ROLLO IN ROME,
BROWN, TAGGARD & CHASE,
(SUCCESSORS TO W. J. REYNOLDS & CO.)
25 & 29 CORNHILL.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
ELECTROTYPED AT THE BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY.
I.—THE DILIGENCE OFFICE, 13
II.—THE JOURNEY, 34
III.—THE ARRIVAL AT ROME, 56
IV.—A RAMBLE, 68
V.—GETTING LOST, 88
VI.—THE COLISEUM, 105
VII.—THE GLADIATOR, 127
VIII.—THE TARPEIAN ROCK, 147
IX.—GOING TO OSTIA, 167
X.—THE VATICAN, 192
THE VATICAN BY TORCHLIGHT, (Frontispiece.)
THE MOSAIC SHOP, 12
PREPARING FOR THE JOURNEY, 21
THE PONTINE MARSHES, 49
DOING PENANCE, 59
RIDING AMONG THE RUINS, 91
LOOKING DOWN FROM THE COLISEUM, 109
VIEW OF THE LOWER CORRIDORS, 123
ASCENT TO THE CAPITOL, 139
STATUE OF THE GLADIATOR, 143
INTERIOR OF THE PANTHEON, 163
THE COLISEUM BY TORCHLIGHT, 209
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.
ROLLO IN ROME.
THE DILIGENCE OFFICE.
Rollo went to Rome in company with his uncle George, from Naples. They went by the diligence, which is a species of stage coach. There are different kinds of public coaches that ply on the great thoroughfares in Italy, to take passengers for hire; but the most common kind is the diligence.
The diligences in France are very large, and are divided into different compartments, with a different price for each. There are usually three compartments below and one above. In the Italian diligences, however, or at least in the one in which Mr. George and Rollo travelled to Rome, there were only three. First there was the interior, or the body of the coach proper. Directly before this was a compartment, with a glass front, containing one seat only, which looked forward; there were, of course, places for three persons on this seat. This front compartment is called the coupe. It is considered the best in the diligence.
[Footnote 1: Pronounced coupay.]
There is also a seat up above the coupe, in a sort of second story, as it were; and this was the seat which Mr. George and Rollo usually preferred, because it was up high, where they could see better. But for the present journey Mr. George thought the high seat, which is called the banquette, would not be quite safe; for though it was covered above with a sort of chaise top, still it was open in front, and thus more exposed to the night air. In ordinary cases he would not have been at all afraid of the night air, but the country between Naples and Rome, and indeed the country all about Rome, in every direction, is very unhealthy. So unhealthy is it, in fact, that in certain seasons of the year it is almost uninhabitable; and it is in all seasons considered unsafe for strangers to pass through in the night, unless they are well protected.
There is, in particular, one tract, called the Pontine Marshes, where the road, with a sluggish canal by the side of it, runs in a straight line and on a dead level for about twenty miles. It so happened that in going to Rome by the diligence, it would be necessary to cross these marshes in the night, and this was an additional reason why Mr. George thought it better that he and Rollo should take seats inside.
The whole business of travelling by diligence in Europe is managed in a very different way from stage coach travelling in America. You must engage your place several days beforehand; and when you engage it you have a printed receipt given you, specifying the particular seats which you have taken, and also containing, on the back of it, all the rules and regulations of the service. The different seats in the several compartments of the coach are numbered, and the prices of them are different. Rollo went so early to engage the passage for himself and Mr. George that he had his choice of all the seats. He took Nos. 1 and 2 of the coupe. He paid the money and took the receipt. When he got home, he sat down by the window, while Mr. George was finishing his breakfast, and amused himself by studying out the rules and regulations printed on the back of his ticket. Of course they were in Italian; but Rollo found that he could understand them very well.
"If we are not there at the time when the diligence starts, we lose our money, uncle George," said he. "It says here that they won't pay it back again."
"That is reasonable," said Mr. George. "It will be our fault if we are not there."
"Or our misfortune," said Rollo; "something might happen to us."
"True," said Mr. George; "but the happening, whatever it might be, would be our misfortune, and not theirs, and so we ought to bear the loss of it."
"If the baggage weighs more than thirty rotolos, we must pay extra for it," continued Rollo. "How much is a rotolo, uncle George?"
"I don't know," said Mr. George, "but we have so little baggage that I am sure we cannot exceed the allowance."
"The baggage must be at the office two hours before the time for the diligence to set out," continued Rollo, passing to the next regulation on his paper.
"What is that for?" asked Mr. George.
"So that they may have time to load it on the carriage, they say," said Rollo.
"Very well," said Mr. George, "you can take it to the office the night before."
"They don't take the risk of the baggage," said Rollo, "or at least they don't guarantee it, they say, against unavoidable accidents or superior force. What does that mean?"
"Why, in case the diligence is struck by lightning, and our trunk is burned up," replied Mr. George, "or in case it is attacked by robbers, and carried away, they don't undertake to pay the damage."
"And in case of smarrimento," continued Rollo, "they say they won't pay damages to the amount of more than nine dollars, and so forth; what is a smarrimento, uncle George?"
"I don't know," said Mr. George.
"It may mean a smash-up," said Rollo.
"Very likely," said Mr. George.
"Every traveller," continued Rollo, looking again at his paper, "is responsible, personally, for all violations of the custom-house regulations, or those of the police."
"That's all right," said Mr. George.
"And the last regulation is," said Rollo, "that the travellers cannot smoke in the diligence, nor take any dogs in."
"Very well," said Mr. George, "we have no dogs, and we don't wish to smoke, either in the diligence or any where else."
"They are very good regulations," said Rollo; and so saying, he folded up the paper, and put it back into his wallet.
On the evening before the day appointed for the journey, Rollo took the valise which contained the principal portion of his own and his uncle's clothes, and went with it in a carriage to the office. Mr. George offered to accompany him, but Rollo said it was not necessary, and so he took with him a boy named Cyrus, whom he had become acquainted with at the hotel.
The carriage, when it arrived at the diligence station, drove in under an archway, and entered a spacious court surrounded by lofty buildings. There was a piazza, with columns, all around the court. Along this piazza, on the four sides of the building, were the various offices of the different lines of diligences, with the diligences themselves standing before the doors.
"Now, Cyrus," said Rollo, "we have got to find out which is our office."
But Rollo was saved any trouble on this score, for the coachman drove the carriage directly to the door of the office for Rome. Rollo had told him that that was his destination, before leaving the hotel.
There was a man in a sort of uniform at the door of the office. Rollo pointed to his valise, and said, in Italian, "For Rome to-morrow morning." The man said, "Very well," and taking the valise out of the carriage, he put it in the office. Then Rollo and Cyrus got into the carriage again, and rode away.
The next morning Mr. George and Rollo went down to breakfast before six o'clock. While they were eating their breakfast, the waiter came in with a cold roast chicken upon a plate, which he set down upon the table.
"Ah!" said Mr. George, "that is for us to eat on the way."
"Don't the diligence stop somewhere for us to dine?" asked Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "I presume it stops for us to dine, but as we are going to be out all night, I thought perhaps that we might want a supper towards morning. Besides, having a supper will help keep us awake in going across the Pontine Marshes."
"Must we keep awake?" asked Rollo.
"So they say," replied Mr. George. "They say you are more likely to catch the fever while you are asleep than while you are awake."
"I don't see why we should be," said Rollo.
"Nor do I," said Mr. George.
If Mr. George really did not know or understand a thing, he never pretended to know or understand it.
"It may be a mere notion," said Mr. George, "but it is a very prevailing one, at any rate; so I thought it would be well enough for us to have something to keep us awake."
"We will take some bread and butter too," said Rollo.
Mr. George said that that would be an excellent plan. So they each of them cut one of the breakfast rolls which were on the table in two, and after spreading the inside surfaces well with butter, they put the parts together again. The waiter brought them a quantity of clean wrapping paper, and with this they wrapped up both the chicken and the rolls, and Rollo put the three parcels into his bag.
"And now," said Rollo, "what are we to do for drink?"
"We might take some oranges," suggested Mr. George.
"So we will," said Rollo. "I will go out into the square and buy some."
Rollo, accordingly, went out into the square, and for what was equivalent to three cents of American money he bought six oranges. He put the oranges into his pockets, and returned to the hotel.
He found Mr. George filling a flat bottle with coffee. He had poured some coffee out of the coffee pot into the pitcher of hot milk, which had still a considerable quantity of hot milk remaining in it, and then, after putting some sugar into it, and waiting for the sugar to dissolve, he had commenced pouring it into the flat bottle.
"We may like a little coffee too," said Mr. George, "as well as the oranges. We can drink it out of my drinking cup."
Rollo put his oranges into Mr. George's bag, for his own bag was now full. When all was ready, and the hotel bill was paid, Mr. George and Rollo got into a carriage which the waiter had sent for to come to the door, and set off for the diligence office. It was only half past seven when they arrived there. Rollo saw what time it was by the great clock which was put up on the front of one of the buildings towards the court yard.
"We are too early by half an hour," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "in travelling over new ground we must always plan to be too early, or we run great risk of being too late."
