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ROLLO IN NAPLES,
PUBLISHED BY TAGGARD AND THOMPSON.
M DCCC LXIV.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
ELECTROTYPED AT THE
BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY.
PRINTED BY H. O. HOUGHTON.
[Illustration: THE ORANGE GARDEN.See page 218.]
[Illustration: ROLLO'S TOUR IN EUROPE.
TAGGARD &THOMPSON. PublishersBoston.]
ROLLO'S TOUR IN EUROPE.
ORDER OF THE VOLUMES
ROLLO ON THE ATLANTIC.
ROLLO IN PARIS.
ROLLO IN SWITZERLAND.
ROLLO IN LONDON.
ROLLO ON THE RHINE.
ROLLO IN SCOTLAND.
ROLLO IN GENEVA.
ROLLO IN HOLLAND.
ROLLO IN NAPLES.
ROLLO IN ROME.
PRINCIPAL PERSONS OF THE STORY.
ROLLO; twelve years of age.
MR. and MRS. HOLIDAY; Rollo's father and mother, travelling in Europe.
THANNY; Rollo's younger brother.
JANE; Rollo's cousin, adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Holiday.
MR. GEORGE; a young gentleman, Rollo's uncle.
[Illustration: TRAVELLING IN ITALY.]
ROLLO IN NAPLES.
If ever you make a journey into Italy, there is one thing that you will like very much indeed; and that is the mode of travelling that prevails in that country. There are very few railroads there; and though there are stage coaches on all the principal routes, comparatively few people, except the inhabitants of the country, travel in them. Almost all who come from foreign lands to make journeys in Italy for pleasure, take what is called a vetturino.
There is no English word for vetturino, because where the English language is spoken, there is no such thing. The word comes from the Italian word vettura, which means a travelling carriage, and it denotes the man that owns the carriage, and drives it wherever the party that employs him wishes to go. Thus there is somewhat the same relation between the Italian words vettura and vetturino that there is between the English words chariot and charioteer.
The Italian vetturino, then, in the simplest English phrase that will express it, is a travelling carriage man; that is, he is a man who keeps a carriage and a team of horses, in order to take parties of travellers with them on long journeys, wherever they wish to go. Our word coachman does not express the idea at all. A coachman is a man employed by the owner of a carriage simply to drive it; whereas the vetturino is the proprietor of his establishment; and though he generally drives it himself, still the driving is only a small part of his business. He might employ another man to go with him and drive, but he would on that account be none the less the vetturino.
The vetturino usually takes the entire charge of the party, and provides for them in every respect,that is, if they make the arrangement with him in that way, which they generally do, inasmuch as, since they do not, ordinarily, know the language of the country, it is much more convenient for them to arrange with him to take care of them than to attempt to take care of themselves. Accordingly, in making a journey of several days, as, for example, from Genoa to Florence, from Florence to Rome, or from Rome to Venice, or to Naples, the vetturino determines the length of each day's journey; he chooses the hotels where to stop, both at noon and for the night; he attends to the passports in passing the frontiers, and also to the examination of the baggage at the custom houses; and on arriving at the hotels he orders what the travellers require, and settles the bill the next morning. For all this the travellers pay him one round sum, which includes every thing. This sum consists of a certain amount for the carriage and horses, and an additional amount of about a dollar and a half or a dollar and three quarters a day, as agreed upon beforehand, for hotel expenses on the way. Thus, by this mode of travelling, the whole care is taken off from the traveller's mind, and he has nothing to do during the daytime but to sit in his carriage and enjoy himself, and at night to eat, drink, sleep, and take his comfort at the hotel.
It was at Florence that Mr. George and Rollo first commenced to travel with a vetturino. They came to Florence by steamer and railway; that is, by steamer to Leghorn, and thence across the country by railway. Florence is a very pretty place, with the blue and beautiful River Arno running through the middle of it, and ancient stone bridges leading across the river from side to side. The town is filled with magnificent churches and palaces, built, some of them, a thousand years ago, and all so richly adorned with sculptures, paintings, bronzes, and mosaics, that the whole world flock there to see them. People go there chiefly in the winter. At that season the town is crowded with strangers. A great many people, too, go there in the winter to avoid the cold weather which prevails at that time of the year, in all the more northerly countries of Europe.
There is so little winter in Florence that few of the houses have any fireplaces in them except in the kitchen. When there comes a cold day, the people warm themselves by means of a jug or jar of earthen ware, with a handle passing over across the top, by which they carry it about. They fill these jars half full of hot embers, and so carry them with them wherever they want to go. The women, when they sit down, put the jar under their dresses on the floor or pavement beneath them, and the men place it right before them between their feet.
You will see market women and flower girls sitting in the corners of the streets in the winter, attending to their business, and keeping themselves warm all the time with these little fire jars; and artists in the palaces and picture galleries, each with one of them by his side, or close before him, while he is at work copying the works of the great masters, or making drawings from the antique statues.
There is another very curious use that the people of Florence make of these jars; and that is they warm the beds with them when any body is sick, so as to require this indulgence. You would think it very difficult to warm a bed with an open jar filled with burning embers. The way they do it is this: they hang the jar in the inside of a sort of wooden cage, shaped like a bushel basket, and about as large. They turn this cage upside down, and hang the jar up in it by means of a hook depending inside. They turn down the bed clothes and put the cage in it, jar of coals and all. They then put back the bed clothes, and cover the cage all up. They leave it so for a quarter of an hour, and then, carefully turning the clothes down again, they take the jar out, and the bed is warmed.
But to return to Mr. George and Rollo. They engaged a vetturino for the first time at Florence. Mr. George had gone to Florence chiefly for the purpose of examining the immense collections of paintings and statuary which exist there. Rollo went, not on account of the paintings or statues,for he did not care much about such things,but because he liked to go any where where he could see new places, and be entertained by new scenes. Accordingly, while Mr. George was at work in the galleries of Florence, studying, by the help of catalogues, the famous specimens of ancient art, Rollo was usually rambling about the streets, observing the manners and customs of the people, and watching the singular and curious scenes that every where met his eye.
The reason why there are so many paintings and sculptures in Italy is this: in the middle ages, it was the fashion, in all the central parts of Europe, for the people to spend almost all their surplus money in building and decorating churches. Indeed, there was then very little else that they could do. At the present time, people invest their funds, as fast as they accumulate them, in building ships and railroads, docks for the storage of merchandise, houses and stores in cities, to let for the sake of the rent, and country seats, or pretty private residences of various kinds, for themselves. But in the middle ages very little could be done in the way of investments like these. There were no railroads, and there was very little use for ships. There was no profit to be gained by building houses and stores, for there were so many wars and commotions among the people of the different towns and kingdoms, that nothing was stable or safe. For the same reason it was useless for men to spend their money in building and ornamenting their own houses, for at the first approach of an enemy, the town in which they lived was likely to be sacked, and their houses, and all the fine furniture which they might contain, would be burned or destroyed.
But the churches were safe. The people of the different countries had so much veneration for sacred places, and for every thing connected with religion, that they were afraid to touch or injure any thing that had been consecrated to a religious use. To plunder a church, or a convent, or an abbey, or to do any thing to injure or destroy the property that they contained, was regarded as sacrilege; and sacrilege they deemed a dreadful crime, abhorred by God and man. Thus, while they would burn and destroy hundreds of dwellings without any remorse, and turn the wretched inmates out at midnight into the streets to die of exposure, terror, and despair, they would stop at once when they came to the church, afraid to harm it in any way, or to touch the least thing that it contained. Accordingly, while every thing else in a conquered town was doomed to the most reckless destruction, all that was in the church,the most delicate paintings, and the most costly gold and silver images and utensilswere as safe as if they were surrounded by impregnable castle walls.
Of course these notions were very mistaken ones. According to the teachings of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, it must be a greater sin to burn down the cottage of a poor widow, and turn her out at midnight into the streets to die, than to plunder for gain the richest altar in the world.
From these and various other similar causes, it happened that, in the middle ages,that is, from five hundred to a thousand years ago,almost all the great expenditures of money, in all the great cities and towns of Europe, were made for churches. Sometimes these churches were so large that they were several hundred years in building. One generation would begin, another would continue, and a third would finish the work; that is, provided the finishing work was ever done. Great numbers of them remain unfinished to the present day, and always will remain so.
It is generally, however, the exterior which remains incomplete. Within they are magnificent beyond description. They are so profusely adorned with altars, chapels, crucifixes, paintings, vessels of gold and silver, and with sculptures and monuments of every kind, that on entering them one is quite bewildered with the magnificence of the scene.
There are a great many different altars where divine service may be performed, some arranged along the sides of the church, in the recesses between the pillars, and others in the transepts, and in various little chapels opening here and there from the transepts and the aisles; and so extensive and vast is the interior that sometimes four or five different congregations are engaged in worship in different parts of the church at the same time, without at all disturbing one another.
One of the most celebrated of these great churches is the cathedral at Florence, where Mr. George and Rollo were now staying. There is a representation of it on the next page, which will give you some idea of its form, though it can convey no conception of its immense magnitude.
The dome that surmounts the centre of the building is the largest in the world. It was a hundred years after the church was commenced before the dome was put on. The dome is about a hundred and forty feet wide from side to side, and almost as high as it is wide. It is more than a hundred and thirty feet high, which is enough for twelve or fifteen stories of a good-sized house. And this is the dome alone. The whole height of the church, from the ground to the top of the cross, is nearly four hundred feet. You will get a better idea of how high this is, if you ask of your father, or of some one that knows, what the height is of some tall steeple near where you live.
When the architect who conceived the idea of finishing the church by putting this dome upon it first proposed it, the other architects of the town declared that it could not be done. It was impossible, they said, to build so large a dome on the top of so lofty a building. But he insisted that it was not impossible. He could not only build the dome at that height, but he could first build an octagonal lantern, he said, on the top of the church, and then build the dome upon that, which would carry the dome up a great deal higher. At last they consented to let him make the attempt; and he succeeded. You see the dome in the engraving, and the octagonal lantern beneath it, on which it rests. The lantern is the part which has the round windows.
You see to the left of the church, at the farther end, a tall, square tower. This is the bell tower. There are six bells in it. It was designed to have a spire upon it, but the spire has not yet been built, and perhaps it never will be.
[Illustration: A CHURCH AT FLORENCE.]
This bell tower alone cost an enormous sum of money. It is faced on every side, as indeed the church itself is, with different colored marbles, and the four walls of it, on the outside, are so profusely adorned with sculptures, statues, and other costly and elaborate architectural decorations, that it would take a week to examine them fully in detail.
The part of the church which is presented to view in the engraving is the end. The front proper is on a line with the farther side of the bell tower. The engraving does not show us the length of the edifice at all, except so far as we gain an idea of it by the long procession which we see at the side. As I have already said, the length is more than five hundred feet, which is nearly half a quarter of a mile.
The putting on of the dome was considered the greatest achievement in the building of the church; and the architect who planned and superintended the work gained for himself immortal honor. After his death a statue of him was made, and placed in a niche in the wall of the houses on one side of the square, opposite the dome. He is represented as sitting in a chair, holding a plan of the work in his hand, and looking up to see it as it appeared completed. We can just see this statue in the foreground of the picture, on the left.
And now I must return to the story.
While Mr. George and Rollo were in Florence, Rollo was occupied mainly, as I have already said, in rambling about the town, and observing the scenes of real and active life, which every where met his view in the streets and squares, while Mr. George spent his time chiefly in the churches, and in the galleries of painting and sculpture, studying the works of art. One morning after breakfast, Mr. George was going to the great gallery in the palace of the grand duke, to spend the day there. Rollo said that he would walk with him a little way. So they walked together along the street which led by the bank of the river.
Uncle George, said Rollo, how much longer is it going to take for you to study these paintings and statues till you are satisfied?
Five or ten years, said Mr. George.
O uncle George! exclaimed Rollo; I have seen as much of them as I want to see already.
You have not seen one of them yet, said Mr. George.
Not seen one of them! repeated Rollo.
No, not one of them, replied Mr. George.
I don't know what you mean by that, said Rollo.
I'll show you what I mean some time or other, said Mr. George, when you are in one of the galleries with me.
I should like to have you, said Rollo; but now I really want to know when you are going to be ready to go on towards Naples. I'd rather see Mount Vesuvius than all the paintings in the world, especially if there is a good blazing eruption coming out of it, and plenty of red-hot stones.
The first question to be settled, said Mr. George, is, how we shall go.
Are there more ways than one? asked Rollo.
Yes, said Mr. George; there are three or four ways. We are here at Florence, in the interior of the country, and Rome is also in the interior; but there is a seaport on the coast for each city. So we can go from here to Leghorn, which is the seaport for Florence, by the railroad, and there we can take a steamboat and go to Civita Vecchia, which is the seaport for Rome. There we can land and go up to Rome in some sort of a carriage.
I like that way, said Rollo. I like that best of all. There are a railroad and a steamboat both in it.
Another way, continued Mr. George, is, we can go by the malle post.[A]
[Footnote A: The malle post is a sort of despatch carriage, that takes the mails. It can take also two or three passengers. They change horses very often with the malle post, and drive very fast.]
I should like to go by the malle post, said Rollo; they keep the horses on the gallop almost all the way.
Then again, continued Mr. George, if we choose we can engage a vetturino.
Yes, said Rollo; there are plenty of them always standing out here by the bridge. They ask me almost, every day, when I go by, whether I want a carriage. 'Want a carriage, sir,' they say, 'to go to Rome, to Naples, to Venice, to Genoa?'
Here Rollo repeated the words of the vetturini, imitating the peculiar intonations with which they spoke, in quite a skilful manner: To Rome! Naples! Venice! Nice! Genoa!
Yes, said Mr. George, those are the men.
And, come to think of it, said Rollo, I believe, after all, I would rather go with a vetturino. We ride along so pleasantly day after day, and go through all the towns, cracking our whip, and seeing so many curious things all along the road side!
Yes, said Mr. George; but there is one difficulty. We are only two, and the carriages of the vetturini are usually large enough for four or six.
And would not they go for two? asked Rollo.
O, yes, said Mr. George; they will go for two; but then the men must have full price for their carriage and horses, and that makes it very expensive for two.
What do people do, then, asked Rollo, when there are only two to go?
They generally find some other people that want to go, replied Mr. George, and make up a party, and so divide the expense.
And can't we do that? asked Rollo.
We do not know any body here, said Mr. George.
Rollo did not know what to say to this, and so he was silent, and walked along, thinking what it was best to do. Presently, after a moment's pause, he added,
I mean to ask some of the vetturinos if they have not got a carriage for two.
Vetturini is the plural of vetturino, in Italian, said Mr. George, and not vetturinos.
But I am not speaking Italian, said Rollo; I am speaking English.
True, said Mr. George.
At this stage of the conversation Mr. George and Rollo arrived at the end of the bridge across the Arno, which Mr. George had to pass over in going to his gallery. This bridge is a very ancient one, and is quite a curiosity, as it is built massively of stone, and is lined with a row of shops on each side, so that in passing over it you would think it was a street instead of a bridge, were it not that the shops are so small that you can look directly through them, and see the river through the windows on the back side.
These shops are occupied by jewellers, who keep for sale the mosaic pins, bracelets, and earrings, for which Florence is so famous, and great numbers of these mosaics, as well as various other kinds of jewelry, are exposed to view in little show cases that are arranged in a curious manner, on small counters before the windows, so that any one can see them all in passing along.
On reaching this bridge, Rollo concluded to stop, and look at the mosaics, and so his uncle left him and went on alone.
As Rollo was standing at one of the little shop windows a few minutes after his uncle had left him, a man dressed in a blue frock, and with a sort of woollen comforter of bright colors about his neck, came up to him, and asked him in French whether the party that he belonged to did not want a carriage to go to Rome. Rollo perceived at once that the man was a vetturino.
I don't know but that we do, said he. Have you got a carriage?
Yes, replied the vetturino; I have got a large and very nice carriage, and four excellent horses.
Then it won't do, said Rollo, for there are only two in our party, and a large carriage and four horses will be more than we need.
O, but that will make no difference, said the vetturino. You see I'm a return, and I will take you about as cheap as you can go in a small carriage.
For how much? asked Rollo.
Why, my price is three napoleons a day, said the vetturino, for a full party; but as you are only two, I will take you for less. Have you got a great deal of baggage?
No; very little, said Rollo.
After some further conversation with the vetturino, Rollo concluded to make an appointment with him to come to the hotel that evening and see his uncle George.
Come immediately after dinner, said Rollo.
At what time? asked the vetturino.
Why, we dine at half past six, said Rollo, and uncle George will be through at eight.
Then I will come at eight, said the vetturino.
One reason why Rollo concluded to make this appointment was, that he particularly liked the vetturino's appearance. He had an open and intelligent countenance, and his air and bearing were such as to give Rollo the idea that he was a very good-natured and sociable, as well as capable man. In answer to a question from Rollo, he said that his name was Vittorio.
When Mr. George came home that evening, a short time before dinner, Rollo told him what he had done.
Good! said Mr. George. We are in luck. I should not be surprised if we should be able to fill his carriage for him. I have found a party.
Mr. George further stated to Rollo that, in rambling through the rooms of the gallery where he had been spending the day, he had met with a lady of his acquaintance who was travelling with two children and a maid, and that he had been talking with her about forming a party to travel together to Naples.
Are the children girls or boys? asked Rollo.
One of them is a girl and the other is a boy, said Mr. George; but the girl is sick.
Is she? asked Rollo.
At least she has been sick, said Mr. George. She has had a fever, but now she is slowly getting well. Her name is Rosalie.
I think that is rather a sentimental name, said Rollo.
They call her Rosie, sometimes, said Mr. George.
That's a little better, said Rollo, but not much. And what is her other name?
Gray, said Mr. George.
* * * * *
Vittorio came at eight o'clock that evening, according to appointment. The first thing that Mr. George did was to propose to go and see his carriage. So they all went together to see it. It was in a stable near by. Mr. George and Rollo were both well pleased with the carriage. It had four seats inside, like an ordinary coach. Besides these there were two good seats outside, under a sort of canopy which came forward over them like a chaise top. In front of these, and a little lower down, was the driver's seat.
The inside of such a coach is called the interior.[B] The place outside, under the chaise top, is called the coupé.[C] Rollo generally called it the coop.
[Footnote B: In French, l'interieur.]
[Footnote C: Pronounced coopay, only the last syllable is spoken rather short.]
The chaise top in front could be turned back, so as to throw the two seats there entirely open. In the same manner the top of the interior could be opened, so as to make the carriage a barouche.
It is just exactly such a carriage as we want, said Rollo, if Mrs. Gray will only let you and me have the coop.
We'll see about that, said Mr. George.
Mr. George then proceeded to discuss with Vittorio the terms and conditions of the agreement which should be made between them, in case the party should conclude to hire the carriage; and after ascertaining precisely what they were, he told Vittorio that he would decide the next morning, and he appointed ten o'clock as the time when Vittorio was to call to get the decision. Mr. George and Rollo then went back to the hotel.
Why did not you engage him at once? asked Rollo, as they walked along. It was such a good carriage!
Because I want first to see what terms and conditions I can make with Mrs. Gray, replied Mr. George.
Why? asked Rollo; don't you think she will be willing to pay her share?
O, yes, said Mr. George. She says she is willing to pay the whole, if I will only let her go with us.
And shall you let her pay the whole? asked Rollo.
No, indeed, replied Mr. George. I shall let her pay her share, which will be just two thirds, for she has four in her party, and we are two.
And so her portion will be four sixths, said Rollo, and that is the same as two thirds.
Exactly, said Mr. George.
So then it is all settled, said Rollo.
About the money it is, replied Mr. George; but that was not what I referred to. When two parties form a plan for travelling together in the same carriage for many days, it is necessary to have a very precise understanding beforehand about every thing, or else in the end they are very sure to quarrel.
To quarrel! repeated Rollo.
Yes, said Mr. George; and generally the more intimate their friendship for each other is before they set out, the more sure they are to quarrel in the end.
That's curious, said Rollo.
They begin by being very polite to each other, continued Mr. George; but by and by, a thousand questions begin to come up, and there is nobody to decide them. For a time each one professes a great readiness to yield to the other; but before long each begins to think that the other assumes too much of the direction. Mrs. A. thinks that Mrs. B. keeps the carriage too much shut up, or that she always manages to have the best seat; and Mrs. B. thinks that Mrs. A. takes the best room too often at the hotels; or that she is never ready at the proper time; or that she always manages to have what she likes at the hotels, without paying enough regard to the wishes of the rest of the party.
Is that the way they act? asked Rollo.
Yes, said Mr. George; that is the way exactly. I have heard the secret history of a great many travelling parties that began very brightly, but ended in heart-burnings, miffs, and all sorts of troubles. The only way to prevent this is to have a very definite and precise understanding on all these points before we set out. And that is what I am going to have with Mrs. Gray.
And suppose she won't come to any agreement, said Rollo. She'll say, 'La, it's no matter. We shall not quarrel.'
Then I won't go with her, said Mr. George.
In arranging for a journey in Italy with a vetturino, there are three separate classes of expenditure to be provided for. First, the carriage and horses; secondly, the board at the hotels by the way; and thirdly, the buono manos.
As to the carriage and horses, the question, in the case of Mr. George's party, was soon settled. Vittorio said that his regular price was three napoleons a day for a full party. This is about twelve dollars, and includes the keeping of the horses, and all the tolls, tariffs, and way expenses of every kind. Mr. George had ascertained that this was about the usual price, and he did not ask Vittorio to take any less.
