rather live on the
sea-front, in one of the comfortable, square, stone villas which border
it. But everywhere Leghorn seemed a pleasant place to live, and
convenient, with lively shops and cafes and trams and open spaces, and
statues and monuments in them. The city, I understood, is of somewhat
radical politics, tending from clericalism to socialism; and, like every
other Italian city, it is full of patriotic monuments. There is a Victor
Emmanuel on horseback, plump and squat, but heroic as always, and a
Garibaldi struggling in vain for beauty in his poncho and his round,
flat cap; there is a Mazzini, there is a Cavour, and, above all, there
is a Guerrazzi, no great thing as to the seated figure, but most
interesting, most touching in two of the bas-reliefs below. One
represents him proclaiming the provisional government at Florence in
1849, after the expulsion of the grand-duke, where the fact is studied,
with the wonderful realism of the Italians, in all its incidents and the
costumes of the thronging spectators. The sculptor has hesitated at no
top-hat or open umbrella; there are barefooted boys and bareheaded young
girls, as well as bearded elders; if my memory serves, the scene is not
without a dog or two. But it is the other relief which is so simply and
so deeply affecting--the interior of a narrow cell, with one chair and a
rude table, at which the patriot novelist wrote his greatest work, _The
Siege of Florence,_ and with him standing a little way from it. In spite
of the small space and the almost vacant stage, the scene is full of
most moving drama, and records a whole Italian epoch, now happily past

These are modern sculptures, and they scarcely contest the palm with the
monument of the four galley-slaves and the Medicean grand-duke. In
another piazza two princes of the Lorrainese family, if I remember
rightly, face each other over its oblong--classic motives, with the
figures much undraped, and one of them singularly impressive from the
mutton-chop whiskers which modernized him. There are several theatres,
and among them a Goldoni theatre, as there should be in a city where the
sweet old playwright sojourned for a time and has placed the action of
his famous comedy, “La Locandiera.” But I was told that the local
theatres were not so much frequented by polite people, especially for
opera, as the theatre in Pisa, which, if poorer, is prouder in its
society than its old-time vassal by the sea, and attracts the fashion of
Leghorn during the season.

As Pisa has ceased to be the colony of literary English it once was, in
the time of Byron and Hunt and Shelley, to name no others, so Leghorn
has ceased to be the mercantile colony of former days. It has still a
great deal of commerce with England, but this is no longer carried on by
resident merchants, though here and there an English name lingers in the
style of a business house; and the distinctive qualities of both
colonies are united in the author of a charming book who fills the post
of British consul at Leghorn. His _Tuscan Towns_ must not be confused
with another book called _Tuscan Cities,_ though, if the traveller
chooses to carry both with him about Tuscany, I will not say that he
could do better. In _Tuscan Cities_ there is nothing about Leghorn, I
believe, but in _Tuscan Towns_ there is a specially delightful chapter
about the place, its people, language, and customs which I can commend
to the reader as the best corrective of the errors I must have been
constantly falling into here.

It was in company no less enviable than this author’s that I revisited
the port on a gray Sunday afternoon of my stay, and then for the first
time visited the ancient fortifications which began to be in the time of
the Countess Matilde and intermittently increased under the rule of the
Pisan, Genoese, and Florentine republics, until the Medicean grand-dukes
amplified them in almost the proportions I saw. The brutal first duke of
their line, Alessandro de’ Medici, who some say was no Medici, but the
bastard of a negro and a washerwoman, stamped his creed in the
inscription below his adoptive arms, “Under one Faith and one Law, one
Lord,” and it was in the palace here, the story goes, that the wicked
Cosimo I. killed his son Don Garzia before the eyes of the boy’s mother.
Anything is imaginable of an early Medicean grand-duke, but in a manner
the father’s murderous fury was provoked by the fact, if it was a fact,
that Don Garzia had just mortally wounded his brother Giovanni. I should
like to pretend that the tragedy had wrought in my unconsciousness to
the effect of the pensive gloom which the old fortress cast over me, but
perhaps I had better not. There are some gray Sunday afternoons of a
depressing effect on the spirit which requires no positive or palpable

In any case it was a relief to go from the shadow of the past there
through the pleasant city streets to the gentle quiet of the British
cemetery, where so many of our race and some even of our own nation are
taking their long rest. No one is now buried there, and the place, in
the gradual diminution of the English colony at Leghorn, has fallen into
a lovely and appealing neglect if not oblivion. Oblivion quite covers
its origin, but it is almost as old as Protestantism itself, and, if the
ground for it was the gift of the grand-duke who tolerated heretics as
well as Jews in the impulse he gave to the city’s growth, it would not
be strange. The beautiful porch of the English church, for once Greek
and not Gothic, fronts upon it, but the dwindling congregation has no
care of it, and there is no fund to keep it so much as free from weeds
and brambles and the insidious ivy rending its monuments asunder. The
afternoon of our visit it was in the sole charge of a large, gray cat,
which, after feasting upon the favorite herb, lay stretched in sleep on
a sunny bed of catnip under the walls of a mansion near, at whose
windows some young girls looked down in a Sunday listlessness, as we
wandered about among the “tall cypresses, myrtles, pines,
eucalyptus-trees, oleanders, cactuses, huge bushes of monthly roses, a
jungle of periwinkles, sarsaparilla, wild irises, violets, and other
loveliest of wild flowers.” On the forgotten tombs were the touching
epitaphs of those who had died in exile, and whose monuments are
sometimes here while their ashes lie in Florence or Rome, or wherever
else they chanced to meet their end. Among them were the inscriptions on
the graves of “William Magee Seton, merchant of New York,” who died at
Pisa in 1803, and “Henry De Butts, a citizen of Baltimore, N. America,”
 who died at Sarzana; with “James M. Knight, Esq., Captain of Marines,
Citizen of the United States of America,” who died at Leghorn in 1802;
and “Thomas Gamble, Late Captain in the Navy of the United States of
America,” who died at Pisa in 1818; and doubtless there were other
Americans whose tombs I did not see. The memorials of the English were
likewise here, whether they died at Leghorn or not; but most of them
seem to have ended their lives in that place, where there were once so
many English residents, whether for their health or their profit. The
youth of some testified to the fact that they had failed to find the air
specific for their maladies, and doubtless this would account also for
the disproportionate number of noble ladies who rest here, with their
hatchments and their coronets and robes of state carven on the stones
above them. Among others one reads the titles of “Lady Catharine Burgess
born Beauclerk; Jane Isabella, widow of the Earl of Lanesborough and
daughter of the Earl of Molesworth; and Catharine Murray, only child of
James Murray,... and the Right Honorable Lady Catharine Stewart his
Spouse,” with knights, admirals, generals, and other military and naval
officers a many. Most important of all is the tomb of that strenuous
spirit, more potent for good and ill in the English fiction of his time
than any other novelist of his time, and second only to Richardson in
the wide influence of his literary method, Tobias Smollett, namely, who
here ended his long fight with consumption and the indifference of his
country to his claims upon her official recognition. After many years of
narrow circumstance in the Southern climates where he spent his later
life, he tried in vain for that meek hope of literary ambition, a
consulate, perhaps the very post that my companion, a hundred and fifty
years later, was worthily holding. The truest monument to his stay in
Italy is the book of Italian travel that he wrote, and the best effect
is that sort of peripatetic novel which he may be said to have invented
in _Humphrey Clinker,_ and which has survived the epistolary form into
our own time. It is a very simple shaft that rises over his grave, with
the brief record, “Memoriae Tobiae Smollett, qui Liburni animam
efflavit, 16 Sept., 1773,” but it is imaginable with what wrath he would
have disputed the record, if it is true, according to all the other
authorities, that he exhaled his spirit two years earlier, and how he
would have had it out with those “friends and fellow-countrymen” who had
the error perpetuated above his helpless dust.

It was not easy to quit the sweetly solemn place or to resist the wish
which I have here indulged, that some kinsman or kinswoman of those whom
the blossoms and leaves are hiding would come to their rescue from
nature now claiming an undue part in them, and obliterating their very
memories. One would not have a great deal done, but only enough to save
their names from entire oblivion, and with the hope of this I have named
some of their names. It might not be too much even for the United
Kingdom and the United States, though both very poor nations, to join in
contributing the sum necessary for the work. Or some millionaire English
duke, or some millionaire American manufacturer, might make the outlay
alone; I cannot expect any millionaire author to provide a special fund
for the care of the tomb of Smollett.


