THE DODGE CLUB, OR, ITALY IN MDCCCLIX.
James De Mille
Author of "Cord and Creese; or, the Brandon Mystery," etc., etc
With One Hundred Illustrations
New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, Franklin Square 1872.
PARIS.—THE DODGE CLUB.—HOW TO SPEAK FRENCH.—HOW TO RAISE A CROWD.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Dick!—Here I Invite My Friends.—The Club.—The Place Vendome.—Keep It Buttons!
ORLEANS.—HOW TO QUELL A LANDLORD.—HOW TO FIGHT OFF HUMBUGS; AND HOW TO TRAVEL WITHOUT BAGGAGE.
ILLUSTRATIONS. That's A Hotel Bill.—Cicero Against Verres. —Sac-r-r-r-re.
THE RHONE IN A RAIN.—THE MAD FRENCHMAN.—SUICIDE A CAPITAL CRIME IN FRANCE.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Number 729.—Horror! Despair!
THE RETIRED ORGAN-GRINDER.—THE SENATOR PHILOSOPHIZES.—EVILS OF NOT HAVING A PASSPORT.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Those Italians.—Genoa, The Superb.
LAZARONI AND MACARONI.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Their Noble Excellencies.—Lazaroni And Macaroni.
DOLORES.—AN ITALIAN MAID LEARNS ENGLISH.—A ROMANTIC ADVENTURE.—A MASQUERADE, AND WHAT BEFELL THE SENATOR.—A CHARMING DOMINO.—A MOONLIGHT WALK, AND AN ASTOUNDING DISCOVERY.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Yankee Doodle.—I Kiss Hands.—The Young Hussar.—A Perplexed Senator.—Exit Senator.
ADVENTURES AND MISADVENTURES.—A WET GROTTO AND A BOILING LAKE.—THE TWO FAIR SPANIARDS, AND THE DONKEY RIDE.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Darn it!—Don't.—Thump!—A Trying Moment.—Senator And Donkey.
A DRIVE INTO THE COUNTRY.—A FIGHT WITH A VETTURINO.—THE EFFECT OF EATING "HARD BOILED EGGS."—WHAT THEY SAW AT PAESTUM.—FIVE TEMPLES AND ONE "MILL."
ILLUSTRATIONS. Do You See That?—The Mill At Paestum.
ON THE WATER, WHERE BUTTONS SEES A LOST IDEA AND GIVES CHASE TO IT, TOGETHER WITH THE HEART-SICKENING RESULTS THEREOF.
ILLUSTRATIONS. The Spaniards.—A Thousand Pardons!
THE SENATOR HAS SUCH A FANCY FOR SEEKING USEFUL INFORMATION!—CURIOUS POSITION OF A WISE, AND WELL-KNOWN, AND DESERVEDLY-POPULAR LEGISLATOR, AND UNDIGNIFIED MODE OF HIS ESCAPE.
ILLUSTRATIONS. The Senator.
HERCULANEUM AND POMPEII, AND ALL THAT THE SIGHT OF THOSE FAMOUS PLACES PRODUCED ON THE MINDS OF THE DODGE CLUB.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Villa Of Diomedes.—Phew!—A Street In Pompeii.
VESUVIUS.—WONDERFUL ASCENT OF THE CONE.—WONDERFUL DESCENT INTO THE CRATER.—AND MOST WONDERFUL DISAPPEARANCE OF MR. FIGGS, AFTER WHOM ALL HIS FRIENDS GO, WITH THEIR LIVES IN THEIR HANDS.—GREAT SENSATION AMONG SPECTATORS.
ILLUSTRATIONS. The Ascent Of Vesuvius.—The Descent Of Vesuvius. -Where's Figgs?—Mr Figgs.—The Ladies.
MAGNIFICENT ATTITUDE OF THE SENATOR; BRILLIANCY OF BUTTONS; AND PLUCK OF THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CLUB: BY ALL OF WHICH THE GREATEST EFFECTS ARE PRODUCED.
ILLUSTRATIONS. The Bandits Captured.—Sold.
DOLORES ONCE MORE.—A PLEASANT CONVERSATION.—BUTTONS LEARNS MORE OF HIS YOUNG FRIEND.—AFFECTING FAREWELL.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Two Piastres!—The Brave Soldier.
DICK RELATES A FAMILY LEGEND.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Buying A Whale.—The Long-Lost Son.
NIGHT ON THE ROAD.—THE CLUB ASLEEP.—THEY ENTER ROME.—THOUGHTS ON APPROACHING AND ENTERING "THE ETERNAL CITY."
ILLUSTRATIONS. To Rome.
A LETTER BY DICK, AND CRITICISMS OF HIS FRIENDS.
ST. PETER'S!—THE TRAGIC STORY OF THE FAT MAN IN THE BALL.—HOW ANOTHER TRAGEDY NEARLY HAPPENED.—THE WOES OF MEINHERR SCHATT.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Gracious Me!
THE GLORY, GRANDEUR, BEAUTY, AND INFINITE VARIETY OF THE PINCIAN HILL; NARRATED AND DETAILED NOT COLUMNARILY BUT EXHAUSTIVELY, AND AFTER THE MANNER OF RABELAIS.
HARMONY ON THE PINCIAN HILL.—MUSIC HATH CHARMS.—AMERICAN MELODIES. —THE GLORY, THE POWER, AND THE BEAUTY OF YANKEE DOODLE, AND THE MERCENARY SOUL OF AN ITALIAN ORGAN-GRINDER.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Old Virginny.
HOW A BARGAIN IS MADE.—THE WILES OF THE ITALIAN TRADESMAN.—THE NAKED SULKY BEGGAR, AND THE JOVIAL WELL-CLAD BEGGAR.—WHO IS THE KING OF BEGGARS?
ILLUSTRATIONS. The Shrug.
THE MANIFOLD LIFE OF THE CAFE NUOVO, AND HOW THEY RECEIVED THE NEWS ABOUT MAGENTA.—EXCITEMENT.—ENTHUSIASM.—TEARS.—EMBRACES.
ILLUSTRATIONS. News Of Magenta!
ILLUSTRATIONS. Before And After.
BUTTONS A MAN OF ONE IDEA.—DICK AND HIS MEASURING TAPE.—DARK EYES. —SUSCEPTIBLE HEART.—YOUNG MAIDEN WHO LIVES OUT OF TOWN.—GRAND COLLISION OF TWO ABSTRACTED LOVERS IN THE PUBLIC STREETS.
CONSEQUENCES OF BEING GALLANT IN ITALY, WHERE THERE ARE LOVERS, HUSBANDS, BROTHERS, FATHERS, COUSINS, AND INNUMERABLE OTHER RELATIVES AND CONNECTIONS, ALL READY WITH THE STILETTO.
ILLUSTRATIONS. An Interruption.
DICK ON THE SICK LIST.—RAPTURE OF BUTTONS AT MAKING AN IMPORTANT DISCOVERY.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Poor Dick!
WHAT KIND OF A LETTER THE SENATOR WROTE FOR THE "NEW ENGLAND PATRIOT," WHICH SHOWS A TRITE, LIBERAL, UNBIASED, PLAIN, UNVARNISHED VIEW OF ROME.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Sketches By A Friend.
THE LONELY ONE AND HIS COMFORTER.—THE TRUE MEDICINE FOR A SICK MAN.
OCCUPATIONS AND PEREGRINATIONS OF BUTTONS.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Buttons and Murray.