For the board of the party by the way, Vittorio said that they could themselves call for what they wanted at the hotels, and pay their own bills, or he would provide for them all the way, on their paying him a certain sum per day for each person. This last is the usual plan adopted when travelling in Italy, for the hotel keepers are very apt to charge too much when the travellers call for and pay the bills themselves. Whereas, when the vetturino pays, the hotel keepers are much more reasonable. They are aware that the vetturino knows what the charges ought to be, and they are afraid, if they overcharge him for his party, that then he will take his next party to some other hotel.
And what shall you give us, asked Mr. George, in talking with Vittorio on this subject, if you provide for us?
In the morning, replied Vittorio, before we set out, there will be coffee or tea, and bread and butter, with eggs. Then, when we stop at noon, you will have a second breakfast of mutton chops, fried potatoes, fried fish, omelets, and other such things. Then, at night, when the day's journey is done, you will have dinner.
Very well, said Mr. George. I should think that that might do. And how much must we pay you?
It used to be eight francs a day, said Vittorio; but the price of every thing is raised, and now we cannot do it well for less than nine francs. I will do it for nine francs apiece all round.
But there are two boys, said Mr. George. Don't you charge any thing extra for boys?
No, sir, said Vittorio, smiling. He thought at first that Mr. George was going to ask for some abatement on account of a portion of the party being young. No, sir; we don't charge any thing extra for them.
You would charge extra for them, I think, said Mr. George, if you only knew how much they can eat.
Vittorio smiled and said that if the party would pay nine francs apiece all round, he should be satisfied, without asking for any thing extra on account of the boys.
The third item of expense in an Italian journey consists of the buono manos. In Italy, and indeed generally in Europe, though especially in Italy, nobody, in rendering you a service, is satisfied with receiving merely what you agreed to pay for the service. Every one expects something over at the end, as a token of your satisfaction with him. If you employ a guide in a town to show you about to the places and things that are curious there, under an agreement that he is to have a dollar a day, he is not satisfied at night if you pay him merely a dollar. He expects twenty cents or a quarter of a dollar over, as a buono mano, as it is called. This is the understanding on which the bargain is made.
In the same manner, when you pay your bill at the hotel, the waiter expects you to give him a buono mano. If any body renders the vetturino a service along the road, it is the vetturino who pays them, because it is in the agreement that he is to pay the way expenses; but then, after getting their pay from him, and also his buono mano, they generally come to the carriage and ask for another buono mano from the party of travellers. Some travellers get vexed and out of patience with this system, and always give, if they give at all, with scowling looks and moody mutterings. Others, seeing how poor all the people are, and how hard it is for them to get their living, are very willing to pay, especially as it is generally only a few cents in each case that is required. Still, unless the traveller understands the system, and prepares himself beforehand with a stock of small change, the buono mano business gives him a good deal of trouble. If he does so provide himself, and if he falls into the custom good naturedly, as one of the established usages of the country, which is moreover not without its advantages, it becomes a source of pleasure to him to pay the poor fellows their expected fees.
Rollo, said Mr. George, I am going to put the whole business of the buono manos into your hands.
Good! said Rollo. I'll take the business if you will only give me the money.
How much will it require, Vittorio, for each day, to do the thing up handsomely? asked Mr. George.
Vittorio immediately began to make a calculation. He reckoned in pauls, the money which is used most in the central parts of Italy. The substance of his calculation was, that for the whole party about half a dollar would be a proper sum to pay to the domestic at the hotel where they stopped for the night, and a quarter of a dollar or less at noon. Then there were chambermaids, ostlers, and drivers of extra horses or oxen to help up the long hills, all of whom would like a small buono mano. This would bring the amount up to about six francs, or a dollar and a quarter a day, on the plan of doing the thing up handsomely, as Mr. George had proposed.
You mean to be generous with them, uncle George, said Rollo.
Yes, said Mr. George. In travelling in Italy, pay out liberally to every body that renders you any service, but not a sou to beggars. That's my rule.
Besides, he continued, it is good policy for us to be generous in this case, for Mrs. Gray will pay two thirds of the money. So that you and I, sitting in the coop, as you call it, will have all the pleasure of the generosity, with only one third of the expense of it.
While Mr. George was saying this, he took his wallet out of his pocket, and opened to the compartment of it which contained napoleons.
Let us see, said he; we shall be ten days on the way in going to Naples, and Sunday makes eleven. Six francs a day for eleven days makes sixty-six francs.
So saying, he took out three gold napoleons, for the sixty francs, and six francs in silver, and handing the whole to Rollo, said, There's the money.
But, uncle George, said Rollo, I can't pay the buono manos in gold.
No, said Mr. George; you must get the money changed, of course.
And what shall I get it changed into? asked Rollo.
I don't know, I'm sure, said Mr. George. That's for you to find out. We have three different kinds of currency between here and Naples. We are now in Tuscany. After we get through Tuscany we come into the Roman states, and after we get through the Roman states we shall come into the kingdom of the two Sicilies, where Naples is. You will require different money in all these countries, and you must look out and not have any left over, or at least very little, when you cross the frontiers.
But how shall I manage that? asked Rollo.
I don't know, said Mr. George, any more than you do. If I had it to do, I should try to find out. But that is your affair, not mine. You said that if I would give you the money you would take the whole business of the buono manos off my hands. I must go now and see about my arrangement with Mrs. Gray.
Well, said Rollo, I'll find out what to do.
Thus the buono mano question was disposed of.
As to the board, Mr. George made a verbal agreement with Vittorio that he would pay fifty-four francs a day for the whole party, and that, in consideration of that sum, Vittorio was to provide board and lodging for them all, at the best hotels, and in the best style. He paid for five days in advance. At the end of that time, the party were to be at liberty either to continue the system at the same rate, or to abandon it, and pay the bills at the hotels themselves.
In respect to the carriage and horses, Vittorio brought him an agreement, filled up from a printed form, which he and Vittorio signed in duplicate. It was as follows. There was a picture of a carriage and horses at the head of it. I give you the document in the original French. If you are studying French yourself, you can read it. If not, you must ask some one to translate it for you, if you wish to know what it all means.
VITTORIO GONSALVI, VOITURIER.
FLORENCE, le 22 Mars, 1857.
Par la présente écriture, faite à double original, pour valoir
pour être strictement observée, comme de droit, par les parties
contractantes, a été fixe, et convenu ce qui suit.
Le propriétaire de voiture, Gonsalvi, domicilié à Rome, promet
s'oblige de servir Monsieur George Holiday et sa suite dans le
voyage qu'il veut entreprendre de Florence à Napoli, par la voie de
Arezzo, Perugia, Rome, et Terracina, et être conduit par un bon
voiturier, pour le prix convenu de trois cents francs, pour la
voiture et les quatre chevaux.
Moyennant ce paiement, qui s'effectuera moitié avant de partir,
moitié à Napoli, le propriétaire de voiture, ou son conducteur
délégué, est tenu des obligations ci-après designées.
Tous les frais occasionnés pour le passage des fleuves,
ponts, et montagnes, ainsi que ceux des barrières, seront à la
charge du voiturier conducteur.
L'étrenne d'usage à donner au voiturier conducteur sera selon
Le dit voyage sera fait dans dix jours complets.
Le depart de Florence est fixé dans le journée du 23 courant, a
onze heures matin.
Pour tous les jours en sus, qu'il plairait à dit Monsieur
de s'arrêter dans une ville, ou qu'il y fut forcé par des
imprévues, il est convenu qu'il payera cinq francs par jour par
cheval pour la nourriture des chevaux.
Le voiturier devra constamment descendre dans de bonnes
et partira tous les matins de bonne heure, pour arriver tous les
soirs avant la nuit à l'auberge ou l'on devra coucher.
Et pour l'observance des conditions ci-dessus mentionnées, les
parties interessées l'ont volontairement signée.
The agreement which Mr. George made with Mrs. Gray was not so difficult to understand. Mrs. Gray did not, as Rollo had predicted, appear unwilling to make a definite arrangement in respect to the respective privileges and rights of the various members of the party in the carriage and at the hotels. She was a very sensible woman, and she saw the propriety of Mr. George's suggestion at once. Mr. George attributed the necessity of it, in part, to there being so many children in the party.
When there are children, said he, we must have system and a routine.
That is very true, said Mrs. Gray.
And the more formal and precise the arrangement is, the better, said Mr. George. It amuses them, and occupies their minds, to watch the operation of it.
Yes, said Mrs. Gray; I have no doubt of it.
Then, said Mr. George, I will draw up some articles of agreement, and if you approve of them, Rosie shall make a copy of them. Rosie shall keep the copy, too, after she has made it, and shall see that the rules are all observed.
But what shall I do, said Rosie, if any body breaks any of the rules?
Then they must be punished, said Mr. George. You shall determine what the punishment shall be, and I will see that it is inflicted.
So Mr. George drew up a set of rules; but before proposing them to Mrs. Gray and her children, he read them to Rollo. He read as follows:
The interior of the carriage, all the way, shall belong to Mrs.
Gray and her family, and the coupé to Mr. George and Rollo. Mr.
George or Rollo may, perhaps, sometimes ride inside; but if they do
so, it is to be understood that they ride there as the guests of
Mrs. Gray; and in the same manner, if at any time any of Mrs.
Gray's party ride outside, it will be as the guests of Mr. George
Good! said Rollo. I like that regulation very much. I shall not want to get inside very often.
You may sometimes wish to invite Rosie to take your place outside, when it is very pleasant, and you take her place inside, suggested Mr. George.
No, said Rollo; there will be room outside for her and me too. She can sit right between you and me.
And, perhaps, sometimes I may invite Rosie and her brother to come outside and ride with you, while I go inside with Mrs. Gray, added Mr. George.
That will be a good plan, said Rollo. But now what is the second rule?
On arriving at a hotel for the night, Mrs. Gray is to take her
choice first of all the rooms shown, for herself and Rosie. Then
from the other rooms Mr. George is to choose the bed that he will
sleep in. Then the two boys are to choose from the beds that are
left, each to have the first choice alternately, beginning with
Why should Josie begin? asked Rollo. I am the oldest.
True, said Mr. George; but it is of no consequence at all which begins, and as we are drawing up the rules, it is polite and proper to give Josie the precedence in such a point.
Very well, said Rollo; go on. How about Susannah?
O, it is not necessary to make any rule about Susannah, replied Mr. George. I suppose that Mrs. Gray will take her into her room, if there is a spare bed there. If not, they must make some other arrangement for her.
Every evening before the party separate for the night, Mrs.
shall decide at what hour we shall set off the next morning, and
also at what hour we shall breakfast, after first hearing what
Vittorio's opinion is as to the best time for setting out.
Why can't we have a fixed time for setting out every day? asked Rollo, and agree about it once for all beforehand.
Because we have different distances to go on different days, said Mr. George, so that sometimes we shall have to set out much earlier than will be necessary at other times.
Then why should not we consult together as to the time? asked Rollo. I don't see any reason for leaving it altogether to one of the party.
Why, you see that Mrs. Gray is a lady, replied Mr. George, and it takes a lady longer to dress and get ready than men. Besides, she has two children to look after.
And Susannah to help her, said Rollo.
True, said Mr. George; still it seems proper that the time for setting out should be fixed by the lady,of course, after hearing what the vetturino has to say.
I think so too, said Rollo; so go on.
Any person who is not ready to sit down to breakfast at the
which shall have been appointed by Mrs. Gray the evening before, or
who shall not be ready to enter the carriage at the time appointed,
shall pay a fine, except in the case hereinafter provided for. If
the person so behindhand is one of the children, the fine shall be
two cents, or the value thereof in the currency of the country
where we may chance to be; and if it is one of the grown persons,
the fine shall be three times that amount, that is, six cents.
Yes; but suppose we don't wake up? suggested Rollo.
That contingency is provided for in the next article, said Mr. George.
It shall be Mr. George's duty to knock at all the bedroom doors
every morning, three quarters of an hour before the time fixed for
breakfast; and if he fails to do so, then he shall pay all the
fines for tardiness that may be incurred that morning by any of the
Very good! said Rollo.
It shall be Rosie's duty to decide whether or not any persons
tardy any morning; and her mother's watch shall be the standard of
time. Her decisions shall be without appeal; and no excuses
whatever shall be heard, nor shall there be any release from the
fine, except in the case of a failure of Mr. George to knock at the
doors, as hereinbefore provided.
But we might some of us have a good excuse some time, said Rollo.
True, said Mr. George; we doubtless shall. But if we go upon the plan of admitting excuses, then there will be a long debate every morning, on the question whether the excuses are good or not, which will cause a great deal of trouble. It is better for us to pay the fine at once. It is not much, you know.
Well, said Rollo, go on.
Josie is hereby appointed treasurer, to collect and keep the fines.
And what is to be done with the money? asked Rollo.
You will see, said Mr. George.
Any one of the party who shall at any time make complaint of
thing in respect to the carriage, or the riding during the day, or
in respect to the food provided at the hotels, or the rooms, or the
beds, when we stop for the night, except when such complaint
relates to an evil which may be remedied, and is made with a view
to having it remedied, shall be fined one cent, or the value
thereof in the currency of the country. Rosie is to be the sole
judge of the infractions of this rule, and is to impose the fine,
while Josie, as before, is to collect and keep the money.
I wish you would make me the treasurer, said Rollo.
No, said Mr. George; you have the care of the buono mano fund. Josie shall be treasurer for the fines.
Very well, said Rollo.
On the arrival of the party at Naples, the amount of the fine
shall be expended in the famous Neapolitan confectionery, and shall
be divided equally among the three children.
Good! said Rollo. But, uncle George, I don't think you ought to call us children exactly. We are almost all of us twelve or thirteen.
True, said Mr. George, you are not children; but what can I call you to distinguish you from the grown persons of the party. The regular and proper designation for persons under age, in a legal document, is infants.
Hoh! said Rollo, that is worse than children.
I might call you the young persons, or the junior members of the party.
Yes, said Rollo, that will be better; the junior members of the party.
So it was agreed to strike out the word children wherever it occurred in the document, and insert in lieu of it the phrase junior members of the party.
With this correction the document was read to Mrs. Gray in the hearing of Rosie and Josie. They all approved it in every respect. The draught was then given to Rosie in order that she might make a fair copy of it. When the copy was made, the nine rules were read again in the hearing of the whole party, and all agreed to abide by them.
Thus the arrangements for the journey were complete; and Mrs. Gray, after learning from Vittorio that the first day's journey would not be long, and that it would answer to set out at any time before noon, fixed the hour for departure at eleven o'clock. Vittorio said he would be at the door half an hour before, in order to have time to load the baggage.
[Illustration: READING THE ARTICLES.]
The journey from Florence to Naples, as planned and provided for by the contracts and agreements described in the last chapter, was prosecuted from day to day, until its completion, in a very successful and prosperous manner. The various contingencies likely to occur having been foreseen and provided for by the contract and the rules, every thing worked smoothly and well, and none of those discussions, disagreements, and misunderstandings occurred, which so often mar the pleasure of parties travelling together in one company for many days.
Mrs. Gray was fined for not being ready for breakfast at the time appointed, on the very first morning after leaving Florence. It was at a place called Arezzo. The time appointed for the breakfast was at seven o'clock. Mr. George knocked at all the doors a little before quarter past six. About quarter before seven the two boys came into the breakfast room, and soon afterwards Mr. George and Rosie came. The breakfast was brought in and set upon the table by the waiter a few minutes before seven. The boys immediately began to set the chairs round.
Quick! quick! said Josie. Let us sit down quick, and mother will be tardy, and have to pay a fine.
Ah, but it does not go by our sitting down, said Rollo. It goes by Mrs. Gray's watch.
Yes, said Rosie; I have got the watch. It wants a minute of the time now.
I hope she won't come, said Josie.
She will come, said Rosie. She has been almost ready for some time.
The children all took their seats at the table. Rosie had the watch before her, and was closely observing the minute hand. Mr. George, who thought it not polite that he should take his seat before Mrs. Gray came, stood waiting by the fire. It was a cool morning, and so Mr. George had made a little fire when he first got up.
Notwithstanding Rosie's prediction, Mrs. Gray did not come. Rosie watched the second hand, and as soon as it passed the mark she said,
There! it is seven o'clock; now mother is tardy.
Josie clapped his hands, and even Rollo looked quite pleased. In about two minutes the door of Mrs. Gray's bedroom opened, and Mrs. Gray appeared.
You are too late, mother! said Josie, in an exulting tone. You are too late!
It does not depend on you to decide, said Mrs. Gray; it depends upon Rosie.
Well, mother, you are really too late, said Rosie. You are two minutes beyond the time, or a minute and a half, at the very least, when you opened the door. So you must pay the fine.
Yes; and you must pay it to me, said Josie. I am the treasurer.
But you have not heard my excuse yet, said Mrs. Gray. You don't know but that I have got a good excuse.
Ah, that makes no difference, mother, said Josie. Excuses go for nothing.
Indeed! said Mrs. Gray. Is that the agreement? Let us see, Rosie.
So Rosie took the paper out of her pocket, and with Josie's assistance,who looked over very eagerly all the time,she found the passage, and Josie read as follows, speaking the words in a very distinct and emphatic manner:
'No excuses shall be heard, nor shall there be any release from the fine, except,' and so forth, and so forth. So you see, mother, you can't be excused.
I see, said Mrs. Gray. The language is very plain indeed; so I'll pay the fine. I pay it very willingly. It would be very dishonorable in any of us, after having deliberately adopted the rules, to manifest any unwillingness to abide by them.
So Mrs. Gray took out of her pocket a small silver coin called a paul, which Mr. George said was a good deal more than six cents, but which she said was near enough to the amount of the fine, and paid it into Josie's hands. Josie put it safely into a certain compartment of his wallet, which he had set apart for the purpose.
The truth was, that Mrs. Gray contrived to be tardy that morning on purpose, in order to set an example of exact and cheerful submission to the law, and to give a practical illustration, in her own case, of the strictness with which, when once enacted, such laws ought to be enforced. She knew very well that if she had once submitted to be fined, when she was only a minute and a half behind the time, and also to be refused a hearing for her excuse, nobody could afterwards expect any indulgence. The effect produced was just what she had intended, and the whole party were extremely punctual all the way. There were only a few fines assessed, and they were all paid at once, without any objection.
The road lay for a day through a small country called Tuscany. The scenery was very beautiful. Although it was so early in the spring, the wheat fields were every where very green, and in the hedges, and along the banks by the road side, multitudes of flowers were blooming. For a considerable portion of the way, where our travellers passed, the occupation of the inhabitants was that of braiding straw for bonnets; and here every body seemed to be braiding. In the streets of the villages, at the doors of the houses, and all along the roads every where, men, women, and children were to be seen standing in little groups, or walking about together in the sun, braiding the straw with a rapid motion, like that of knitting. They had a little bundle of prepared straw, at their side, and the braid which they had made hung rolled up in a coil before them. They looked contented and happy at their work, so that the scene was a very pleasing, as well as a very curious one to see.
After leaving the frontiers of Tuscany, the party entered the Papal Statesa country occupying the centre of Italy, with Rome for the capital of it. The Papal States are so called because they are under the dominion of the pope. Of course the Catholic religion reigns here in absolute supremacy.
While passing through this country, the children, or rather, as Rollo would wish to have it expressed, the young people of the party, were very much interested in observing the crosses which were put up here and there by the road side, with the various emblems and symbols connected with our Saviour's death affixed to them. The first time that one of these crosses attracted their attention, Rosie was riding in the coupé with Mr. George and Rollo. There was room enough for her to sit very comfortably between them.
See! said Rosie; see! Look at that cross, with all those images and figures upon it!
The cross was pretty large, and was made of wood. It was set up by the road side, like a sign post in America. From the middle of the post out to the left hand end of the arm of the cross, there was a spear fixed. This spear, of course, represented the weapon of the Roman soldier, by which the body of Jesus was pierced in the side. From the same part of the post out to the end of the opposite arm of the cross was a pole with two sponges at the end of it, which represented the sponges with which the soldiers reached the vinegar up for Jesus to drink. Then all along the cross bar were various other emblems, such as the nails, the hammer, a pair of pincers, a little ladder, a great key, and on the top a cock, to represent the cock which crowed at the time of Peter's betrayal of his Lord.
[Illustration: EMBLEMS ON THE CROSS.]
Rollo and Rosie both looked at these things very eagerly, as the carriage drove by. Rosie seemed somewhat shocked at the sight.
How curious that is! said Rollo.
I suppose it is all idolatry, said Rosie, speaking very seriously.
No, said Mr. George, it is not necessarily idolatry. These kind of contrivances originated in the middle ages, when the poor people who lived in all these countries were very ignorant, as indeed they are now; and inasmuch as they could not read, and there were no schools in which to teach them, they had to be instructed by such contrivances as these.
They are very poor contrivances, I think, said Rollo.
They would be very poor as a substitute for Sunday schools, and other such advantages as the children enjoy in America, said Mr. George; but not very poor, after all, for the people for whom they were intended. Go back in imagination five hundred years, and conceive of a little child, born in one of these peasants' huts. His father and mother probably have never even seen a book, and are not capable of understanding any thing that is not perfectly simple and plain. The child, walking along the road side, sees this cross. He stops to look up at it, and wonders what all those little objects fastened upon it mean. After a while, when he grows a little older, he asks his mother, when she is coming by with him some day, what they mean. Now, she would not have been able, of herself, and without any aid, to give the child any regular instruction whatever, but she can explain to him about the cross, and the various emblems that are upon it.
Yes, said Rosie; I should think she could do that.
The child, continued Mr. George, in looking upon the cross, and seeing all those curious objects upon it, would ask his mother what they mean. Then his mother would tell him about the crucifixion of Christ. 'They nailed him to the cross,' she would say, 'by long nails passing through his hands and feet. Don't you see the nails?' And the child would say, 'Yes,' and look at the nails very intently. 'The soldiers climbed up by a ladder,' she would say. 'Don't you see the ladder? And by and by, when in his fever he called for some drink, they reached something up to him by a sponge fastened to the end of a long pole. Do you see the pole?' The child would look at all these things, and would get a much more clear and vivid idea of the transaction than it would be possible for so ignorant a mother to communicate to it in any other way.