If the half-hour between Leghorn and Pisa had been spent in any less
lovely transit, I should still be grieving for the loss of the thirty
minutes which might so much better have been given to either place. But
with the constant line of mountains enclosing the landscape on the
right, in all its variety of tillage, pasture-land, vineyard, and
orchard, and the unchanging level which had once been the bed of the
sea, we were gainers in sort beyond the gift of those cities. We had the
company, great part of the way, of more stone-pines than we had seen
even between Naples and Rome, here gathering into thick woods, with the
light beautiful beneath the spread of their horizontal boughs, there
grouped in classic groves, and yonder straying off in twos and threes.
We had the canal that of old time made Pisa a port of the Mediterranean,
with Leghorn for her servant on the shore (or, if it was not this canal,
it was another as straight and long), with a peasant walking beside it,
under a light-green umbrella, in the showers which threatened our start
but spared our arrival. We had then the city, with its domes and towers,
grown full height out of the plain through which the Arno curves in the
stateliest crescent of all its course.

The day had turned finer than any other day I can now think of in my
whole life, and I was once more in Pisa without the care for its history
or art or even novelty which had corroded my mind in former visits. I
had been there twice before--once in 1864, when I had done its wonders
with all the wonder they merited, and again in 1883, when I had lived
its memories on the scene of its manifold and mighty experiences. No
distinct light from that learning vexed my present vision, but an
agreeable mist of association, nothing certain, nothing tangible
remaining, but only a gentle vague involving everything, in which I
could possess my soul in peace. In this glimmer I recognized a certain
cabman as having been waiting there from the dawn of time, with his
dark-eyed little son, to make me his willing captive at something above
the tariff rates, but destined by the same fate to serve me well, and to
part with me friends at the close of the day for a franc more than the
excess agreed upon. It costs so small a sum to corrupt the common
carrier in Italy that I hold it wrong to fail of any chance, and this
driver had not only a horse of uncommon qualities, but he spoke a
beautiful Tuscan, and he had his Pisa at his fingers’ ends.


We were of one mind about driving without delay to the famous group
which is without rival on the earth, though there may be associated
edifices in the red planet Mars that surpass the Cathedral, the Leaning
Tower, the Baptistery, and the Campo Santo at Pisa. What genius it was
imagined placing them in the pleasant meadow where they sit, just beyond
the city streets, I do not know, but it was inspiration beyond any
effect of mere taste, and it commanded my worship as much the last as
the first time. The meadow still swims round them and breaks in a foam
of daisies at their feet; for I take it that it is always mid-April
there, and that the grass is as green and the sun as yellow on it as the
afternoon we saw it. The sacred edifices are as golden as the light on
them, and there is such a joyous lift in the air that it is a wonder
they do not swing loose from their foundations and soar away into the
celestial blue. For travellers in our willing mood there was, of course,
the predestined cicerone waiting for us at the door of the cathedral,
who would fix no price for the pleasure he was born to do us, yet still
consented to take more than twice that he ought to have had at parting.
But he was worth the money; he was worth quite two francs, and, though
he was not without the fault of his calling and would have cumbered us
with instruction, I will not blame him, for after a moment I perceived
that his intelligence was such that I might safely put my hands in my
pocket on my shut guide-book and follow him from point to point without
fear of missing anything worth noting. Among the things worthiest
noting, I saw, as if I had never seen them before, the unforgettable,
forgotten Andrea del Sartos, especially the St. Agnes, in whose face you
recognize the well-known features of the painter’s wife, but with a
gentler look than they usually wore in his Madonnas, perhaps because he
happened to study these from that difficult lady when she was in her
least celestial moods. Besides the masterpieces of other masters, there
is a most noble Sodoma, which the great Napoleon carried away to Paris
and which the greater French people afterward restored. At every step in
the beautiful temple you may well pause, for it abounds in pictures and
sculptures, the least of which would enrich St. Peter’s at Rome beyond
the proudest effect of its poverty-stricken grandeur.  Ghirlandajo,
Michelangelo, Gaddo Gaddi, John of Bologna--the names came back to me
out of a past of my own almost as remote as theirs, while our guide
repeated them, in their relation to the sculptures or pictures or
architecture, with those of lesser lights of art, and that school of
Giotto, of all whose frescos once covering its walls the fire of three
hundred years ago has left a few figures clinging to one of the pillars,
faint and uncertain as the memories of my own former visits to the
church. I did, indeed, remember me of an old bronze lamp, by Vincenzo
Possenti, hanging from the roof, which I now revered the third time, at
intervals of twenty years; from its oscillation Galileo is said to have
got the notion of the pendulum; but it is now tied back with a wire,
being no longer needed for such an inspiration. Mostly in this last
visit I took Pisa as lightly as at the first, when, as I have noted from
the printed witness, I was gayly indifferent to the claims of her
objects of interest. If they came in my way, I looked at them, but I did
not put myself much about for them. I rested mostly in the twilight of
old associations, trusting to the guidance of our cicerone, whom, in
some form or under some name, the reader will find waiting for him at
the cathedral door as we did. But I have since recurred to the record of
my second visit in 1883, with amazement at the exact knowledge of events
shown there, which became, in 1908, all a blur of dim conjecture. It
appears that I was then acquainted with much more Pisan history than any
other author I have found own to. I had also surprising adventures of
different kinds, such as my poorer experience of the present cannot
parallel. I find, for instance, that in 1883 I gave a needy crone in the
cathedral a franc instead of the piece of five centimes which I meant
for her, and that the lamp of Galileo did nothing to light the gloom
into which this error plunged my spirit.

It appears to have jaundiced my view of the whole cathedral, which I did
not find at all comparable to that of Siena, whereas in 1908 I thought
it all beautiful. This may have been because I was so newly from the
ugliness of the Eoman churches; though I felt, as I had felt before,
that the whole group of sacred edifices at Pisa was too suggestive of
decorative pastry and confectionery. No more than at the second view of
it did I now attempt the ascent of the Leaning Tower; I had discharged
this duty for life when I first saw it; with my seventy-one years upon
me, I was not willing to climb its winding stairs, and I doubted if I
could keep it from falling, as I then did, by inclining myself the other
way. I resolved that I would leave this to the new-comer; but I gladly
followed our cicerone across the daisied green from the cathedral to the
baptistery, where I found the famous echo waiting to welcome me back,
and greet me with its angelic sweetness, when the custodian who has it
in charge appealed to it; though its voice seemed to have been weakened
and coarsened in its forced replies to some rude Americans there, who
shouted out to it and mocked at it. One wished to ask them if they did
not know that this echo was sacred, and that their challenges of it were
a species of sacrilege.  But doubtless that would not have availed to
silence them. By-and-by they went away, and then we were aware of an
interesting group of people by the font near the lovely Lombardic pulpit
of Nicola Pisano. They were peasants, by their dress--a young father and
mother and a little girl or two, and then a gentle, elderly woman, with
a baby in her arms, at which she looked proudly down. They were in their
simple best, and they had good Tuscan faces, full of kindness. I
ventured some propitiatory coppers with the children, and, when the old
woman made them thank me, I thought I could not be mistaken and I
ventured further: “You are the grandmother?”

“Yes, signer,” she answered; and then we had some talk about the age and
the beauty of the baby, which I declared wonderful for both, in praises
loud enough for the father and mother to hear. After that they seemed to
hold a family council, from which I thought it respectful to stand apart
until the grandmother spoke to me again.

I did not understand, and I appealed to our guide for help.

“She wishes you to be godfather to the child.”

I had never yet been a godfather, but I had the belief that it brought
grave responsibilities, which in the very casual and impermanent
circumstances I did not see how I was to meet. Yet how to refuse without
wounding these kind people who had so honored me I did not know until a
sudden inspiration came to my rescue.

“Tell them,” I said, “and be careful to make them understand, that I am
very grateful and very sorry, but that I am a Protestant, and that I
suppose I cannot, for that reason, be godfather to their child.”

He explained, and they received my thanks and regrets with smiling
acquiescence; and just then a very stout little old priest (who has
baptized nearly all the babies in Pisa for fifty years) came in, and the
baptism proceeded without my intervention. But I remained, somehow,
disappointed; it would have been pleasant to leave a godchild behind me
there in the neighborhood of Pisa; to have sent him from time to time
some little remembrance of this remote America, and, perhaps, when he
grew up and came to Pisa, and learned the art of the statuary, to have
had from him a Leaning Tower which he had cut in alabaster for me. I was
taking it for granted he was a boy, but he may not have been; there is
always that chance.

If I had been alone, I suppose I should still have gone into the Campo
Santo, from mere force of habit; I always go, in Pisa, but I had now
with me clearer eyes for art than mine are, and I wished to have their
light on the great allegories and histories frescoed round the
cloisters, and test with them the objects of my tacit and explicit
reserves and misgivings. I needed such eyes, and even some such powerful
glasses as would have pierced through the faded and wasted pictures and
shown them at least as I had first seen them. They were then in such
reasonable disrepair as one might expect after three or four centuries,
but in the last thirty years a ruinous waste has set in before which not
only the colors have faded, but the surfaces have crumbled under the
colors; and as yet no man knows how to stop the ravage. I think I have
read that it is caused by a germ; but, if not, the loss is the same, and
until a parasite for the germ is found the loss must go on, and the work
of Giotto, of Benozzo Gozzoli, of Memmi, must perish with that of the
Orgagnas, which may indeed go, for all me. Bible stories, miracles,
allegories--they are all hasting to decay, and it can be but a few years
until they shall vanish like the splendors of the dawn which they typify
in art.