BUTTONS ACTS THE GOOD SAMARITAN, AND LITERALLY UNEARTHS A MOST UNEXPECTED VICTIM OF AN ATROCIOUS ROBBERY.—GR-R-R-A-CIOUS ME!
ANOTHER DISCOVERY MADE BY BUTTONS.
[Transcriber's Note: Transliteration of Greek.] Brekekek koax koax koax. [TN: /end Greek.]
ILLUSTRATIONS. Brekekekek koax koax!
THE SENATOR PURSUES HIS INVESTIGATIONS.—AN INTELLIGENT ROMAN TOUCHES A CHORD IN THE SENATOR'S HEART THAT VIBRATES.—RESULTS OF THE VIBRATION.—A VISIT FROM THE ROMAN POLICE; AND THE GREAT RACE DOWN THE CORSO BETWEEN THE SENATOR AND A ROMAN SPY.—GLEE OF THE POPULACE!—HI! HI!
ILLUSTRATIONS. Got You There!—Walking Spanish.
DICK MAKES ANOTHER EFFORT, AND BEGINS TO FEEL ENCOURAGED.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Dick Thinks It Over. The Senator In A Bad Fix.—The Senator In A Worse Fix.
ROME.—ANCIENT HISTORY.—THE PREHISTORIC ERA.—CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF NIEBUHR AND HIS SCHOOL.—THE EARLY HISTORY OF ROME PLACED ON A RIGHT BASIS.—EXPLANATION OF HISTORY OF REPUBLIC. —NAPOLEON'S "CAESAR."—THE IMPERIAL REGIME.—THE NORTHERN BARBARIANS.—RISE OF THE PAPACY.—MEDIAEVAL ROME.
TOPOGRAPHY.—TRUE ADJUSTMENT OF BOUNDS OF ANCIENT CITY.—ITS PROBABLE POPULATION.—GEOLOGY.—EXAMINATION OF FORMATION.—TUFA TRAVERTINE.—ROMAN CEMENT.—TERRA-COTTA. SPECIAL CONSIDERATION OF ROMAN CATACOMBS.—BOSIO.—ARRINGHI.—CARDINAL WISEMAN.—RECENT EXPLORATIONS, INVESTIGATIONS, EXAMINATIONS, EXHUMATIONS, AND RESUSCITATIONS.—EARLY CHRISTIAN HISTORY SET ON A TRUE BASIS. —RELICS.—MARTYRS.—REAL ORIGIN OF CATACOMBS.—TRUE AND RELIABLE EXTENT (WITH MAPS).
REMARKS ON ART.—THE RENAISSANCE.—THE EARLY PAINTERS: CIMABUE, GIOTTO, PERUGINO, RAFAELLE SANZIO, MICHELANGELO BUONAROTTI.—THE TRANSFIGURATION.—THE MOSES OF MICHELANGELO.—BELLINI.—SAINT PETER'S, AND MORE PARTICULARLY THE COLONNADE.—THE LAST JUDGMENT. —DANTE.—THE MEDIAEVAL SPIRIT.—EFFECT OF GOTHIC ART ON ITALY AND ITALIAN TASTE.—COMPARISON, OF LOMBARD WITH SICILIAN CHURCHES.—TO WHAT EXTENT ROME INFLUENCED THIS DEVELOPMENT.—THE FOSTERING SPIRIT OF THE CHURCH.—ALL MODERN ART CHRISTIAN.—WHY THIS WAS A NECESSITY. —FOLLIES OF MODERN CRITICS.—REYNOLDS AND RUSKIN.—HOW FAR POPULAR TASTE IS WORTH ANY THING.—CONCLUDING REMARKS OF A MISCELLANEOUS DESCRIPTION.
ITALIAN TRAVEL, ROADS, INNS.—A GRAND BREAKDOWN.—AN ARMY OF BEGGARS.—SIX MEN HUNTING UP A CARRIAGE WHEEL; AND PLANS OF THE SENATOR FOR THE GOOD OF ITALY.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Travelling In Italy.—The Senator's Escort.
TRIUMPHANT PROGRESS OF DICK.—GENDARMES FOILED.—THE DODGE CLUB IS ATTACKED BY BRIGANDS, AND EVERY MAN OF IT COVERS HIMSELF WITH GLORY.—SCREAM OF THE AMERICAN EAGLE!
ILLUSTRATIONS. Dick In His Glory.—Pietro.—The Barricade.
PLEASANT MEDIATIONS ABOUT THE WONDERS OF TOBACCO; AND THREE PLEASANT ANECDOTES BY AN ITALIAN BRIGAND.
FINAL ATTACK OF REINFORCEMENTS OF BRIGANDS.—THE DODGE CLUB DEFIES THEM AND REPELS THEM.—HOW TO MAKE A BARRICADE.—FRATERNIZATION OF AMERICAN EAGLE AND GALLIC COCK.—THERE'S NOTHING LIKE LEATHER.
ILLUSTRATIONS. An International Affair.
FLORENCE.—DESPERATION OF BUTTONS, OF MR. FIGGS, AND OF THE DOCTOR.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Florence From San Miniato.—Pitti Palace.—Fountain Of Neptune, Palazzo Vecchio.—The Duomo.—The Campanile.—Trozzi Palace. —Buttons Melancholy.
THE SENATOR ENTRAPPED.—THE WILES AND WITCHERY OF A QUEEN OF SOCIETY. —HIS FATE DESTINED TO BE, AS HE THINKS, ITALIAN COUNTESSES. —SENTIMENTAL CONVERSATION.—POETRY.—BEAUTY.—MOONLIGHT.—RAPTURE. —DISTRACTION.—BLISS!
ILLUSTRATIONS. La Cica.
"MORERE DIAGORA, NON ENIM IN COELUM ADSCENSURUS ES."—THE APOTHEOSIS OF THE SENATOR (NOTHING LESS—IT WAS A MOMENT IN WHICH A MAN MIGHT WISH TO DIE—THOUGH, OF COURSE, THE SENATOR DIDN'T DIE).
ILLUSTRATIONS. Solferino!—The Senator Speaks.
THE PRIVATE OPINION OF THE DOCTOR ABOUT FOREIGN TRAVEL.—BUTTONS STILL MEETS WITH AFFLICTIONS.
ILLUSTRATIONS. A Grease Spot.—Farewell, Figgs!
A MEMORABLE DRIVE.—NIGHT.—THE BRIGANDS ONCE MORE.—GARIBALDI'S NAME.—THE FIRE.—THE IRON BAR.—THE MAN FROM THE GRANITE STATE AND HIS TWO BOYS.
ILLUSTRATIONS. In The Coach.—A Free Fight.—Don't Speak.
BAD BRUISES, BUT GOOD MUSES.—THE HONORABLE SCABS OF DICK.—A KNOWLEDGE OF BONES.
SUFFERING AND SENTIMENT AT BOLOGNA.—MOONSHINE.—BEST BALM FOR WOUNDS.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Used Up.
CROSSING INTO THE ENEMY'S COUNTRY.—CONSTERNATION OF THE CUSTOM-HOUSE OFFICERS.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Buttons In Bliss.
VENICE AND ITS PECULIAR GLORY.—THE DODGE CLUB COME TO GRIEF AT LAST. —UP A TREE.—IN A NET, ETC.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Dick's Luggage.—Arrested.—Silence!
THE AMERICAN EAGLE AND THE AUSTRIAN DOUBLE-HEADED DITTO.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Don't Try It On With Me.
THE SENATOR STILL ENGAGED IN FACING DOWN THE AUSTRIAN.—THE AMERICAN CONSUL.—UNEXPECTED RE-APPEARANCE OF FORGOTTEN THINGS.—COLLAPSE OF THE COURT.