Yes, said Rosie; I think she would.
Thus you see, continued Mr. George, there is a right and proper use of such contrivances as these, as well as a wrong and an idolatrous one. Unfortunately, however, pretty much all of them, though perhaps originally well intended, have degenerated, in Catholic countries, into superstition and idolatry.
The scenery of the country through which the journey lay was enchanting. The ground was every where cultivated like a garden. There were wheat fields, and vineyards, and olive orchards, and rows of mulberry trees for the silk worms, and gardens of vegetables of every kind. Here and there groups of peasants were to be seen at work, men and women together, some digging fresh fields, some ploughing, some planting, and some pruning the trees or the vines. In many places the vines were trained upon the trees, so that in riding along the road you seemed to see an immense orchard on each side of you, with a carpet of rich verdure below, and a monstrous serpent climbing up into every tree, from the grass beneath it.
[Illustration: ASCENDING THE MOUNTAINS.]
The scenery was very much varied, too; and the changes were on so grand a scale that they made the views which were presented on every side appear extremely imposing. Sometimes the road lay across a wide plain, many miles in extent, but extremely fertile and luxuriant, and bounded in the distance by blue and beautiful mountains. After travelling upon one of these plains for many hours, the road would gradually approach the mountains, and then at length would enter among them, and begin to wind, by zigzags, up a broad slope, or into a dark ravine. At such places Vittorio would stop, usually at a post house at the foot of the ascent, and take an additional horse, or pair of horses, and sometimes a yoke of oxen, to help his team draw the carriage up the hill. Many of these ascents were four or live miles long, and as the road turned upon itself in continual zigzags, there was presented to Mr. George and Rollo, and also to Mrs. Gray's party within the carriage, as they ascended, a perpetual succession of widely-extended views over the vast plain below, with the road which they had traversed stretching across it in a straight line for ten or fifteen miles, like a white ribbon.
Sometimes Mr. George and the two boys descended from the carriage, and walked for a while, in going up these hills; but generally they remained in their seats and rode. Indeed the men who came with the extra horses or oxen often rode themselves. When oxen were employed, the man used to ride, sometimes sitting on the yoke between them, and facing backward, so that he could watch them and see how they performed their work. He kept them up to their work by means of a small whip, which he had in his hand.
After reaching the top of the ascent, Vittorio would stop, and the man would detach his oxen from the team. Vittorio would pay him for his services, and then the man would come and hold out his hat to Mr. George and Rollo for a buono mano from them. Rollo always had it ready.
The party stopped every day at noon for breakfast, as Vittorio called it. The coffee, and eggs, and bread and butter, which they had early in the morning, was not called breakfast; it was called simply coffee. The breakfast, which came about noon, consisted of fried fish, beefsteaks, or mutton chops, fried potatoes, all hot, and afterwards oranges and figs. With this there was always what they called wine set upon the table, which tasted like a weak mixture of sour cider and water. Every thing, except the wine, was very good.
Mrs. Gray, however, always called this meal the dinner, and all the rest of the party were very willing to have it called so; and when they stopped at night, all that they required was tea and coffee, with bread and butter.
The inns where the party stopped were very quaint and queer. They looked, Josie said, precisely as he had imagined the inns to look which he had read about in Don Quixote. The entrance was generally under an arched passage way, where the horses and carriage could go in. From this passage a flight of broad stone steps led up into the house. The lower floor was usually occupied for stables, sheds, and other such purposes, and the one above for kitchens and the like. Higher up came the good rooms.
The apartment which was used by the party for their sitting and eating room was usually a large hall, with a brick or stone floor, and a vaulted ceiling above, painted in fresco. The walls of the room were usually painted too. There was generally a small and very coarse carpet under the table, and sometimes one before the fireplace. The doors were massive; and the locks and hinges upon them, and also the andirons and the shovel and tongs, were of the most ancient and curious construction. The first thing which the children did, on being ushered into one of these old halls, was to walk all about, and examine these various objects in detail. Rollo made drawings of a great many of them in his drawing book, to bring home and show to people in America.
The bed rooms opened out from this great hall, on the different sides of it. There were generally, but not always, two beds in each. According to the agreement, Mrs. Gray had her first choice of these rooms. She chose one, if possible, which had one wide bed in it, and one narrow one. The wide one was for herself and Rosie; the narrow one was for Susannah.
Mr. George came next in the order of choice, and he generally took a room which had only one bed in it, leaving another room with two single beds in it for the two boys. They always had a fire in the great hall every evening. Mrs. Gray usually went to her room with Rosie and Susannah at half past eight, leaving Mr. George and the two boys in the hall. The first evening of the journeythat is, the evening of the night spent at ArezzoMr. George told Rollo, as soon as Mrs. Gray had gone, that he had some bad news to tell him.
What is it? asked Rollo.
It is that I am going to make a rule for you, that every night, from and after the time that Mrs. Gray goes into her room, you are not to have any conversation with any body.
Why not, uncle George? asked Rollo.
Because I want to have the room still, so that I can write. I have journals and letters to write, and so have you,and so I suppose has Josie; and the evening, after Mrs. Gray and Rosie have gone to their room, will be the best time to appropriate to the work. You can do your own work of this kind at that time or not, just as you please; but if you do not do it, you must not interrupt me in doing mine.
I suppose that is a rule for me and Josie too, said Rollo.
No, said Mr. George, it is for you alone.
Why is it not a rule for Josie, said Rollo, as much as for me?
Because I have no authority to make any rules for Josie, replied Mr. George. I have no authority over him at all, but only over you.
But, uncle George, said Rollo, if you are busy writing, and I am not allowed to talk, and Mrs. Gray and Rosie have gone to bed, Josie will not have any body to talk to.
True, said Mr. George.
Then I don't see but that you might just as well make the rule for him too, at once, said Rollo. You may just as well make a rule that he shall not talk himself, as to make one that cuts him off from having any body to talk to.
Only, replied Mr. George, that to do the one comes within my authority, while to do the other does not.
Here Rollo was silent a few minutes, and seemed to be musing on what Mr. George had said. Presently he added,
Besides, uncle George, this is not put down among the rules and regulations for the journey which you drew up. We all agreed to abide by those rules, and this is not one of them.
True, said Mr. George. But those rules and regulations are of force as a compact only between Mrs. Gray and me, as the heads respectively of the two divisions of the party. They are not at all of the nature of a compact between Mrs. Gray and her children, nor between you and me. Her authority over her children in respect to every thing not referred to in the compact, is left entirely untouched by them, and so is mine over you.
Well, said Rollo, drawing a long breath, I have no objection at all to the rule. Indeed, I should like some time every evening to write and draw. I only wanted to see how you would defend your rule, in the argument.
And how do you think the argument stands? asked Mr. George.
I think it stands pretty strong, said Rollo.
Rollo further inquired of his uncle whether he and Josie could not talk in their own room; but Mr. George said no. If boys were allowed to talk together after they went to bed, he said, they were very apt to get into a frolic, and disturb those who slept in the adjoining rooms.
And besides, said Mr. George, even if they do not get into a frolic, they sometimes go on talking to a later hour than they imagine, and the sound of their voices is heard like a constant murmuring through the partitions, and disturbs every body that is near. So you must do all your talking in the course of the day, and when eight o'clock comes, you must bring your discourse to a close. You may sit up as long as you please to read or write; but when you get tired of those employments, you must go to bed and go to sleep.
The rule thus made was faithfully observed during the whole journey.
It was Monday morning when the party left Florence, and on Saturday afternoon at three o'clock, the carriage drew up at the passport office just under the great gate called the Porta del Popolo, at Rome. The party spent the Sabbath at Rome, and on the Monday morning after they set out again. On the following Thursday they arrived at Naples, and there they all established themselves in very pleasant quarters at the Hotel de Romea hotel which, being built out over the water from the busiest part of the town, commands on every side charming views, both of the town and of the sea.
Naples is situated on a bay which has the reputation of being the most magnificent sheet of water in the world. It is bordered on every side by romantic cliffs and headlands, or by green and beautiful slopes of land, which are adorned with vineyards and groves of orange and lemon trees, and dotted with white villas; while all along the shore, close to the margin of the water, there extends an almost uninterrupted line of cities and towns round almost the whole circumference of the bay. The greatest of these cities is Naples.
[Illustration: SITUATION OF NAPLES.]
But the crowning glory of the scene is the great volcano Vesuvius, which rises a vast green cone from the midst of the plain, and emits from its summit a constant stream of smoke. In times of eruption this smoke becomes very dense and voluminous, and alternates from time to time with bursts of what seems to be flame, and with explosive ejections of red-hot stones or molten lava. Besides the cities and towns that are now to be seen along the shore at the foot of the slopes of the mountain, there are many others buried deep beneath the ground, having been overwhelmed by currents of lava from the volcano, or by showers of ashes and stones, in eruptions which took place ages ago.
Of course there is every probability that there will be more eruptions in time to come, and that many of the present towns will also be overwhelmed and destroyed, as their predecessors have been. But these eruptions occur usually at such distant intervals from each other, that the people think it is not probable that the town in which they live will be destroyed in their day; and so they are quiet. Of course, however, whenever they hear a rumbling in the mountain behind them, or notice any other sign of an approaching convulsion, they naturally feel somewhat nervous until the danger passes by.
Naples is built on the northern shore of the bay You will see by the map on the preceding page just what the situation of the town is, and where Vesuvius is in relation to it. Vesuvius, you observe, stands back a little from the sea, but the slope of land extends quite down to the margin of the water. You perceive, however, that there is a carriage road, and also a railroad, passing along the coast between the mountain and the sea.
Besides the villages and towns laid down on the map, upon this coast, there are many little hamlets scattered along the way, so that, as seen across the water from Naples, there seems to be, as it were, a continued town, extending along the whole line of the shore.
Among the places named on the map you see the sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii marked. Pompeii lies to the south-east from the mountain, and Herculaneum to the south-west. Of course the lava, in breaking out from the crater in different eruptions, runs down the mountain, sometimes on one side and sometimes on another. It is the same with the showers of stones and ashes, which are carried in different directions, according to the course of the wind.
Very near the site of Herculaneum you see a small town laid down, named Resina. This is the place where people stop when about to make the ascent of Vesuvius, and leave the carriage in which they came from Naples. If they come by the railroad, they leave the train at the Portici station, which, also, you will see upon the map, and thence go to Resina by a carriage.
At Resina they take another carriage, or sometimes go on in the same, until they get up to what is called the Hermitage, the place of which you also see marked on the map. The Hermitage is so called because the spot was once the residence of a monk who lived there alone in his cell. It is now, however, a sort of ruin.
There is no carriage road at all beyond the Hermitage, and here, accordingly, the party of travellers take mules or donkeys, to go on some distance farther. At last they reach a part of the mountain which is so steep that even mules and donkeys cannot go; and here the people are accordingly obliged to dismount, and to climb up the last part of the ascent on foot, or else to be carried up in a chair, which is the mode usually adopted for ladies. You will see how Mr. George and Rollo managed, in the next chapter.
The ruins of Herculaneum can be visited on the same day in which you make the ascent of Vesuvius; for, as you see by the map, they are very near the place, Resina, where the ascent of the mountain commences. Pompeii, however, is much farther on, and usually requires a separate day.
Besides, it takes much longer to visit Pompeii than Herculaneum, on account of there being go much more to see there. The reason for this is, that the excavations have been carried on much farther at Pompeii than at Herculaneum. Herculaneum was buried up in lava, and the lava, when it cooled, became as hard as a stone; whereas Pompeii was only covered with ashes and cinders, which are very easily dug away.
Besides, Herculaneum was buried very deep, so that, in order to get to it, you have to go far down under ground. The fact that there was an ancient city buried there was discovered about a hundred and fifty years ago, by a man digging a well in the ground above. In digging this well, the workmen came upon some statues and other remains of ancient art. They dug these things out, and afterwards the excavations were continued for many years; but the difficulties in the way were so great, on account of the depth below the surface of the ground where the work was to be done, and also on account of the hardness of the lava, that after a while it was abandoned. People, however, now go down sometimes through a shaft made near the well by which the first discovery was made, and ramble about, by the light of torches, which they carry with them, among the rubbish in the subterranean chambers.
The site of Pompeii was discovered in the same way with Herculaneum, namely, by the digging of a well. Pompeii, however, as has already been said, was not buried nearly as deep as Herculaneum, and the substances which covered it were found to be much softer, and more easily removed. Consequently a great deal more has been done at Pompeii than at Herculaneum in making excavations. Nearly a third of the whole city has now been explored, and the work is still going on.
The chief inducement for continuing to dig out these old ruins, is to recover the various pictures, sculptures, utensils, and other curious objects that are found in the houses. These things, as fast as they are found, are brought to Naples, and deposited in an immense museum, which has been built there to receive them.
You will see in a future chapter how Rollo went to see this museum.
Vesuvius, Herculaneum, and Pompeii are all to the eastward of Naples, following the shore of the bay. To the westward, at the distance of about a mile or two from the centre of the town, is a famous passage through a hill, like the tunnel of a railway, which is considered a great curiosity. This passage is called the Grotto of Posilipo. You will see its place marked upon the map. The wonder of this subterranean passage way is its great antiquity. It has existed at least eighteen hundred years, and how much longer nobody knows. It is wide enough for a good broad road. When it was first cut through, it was only high enough for a carriage to pass; but the floor of it has been cut down at different times, until now the tunnel is nearly seventy feet high at the ends, and about twenty-five in the middle. High up on the sides of it, at different distances, you can see the marks made by the hubs of the wheels, as they rubbed against the rocks, at the different levels of the road way, in ancient times.
On passing through the grotto in a carriage, or on foot, the traveller comes out to an open country beyond, where he sees a magnificent prospect spread out before him. The road goes on along the coast, and comes to several very curious places, which will be described particularly in future chapters of this volume.
On the afternoon of the day when Mr. George and his party arrived at the hotel, just before sundown, Rollo came into Mrs. Gray's parlor, where Mr. George and all the rest of the party, except Josie, were sitting, and asked them to go with him and see a place which he and Josie had found.
Where is it, and what is it? asked Mrs. Gray.
You must come and see, said Rollo. I would rather not tell you till you come and see.
But Mrs. Gray, being somewhat fatigued with her ride, and being, moreover, very comfortably seated on a sofa, seemed not inclined to move.
Rosie may go instead, said Mrs. Gray, and when she has seen it, she may come back and tell me, and if she thinks it is worth while I will go.
Well, said Rollo; come, Rosie.
So Rollo led the way, and Rosie followed out of the parlor into the hall, and from the hall along a sort of corridor which led to a narrow and winding stone stair.
No, said Rosie, as soon as she began to ascend the stair, I don't think mother will like to come. She does not like to go up long stairs, especially stone stairs, and more especially still, stairs that wind round and round.
Wait and see, said Rollo.
After going round and round several times,all the while ascending,Rollo came out to a sort of open passage way, paved with glazed tiles of a very pretty pattern, where there was a door leading out to a balcony. From this balcony there was a narrow iron stair which led up on the outside of the house to the roof. Rollo led the way up this stair, and Rosie followed him, though somewhat timidly. They landed at length on a sort of platform among the chimneys, from which another stair led up to another platform, higher still, where Josie was.
There! said Rollo, as soon as he reached the first platform, don't you think your mother would like to be here?
Rosie looked around, and saw that a magnificent panorama presented itself to her view.
She would like to be here very much, if she only dared to come, said Rosie.
On looking towards the east, Rosie could survey the whole shore of the bay in that direction, with the continuous line of towns and villages along the margin of the water, and the immense green slopes of Vesuvius rising beyond. Among the green fields and groves, far up these slopes, white hamlets and villas were scattered, and above, the double summit of Vesuvius was seen, with dense volumes of white smoke ascending from one of the peaks. The children, too, could look from where they stood far out over the bay, and see the ships and steamers in the offing, and great numbers of small boats plying to and fro nearer the shore.
Rollo had an opera glass in his hand, which he used as a spy-glass. He let Rosie look through this glass at the mountain, so that she might see the smoke coming out more distinctly. With the glass, besides the general column of vapor, she could discern several places, near the summit, where small, separate puffs of smoke were issuing.
Farther down the mountain, Rollo directed her attention to a white building, which was seen very distinctly in the rays of the setting sun. This building, he said, must be the Hermitage.
How do you know it is the Hermitage? asked Rosie.
[Illustration: VIEW THROUGH THE GLASS.]
I know by the situation of it, said Rollo. Look through the glass and you will see that it is the highest house on the mountain side. Besides, it stands on the end of a ridge or spur, projecting from the mountain, just as I know the Hermitage does, with a deep valley on each side of it.
I should have thought that they would have built it in one of the valleys, said Rosie. It would have been more sheltered then from the wind.
No, said Rollo. That would not have been a good plan at all, for then it would have been in the track of the streams of lava. The lava comes down through the valleys.
I can see the zigzag road leading up to the Hermitage, said Rosie.
Yes, replied Rollo; and I think it probable we could see people going up or coming down, if there were any there now.
I mean to watch, said Rosie.
Rosie watched, but she did not see any thing moving. The truth was, that the people who had been up that day had all come down. They usually come down early in the afternoon. And yet parties sometimes make arrangements to stay up there until after dark, so as to see the glow of the fires that are continually smouldering in the chasms and crevices of the crater, and sometimes breaking out there.
Mrs. Gray was so much pleased with Rosie's report of what she saw on the roof, that she went up herself immediately after Rosie came down. Mr. George went up too. As for Josie, he staid up there all the time.
When Mrs. Gray and Mr. George reached the first platform, Josie called to them. Mother, said he, come up here!
No, said Mrs. Gray; this is high enough for me. I can see very well here.
Mrs. Gray was very much interested in the view of the mountain, and of the column of smoke issuing from the summit. She had not seen the summit before, as all the upper part of the mountain had been enveloped in clouds during the time while they were approaching the town.
She was also much pleased with the view of Naples itself, which she obtained from this platform. The hotel was built out over the water, so that from the lookout the town was spread out in full view, with all the great castles and towers which crowned the cliffs and headlands above, and the various moles, and piers, and fortresses, that extended out into the water below.
In coming up the iron stair, on the outside of the building, Mrs. Gray had been a little afraid; but in coming down she found the steps so firm and solid under her tread that she said she should not be afraid at all a second time.
Then, mother, said Rosie, let us come up here this evening after dark, and then on the top of the mountain, instead of smoke coming out, we shall see fire.
Shall we, Rollo? asked Mrs. Gray.
I believe so, said Rollo. At any rate they do sometimes see fire coming out; and I don't know why we should not to-night.
It was finally agreed that after it became dark, Rollo and Josie should go up alone first, to see if there was any fire, and if there was, then Mrs. Gray and Rosie were to go up.
Accordingly, about eight o'clock, Rollo and Josie went up. They very soon came running down again, and reported that there was quite a bright fire. So Mrs. Gray and Rosie went up. Taking their stations on the platform, and looking towards the mountain, they could see distinctly a bright glow playing over the summit, with brighter flashes beaming up from time to time. The sight impressed them all with an emotion of solemn awe.
Rollo was very impatient for the time to come for the ascent of Vesuvius; but several days elapsed before Mr. George was ready. Then, after that, for two or three days, the weather was not favorable. The sky was filled with showery-looking clouds, and great caps of fog hung over the summits of the mountains.
If we get up there when there are mists and fogs hanging about the mountain, said Mr. George, we shall not be able to see the fire at all.
Then I would rather wait for a fair day, said Rollo.
Rollo repeatedly asked Rosie if she was not going up.
I don't know, said Rosie; it depends upon my mother. I shall not go unless she goes, and she says she has not decided.
At last, after several days of uncertain weather, the wind came round to the westward, the clouds passed off, and the whole sky became serene. This was in the afternoon. Mr. George had been rambling with Rollo about the town that day; but when he found that the weather promised now to be good, he said he would go home and talk with Mrs. Gray about making the ascent. So he and Rollo returned to the hotel, and went up together to Mrs. Gray's room.
Mr. George told Mrs. Gray that the weather promised to be favorable the next day for the ascent of the mountain.
And Rollo and I, said he, think of going up. If you would like to go, we should be very happy to have you join our party.
Can I go, do you think? asked Mrs. Gray.
O, yes, said Mr. George; you certainly can go, for you can be carried up in a portantina from the place where we leave the carriage. But if you please, I will send for a commissioner, and he can tell us all about it.
Very well, said Mrs. Gray, I should like to have you do that.
Ring the bell, then, Rollo, said Mr. George.
So Rollo rang the bell; a servant man soon came in. He was what Rollo called the chamberman. His business was to make the beds and take care of the rooms. This work, in Italy, is done by men generally, instead of by women.
Is there a commissioner attached to this hotel, asked Mr. George, addressing the servant, and speaking in French, who accompanies parties to Vesuvius?
Yes, sir, certainly, said the servant.
What is his name? asked Mr. George.
Philippe, replied the man.
Where is he? asked Mr. George.
He is below, said the man.
Please ask him to come up, said Mr. George. I want to talk with him about an excursion to the mountain.
The servant man went down, and pretty soon Philippe appeared. He was a very intelligent looking young man, neatly dressed, and with a frank and agreeable countenance.
This is Philippe, I suppose, said Mr. George, speaking in French.
Yes, sir, said Philippe.
Take a seat, said Mr. George. This lady wishes me to make some inquiries of you about going up the mountain. Do you speak English?
Yes, sir, said Philippe, a little.
On hearing this Mr. George changed the conversation into the English language, so that Mrs. Gray might understand what was said, without the inconvenience and delay of having it interpreted.