In some things the ruin is not altogether to be regretted. It has
softened certain loathsome details of the charnel facts portrayed, and
in other pictures the torment and anguish of the lost souls are no
longer so painful as the old painters ascertained them. Hell in the
Campo Santo is not now the hell of other days, just as the hell of
Christian doctrine is not the hell it used to be. Death and the world
are indeed immitigable; the corpses in their coffins are as terrifying
to the gay lords and ladies who come suddenly upon them as ever they
were, though doubtless of no more lasting effect with such sinners than
they would be nowadays. But what one must chiefly lament is the waste of
the whole quaint and charming series of Scripture incidents by Benozzo
Gozzoli. This is indeed most lamentable, and after realizing the loss
one is only a little heartened by the gayety of certain grieving widows,
sitting in marble for monuments to their husbands at several points
under the arcades. What cheer they might have brought us was impaired by
the sight of the sarcophaguses and the other antiques against the walls,
which inflicted an inappeasable ache for the city where such things
abound, and brought our refluent Romesickness back full tide upon us.
More than once Pisa elsewhere did us the like involuntary unkindness;
she, too, is yellow and mellow like Rome, and she had moments of the
Piazza Navona and the Piazza di Spagna which were poignant. But she had
moments of her own when Rome could not rival her--such, for instance, as
that when she invited us from the perishing frescos of her Campo Santo
to turn our eyes on the flower-strewn field of death which the cloisters
surrounded, and where in the hallowed earth which her galleys brought
from Jerusalem her children, in their several turns, used to sleep so
sweetly and safely.

The afternoon sunlight was prolonging the day there as well as it could,
and we should have liked to linger with it as late as it would, but
there were other places in Pisa calling us, and we must go. We found our
driver, and his black-eyed boy beside him on the box, waiting for us at
the cathedral door, and we seem to have left it pretty much to them
where we should go. They decided us, if we really left it to them,
mainly for the outside of things, so that we might see as much of Pisa
as possible; but it appears to have been their notion that we ought to
visit, at least, the inside of the Church of the Knights of St.
Stephen. I do not know whether I protested or not that I had abundantly
seen this already, but, at any rate, I am now glad that they took us
there. As every traveller will pretend to remember, the main business of
the knights was to fight the Barbary pirates, and the main business of
their church is now to serve as a repository of the prows of the galleys
and the flags which they took in their battles with the infidels. There
are other monuments of their valor, but by all odds the flags will be
the most interesting to the American visitor, because of the start that
many of them will give him by their resemblance to our own banner, with
their red-and-white stripes, which the eye follows in vivid expectation
of finding the blue field of stars in the upper left-hand corner. It
never does find this, and that is the sufficient reason for holding to
the theory that our flag was copied from the armorial bearings of the
Washington family, and not taken from the standard of those paynim
corsairs; but there is poignant instant when one trembles.

We viewed, of course, the exterior of the edifice standing on the site
of the Tower of Famine, where the cruel archbishop starved the Count
Ugolino and his grandchildren to death; and we drove by the buildings of
Pisa’s famous university, which we afterward fancied rather pervaded the
city with the young and ardent life of its students. It is no great
architectural presence, but there are churches and palaces to make up
for that. Everywhere you chance on them in the narrow streets and the
ample piazzas, but the palaces follow mostly the stately curve of the
Arno, where some of them have condescended to the office of hotels, and
where, I believe, one might live in economy and comfort; or, at any
rate, I should like to try. It would get rather warm there in May, and
July and August are not to be thought of, but all the other year it
would be divine, with such a prospect as can hardly be matched anywhere
else. Pisa used once to be the resort of many seeking health or warmth,
and for mere climate it ought again to come into favor. Probably there
is reasonably accessible society there, and, as the Livornese believe,
there is at least excellent opera. The time might grow long, but ought
not to be very heavy, and there is a cafe, at the very finest point of
the curve, where you can get an excellent cup of tea. Whether this
attests the resort or sojourn of many English, or the growth of the
tea-habit among the Pisans, I cannot say, but that cafe is very
charming, with students standing about in it and admiring the ladies who
come in to buy pastry, and who do not suppose there is any one there to
look at them. I am sure that the handsome mother with the pretty
daughter who lingered so long over their choice of little cakes could
not have imagined any one was looking, or she would at once have taken
macaroons and hurried away: at that cafe they have macaroons almost
three inches across, and delicious.


The whole keeping was so pleasant that we hated to leave it to the
lengthening shadows from the other shore, but we were to drive down the
Arno into the promenade that follows it, I do not know how far; with the
foolish greed of travel, we wanted to get in all of Pisa that we could,
even if we tore ourselves from its most tempting morsel. But it was all
joy, and I should like, at this moment, to be starting on that
enchanting drive again. I leave the reader to imagine the lovely scenery
for himself; almost any of my many backgrounds will serve; but I will
supply him with a piece of statistics such as does not fall in
everybody’s way. We noted the great number of anglers who lined the
opposite bank, with no appearance of catching anything, and I asked our
driver if they never happened to get a bite. “Not in the daytime,” he
explained, compassionately, “but as soon as the evening comes they get
all the fish they want.”

I could pour out on the reader many other Pisan statistics, but they
would be at second-hand. After long vicissitude, the city is again
almost as prosperous as she was in the heyday of her national greatness,
when she had commerce with every Levantine and Oriental port. We
ourselves saw a silk factory pouring forth a tide of pretty girls from
their work at the end of the day; there was no ruin or disrepair
noticeable anywhere, and the whole city was as clean as Rome, with
streets paved with broad, smooth flagstones where you never missed the
rubber tires which your carriage failed of. But Pisa had a great air of
resting, of taking life easily after a tumultuous existence in the long
past which she had put behind her. Throughout the Middle Ages she was
always fighting foreign foes without her walls or domestic factions
within, now the Saracens wherever she could find them or they could find
her, now the Normans in Naples, now the Cor-sicans and Sardinians, now
Lucca, now Genoa, now Florence, and now all three. Her wars with these
republics were really incessant; they were not so much wars as battles
in one long war, with a peace occasionally made during the five or ten
or fifteen years, which was no better than a truce. When she fell under
the Medici, together with her enemy Florence, she shared the death-quiet
the tyrants brought that prepotent republic, and it was the Medicean
strength probably which saved her from Lucca and Genoa, though it left
them to continue republics down to the nineteenth century. She was at
one time an oligarchy, and at another a democracy, and at another the
liege of this prince or that priest, but she was never out of trouble as
long as she possessed independence or the shadow of it. In the safe hold
of united Italy she now sits by her Arno and draws long, deep breaths,
which you may almost hear as you pass; and I hope the prospect of
increasing prosperity will not tempt her to work too hard. It does not
look as if it would.

We were getting a little anxious, but not very anxious, for that one
cannot be in Pisa, about our train back to Leghorn; though we did not
wish to go, we did not wish to be left; but our driver reassured us, and
would not let us shirk the duty of seeing the house where Galileo was
born. We found it in a long street on the thither side of the river, and
in such a poor quarter that our driver could himself afford to live only
a few doors from it. As if they had expected him to pass about this
time, his wife and his five children were sitting at his door and
playing before it. He proudly pointed them out with his whip, and one of
the little ones followed on foot far enough to levy tribute. They were
sufficiently comely children, but blond, whereas the boy on the box was
both black-eyed and black-haired. When we required an explanation of the
mystery, the father easily solved it; this boy was the child of his
first wife. If there were other details, I have forgotten them, but we
made our romance to the effect that the boy, to whose beautiful eyes we
now imputed a lurking sadness, was not happy with his step-mother, and
that he took refuge from her on the box with his father. They seemed
very good comrades; the boy had shared with his father the small cakes
we had given him at the cafe. At the station, in recognition of his
hapless lot, I gave him half a franc. By that time his father was
radiant from the small extortion I had suffered him to practice with me,
and he bade the boy thank me, which he did so charmingly that I almost,
but not quite, gave him another half-franc. Now I am sorry I did not.
Pisa was worth it.