"Never mind," said Rollo, "I am glad that we are here before the time, for now I can go around and see the other diligences getting ready to go off."
So Rollo began to walk about under the portico, or piazza, to the various diligences which were getting ready to set out on the different roads. There was one where there was a gentleman and two ladies who were quite in trouble. I suppose that among the girls who may read this book there may be many who may think that it must necessarily be a very agreeable thing to travel about Europe, and that if they could only go,—no matter under what circumstances,—they should experience an almost uninterrupted succession of pleasing sensations. But the truth is, that travelling in Europe, like every other earthly source of pleasure, is very far from being sufficient of itself to confer happiness. Indeed, under almost all the ordinary circumstances in which parties of travellers are placed, the question whether they are to enjoy themselves and be happy on any particular day of their journey, or to be discontented and miserable, depends so much upon little things which they did not at all take into the account, or even foresee at all in planning the journey, that it is wholly uncertain when you look upon a party of travellers that you meet on the road, whether they are really having a good time or not. You cannot tell at all by the outward circumstances.
There was a striking illustration of this in the case of the party that attracted Rollo's attention in the court of the diligence office. The gentleman's name was Howland. One of the ladies was his young wife, and the other lady was her sister. The sister's name was Louise. Mr. Howland intended to have taken the whole coupe for his party; but when he went to the office, the day before, to take the places, he found that one of the seats of the coupe had been engaged by a gentleman who was travelling alone.
"How unlucky!" said Mr. Howland to himself. "We must have three seats, and it won't do for us to be shut up in the interior, for there we cannot see the scenery at all."
So he went home, and asked his wife what it would be best to do. "We cannot have three seats together," said he, "unless we go up upon the banquette."
But the bride said that she could not possibly ride on the banquette. She could not climb up to such a high place.
Now, Mrs. Howland's real reason for not being willing to ride on the banquette, was not the difficulty of climbing up, for at all the diligence offices they have convenient step ladders for the use of the passengers in getting up and down. The real reason was, she thought it was not genteel to ride there. And in fact it is not genteel. There is no part of the diligence where people who attach much importance to the fashion of the thing are willing to go, except the coupe.
"And we don't want to ride in the interior," said Mr. Howland.
"No," said the bride, "that is worse than the banquette."
"Nor to wait till another day," added Mr. Howland.
"No," said Mrs. Howland. "We must go to-morrow, and we must have the coupe. The gentleman who has engaged the third seat will give it up to us, I am sure, when he knows that it is to oblige a lady. You can engage the two seats in the coupe, and one more, either on the banquette or in the interior, and then when the time comes to set out we will get the gentleman to let us have his seat. You can pay him the difference."
"But, Angelina," said Mr. Howland, "I should not like to ask such a thing of the gentleman. He has taken pains to go a day or two beforehand to engage his seat, so as to make sure of a good one, and I don't think we ought to expect him to give it up to accommodate strangers."
"O, he won't mind," said Mrs. Howland. "He would as lief change as not. And if he won't, we can arrange it in some way or other."
So Mr. Howland engaged the two places in the coupe, and one on the banquette. When the morning came, he brought his two ladies to the diligence station in good season. He was very unwilling to ask the gentleman to give up his seat; but his wife, who was a good deal accustomed to have her own way, and who, besides, being now a bride, considered herself specially entitled to indulgences, declared that if her husband did not ask the gentleman, she would ask him herself.
"Very well," said Mr. Howland, "I will ask him then."
So Mr. Howland went to the gentleman, and asked him. He was standing at the time, with his umbrella and walking stick in his hand, near one of the pillars of the portico, smoking a cigar. He looked at Mr. Howland with an expression of some surprise upon his countenance on hearing the proposition, took one or two puffs from his cigar before replying, and then said quietly that he preferred the seat that he had taken in the coupe.
"It would be a very great favor to us, if you would exchange with us," said Mrs. Howland, who had come up with her husband, and stood near. "We are three, and we want very much to be seated together. We will very gladly pay the difference of the fare."
The gentleman immediately, on being thus addressed by Mrs. Howland, took the cigar out of his mouth, raised his hat, and bowed very politely.
"Are you and this other lady the gentleman's party?" he asked.
"Yes, sir," said Mrs. Howland.
"Then I cannot possibly think of giving up my seat in the coupe," replied the gentleman. "I am a Russian, it is true, but I am not a bear, as I should very justly be considered, if I were to leave a compartment in the coach when two such beautiful ladies as you were coming into it, especially under the influence of any such consideration as that of saving the difference in the fare."
The gentleman said this in so frank and good-natured a way that it was impossible to take offence at it, though Mr. Howland felt, that by making the request and receiving such a reply, he had placed himself in a very ridiculous position.
"I prize my seat more than ever," said the Russian, still addressing the ladies; "I prize it incalculably, and so I cannot think of going up upon the banquette. But if the gentleman will go up there, I will promise to take the very best care of the ladies possible, while they are in the coupe."
Mrs. Howland then took Louise aside, and asked, in a whisper, whether she should have any objection to ride in the interior, in case Mr. Howland could exchange the place on the banquette for one within. Louise was quite troubled that her sister should make such a proposal. She said she should not like very well to go in there among so many strangers, and in a place, too, where she could not see the scenery at all. Besides, Louise thought that it would have been more generous in Angelina, if she thought it necessary for one or the other of them to ride inside, to have offered to take a seat there herself, instead of putting it off upon her sister, especially since it was not so proper, she thought, for her, being a young lady, to ride among strangers, as for one who was married.
Mr. Howland then suggested that they should all ascend to the banquette. The persons who had the other two seats there would of course be willing to change for the coupe; or at least, since the coupe was considered the best place, there would be no indelicacy in asking them to do it.
But the bride would not listen to this proposal. She never could climb up there, in the world, she said.
By this time the coach was ready, and the conductor began to call upon the passengers to take their places, so that there was no more time for deliberation. They were all obliged to take their seats as the conductor called off the names from his way bill. The two ladies entered the coupe in company with the Russian, while Mr. Howland ascended by the step ladder to his seat on the banquette. While the passengers were thus getting seated the postilions were putting in the horses, and in a moment more the diligence set off.
Now, here were four persons setting out on a pleasant morning, in a good carriage, to take the drive from Naples to Rome—one of the most charming drives that the whole tour of Europe affords, and yet not one of them was in a condition to enjoy it. Every one was dissatisfied, out of humor, and unhappy. The Russian gentleman was displeased with Mr. Howland for asking him to give up his seat, and he felt uncomfortable and ill at ease in being shut up with two ladies, who he knew were displeased with him for not giving it up. The bride was vexed with the Russian for insisting on his place in the coupe, and with her sister for not being willing to go into the interior, so that she might ride with her husband. Miss Louise was offended at having been asked to sit in the interior, which request, she said to herself, was only part of a systematic plan, which her sister seemed to have adopted for the whole journey, to make herself the principal personage in every thing, and to treat her, Louise, as if she was of no consequence whatever. And last of all, Mr. Howland, on the banquette above, was out of humor with himself for having asked the Russian to give up his seat, and thus subjected himself to the mortification of a refusal, and with his wife for having required him to ask it.
Thus they were all at heart uncomfortable and unhappy, and as the horses trotted swiftly on along the smooth and beautiful road which traverses the rich campagna of Naples, on the way to Capua, the splendid scenery was wholly disregarded by every one of them.
Now, it is very often so with parties travelling in Europe. The external circumstances are all perhaps extremely favorable, and they are passing through scenes or visiting places which they have thought of and dreamed of at home with beating hearts for many years. And yet now that the time has come, and the enjoyment is before them, there is some internal source of disquiet, some mental vexation or annoyance, some secret resentment or heart-burning, arising out of the circumstances in which they are placed, or the relations which they sustain to one another, which destroys their peace and quiet of mind, and of course incapacitates them for any real happiness. So that, on the whole, judging from what I have seen of tourists in Europe, I should say that those that travel do not after all, in general, really pass their time more happily than those who remain at home.
I have two reasons for saying these things. One is, that those of you who have no opportunity to travel, may be more contented to remain at home, and not imagine that those of your friends who go abroad, necessarily pass their time so much more happily than you do. The other reason is, that when you do travel, either in our own country or in foreign lands, you should be more reasonable and considerate, and pay more regard to the wishes and feelings of others, than travellers usually do. Most of the disquietudes and heart-burnings which arise to mar the happiness of parties travelling, come from the selfishness of our hearts, which seems, in some way or other, to bring itself out more into view when we are on a long journey together than at any other time. In the ordinary intercourse of life, this selfishness is covered and concealed by the veil of politeness prescribed by the forms and usages of society. This veil is, however, very thin, and it soon disappears entirely, in the familiar intercourse which is necessarily produced by the incidents and adventures of a journey. In being daily and hourly with each other for a long time, people appear just as they really are; and unless they are really reasonable, considerate, and just towards one another, they are sure sooner or later to disagree.
But though the bridal party were very much out of humor with each other, as we have seen, Mr. George and Rollo were entirely free from any such uneasiness. They both felt very light-hearted and happy. They rambled about the court yard till they had seen all that there was there to interest them, and then they went to their own diligence. They opened the coupe door and looked in.