In the first place, said Mr. George, when ladies ascend the Mountain, how far do they go in a carriage?
To the Hermitage, said Philippe.
Can you go in a good, comfortable carriage all the way to the Hermitage? asked Mr. George.
O, yes, sir, said Philippe. We take an excellent carriage from town. The road is very winding to go up the mountain, but it is perfectly good. A lady can go up there as comfortably as she can ride about town.
Philippe further said that ladies often went up with parties as far as the Hermitage, and then, if they did not wish to go any farther, they remained there until their friends came down.
What sort of a place is the Hermitage? asked Mrs. Gray. Is it an inn?
Yes, madam, said Philippe. It is an inn. It is a very plain and homely place, but a lady can stay there very well a few hours.
Is there a family there? asked Mrs. Gray.
No, madam, said Philippe; it is kept by a monk.
Let us go, mother, said Josie. We can go up there as well as not.
Yes, said Mrs. Gray, I think I should like to go up at least as far as there. I can take a book to read, to while away the time while you are up the mountain; or I can ramble about, I suppose. Is it a pleasant place to ramble about, around the Hermitage?
Yes, madam; it is a very pleasant place, replied Philippe. You have an exceedingly fine view of the bay, and of Naples, and of the islands, and of the whole Campagna. Then the observatory is near, and that is a very pleasant place, with gardens and plantations of trees all around it. Perhaps the beggars might be a little troublesome if you walked out, but I think I could manage about that.
What is the observatory that you speak of? asked Mr. George.
It is a government establishment that is kept there for making observations on the state of the mountain, replied Philippe. It is a fine building, and it has very pretty gardens and grounds around it.
I should think it would be a very pleasant place, said Mrs. Gray. Indeed, it looks like a pleasant place seen from this hotel with Rollo's opera glass.
Well, now for the next stage of the journey, said Mr. George; that is, from the Hermitage to the foot of the cone. How far is that, and how do we go?
It is about three quarters of an hour's walk, replied Philippe. There is no carriage road, but only a mule path, and in some places the road is very rough.
Is it steep? asked Mr. George.
No, sir, said Philippe; the steep part comes afterwards. The mule path is nearly on a level, but it is rough and rocky. There are three ways of going. You can walk, you can ride upon a mule or a donkey, or finally, you can be carried in a chair. Ladies that do not like to walk so far usually ride on a donkey, or else are carried. It is easier to be carried, but it costs a little more.
How much more? asked Mr. George.
A dollar, said Philippe.
I think I should rather be carried if I were to go, said Mrs. Gray.
I'd rather ride on a donkey, said Rosie.
And I on a mule, said Josie.
You and I might walk, Rollo, said Mr. George.
Yes, said Rollo, I would rather walk.
Rollo always preferred to go on foot when on any of these mountain excursions, because then he could ramble about this way and that, wherever he pleased, and climb up upon the rocks, and gather plants and specimens.
Very well, said Mr. George; and this brings us to the foot of the steep part of the mountain. How far is it up this last steep part?
About an hour's work, hard climbing, said Philippe.
Is it very hard climbing? asked Mr. George.
Yes, sir, said Philippe; it is right up a steep slope of rocks.
Is there good footing, asked Mr. George, or are the rocks loose, or slippery?
It is very good footing, said Philippe. In one sense the rocks are loose, for the whole side of the mountain where we go up is formed of slag and scoriæ. But then the pieces are wedged together, so as not to move much, and the foot clings to them, so that you don't slip. On the whole, it is good footing. The only difficulty is, it is so steep. It is a thousand feet up rough rocks, as steep as you can go.
I could not get up, I am sure, said Mrs. Gray.
Nor I, said Rosie.
O, you can be carried up, said Mr. George, in a portantina.
What kind of a thing is it? asked Mrs. Gray.
It is a common arm chair, said Philippe, with two stout poles lashed to the sides of it. Two men take hold of the ends of the poles before, and two others behind, and they lift the poles,chair, passenger, and all,up upon their shoulders. They carry you, in this way, right up the mountain.
I should be afraid, said Rosie.
You would feel a little afraid at first, said Philippe, when the men were lifting you up upon their shouldersbut afterwards, you would not be afraid at all. You ride as easy as if two persons were to take you in a chair and carry you about the room.
But I should pity the poor men so much, said Rosie, in having such a heavy load to carry!
Ah! said Philippe, instead of pitying them, you ought to rejoice for them. They are so glad when they get any body to carry up! They are paid about three quarters of a dollar apiece, and that is a great deal of money for them. There will be a great many of them up there to-morrow, waiting, and hoping that somebody will come for them to carry up.
Ah, that makes it different, said Rosie.
Besides, said Josie, you are nothing to carry, you are so little and light. Rollo and I could carry you. I suppose that they would carry Rosie for half pricewould not they, Philippe?
Rosie looked a little troubled to hear her brother speak of her in this way. She did not like to be called little and light. Philippe saw that she was troubled.
No, said he; they will ask the same for carrying Miss Rosie that they would for any other lady.
This answer removed in an instant the cloud which had appeared upon Rosie's face, and replaced it with a smile which had something of the expression of triumph in it. In fact, Philippe shaped his answer as he did on purpose to please her. It was strange that a guide, whose life had been spent among the roughest of men, on the mountains, should know better how to be polite than a boy who had been brought up tenderly in the midst of refinement and elegance; but so it often is.
How long does it take to go up the steep part? asked Mrs. Gray.
About an hour, said Philippe. They stop two or three times on the way, to rest the bearers, and change them.
Then they change the bearers, said Mrs. Gray.
Yes, madam, replied Philippe. We take eight bearers to each chair, and four of them carry it at a time; so we have two sets.
I'm glad of that, said Rosie.
And what do we see when we get to the top? asked Mrs. Gray.
We walk along over the sand and lava, replied Philippe, until we come to the edge of the crater, and then we look down.
And do we see the fire coming out? asked Rollo.
Yes, said Philippe, plenty of fire.
And lava, and red-hot stones? asked Josie.
Yes, said Philippe, all the time.
I hope you don't go too near, said Mrs. Gray.
No, madam, said Philippe; we are careful not to go too near. There is a mountain guide who goes up with the party from the Hermitage, and it is his business to know all the time what the state of the mountain is, and where it is safe to go. There are two craters now. One of them they cannot go down into, for the sides have caved in all around, and formed perpendicular cliffs. But at the other crater there is on one side a slope of sand and slag, where people can go down, and walk over the lava on the floor of the crater.
Why, I should think they would sink into it, said Rosie.
No, said Philippe; the lava that lies spread out over the bottom of the crater has cooled so as to be hard enough to walk upon, though you can see that it is red hot in the cracks.
I should not dare to walk over it, said Rosie.
Ladies go down very often, said Philippe, and there is no danger, only the sulphurous smoke, if it happens to blow over upon you, is bad to breathe.
After some further conversation with Philippe, and some consultation with each other, the party formed the plan as follows: They were all to go together in a carriage to the Hermitage. Then Philippe was to provide chairs and bearers for Mrs. Gray and Rosie, to take them to the foot of the cone, and animals, either mules or donkeys, for the three gentlemen, as Philippe called them. On arriving at the foot of the cone, Mrs. Gray was to decide whether she would let Rosie continue and go to the top. For herself, she concluded that she would not go, but after seeing the party commence their ascent, she would go back to the Hermitage, and wait there till they returned.
And now, Philippe, said Mr. George, I wish you to calculate exactly what the expense will be for the whole expedition, including carriage hire, guides, bearers, mules, buono manos, and every thing. Then I will give you money enough, before we set out, to pay the whole. I don't wish to have any thing to do in the way of paying, from the time we leave the hotel until we get back again.
Yes, sir, said Philippe; that is the best way. If you undertake to pay the men on the mountain yourself, they will never be satisfied. They clamor continually for more, as long as the party will give any thing. I know just what is their due.
So Philippe drew his chair up to the table where Mr. George had placed a sheet of paper and a pen and ink, and began to make out his account. After writing a few minutes, he looked up from his work, and asked if the gentlemen wished to have any assistance in going up the cone. What assistance can we have? asked Mr. George.
There are men who put straps over their shoulders to pull by, and let you take hold of the end of them. It helps you a great deal.
Yes, uncle George, said Rollo, let us have them. I should like to be pulled up in that way.
So should I, said Josie.
You boys may have strapmen, then, said Mr. George. I think I can get along without one myself.
Philippe then asked if the party would stop on the way and go down into Herculaneum. Mr. George said that they would. Philippe then went on with his calculation, and when it was finished he presented it to Mr. George. Mr. George wrote a heading to it, and then read it as follows, except that I give the amounts in American money:
ASCENT OF VESUVIUS.
Estimate of ExpensesParty of Five.
Carriage to the Hermitage, $5.00
Fees at Herculaneum, .25
Portantina to the foot of the cone for madame, 2.00
Portantina to the summit for mademoiselle, 6.00
Two mules for the young gentlemen, 2.00
Two strapmen up the cone, 1.00
Mountain guide, 1.00
Buono manos, 1.00
Valet de place, 1.00
Very well, said Mr. George. That is satisfactory. Now I will give you gold enough to cover that amount. You must get it changed into such a form as you want it, and you must not call upon me or any of the party for any money whatever, from the time that we set out till we get back again to the hotel.
Very well, sir, said Philippe; that is much the best way. The men will gather around you from time to time on the way, and clamor for buono manos, but you must not pay any attention to them; say simply, 'Philippe will pay.'
And now, said Mr. George, it is all arranged except the time for setting out. What is the best time?
We ought to set out at eight or nine o'clock, said Philippe. It takes about ten hours.
Let us set out at eight, then, said Mrs. Gray. We can have breakfast at seven, I suppose.
Certainly, said Philippe. And will you have it in your own room?
No, said Mrs. Gray; let us all breakfast together in the dining room. That will be more interesting. We may meet some other parties there who are going to the mountain.
Then I will order breakfast for you at seven o'clock, said Philippe.
Provided you find, to-morrow morning, that the weather is going to be good, said Mr. George. We won't go unless you are convinced that it is going to be a fine day.
Yes, sir, said Philippe; we judge a great deal by the smoke on the mountain. If it comes down the mountain on this side, then the weather is going to be bad. But if it goes away on the other side, off towards the sea, then we can generally depend upon a fine day.
So it was agreed that Philippe should make an observation early in the morning, and if he concluded that the day would be a good one for the excursion, he was to come to Mr. George's room and let him know the decision. He was then to order the breakfast for seven o'clock, and the carriage for eight, while Mr. George was to call the rest of the party.
The plan being thus formed, the party separated for the night. Rollo said that he meant to get up at half past five; or as soon as it was light, and go up to the top of the house, and see which way the smoke of Vesuvius was going.
Call for me, and I will go with you, said Josie.
I will, said Rollo.
Rollo slept in the same room with Mr. George. He got up as soon as it was light, dressed himself in a hurried manner, and went out. In about ten minutes he returned.
Well, Rollo, said Mr. George, what is the report?
The smoke is not going either way, said Rollo. It mounts right straight up into the air; but Philippe says he thinks it is going to be a fine day, and he has ordered breakfast. So I think you had better get up.
At seven o'clock precisely the whole party were assembled in the dining room for breakfast. They ate their breakfast together at the end of one of the long tables. There were already two other parties in the room. There was one consisting of two gentlemen that were going to Vesuvius. There was another larger party that were about setting out for Rome. Their carriage was at the door, and the vetturino and his men were at work putting on the trunks and baggage.
At eight o'clock precisely, the carriage for Mr. George's party came to the door. All were ready, and they all immediately got in. Philippe put in a basket containing provisions. Mrs. Gray had a small book, formed with leaves of blotting paper, to press the flowers in, which she meant to gather around the Hermitage while the rest of the party were gone up the mountain. Mr. George took his knapsack, though there seemed to be nothing in it.
What are you carrying up an empty knapsack for, uncle George? asked Rollo.
To bring down specimens in, said Mr. George.
Ah, said Rollo, I wish I had thought to take mine.
I'll let you have part of mine, said Mr. George. It is big enough to hold the specimens for all of us.
Philippe, when he found that the company were well seated in the carriage, shut the door, mounted the box with the coachman, and gave the order to drive on.
The carriage was entirely open, and the party, as they drove along, enjoyed an uninterrupted view of every thing around them. They passed through one or two beautiful public squares, with palaces and churches on either hand, and lines of troops parading before them. Then they came to a long and exceedingly busy street, with the port and the shipping on one side, and stores, shops, hotels, and establishments of every kind, on the other. The street was crowded with people going to and fro, some on foot and some in carriages. A great many persons were carrying burdens on their heads. Some had jars, or pails, or little tubs of water; some had baskets heaped up with oranges, or other fruit. Some had long boards with a row of loaves of dough upon them, which they were taking to the bakers to be baked.
The sidewalks, especially on the side towards the harbor, were thronged with people living in the open air, and practising their various trades there. There were cooks, cooking all sorts of provisions; and blacksmiths, working with hammers and anvils; and cabinet makers, sawing or planing, or gluing together the parts of tables or chairs. Then there were a great many family groups, some sitting in the sun around a boat drawn up, or upon and around a great chain cable, or an anchor; and others gathering about a fire made in a brazier, for the morning was cool. These families were engaged in all the usual domestic avocations of a household. The mothers were dressing the children, or getting the breakfast, while the grandmothers and aunts were knitting, or spinning thread with a distaff and spindle. The men were often employed in making nets.
The carriage, which was drawn by three horses abreast, went on very rapidly through these scenesso rapidly, in fact, that Mrs. Gray had not time to look at the various groups as much as she wished.
I mean to come and take a walk here some day, said Mrs. Gray, and then I can look at all these things at my leisure.
O mother, said Josie, you can't do that very well, on account of the beggars. If a gentleman and lady attempt to walk together in any of these streets of Naples, the beggars come and gather around them at every step.
Then I'll come some day in a carriage, and tell the coachman to drive slowly.
That will be just as bad, said Josie. They'll come then around the carriage. The only way is to drive so fast that they cannot keep up.
The carriage went on. It followed the road which led along the shore, as shown in the map given in a former chapter to illustrate the situation of Naples; but the shore was occupied with such a succession of hamlets and villages that the road seemed to form a continued street all the way. After getting a little beyond the confines of Naples, the road was thronged with people coming into town, some on foot, with loads of produce on their heads, some driving donkeys, with immense burdens of vegetables loaded in panniers on their backs, or drawn in carts behind them. There were omnibuses too, of a peculiar kind, filled with people, and a kind of carriage called a calash, which consisted of a sort of chaise, with an extended frame for people to stand upon all around it. The first class passengers in these calashes had seats in the chaise itself. The others stood up all around, and clung on as best they could to the back of the seat before them.
Our party met a great many of these calashes coming into town, and bringing in loads of country people.
It is astonishing, said Rollo, that one horse can draw so many people.
It is because the road is so level and smooth, said Mr. George. The wheels run almost as easy upon it as they would upon a railroad.
[Illustration: CALASH COMING INTO NAPLES.]
After going on in this manner for about an hour,all the time gently ascending, and passing through what seemed to be a continued succession of villages and towns,the carriage stopped before the door of a kind of inn in the midst of a crowded street. The moment that the carriage stopped, it seemed to be surrounded by a crowd of ostlers, donkeys and donkey drivers, ragged boys and beggars; and such a clamor arose from the crowd as was quite appalling to hear, the more so as nothing could be understood of what was said, since it was all in Italian.
What is here? said Mr. George to Philippe, when he saw that Philippe was getting down from the box.
This is Herculaneum, said Philippe, quietly.
Herculaneum! repeated Rosie, amazed. Why, I thought Herculaneum was all under ground.
Yes, said Mr. George, it is. He means that this is where we go down.
By this time Philippe had opened the carriage door. Mr. George got out, and then helped Mrs. Gray to descend. A half a dozen beggars, some lame, some blind, some old and paralytic, hovered about the steps, and held out tattered hats to Mrs. Gray, moaning all the time in piteous tones, and begging for alms. Mrs. Gray and Mr. George paid no attention to them, but passed directly on, followed by the children, through a door in a high wall, which led into a little court, and thence they passed into a sort of entrance hall, leading into a building. Philippe, who had preceded them, opened a closet, and took out some small candles. He lighted these candles by means of a lamp hanging against the wall, and gave one to each of the party. There was an open door near, with a broad flight of stone steps leading down, like stairs going down cellar. As soon as the candles were all lighted, the children heard somebody coming up these stairs. It was a party of visitors that had been down, and were now coming up. There were eight or ten of them, and the appearance of them as they came up, following each other in a long line, each carrying his candle in his hand, produced a very strange and picturesque effect.
The guide who came up at the head of them exchanged a few words with Philippe in Italian, and then Philippe went on, leading his own party down the stairs. The stairs were wide, so that there was abundant room for the two parties to pass each other.
After going down some way, and making one or two turnings, suddenly a light began to appear. It was a light like the light of day. It grew brighter and brighter, until at length Mr. George and Rollo, who were at the head of the party, after Philippe, came out under a large circular opening cut in the rock, through which they could look up to the open air, and to the sky.
This is the well, said Philippe; the well that they were digging when they first came upon the ruins.
The sides of the well were of solid lava, smooth and hard, just as they had been left by the workmen in digging down.
The light which came down through the well shone upon a sort of platform, which, as well as the walls around it, was covered with moss and other green plants, which had been induced to vegetate there by the rain and the sunlight that had come down through the well. Mrs. Gray gathered some of these plants, and put them into her book.
The party then went on down another flight of steps, which led into a series of dark, vaulted chambers, all hewn out of the rock. By holding the candles up to the sides of these chambers, the party could see here and there the remains of old arches, columns, and walls, which had been buried up in the lava, but were now partially disinterred.
These remains were part of an ancient theatre; and after passing through several gloomy passages, the party came to a large chamber, where the whole front of the stage had been brought to view. Before it, in a range, were the seats for the musicians. On each side there was a massive pedestal. The guide said that there were two bronze statues on these pedestals when the place was first excavated, but that they had been taken away, and were now deposited in the museum at Naples.
We shall see them there, I suppose, said Mr. George, when we go to visit the museum.
I shall take great interest in seeing them, said Mrs. Gray.
In some places the old pavement of the theatre had been laid bare, and was plainly to be seen by holding the candles down close to the ground. In other places the painting on the walls had been found, with the colors quite fresh.
These must be places that the hot lava did not come to, said Rollo.
I suppose so, said Mr. George.
It was not possible to obtain any information from the guide, for he could speak no language but the Italian, with the exception of a few English words and phrases, which he pronounced in so outlandish a manner, and mingled them up so much with his Neapolitan dialect, that it was very difficult to recognize them.
Questa vindow; vindow orizhinalle, he would say, meaning that the opening that he was pointing to was one of the original windows of the edifice. And then he would go on with a long sentence in the Neapolitan dialect, which was perfectly unintelligible from beginning to end.
At length the exploration was ended, and the whole party ascended again to the surface of the ground. The guide took the candles from their hands as they came up, and Philippe paid him his fee. Mr. George led the way to the carriage, which was still waiting at the door. It was surrounded, as before, with poor children and beggars, who set up a loud clamor for alms as soon as the party made their appearance.
Mr. George took no notice of them, but opened the door for Mrs. Gray and Rosie to get in. They got in, and Mrs. Gray took her place on the forward seat of the carriage,that is, with her back to the horses,and Rosie sat down by the side of her.
The other is your seat, Mrs. Gray, said Mr. George.
No, said Mrs. Gray; we are going to ride here now, and let you and the boys have the back seat.
O, no, Mrs. Gray, said Mr. George; please take the back seat.
By and by I will, said Mrs. Gray, but not now.
So Mr. George and the two boys got in and took the back seat, which was a great deal better than the forward seat, as it afforded so much better opportunity to see.
All this was done in a moment, and Philippe, after shutting the door and mounting the box with the coachman, gave the order to drive on.
I think you and Rosie ought to have this seat, Mrs. Gray, said Rollo.
I have had that seat already for an hour, said Mrs. Gray. There is no reason why I should have it all the time.
Why, yes, said Rollo; because you are a lady.
My being a lady is a very good reason why the gentlemen should always offer me the best seat, said Mrs. Gray; but it is no reason why I should always take it. Indeed, it is a very good reason why I should not; for it is not at all ladylike to be monopolizing and selfish in respect to good seats and good places when there is any thing to see.
Mr. George did not care a great deal about the difference in the seats, but he was so much pleased with the disinterested and considerate spirit which Mrs. Gray manifested in this case, that he secretly resolved that he would invite her and Rosie to accompany him on every excursion that he made.
The road now left the shore, and soon began to ascend the mountain, winding this way and that in long zigzags, through rich vineyards and groves of mulberry trees, all planted on soil which had been formed during the lapse of ages from the disintegration and decay of the lava which had come down from the volcano above. This land was very fertile; and as both the soil itself and the rocks from which it was formed were of a rich brown color, the country looked even more fertile than it really was. The road was excellent. Indeed, as Philippe had said, it was as hard and smooth as a floor. It was macadamized all the way, being made of lava, broken small, and so compacted together, and worn so hard and smooth by the wheels that had gone over it, and by the feet of the horses and mules, that it seemed one continuous surface of stone.
The views on every side were of course continually enlarging and expanding the higher the carriage ascended, and as, in the long windings and zigzags of the road, the heads of the horses were turning continually into different directions, each person in the carriage, without changing his seat, or even turning his head, had all the different views presented successively before him.
The whole expanse of the Bay of Naples was coming continually more and more fully into view, with the mountainous islands in the offing, which border it towards the sea, and a long line of hamlets, villages, and towns, extending, like a white fringe upon a green mantle, along the curve of the shore. Naples was seen in the distance, with the great Castle of St. Elmo on a rocky summit above it.