ILLUSTRATIONS. Watts Mis-spelled.
A MYSTERIOUS FLIGHT.—DESPAIR OF BUTTONS.—PURSUIT.—HISTORIC GROUND, AND HISTORIC CITIES.
DICK MEETS AN OLD FRIEND.—THE EMOTIONAL NATURE OF THE ITALIAN. —THE SENATOR OVERCOME AND DUMBFOUNDED.
ILLUSTRATIONS. The Count Ugo.
IN WHICH BUTTONS WRITES A LETTER; AND IN WHICH THE CLUB LOSES AN IMPORTANT MEMBER.—SMALL BY DEGREES AND BEAUTIFULLY LESS.
THE FAITHFUL ONE!—DARTS, DISTRACTION, LOVE'S VOWS, OVERPOWERING SCENE AT THE MEETING OF TWO FOND ONES.—COMPLETE BREAK-DOWN OF THE HISTORIAN.
ILLUSTRATIONS. The Door.
THE DODGE CLUB IN PARIS ONCE MORE.—BUTTONS'S "JOLLY GOOD HEALTH."
ILLUSTRATIONS. He's A Jolly Good Fellow.
PARIS.—THE DODGE CLUB.—HOW TO SPEAK FRENCH.—HOW TO RAISE A CROWD.
It is a glorious day in Paris. The whole city is out in the public places, watching the departure of the army of Italy. Every imaginable uniform, on foot and on horseback, enlivens the scene. Zouaves are everywhere. Cent Gardes hurry to and fro, looking ferocious. Imperial Gardes look magnificent. Innumerable little red-legged soldiers of the line dance about, gesticulating vehemently. Grisettes hang about the necks of departing braves. A great many tears are shed, and a great deal of bombast uttered. For the invincible soldiers of France are off to fight for an idea; and doesn't every one of them carry a marshal's baton in his knapsack?
A troop of Cent Gardes comes thundering down in a cloud of dust, dashing the people right and left. Loud cheers arise: "Vive l'Empereur!" The hoarse voices of myriads prolong the yell. It is Louis Napoleon. He touches his hat gracefully to the crowd.
A chasseur leaps into a cab.
"Where shall I take you?"
"To Glory!" shouts the soldier.
The crowd applaud. The cabman drives off and don't want any further direction. Here a big-bearded Zouave kisses his big-bearded brother in a blouse.
"Adieu, mon frere; write me."
"Where shall I write?"
"Direct to Vienna—poste restante."
Every body laughs at every thing, and the crowd are quite wild at this.
A young man is perched upon a pillar near the garden wall of the Tuileries. He enjoys the scene immensely. After a while he takes a clay pipe from his pocket and slowly fills it. Having completed this business he draws a match along the stone and is just about lighting his pipe.
Down drops the lighted match on the neck of an ouvrier. It burns. The man scowls up; but seeing the cause, smiles and waves his hand forgivingly.
At this a young man in the midst of the crowd stops and looks around. He is a short young man, in whose face there is a strange mixture of innocence and shrewdness. He is pulling a baby-carriage, containing a small specimen of French nationality, and behind him walks a majestic female.
The young man Dick takes a quick survey and recognizes the person who has called him. Down drops the pole of the carriage, and, to the horror of the majestic female, he darts off, and, springing up the pillar, grasps first the foot and then the hand of his friend.
"Buttons!" he cried; "what, you! you here in Paris!"
"I believe I am."
"Why, when did you come?"
"About a month ago."
"I had no idea of it. I didn't know you were here."
"And I didn't know that you were. I thought by this time that you were in Italy. What has kept you here so long?"
Dick looked confused.
"Why the fact is, I am studying German."
"German! in Paris! French, you mean."
"You're crazy; who with?"
Dick nodded his head toward his late companion.
"What, that woman? How she is scowling at us!"
"Is she?" said Dick, with some trepidation.
"Yes. But don't look. Have you been with her all the time?"
"Yes, seven months."
"Studying German!" cried Buttons, with a laugh. "Who is she?"
"Bang? Well, Madame Bang must look out for another lodger. You must come with me, young man. You need a guardian. It's well that I came in time to rescue you. Let's be off!"
And the two youths descended and were soon lost in the crowd.
"Three flights of steps are bad enough; but great Heavens! what do you mean by taking a fellow up to the eighth story?"
Such was the exclamation of Dick as he fell exhausted into a seat in a little room at the top of one of the tallest houses in Paris.
"Economy, my dear boy."
"Paris is overflowing, and I could get no other place without paying an enormous price. Now I am trying to husband my means."
"I should think so."
"I sleep here—"
"And have plenty of bedfellows."
"I eat here—"
"The powers of the human stomach are astounding."
"And here I invite my friends."
"Friends only. I should think. Nothing but the truest friendship could make a man hold out in such an ascent."
"But come. What are your plans?"
"I have none."
"Then you must league yourself with me."
"I shall be delighted."
"And I'm going to Italy."
"Then I'm afraid our league is already at an end."
"I haven't money enough."
"How much have you?"
"Only five hundred dollars; I've spent all the rest of my allowance."
"Five hundred? Why, man, I have only four hundred."
"What! and you're going to Italy?"
"Then I'll go too and run the risk. But is this the style?" and Dick looked dolefully around.
"By no means—not always. But you must practice economy."
"Have you any acquaintances?"
"Yes, two. We three have formed ourselves into a society for the purpose of going to Italy. We call ourselves the Dodge Club."
"The Dodge Club?"
"Yes. Because our principle is to dodge all humbugs and swindles, which make travelling so expensive generally. We have gained much experience already, and hope to gain more. One of my friends is a doctor from Philadelphia, Doctor Snakeroot, and the other is Senator Jones from Massachusetts. Neither the Doctor nor the Senator understands a word of any language but the American. That is the reason why I became acquainted with them.
"First as to the Doctor, I picked him up at Dunkirk. It was in a cafe. I was getting my modest breakfast when I saw him come in. He sat down and boldly asked for coffee. After the usual delay the garcon brought him a small cup filled with what looked like ink. On the waiter was a cup of eau de vie, and a little plate containing several enormous lumps of loaf-sugar. Never shall I forget the Doctor's face of amazement. He looked at each article in succession. What was the ink for? what the brandy? what the sugar? He did not know that the two first when mixed makes the best drink in the world, and that the last is intended for the pocket of the guest by force of a custom dear to every Frenchman. To make a long story short, I explained to him the mysteries of French coffee, and we became sworn friends.
"My meeting with the Senator was under slightly different circumstances. It was early in the morning. It was chilly. I was walking briskly out of town. Suddenly I turned a corner and came upon a crowd. They surrounded a tall man. He was an American, and appeared to be insane. First he made gestures like a man hewing or chopping. Then he drew his hand across his throat. Then he staggered forward and pretended to fall. Then he groaned heavily. After which he raised himself up and looked at the crowd with an air of mild inquiry. They did not laugh. They did not even smile. They listened respectfully, for they knew that the strange gentleman wished to express something. On the whole, I think if I hadn't come up that the Senator would have been arrested by a stiff gendarme who was just then coming along the street. As it was, I arrived just in time to learn that he was anxious to see the French mode of killing cattle, and was trying to find his way to the abattoirs. The Senator is a fine man, but eminently practical. He used to think the French language an accomplishment only. He has changed his mind since his arrival here. He has one little peculiarity, and that is, to bawl broken English at the top of his voice when he wants to communicate with foreigners."