"Our seats are Nos. 1 and 2," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George. "One of them is next the window, and the other is in the middle. You may get in first, and take the seat by the window."
"No, uncle George," said Rollo, "you had better have the seat by the window."
"We will take turns for that seat," said Mr. George, "and you shall begin."
Mr. George arranged it to have Rollo take his turn first, because he knew very well that, in the beginning of a journey, such a boy as Rollo was always full of enthusiasm and excitement; and that, consequently, he would enjoy riding at the window much more at first than at a later period. So Rollo got in and took his seat, and Mr. George followed him. In a very few minutes afterwards, the postilions came out with the horses.
But I have something particular to say about the postilions and the horses, and I will say it in the next chapter.
There are a great many curious things to be observed in travelling by the public conveyances on the continent of Europe. One is the way of driving the horses. It is a very common thing to have them driven, not by coachmen, but by postilions. There is a postilion for each pair of horses, and he sits upon the nigh horse of the pair. Thus he rides and drives at the same time.
In these cases there is no driver's seat in front of the coach. Or if there is a seat in front, it is occupied by the passengers. All the driving is done by the postilions.
The postilions dress in a sort of livery, which is quite gay in its appearance, being trimmed with red. The collars and the lapels of their jackets, too, are ornamented here and there with figures of stage horns and other emblems of their profession. They also wear enormously long and stout boots. These boots come up above their knees. They carry only a short whip, for they only have to whip the horse that they are upon, and the one which is by the side of him, and so they do not have to reach very far. When there are four horses, there are two postilions, and when there are six, three.
A large diligence, with six horses, and a gayly dressed postilion mounted on one of the horses of each pair, makes a very grand appearance, you may depend, in coming, upon the gallop, into the streets of a town—the postilions cracking their whips, and making as much noise as they can, and all the boys and girls of the street coming to the doors and windows to see.
"I am glad we are going to have postilions, uncle George," said Rollo, as they were getting into the coach.
"Why?" asked Mr. George.
"Because I like the looks of them," said Rollo; "and then we always go faster, too, when we have postilions. Besides, when there is a seat for a driver on the coach, it blocks up our front windows; but now our windows are all clear."
"Those are excellent reasons—all of them," said Mr. George.
The postilions did indeed drive very fast, when they once got upon the road. There was a delay of half an hour, at the gate of the city, for the examination of the passports; during which time the postilions, having dismounted from their horses, stood talking together, and playing off jokes upon each other. At length, when the passports were ready, they sprang into their saddles, and set the horses off upon the run.
The road, on leaving the gates, entered a wide and beautiful avenue, which was at this time filled with peasants coming into town, for that day was market day in Naples. The people coming in were dressed in the most curious costumes. Multitudes were on foot, others rode crowded together in donkey carts. Some rode on the backs of donkeys, with a load of farming produce before or behind them. The women, in such cases, sat square upon the donkey's back, with both their feet hanging down on one side; and they banged the donkey with their heels to make him get out of the way so that the diligence could go by.
The country was very rich and beautiful, and it was cultivated every where like a garden. Here and there were groves of mulberries,—the tree on which the silk worm feeds,—and there were vineyards, with the vines just bursting into leaf, and now and then a little garden of orange trees. In the mean time the postilions kept cracking their whips, and the horses galloped on at such a speed that Rollo had scarcely time to see the objects by the road side, they glided so swiftly by.
"Won't the silk worms eat any kind of leaves but mulberry leaves?" he asked.
"No," said Mr. George, "at least the mulberry silk worms will not. There are a great many different kinds of silk worms in the world; that is, there are a great many different kinds of caterpillars that spin a thread and make a ball to wrap up their eggs in, and each one lives on a different plant or tree. If you watch the caterpillars in a garden, you will see that each kind lives on some particular leaf, and will not touch any other."
"Yes," said Rollo, "we found a big caterpillar once on the caraway in our garden, and we shut him up in a box, in order to see what sort of a butterfly he would turn into, and we gave him different kinds of leaves to eat, but he would not eat any but caraway leaves."
"And what became of him at last?" asked Mr. George.
"O, he turned into a butterfly," said Rollo. "First he turned into a chrysalis, and then he turned into a butterfly."
"There are a great many different kinds of silk worms," said Mr. George; "but in order to find one that can be made useful, there are several conditions to be fulfilled."
"What do you mean by conditions to be fulfilled?" asked Rollo.
"Why, I mean that there are several things necessary, in order that the silk worm should be a good one to make silk from. In the first place, the fibre of the silk that he spins must be fine, and also strong. In the next place, it must easily unwind from the cocoon. Then the animal must be a tolerably hardy one, so as to be easily raised in great numbers. Then the plant or tree that it feeds upon must be a thrifty and hardy one, and easily cultivated. The mulberry silk worm has been found to answer to these conditions better than any hitherto known; but there are some others that I believe they are now trying, in order to see if they will not be better still. They are looking about in all parts of the world to see what they can find."
"Who are looking?" asked Rollo.
"The Society of Acclimatation," replied Mr. George. "That is a society founded in Paris, and extending to all parts of the world, that is employed in finding new plants and new animals that can be made useful to man, or finding some that are useful to man in one country, and so introducing them into other countries. They are trying specially to find new silk worms."
"There are some kinds of caterpillars in America," said Rollo, "that wind their silk up into balls. I mean to get some of the balls when I go home, and see if I can unwind them."
"That will be an excellent plan," said Mr. George.
"If I can only find the end," said Rollo.
"There must be some art required to find the end," rejoined Mr. George, "and then I believe there is some preparation which is necessary to make the cocoons unwind."
"I wish I knew what it was," said Rollo.
"You can inquire of some of the people when we stop to dine," replied Mr. George.
"But I don't know enough Italian for that," said Rollo.
"That's a pity," said Mr. George.
In the mean time the horses trotted and galloped on until they had gone about ten miles, and then at length the postilions brought them up at the door of an inn, in a village. Fresh horses were standing all ready at the door, with new postilions. The postilions that had been driving took out their horses and led them away, and then came themselves to the window of the coupe and held out their caps for their buono mano, as they call it; that is, for a small present.
Every body in Italy, who performs any service, expects, in addition to being paid the price regularly agreed upon for the service, to receive a present, greater or smaller according to the nature of the case. This present is called the buono mano.
[Footnote 2: Pronounced bono mahno.]
The postilions always expect a buono mano from the passengers in the stage coach, especially from those who ride in the coupe.
Rollo gave them a few coppers each, for himself and for Mr. George, and just as he had done so, a young man without any hat upon his head, but with a white napkin under his arm, came out of the hotel, and advancing to the window of the coupe asked Mr. George and Rollo, in French, if they wished to take any thing.
"No," said Mr. George. "Not any thing."
"Yes, uncle George," said Rollo, "let us go and see what they have got."
He said this, of course, in English, but immediately changing his language into French, he asked the waiter what they could have.
The waiter said that they could have some hot coffee. There would not be time for any thing else.
"Let us have some hot coffee, uncle George," said Rollo, eagerly.
"Very well," said Mr. George.
So Rollo gave the order, and the waiter went into the house. In a moment he returned with two cups of very nice coffee, which he brought on a tray. By this time, however, the fresh horses were almost harnessed, so that it was necessary to drink the coffee quick. But there was no difficulty in doing this, for it was very nice, and not too hot. Rollo had barely time to give back the cups and pay for the coffee before the diligence began to move. The postilions started the horses with a strange sort of a cry, that they uttered while standing beside them, and then leaped into the saddles just as they were beginning to run.
The journey was continued much in this way during the whole day. The country was delightful; the road was hard and smooth as a floor, and the horses went very fast. In a word, Rollo had a capital ride.
After traversing a comparatively level country for some miles, the road entered a mountainous region, where there was a long ascent. At the foot of this ascent was a post house, and here they put on six horses instead of four. Of course there were now three postilions. But although the country was mountainous, the ascent was not steep, for the road was carried up by means of long windings and zigzags, in such a manner that the rise was very regular and gradual all the way. The consequence was, that the six horses took the diligence on almost as fast up the mountains as the four had done on the level ground.
About five o'clock in the afternoon the diligence made a good stop, in order to allow the passengers to dine.
"We will go in and take dinner with the rest," said Mr. George, "and so save the things that we have put up for a moonlight supper on the Pontine Marshes."
"Yes," said Rollo, "I shall like that very much. Besides, I want to go and take dinner with them here, for I want to see how they do it."
The place where the diligence stopped was a town called Mola di Gaeta. It stood in a very picturesque situation, near the sea. For though the road, in leaving Naples, had led at first into the interior of the country, and had since been winding about among the mountains, it had now come down again to the margin of the sea.
The entrance to the hotel was under a great archway. There were doors to the right and left from this archway, leading to staircases and to apartments. The passengers from the diligence were conducted through one of these doors into a very ancient looking hall, where there was a table set for dinner, with plates enough for twenty persons—that being about the number of passengers contained in the various compartments of the diligence.
On the opposite side of the arched way was a door leading to another hall, where there was a table set for the conductor and the postilions.