There is an old saying, probably as old as Genoa’s first loot of her
step-sister republic, “If you want to see Pisa, you must go to Genoa,”
 which may have obscurely governed us in our purpose of stopping there on
our way up out of Italy. We could not have too much of Pisa, as
apparently the Genoese could not; but before our journey ended I decided
that they would have thought twice before plundering Pisa if they had
been forced to make their forays by means of the present railroad
connection between the two cities. At least there would have been but
one of the many wars of murder and rapine between the republics, and
that would have been the first. After a single experience of the eighty
tunnels on that line, with the perpetually recurring necessity of
putting down and putting up the car-window, no army would have repeated
the invasion; and, though we might now be without that satirical old
saying, mankind would, on the whole, have been the gainer. As it was,
the enemies could luxuriously go and come in their galleys and enjoy the
fresh sea-breezes both ways, instead of stifling in the dark and gasping
for breath as they came into the light, while their train ran in and out
under the serried peaks that form the Mediterranean shore. I myself
wished to take a galley from Leghorn, or even a small steamer, but I was
overruled by less hardy but more obdurate spirits, and so we took the
Florentine express at Pisa, where we changed cars.

The Italian government had providently arranged that the car we changed
into should be standing beyond the station in the dash of an unexpected
shower, and that it should be provided with steps so high and steep,
with Italian ladies standing all over them and sticking their umbrellas
into the faces of American citizens trying to get in after them, that it
was a feat of something like mountain-climbing to reach the corridor,
and then of daring-do to secure a compartment. Though a collectivist,
with a firm belief in the government ownership of railroads everywhere,
I might have been tempted at times in Italy to abjure my creed if I had
not always reflected that the state there had just come into possession
of the roads, with all their capitalistic faults of management and
outwear of equipment which it would doubtless soon reform and repair. I
venture to suggest now, however, that its prime duty is to have
platforms level with the car-doors, as they are in England, and not to
let Italian ladies stand in the doorways with their umbrellas. I do not
insist that it shall impose silence and sobriety upon a party of young
French people in the next compartment, but I do think it should remove
those mountains back from the sea so that the trains carrying cultivated
Americans can run along the open shore the whole way to Genoa. Pending
this, it should provide strong and watchful employees to lower and raise
the windows at the mouth of each of the eighty tunnels in every car. I
do not demand that it shall change the site of the station in Genoa so
that it shall not always be the city’s whole length away from the hotel
you have chosen, but I think this would be a desirable improvement,
especially if it is after dark when you arrive and raining a peculiarly
cold, disagreeable rain.

That rain was very disappointing; for, in the intervals between tunnels,
we had fancied, from the few brief glimpses we caught of the landscape,
that the April so backward elsewhere in Italy was forwarder in the
blossomed trees along the eastern Riviera; and we learned at our hotel
that the steam-heat had just been taken off because the day had been so
hot and dry, though the evening was now so cold and wet. It was fitfully
put on and off during the chilly week that ensued, though in our
fifth-story garden, to which we sometimes resorted, there was a mildness
in the air that was absent in-doors. The hotel itself was disappointing;
any hotel would be after our hotel in Leghorn; and, though there was the
good-will of former days, there was not the former effect. The corridors
crashed and clattered all day long and well into the night with the
gayety of some cheap incursion of German tourists, who seemed, indeed,
to fill the whole city with their clamor. They were given a long table
to themselves, and when they were set at it and began to ply their
knives and tongues the din was deafening. That would not have been so
bad if they had not been so plain, or if, when they happened, in a young
girl or two, to be pretty, they had not guttled and guzzled so like the
plainest of their number. One such pretty girl was really beautiful,
with a bloom perhaps already too rich, which, as she abandoned herself
to her meat and drink, reddened downward over her lily neck and upward
to her golden hair, past the brows under which her blue, blue eyes
protruded painfully, all in a frightful prophecy of what she would be
when the bud of her spring should be the full-blown cabbage-rose of her

I dare say those people were not typical of their civilization. Probably
modern enterprise makes travel easy to sorts and conditions of Germans
who once would not have dreamed of leaving home, and now tempts these
rude Teutonic hordes over or under the Alps and pours them out on the
Peninsula, far out-deluging the once-prevalent Anglo-Saxons. The first
night there was an Englishman at dinner, but he vanished after
breakfast; the next day an Italian officer was at lunch, but he came no
more; we were the only Americans, and now we had the sole society of
those German tourists. Perhaps it was national vanity, but I could not
at the moment think of an equal number of our fellow-citizens of any
condition who would not have been less molestively happy. One forgot
what one was eating, and left the table bruised as if physically beaten
upon by those sound-waves and sight-waves. But our companions must have
made themselves acceptable to the city they had come to visit; Genoa is
very noisy, and they could not be heard above the trams and omnibuses,
and in the streets they could not be seen at table; when I ventured to
note to a sacristan, here and there, that there seemed to be a great
many Germans in town, the fact apparently roused nothing of the old-time
Italian antipathy for the Tedeschi. Severally they may have been
cultivated and interesting people; and that blooming maiden may really
have been the Blue Flower of Romance that she looked before she began to

[Illustration: 49 WASHING IN THE RIVER, GENOA]

We were entering upon our third view of Genoa with the zest of our
first, and I was glad to find there were so many things I had left
unseen or had forgotten. First of all the Campo Santo allured me, and I
went at once to verify the impressions of former years in a tram
following the bed of a torrential river which was now dry except in the
pools where the laundresses were at work, picturesquely as always in
Italy. But here they were not alone the worthy theme of art; their
husbands and fathers, and perhaps even their _fiances,_ were at work
with them, not, indeed, washing the linen, but spreading to dry it in
snowy spaces over the clean gravel. On either bank of the stream newly
finished or partly finished apartment-houses testified to the prosperity
of the city, which seemed to be growing everywhere, and it would not be
too bold to imagine this a favorite quarter because of its convenience
to the Cam-po Santo. Already in the early forenoon our train was
carrying people to that popular resort, who seemed to be intending to
spend the day there. Some had wreaths and flowers, and were clearly
sorrowing friends of the dead; others, with their guide-books, were as
plainly mere sight-seers, and these were Italians as well as strangers,
gratifying what seems the universal passion for cemeteries. In our own
villages the graveyards are the favorite Sunday haunt of the young
people and the scene of their love-making; and it has been the complaint
of English visitors to our cities that the first thing their hosts took
them to see was the cemetery. They did not realize that this was often
the thing best worth showing them, for our feeble aesthetic instincts
found their first expression in the attempt to dignify or beautify the
homes of the dead.  Each mourner grieved in marble as fitly as he knew
how, and, if there was sometimes a rivalry in vaults and shafts, the
effect was of a collective interest which all could feel. Sometimes it
was touching, sometimes it was revolting; and in Italy it is not
otherwise. The Campo Santo of San Miniato at Florence, the Campo Santo
at Bologna, the Campo Santo wherever else you find it, you find of one
quality with the Campo Santo at Genoa. It makes you the helpless
confidant of family pride, of bruised and lacerated love, of fond
aspiration, of religious longing, of striving faith, of foolish vanity
and vulgar pretence, but, if the traveller would read the local
civilization aright, he cannot do better than go to study it there.

My third experience of the Genoese Campo Santo was different only in
quantity from the first and second. There seemed more of the things,
better and worse, but the increasing witness was of the art which
rendered the fact with unsparing realism, sometimes alloyed with
allegory and sometimes not, but always outright, literal, strong, rank.
The hundreds of groups, reliefs, statues, busts; the long aisles where
the dead are sealed in the tableted shelves of the wall, like the dead
in the catacombs, the ample space of open ground enclosed by the
cloisters and set thick with white crosses, are all dominated by a
colossal Christ which, in my fancy, remains of very significant effect.
It is as if no presence less mighty and impressive could centre in
itself the multitudinous passions, wills, and hopes expressed in those
incongruous monuments and reduce them to that unity of meaning which one
cannot deny them.