Towards the mountain the travellers could see lofty peaks, with immense valleys between them. These valleys were extremely fertile and beautiful, except where recent streams of lava had flowed through them; that is, lava which had issued from the mountain within a few hundred years. From the road where the carriage was now moving, the party could look down upon the beds of these streams, and as the lava had already become partially decomposed, they looked like immense fields of rich brown soil turned up by the plough. These valleys, by which the mountain sides were furrowed, were so large, and the streams of lava in the beds of them were comparatively so small, that Mr. George said he did not wonder that the people in the towns along the sea shore were not more afraid of living so near the mountain.
There is room enough in these valleys, said he, to hold the lava of a thousand eruptions, before they would be filled up.
At length the carriage arrived at the Hermitage. The building stood, as Rollo had seen with his opera glass from the balcony of the hotel, at the outer extremity of a spur of the mountain, a mile or two from the foot of the great cone. The road to the foot of the great cone lay along the crest of the ridge. The observatory, which was a larger and handsomer building, stood just above and beyond it, and was surrounded with very pretty gardens.
The grounds around the Hermitage were very fertile, and though they were steep and broken, they were so laid out in vineyards and groves of mulberry trees, and the sun shone upon them so pleasantly, that they presented a very attractive appearance. The Hermitage was a plain, but neat stone building, massive and white, with a broad area before it, where a great many carriages, and also a great many donkeys and mules, all saddled and bridled, were standing. The carriage drove up rapidly, and stopped before the door.
Here followed another noise and uproar, from beggars, musicians, mule and donkey men, guides, and boys, who gathered about the carriage in a crowd as soon as it stopped, all clamoring for money or employment. Mr. George paid no attention to them, but assisting Mrs. Gray and Rosie to descend, he led the way into the house. There was a boy at the door to receive him. The boy led the way up a narrow flight of stone stairs to a sort of hall, surrounded on every side by massive walls of stone. There were two or three desolate-looking rooms opening from this hall. The room doors were open. The floors were all of stone. There were tables set in these rooms, and different parties were seated at them, partaking of refreshments that they had brought up with them in their carriagesthe bags and baskets in which they had brought them up lying at their feet.
These parties were waited upon by the monk, who walked about among the guests, bringing them glasses, knives and forks, bottles of wine, and any thing else that they required. He was dressed in the costume of his order, and looked, as Rosie said, precisely like the pictures of monks which she had seen in books in America.
Philippe came up almost immediately after his party, bringing with him his basket of refreshments. He soon found a table that was unoccupied, and having placed chairs around it, he asked the monk to bring some glasses and some knives and forks.
And now, said he, addressing Mr. George, if you will take some refreshment here, I will go and make the preparations for continuing the ascent. I will come up again as soon as we are ready.
So Philippe went away. Mrs. Gray and Rosie sat down at the table, but the boys began to ramble about in the hall and in the rooms, to see what was to be seen, taking care, however, to go now and then to the table to get fresh pieces of bread and butter, and oranges, so as to keep themselves well supplied with provisions all the time.
In about fifteen minutes Philippe came up, and said that the arrangements were made, and then the whole party went down stairs. There were two portantinas at the door, all ready. The menan extremely rough-looking setstood beside them.
Now, Rosie, said Mrs. Gray, you may get into yours first, so that I may see how you do it.
Philippe spread a shawl over the chair which Rosie was to go in, and Rosie took her seat. Four of the men then took hold of the ends of the poles, and first with a lift, and then a gentle toss, they raised it up to their shoulders. Rosie was a little frightened when she found herself going up so high into the air; but when the ends of the poles came down gently upon the men's shoulders and rested there, she felt reassured, and she looked down upon her mother with a smile.
How do you feel? asked Mrs. Gray.
Beautifully, said Rosie.
Mrs. Gray then took her seat in her chair, and the bearers lifted her up upon their shoulders in the same way. Both sets of bearers set off immediately.
Rollo and Josie then mounted two donkeys, which Philippe had provided for them, while Mr. George set out on foot. In this order the party moved in quite a long procession from the area before the Hermitage, and began to follow the winding path which led along the crest of the ridge towards the foot of the cone. There were in all nearly thirty persons, thus:
Portantina bearers, 8 to each chair, 16
Donkey drivers, 2
Refreshment man, 1
The refreshment man carried the provisions, which he hoped to sell to the party by the way, in a basket poised upon his head.
The procession moved on in this order, along a rough and narrow mule path, for nearly an hour. In some parts of the way the road was pretty nearly level; in others it was extremely broken and steep, where it passed across old streams of lava. Before them the travellers could see, all the way, the immense cone, which formed the summit of the mountain, rising into the sky. They saw that they were gradually drawing nearer and nearer to the foot of it, and on looking up they could see another party, which had preceded them in making the ascent, slowly toiling their way up the rocky steep, while, at a little distance on one side, another party were seen descending by a different path, which was seen winding down circuitously at a part of the mountain where the slope was formed of sand.
At length Rollo saw at a distance before him a level place among the trees, very near the foot of the great cone. This he knew at once must be the halting place.
Uncle George, said he, we are coming to the end of our ride.
Are we? asked Mr. George.
Yes, said Rollo. Do you see all those mules and donkeys there, standing together among the rocks and trees? That must be the halting place at the foot of the cone.
Rollo was right. As soon as he and Josie arrived at this place, the donkey boys stopped the donkeys, and held them by the head for the riders to dismount. The bearers of the portantinas stopped too, to change hands.
Mrs. Gray got out of her chair as soon as the men put it down, and went to Rosie's chair to ask Rosie how she had got along.
Very well indeed, said Rosie. I like it very much.
Does your courage hold out to go up the cone? asked Mrs. Gray.
O, yes, mother, said Rosie; and I wish you would go up too.
No, replied Mrs. Gray; I will go back to the Hermitage, and wait there until you come down. But you may go up if you wish, and if Mr. George is willing to take you.
Mr. George said that he should like to have Rosie go very much, and he promised to take special care of her. So the new bearers lifted her up upon their shoulders again, and the strapmen that Philippe had provided came with their straps to Rollo and Josie. Mr. George took a cane which one of the boys provided him with, and thus the party began the ascent of the cone.
[Illustration: THE ASCENT.]
Rollo found, after a while, that he did not need the strapmen; so he let Josie have them both. Josie put his staff through the loops of the straps, and took hold of the ends of it, while the men walked before him, and pulled him up the rocks.
Rollo kept ahead. He climbed faster than the rest of the train, but he stopped now and then on some projecting mass of lava to wait for them to come up. Next to Rollo came Josie, with the two strapmen pulling him up by their straps. Then the refreshment man, with his basket of provisions on his head. Last of all came the bearers of the portantina, with Rosie in the chair. Mr. George followed immediately after. He kept close to Rosie all the way, for he thought she would be afraid to be left alone with such wild and rough-looking men.
Indeed, she doubtless would have been afraid, for the men were rough and wild in their demeanor, as well as in their looks. They made a great deal of noise, shouting and scolding all the way. Every now and then they would stop to rest, and then they would clamor for buono manos, sometimes begging for the money in very earnest and noisy, but suppliant tones, and sometimes demanding it in a very loud and threatening manner. Mr. George, however, paid no heed to these requests, but steadily refused to give the men any money, saying simply that Philippe would pay. At length the men, finding that Mr. George was cool and collected, and that he did not seem to be at all intimidated by their violent and boisterous demeanor, became quiet, and performed their duty in a more steady and orderly manner.
The party went on climbing in this way for nearly an hour, and finally reached the summit.
On coming out upon the brow of the mountain, Rollo saw at a short distance before him an immense column of dense white vapor pouring up into the air. His first impulse was to run forward up the sandy slope that still remained between the place where he stood and the margin of the crater; but he checked himself, and stopped where he was, to wait for the rest of the party. As soon as the portantina bearers reached the place where he stood, they set down the chair, and immediately the whole set crowded around Mr. George, and again demanded buono manos.
Philippe payera, said Mr. George, pointing down the mountain to the HermitagePhilippe payera, là bas, which means, Philippe will pay when you go down.
Mr. George said this in a very quiet manner, and then proceeded to help Rosie out of her chair. The guide who had come up the mountain with them then led the way, and Mr. George, Rollo, Rosie and Josie followed, towards the crater.
And here I must stop a moment in my story to explain a little what a crater is, and how it is formed. A crater is a great circular pit or depression in the top of a volcano, formed by the sinking of the ground in that part. This sinking of the ground is caused apparently by the cooling and shrinking of the melted matter below, after a time when it has been unusually heated.
Most boys have observed an effect similar to this in casting lead. When you attempt to cast any thing of lead,a cannon, for example, or anchor, or even a bullet,you will observe that as the lead cools, the portion of it which comes at the top of the mould shrinks and falls in, forming a little pit or depression, which you have to fill up by pouring in a little more lead. The reason is, that lead, as well as most other melted substances, shrinks when it cools. In the case of the bullet, for instance, all the lead which forms the mass of the bullet within the mould shrinks. The effect of this would be to collapse the sides, were it not that the sides have already become solid by contact with the cold mould. But the lead at the top, having been poured in last, is still fluid; and so that settles down as the lead cools below, and forms the little pit or depression, which the boy presently fills up by pouring in a little more lead.
It is much the same with a volcano. For some reason or other,no one as yet knows what it is,the interior of a volcano changes its temperature very much at different times. Sometimes for a period of several months, or years, it seems to be all the time growing hotter and hotter. The substances below become more and more melted, and formed into lava. The water, which is all the time filtering in through the crevices and openings, in the rocks around the sides of the mountain, is forced down under this molten mass by the immense pressure given to it by the height of the mountain. There it is turned into steam. For a time it is kept down by the vast weight of the lava which is over it, but after a time the elastic force of it gets so great that a bubble of it bursts up, and comes out at the top of the mountain in a great, thundering puff, bringing up some portion of the melted lava with it, and throwing it high into the air.
The lava thus thrown up falls down again, and when there is no wind it falls down close around the opening. Some of it falls into the opening, where it is melted again. The rest falls on the sides, and in process of time it begins to build up a small hill, as it were, all around the opening, though the puffs and explosions of steam that are continually coming out keep a mouth open at the top.
Things go on in this way for some time, until at length, for some mysterious reason which nobody understands, the interior of the mountain begins to moderate its heat, and finally to grow coolnot entirely cool, but cooler than it has been. The puffs and explosions gradually cease. The lava within the bowels of the mountain shrinks as it cools. The sides of the mountain being firm and solid, do not collapse; but the top, being still more or less soft, falls in, not suddenly, but by a slow and gradual motion, corresponding with the progress of the cooling below. So slow, indeed, is this progress, that sometimes the ground continues sinking slowly in this way for several years before the crater is fully formed.
All this time, although the puffs and explosions have in a great measure ceased, the steam continues to blow out, more or less steadily, from a great many small openings, some of them in the bottom of the crater, and some, perhaps, in the sides. This steam is changed into visible vapor when it comes out where the air is cool, and the several streams, mingling together as they rise into the air, form a cloudy column, which is often called smoke. Strictly speaking, however, it is not smoke. It is almost entirely composed of steam.
After continuing in this state for some time, the interior of the mountain begins to grow hot again. Then the steam and hot lava begin to puff out at some one or other of the vents in the bottom of the crater. If the heating goes on, the lava comes out hotter and hotter from the opening, and by melting away the sides of it and blowing it out, it gradually enlarges it. The lava that is blown out, too, falls down all around the hole, and gradually builds up a mound around it, like a little dome, while the successive blasts keep the outlet open all the time at the top. This small cone, rising up gradually thus, in the bottom of the crater formed by the sinking in of the mountain before, and the chimney opening up through the centre of it, gives vent to all the steam from below, while a great many of the other orifices are stopped up by the lava which comes up out of the great opening falling into them. After a time, the lava that is thrown out spreads over the whole floor of the crater in a mass of black, corrugated slag, with the small cone rising from the centre of it, and the opening at the top glowing like the mouth of a fiery furnace, and bursting out every now and then, with explosions of steam, and red-hot stones, and melted lava.
This was precisely the condition of Vesuvius at the time that Rollo visited it. The top of the mountain had fallen in, in two places, some time before, on account of the cooling below, and two great craters had been formed. Now, the furnace had been for some time heating up again, and in each crater a black cone, with a fiery mouth open at the apex of it, was gradually growing up, and covering the whole floor of the crater with the black and molten matter which it was ejecting.
It was to the edge of one of these craters that the party now advanced, and the engraving will give you some idea of the view which it presented.
[Illustration: VIEW OF THE CRATER.]
There were several persons, both ladies and gentlemen, standing on the margin of the crater when our party arrived. Mr. George led Rosie to the place, and looked down with her into the abyss. The sides of it were formed of precipitous cliffs of rocks and sand, all beautifully colored, in every shade of red and yellow, by the deposits of sulphur which had accumulated upon them from the fumes of the volcano. The floor of the crater was black as jet, being covered by the molten lava, which had gradually spread over it. The surface of this lava lay in wave-like corrugations, like the hide of a rhinoceros, showing that it was or had been semi-fluid. In the centre rose a great, black, rounded cone, like the cupola of an immense blast furnace. This cone was about fifty feet high, and there was an opening at the top eight or ten feet in diameter, which glowed with a furious heat, and emitted quietly, but continually, a red-hot breath of sulphurous vapor.
After remaining thus quiet for a few moments, suddenly it would give a gasp, and immediately afterwards there would burst forth a thundering explosion, which seemed to come up from a great depth below, and threw into the air a shower of stones and scraps of molten lava, which, after ascending to a great height, came down again, and fell, with a dripping sound, upon and around the cone. Similar explosions occurred at intervals of a few minutes, all the time that the party remained.
Rosie was at first very much afraid of these explosions, and she wished to go back. Mr. George himself was also afraid at first to stand very near the edge of the crater; but it was not on account of the explosions, but for fear that the cliff might cave in. Indeed, the cliffs all around were cracked off, and in some places leaning over, apparently ready to fall; and even at the spot where the spectators stood looking into the crater, there was a fissure running along parallel to the cliff, some feet behind them. At first Mr. George was afraid to step over this crack.
How do they know, said he to himself, but that the whole mass will fall and carry them all down into the gulf below?
He found, however, after waiting a little while, that it did not fall, and there were besides other masses a little farther along, as seen in the engraving, which had become separated entirely from the cliff behind them, leaving a chasm open two or three feet wide; and yet they did not fall. So Mr. George gradually acquired more confidence, and at length went cautiously forward, and looked over the brink.
Rosie, however, hung back. She was alarmed to see Rollo and Josie go so near.
Come back, Josie, said she; come back. You must not go so near.
So Mr. George called the boys back, and they obeyed.
The walls of this crater were on every side almost perpendicular. As the central part had gradually sunk, the sides had caved off and fallen in, and then afterwards the lava that had been thrown up had spread over the floor, and covered it with a bed of a half-fluid looking substance, that was as black as pitch, and which, though it was really now pretty hard, looked as if a stone thrown down upon it would sink immediately into it, out of sight.
The crater seemed to be four or five hundred feet across, and the walls of it were eighty or a hundred feet high.
After Mr. George and the children had been standing upon the brink of this abyss some time, watching the explosions, the guide who had come up with them from the Hermitage beckoned to Mr. George, and saying something at the same time in Italian, made signs as if he wished the party to go with him to some other place.
Come, boys, said Mr. George; he wants us to go with him.
Where does he want us to go? asked Rollo.
I don't know, said Mr. George. I cannot understand what he says; but let us go and see.
So the whole party followed the guide, Mr. George leading Rosie by the hand. The guide conducted them along a narrow path through the sand, which led away from the crater behind a hill which formed one of the sides of it at a place where it was so steep below the path down the mountain side, that Rosie was almost afraid to go. Mr. George, however, held her firmly by the hand, and he charged Rollo and Josie to follow very carefully. After going on in this way for some distance, they came to another crater very similar to the first, only the sides of it, instead of being formed, like the first, of perpendicular cliffs, consisted of steep, sloping banks of volcanic sand and gravel. There was, however, the same pitchy bed of lava spread out all over the bottom of it below, and in the centre a black cone thirty feet high, with a fiery furnace mouth at the top, glowing with heat, and throwing out continually the same thundering puffs of steam, and projecting the same masses of melted lava and hot stones into the air.
Ah, here is another crater! said Mr. George.
Yes, said Rollo; only it is smaller than the first. I like the first the best.
While they were standing on the narrow ridge which formed the brink of the crater, looking down, their guide by their side, another guide came by, conducting two young men; and they, instead of stopping on the brink, as Mr. George and his party had done, began at once to go down. There was a sort of track in the sand down the slope, and in this track the young men, half walking, half sliding, descended.
Why, uncle George! exclaimed Rollo, they are going down into the crater. Let Josie and me go too.
Mr. George saw by a glance that the descent into the crater must be safe, for the young men were led by one of the regular mountain guides; and besides, there was a track in the sand, showing that other parties had gone down before. So he said that Rollo and Josie might go.
You may go down with this party, said Mr. George, and then you can come up and take care of Rosie while I go down with our guide.
So Rollo and Josie followed the two young men down. Mr. George watched them from above. They went down very easily, for the sand was soft, and the track turned this way and that, so as to avoid the steepest places. The black lava covered the whole floor of the crater, and Mr. George and Rosie supposed that those who had gone down would be able only to go to the edge of it; but, to their great surprise, they found that the guide, as soon as he reached it, stepped upon it, and walked boldly out, followed by the young men and by Rollo and Josie, like a party of boys walking out upon the ice on a pond.
Why, uncle George! exclaimed Rosie, they are walking over the lava. Why don't they sink in?
I cannot imagine, said Mr. George. I supposed it was soft.
In fact, it was soft; that is, it was soft enough to flow if it had been on a slope, but yet it was hard enough to walk upon. A current of lava, when it is coming down the mountain side, can often be walked upon while it is still in motion. Its fluidity at the best is very imperfect, and its motion is very slow. The lava which Rollo was upon in the floor of the crater, though pretty nearly cool and hard on the surface, was hot below. Rollo could see the redness of the heat in the holes and crevices. Probably, if a heavy stone were laid upon the bed of lava, it would gradually have sunk into it. And yet persons could walk over it without any difficulty.
Rollo and Josie followed the young men over the lava until they came so near the cone in the centre that if they were to advance farther they would be in danger of having the lava which was thrown up from it fall upon their heads. Here they found some boys, who belonged to the mountain, engaged in getting out small pieces of the lava, where it was hot and soft, and pressing coins into it, to sell to the people above. Rollo and Josie bought some of these specimens of the boys, and put them hot in their pockets.
While the boys were thus near the cone in the centre of the crater, they were sometimes lost to view from Mr. George and Rosie, on account of the puffs of vapor which the wind blew over them. Rosie was very much afraid whenever this happened. She thought that Josie and Rollo were lost; but Mr. George assured her that there was no danger.
I should think there would be a great deal of danger, said she.
So should I, said Mr. George, of my own judgment. But I do not go by my own judgment in such cases.
Whose judgment do you go by? asked Rosie.
By the guides', replied Mr. George. The guides know all about the mountain. They are up here every day. They have been watching it for years, and they can tell where it is safe to go, and where it is dangerous, better than any stranger. So I give up my judgment entirely, and go altogether by theirs. You will see Rollo and Josie coming back out of the smoke pretty soon, as safe as they went in.
This prediction proved to be true. In a few minutes, on account of some change in the gusts of wind, the masses of vapor in the crater broke into openings, and rolled off towards the other side, and in the openings Rosie could see the boys coming back over the black surface of the lava, their footsteps making a curious sound upon it, as if they were walking over clinkers. Very soon they reached the side, and then came toiling up the path which ascended the slope of sand.
Rollo and Josie were both full of enthusiasm in describing what they had seen at the bottom of the crater, and near the cone, and they strongly recommended to Rosie to go down too.
I'll go with you, Rosie, said Josie, and show you the way.
But Rosie declined the adventure, and Mr. George told her that she did right to do so.
Why, what is there to be afraid of? asked Josie. There is no dangernot the least in the world.
True, said Mr. George; but going into such places does not give so much pleasure to young ladies as it does to such courageous young gentlemen as you. But I wish to go down myself, and I will leave Rosie under your care here while I am gone.
Pretty near where the party stood while engaged in this conversation, several persons were gathered about what seemed to be a fire. A sort of smoke came up from the ground in the centre of the group, and by the side of it were one or two baskets containing eggs, bread, bottles of wine, and other refreshments. Mr. George led the way to this place, and then he found that what seemed to be a fire was really a jet of hot steam and sulphurous gases that was issuing from a cleft among the rocks. The place was very near the crest of the crater, and the people that stood around it were watching to see men cook in the jets of steam. There was a little level place inside the crevice, just beneath the ground, where they could put eggs and other such things, and after leaving them there a short time, they were found to be nicely cooked. As fast as they were done, the men took them out and sold them to the bystanders.
Mr. George left Rosie and the two boys here while he went down into the crater. The guide went with him to show him the way. In about ten minutes Mr. George returned, and found the three children standing round the cuisine, as the men called the place where they cooked. Rollo had been buying some of the eggs, and he and Josie and Rosie were eating them.
Mr. George, said Josie, are these boiled eggs, or baked eggs, or roasted eggs, or what?
They seem to be steamed eggs, said Mr. George.
I suppose, said Rollo, that by digging about here in the sand, we might find a place where it would be just warm enough to hatch eggs.
No doubt, said Mr. George.
Just then Rollo observed that the two young men whom he and Josie had followed down into the crater were standing at a little distance, and attentively regarding some sort of instrument which they had in their hands.
I mean to go and see what they are doing, said Rollo.
So saying, he looked into Mr. George's face, and waited to see if Mr. George had any objection to his going.