After waiting a few minutes, the company of passengers took their seats at the table. Besides the plates for the guests, there was a row of dishes extending up and down the middle of the table, containing apples, pears, oranges, nuts, raisins, little cakes, and bon-bons of various kinds. There were also in this row two vases containing flowers.
Excepting these fruits and sweetmeats, there was nothing eatable upon the table when the guests sat down. It is not customary in European dinners to put any thing upon the table except the dessert.
The other dishes are brought round, and presented one by one to each guest. First came the soup. When the soup had been eaten, and the soup plates had been removed, then there was boiled beef. The beef was upon two dishes, one for each side of the table. It was cut very nicely in slices, and each dish had a fork and a spoon in it, for the guests to help themselves with. The dishes were carried along the sides of the table by the waiters, and offered to each guest, the guests helping themselves in succession to such pieces as they liked.
After the beef had been eaten, the plates were all changed, and then came a course of fried potatoes; then, after another change of plates, a course of mutton chops; then green peas; then roast beef; then cauliflower with drawn butter; then roast chicken with salad; and lastly, some puddings. For each separate article of all this dinner there was a fresh plate furnished to each guest.
After the pudding plates were removed, small plates for the dessert were furnished; and then the fruit, and the nuts, and the bon-bons were served; and the dinner was over.
For every two guests there was a decanter of wine. At least it was what they called wine, though in taste it was more like sour cider. The people generally used it by pouring a little of it into their water.
When the dinner was over, the passengers all paid the amount that was charged for it, and each gave, besides, a buono mano to the waiter who had waited upon his side of the table. By this time the diligence was ready, and they all went and took their seats in it again.
The sun was now going down, and in the course of an hour the last of its rays were seen gilding the summits of the mountains. Soon afterwards the evening began to come on.
"Before a great while," said Mr. George, "we shall begin to draw near to the frontier."
"Yes," said Rollo, "the frontier between the kingdom of Naples and the dominions of the pope. They will examine the baggage there, I suppose."
"No," said Mr. George; "they will not examine the baggage till we get to Rome."
"I thought they always examined the baggage at the frontier, when we came into any new country," said Rollo.
"They do," said Mr. George, "unless the baggage is under the charge of public functionaries; and then, to save time, they often take it into the capital, and examine it there. I asked one of the passengers at the dinner table, and he said that the trunks were not to be opened till we get to Rome."
"They will examine the passports, I suppose," said Rollo.
"Yes," replied Mr. George, "they will, undoubtedly, examine the passports at the frontier."
You cannot pass from one country in Europe to another, any where, without stopping at the last military station of the country that you leave, to have your passport examined and stamped, in token of permission given you to go out, and also at the first military station of the country which you are about to enter, to have them examined and stamped again, in token of permission to come in. All this, as you may suppose, is very troublesome. Besides that, there are fees to pay, which, in the course of a long journey, amount to a considerable sum.
Besides the passport business which was to be attended to, there was a grand change of the diligence establishment at the frontier. The coach itself, which came from Naples, and also the conductor and postilions, were all left at the border, and the passengers were transferred to a new turnout which came from Rome. Indeed, there was a double change; for the Roman diligence brought a load of passengers from Rome to meet the Neapolitan one at the border, and thus each company of travellers had to be transferred to the establishment belonging to the country which they were entering.
This change was made in a post house, in a solitary place near the frontier. It caused a detention of nearly an hour, there were so many formalities to go through. It was late in the evening, and the work was done by the light of torches and lanterns. The two diligences were backed up against each other, and then all the trunks and baggage were transferred from the top of one coach to the top of the other, without being taken down at all. The baggage in these diligences is always packed upon the top.
You would think that this would make the coach top heavy, and so it does in some degree; but then the body of the coach below is so large and heavy, that the extra weight above is well counterpoised; and then, besides, the roads are so smooth and level, and withal so hard, that there is no danger of an upset.
The work of shifting the baggage from one diligence to the other was performed under an archway. There was a door leading from this archway into a large office, where the two companies of passengers were assembled, waiting for the coaches to be ready. All these passengers were loaded with carpet bags, knapsacks, valises, bundles of umbrellas and canes, and other such light baggage which they had had with them inside the coaches. Many of them were sitting on chairs and benches around the sides of the room, with their baggage near them. Others were walking about the room, changing money with each other; that is, those that were going from Rome to Naples were changing the Roman money, which they had left, for Neapolitan money. The money of one of these countries does not circulate well in the other country. In the middle of the room was a great table, where the conductors and other officials were at work with papers and accounts. Rollo could not understand what they were doing.
Rollo walked about the office, looking at the different passengers, and observing what was going on, while Mr. George remained near the coaches, to watch the transfer of the baggage.
"I want to be sure," said Mr. George, "that our trunk is there, and that they shift it over to the Roman coach."
"They are changing money inside," said Rollo. "Have you got any that you want to have changed?"
"No," said Mr. George. "I did not know that we could change here; and I calculated closely, and planned it so as not to have any of the Naples money left."
"I have got only two or three pieces," said Rollo, "and those I am going to carry home to America for coins."
At length the changes were completed, and Mr. George and Rollo, and also all the other passengers who had come in the diligence from Naples, began to take their places in the coach for Rome; while at the same time the other company got into the Naples coach, which was now going to return. The conductor came for his buono mano, the new horses were harnessed in, the postilions leaped into the saddles, and thus both parties set out upon their night ride. It was not far from nine o'clock.
"And now," said Mr. George, "before a great while we shall come upon the Pontine Marshes."
The Pontine Marshes form an immense tract of low and level land, which have been known and celebrated in history for nearly two thousand years. Though called marshes, they are so far drained by ancient canals that the land is firm enough for grass to grow upon it, and for flocks of sheep and herds of cattle to feed; but yet it is so low and so unhealthy, that it is utterly uninhabitable by man. The extent of these marshes is immense. The road traverses them in a direct line, and on a perfect level, for twenty-five or thirty miles, without passing a single habitation, except the post houses, and in the middle a solitary inn.
And yet there is nothing desolate or dreary in the aspect of the Pontine Marshes. On the contrary the view on every side, in passing across them, is extremely beautiful. The road is wide, and smooth, and level, and is bordered on each side with a double row of very ancient and venerable trees, which give to it, for the whole distance, the character of a magnificent avenue. Think of a broad and handsome avenue, running straight as an arrow for twenty-five miles!
Beyond the trees, on one side, there is a wide canal. This canal runs parallel to the road, and you often meet boats coming or going upon it. Beyond the canal, and beyond the trees on the other side, there extends, as far as the eye can reach, one vast expanse of living green, as smooth and beautiful as can be imagined. This immense tract of meadow is divided here and there by hedges or palings, and now and then a pretty grove appears to vary the scene. Immense flocks of sheep, and herds of horses and cattle, are seen feeding every where, and sometimes herdsmen, on horseback galloping to and fro, attending to their charge.
Mr. George and Rollo had had a fine opportunity to see the scenery of the Pontine Marshes when they came to Naples, for then they crossed them by day light. Now, however, it was night, and there was not much to be seen except the gnarled and venerable trunks of the trees, on each side of the road, as the light of the diligence lanterns flashed upon them.
The postilions drove exceedingly fast all the way over the marshes. The stage stopped three times to change horses. Mr. George kept up a continual conversation with Rollo all the way, in order to prevent him from going to sleep; for, as I have said before, it is considered dangerous to sleep while on the marshes.
About midnight Rollo proposed that they should eat their supper.
"No," said Mr. George, "we will keep our supper for the last thing. As long as we can keep awake without it we will."
So they went on for two hours longer. About one o'clock the moon rose, and the moonbeams shining in through the windows of the coupe, enlivened the interior very much.
"The moonlight makes it a great deal pleasanter," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "and it will make it a great deal more convenient for us to eat our supper."
The diligence stopped at a post house to change horses, a little before two, and immediately after it set out again. Mr. George said that it was time for them to take their supper. So Rollo opened the two bags, and took out from one the chicken and the two rolls, and from the other the bottle of coffee and the oranges. He placed the things, as he took them out, in a large pocket before him, in the front of the coupe. Mr. George took two newspapers out of his knapsack, one for Rollo and one for himself, to spread in their laps while they were eating. Then, with a sharp blade of his pocket knife, he began to carve the chicken.
The chicken was very tender, and the rolls were very nice; and as, moreover, both the travellers were quite hungry, they found the supper in all respects excellent. For drink, they had the juice of the oranges. To drink this juice, they cut a round hole in one end of the orange, and then run the blade of the knife in, in all directions, so as to break up the pulp. They could then drink out the juice very conveniently.
At the close of the supper they drank the coffee. The coffee was cold, it is true, but it was very good, and it made an excellent ending to the meal.
They made the supper last as long as possible, in order to occupy the time. It was three o'clock before it was finished and the papers cleared away. At half past three, Rollo, in looking out at the window, saw a sort of bank by the side of the road; and on observing attentively, he perceived that there was a curve in the road itself, before them.
"Uncle George," said he, "we have got off the marshes!"
"I verily believe we have," said Mr. George.