The Campo Santo of Genoa is a mortuary gloss of Genoese history: of the
long succession of civic strifes and foreign wars common to all the
Italian republics, now pacified at last by a spirit of unity, of
brotherhood. At Genoa, more than anywhere else in Italy except Milan,
you are aware of the North--its strenuousness, its enterprise, its
restless outstretching for worlds beyond itself. Columbus came with the
gift of a New World in his hand, and, in the fulness of time, Mazzini
came with the gift of a Newer World in his hand: the realization of
Christ in the ideal of duties without which the old ideal of rights is
heathen and helpless.  Against the rude force of Genoa, the aristocratic
beauty of such a place as Pisa was nothing; only Florence and Venice
might vie with her. But she had not the inspiration of Florence, her
art, her literature; the dialect in which she uttered herself is harsh
and crabbed, and no poet known beyond it has breathed his soul into it;
her architecture was first the Gothic from over the Alps, and then of
the Renaissance which built the palaces of her merchants in a giant bulk
and of a brutal grandeur. She had not the political genius of Venice,
the oligarchic instinct of self-preservation from popular misgovernment
and princely aggression. Her story is the usual Italian story of a
people jealous of each other, and, in their fear of a native tyrant,
impatiently calling in one foreign tyrant after another and then
furiously expelling him.  When she would govern herself, she first made
her elective chief magistrate Doge for life, and then for two years;
under both forms she submitted and rebelled at will from 1359 till 1802,
when, after having accepted the French notion of freedom from Bonaparte,
she enjoyed a lion’s share of his vicissitudes. For a hundred years
before that the warring powers had fought over her in their various
quarrels about successions, and she ought to have been well inured to
suffering when, in 1800, the English and the Austrians besieged her
French garrison, and twenty thousand of her people starved in a cause
not their own. The English restored the Doges, and the Republic of Genoa
fell at last nineteen years after the Republic of Venice and three
hundred years after the Republic of Florence. She was given to Piedmont
in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, and she has formed part of Italy ever
since the unification. I believe that now she is of rather radical
opinions in politics, though the bookseller who found on his shelves a
last copy of the interesting sketch of Genoese history which I have
profited by so little, said that the Genoese had been disappointed in
the Socialists, lately in power, and were now voting Clerical by a large

The fact may have been colored by the book-seller’s feelings. If the
Clericals are in superior force, the clerics are not: nowhere in Italy
did I see so few priests. All other orders of people throng the narrow,
noisy, lofty streets, where the crash of feet and hoofs and wheels beats
to the topmost stories of the palaces towering overhead in their stony
grandiosity. Everywhere in the structures dating after the Gothic period
there is want of sensibility; the art of the Renaissance was not moulded
here in the moods of a refined and effeminate patriciate, such as in
Venice tempered it to beauty; but it renders in marble the prepotence of
a commercialized nobility, and makes good in that form the right of the
city to be called Genoa the Proud. Perhaps she would not wish to be
called proud because of these palaces alone. It is imaginable that she
would like the stranger to remember the magnificence with which she
rewarded the patriotism of her greatest citizen after Columbus and
Mazzini: that mighty admiral, Andrea Doria, who freed this country first
from the rule of Charles V. and then from the rule of Francis I.; who
swept the Barbary corsairs from the seas; who beat the Turks in battles
on ship and on shore; who took Corsica from the French when he was
eighty-eight years old; who suffered from civil faction; who outlived
exile as he had outlived war, and who died at the age of ninety-four,
after he had refused the sovereignty of the country he had served so
long; who was the Washington of his day, and was equally statesman and
soldier, and, above all, patriot. It is his portrait that you see in
that old palace (called the Palace of the Prince because Charles V. had
called him Prince) overlooking the port, where he sits an old, old man,
very weary, in the sole society of his sarcastic cat, as I have noted
before. The cat seems to have just passed some ironical reflection on
the vanity of human things and to be studying him for the effect. Both
appear indifferent to the spectator, but perhaps they are not, and you
must not for all that fail of a visit to the Church of San Matteo, set
round with the palaces of the Doria family--the palace which his
grateful country gave the Admiral after he refused to be her master, and
the palaces of his kindred neighboring it round.

I do not remember any equal space in all Europe which, through a very
little knowledge, so takes the heart as the gentle little church founded
by an earlier Doria, and, after four hundred years, restored by a later,
and then environed with the stately homes of the race, where they could
be domesticated in the honor and reverence of their countrymen because
of the goodness and greatness of the loftiest of their line. It is such
a place as one may revere and yet possess one’s soul in self-respect,
very much as one may revere Mount Vernon. The church, as well as the
piazza, is full of Dorian memories, and the cloister must be visited not
only for its rather damp beauty, but for the full meaning of the irony
which Doria’s cat in the portrait wished to convey: against the wall
here are gathered the fragments of the statue of Doria which, when the
French Revolution came to Genoa, the patriots threw out of the ducal
palace and broke in the street below.

We were some time in finding our way into the magnificent hall of the
Great Council where this statue once stood, with the statues of many
other Genoese heroes and statesmen, and I am not sure that it was worth
all our trouble. Magnificent it certainly was, but coarsely magnificent,
like so much elsewhere in Genoa; but, if we had been at ten times the
trouble we were in seeing the Palace of the Municipality, I should not
think it too much. There in the great hall are the monuments of those
Genoese notables whose munificence their country wished to remember in
the order of their generosity. I do not remember just what the maximum
was, but the Doge or other leading citizen who gave, say, twenty-five
thousand ducats to the state had a statue erected to him; one who gave
fifteen, a bust; and one who gave five, an honorary tablet. The
surprising thing is that nearly all the statues and busts, whether good
likenesses or not, are delightful art: it is as if the noble acts of the
benefactors of their country had inspired the sculptors to reproduce
them not only in true character, but in due dignity. To the American who
views them and remembers that we have now so much money that some of us
do not know what to do with it, they will suggest that our millionaires
have an unrivalled opportunity of immortality in the same sort. There is
hardly a town of ten thousand inhabitants in the country where there are
not men who could easily afford to give a hundred thousand dollars, or
fifty, or twenty to their native or adoptive place and so enter upon a
new life in bronze or marble. This would enrich us beyond the dreams of
avarice in a high-grade portrait statuary; it would give work to
hundreds of sculptors who now have little or nothing to do, and would
revive or create the supplementary industries of casting in metal or
carving in stone.

The time was in Genoa, it seems, as the time is now with us, when a
great many people did not know what to do with their money. There were
sumptuary laws which forbade their spending it, either they or their
wives or daughters, in dress; apparently they could not even wear Genoa
velvet, which had to be sold abroad for the corruption of the outside
world; and this is said to be the reason why there were so many palaces
built in Genoa in the days of the republic. People who did not wish to
figure in that hall of fame put their surplus into the immense and often
ugly edifices which we still see ministering to their pride in the wide
and narrow streets of the city. Now and then a devout family built or
rebuilt a church and gave it to the public; but by far the greater
number put up palaces, where, after the house-warming, they dwelt in a
cold and economical seclusion.  Some of their palaces are now devoted to
public uses; they are galleries of pictures and statues most worthy to
be seen, or they are municipal offices, or museums, or schools of art or
science; but part are still in the keeping of the families that
contributed them to the splendor of their city. The streets in which
they stand are loud with transit and traffic, but the palaces hold aloof
from the turmoil and lift their lofty heads to the level of the gardens
behind them. Huge, heavy they are, according to the local ideal, and
always wanting the delicacy of Venetian architecture, where something in
the native genius tempered to gentleness the cold severity of Palladio,
and where Sansovino knew how to bridge the gulf between the Gothic and
the Renascent art that would have been Greek but halted at being Roman.

The grandeur of those streets of palaces in Genoa cannot be denied, but
perhaps, if the visitor quite consulted his preference or indulged his
humor, he would wander rather through the arcades of the busy port, up
the chasmal alleys of little shops into the tiny piazzas, no bigger than
a good-sized room, opening before some ancient church and packed with
busy, noisy people. The perspective there is often like the perspective
in old Naples, but the uproar in Genoa does not break in music as it
does in Naples, and the chill lingering in the sunless depths of those
chasms is the cold of a winter that begins earlier and a spring that
loiters later than the genial seasons of the South.


A few years ago an Englishman who had lived our neighbor in the same
villa at San Remo, came and said that he was going away because it was
so dull at San Remo. He was going with his wife to Monte Carlo, because
you could find amusement every day in the week at the tables of the
different games of chance, and Sundays there was a very nice little
English church. He did not seem to think there was anything out of the
way in his grouping of these advantages, but he did not strongly urge
them upon us, and we restricted ourselves in turn to our tacit
reflections on the indifference of the English to a point of morals on
which the American conscience is apt to suffer more or less anguish if
it offends. So far as I know they do not think it wrong to take money
won at any game; but possibly their depravity in this matter rather
comforted us than offended. At any rate, I am sure of the superiority of
our own morals in visiting Monte Carlo after we left Genoa. If we did
not look forward with our Englishman’s complacency to the nice little
church there, we certainly did not mean to risk our money at the tables
of Roulette, nor yet at the tables of Trente et Quarante, in the Casino.
What we really wished to do was to look on in the spiritual security of
saints while the sinners of both sexes lost and gained to the equal hurt
of their souls. We perhaps expected to hear the report of a pistol in
the gardens of the Casino, if we did not actually see the ruined gambler
falling among the flowers, or if not so much as this, we thought we
might witness his dramatic despair as the croupier drew in the last
remnant of his fortune and mechanically invited the other Messieurs and
Mesdames to make their game; secretly, we might even have been willing
to see something hysterical on the part of the Mesdames if fate frowned
upon them, or something scandalously exuberant if it smiled. If our
motives were not the worst, they were, at any rate, not the best; I
suppose they were the usual human motives, and I am afraid they were