Not long afterward the Dodge Club received a new member in the person of Mr. Dick Whiffletree. The introduction took place in a modest cafe, where a dinner of six courses was supplied for the ridiculous sum of one franc—soup, a roast, a fry, a bake, a fish, a pie, bread at discretion, and a glass of vinegar generously thrown in.
At one end of the table sat the Senator, a very large and muscular man, with iron-gray hair, and features that were very strongly marked and very strongly American. He appeared to be about fifty years of age. At the other sat the Doctor, a slender young man in black. On one side sat Buttons, and opposite to him was Dick.
"Buttons," said the Senator, "were you out yesterday?"
"It was a powerful crowd."
"It was immense. I never before had any idea of the population of Paris. New York isn't to be compared to it."
"As to crowds, that is nothing uncommon in Paris. Set a rat loose in the Champs Elysees, and I bet ten thousand people will be after it in five minutes."
"Any thing will raise a crowd in Paris."
"It will be a small one, then."
"My dear Senator, in an hour from this I'll engage myself to raise as large a crowd as the one you saw yesterday."
"My dear Buttons, you look like it."
"Will you bet?"
"Bet? Are you in earnest?"
"Never more so."
"But there is an immense crowd outside already."
"Then let the scene of my trial be in a less crowded place—the Place Vendome, for instance."
"Name the conditions."
"In an hour from this I engage to fill the Place Vendome with people. Whoever fails forfeits a dinner to the Club."
The eyes of Dick and the Doctor sparkled.
"Done!" said the Senator.
"All that you have to do," said Buttons, "is to go to the top of the Colonne Vendome and wave your hat three times when you want me to begin."
"I'll do that. But it's wrong," said the Senator. "It's taking money from you. You must lose."
"Oh, don't be alarmed," said Buttons, cheerfully.
The Dodge Club left for the Place Vendome, and the Senator, separating himself from his companions, began the ascent. Buttons left his friends at a corner to see the result, and walked quickly down a neighboring street.
Dick noticed that every one whom he met stopped, stared, and then walked quickly forward, looking up at the column. These people accosted others, who did the same. In a few minutes many hundreds of people were looking up and exchanging glances with one another.
In a short time Buttons had completed the circuit of the block, and re-entered the Place by another street. He was running at a quick pace, and, at a moderate calculation, about two thousand gamins de Paris ran before, beside, and behind him. Gens d'armes caught the excitement, and rushed frantically about. Soldiers called to one another, and tore across the square gesticulating and shouting. Carriages stopped; the occupants stared up at the column; horsemen drew up their rearing horses; dogs barked; children screamed; up flew a thousand windows, out of which five thousand heads were thrust.
At the end of twenty minutes, after a very laborious journey, the Senator reached the top of the column. He looked down. A cry of amazement burst from him. The immense Place Vendome was crammed with human beings. Innumerable upturned faces were staring at the startled Senator. All around, the lofty houses sent all their inmates to the open window, through which they looked up. The very house-tops were crowded. Away down all the streets which led to the Place crowds of human beings poured along.
"Well," muttered the Senator, "it's evident that Buttons understands these Frenchmen. However, I must perform my part, so here goes."
And the Senator, majestically removing his hat, waved it slowly around his head seven times. At the seventh whirl his fingers slipped, and a great gust of wind caught the hat and blew it far out into the air.
A deep groan of horror burst forth from the multitude, so deep, so long, so terrible that the Senator turned pale.
A hundred thousand heads upturned; two hundred thousand arms waved furiously in the air. The tide of new-comers flowing up the other streets filled the Place to overflowing; and the vast host of people swayed to and fro, agitated by a thousand passions. All this was the work of but a short time.
"Come," said the Senator, "this is getting beyond a joke."
There was a sudden movement among the people at the foot of the column. The Senator leaned over to see what it was.
At once a great cry came up, like the thunder of a cataract, warningly, imperiously, terribly. The Senator drew back confounded.
Suddenly he advanced again. He shook his head deprecatingly, and waved his arms as if to disclaim any evil motives which they might impute to him. But they did not comprehend him. Scores of stiff gens d'armes, hundreds of little soldiers, stopped in their rush to the foot of the column to shake their fists and scream at him.
"Now if I only understood their doosid lingo," thought the Senator. "But"—after a pause—"it wouldn't be of no account up here. And what an awkward fix," he added, "for the father of a family to stand hatless on the top of a pillory like this! Sho!"
There came a deep rumble from the hollow stairway beneath him, which grew nearer and louder every moment.
"Somebody's coming," said the Senator. "Wa'al, I'm glad. Misery loves company. Perhaps I can purchase a hat."
In five minutes more the heads of twenty gens d'armes shot up through the opening in the top of the pillar, one after another, and reminded the Senator of the "Jump-up-Johnnies" in children's toys. Six of them seized him and made him prisoner.
The indignant Senator remonstrated, and informed them that he was an American citizen.
His remark made no impression. They did not understand English.
The Senator's wrath made his hair fairly bristle. He contented himself, however, with drawing up the programme of an immediate war between France and the Great Republic.
It took an hour for the column to get emptied. It was choked with people rushing up. Seven gentlemen fainted, and three escaped with badly sprained limbs. During this time the Senator remained in the custody of his captors.
At last the column was cleared.
The prisoner was taken down and placed in a cab. He saw the dense crowd and heard the mighty murmurs of the people.
He was driven away for an immense distance. It seemed miles.
At last the black walls of a huge edifice rose before him. The cab drove under a dark archway. The Senator thought of the dungeons of the Inquisition, and other Old World horrors of which he had heard in his boyhood.
So the Senator had to give the dinner. The Club enjoyed it amazingly.
Almost at the moment of his entrance Buttons had arrived, arm in arm with the American minister, whose representations and explanations procured the Senator's release.
"I wouldn't have minded it so much," said the Senator, from whose manly bosom the last trace of vexation had fled, "if it hadn't been for that darned policeman that collared me first. What a Providence it was that I didn't knock him down! Who do you think he was?"
"The very man that was going to arrest me the other day when I was trying to find my way to the slaughter-house. That man is my evil genius. I will leave Paris before another day."
"The loss of your hat completed my plans," said Buttons. "Was that done on purpose? Did you throw it down for the sake of saying 'Take my hat?'"
"No. It was the wind," said the Senator, innocently. "But how did you manage to raise the crowd? You haven't told us that yet."
"How? In the simplest way possible. I told every soul I met that a crazy man was going up the Colonne Vendome to throw himself down."
A light burst in upon the Senator's soul. He raised his new hat from a chair, and placing it before Buttons, said fervently and with unction:
"Keep it, Buttons!"
ORLEANS.—HOW TO QUELL A LANDLORD.—HOW TO FIGHT OFF HUMBUGS; AND HOW TO TRAVEL WITHOUT BAGGAGE.
A tremendous uproar in the hall of a hotel at Orleans awaked every member of the Dodge Club from the sound and refreshing slumber into which they had fallen after a fatiguing journey from Paris.
Filing out into the hall one after another they beheld a singular spectacle.
It was a fat man, bald-headed, middle-aged, with a well-to-do look, that burst upon their sight.
He was standing in the hall with flushed face and stocking feet, swearing most frightfully. A crowd of waiters stood around shrugging their shoulders, and trying to soothe him. As the fat man spoke English, and the waiters French, there was a little misapprehension.
"There, gentlemen," cried the fat man, as he caught sight of our four friends, "look at that! What do you call that?"
"That?" said Buttons, taking a paper which the fat man thrust in his face, "why, that's a hotel bill."