"So now we may go to sleep," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George. "I'll lay my head over into the corner, and you may lie against my shoulder."
So Mr. George and Rollo placed themselves in as comfortable a position as possible, and composed themselves to sleep. They slept several hours; waking up, or, rather, half waking up, once during the interval, while the diligence stopped for the purpose of changing horses. When they finally awoke, the sun was up high, and was shining in quite bright through the coupe windows.
THE ARRIVAL AT ROME.
When Mr. George and Rollo awoke from their sleep, they found that they were coming into the environs of Rome. The country was green and beautiful, but it seemed almost uninhabited; and in every direction were to be seen immense ruins of tombs, and aqueducts, and other such structures, now gone to decay. There was an ancient road leading out of Rome in this direction, called the Appian Way. It was by this road that the apostle Paul travelled, in making his celebrated journey to Rome, after appealing from the Jewish jurisdiction to that of Caesar. Indeed, the Appii Forum and the Three Taverns, places mentioned in the account of this journey contained in the Acts, were on the very road that Mr. George and Rollo had been travelling in their journey from Naples to Rome.
The remains of the Appian Way are still to be traced for many miles south of Rome. The road was paved, in ancient times, with very large blocks of an exceedingly hard kind of stone. These stones were of various shapes, but they were fitted together and flattened on the top, and thus they made a very smooth, and at the same time a very solid, pavement. In many places along the Appian Way this old pavement still remains, and is as good as ever.
At length the diligence arrived at the gate of the city. It passed through an arched gateway, leading through an ancient and very venerable wall, and then stopped at the door of a sort of office just within. There were two soldiers walking to and fro before the office.
"What are we stopping for here?" asked Rollo.
"For the passports, I suppose," said Mr. George.
The conductor of the diligence came to the door of the coupe and asked for the passports. Mr. George gave him his and Rollo's, and the conductor carried them, together with those which he had obtained from the other passengers, into the office. He then ordered the postilions to drive on.
"How shall we get our passports again?" asked Rollo.
"We must send for them to the police office, I suppose," said Mr. George.
It is very customary, in the great capitals of Europe, for the police to take the passports of travellers, on their arrival at the gates of the city, and direct them to send for them at the central police office on the following day.
After passing the gate, the diligence went on a long way, through a great many narrow streets, leading into the heart of the city. There was nothing in these streets to denote the ancient grandeur of Rome, excepting now and then an old and venerable ruin, standing neglected among the other buildings.
Rollo, however, in looking out at the windows of the coupe, saw a great many curious sights, as the diligence drove along. Among these one of the most remarkable was a procession of people dressed in a most fantastic manner, and wearing masks which entirely concealed their faces. There were two round holes in the masks for the eyes. Mr. George told Rollo that these were men doing penance. They had been condemned to walk through the streets in this way, as a punishment for some of their sins.
"Why, they treat them just as if they were children," said Rollo.
"They are children," said Mr. George, "in every thing but years."
Not long after this, Rollo saw a very magnificent carriage coming along. It was perfectly resplendent with crimson and gold. The horses, too, and the coachman, and the footmen, were gorgeously caparisoned and apparelled in the same manner.
Rollo pointed it out to Mr. George. Mr. George said it was a cardinal's carriage.
"I wish the cardinal was in it," said Rollo. "I would like to have seen him."
"I presume he would have looked very much like any other man," replied Mr. George.
"Yes, but he would have been dressed differently, wouldn't he?"
"Perhaps so," said Mr. George.
"Perhaps he would have had his red hat on," said Rollo. "I should like to see a cardinal wearing his red hat."
The badge of the cardinal's office is a hat and dress of a red color.
At length the diligence passed under an archway which led into a large open court, similar to the one in Naples where the journey had been commenced. The passengers got out, the horses were unharnessed, and the baggage was taken down. The trunks were all taken into an office pertaining to the custom house, to be examined by the officers there, in order to see whether there were any contraband goods in them.
Mr. George unlocked his trunk and lifted up the lid. An officer came up to the place, and patting with his hand upon the top of the clothes, as if to prevent Mr. George from lifting them up to show what was below, he said,—
"Very well; very well; it is sufficient."
So saying, he shut down the top of the trunk again, and marked it, "Passed." He then touched his hat, and asked Mr. George if he would make some small present for the benefit of the custom house officers.
That is to say, he evaded the performance of his duty as an officer of the customs, in expectation that the traveller would pay him for his delinquency. Most travellers are very willing to pay in such cases. They have various articles in their trunks which they have bought in other countries, and which, strictly speaking, are subject to duty in entering Rome, and they are willing to pay a fee rather than to have their trunks overhauled. Others, of more sturdy morality, refuse to pay these fees. They consider them as of the nature of bribes. So they say to the officers,—
"Examine the baggage as much as you please, and if you find any duties due, I will pay them. But I will not pay any bribes."
"Now, Rollo," said Mr. George, when he had got possession of his trunk, "we want a carriage to take us and the baggage to the hotel. You may go and see if you can find one, and I will stay here and look after the baggage. Engage the carriage by the hour."
So Rollo went out of the court, and soon found a carriage. Before he got into it, he said to the coachman,—
This means, By the hour.
At the same time Rollo held up his watch to the coachman, in order to let him see what o'clock it was.
"Si, signore," said the coachman.
Si, signore, is the Italian for Yes, sir.
Rollo could not say in Italian where he wished the coachman to go, and so he stood up in the carriage and pointed. Following his indications, the coachman drove in through the archway to the court of the post office, where he found Mr. George waiting. The trunk and the bags were put upon the carriage, in front, and Mr. George got in with Rollo.
"Hotel d'Amerique," said Mr. George to the coachman.
"Si, signore," said the coachman, and immediately he began to drive away.
The Hotel d'Amerique was the one where Mr. George had concluded to go. He had found the name and a description of this hotel in his guide book.
"Why did you want me to take the carriage by the hour?" asked Rollo.
"Because it is very probable," said Mr. George, "that we shall not get in at the Hotel d'Amerique, and in that case we shall have to go to other hotels, and unless we take him by the hour, he would charge a course for every hotel that we go to, and the charge even for two courses, is more than for an hour."
The event showed that Mr. George was right in his calculations. The Hotel d'Amerique was full. The waiter, who came out, as soon as he saw the carriage stop at the door, told Mr. George this in French.
"Then please tell our coachman," said Mr. George, "to drive us to any other principal hotel that is near here, and if that is full, to another; and so on, until he finds a good place where they can take us in."
Mr. George said this, of course, in French. The waiter delivered the message to the coachman in Italian.
"Yes," said the coachman, to himself, "that I'll do. But I shall take good care that you don't find any place where you can get in this two hours, if I can help it."
The reason why the coachman did not wish that his travellers should find a hotel soon was, of course, because he wished to earn as much money as possible by driving them about.
He immediately began to think what hotels would be most likely to be full, and drove first to those. The first of all was a hotel, situated quite near one of the gates of the city, the one where the principal entrance is for all travellers coming from the north. It is called the "Gate of the People,"—or in Italian, Porto del Popolo. The gate opens into a large triangular space, which is called the Piazza del Popolo. Piazza, in Italian, means a public square.
[Footnote 3: Pronounced Piatza.]
This Piazza del Popolo is one of the most celebrated places in Rome. There are three streets that radiate from it directly through the heart of the town. Between the centre and the two side streets, at the corners where they come out upon the square, are two churches exactly alike. They are called sometimes the twin churches, on this account.
The Piazza del Popolo is a great place for public parades. On one side is a high ascent, with a broad expanse of gardens upon the top, and zigzag roads, handsomely walled up, and ornamented with statues and fountains, and with marble seats placed here and there for foot passengers to rest themselves upon, when ascending.
Every year, at the end of what they call Holy Week, they have a great celebration of fireworks from the side of this hill and from the terrace above; and then all the people assemble in the Piazza below to witness them.
But I must go back to Mr. George and Rollo. The coachman stopped at a large hotel, fronting upon this square. On inquiring at the bureau, (on the continent of Europe they call an office a bureau) Mr. George found that all the rooms were occupied except one large apartment, of four rooms. This was, of course, more than Mr. George wanted.
At the next hotel where the coachman stopped, there were no rooms at all vacant, and at the next only one small room, with a single narrow bed in it.
"If we can't find any other," said Rollo, "we will come back and take this, and I will sleep on the floor."
"O, no!" said Mr. George.
"Why, uncle George!" said Rollo, "I can make it very comfortable on the floor, by rolling up two coats or cloaks into two long rolls, and wedging them in under me, one on one side of me and the other on the other, and then putting a carpet bag under my head for a pillow. It feels just as if you were in a good bed."
Mr. George smiled, and got into the carriage again, and the coachman drove on.
After a while, he stopped at the door of a hotel which stood in rather a retired place among narrow streets, though there was an open space in front of it. Mr. George inquired for rooms here, and the waiter said that they had one left.
"Are there two beds in it?" asked Mr. George.
"No, sir," said the waiter, "but we can put two beds in. Would you like to go and see it, sir?"
"No," said Mr. George, "I will take it without going to see it. It is the best that we can do."