We found it rather long from Genoa to Monte Carlo, but this was not so
much because of the distance as because of the delays of our train,
which, having started late, grew reckless on the way, and before we
reached the Italian frontier at Ventimiglia, had lost all shame and
failed to connect there with the French train for the rest of our
journey. So, instead of having barely time to affirm our innocence of
tobacco, spirits, or perfumes to the customs officers, and to wash down
a sandwich with a cup of coffee at the restaurant, we had an hour and
forty minutes at Ventimiglia, which I partly spent in vain attempts to
buy the poverty of the inspector so far as to prevail with him not to
delay the examination of our baggage, but to proceed to it at once, in
order that we might have it all off our minds, and devote our long
leisure to the inquiry by what steps the ancient Ligurian tribe of the
Intemelii lost their name in its actual corruption of Ventimiglia. It is
a charming old town, far more charming than the stranger who never has
time to walk into it from the station can imagine, and there is a
palm-bordered avenue leading from the railway to the sea, with the shops
and cafes of Italy on one side and the shops and cafes of France on the
other. So late as six o’clock in the evening those cafes and shops
preserved a reciprocal integrity which I could not praise too highly,
but after dark there must be a ghostly interchange of forbidden
commodities among them which no force of customs officers could wholly
suppress. At any rate, I should have liked to see them try it, though I
should not have liked to be kept in Ventimiglia overnight for any less
reason; it seemed a lonesome place, though mighty picturesque, with old
walls, and a magnificent old fort toward the sea, and a fine bridge
spanning, though for the moment superfluously spanning, the perfectly
dry bed of a river.

I wished to ask what the name of the river was, but out of all the files
of people coming and going I chose an aged man who could not tell me; he
excused himself with real regret on the ground that he was a stranger in
those parts. Then there was nothing for me to do but go back to the
station and renew my attempt on the inspector, who still remained proof
against me. What added to the hardship of the situation was that it was
Italy at one end of the station and France at the other, and in one
extremity it was an hour earlier than it was at the other, by the time
of Central Europe at the east and by the time of Paris at the west, so
that I do not know but we were two hours and forty minutes at
Ventimiglia instead of one hour and forty minutes. Of this period little
could be employed at tea, and we were not otherwise hungry; we could
give something of our interminable leisure to counting our baggage and
suffering unfounded alarms at failing to make it come out right, but we
could not give much.

The weather had turned chilly, the long station was full of draughts,
and the invalid of the party, without whom no American party is
perfectly national, was rapidly taking cold. We were quite incredulous
when the examination actually began, but at last it really did, and it
began with our pieces, with such a show of favoring us on the
inspector’s part, that when it was over, in about two minutes, one trunk
serving as a type of the innocence of all, I furtively held up a piece
of five francs in recognition of his kindness. But he slowly shook his
head, whether in regret or whether in stern refusal I shall never know.
He was an Italian, but in the employment of the French republic, and I
have not been able since to credit with certainty his incorruptibility
to his native or his adoptive country; I might easily be mistaken in
deciding either way.

What I am certain of, and certainly sorry for, is the superiority of the
French company’s railway carriage, from Ventimiglia on, to the Italian
carriage which had brought us so far, and it is still with unwillingness
that I own the corporation’s greater care for our comfort. If we had
been in the paternal care of the administration of the gambling-house.
at Monte Carlo, we could not have been more tenderly or cleanly
cushioned about, or borne away on softer springs; and very possibly a
measure of wickedness in the means is a condition of comfort in the end
to which we are so tempted to abandon ourselves in a world which is not
yet so sternly collectivist as I could wish. It was not quite dark when
we arrived at Monte Carlo and began to experience, in the beautiful
keeping of the place, how admirably a gambling-house can manage the
affairs of a principality when it pays all the taxes. There were many
two-horse landaus waiting our pleasure outside the station, and the
horses were all so robust and handsome that we were not put to our usual
painful endeavor in seeking the best and getting the worst. All those
stately equipages were good, and the one that fell to us mounted the
hill to our hotel by a grade so insinuating that the balkiest horse in
Frascati could hardly have suspected it.

In our easy ascent we were aware of the gray-and-blond houses behind
their walls among their groves and gardens, among flowers and blossoms;
of the varying inclines and levels from which some lovely difference of
prospect appeared at every step; of the admirably tended roadways, and
the walks that followed them up hill and down, and crossed to little
parks, or led to streets brilliant with shops and hotels, clustering
about the great gambling-house, the centre of the common prosperity and
animation. The air had softened with the setting sun, and the weather
which had at Leghorn and Genoa delayed through two weeks of rain and
cold, seemed to confess the control of the Casino administration, as
everything else does at Monte Carlo, and promised an amiability to which
we eagerly trusted.

[Illustration: 51 MONACO]

It was of course warmer out-doors than in-doors, and while the fire was
kindling on our hearth we gave the quarter hour before dinner to looking
over our garden-wall into the comely town in the valley below, and to
the palace and capital of the Prince of Monaco on the heights beyond.
Nothing by day or by night could be more exquisite than the little
harbor, a perfect horseshoe in shape, and now, at our first sight of it,
set round with electric lights, like diamonds in the scarf-pin of some
sporty Titan, or perhaps of Hercules Monoecus himself, who is said to
have founded Monaco. In the morning we saw that the waters arranged
themselves in the rainbow colors of such a scarf round the shores, and
that there were only pleasure-craft moored in them: the yacht of the
Prince of Monaco and the yacht of some American Prince, whose title I
did not ascertain, but whose flag was unmistakable. There must have been
other yachts, but I do not remember them, and possibly there were some
workaday craft, of which I do not now recall the impression; but I am
certain of the festive air of disoccupation pervading the port from the
adjacent towns, both Monte Carlo and Monaco, which its wicked suburb has
cleansed in corrupting, and rendered attractive by the example of its
elegant leisure. There remains from both places, and from Condamine in
the plain between them the sense of a perpetual round of holidays. There
seemed to be no more creative business in one place than another, but I
do not say there is none; there is certainly a polite distillery of
perfumes and liqueurs in Condamine, but what one sees is the commerce of
the shops, and the building up of more and more villas and hotels, on
every shelf and ledge, to harden and whiten in the sun, and let their
gardens hang over the verges of the cliffs. On the northeast, the
mountains rise into magnificent steeps whose names would say nothing to
the reader, except that of Turbia, which he will recall as the classic
Tropaea of Augustus, who marked there the bounds between Italy and Gaul.
But we were as yet in no mood to climb this height, even with the help
of a funicular railway, and I made my explorations at such convenient
elevations as I could reach on foot, or by the help of one of those
luxurious landaus peculiar to Monte Carlo.

One such point was undoubtedly the headland of Monaco, where the Greeks
of Marseilles, long enough before Augustus, built a temple to Hercules
Monoecus. The Grimaldi family which gave Genoa many doges, came early
into the sovereignty of Monaco, by the hook or crook those days, but
whether it was they who fostered its piracy in the fourteenth century,
does not distinctly appear, though it seems certain that one of the
Grimaldi princes served against the English under Philip of Valois, and
was wounded at Crecy. In 1524 a successor went over to the empire under
Charles V. Still later the principality returned to the sovereignty of
France, and in 1793 the French republicans frankly annexed it, but it
was given back to the Grimaldi in 1814.

The Grimaldi on the whole were a baddish line of potentates, and only
lacked largeness of scene to have left the memory of world-tragedies.
They murdered one another, at least in two cases; in another, the people
killed their ruler by publicly drowning him in the sea for insulting
their women; the princes were the protectors of piracy, and in the very
late times following their restoration by the Congress of Vienna, the
reigning prince confiscated the property of the churches for his own
behoof, and took into his hands the whole trade of the principality. He
alone bought and ground the grain, and baked the bread, which he sold to
his people at an extortionate price; he bought damaged flour in Genoa
and fed it to his subjects at the same rate as good. When they murmured
and threatened rebellion, he threatened in turn that he would rule them
with a rod of iron, as if their actual conditions were not bad enough.
Some of his oppressions were of a fantasticality bordering on comic
opera: travellers had to give up their provisions at the frontier and
eat the official bread of Monaco; ships entering the port were
confiscated if they had brought more loaves than sufficed them for their
voyage thither; no man might cut his own wood without leave of the
police, or prune his trees, or till his land, or irrigate it; the birth
and death of every animal must be publicly registered, with the payment
of a given tax, and nobody could go out after ten at night without
carrying a taxed lantern. When Nice was annexed to France in 1860 Monaco
passed under French protection again, and now it is subject to
conscription like the rest of France. Ten years after the beginning of
this new order of things the great M. Blanc was expelled from Hombourg,
and the Prince of Monaco rented to him the-gambling privilege of Monte