"A hotel bill? Why it's an imposition!" cried the other excitedly.
"Perhaps it is," said Buttons, coolly.
"Of course it is! Read it out loud, and let these gentlemen see what they think of it."
"I'll read it in English," said Buttons, "for the benefit of the Club:"
To the Hotel du Roi:
One dinner..........3 francs. Six porters.........6 francs. One cab.............2 francs. One do..............2 francs. One information.....5 francs. Wine................5 francs. Tobacco............ 2 francs. One bed.............5 francs. One boots...........1 francs. One candle..........1 francs. One candle..........1 francs. One candle..........1 francs. One candle..........1 francs. ============================= 35 francs.
"By Jove! Thirty-five francs! My dear Sir. I quite agree with you. It's an imposition."
A deep sigh expressed the relief of the fat man at this mark of sympathy.
"There's no redress," said Buttons. "You'll have to grin and bear it. For you must know that in these inland towns hotel-keepers are in league, offensive and defensive, with all the cab-drivers, omnibus-drivers, postillions, truckmen, hostlers, porters, errand-boys, cafe-keepers, cicerones, tradesmen, lawyers, chambermaids, doctors, priests, soldiers, gens d'armes, magistrates, etc., etc., etc. In short, the whole community is a joint-stock company organized to plunder the unsuspecting traveller."
"And must I stand here and be swindled without a word?" cried the other.
"By no means. Row like fury. Call up the whole household one by one, and swear at them in broad Saxon. That's the way to strike terror into the soul of a Frenchman."
The fat man stared for a moment at Buttons, and then plunging his hands deep into his trowsers pockets he walked up and down the hall.
At last he turned to the others: "Gentlemen, is this endurable?"
"Horrible!" cried Dick.
"Abominable!" the Doctor.
"Infamous!" the Senator.
"By jingo! I've a great mind to go home. If I've pot to be plundered, I'd a durned sight rather have my money go to support our own great and glorious institutions."
There is no doubt that the unfortunate man would have had to pay up if it bad not been for the energetic action of Buttons.
He summoned the hotel-keeper before him, and closing the door, asked his friends to sit down.
Then Buttons, standing up, began to repeat to the hotel-keeper, smilingly, but with extraordinary volubility, Daniel Webster's oration against Hayne. The polite Frenchman would not interrupt him, but listened with a bland though somewhat dubious smile.
The Dodge Club did infinite credit to themselves by listening without a smile to the words of their leader.
Buttons then went through the proposition about the hypothenuse of a right-angled triangle, and appended the words of a few negro songs.
Here the worthy landlord interrupted him, begging his pardon, and telling him that he did not understand English very well, and could his Excellency speak French?
His Excellency, with equal politeness, regretted his want of complete familiarity with French. He was forced when he felt deeply on any subject to express himself in English.
Then followed Cicero's oration against Verres, and he was just beginning a speech of Chatham's when the landlord surrendered at discretion.
When, after the lapse of three hours and twenty-five minutes, the fat man held his bill toward him, and Buttons offered five francs, he did not even remonstrate, but took the money, and hastily receipting the bill with his pencil, darted from the room.
"Well," exclaimed the Senator, when he had recovered from the effects of the scene—"I never before realized the truth of a story I once heard."
"What was the story?"
"Oh, it was about a bet between a Yankee and a Frenchman, who could talk the longest. The two were shut up in a room. They remained there three days. At the end of that time their friends broke open the door and entered, and what do you think they found there?"
"Nobody?" suggested the fat man.
"No," said the Senator, with a glow of patriotic pride on his fine face. "But they found the Frenchman lying dead upon the floor, and the Yankee whispering in his ear the beginning of the second part of the Higgins story."
"And what is the Higgins story?"
"For Heaven's sake," gasped the Doctor, starting up, "don't ask him now—wait till next week!"
As they passed over the Mountains of Auvergne a new member was added to the Dodge Club.
It was the fat man.
He was President of a Western bank.
His name was Figgs.
It was a damp, dull, dreary, drenching night, when the lumbering diligence bore the Dodge Club through the streets of Lyons and up to the door of their hotel. Seventeen men and five small boys stood bowing ready to receive them.
The Senator, Buttons, and Dick took the small valises which contained their travelling apparel, and dashed through the line of servitors into the house. The Doctor walked after, serenely and majestically. He had no baggage. Mr. Figgs descended from the roof with considerable difficulty. Slipping from the wheel, he fell into the outstretched arms of three waiters. They put him on his feet.
His luggage was soon ready.
Mr. Figgs had two trunks and various other articles. Of these trunks seven waiters took one, and four the other. Then
Waiter No. 12 took hat-box; Waiter No. 13 took travelling desk; Waiter No. 14 took Scotch plaid; Waiter No. 15 took over-coat; Waiter No. 16 took umbrella; Waiter No. 17 took rubber coat; Boy No. 1 took cane; Boy No. 2 took muffler; Boy No. 3 took one of his mittens; Boy No. 4 took the other; Boy No. 5 took cigar-case.
After a long and laborious dinner they rose and smoked.
The head waiter informed Mr. Figgs that with his permission a deputation would wait on him. Mr. Figgs was surprised but graciously invited the deputation to walk in. They accordingly walked in. Seventeen men and five boys.
"What did they want?"
"Oh, only a pourboire with which to drink his Excellency's noble health."
"Really they did his Excellency too much honor. Were they not mistaken in their man?"
"Oh no. They had carried his luggage into the hotel."
Upon this Mr. Figgs gave strong proof of poor moral training, by breaking out into a volley of Western oaths, which shocked one half of the deputation, and made the other half grin.
Still they continued respectful but firm, and reiterated their demand.
Mr. Figgs called for the landlord. That gentleman was in bed. For his wife. She did not attend to the business. For the head waiter. The spokesman of the deputation, with a polite bow, informed him that the head waiter stood before him and was quite at his service.
The scene was ended by the sudden entrance of Buttons, who, motioning to Mr. Figgs, proceeded to give each waiter a douceur. One after another took the proffered coin, and without looking at it, thanked the generous donor with a profusion of bows.
Five minutes after the retreating form of Buttons had vanished through the door, twenty-persons, consisting of men and boys, stood staring at one another in blank amazement.
Anger followed; then sac-r-r-r-r-r-r-R-R-R-R-Re!
He had given each one a centime.
But the customs of the hotel were not to be changed by the shabby conduct of one mean-minded person. When the Club prepared to retire for the night they were taken to some rooms opening in to each other. Five waiters led the way; one waiter to each man, and each carried a pair of tall wax-candles. Mr. Figgs's waiter took him to his room, laid down the lights, and departed.
The doors which connected the rooms were all opened, and Mr. Figgs walked through to see about something. He saw the Doctor, the Senator, Buttons, and Dick, each draw the short, well-used stump of a wax-candle from his coat pocket and gravely light it. Then letting the melted wax fall on the mantle-pieces they stuck their candles there, and in a short time the rooms were brilliantly illuminated.
The waiters were thunderstruck. Such a procedure had never come within the compass of their experience of the ways of travellers.
"Bonsoir," said Buttons. "Don't let us detain you."
They went out stupefied.
"What's the idea now?" inquired Mr. Figgs.
"Oh. They charge a franc apiece for each candle, and that is a swindle which we will not submit to."
"And will I have to be humbugged again?"
"My dear Sir, the swindle of bougies is the curse of the Continental traveller. None of us are particularly prudent, but we are all on the watch against small swindles, and of them all this is the most frequent and most insidious, the most constantly and ever recurrent. Beware, my dear President, of bougies—that's what we call candles."