So the porter of the hotel took off the baggage, while Mr. George paid the coachman for an hour and a half of time. Mr. George and Rollo then followed the porter to their room. In order to reach it, they had to ascend several stories, up massive staircases of stone, and then to go out to the extreme end of a long corridor. The room, when they came to it, proved to be quite small, and there was but one bed in it. There was, however, room for another; and the waiter, who had followed them up, said that he would cause another one to be put in without any delay.
"And now, uncle George," said Rollo, "we'll get ready, and then the first thing that we will do, will be to go down into the dining room and get some breakfast."
"Why, we have had our breakfast already," said Mr. George. "We had it at two o'clock this morning, on the Pontine Marshes."
"O, no," said Rollo, "that was our supper for last night."
"Very well," said Mr. George, "we will have some breakfast. You may go down and order it as soon as you are ready. I will come down by the time that it is on the table."
"What shall I order?" asked Rollo.
"Whatever you please," said Mr. George.
Accordingly Rollo, as soon as he was ready, went down stairs, and looking about in the entrance hall, he saw a door with the words TABLE D'HOTE, in gilt letters, over it.
"Ah," said he to himself, "this is the place."
He opened the door, and found himself in a long, narrow room, which seemed, however, more like a passage way than like a room. There was a sort of rack on one side of it for hats and coats. There were several pictures in this room, with prices marked upon them, as if they were for sale, and also a number of very pretty specimens of marble, and inlaid paper weights, and models of columns, temples, and ruins of various kinds, and other such curiosities as are kept every where in Rome to sell to visitors. Rollo looked at all these things as he passed through the room, considering, as he examined them, whether his uncle George would probably wish to buy any of them.
One of them was a model of a column, with a spiral line of sculptures extending from the base to the summit. These sculptures represented figures of men and horses, sometimes in battle, sometimes crossing bridges, and sometimes in grand processions entering a town.
"This must be a model of some old column in Rome, I suppose," said Rollo to himself. "Perhaps I shall find it some time or other, when I am rambling about the streets. But now I must go and see about breakfast."
So saying, Rollo passed on to the end of the passage way, where there was a door with curtains hanging before it. He pushed these curtains aside, opened the door, and went in. He found himself ushered into a dining room, with a long table extending up and down the centre of it. There was a row of massive columns on each side of the table, which supported the vaultings of the ceiling above. In different parts of this table there were small parties of gentlemen and ladies, engaged in taking late breakfasts.
Rollo walked down on one side of the table. There was on that side a party consisting of a lady and gentleman with two children, a girl and a boy,—all dressed in such a manner as to give them a foreign air. The gentleman was speaking to the waiter in French when Rollo passed by the party. The boy was sitting next to one of the great pillars. These pillars were so near the table that each one of them took the place of a seat.
Rollo walked on and took his seat next beyond the pillar. Of course the pillar was between him and the boy.
In a few minutes a waiter came to ask what Rollo would have for breakfast. He asked in French. Rollo gave an order for breakfast for two. He said that his uncle would be down in a few minutes.
"Very well, sir," said the waiter.
As soon as the waiter had gone, Rollo looked round the other way, and he saw that the other boy was peeping at him from behind the pillar. The boy laughed when he caught Rollo's eye, and Rollo laughed too. The boy seemed to be about nine years old.
A moment afterwards the boy began to peep at Rollo from behind the pillar on the back side, and then again on the front side, thus playing a sort of bo-peep. In this way, in a few minutes the two boys began to feel quite acquainted with each other, without, however, having spoken a word. They would, perhaps, have continued this game longer, but just at this moment the breakfast for the party came in, and the boy set himself at work eating a warm roll, buttered, and drinking his coffee.
"Can you speak French?" asked Rollo,—of course speaking French himself in asking the question.
"Yes," said the boy, "but not very well."
"Then," said Rollo to himself, "he cannot be a French boy. Perhaps he is an Italian boy."
"Italian?" asked Rollo.
"No," said the boy, "not at all. All I know of Italian is grazia."
[Footnote 4: Pronounced gratzia.]
"What does that mean?" asked Rollo.
"It means, Thank you," said the boy.
"He must be a German boy, I think," said Rollo to himself.
After pausing a moment, Rollo ventured to ask the boy what his name was.
"Charles Beekman," said the boy. He pronounced the name in so English a fashion, that Rollo perceived at once that he must speak English, so he changed from French to English himself, and said,—
"So you are an English boy."
"No," said Charles, "I'm an American boy."
Rollo here laughed outright, to think how much trouble they had both been taking to speak to each other in French, each supposing the other to be some outlandish foreigner, when, after all, they were both Americans, and could talk perfectly well together in their own mother tongue. Such adventures as these, however, are very frequently met with, in travelling in foreign countries.
After finding that they could both speak English, the two boys talked with each other like old friends, for some minutes; and at length finding that the pillar between them was very much in the way, Charles, with his mother's permission, moved his seat round to Rollo's side of it, Rollo himself moving to the next chair, to make room for him. Mrs. Beekman readily consented to this, having first observed that Rollo appeared to be a boy of agreeable and gentlemanly manners and demeanor.
When Mr. George at length came down, he was at first quite surprised to find that Rollo had thus obtained a companion; but before the breakfast was completed, he had become quite well acquainted with the Beekman family himself. Towards the end of the breakfast Rollo said that he was going out to take a walk, and he asked Mrs. Beekman to let Charles go with him. Mr. George was going to finish some letters in his room, and was then going to the post office and to the bankers, where Rollo did not particularly wish to go.
"It will be better for you and me to go out and take a walk by ourselves," said he to Charles, "if your mother is willing."
"Yes," said Mrs. Beekman, "I am willing. Only you must take care and not get lost."
"O, no," said Rollo; "I'll take care of that. Besides, if we should get lost, I know exactly what to do."
"What would you do?" asked Mr. Beekman.
"I would just take a carriage," replied Rollo, "and order the coachman to drive right to the hotel."
"Very good," said Mr. Beekman, "that would do very well."
Accordingly, after breakfast Mr. George went to his room to finish his letters, while Rollo and Charlie set out on their walk, to see what they could see of Rome.
Rollo's plan of taking a carriage, in case of getting lost in a strange city, and ordering the coachman to drive to the hotel, is a very excellent one; but one thing is quite essential to the success of it, and that is, that the person lost should know the name of his hotel. Unfortunately, Rollo was going out without this requisite. Neither he himself nor Mr. George had observed the name of the hotel where the coachman whom they had employed, on their arrival, had finally left them; and in going out Rollo forgot to observe what it was. He did not even take notice of the name of the street. He did observe, however, that the hotel had a small open space, like a square, before it, with a fountain on one side. The water from the fountain flowed into a small stone basin, with curious figures sculptured on the side of it.
"Let us go and look at this basin," said Charles, "and see if it would not be a good place for us to sail little boats."
The basin was in a cool and pleasant place, being overshadowed by the drooping branches of a great tree. Rollo, however, did not wish to stay by it long.
"Let us go now and see the streets of Rome," said he; "we can come out and look at this basin at any time."
So the two boys walked along, paying little attention to the direction in which they were going.
"We shall find some of the great streets pretty soon," said Rollo, "and then we will take an observation."
"What do you mean by that?" asked Charles.
"Why, we will take particular notice of some great building, or something else that is remarkable where we come out into the street, and by that means we shall be able to find our way back to the hotel."
"Yes," said Charles, "that will be an excellent plan."
So the boys went on, and presently they came out into what seemed to be quite a busy street. It was not very wide, but it was bordered with gay-looking shops on each side. These shops were for the sale of models, specimens of marbles, Etruscan vases, mosaics, cameos, and other such things which are sold to visitors in Rome. The number of mosaics and cameos was very great. They were displayed in little show cases, placed outside the shops, under the windows and before the doors, so that people could examine them as they walked along.
"O, what a quantity of mosaics and cameos!" exclaimed Rollo.
"What are mosaics and cameos?" asked Charles.
As perhaps some of the readers of this book may not know precisely the meaning of these words, I will here explain to them, as Rollo did to Charles, how mosaics and cameos are made.
In the first place, in respect to cameos. Imagine a small flat piece of stone, of different colors on the two sides, say white and black. We will suppose that the white extends half through the thickness of the stone, and that the remaining part of the thickness is black. Stones are often found with such a division of colors, not only white and black, but of all other hues.
Now, the artist takes such a stone as this, and marks out some design upon one side of it, say upon the white side. Perhaps the design may be the figure of a man. Then he cuts away all the white of the stone except the figure; and the result is, that he has the figure of the man, or whatever else his design may be, in white, on a black ground, and the whole in one piece of stone, all solid.
Besides stone, shell is often used for cameos; many shells being pink, or of some other such color on the inside, and white towards the outside. In such a case, the figures of the design would be pink, or whatever else the color of the stone might be, on a white ground.
The artists of Rome are celebrated for making beautiful cameos, both in shell and in stone. The figures are very nicely drawn, and are very beautifully cut, and when finished are set as pins, bracelets, and other ornaments.