Then the modern splendor of the place began. The entire population of
the three towns, Monaco, Monte Carlo, and Condamine, is not above
fifteen thousand, and apparently the greater part of the inhabitants
depend upon the gay industry of the Casino for their livelihood. I
should say that the most of the houses in Monte Carlo were hotels, or
pensions, or furnished villas, or furnished apartments, and if one could
be content to live in the atmosphere of the Casino, which is not
meteorologically lurid, I do not know where one could live in greater
comfort. It is said that everything is rather dearer than in Nice, for
instance, but such things as I wanted to buy I did not find very dear.
The rates at the most expensive hotels did not seem exhorbitant when
reduced to dollars, and if you went a little way from the Casino the
hotels were very reasonable, so that you could spend a great deal of
money at the tables which in America you would spend in board and
lodging. I fancy that a villa could be got there very reasonably, and as
the morals of all the inhabitants are scrupulously cared for by the
administration of the Casino, and no one living in the principality is
allowed to frequent the gaming-tables, it is probable that domestic
service is good and cheap. If I may speak from our experience at our
very simple little hotel, it is admirable, one waiter sufficing for ten
or twelve guests, with leisure for much friendly conversation in the
office, between the breakfasts served in our rooms and the excellent
dinners at the small tables in the salon. If you liked, he would speak
French or Italian, though he spoke English as well as any one, and he
was of that excellent Piedmontese race which has been the saving salt of
the whole peninsula. As for the food, it was far beyond that of our
cold-storage, and it must have been cheap, since it was provided for us
at the rate we paid.

The cost of dress varies, according to the taste of and the purse,
everywhere. White serge seemed the favorite wear of most of the ladies
one saw in the street at Monte Carlo, especially in the region of the
Casino. This may have expressed an inner condition, or it may have been
a sympathetic response to the advances of the flowers in the pretty beds
and parterres so fancifully designed by the gardeners of the
administration, or it may have been a token of the helpless submission
to which the windows of the milliners and modistes reduced all comers of
the dressful sex. Many of the men with the women, or without them, were
also in white serge, but they seemed more variably attired; there was a
prevailing suggestion of yachting or automobiling in their dress,
though doubtless most of them had not sailed or motored to the spot.
Some few, say four or five, may have motored away from it, for in the
centre of the charming square before the Casino there was an automobile
of some newest type being raffled for in the interest of that chiefest
of the Christian virtues which makes its most successful appeals in the
vicinity of games of chance. Some one must have won the machine and
carried a party of his friends away, and triumphantly turned turtle with
it over the first of the precipices which abound at Monte Carlo. More
than the tables within this opportunity of fortune tempted me, and it
was only by the repeated recurrence to my principles that I was able to
get away alive. In spite of myself, I did not get away without, however
guiltlessly, having yielded to the spirit of the place. It was at the
Administrational Art Exhibition, where there were really some good
pictures, and where, on my entering, I was given a small brass disk. On
going out I attempted to restore this to the door-keeper, but he went
back with me to a certain piece of mechanism, where he instructed me to
put the disk into a slot.  Then the disk ran its course, and a small
brass ball came out at the bottom. The door-keeper opened this, and
showed me that it was empty; but he gave me to understand that it might
have been full of diamonds, or rubies, or seed-pearls, which might have
implanted in me a lust of gambling I should never have overcome. Monte
Carlo was in every way tempting. A vast oblong, brilliant with flowers
in artistic patterns, stretched upward from the Casino, and there was an
agreeable park where one might sit. On every other side there were
costly hotels and costly restaurants, including that of the unexampled,
the insurpassable Giro, where one saw people eating and drinking at the
windows whenever one passed, by day or night. Beyond the Casino seaward
were the beautiful terraces, planted with palms and other tropic
growths, where people might come out and kill themselves when they had
nothing left to lose but their lives; and against the dark green of
their fronds the temple of fortune lifted a frosted-cake-like front of
long extent. I do not know just what type of architecture it is of, but
it distinctly suggests the art of the pastry cook when he has triumphed
in some edifice crowning the centre of the table at a great public
dinner. What mars the pleasing effect most is a detail which enforces
this suggestion, for the region of the Casino is thickly frequented by a
species of black doves, and when these gather in close lines of black
dots along the eaves, they have exactly the effect of flies clustering
on the sugary surfaces of the cake. At intervals are bronze statues of
what seem a sort of adolescent cherubs, but which have, I do not know
why, a peculiarly devilish appearance. No doubt they are harmless
enough; but certainly they do nothing to keep the flies off the cake.

In fine, as an edifice the Casino disappoints, and if one is not
pressingly curious about the interior, one rather lingers on the terrace
overlooking the sea, and the lines of the railroad following the shore,
and the panorama of the several towns. It is charming to sit there, and
if it is in the afternoon, you may see an artist there painting
water-colors of the scenery. Even if he were not painting, you could not
help knowing him for an artist, because he wears a black velvet jacket
and knickerbockers, and a soft slouch hat, and has a curled black
mustache and pointed beard; there is no mistaking him; and at a given
moment, after he has been working long enough, he puts above his sketch
the sign, “For Sale,” as artists always do, and then, if you want a
masterpiece, you go down a few steps from where you are sitting and buy
it. But I never did that any more than I took tickets for the charity
automobile, though there is no telling what I might not have done if I
had broken the bank when at last I went into the Casino.

It seems to open about eleven o’clock in the morning, for gamblers are
hard-working, impatient people, and do not want to lose time. A broad
stretch of red carpet is laid down the steps from the portal and they
begin to go in at once, and people keep going in until I know not what
hour at night. But I think mid-afternoon is the best hour to see them,
and it is then that I will invite the reader to accompany me,
instructing him to turn to the left on entering, and get his gratis
billet of admission to the rooms from the polite officials there in
charge, who will ask for his card, and inquire his country and city, but
will not insist upon his street and his number in it. This form is
apparently to make sure that you are not a resident of the principality,
and that if you suffer in your morals from your visit to the Casino you
shall not be a source of local corruption thereafter. They bow you away,
first audibly pronouncing your name with polyglottic accuracy, and then
you are free to wander where you like. But probably you will want to go
at once from the large, nobly colonnaded reception-hall or atrium, into
that series of salons where wickeder visitors than yourself are already
closely seated at the oblong tables, and standing one or two deep round
them. The salons of the series are four, and the tables in each are from
two to five, according to the demands of the season; some are Trente et
Quarante-tables, and some, by far the greater number, are
Roulette-tables. Roulette seems the simpler game, and the more popular;
I formed the notion that there was a sort of aristocratic quality in
Trente et Quarante, and that the players of that game were of higher
rank and longer purse, but I can allege no reason justifying my notion.
All that I can say is that the tables devoted to it commanded the
seaward views, and the tops of the gardens where the players withdrew
when they wished to commit suicide. The rooms are decorated by several
French painters of note, and the whole interior is designed by the
famous architect Gamier, to as little effect of beauty as could well be.
It is as if these French artists had worked in the German taste, rather
than their own, and in any case they have achieved in their several
allegories and impersonations something uniformly heavy and dull. One
might fancy that the mood of the players at the tables had imparted
itself to the figures in the panels, but very likely this is not so, for
the players had apparently parted with none of their unpleasing dulness.
They were in about equal number men and women, and they partook equally
of a look of hard repression. The repression may not have been wholly
from within; a little away from each table hovered, with an air of
detachment, certain plain and quiet men, who, for all their apparent
inattention, may have been agents of the Administration vigilant to
subdue the slightest show of drama in the players. I myself saw no
drama, unless I may call so the attitude of a certain tall, handsome
young man, who stood at the corner of one of the tables, and, with
nervously working jaws, staked his money at each invitation of the
croupiers. I did not know whether he won or lost, and I could not decide
from their faces which of the other men or women were winning or losing.
I had supposed that I might see distinguished faces, distinguished
figures, but I saw none. The players were of the average of the
spectators in dress and carriage, but in the heavy atmosphere of the
rooms, which was very hot and very bad, they all alike looked dull. At a
psychological moment it suddenly came to me in their presence, that if
there was such a place as hell, it must be very dull, like that, and
that the finest misery of perdition must be the stupid dulness of it.
For some unascertained reason, but probably from a mistaken purpose of
ornament, there hung over the centre of each table, almost down to the
level of the players’ heads, lengths of large-linked chains, and it was
imaginable, though not very probable, that if any of the lost souls rose
violently up, or made an unseemly outcry, or other rebellious
demonstration, those plain, quiet men, the agents of the Administration,
would fling themselves upon him or her, and bind them with those chains,
and cast them into such outer darkness as could be symbolized by the
shade of the terrace trees. The thing was improbable, as I say, but not
impossible, if there is truth in Swedenborg’s relation that the hells
are vigilantly policed, and from time to time put in order by angels
detailed for that office. To be sure the plain, quiet men did not look
like angels, and the Administration of which they were agents, could
not, except in its love of order, be likened to any celestial authority.