Very well, said Mr. George.
So Rollo went off to the place where the young men were standing, and soon afterwards Mr. George and the others of the party could see that the strangers were showing him the instrument, and apparently explaining it to him. Pretty soon Rollo returned and reported that the two young men were students, and that the instrument which they had was a metallic barometer, and that they were measuring the height of the mountain with it.
This metallic barometer is quite a curious instrument. You will often read, in books, of measuring the height of a mountain, or other lofty place, by the barometer; and to most people this is quite a mystery. The explanation of it is, however, very simple. It is this: The earth is surrounded on all sides by the atmosphere, which, though very light, has a certain weight, and it presses with considerable force upon the ground, and upon every thing that is exposed to it. If, however, you go up from the ground, as, for instance, when you ascend a mountain, the higher you go, the less the pressure is. This is naturally to be expected, for the higher you go in such a case, the less air there is above you to press. Now, a barometer is an instrument to measure the pressure of the air, just as a thermometer measures the heat or coldness of it. A metallic barometer is a new kind, in which the air presses on a curiously contrived ring or band of brass, and according as it presses more or less, it moves an index like the hand of a watch, which is placed on the face of it. It was such an instrument as this that the two students had, on Vesuvius.
The way in which you use such an instrument to measure the height of a mountain is this: You look at the instrument when you are at the bottom of the mountain, before you begin your ascent, and see how it stands. There is a little index like the hour hand of a watch, which is movable. This you set at the point where the other index stands when you are at the foot of the mountain. Then you begin your ascent. You shut up your barometer if you please, and put it in your knapsack, or in the chaise box, or any where else you please. Wherever you put it, the pressure of the air will find it out, and penetrate to it, and as you gradually rise from the surface of the earth, the index, which is connected with the curious brass ring, moves slowly backward as the pressure diminishes. This motion continues as long as you continue ascending. If you come to a level place, it remains stationary as long as the level continues. If you descend, it goes forward a little, and then begins to go back again as soon as you once more begin to ascend. Then, when you get to the top of the mountain, you look at it, and you see at once how much the pressure of the air has diminished. From this, by an easy calculation, you tell at once how high you have come.
Mr. George knew all about the barometer, and the means of measuring heights with it, though he had never seen an instrument of this particular kind. He was accordingly very much interested in Rollo's account of it, and he said he had a great mind to go and see it himself.
I wish you would, said Rollo. I told them that I thought you would like to see it, and they said that they should be very happy to show it to you.
Mr. George accordingly went to see the instrument, and the students gave him so cordial a reception, that he formed at once quite an intimate acquaintance with them. Indeed they were quite pleased to find a person on the mountain who sympathized with them in their scientific inquiries and pursuits, and was capable of understanding and appreciating them. They told Mr. George that they were going to remain on the mountain until after dark, in order to see it in its night aspects, and they invited him to remain with them.
Then to-morrow, said they, we are going across the mountain down through the back ravines, to study the geological structure of the old lava beds, and so come out at Pompeii.
Mr. George said there could be nothing that he should enjoy more, were it not that he had ladies under his charge, and that he felt bound to accompany them back to Naples.
Rollo, when he heard this invitation, immediately felt a strong desire that Mr. George should go, and that he might go too. He instantly perceived, however, that this was out of the question; but he thought that by cordially falling in with the plan of allowing Mr. George to go, he might, perhaps, be the means of accomplishing it. Many boys, in such a case, when they find that a plan of enjoyment that is proposed is one which they cannot themselves share, do all they can to hinder and oppose it altogether. But Rollo had now travelled about the world so much, and had acquired so much experience, that he was above such folly as this.
Uncle George, said he, you can go just as well as not. I can take care of Rosie down the mountain to the Hermitage, and then we shall have nothing to do but to get into the carriage and ride home.
Mr. George saw at once how generous it was in Rollo to make this offer, and he said he would so far accept it as to let Rollo take charge of the party going home from the Hermitage in the carriage; but he felt bound, he said, not to leave Rosie until he had returned her safe to her mother's hands. So he said to the students,
I will go down the cone with Rosie and the two boys, and accompany them as far as the Hermitage. There I shall find Mrs. Gray and the carriage. If Mrs. Gray seems cordially willing to go home with the children alone, I will come back here and join you; but if I find she does not seem entirely willing,if she looks sober about it,then I will go back to Naples; though in that case I shall come to Pompeii to-morrow, and shall hope to meet you there.
I hope the lady will be willing to release you, said one of the students.
[Illustration: COMING DOWN.]
I have but little doubt that she will, said Mr. George.
Accordingly, after rambling about on the margin of the crater a little time longer, and gathering all the specimens which they required, Mr. George and the children commenced their descent. One of the students went down with them, in order to accompany Mr. George back. The descent was very easy, for the path led down a slope, where, instead of being rocky as it was where they came up, there was little else but loose sand, so that at every step they took they slid down a great way, and thus went, very fast and very easily, from the top to the bottom.
When they reached the foot of the slope, they found the mules and donkeys there. Rollo and Josie insisted that Mr. George and the student should ride, because they had got to ascend the cone again.
Besides, said Rollo, if you ride you can get there quicker, and arrange the business with Mrs. Gray.
Mr. George was right in anticipating that Mrs. Gray would give her cordial consent to have him leave the party.
I shall miss your company, said she, but I feel perfectly safe in going home in the carriage with Philippe and the boys. Besides, I shall want to hear an account of your adventures on the mountain in the night, and in crossing over by the ravines to-morrow. And then if you are willing, she added, we will all come and meet you at Pompeii to-morrow.
I should like that very much indeed, said Mr. George. Philippe will arrange every thing for you.
This being all settled, Mrs. Gray and the children entered the carriage and set out for Naples, while Mr. George and the student turned their faces towards the mountain again.
On the evening of the day on which the excursion to Vesuvius was made, Rollo came into Mrs. Gray's room, wearing a somewhat disturbed countenance. He told Mrs. Gray that he had got some bad news for her.
Ah, said Mrs. Gray, I'm sorry to hear that. What is the bad news?
Philippe is engaged for to-morrow, said Rollo, and so he cannot go with us to Pompeii.
O, how sorry I am! said Josie. What shall we do?
How is he engaged? asked Mrs. Gray.
He is going with a party to Baiæ.
Where is Baiæ? asked Josie. Is it any where near Pompeii?
No, said Rollo; it is exactly in the opposite direction. It is on the sea coast to the west, and Pompeii is on the sea coast to the east.
What is there to be seen at Baiæ? asked Mrs. Gray.
Nothing but old ruins, said Rollo, contemptuously. I don't see why people should want to go so far, and take away our guide, just to see old ruins. Besides, there are plenty of old ruins at Pompeii.
But, Mrs. Gray, continued Rollo, I don't think we need any guide at all to go to Pompeii. We can go by ourselves.
Do you think so? said Mrs. Gray.
Why, you see I can engage a carriage to take us there myself, said Rollo. I shall say 'Pompeii!' to the coachman, and point that way. And when we get to Pompeii, we shall find uncle George there, and then we shall get along well enough.
True, said Mrs. Gray. But then, she added, after thinking a moment, perhaps we might miss Mr. George, after all. I don't know how large a place it is. If it is a large place, we might miss him in some of the streets.
Here Rosie opened a guide book which lay upon the table, and turned to a map of Pompeii which she recollected to have seen there. Her hope was to find that there were not many streets, and thus to show that there would not be much danger of missing Mr. George. She found, however, that the plan of the town looked quite complicated. There was a long street, called the Street of the Tombs, leading into it; and then within the walls there were a great many other streets, crossing each other, and running in all directions. So she shut the book, and did not say a word, thinking that the sight of the plan would impede, rather than promote, the acceptance of Rollo's proposal.
I don't think there are a great many streets, said Rollo. There were none at all at Herculaneum.
Ah, but Herculaneum is a very different thing, said Mrs. Gray. Herculaneum was buried up very deep with solid lava, and only a very small portion of it has been explored, and that you go down into as you would into a cellar or a mine. Pompeii was but just covered, and that only with sand and ashes; and the sand and ashes have all been dug out and carted off from a large part of the city, so as to bring the whole out in the open day.
Then it will be a great deal pleasanter place to visit, said Rosie.
Yes, said Mrs. Gray; and I don't think that there will be much danger in our going by ourselves. If we don't find Mr. George, we can walk about a while, and then come back in the carriage again.
We might go by the railroad if we chose, said Rollo. There is a railroad that runs along the coast, and passes very near Pompeii.
I think we had better take a carriage, said Mrs. Gray, because a carriage will take us and leave us wherever we wish. There will be more changes if we go by the railroad, and we should need to speak more.
It was finally agreed that the party should go, and Rollo and Josie were to have a carriage ready at nine o'clock the next morning. They were all to breakfast at eight o'clock.
Now it happens there is no difficulty in getting a carriage at Naples. The streets are full of them. They are very pretty carriages too, as they are seen standing in pleasant weather, with the tops turned back, showing the soft cushions on the seats that look so inviting. The coachmen who drive these carriages are very eager to get customers. They watch at the doors of the hotels, and every where, indeed, along the streets, and whenever they see a lady and gentleman coming, they drive forward to meet them, and call out to offer them the carriage; and sometimes they go along for some distance by the side of the strangers, trying to induce them to get in.
Some of these carriages have two horses, and contain a front and a back seat. Others have only one horse, and only a back seat; but they all look very nice and tidy, and the price to be paid for them is quite low.
The party all breakfasted together the next morning, and they went down into the dining room for their breakfast, instead of taking it in Mrs. Gray's room. They did this at the request of the boys, who said it was more amusing to go into the public room and see the different parties that came in for early breakfasts, and hear them talk, in various languages, of the different excursions that they are going to make that day.
At about a quarter before nine, Rollo and Josie went out to look for a carriage. Rollo stopped at the office of the hotel in going out, and inquired of the secretary how much ought to be paid for a carriage with two horses to go to Pompeii. The secretary told him three dollars.
He and Josie then went out into the street. There was a long row of carriages, some with two horses and some with one, standing in the middle of the street opposite to the hotel. The coachmen of all these carriages, as soon as they saw the boys come out, began immediately to call out to them, and crack their whips, and make other such demonstrations to attract their attention.
Now, said Rollo to Josie, we must walk along carelessly, and not appear to look at the carriages as if we wanted one; for if we do, they will come driving towards us in a body. We will walk along quietly till we come to a nice carriage and a first rate pair of horses, and then we'll go right up to the coachman and engage him.
This the boys did. They sauntered along with a careless air, concealing the desire they had to engage a carriage, until at last they came to one which Rollo thought would do. The instant the boys stopped before this carriage, the coachman jumped down from his box, and began to open the carriage door for them, and at the same time all the other coachmen in the line began cracking their whips, and calling out to the boys again to come and take their carriages. Rollo paid no attention to them, but addressed the coachman of the carriage which he had selected, and said in French, To Pompeii.
Si, signore, si, signore, said the coachman, which Rollo knew very well meant Yes, sir, yes, sir. At the same time the coachman made eager gestures for the boys to get in.
But Rollo would not get in, but waited to make his bargain about the price.
Quanto? said he. Quanto is the Italian word for how much. In saying Quanto, Rollo held up the fingers of his right hand, to denote to the coachman that he was to show him by his fingers how many piastres.
The coachman said four, speaking in Italian, and at the same time held up four fingers.
No, said Rollo, three. And Rollo held up three fingers.
The coachman seemed to hesitate a moment; but when he saw that the boys were ready to go away and apply for another carriage unless he would take them for the regular and proper price, he said, Si, signore, again, and once more motioned for the boys to get in. So they got in, and the coachman drove to the hotel door.
Mrs. Gray and Rosie were all ready, and when they came to see the carriage which the boys had chosen for them, they were very much pleased with it.
I don't see but that you can manage the business, Rollo, said Mrs. Gray, as well as any courier or valet de place that we could have.
How could you make him understand what you wanted, without speaking Italian? asked Rosie.
I did it partly by signs, said Rollo.
The road to Pompeii, for the first few miles, was the same with the one to Vesuvius, which they had taken the day before. It led first through the busiest part of Naples, along by the docks and the shipping, and then through the series of towns and villages which line the shore of the bay, at the foot of the slopes of Vesuvius. After passing in this manner through one continued street for five or six miles, the road came out more into the open country, where fine views were had of the mountain on one side, and of the bay on the other. The mountain sides were generally extremely fertile, being covered with vineyards and groves, though here and there were to be seen the streams of lava which had come down within a few hundred years, and which had not yet become disintegrated and converted into soil. These streams of lava looked like torrents of brown water suddenly turned into stone, as they came streaming down the mountain side.
In one place, one of these streams of lava passed under a town. That is to say, such was the appearance. The fact was, really, that the lava had destroyed the part of the town that came in its way, and the people had built up their houses again on the top of it. The lava was cut down a little in making the road, so that you could see at the road side a portion of the stream, with the houses upon it.
After riding on in this way two or three hours, the carriage stopped at a very pleasant place, among vineyards and mulberry groves, at the entrance of a pretty lane, which led to the gates of Pompeii.
Now, said Rosie, our difficulties are going to begin. I don't see how we are going to know where to look for Mr. George.
We will see, said Mrs. Gray.
The coachman opened the door, and all the party got out. Just then they saw at a short distance before them, where there was a sort of gate, several men in a species of uniform, which denoted that they were the persons appointed by the government to take charge of the place, and to show it to visitors. One of these men, as soon as he saw the party, seemed to look very much pleased, and he advanced to meet them with a smiling face. At the same time he said something to a boy who was near by, and the boy ran off into the town. The young man in uniform, when he came near to Mrs. Gray, said something which at first she could not understand, but which she soon perceived was an attempt to pronounce the words, Il Signore Holiday.
Ah! he has seen Mr. George, said Mrs. Gray. Mr. George has been here, and has told him to watch for us.
This supposition on the part of Mrs. Gray was correct. Mr. George had come early with the students to Pompeii, in order to be ready there to receive Mrs. Gray and her party, and he had stationed this man at the gate to watch for them, with directions to send the boy in for him at an appointed place, as soon as they should arrive. The boy soon found Mr. George, and he came immediately back to the gate. Of course the whole party were very much pleased to see him.
And yet, said Mrs. Gray, Rollo has managed so well that I should not have felt any anxiety if we had continued under his sole charge all day.
The party now commenced their exploration of Pompeii. They found it, as they had expected, all open to the day. A great many of the streets, with all the houses bordering them, had been cleared, and all the sand and gravel under which they had been buried had been carted away. Immense heaps of this rubbish were lying outside the entrance, and the party had passed them in the carriage on their approach to the town. They had been lying there so long, however, that they were covered with grass and small trees, and they looked like great railroad embankments.
Indeed, the appearance which Pompeii presents now is that of a large open village of ruined and roofless one-storied houses. Many of the houses were originally two stories high, it is true; but the upper stories have been destroyed or shaken down, and in general it is the lower story only that now remains.
The structure of the houses, in respect to plan and general arrangement, is very different from that of the dwellings built in our towns at the present day. The chief reasons for the difference arise from the absence of windows and chimneys in the houses of the ancients, and of course the leaving out of windows and chimneys in a house makes it necessary to change every thing.
The inhabitants of Pompeii had no chimneys, because the climate there is so mild that they seldom needed a fire; and when they did need one, it was easier to make a small one in an open vessel, and let it stand in the middle of the room, or wherever it was required, than to make a chimney and a fireplace. The open pan in which the fires were made in those days stood on legs, and could be moved about any where. The fire was made of small twigs cut from the trees. The people would let the pan stand in the open air until the twigs were burnt to coal, and then they would carry the pan, with the embers still glowing, into the room which they wished to warm, and place it wherever it was required.
The same contrivance is used at the present day in Naples, and in all the towns of that region. In going along the streets in a cool evening or morning, you will often see one of these brass pans before a door, with a little fire blazing in it, and children or other persons before it, warming their hands. Afterwards, if you watch, you will see that the people take it into the house.
The ancient inhabitants of Pompeii depended entirely on arrangements like these for warming their rooms. There is not a chimney to be found in the whole town.
In respect to windows, the reason why they did not have them was because they had no glass to put into them. They could not make glass in those days well enough and easily enough to use it for windows. Of course they had openings in their houses to admit the air and the light, and these openings might perhaps be called windows. But in order to prevent the wind and rain from coming in, it was necessary to have them placed in sheltered situations, as, for example, under porticos and piazzas. The custom therefore arose of having a great many porticos in the houses, with rooms opening from them; and in order that they might not be too much exposed, they were generally made so as to have the open side of them inwards, towards the centre of the house, where a small, square place was left, without a roof over it, to admit the light and air.
Of course the rain would come in through this open space, and the floor of it was generally formed into a square marble basin, to receive the water. This was called the impluvium. Sometimes there was a fountain in the centre of the impluvium, and all around it were the porticos, within and under which were the doors opening into the different rooms.
The guide, who conducted Mr. George and his party, led them into several of these houses, and every one was much interested in examining the arrangement of the rooms, and in imagining how the people looked in going in and out, and in living in them. The bed rooms were extremely small. The walls of some of them were beautifully painted, but the rooms themselves were often not much bigger than a state room in a steamship. The bedstead was a sort of berth, formed upon a marble shelf built across from wall to wall.
In some of the houses there were more rooms than could be arranged around one court; and in such cases there were two, and sometimes three courts. In one case, the third court was a garden, with a beautiful portico formed of ornamental columns all around it. Beneath this portico the ladies of the house, in rainy weather, could walk at their ease, and see the flowers growing in the garden, just as well as if the weather were fair.
Under this portico, all around, was a subterranean chamber, which seemed to be used as a sort of cellar. And yet it was very neatly finished, and the walls of it were ornamented in such a way as to lead people to suppose that it might have been used as a cool walk in warm weather. This passage way was first discovered by means of the steps leading down to it. It was almost full of earth, which earth consisted of volcanic sand and ashes, which had flowed into it in the form of mud.
On one side of this subterranean passage way, near the entrance, there were a number of skeletons found. These skeletons were in a standing position against the wall, where the persons had been stopped and buried up by the mud as it flowed in. The marks left by the bodies against the wall remain to this day, and Rollo and all the party saw them.
One of the skeletons was that of a female, and there were a great many rings on the fingers of the hands, and bracelets, necklaces, and other ornaments on the other bones. From this circumstance it is supposed that this person was the wife of the owner of the house, and that in trying to save herself and her jewelry upon her, she had fled with the servants to this cellar, and there had been overwhelmed.
There were very few skeletons found in the houses of Pompeii; from which circumstance it is supposed that the inhabitants generally had time to escape. There was, however, one remarkable case. It was that of a sentinel in his sentry box, at the gate of the city. He would not leave his post, as it would seem, and so perished at the station where he had been placed. His head, with the helmet still upon it, was carried to the museum at Naples, where it is now seen by all the world, and every one who sees it utters some expression of praise for the courage and fidelity which the poor fellow displayed in fulfilling his trust.
The streets of the town were narrow, but they were paved substantially with large and solid stones, flat at the top. Along these streets there were a great many very curious shops, such as barbers' shops, painters' shops, wine shops, and the like. The wine shops were furnished with deep jars set in a sort of stone counter. The jars were open-mouthed, and the men who kept the shops were accustomed apparently to dip the wine out of them, in selling to their customers.
After passing through a number of these streets, the party came at length to a great public square called the Forum. This square was surrounded with the ruins of temples, and other great public edifices. The columns and porticos which bordered the square are all now more or less in ruins; but there are still so many of them standing as to show exactly what the forms of the buildings must have been when they were complete, and how the square must have appeared.
In another part of the town were the remains of two theatres, and outside the walls an immense amphitheatre, where were exhibited the combats of wild beasts, and those of the gladiators. There are a great many ruins of amphitheatres like this scattered over Italy. They are of an oval form, and the seats extend all around. The place where the combats took place was a level spot in the centre, called the arena.
In viewing these various ruins, Mr. George and the two students seemed most interested in the theatres, and temples, and other great public edifices, while Mrs. Gray and the children seemed to think a great deal more of the houses and the shops. There was one baker's shop with the oven entire, and three stone hand mills, in which the baker used to grind his corn. There were a great many curious utensils and implements found in this shop, when it was first excavated; but Mr. George said that they had all been removed.
I wish they had let them stay here, said Rollo.
It would be a great deal more interesting to us to see them here, said Mr. George, but they would not have been safe. The government has therefore built an immense museum at Naples, and every thing that is movable has been carried there. So we come here first to see the town and the remains of the shops and the houses, and then afterwards we go to the museum at Naples to see the things that were found in them.
* * * * *
After rambling about in Pompeii for several hours, the party went out by another gate, where they found the carriage waiting for them, and so returned home.
The great museum at Naples is one of the most wonderful collections of curiosities in the world. It is contained in an immense building, which is divided into numerous galleries and halls, each of which is devoted to some special department of art.
It was the plan of our party to go and see the museum on the day after their visit to Pompeii,or rather to begin to see it; for it requires a great deal more than one day even to walk cursorily through the rooms.
On the morning of the day in question, Mrs. Gray said to Mr. George, at breakfast, that she had a plan to propose.
What is it? asked Mr. George.
I am afraid that you will not think it very polite in me to propose it, said Mrs. Gray, but it is this: that when we get into the museum, we should divide into two parties. Let Rollo go with me and the children, while you join your friends the students, and accompany them. Then we can go through the rooms in our way, and you can go in yours.
Mr. George hesitated. For a moment he seemed not to know what to reply to this proposal.
The reason is, said Mrs. Gray, that the objects which you and the students will have in view in the visit, may very likely be different from ours. You will want to study the antiquities, and the old Latin and Greek inscriptions, and the monuments illustrating ancient history; but we should not understand such things. We shall be interested in the paintings, and the rings, and jewels, and ornaments found in Pompeii, and in the household implements and utensils.