The mosaics, on the other hand, are made in a very different way. In these, the design is represented by different colored stones or bits of glass worked in together, with great care, in an opening made in the material serving for the groundwork. Rollo and Charlie went into one of the shops, and saw a man making one of these mosaics. He was working at a table. On one side was a small painting on a card, which was his model. He was copying this painting in mosaic. The bits of glass that he was working with were in the form of slender bars, not much larger than a stiff bristle. They were of all imaginable colors—the several colors being each kept by itself, in the divisions of a box on the table. The man took up these bars, one by one, and broke off small pieces of them, of the colors that he wanted, with a pair of pincers, and set them into the work. He put them in perpendicularly, and the lower ends went into some soft composition, placed there to receive and hold them. The upper ends, of course, came together at the surface of the work.
The man who was making the mosaic told Rollo, that as soon as he had finished placing the pieces for the whole design, he should grind off the surface so as to make it smooth, and polish it. It would then have the appearance of a painted picture.
You would think that as the colors of the design are thus represented by separate pieces of glass, put in one after the other, the result would be a sort of mottled appearance, or at least that the gradations of hue would be sharp and harsh in their effect. But it is not so. The pieces are so small, and the different shades succeed each other so regularly, that when viewed from the ordinary distance, the junctions disappear altogether, and the shades mingle and blend together in the softest and most perfect manner.
The mosaic which the workman was making in the shop where Rollo and Charles went in, was a small one, intended to form part of a bracelet. There were, however, some in the same shop that were quite large. They were framed like pictures, and were hanging up against the wall. Indeed, there was nothing but the circumstance that they were in a mosaic shop, to denote that they were not pictures, beautifully painted in oil. One was a landscape; another was a portrait of a beautiful girl; another was a basket of fruit and flowers.
In some of the churches of Rome, there are mosaics of very large size, which are exact and beautiful copies of some of the most celebrated paintings in the world. Strangers coming into the churches and looking at these pictures, never imagine them to be mosaics, and when they are told that they are so, they can scarcely believe the story. But on examining them very near, or in looking at them through an opera glass,—for sometimes you cannot get very near them,—you can easily see the demarcations between the little stones.
It is a very curious circumstance that the most ancient pictures in the churches of Rome and Italy are mosaics, and not paintings. Mosaics seem to have come first in the history of art, and paintings followed, in imitation of them. Indeed, the arranging of different colored stones in a pavement, or in a floor, so as to represent some ornamental design, would naturally be the first attempt at decoration made in the construction of buildings. Then would follow casing the walls with different colored marbles, arranged in pretty ways, and finally the representation of men and animals would be attempted. This we find, from an examination of ancient monuments, was the actual course of things, and painting in oil came in at the end as an imitation of pictures in stone.
Rollo and Charles were induced to go into the mosaic shop by the invitation of the workman, whose table, as it happened, stood near the door. He saw the two boys looking in somewhat wistfully, as they went by, and he invited them to walk in. He saw at once from their appearance that they were visitors that had just arrived in town, and though he did not expect that they would buy any of his mosaics themselves, he thought that there might be ladies in their party who would come and buy, if he treated the boys politely. It was on that account that he invited them to come in. And when they had looked about the establishment as much as they wished, and were ready to go away, he gave them each one of his cards, and asked them to give the cards to the ladies of their party.
"But there are no ladies of my party," said Rollo.
"Who is of your party?" asked the workman.
"Only a young gentleman," said Rollo.
"O, very well," rejoined the man, "that will do just as well. He will certainly wish to buy mosaics, while he is in Rome, for some of the young ladies of his acquaintance."
"I think that is very doubtful," said Rollo; "but nevertheless I will give him the card."
So Rollo and Charles bade the mosaic man good by, and went away.
They had been so much interested in what they had seen in the mosaic shop, and their attention, now that they had left it, was so much occupied with looking at the display of mosaics and cameos which they saw in the little show cases along the street, that Rollo forgot entirely his resolve to take an observation, so as not to lose his way. The boys walked on together until they came to a long and straight, though not very wide street, which was so full of animation and bustle, and was bordered, moreover, on each side by so many gay looking shops, that Rollo said he was satisfied it must be one of the principal streets of the town.
It was, in fact, the principal street in the town. The street is called the Corso. It runs in a straight line from the Porto del Popolo, which I have already described, into the very heart of the city. It is near the inner end of this street that the great region of ancient ruins begins.
Rollo and Charles began to walk along the Corso, looking at the shops as they went on. They were obliged, however, to walk in the middle of the street, for the sidewalks, where there were any, were so narrow and irregular as to be of very little service. Indeed, almost all the pedestrians walked in the middle of the street. Now and then a carriage came along, it is true, but the people in that case opened to the right and left, and let it go by.
After going on for some distance, Charles began to look about him somewhat uneasily.
"Rollo," said he, "are you sure that we can find our way home again?"
"O! I forgot about the way home," said Rollo; "but never mind; I can find it easily enough. I can inquire. What is the name of the hotel?"
"I don't know," said Charles.
"Don't know?" repeated Rollo, in a tone of surprise. "Don't know the name of the hotel where you are lodging?"
"No," said Charles, "we only came last night, and I don't know the name of the hotel at all."
"Nor of the street that it is in?" asked Rollo.
"No," said Charles.
"Then," said Rollo, in rather a desponding tone, "I don't know what we shall do."
Just then a carriage was seen coming along; and Rollo and Charles, who had stopped suddenly in the middle of the street, in their surprise and alarm, were obliged to run quick to get out of the way. The carriage was a very elegant one in red and gold, and there were two elegantly dressed footmen standing behind.
"That must be a cardinal's carriage," said Rollo, when the carriage had gone by.
"How do you know?" asked Charles.
"Uncle George told me about them," said Rollo. "You see Rome and all the country about here is under the government of the pope, and the chief officers of his government are the cardinals; and uncle George told me that they ride about in elegant carriages, in red and gold, very splendid and gay. We saw one of them, too, when we were coming into town."
Charles watched the carriage a minute or two, until it had gone some distance away, and then turning to Rollo again, he said,—
"And how about finding our way home again, Rollo?"
"Ah!" said Rollo, "in regard to that I don't know. We shall have to take a carriage when we want to go home, so we may as well go on and have our walk out. We are lost now, and we can't be any more lost go where we will."
So the boys walked on. Presently they came to a large square, with an immense column standing in the centre of it. This column was so similar to the little model which Rollo had seen at the hotel, that he exclaimed at once that it was the same. It had a spiral line of sculptures winding round and round it, from the base to the summit. The figures, however, were very much corroded and worn away, as were indeed all the angles and edges of the base, and of the capital of the column, by the tooth of time. The column had been standing there for eighteen or twenty centuries.
"I saw a model of that very column," said Rollo, "in a little room at the hotel. It is the column of Trajan. I'll prove it to you."
So Rollo asked a gentleman, who was standing on the sidewalk with a Murray's Guide Book in his hand, and who Rollo knew, by that circumstance, was an English or American visitor, if that was not the column of Trajan.
"No," said the gentleman; "it is the column of Antonine."
Rollo looked somewhat abashed at receiving this answer, which turned his attempt to show off his learning to Charles into a ridiculous failure.
"I thought it was called the column of Trajan," said he.
The gentleman, who, as it happened, was an Englishman, made no reply to this observation, but quietly took out an opera glass from a case, which was strapped over his shoulder, and began studying the sculptures on the column.
So Rollo and Charles walked away.
"I believe the name of it is the column of Trajan," said Rollo, "for I saw the name of it on the model at the hotel. That man has just come, and he don't know."
"Are you sure it is the same column?" suggested Charles.
"Yes," said Rollo, "for it was exactly of that shape, and it had the same spiral line of images going round and round it, and a statue on the top. See, how old and venerable it looks! It was built almost two thousand years ago."
"What did they build it for?" asked Charles.
"Why, I don't know exactly," said Rollo, looking a little puzzled; "for ornament, I suppose."
"But I don't see much ornament," said Charles, "in a big column standing all by itself, and with nothing for it to keep up."
"But it has something to keep up," rejoined Rollo. "Don't you see, there is a statue on the top of it."
"If that's what it is to keep up," said Charles, "I don't see any sense in making the column so tall as to hold up the statue so high that we can't see it."
"Nor I," said Rollo, "but they often made tall columns, like these, in ancient times."
After rambling about a short time longer, the boys came to another open space, where there was a second column very similar in appearance to the first.
"Ah!" said Rollo, "perhaps this is the column of Trajan."
Rollo was right this time. There are several large columns standing among the ruins of Rome, and among them are two with spiral lines of sculpture around them, which are extremely similar to each other, and it is not at all surprising that Rollo was at first deceived by the resemblance between them.
These columns were built in honor of the victories of great generals, and the spiral lines of sculptures were representations of their different exploits. The statue upon the top of the column was, originally, that of the man in whose honor the column was erected. But in the case of the Roman columns, these original statues have been taken down, and replaced by bronze images of saints, or of the Virgin Mary.
Near the column of Trajan was a large sunken space, in the middle of the square, with a railing around it. In the bottom of this sunken space was a pavement, which looked very old, and rising from it were rows of columns with the tops broken off. The old pavement was eight or ten feet below the level of the street.