Mr. Figgs said nothing, but leaned against the wall for a moment in a meditative mood, as if debating what he should do next.
He happened to be in the Doctor's room. He had already noticed that this gentleman had no perceptible baggage, and didn't understand it.
But now he saw it all.
The Doctor began gravely to make preparations for the night.
Before taking off his over-coat he drew various articles from the pockets, among which were:
A hair-brush, A tooth-brush, A shoe-brush, A pot of blacking, A night-shirt, A clothes-broth, A pipe, A pouch of tobacco, A razor, A shaving-brush, A piece of soap, A night-cap, A bottle of hair-oil, A pistol, A guide-book, A cigar-case, A bowie-knife, A piece of cord, A handkerchief, A case of surgical instruments, Some bits of candles.
Mr. Figgs rushed from the room.
THE RHONE IN A RAIN.—THE MAD FRENCHMAN.—SUICIDE A CAPITAL CRIME IN FRANCE.
The steamboats that run on the Rhone are very remarkable contrivances. Their builders have only aimed at combining a maximum of length with a minimum of other qualities, so that each boat displays an incredible extent of deck with no particular breadth at all. Five gentlemen took refuge in the cabin of the Etoile, from the drenching rain which fell during half of their voyage. This was an absurd vessel, that made trips between Lyons and Avignon. Her accommodations resembled those of a canal boat, and she was propelled by a couple of paddle-wheels driven by a Lilliputian engine. It was easy enough for her to go down the river, as the current took the responsibility of moving her along; but how she could ever get back it was difficult to tell.
They were borne onward through some of the fairest scenes on earth. Ruined towers, ivy-covered castles, thunder-blasted heights, fertile valleys, luxuriant orchards, terraced slopes, trellised vineyards, broad plains, bounded by distant mountains, whose summits were lost in the clouds; such were the successive charms of the region through which they were passing. Yet though they were most eloquently described in the letters which Buttons wrote home to his friends, it must be confessed that they made but little impression at the time, and indeed were scarcely seen at all through the vapor-covered cabin windows.
Avignon did not excite their enthusiasm. In vain the guide-book told them about Petrarch and Laura. The usual raptures were not forthcoming. In vain the cicerone led them through the old papal palace. Its sombre walls awakened no emotion. The only effect produced was on the Senator, who whiled away the hours of early bed-time by pointing out the superiority of American institutions to those which reared the prisons which they had visited.
Arles was much more satisfactory. There are more pretty women in Arles than in any other town of the same size on the Continent. The Club created an unusual excitement in this peaceful town by walking slowly through it in Indian file, narrowly scrutinizing every thing. They wondered much at the numbers of people that filled the cathedral, all gayly dressed. It was not until after a long calculation that they found out that it was Sunday. Buttons kept his memorandum-book in his hand all day, and took account of all the pretty women whom he saw. The number rose as high as 729. He would have raised it higher, but unfortunately an indignant citizen put a stop to it by charging him with impertinence to his wife.
On the railroad to Marseilles is a famous tunnel. At the last station before entering the tunnel a gentleman got in. As they passed through the long and gloomy place there suddenly arose a most outrageous noise in the car.
It was the new passenger.
Occasionally the light shining in would disclose him, dancing, stamping, tearing his hair, rolling his eyes, gnashing his teeth, and cursing.
"Is he crazy?" said Dick.
"Or drunk?" said Buttons.
Lo and behold! just as the train emerged from the tunnel the passenger made a frantic dash at the window, flung it open, and before any body could speak or move he was half out.
To spring over half a dozen seats, to land behind him, to seize his outstretched leg, to jerk him in again, was but the work of a moment. It was Buttons who did this, and who banged down the window again.
"Sac-r-r-R-R-Re!" cried the Frenchman.
"Is it that you are mad?" said Buttons.
"Sacre Bleu!" cried the other. "Who are you that lays hands on me?"
"I saved you from destruction."
"Then, Sir, you have no thanks. Behold me, I'm a desperate man!"
In truth he looked like one. His clothes were all disordered. His lips were bleeding, and most of his hair was torn out. By this time the guard had come to the spot. All those in the car had gathered round. It was a long car, second-class, like the American.
"M'sieu, how is this? What is it that I see? You endeavor to kill yourself?"
"Leave me. I am desperate."
"But no. M'sieu, what is it?"
"Listen. I enter the train thinking to go to Avignon. I have important business there, most important. Suddenly I am struck by a thought. I find I have mistaken. I am carried to Marseilles. It is the express train, and I must go all the way. Horror! Despair! Life is of no use! It is time to resign, it! I die! Accordingly I attempt to leap from the window, when this gentleman seizes me by the leg and pulls me in. Behold all."
"M'sieu," said the guard, slowly, and with emphasis, "you have committed a grave offense. Suicide is a capital crime."
"A capital crime!" exclaimed the Frenchman, turning pale. "Great Heaven!"
"Yes, Sir. If you leap from the car I shall put you in irons, and hand you over to the police when we stop."
The Frenchman's pale face grew paler. He became humble. He entreated the guard's compassion. He begged Buttons to intercede. He had a family. Moreover he had fought in the wars of his country. He had warred in Africa. He appealed to the Senator, the Doctor, to Figgs, to Dick. Finally he became calm, and the train shortly after arrived at Marseilles.
The last that was seen of him he was rushing frantically about looking for the return train.
Old Massilia wears her years well. To look at her now as she appears, full of life and joy and gayety, no one would imagine that thirty centuries or more had passed over her head.
Here is the first glimpse of the glorious South, with all its sunshine and luxury and voluptuous beauty. Here the Mediterranean rolls its waters of deepest blue, through the clear air the landscape appears with astonishing distinctness, and the sharply-defined lines of distinct objects surprise the Northern eye. Marseilles is always a picturesque city. No commercial town in the world can compare with it in this respect. On the water float the Mediterranean craft, rakish boats, with enormous latteen sails; long, low, sharp, black vessels, with a suspicious air redolent of smuggling and piracy. No tides rise and fall—advance and retreat. The waters are always the same.
All the Mediterranean nations are represented in Marseilles. Three-quarters of the world send their people here. Europe, Asia, Africa. In the streets the Syrian jostles the Spaniard; the Italian the Arab; the Moor jokes with the Jew; the Greek chaffers with the Algerine; the Turk scowls at the Corsican; the Russian from Odessa pokes the Maltese in the ribs. There is no want of variety here. Human nature is seen under a thousand aspects. Marseilles is the most cosmopolitan of cities, and represents not only many races but many ages.
Moreover it is a fast city. New York is not more ambitions; Chicago not more aspiring; San Francisco not more confident in its future. Amazing sight! Here is a city which, at the end of three thousand years, looks forward to a longer and grander life in the future.
Why, because she expects yet to be the arbiter of Eastern commerce. Through her the gold, the spices, and the gems of India will yet be conveyed over the European world. For the Suez Canal, which will once more turn the tide of this mighty traffic through its ancient Mediterranean channel, will raise Marseilles to the foremost rank among cities.
So, at least, the Marseillaise believe. When our travellers arrived there the city was crammed with soldiers. The harbor was packed with steamships. Guns were thundering, bands playing, fifes screaming, muskets rattling, regiments tramping, cavalry galloping. Confusion reigned supreme. Every thing was out of order. No one spoke or thought of any thing but the coming war in Lombardy.
Excitable little red-legged French soldiers danced about everywhere. Every one was beside himself. None could use the plain language of every-day life. All were intoxicated with hope and enthusiasm.