But we shall want to see all those things, too, said Mr. George.
True, replied Mrs. Gray; but you will not wish to devote so great a portion of time to them. You will wish to devote most of your time to the learned things, and will pass rapidly over the pretty things and the curious things, while with us it will be just the other way.
Yes, uncle George, said Rollo, that will be the best plan. Josie and I can take care of Mrs. Gray, and you can go where you please.
Mr. George seemed at first quite unwilling to accept this proposal. He said he would go with Mrs. Gray to any part of the museum that she pleased, and remain there with her as long as she desired; and that, far from being any inconvenience to him to do so, it would be a pleasure. But Mrs. Gray said that it was on her account more than on his, that she made the proposal.
Because, said she, if you are with us I shall be thinking all the time that perhaps it would be better for you to be somewhere else; whereas, with Rollo and the children, I can stroll about wherever I please.
In this view of the case, Mr. George consented to her proposal. Accordingly, after breakfast, he left Rollo to engage a carriage and take Mrs. Gray and the others to the museum, while he went to find his two friends, the students, at another hotel, where they were lodging. They were all to meet in the hall of the museum at ten o'clock.
At half past nine Rollo had a nice carriage at the door. Josie sat in the carriage while Rollo went up to Mrs. Gray's room to tell her that it was ready. Rosie, who was still far from being strong, leaned on Rollo's arm coming down stairs.
I am very glad that you are going to have the care of us to-day, instead of Mr. George, said she.
So am I, said Rollo. I am very glad indeed.
I don't care any thing at all about his old learned inscriptions, said Rosie.
Nor do I much, said Rollo. Still they are very curious, when once we understand them.
Perhaps they may be, said Rosie, but I don't care about them. What I want is, to see the pretty things.
Yes, said Rollo, and I will show you all the pretty things I can find.
Rollo assisted the two ladies into the carriage, and then, after getting in himself, he ordered the coachman to drive to the museum. The way lay first through one or two open squares, bordered with churches, porticos, and palaces, and then through a long, straight street, called the Toledo. This is the principal street of shops in Naples, and is said to be the most populous and crowded street in Europe. It was so thronged with people every where, in the middle of the street as well as upon the sidewalks, that the carriage could scarcely pass along.
At length, however, it arrived at the museum. There was a spacious stone platform before the building, with a broad flight of stone steps ascending to it. Rollo assisted his party to descend from the carriage, and then he stopped to pay the coachman, while they went up the steps. Rollo joined them on the platform.
The doors of the museum building, which were immensely large, were open, but they were guarded by a soldier, who walked back and forth before the entrance, carrying his gun with the bayonet set. Rollo paid no attention to him, but walked directly in. Josie walked by his side, and Mrs. Gray and Rosie followed them.
Now, said Rollo, we must wait here until uncle George comes.
The hall into which they had entered was very large and very lofty, and the columns and staircases that were to be seen here and there adorning it were very grand. On different sides were various passages, with doors leading to the several apartments and ranges of apartments of the museum. These doors were all open, but the entrance to each was closed by an iron gate, and each gate had a man standing near it to guard it. Over each of these doors was an inscription containing the name of the particular department of the museum to which it led.
By the side of the great door of entrance was a small room in a corner, kept by two men in uniform. This was the place for the visitors to deposit their canes and umbrellas in. It is not safe to allow people in general to take such things into cabinets of curiosities, for there are many who have so little discretion, that, in pointing to the objects around them, they would often touch them with the iron end of the umbrella or the cane, and so scratch or otherwise injure them.
Rollo took Mrs. Gray's parasol from her hand and gave it to one of the men. The man put a strap around it. The strap had a ticket with the number 49 upon it. He gave another ticket, also marked 49, to Rollo, and Rollo put it in his pocket.
At this moment Rollo saw Mr. George and the two students coming in at the door. The three gentlemen deposited their canes at the little office just as Mrs. Gray had done with her parasol, and then the whole party advanced into the great hall.
Mr. George and the students went with Mrs. Gray and the children into the first room, but they soon left them, and after that Rollo was the sole guide.
Each department of the museum was contained in a separate suit of apartments, at the entrance to which, as I have already said, there was a small iron gate across the doorway. This little gate was kept shut and locked; but there was a man who stood by it, inside, always ready to open it whenever he saw any visitors coming. He always shut and locked the door again when the visitors went in. Then, finally, when they were ready to come out, he unlocked the gate for them, and it was then that they were expected to pay the fee for visiting that part of the museum. Rollo had taken care to inquire about this beforehand, and he had provided himself with a sufficient number of pieces of money of the right value, so as not to have any trouble in making change.
In most of the rooms there were men who had pictures for sale, illustrating the objects contained there, for visitors to buy, in order to carry them home as souvenirs of their visit, and to show to their friends at home. Mrs. Gray bought quite a number of these pictures, and Rollo himself bought several.
The rooms that interested the young persons most were those which contained the tools and household implements, and the various utensils found at Pompeii. In general these things were much more similar to the corresponding articles of the present day than one would have expected to find. But yet there were many differences, both of form and structure, which made them extremely curious to see.
For instance, there was a bell found in one of the houses; but instead of being hollow, and having a clapper inside, as is the custom at the present day, it consisted simply of a large, flat ring, like a plate, with a hole through the centre of it. This ring was hung up by means of a short chain, and by the side of it there was hung a sort of hammer. To ring the bell it was necessary to strike it with this hammer. An attendant in the room did this while Mrs. Gray and Rollo were there, to let them hear how the bell sounded.
It sounds very well indeed, said Rollo.
Yes, replied Rosie; but I don't think it is quite so musical as one of our bells.
There were several pairs of steelyards in the room, too, which were very much like the steelyards of the present day, only they were made of a more ornamental form. The weights were quite pretty little pieces of sculpture and statuary.
There were some very curious and pretty little cooking fireplaces, one of which, in particular, the young people admired very much indeed. Rosie said that she should have liked it very much herself, when she was a child, to play with. In the centre was a sort of pan for the coals, or embers, and all around was a raised border, made double, with a space between to contain water. In one corner there was a raised part, with an opening to pour in the water, and in front, below, there was a small faucet for the purpose of drawing the water out. Of course the embers or coals in the centre of the pan kept the water in the reservoir around it always warm.
There was also a little place on one side where a kettle or a saucepan could stand on two supports, with an opening below to put the coals under.
A great many of the floors in Pompeii were found to be in mosaic; that is, they were formed of various colored stones, arranged together in a sort of bed of cement, in such a manner as to show a picture, or some other ornamental design. In many cases there were only two kinds of stones used, black and white; and these were arranged so as to form borders, scrolls, and pattern work,as it is called,of various kinds. In some places a border was formed around the room, and the figure of some animal was placed in the centre. In other cases groups of animals, or of men, were represented, in a very perfect manner. It has always been considered wonderful that such spirited and beautiful designs could be so well represented by a method apparently so rude as the arrangement on a floor of bits of different colored stones.
The best of these mosaics were taken up and removed to the museum. You would think at first that it would be impossible to remove them in any other way than by taking them all to pieces and putting them together again, each little stone in its proper place, on the floor of the museum, where the mosaic was intended to go. But the artists contrived a way to take them up without all this labor, and thus several of the best ones have been removed without disturbing the arrangement of the stones, and have been laid down on the floors of the museum.
[Illustration: THE MOSAIC.]
One of the most curious of these mosaics is a representation of a dog, which was placed just within the entrance of a house, and just at the entrance were the words, also in mosaic, CAVE CANEM, which is the Latin for LOOK OUT FOR THE DOG. On the preceding page is a representation of this mosaic.
This mosaic was curious rather than wonderful; but in another house there was one which has always been considered a most marvellous production, on account of the complicated character of the design, and the immense number of stones composing it. It represents a battle scene, and contains a great number of men and horses, all mingled together in great confusion on the field of battle. The number of pieces of stone used in making this mosaic is almost incalculable.
Although it was originally made as part of a floor, it is now very carefully guarded, and no one is allowed to walk upon it. It is surrounded by a railing, and along one side of it there is a raised platform for visitors to stand upon in order to see it to advantage.
There were one or two large rooms that were filled with beautifully-formed jars and vases, of a brownish color, and ornamented upon the outside with figures and devices of all kinds. These devices represented all sorts of scenes, and they are considered extremely valuable on account of the light they throw on the manners and customs, and the modes of life, which prevailed in those ancient days. Some of these vases are of very great value. They are very large, and to enable the visitor to see them on all sides, without danger of breaking them, a great many of them are mounted in the museum on stands fitted with a revolving top, so that they can be turned round, and made to present all the sides successively to the spectator. In addition to this, some of the finest specimens are protected by a large glass bell placed over them.
Mrs. Gray and the children found Mr. George and the two students in this room, when they first came into it. Mr. George said that they were going to stay there nearly all that day. They wished to examine the drawings on the vases in detail. Rollo looked at a few of them, but he could not understand them very well.
You will understand them better, said Mr. George, when you have learned more about the ancient mythology.
But then I shall not be here to see them, rejoined Rollo.
True, replied Mr. George, but they have all been copied and engraved, and you will find them exactly reproduced in books in all the great libraries of the world. All that you can do now is to take a general view of them, and of the room containing them, and to examine one or two in detail, and then, by and by, when you wish to study them more particularly, you must do it from the drawings. You will find that the interest that you will take in the drawings will be greatly increased by your having had this opportunity to see the originals.
Mr. George conducted Mrs. Gray and Rosie to one of the vases which stood near a window, on one of the revolving stands; and while an attendant turned it slowly round, so as to exhibit the successive sides to view, he explained to them the meaning of the figures, and showed them what the different people were doing.
After remaining a short time in this department, Rollo and his party went on, leaving Mr. George and the two students still there.
But the room which interested Mrs. Gray and Rosie most, was what is called the Gem Room. It contains all the gems and jewelry, and other personal ornaments, that were found at Herculaneum and Pompeii, as well as a great many other very curious things. There were rings, bracelets, and necklaces, made of gold, and adorned with precious stones; and there were a great many signets and other gems engraved in the most delicate and exquisite manner. These things were all arranged in glass cases, so that they could be seen to great advantage, but they could not be touched. There were a great many other curious things in this room; and there were also a great many other very curious rooms, all of which Mrs. Gray and the children walked through, though there were so many things to be seen in them, that, in the end, they became quite bewildered. In the mean time the hours passed away, and at length Mrs. Gray, looking at her watch, said it was nearly four o'clock, which was the hour for the museum to be closed. So they did not go into any more rooms, but concluded to go home. They went down the great staircase, towards the entrance door, and then, after stopping to get Mrs. Gray's parasol, they took a carriage and drove home. Mrs. Gray said that she had seen the museum, but not the things that were in it.
We have scarcely seen one in a thousand of them, said she.
Mr. George continued for many days wholly engrossed with his studies in the museum, so that Rollo saw very little of him, and had no help from him in respect to finding occupation and amusement.
Indeed, said Rollo to Rosie one evening, I have lost the use of him altogether.
Rollo was, however, not at all at a loss for the means of spending his time. It was an endless amusement for him and Josie to ramble about the streets, and observe the countless variety of scenes and incidents which were going on there. It is the custom at Naples, among all the lower classes of the people, to do every thing in the street, and all the sidewalks and open spaces, especially along the quays, were occupied by hundreds of families, engaged in every species of trade and manufacture, and in all sorts of domestic occupations. Here, in a wide place by the side of the street, cabinet makers would be at work, polishing tables, or making veneers, or putting together the frames of bureaus. A little farther on, a large space would be occupied with the manufacture of iron bedsteads, with all the operations of forging, filing, polishing, and gilding going on in the open air. Next, a turner would be seen, either out upon the sidewalk, or close to his door, turning with a bow lathe; and next a range of families all along the street, the women knitting or sewing, or spinning yarn, and the children playing about on the pavements near. Perhaps one of the oldest of the children would be tending the baby, either holding it in her arms, or rocking it to sleep in a round-bottomed basket on the pavement. These round-bottomed baskets were all the cradles they seemed to have.
But what pleased Rollo and Josie most was to stroll along a street in a part of the town where the sailors lived. It was at a place where there was a wide beach, which was entirely covered with fishing boats, that had been drawn up there on the sand. Between the boats and the street there was a level place, where the fishermen's families had established themselves. Some were making or mending nets. Some were frying fish in the open air. Some were gathered around a big stone with a flat top, which they were using for a table, and were eating their breakfast or their dinner there. Some were lying stretched out upon the ground, or curled up in corners, fast asleep.
It was a very curious sight to see, and it would have been a very pretty one, had it not been that almost all these people were clothed in rags, and looked like so many beggars. Indeed, there were a great many real beggars every where about,so many, in fact, that no lady could have any peace at all in walking about the streets of Naples, on account of their importunity. Mrs. Gray and Rosie would have liked very much to have walked about with Rollo and Josie, in the excursions which they made in this way; but they could not do it, for every where they went, such a number of poor, diseased, crippled, and wretched-looking objects came up to them, and gathered around them, as to destroy all the pleasure.
There is no need of this at all; for Naples is a very thrifty place, and the people that live in it are abundantly able to take care of their poor. They have, in fact, built hospitals and endowed them, and the poor people who have no friends to take care of them might go to the hospitals if they chose. But as the climate in that country is mild, and they can live well enough in the open air, they prefer to ramble about the streets and beg, and there are enough inconsiderate people among the visitors always at Naples, from foreign countries, to give them money sufficient to keep up the system.
Thus every person among the lower classes in Naples, who has any disease, or infirmity, or malformation of any kind, considers it a treasure, and comes out into the street to exhibit it to all beholders, as a means of gaining money. No imagination can conceive more shocking and disgusting spectacles than those which the police of Naples allow to be brought up right before every lady or gentleman who attempts to take a walk in the streets. These sights meet you at every turn. Even if you take a carriage, you do not escape from them; for the beggars crowd around the carriage when you get into it, at the door of the hotel, and watch for it there when you come back. And when you stop on the way to go into a shop, all that are in that street at the time gather up and wait at the door till you come out; and while you are getting into the carriage, and the coachman is shutting the door and mounting upon his box, they implore, and moan, and beg, and entreat you to give them a little money. They are so wretched, they say, they are dying of hunger.
A great many of these people are really poor, no doubt; but they have no right thus to force their poverty and their diseases upon the attention of the public, when other modes, and far better modes, are provided for their relief. A great many of them, however, are impostors. Indeed, one of the greatest objections to the system of allowing the poor to get their living by begging in the streets, is the direct tendency of it to encourage and train impostors. No one can possibly know from hearing the complaint of a poor person by the wayside, or from the appearance which he presents, either how much he needs help, or how much help he may have already received; and of course, by this mode of dispensing charity, the best possible facilities are afforded for every species of deceit and imposture.
Mrs. Gray understood all this, and she saw that if every body would firmly and perseveringly refuse to give money to applicants in the public streets, the system of making an ostentatious parade of misery, real and counterfeited, that now prevails in Naples, would soon come to an end. She accordingly never gave any thing, neither did Mr. George or Rollo. Indeed Rollo and Josie were seldom molested when they were walking by themselves, for the beggarsconsidering them as only two boysdid not expect to get any thing from them.
The only beggar that I ever gave any thing to in Naples, said Rollo, was a poor black dog. I gave him half of a fried cake that I bought at a stall. He swallowed it in an instant. I call him a beggar because he looked up into my face so piteously, though he did not ask for any thing. He did not speak a word.
And what did he do after you gave him the cake? asked Rosie.
He looked up a moment to see if I was going to give him any more, said Rollo, and then he walked away.
Uncle George, said Rollo one morning, while he and Mr. George were eating their breakfast in the dining room, or, as they call it in Europe, the salle à manger, of the hotel, how much longer are you going to be in studying out those things in the museum?
Why? asked Mr. George. Does your comfort or enjoyment depend in any way on the decision of that question?
Only we want you to go about with us, somewhere, said Rollo.
Why, you don't need me to go about with you, said Mr. George. Contrive some sort of excursion yourself, and take the ladies out and amuse them. You might take them out to see Pozzuoli and the Solfatara. Besides, you would be doing me a great service if you would go.
How? asked Rollo.
Why, I shall want to go by and by myself, said Mr. George, and I don't want to have any trouble in finding the way. But you like finding your way about. Now, I wish you would take a carriage, and go and take the ladies on an excursion along the bay to the westward, and show them Virgil's Tomb, and the Grotto of Posilipo, and Pozzuoli, where the apostle Paul landed on his famous journey to Rome, and the temple of Serapis, half under water, and the great amphitheatre, and the Solfatara, which is the crater of a volcano almost extinct. All these things lie pretty near together along the shores of the bay to the westward of Naples, and you can go and see them in one afternoon, they say. If you go first, you will find out all about the excursion, and what we do about guides and custodians at the different places; and then, when I get ready, you can go again and take me, and I shall not have any trouble about it.
Just give me a list of all those places, said Rollo, eagerly.
As he spoke he handed Mr. George a pencil and a piece of paper, which he took out of his pocket. Mr. George wrote down the list, and Rollo, taking it, went up to Mrs. Gray's room.
Rollo proposed the plan to Mrs. Gray of making the excursion which Mr. George had indicated, and she was very much pleased with it.
We'll study it all out in the guide books this evening, said Rollo, and then to-morrow we will go.
Mrs. Gray approved of this plan, and so Rollo looked out in the guide book the account which was given there of the several places and objects of interest on Mr. George's list, and read the passages aloud to the whole party. Rosie sat beside him on the sofa, and helped him find the places, and also looked over him while he read. The account which was given of the places was very interesting indeed.
The next morning, about ten o'clock, after Mr. George had gone to the museum, Rollo and Josie went out to find a carriage. They inquired at the hotel, before they went, how much they ought to pay. When they reached the stand, they looked along the line, and finally chose one with a nice and pretty blue lining, and two jet black horses. They made their bargain with the coachman, and then drove to the door.
[Illustration: THE PUBLIC GARDENS.]
Mrs. Gray and Rosie were ready, and soon the party were driving rapidly along on their way out of town, passing by the gates of the public gardens, which lie in a beautiful situation along the shore, in the western part of the city. You have a view of these gardens in the engraving; and in the distance, over the tops of the houses, you see a long ridge of high land running down towards the sea. It was through this ridge of high land that the famous subterranean passage way, called the Grotto of Posilipo, was cut, to open a way for the road into the country without going over the hill.
After driving along the street which lies between the gardens and the houses on the right, as seen in the engraving, the carriage turned into another street, which runs behind the houses, and thence gradually ascended towards the entrance to the grotto. Just before reaching the entrance, the land seemed to rise to a very lofty height before and on each side of the road; and it was so built up in terraces, and garden walls, and platforms, and staircases of villas, that there seemed to be no way out. Rosie could not imagine, she said, where they could possibly be going, until at length, at a sudden turn between two lofty walls, they saw the immense mouth of the grotto opening before them.
The grotto was wide enough for two carriages to pass, and very high. It was lighted with lamps, and was full of people and of carriages going and coming. Here and there along the walls of rock on each side, near the entrance, there were a great many curious structures to be seen, and openings cut in the rock. On one side was a chapel excavated in the rock, with an iron railing in front of it, to separate it from the road. Within this railing there was an altar, with lamps burning before it, and a priest begging money of the people passing by. On the other side was an ancient monument, with a long Latin inscription upon it. Above were a great many different openings cut in the rock.
Rollo had ordered the coachman to stop at the entrance to Virgil's Tomb, and the carriage accordingly drew up before a gate which seemed to be set in the solid wall of rock which formed one side of the entrance to the grotto. There was a man standing at this gate, and as soon as he saw the carriage stop, he unlocked it. They all got out of the carriage, and went in. The way led up a long and narrow, and very steep flight of stone steps, which brought the party out at last into a sort of vineyard, or garden, on the surface of the ground above.
Here there was a path which ascended some distance higher, among grape vines and fruit trees, until at last it came to a place where there was a beautiful view of Naples and Vesuvius, and all the bay. After stopping a little time to admire this view, the party went on, following the path, which now began to descend again, and to go back towards the mouth of the grotto. Here, after climbing up and down among a great number of caverns and excavations of all kinds cut in the rock, they came down to a place just over the top of the mouth of the great grotto, where the structure which is called Virgil's Tomb is situated. It was a very strange place. Rosie said that it was the strangest place that ever she was in. Far beneath them they could hear the sound of the carriages, and the voices of men who were going in and coming out, at the mouth of the great grotto below.
After remaining here a few minutes, the party all went back down the path through the vineyard to the carriage again.
The coachman then drove on through the grotto. It was full of carts, carriages, loaded donkeys, and foot passengers, all going to or returning from Naples. The floor of it was paved with stone, and at different distances up the sides could be seen the marks made by the hubs of wheels in former ages, when the roadway was at a higher level than it is now. The natural rock is so soft that the wheel hubs cut into it very easily. This is the reason why the floor is paved too, for the rock itself would not stand the wear.
After passing through the grotto, the party emerged into a wide and open country, which presented beautiful views on every side. The road was excellent, being as hard and smooth as a floor, and the coachman drove on at great speed.
The party came at length in sight of a town, which stood on a promontory jutting out into the sea, at a short distance before them. This was the town called in ancient times Puteoli. It was in those days the great seaport of the whole bay, for Naples had not then been built. It was also the nearest good port to Rome, in coming from the south, and it was accordingly here that the apostle Paul landed when he was sent to Rome by Festus, in consequence of his having appealed unto Cæsar, when accused and persecuted by the Jews. There are the ruins of an old mole still to be seen stretching out into the sea, opposite to the port, and Rollo said he thought that it must have been on that mole that Paul landed.[D]
[Footnote D: See Acts xxv, 9-12; also Acts xxviii, 13, 14.]