"This must be some old ruin or other," said Rollo; "a temple perhaps."
"Only I do not see," said Charles, "why they built their temples down so low."
"Nor do I," said Rollo.
"But, Rollo," said Charles, "I think it is time for us to begin to try to find our way home. I don't see how you are going to find the way at all."
"If I only knew the name of the hotel, or even the name of the street," said Rollo, "I should know at once what to do."
"And now," said Rollo, "the first thing is to find somebody that can speak French or English, for us to inquire of."
"What good will that do?" asked Charles, "as long as we don't know what to ask them for?"
"True," said Rollo. "That's a real difficulty. I wish we just knew the name of the hotel. At any rate, we will walk along until we find a carriage, and I will be thinking what we had better do."
The boys walked along together. Charles kept silence, so as not to interrupt Rollo in his thinking.
"All I know," said Rollo, after a short pause, "is, that the long, straight street that we came through, is the Corso. I have heard of that street before. If we could only find our way to the Corso, I believe that I could follow it along, and at last find the mosaic shop, and so get back to our hotel."
"Very well," said Charles, "let us try."
"Or, we might get into a carriage," said Rollo, "and direct the coachman which way to drive by pointing."
"So we could," said Charles. "And I should like that, for I am tired of walking so much."
"Then we will get a carriage," said Rollo. "We will take the first one that we see. You shall get inside, and I will mount upon the box with the coachman, and show him which way to go."
"No," said Charles, "we will both get inside, for we can stand up there and point."
"So we can," said Rollo.
There are carriages to be found almost every where in the streets of Rome, especially in the neighborhood of the most interesting ruins. It was not long before Rollo and Charles came in sight of one. The coachman was looking toward them, and was cracking his whip to attract their attention.
Rollo and Charles walked directly towards the spot, and Rollo, taking out his watch, and showing the coachman what o'clock it was, said,—
This was to notify the coachman that he took the carriage by the hour.
"Si, signore," said the coachman; and then Rollo and Charles got in.
The carriage was entirely open,—the top being turned back,—so that it afforded an uninterrupted view in every direction; and also, by standing up and pointing forward, the boys could easily indicate to the coachman which way they wished him to drive. Rollo, however, in the first instance, directed him in words to drive to the Corso.
"Si, signore," said the coachman; and so he drove on.
The boys sat in the carriage, or stood up to look back at the various objects of interest that attracted them as they passed. The scenes through which the driver took them seemed very strange. Every thing in Rome was strange to them, and their course now lay through a part of the city which they had not been in before. Their attention was continually attracted first upon this side of the carriage and then upon the other, as they rode along; and they pointed out to each other the remarkable objects they were passing.
The driver meanwhile upon his seat drove on, entirely indifferent to it all. The scenes that were so new to the boys, were perfectly familiar to him.
He soon entered a region of dark, crooked, and winding alleys, where Rollo said that he and Charles could never have found their way, if they had undertaken it alone. They frequently passed portions of old ruins. In some places these ruins consisted of columns standing alone, or immense fragments of broken arches that had fallen down, and now lay neglected upon the ground. In other places, the remains of ancient temples stood built in with the houses of the street, with market women at their stalls below, forming a strange and incongruous spectacle of ancient magnificence and splendor, surrounded and overwhelmed with modern poverty and degradation. As the carriage drove through these places, Rollo and Charles stood up in it, supporting themselves by pressing their knees against the front seat, and holding on to each other. They stood up thus partly to be enabled to see better, and partly so as to be ready to point out the way as soon as they should enter the Corso.
It was not long before they came to the Corso. The coachman then looked round, as if to inquire of the boys what he was to do next.
"Go right on," said Rollo; and so saying, he stood up in the carriage, and pointed forward. The coachman, of course, did not understand the words, but the gesture was significant enough, and so he drove on.
"Now watch, Charley, sharp," said Rollo; "and when you see the street that you think is the one where we came into the Corso, tell me."
So the boys drove on through the Corso, standing up all the time in the middle of the carriage, and looking about them in a very eager manner.
They went on in this way for some time, but they could not identify any of the branch streets as the one by which they had come into the Corso.
"Never mind," said Rollo; "we will turn off into any of these streets, and perhaps we shall come upon the hotel. We will take the streets that look most like it, and at any rate, we shall have a good ride, and see the city of Rome."
Rollo accordingly pointed to a side street when he wished the coachman to turn. The coachman said, "Si, signore," and immediately went in that direction. As he advanced in the new street, the boys looked about on all sides to see if they could recognize any signs of their approach to their hotel.
After going on a little way, and seeing nothing that looked at all familiar, Rollo made signs to the coachman to turn down another street, which he thought looked promising. The coachman did as he was directed, wondering a little, however, at the strange demeanor of the boys; and feeling somewhat curious to know where they wanted to go. He, however, felt comparatively little interest in the question, after all; for, as he was paid by the hour, it was of no consequence to him where they directed him to drive.
Rollo now perceived that Charles began to be somewhat anxious in respect to the situation they were in, and so he tried in every way to encourage him, and to amuse his mind.
"I'll tell you what we will do," said Rollo. "This street that we are in now seems to be a good long one, and we will drive through the whole length of it, and you shall look down all the streets that open into it on the right hand, and I will on the left; and if we see any thing that looks like our hotel, we will stop."
So they rode on, each boy looking out on his side, until at length they came to the end of the street, where there was a sort of opening, and a river. There was a bridge across the river, and an ancient and venerable-looking castle on the other side of it.
"Ah," said Rollo, "here is the River Tiber."
"How do you know that that is the name of it?" asked Charles.
"Because I know it is the Tiber that Rome is built upon," replied Rollo,—"the Yellow Tiber, as they call it. Don't you see how yellow it is?"
As Rollo said this, he made signs for the coachman to turn out to the side of the street at the entrance of the bridge, and to stop there. The coachman did as he was directed, and then Rollo and Charles, still standing up in the carriage, had a fine view of the bridge and of the river, and also of the Castle of St. Angelo beyond. The water of the river was quite turbid, and was of a yellow color.
"That's the river," said Rollo, "that Romulus and Remus were floated down on, in that little ark."
"What little ark?" asked Charles.
"Why, you see," replied Rollo, "when Romulus and Remus were babies, the story is that somebody wanted to have them killed; but he did not like to kill them himself with his own hand, and therefore he put them into a sort of basket, made of bulrushes, and set them afloat on this river, up above here a little way. So they floated down the stream, and came along by here."
"Under this bridge?" asked Charles.
"Under where this bridge is now," said Rollo; "but of course there was no bridge here then. There was no town here then—nothing but fields and woods."
"And what became of the babies?" asked Charles.
"Why, they floated down below here a little way," said Rollo, "to a place where there is a turn in the river; and there the basket went ashore, and was upset, and the children crawled out on the sand, and began to cry. Pretty soon a wolf, who was in the thicket near by, heard the crying, and came down to see what it was."
"And did he eat them up?" asked Charles.
"It was not a he wolf," said Rollo; "it was a she wolf—an old mother wolf. She thought that the children were little wolves, and she came to them, and lay down by them, nursed them, and took care of them, just as if she had been a cat, and they had been her two kittens."
"O Rollo," said Charles, "what a story! I don't believe it."
"Nor I," said Rollo. "Indeed, I don't think any body nowadays believes it exactly. But that is really the story. You can read it in the history of Rome. These two children, when they grew up, laid the foundations of Rome. I don't really believe that the story is true; but if it is true, this is the very place where the basket, with the two babies in it, must have drifted along."
Charles gazed for a few minutes in silence on the current of turbid water which was shooting swiftly under the bridge, and then said that it was time for them to go.
"Yes," said Rollo; "and we will turn round and go back, for it is of no use to go over the bridge. I am sure that we did not come over the river when we set out from the hotel, and so we must keep on this side."
Rollo concluded, however, not to go back the same way that he came; and so making signs to the coachman for this purpose, he turned into another street, and as the carriage drove along, he and Charles looked out in every direction for their hotel; but no signs of it were to be seen.
After going on for some distance, Rollo's attention was attracted by a sign in English over a shop door as follows:—
MANUFACTURE OF ROMAN SCARFS. ENGLISH SPOKEN.
"Ah!" he exclaimed, suddenly, "that is just what I wanted to find." And he immediately made a sign for the coachman to stop at the door.
"What is it?" asked Charles.
"It is a place where they make Roman scarfs," said Rollo, "and I want to get one for my cousin Lucy. She told me to be sure, if I came to Rome, to get her a Roman scarf. You can't get them in any other place."
As Rollo said this, he descended from the carriage, and Charles followed him.
"They speak English here," said Rollo, as he went into the shop, "and so we shall not have any difficulty."
These Roman scarfs are very pretty ornaments for the necks and shoulders of ladies. They are made of silk, and are of various sizes, some being large enough to form a good wide mantle, and others not much wider than a wide ribbon. The central part of the scarf is usually of some uniform hue, such as black, blue, green, or brown; and the ends are ornamented with stripes of various colors, which pass across from side to side.