The travellers admired immensely the exciting scene, but their admiration was changed to disgust when they found that on account of the rush of soldiers to Italy their own prospects of getting there were extremely slight.
At length they found that a steamer was going. It was a propeller. Its name was the Prince. The enterprising company that owned her had patriotically chartered every boat on their line to the Government at an enormous profit, and had placed the Prince on the line for the use of travellers.
THE RETIRED ORGAN-GRINDER.—THE SENATOR PHILOSOPHIZES.—EVILS OF NOT HAVING A PASSPORT.
The Mediterranean is the most glorious of seas. The dark-blue waves; the skies of darker blue; the distant hills of purple, with their crowns of everlasting snow; and the beetling precipice, where the vexed waters forever throw up their foaming spray; the frequent hamlets that nestle among them, the castles and towers that crown the lofty heights; and the road that winds tortuously along the shore—all these form a scene in which beauty more romantic than that of the Rhine is contrasted with all the grandeur of the ocean.
Buttons, with his usual flexible and easy disposition, made the acquaintance of a couple of Italians who had been away from Italy and were now returning. They were travelling second-class.
Buttons supposed they were glad to get back.
"Glad? Did he doubt it? Why, they were Italians."
"Are Italians fonder of their country than others?"
"Without doubt. Had they not the best reason to be?"
"They had the garden and pride of the world for their country. Mention any other in the same breath with Italy."
"If they love it so much why can they not keep it for themselves?"
"How can you ask that? If you know the history of the country you will see that it has been impossible. No other was ever so beset. It is split up into different States. It is surrounded by powerful enemies who take advantage of this. It would not be so bad if there were only one foreign foe; but there are many, and if one were driven out another would step in."
"There will be a chance for them now to show what they can do."
"True; and you will see what they will do. They only want the French to open the way. We Italians can do the rest ourselves. It is a good time to go to Italy. You will see devotion and patriotism such as you never saw before. There is no country so beloved as Italy."
"I think other nations are as patriotic."
"Other nations! What nations? Do you know that the Italians can not leave Italy? It is this love that keeps them home. French, Germans, Spaniards, Portuguese, English—all others leave their homes, and go all over the world to live. Italians can not and do not."
"I have seen Italians in America."
"You have seen Italian exiles, not emigrants. Or you have seen them staying there for a few years so as to earn a little money to go back with. They are only travellers on business. They are always unhappy, and are always cheered by the prospect of getting home at last."
These Italians were brothers, and from experience in the world had grown very intelligent. One had been in the hand-organ business, the other in the image-making line. Italians can do nothing else in the bustling communities of foreign nations. Buttons looked with respect upon those men who thus had carried their lore for their dear Art for years through strange lands and uncongenial climes.
"If I were an Italian I too would be an organ-grinder!" he at length exclaimed.
The Italians did not reply, but evidently thought that Buttons could not be in a better business.
"These Italians," said the Senator, to whom Buttons had told the conversation—"these Italians," said he, after they had gone, "air a singular people. They're deficient. They're wanting in the leading element of the age. They haven't got any idee of the principle of pro-gress. They don't understand trade. There's where they miss it. What's the use of hand-organs? What's the use of dancers? What's the use of statoos, whether plaster images or marble sculptoor? Can they clear forests or build up States? No, Sir; and therefore I say that this Italian nation will never be wuth a cuss until they are inoculated with the spirit of Seventy-six, the principles of the Pilgrim Fathers, and the doctrines of the Revolution. Boney knows it" —he added, sententiously—"bless you, Boney knows it."
After a sound sleep, which lasted until late in the following day, they went out on deck.
There lay Genoa.
Glorious sight! As they stood looking at the superb city the sun poured down upon the scene his brightest rays. The city rose in successive terraces on the side of a semicircular slope crowned with massive edifices; moles projected into the harbor terminated by lofty towers; the inner basin was crowded with shipping, prominent among which were countless French ships of war and transports. The yells of fifes, the throbbing of drums, the bang of muskets, the thunder of cannon, and the strains of martial music filled die air. Boats crowded with soldiers constantly passed from the ship to the stone quays, where thousands more waited to receive them—soldiers being mixed up with guns, cannons, wheels, muskets, drums, baggage, sails, beams, timbers, camps, mattresses, casks, boxes, irons, in infinite confusion.
"We must go ashore here," said Buttons. "Does any body know how long the steamer will remain here?"
"A day! That will be magnificent! We will be able to see the whole city in that time. Let's go and order a boat off."
The Captain received them politely.
"What did Messieurs want? To go ashore? With the utmost pleasure. Had they their passports? Of course they had them vised in Marseilles for Genoa."
Buttons looked blank, and feebly inquired:
"It's the law, Monsieur. We are prohibited from permitting passengers to go ashore unless their passports are all right. It's a mere form."
"A mere form!" cried Buttons. "Why, ours are vised for Naples."
"Naples!" cried the Captain, with a shrug; "you are unfortunate, Messieurs. That will not pass you to Genoa."
"My dear Sir, you don't mean to tell me that, on account of this little informality, you will keep us prisoners on board of this vessel? Consider—"
"Monsieur," said the Captain, courteously, "I did not make these laws. It is the law; I can not change it. I should be most happy to oblige you, but I ask you, how is it possible?"
The Captain was right. He could do nothing. The travellers would have to swallow their rage.
Imagine them looking all day at the loveliest of Italian scenes— the glorious city of Genoa, with all its historic associations!— the city of the Dorias, the home of Columbus, even now the scene of events upon which the eyes of all the world were fastened.
Imagine them looking upon all this, and only looking, unable to go near; seeing all the preparations for war, but unable to mingle with the warriors. To pace up and down all day; to shake their fists at the scene; to fret, and fume, and chafe with irrepressible impatience; to scold, to rave, to swear—this was the lot of the unhappy tourists.
High in the startled heavens rose the thunder of preparations for the war in Lombardy. They heard the sounds, but could not watch the scene near at hand.
The day was as long as an ordinary week, but at length it came to an end. On the following morning steam was got up, and they went to Leghorn.
"I suppose they will play the same game on us at Leghorn," said Dick, mournfully.
"Without doubt," said Buttons. "But I don't mind; the bitterness of Death is past. I can stand any thing now."
Again the same tantalizing view of a great city from afar. Leghorn lay inviting them, but the unlucky passport kept them on board of the vessel. The Senator grew impatient, Mr. Figgs and the Doctor were testy; Dick and Buttons alone were calm. It was the calmness of despair.
After watching Leghorn for hours they were taken to Civita Vecchia. Here they rushed down below, and during the short period of their stay remained invisible.
At last their voyage ended, and they entered the harbor of Naples. Glorious Naples! Naples the captivating!
"Vede Napoli, e poi mori!"
There was the Bay of Naples—the matchless, the peerless, the indescribable! There the rock of Ischia, the Isle of Capri, there the slopes of Sorrento, where never-ending spring abides; there the long sweep of Naples and her sister cities; there Vesuvius, with its thin volume of smoke floating like a pennon in the air!
LAZARONI AND MACARONI.
About forty or fifty lazaroni surrounded the Dodge Club when they landed, but to their intense disgust the latter ignored them altogether, and carried their own umbrellas and carpet-bags. But the lazaroni revenged themselves. As the Doctor stooped to pick up his cane, which had fallen, a number of articles dropped from his breast-pocket, and among them was a revolver, a thing which was tabooed in Naples. A ragged rascal eagerly snatched it and handed it to a gendarme, and it was only after paying a piastre that the Doctor was permitted to retain it.