Puteoli was a great place in old times, said Rollo; and that's the reason why they had such an immense amphitheatre here. We are going to see the ruins of it presently; but first, we are going to see Solfatara.
Just at the entrance to Puteoli, or Pozzuoli, as it is now called, the party came to a bridge where there was a small ascent, that made it necessary for the carriage to go slowly; and here a great number of men, women, and children were assembled, some guides, but most of them beggars; and as soon as the carriage arrived, they all broke out at once with such a noise and clamor, that Rosie was for a moment quite alarmed.
Never fear, Rosie, said Rollo; I know how to manage them.
Ever so many old ragged hats and caps were stretched out towards the carriage, and three or four men and boys, who all wanted to be employed as guides, began struggling together to climb up upon the carriage, to get the seat with the driver. Rollo looked at them all, with a view of making a selection among them. He chose an intelligent-looking boy of about his own age, that the men had pushed back.
Do you speak French? said Rollo to the boy, of course speaking in French himself in asking the question.
A little, sir, said the boy.
Then I engage you, said Rollo. Then touching the coachman, he pointed to the boy, and said, Questo, which means this one.
So the coachman pushed the other men back, and made room for the boy to get up on the seat with him. He then whipped up the horses, and soon the other guides and the beggars, with all their noise and clamor, were left behind.
You managed it very well, Rollo, said Mrs. Gray.
Yes, Rollo, said Rosie, you did it very well indeed. Next time I shall not be at all afraid.
After riding a little farther, the coachman turned into a sort of lane, and after going on for some way in the lane, he stopped. The boy got down, and said that it would be necessary for them to walk the rest of the way. So the whole party descended from the carriage, and began their walk.
After going on for nearly a quarter of a mile, they passed through a gate which seemed to be connected with some rude sort of manufactory, and then, walking on a little farther, they found themselves within the crater. It was a small, circular valley, surrounded on all sides by a ridge of earth, apparently one or two hundred feet high. The valley might have been about a third or a quarter of a mile in diameter. The bottom of it was level, and was covered with a scanty vegetation. The soil was very white, as if it were formed of substances calcined by exposure to the fire.
An old man met them at the gate, and led the way in towards the middle of the crater, along a sort of cart road. After a while he stopped, and took up a large stoneas large as a man's head. This stone he threw down with great force upon the ground two or three times, to show how hollow the ground sounded. It did sound very hollow indeed, and the peculiar resonance which is produced here by this experiment is generally considered as proving that there is a great void space below the surface, and that the bottom of the crater may some day or other fall in.
At a little distance farther on, on the other side of the crater, and close at the foot of the ridge of earth that surrounds it, there was to be seen a column of dense smoke, or rather of vapor, coming up out of the ground.
The guide led the way towards this place, and all the party followed him. As they approached it, they heard a roaring sound, which grew louder and louder as they drew near. When they arrived at the spot, they saw that the steam was issuing from the mouth of a cavern that opened there; and as it came out, it made a noise like the roaring of a steam pipe when the engineer is blowing off steam.
Mrs. Gray and the three children stood gazing at this phenomenon for some time in silence. At length Rollo said, What an astonishing blast that is, to be coming up out of the earth, day and night, continually and forever!
The ground is very hot all about here, said the boy. See!
So saying, he pointed to the old man, who was at work not far from the mouth of the cave, digging into the ground a little way with a sharp hoe. He dug down a few inches, and then took up a hoe full of the earth, and held it out to Rollo to try it with his fingers, that he might feel how hot it was. Rollo put his fingers upon the earth, but he could not hold them there an instant.
It seemed to Mrs. Gray that it must be dangerous to remain long in such a place; and so she prepared to move away, and Rollo and Josie, as they had now seen all that there was to be seen at this place, followed her. They went on by the road, round to another part of the crater, where there was some sort of manufactory of alum. The alum was made from the saline earth which was found there, and the evaporating basins used in the process, instead of being placed over a fire, were simply set in the ground, so that the process of evaporation was carried on by the natural heat of the soil.
After leaving this place, the party followed the circuit of the road still farther, until at last it brought them back to the place where they had entered the crater; and here, after paying the old man who had conducted them around, they passed out through the gate, and went down the lane to their carriage.
Now to the amphitheatre, said Rollo, addressing the coachman.
So they all got into the carriage again, and the coachman drove down the lane; and after going back towards the town a little way, and making various turns, he stopped at last before a great wooden gate. A man in a certain uniform appeared at the gate and unlocked it, and they all went in.
They saw before them the walls of an immense ruin. The wall was of a curved form, and there were vast openings in it, like arches, below. The man in uniform, who was the custodian, as they call him, of the ruin, led the way along a path into one of these arches, and thence ascended a massive flight of old stone steps, to a place which commanded a view of the interior.
They saw that the amphitheatre was of an oval form, and was built with seats rising one above another, all around, to a great height. The seats were all of stone, and at regular intervals between them were flights of steps for going up and down. In the centre, below, was a large level space, called the arena. All around the arena, and under the seats, were immense galleries or passage ways among the arches, some of which were below the level of the ground. Some of these galleries were for the spectators to use in passing from one part of the building to another, and others were used for the dens and cages of the wild beasts that were kept there to fight in the arena, for the amusement of the people.
The guide led the way through all these places, and it was not until after walking about through them for some time that Mrs. Gray and the children obtained a full conception of the magnitude of the structure. The guide told them that it contained room for forty thousand people.
What a dreadful place it must have been! said Rosie, as she followed the guide round through the subterranean chambers.
They used to hoist the cages that contained the wild beasts up through these openings, said the guide, pointing to some large circular openings in the masonry above, and then open the gates, and let them out into the arena. The cages were so contrived that when the keeper opened the door to let the beast out, by the same motion he shut himself in, so as to be safe out of his way. He then, afterwards, got out behind, by another door.
There was a very wide and deep canal open in the centre of the arena, with a communication for water connected with a vast reservoir a little way off. By means of this canal the whole of the arena could be flooded with water, so as to form a little lake for naval battles. The guide took the party down to the bottom of this canal, and showed them a large, circular opening in the masonry below, for drawing off water. This opening connected with a conduit, which ran off towards the sea.
The spectacles which were exhibited by the ancients in such buildings as these were real combats of beasts with one another, or of beasts with men, and sometimes of men with one another. At first, the men who were compelled to maintain these combats were convicts, who were condemned to them as a punishment for their crimes. The beasts were lions, tigers, and other ferocious animals that were caught in the forests in Africa, or in other remote parts of the Roman empire, and brought to the great cities for this special purpose.
A great many of the early Christians were compelled to meet these beasts in such conflicts, in the persecutions which they endured. The rulers of the country chose to consider them as criminals for being believers in Jesus, and so doomed them to this dreadful punishment.
It was shocking to think of the scenes that had probably been enacted in this very amphitheatre; and Mrs. Gray and Rosie, after they had examined it in every part, were not sorry to go away.
Rollo next directed the coachman to drive to the Temple of Serapis. The curiosity of the Temple of Serapis, which stands on the shore, just at the entrance of the town, is, that it is partly under water. It seems that from the effects of earthquakes, or from some other similar agency, the whole coast in this region rises and falls in the course of ages, and that at the present time it is several feet lower than it was in the days of the Romans. The consequence is, that many structures which were originally built upon the land, are now partly or wholly submerged in the sea. In passing along the coast in a boat, you can see a great many of these ruins in the water. There is one, however, which can be seen without going out in a boat at all. It is a temple called the Temple of Serapis.
It stands on the margin of the shore, and the floor of it is now about a foot or two under water. This floor is very extensive, and a great many columns and other superstructures are still standing upon it, the whole of which can be easily explored by the visitor, by means of a raised stone pathway, made by the government, which traverses it in all directions. It is a very curious place indeed.
Rollo and his party were admitted to the ruin through a gate, kept as usual by the custodian appointed by the government; and then they walked all over the ruin upon the raised stone path. They looked down through the water, and saw the marble floor of the temple below, and the columns rising up from it with their bases submerged. There is proof that at one time these ruins were fifteen or twenty feet lower than they are now, and that they have since come up again. The next earthquake may depress the whole coast again, in which case the floor of the temple will be once more deep under water; or it may raise it so as to bring the ruins all up once more, high and dry.
Rollo wished very much to take a boat, and go out and see the ruins that lie under water along the coast; but he knew very well that Mrs. Gray would not like to go out in a boat, nor to have Rosie go, at least unless Mr. George were with them, and so he did not propose the plan. He, however, only reserved it for the time when he should come again to see the ruins, in company with his uncle.
After concluding the visit to the Temple of Serapis, Rollo paid the boy whom he had taken for the guide when he first arrived at Pozzuoli, and then the party drove home.
Mrs. Gray insisted on paying the whole expense of this excursion; and she was so much pleased with Rollo's management of it, that she said she wished that he would plan another excursion as soon as possible.
The last excursion which Rollo made in the environs of Naples, was to a beautiful valley which was situated some miles to the south of the city, on the shores of the bay, which was full of groves of lemons and oranges. The place was called Sorrento. The town of Sorrento and its environs occupy a broad plain, which is elevated somewhat from the sea, and yet, being surrounded, on all sides towards the land, with ranges of very elevated land, it is really a valley. The reason why the oranges and lemons grow so well there is, partly because the soil is very rich, and partly because the valley opens towards the south, and is sheltered by the mountains towards the north, and this makes the climate of the spot very warm.
Rollo himself formed the plan of this excursion. One evening his uncle came home from the museum looking very tired. He laid his note book upon the table, threw himself down upon the sofa, and said,
Rollo, I am tired out.
What makes you so tired? asked Rollo.
Hard work in the museum, said Mr. George; but I have got through. To-morrow I mean to rest, and I wish you would take me off to-morrow, somewhere on an excursion. I don't care where it is, provided I have nothing to think or to say about it. I don't want even to know where I am going.
Shall I invite Mrs. Gray and Rosie to go too? asked Rollo.
I don't care whether you do or not, said Mr. George. Do as you please, provided I have nothing to say about it. Make all the arrangements, and call me to-morrow morning when you are ready.
Accordingly, the next morning, about half an hour after breakfast, Rollo went into Mr. George's room, and told him that he was ready. So Mr. George followed Rollo down stairs. He found a carriage at the door, with Mrs. Gray and Rosie sitting in it. Josie was there, too, on the box with the driver.
Mr. George got in, and Rollo directed the coachman to go on.
The coachman drove for half an hour through the busiest part of the city, and at length stopped at the railway station.
Now, uncle George, said Rollo, you must go into the waiting room with Mrs. Gray and Rosie, while I get the tickets.
Rollo bought tickets for a place called Castellamare, which is a romantic town built on the shore of the bay at the foot of Vesuvius. It is famous, among other things, for the hot springs of medicinal water which come up out of the ground there, I suppose from under the volcano, or from so near the neighborhood of it that the water is heated by the volcanic fires. Castellamare is a great naval station for the government of the country, and for this reason, as well as on account of the springs, they have made a railroad to it from Naples.
On coming out into the street at the station at Castellamare, Rollo and his party were greeted by a sudden burst of clamor from a crowd of coachmen and guides, all wanting to be hired.
Pay no attention to all these people, uncle George, said Rollo, but follow me.
So saying, Rollo pushed forward, followed by his party, until he reached a place where he could see the carriages. There were a great number of them. They were harnessed with three horses to each. They were there to take travellers on excursions along the coast, and among the neighboring mountains. They were ready to go to Sorrento, or to Pæstum, or to Amalfi, or wherever any travellers wished to go.
Rollo paid no attention to the clamor, but quietly surveyed the carriages which were standing in the street before him. The coachmen of some of them were on the sidewalk; those of others stood up in their carriages, shouting all the time to Rollo, and cracking their whips. Rollo at last selected the one which he thought would be best for the purpose, and went quietly to it. Partly by signs, and partly by disconnected words in Italian, he made a bargain with the man to take them to Sorrento and back; and then the carriage drove up to the sidewalk, and all the party got in. Rollo also selected a guide. The guide mounted on the box with the coachman. Josie took a seat inside.
The party enjoyed a magnificent ride along the coast for eight or ten miles. The road was excellent. It was built on the declivities of the mountains, which here crowd close upon the sea. It was very smooth and hard, and was finished with a sidewalk, and with avenues of trees, almost all the way. On one side it looked down upon the blue and beautiful bay, and on the other upon the mountains, which were almost every where terraced up to form vineyards and olive groves, and presented to view a perpetual succession of villas, convents, churches, summer houses, and gardens.
At length they came in sight of the valley of Sorrento. It lay broadly expanded before them, full of groves of orange and lemon trees, among which were to be seen every where lofty walls of enclosure running in all directions, and roofs of houses, and villas, without number, rising among the trees. Towards the sea the ground terminated in a range of cliffs that were almost as smooth and perpendicular as a wall.
The carriage gradually descended into this valley, and then went on across it. Rollo and his party, in thus riding along, had the lofty walls of the orange gardens on each side of the way, while here and there there appeared a house, a shop, a church, or a hotel. After traversing this region for nearly half an hour, the carriage stopped in the stable yard of an inn, and the party descended. The guide was going to show them the way to a garden where they could go in.
They walked along some way, still between lofty walls, with branches of orange and lemon trees, full of fruit, seen every where above them, until at length the guide stopped before a massive gateway, where he knocked loud and long, by means of an ancient-looking iron knocker. Presently a man came down a sort of road, which led through the garden, and unlocking the gate, let the party in.
The road led to a house which was in the centre of the garden. The man who opened the gate, however, knew very well that the visitors came, not to see the people in the house, but to gather and eat some oranges. So he led the way towards the part of the garden where the fruit was the most abundant and the sweetest. After a while he came to a place where there was a seat. The party took their places on this seat, while the guide brought them oranges from the neighboring trees.[E]
[Footnote E: See Frontispiece.]
He supplied them very abundantly. He brought them not only all that they wanted to eat, but gathered also a large number in clusters on the branches, for them to carry to the carriage and take home.
The party remained in this garden for more than an hour, and then giving the gardener a small piece of money,the guide told them how much it was proper to give,they went away. They rambled about some time longer in Sorrento, and visited the brow of the cliffs which overhung the sea.
At length they went back to the carriage, and set out on their return to Naples, with all the vacant spaces in the carriage filled with the clusters of oranges which they had gathered in the garden.
The next day after this, Mr. George and Rollo closed their visit in Naples, and set out in the diligence for Rome.
* * * * *
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POPULAR JUVENILE BOOKS.
ROLLO'S TOUR IN EUROPE.
Ten volumes, 16mo, cloth. Being a new series of Rollo Books. By REV. JACOB ABBOTT. Beautifully illustrated. Rollo on the AtlanticRollo in ParisRollo in SwitzerlandRollo on the RhineRollo in LondonRollo in ScotlandRollo in GenevaRollo in HollandRollo in NaplesRollo in Rome. Price per vol. 50 cts.
MY UNCLE TOBY'S LIBRARY.
By FRANCIS FORRESTER, ESQ., consisting of twelve volumes, elegantly bound, and illustrated with upwards of SIXTY beautiful engravings. Each book is printed in large and splendid type, upon superior paper. Price per vol. 25 cts.
THE SUMMER HOUSE STORIES.
By the author of Daisy, Violet, &c. Elegantly illustrated by Billings. Six volumes. Price per vol. 63 cts.
This series is designed to sketch attractively and simply the wonders of reptile and insect existences, the changes of trees, rocks, rivers, clouds, and winds. This is done by a family of children writing letters, both playful and serious, which are addressed to all children whom the books may reach.
THE MARTIN AND NELLIE STORIES.
By JOSEPHINE FRANKLIN. Twelve volumes, 16mo, cloth. Illustrated by Billings and others. Price per vol. 50 cts.
The object of these stories is the inculcation, in a quiet, simple way, of the principles of good nature, kindness, and integrity among children. They consist of the usual pathetic and mirthful incidents that constitute boy and girl life.
THE GLEN MORRIS STORIES.
By FRANCIS FORRESTER, author of My Uncle Toby's Library. Five vols. 16mo, cloth. Beautifully illustrated. Price per vol. 63 cts.
The purpose of the Glen Morris Stories is to sow the seed of pure, noble, manly character in the mind of our great nation's childhood. They exhibit the virtues and vices of childhood, not in prosy, unreadable precepts, but in a series of characters which move before the imagination, as living beings do before the senses.
PICTURES FROM THE HISTORY OF THE SWISS.
One volume, 16mo. Price 67 cts.
A very instructive and entertaining Juvenile, designed for children from ten to fifteen years of age.
PICTURES FROM THE HISTORY OF SPAIN.
By the author of Pictures from the History of the Swiss. A new volume just published. Price 67 cts.
LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF WHITENOSE WOODCHUCK.
One volume, 16mo. Price 38 cts.
Intended especially for younger children, and illustrated with numerous engravings, by Billings.
In addition to the above. B. &T. publish a great variety of Toy and Juvenile Books, suited to the wants of children of all ages.
AN INTERESTING BOOK FOR SCHOLARS.
The Boys have long desired such a Book.
THE UNIVERSAL SPEAKER:
CONTAINING A COLLECTION OF SPEECHES, DIALOGUES, AND RECITATIONS,
TO THE USE OF SCHOOLS, ACADEMIES, AND SOCIAL CIRCLES.
Edited by N. A. Calkins and W. T. Adams.
The excellences of this work consist, in part, of its entire originality, of its more than usual adaptation to the wants of our High Schools and Academies, and of the systematic arrangement of its selections for declamation and for elocutionary practice. Those in Part Second were prepared by Prof. WM. RUSSELL, the eminent elocutionist, expressly for this work. The publishers feel assured that in presenting this work to Teachers and Scholars, they are offering them no revision of old matter with which they have long been familiar, but an original work, full of new, interesting, and instructive pieces, for the varied purposes for which it is designed.
In 1 vol. 12mo. Price $1.
The instructions in declamation are so complete and accompanied by such ample illustrations relative to position and gestures of the student, that the Universal Speaker needs only to be seen to become what its name indicatesuniversal.Rochester Repository.
The pieces are judiciously selected, and the book is very attractive in its appearance.Connecticut School Journal.
We find, upon close inspection, that the work contains much fresh matter, which will be acceptable to schools and students, particularly in the department of dialogues of which there is a great dearth of really good and FIT matter in most speakers.United States Journal.
They are all school-like, the dialogues being illustrative of scenes in common life, including some first-rate conversations pertinent to school-room duties and trials. The speeches are brief and energetic. It will meet with favor.R. I. Schoolmaster.
The selection has been made with a great deal of foresight and taste, by men who are highly esteemed as elocutionists, writers, or teachers. The notation, the directions and cuts appended to the pieces, will be found useful to those who use them.Mass. Teacher.
Looking it over hastily, we notice many admirable selections from the best authors, and as the book is entirely fresh, the matter never having appeared in previous readers or speakers, it cannot fail to be a welcome addition to the books of its class.Springfield Republican.
In this they have succeeded, and have also been fortunate in the selection. The book contains a larger number of dialogues than any we have seen, and they are mostly relative to school children and school affairs.Penn. School Journal.
INSTRUCTION AND AMUSEMENT.
HISTORY OF THE SWISS.
In 1 vol. 16mo. 262 pages. Price 75 cents.
WITH CHARACTERISTIC ILLUSTRATIONS,
DESIGNED BY HAMMETT BILLINGS.
It is not generally known that the early history of the Swiss abounds in the most thrilling and interesting stories, of which that of Wm. Tell shooting the apple from the head of his son, by order of the tyrant Gessler, so familiar to every child, is but a specimen. The present volume, while it introduces the youthful reader to many of the scenes through which the brave Swiss passed in recovering their liberty, also narrates many stories of peculiar interest and romance, every way equal to that of Tell. Among these we may name,
The Thievish Raven, and the Mischief he caused.
How the Wives and Daughters of Zurich saved the City.
How the City of Lucerne was saved by a Boy.
The Baker's Apprentice.
How a Wooden Figure raised Troops in the Valois.
Little Roza's Offering.
A Little Theft, and what happened in consequence.
The Angel of the Camp.
With twenty-one other similar stories.
A NEW SERIES OF JUVENILES.
THE SUMMER-HOUSE SERIES.
BY THE AUTHOR Of VIOLET, DAISY, ETC.
The first volume of what the publishers sincerely believe will be the most popular series of Juvenile Books yet issued, is now ready, entitled
OUR SUMMER-HOUSE, AND WHAT WAS SAID AND DONE IN IT.
In 1 vol. 16mo. Price 62 cents.
Handsomely Illustrated by HAMMETT BILLINGS.
From the author's Preface:
The Summer-House Series of children's books, of which the present volume is the first, is an attempt to sketch attractively and simply the wonders of reptile and insect existence, the changes of trees, rocks, rivers, clouds and winds.
To this end a family of intelligent children, of various ages, collected in a garden summer-house, are supposed to write letters and stories, sometimes playful, sometimes serious, addressing them to all children whom the books may reach.
The author has hoped, by thus awakening the quick imagination and ready sympathies of the young, to lead them to use their own eyes, and hearts, and hands, in that plentiful harvest-field of life, where 'the reapers indeed are few.'
Among the stories in the present volume are the following:
One of the most touching and affecting stories we have read for many a day.
A most humorous story, with a never-to-be-forgotten moral, inculcating contentment.
The Working Fairies.
In this story Industry is held up for attainment, and Idleness receives a severe rebuke. The style and language, though perfectly intelligible to children, are worthy of a Beecher.
A story of wrong and suffering.
A true story of a bird.
The Little Preacher.
A sweet story, introducing bird and insect life, and conveying more truth and instruction to children, than can be found in a dozen ordinary sermons.
TAGGARD &THOMPSON, Publishers,
29 CORNHILL, BOSTON.