Commonly in the afternoon there is music in the great atrium from which
the gambling-rooms open, and then there is a pleasant movement of people
up and down. They are kept in motion perhaps by their preference,
somewhat, but also largely by the want of seats. If you can secure one
of these you may amuse yourself very well by looking on at the fashion
and beauty of those who have not secured any. Here you will see much
more distinction than in the gambling-rooms; the air is better, and if
you choose to fancy this the limbo of that inferno, it will not be by a
violent strain. In the crowd will be many pretty young girls, in proper
chaperonage, and dressed in the latest effects of Paris; if they happen
to be wearing the mob-cap hats of the moment it is your greater gain;
they could not be so charming in anything else, or look more innocent,
or more consciously innocent. You could only hope, however, such were
the malign associations of the place, that their chaperons would not
neglect them for the gaming-tables beyond, but you could not be sure, if
the chaperons were all like that old English lady one evening at the
opera in the Casino, who came in charge of her niece, or possibly some
friend’s daughter. She remained dutifully enough beside the girl through
the first act of the stupid musical comedy, and even through the ensuing
ballet, and when a flaunting female, in a hat of cart-wheel
circumference, came in and shut out the whole stage from the hapless
stranger behind, this good old lady authorized her charge to ask him to
take the seat next them where he could see something of the action if he
wished. But at the end of the ballet, she rose, and bidding the girl
wait her return, she vanished in the direction of the gaming-rooms. She
may merely have gone to look on at a spectacle which, dulness for
dulness, was no worse than that of the musical comedy, and I have no
proof that she risked her money there. The girl sat through the next
act, and then in a sudden fine alarm, like that of a bird which, from no
visible cause, starts from its perch, she took flight, and I hope she
found her aunt, or her mother’s friend, quietly sleeping on one of those
seats in the atrium. It was one of those tacit, eventless dramas which
in travel are always offering themselves to your witness. They begin in
silence, and go quietly on to their unfinish, and leave you steeped in
an interest which is life-long, whereas a story whose end you know soon
perishes from your mind. Art has not yet learned the supreme lesson of
life, which is never a tale that is told within the knowledge of the

Nowhere, I think, is the “sweet security of streets” felt more than in
Monte Carlo. Whether the control of that good Administration of the
Casino reaches to the policing of the place in other respects or not, I
cannot say, but one walks home at night from the theatre of the Casino
with the same sense of safety that one enjoys under that paternal roof.
At eleven o’clock all Monte Carlo sleeps the sleep of the innocent and
the just in the dwellings of the citizens and permanent residents;
though it cannot be denied that there appear to be late suppers in the
hotels and restaurants surrounding the Casino, which the iniquitous may
be giving to the guilty. Away from the flare of their bold lights the
town reposes in a demi-dark, and presents to the more strenuous fancy
the effect of a mezzotint study of itself; by day it is a group of
wash-drawings near to, and farther off, of water-colors, very richly and
broadly treated. I could not insist too much upon this notion with the
reader who has never been there, or has not received picture
postal-cards from sojourning correspondents. These would afford him a
portrait of the chief features and characteristics of the place not too
highly flattered, for in fact it would be impossible for even a picture
postal-card to exaggerate its beauty. They will besides convey one of
the few convincing proofs that in spite of the Blanc Casino and the
French Republic the Prince of Monaco is still a reigning sovereign, for
the postage-stamps bear the tastefully printed head of that potentate.
If the visitor requires other proofs he may take a landau at the station
in Monaco, and drive up over the heights of the capital into the piazza
before the prince’s palace. When the prince is not at home he can
readily get leave to visit the palace for twenty minutes, but on my
unlucky day the prince was doubly at home, for he was sick as well as in
residence. I satisfied myself as well as I could, and I am very easy to
satisfy, with my drive through the pleasant town, which is entirely
Italian in effect, with its people standing about or looking out of
their windows in their Sunday leisure, and quite Roman in the
cleanliness of its streets. I took due pleasure in the unfinished
exterior of the Oceanographic Museum and the newly finished interior of
the Monaco Cathedral. The cathedral, which is so new as to make one
rejoice that most other cathedrals are old, is of a glaring freshness,
but is very handsome; somehow in spite of its newness it contains the
tombs of the reigning family, and perhaps it has only been newly done
over. The museum which is ultimately to be the greatest of its kind in
the world, already contains somewhere in its raw inaccessible recesses
the collections made by Prince Albert in his many cruises, and is of a
palatiality worthy of a sovereign with a tenant so generous and prompt
in its rent as the Administration of the Casino of Monte Carlo.

[Illustration: 52 THE CASINO, MONTE CARLO]

This fact, namely, that the princely grandeur and splendor of Monaco all
came out of the gaming-tables, was something that the driver of my
landau made me observe, when our intimacy had mounted with our road, and
we paused for the magnificent view of the sea from the headland near the
museum. He was otherwise a shrewd and conversible Piedmontese who did
not make me pay much above the tariff, and who had pity on my poor
French after awhile, and consented to speak Italian with me. In the sort
of French glare over the whole local civilization of the principality,
everybody will wish to seem French, but after you break through the
surface, the natives will be as comfortably and endearingly Italian as
anybody in the peninsula. Among themselves they speak a Ligurian patois,
but with the stranger they will use an Italian easily much better than
his, and also much better than their own French. I think they prefer you
in their racial parlance after you have shown some knowledge of it, and
two kind women of whom I asked my way in Monte Carlo, one day when I was
trying for the station of the funicular to Turbia, grew more volubly
kind when I asked it in such Tuscan as I could command. That station is
really not hard to find when once you know where it is, and at three
o’clock in the afternoon I was mounting the precipitous incline of the
alp on whose summit Augustus divided Italy from Gaul, and left the
stupendous trophy which one sees there in ruins to-day.

I should like to render the sense of my upward progress dramatic by
pretending that we mounted from a zone of flowers at Monte Carlo into
regions where only the hardiest blossoms greeted us, but what I really
noticed was that by-and-by the little patches of vineyard seemed to grow
less and the olive-trees scraggier. Perhaps even this was partly fancy;
as for the flowers, I cannot bring myself to partake of their deceit;
for they are the most shameless fakers, as regards climate, in nature.
It is, for instance, perfectly true that they are in bloom along the
Riviera all winter long, but this does not prove that the winter of the
Riviera is always warm. It merely proves that flowers can stand a degree
of cold that nips the nose bent to hale their perfume, and brings tears
into the eyes dwelling in rapture on their loveliness. They are like
women; they look so fragile and delicate that you think they cannot
stand anything, but they can stand pretty much everything, or at least
everything they wish to. Throughout that week at Monte Carlo, while we
cowered round our fires or went out into a frigid sunshine, the flowers
smiled from every garden-ground in a gayety emulous of that of their
sisters passing in white serge. So probably I gave less attention to the
details of the scenery through which my funicular was passing than to
the stupendous prospects of sea and shore which it varyingly commanded.
If words could paint these I should not spare the words, but when I
recall them, my richest treasure of adjectives seems a beggarly array of
color tubes, flattened and twisted past all col-lapsibility.  Nothing
less than an old-fashioned panoramic show would impart any notion of it,
and even that must fail where it should most abound, namely, in the
delicacy of that ineffable majesty.

We climbed and climbed, with many a muted hope and many a muted fear of
the mechanism which carried us so safely, and then we ran across a
stretch of comparative level and reached the last station, under the
cliff on which the local hotel stood, with the mighty ruin behind it.
Our passengers flocked up to the terrace of the hotel, much shoved and
shouldered by automobiles bearing the company which seems proper to
those vehicles, and dispersed themselves at the many little tables set
about for tea, and the glory of the matchless outlook. While one could
yet have the ruin mostly to one’s self, it seemed the most favorable
moment to visit the crumbling walls and broken tower, whose fragments
strewed the slopes around. The tower was of Augustus, and the fortress
into which it was turned in the Middle Ages was of unknown authority,
but the ruin was the work of Marshal Villars, who blew up both trophy
and stronghold sometime in the French king’s wars with the imperialists
in the first half of the eighteenth century. The destruction was
incomplete, though probably sufficient for the purpose, but as a ruin,
nothing could be more admirable. There seems to be at present something
like a restoration going on; it has not gone very far, however; it has
developed some fragments of majestic pillars, and some breadths of Roman
brick-work; a few spaces about the base of the tower are cleared; but
the rehabilitation will probably never proceed to such an extreme that
you may not sit down on some carven remnant of the past, and closing
your eyes to the surrounding glory of alp and sea find yourself again on
the Palatine or amid the memorials of the Forum.


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