Even after the travellers had started on foot in search of lodgings the lazaroni did not desert them. Ten of them followed everywhere. At intervals they respectfully offered to carry their baggage, or show them to a hotel, whichever was most agreeable to their Noble Excellencies.
Their Noble Excellencies were in despair. At length, stumbling upon The Cafe dell' Europa, they rushed in and passed three hours over their breakfast. This done, they congratulated themselves on. Having got rid of their followers.
Scarcely had they emerged from the cafe than Dick uttered a cry of horror. From behind a corner advanced their ten friends, with the same calm demeanor, the game unruffled and even cheerful patience, and the same respectful offer of their humble services.
In despair they separated. Buttons and Dick obtained lodgings in the Strada di San Bartollomeo. The Senator and the other two engaged pleasant rooms on the Strada Nuova, which overlooked the Bay.
Certainly Naples is a very curious place. There are magnificent edifices—palaces, monuments, castles, fortresses, churches, and cathedrals. There are majestic rows of buildings; gay shops, splendidly decorated; stately colonnades, and gardens like Paradise. There are streets unrivalled for gayety, forever filled to overflowing with the busy, the laughing, the jolly; dashing officers, noisy soldiers, ragged lazaroni, proud nobles, sickly beggars, lovely ladies; troops of cavalry galloping up and down; ten thousand caleches dashing to and fro. There is variety enough everywhere.
All the trades are divided, and arranged in different parts of the city. Here are the locksmiths, there the cabinet-makers; here the builders, there the armorers; in this place the basket-weavers, in that the cork-makers.
And most amusing of all is the street most favored of the lazaroni. Here they live, and move, and have their being; here they are born, they grow, they wed, they rear families, they eat, and drink, and die. A long array of furnaces extends up the street; over each is a stew-pan, and behind each a cook armed with an enormous ladle. At all hours of the day the cook serves up macaroni to customers. This is the diet of the people.
In the cellars behind those lines of stew-pans are the eating-houses of the vulgar—low, grimy places, floors incrusted with mud, tables of thick deal worn by a thousand horny hands, slippery with ten thousand upset dishes of macaroni. Here the pewter plates, and the iron knives, forks, and spoons are chained to the massive tables. How utter must the destitution be when it is thought necessary to chain up such worthless trash!
Into one of these places went Buttons and Dick in their study of human nature. They sat at the table. A huge dish of macaroni was served up. Fifty guests stopped to look at the new-comers. The waiters winked at the customers of the house, and thrust their tongues in their cheeks.
Dick could not eat, but the more philosophical Buttons made an extremely hearty meal, and pronounced the macaroni delicious.
On landing in a city which swarmed with beggars the first thought of our tourists was, How the mischief do they all live? There are sixty thousand lazaroni in this gay city. The average amount of clothing to each man is about one-third of a pair of trowsers and a woolen cap. But after spending a day or two the question changed its form, and became, How the mischief can they all help living? Food may be picked up in the streets. Handfuls of oranges and other fruits sell for next to nothing; strings of figs cost about a cent.
The consequence is that these sixty thousand people, fellow-creatures of ours, who are known as the lazaroni of Naples, whom we half pity and altogether despise, and look upon as lowest members of the Caucasian race, are not altogether very miserable. On the contrary, taken as a whole, they form the oiliest, fattest, drollest, noisiest, sleekest, dirtiest, ignorantest, prejudicedest, narrow-mindedest, shirtlessest, clotheslessest, idlest, carelessest, jolliest, absurdest, rascaliest—but still, all that, perhaps—taken all in all—the happiest community on the face of the earth.
DOLORES.—AN ITALIAN MAID LEARNS ENGLISH.—A ROMANTIC ADVENTURE.—A MASQUERADE, AND WHAT BEFELL THE SENATOR.—A CHARMING DOMINO.—A MOONLIGHT WALK, AND AN ASTOUNDING DISCOVERY.
The lodgings of Buttons and Dick were in a remarkably central part of Naples. The landlord was a true Neapolitan; a handsome, gay, witty, noisy, lively, rascally, covetous, ungrateful, deceitful, cunning, good-hearted old scoundrel, who took advantage of his guests in a thousand ways, and never spoke to them without trying to humbug them. He was the father of a pretty daughter who had all her parent's nature somewhat toned down, and expanded in a feminine mould.
Buttons had a chivalrous soul, and so had Dick; the vivacity of this very friendly young lady was like an oasis in the wilderness of travel. In the evening they loved to sit in the sunshine of her smile. She was singularly unconventional, this landlord's daughter, and made many informal calls on her two lodgers in their apartment.
An innocent, sprightly little maid—name Dolores—age seventeen— complexion olive—hair jet black—eyes like stars, large, luminous, and at the same time twinkling—was anxious to learn English, especially to sing English songs; and so used to bring her guitar and sing for the Americans. Would they teach her their national song? "Oh yes happy beyond expression to do so."
The result, after ten lessons, was something like this:
"Anty Dooda tumma towna By his sef a po-ne Stacca fadda inna sat Kalla Maccaroni."
She used to sing this in the most charming manner, especially the last word in the last line. Not the least charm in her manner was her evident conviction that she had mastered the English language.
"Was it not an astonishing thing for so young a Signorina to know English?"
"Oh, it was indeed!" said Buttons, who knew Italian very well, and had the lion's share of the conversation always.
"And they said her accent was fine?"
"Oh, most beautiful!"
"Bellissima! Bellissima!" repeated little Dolores, and she would laugh until her eyes overflowed with delighted vanity.
"Could any Signorina Americana learn Italian in so short a time?"
"No, not one. They had not the spirit. They could never equal her most beautiful accent."
"Ah! you say all the time that my accent is most beautiful."
One day she picked up a likeness of a young lady which was lying on the table.
"Who is this?" she asked, abruptly, of Buttons.
"Oh yes! I know; but is she a relative?"
"Are you married?"
"Is this your affianced?"
"Ah, how strange! What will you bet?—a soldier or an advocate?"
"Neither. I will be a priest."
"A priest! Signor, what is it that you tell me? How can this be your affianced lady?"
"Oh! in our country the priests all marry, and live in beautiful little cottages, with a garden in front."
This Dolores treated with the most contemptuous incredulity. Who ever heard of such a thing? Impossible! Moreover, it was so absurd. Buttons told her that he was affianced five years ago.
"An eternity!" exclaimed Dolores. "How can you wait? But you must have been very young."
"Young? Yes, only sixteen."
"Blessed and most venerable Virgin! Only sixteen! And is she the most beautiful girl you know?"
"Where have you seen one more so?"
"Who is she?"
"What is her name?"
"I mean you."
This was pretty direct; but Dolores was frank, and required frankness from others. Some young ladies would have considered this too coarse and open to be acceptable. But Dolores had so high an opinion of herself that she took it for sincere homage. So she half closed her eyes, leaned back in her chair, looked languishingly at Buttons, and then burst into a merry peal of musical laughter.
"I think I am the most beautiful girl you ever saw."
It was Buttons's turn to laugh. He told Dolores that she was quite right, and repeated her favorite word, "Belissima!"
One evening when Dick was alone in the room a knock came to the door.
"Was he disengaged?"
"The Signora in the room next—"
"Would be happy to see him."
"Yes, as soon as he liked."
The Signora did not have to wait long. In less time than it takes to tell this Dick stood with his best bow before her. How he congratulated himself on having studied Italian! The lady reclined on a sofa. She was about thirty, and undeniably pretty. A guitar lay at her feet. Books were scattered around—French novels, and manuals of devotion. Intelligence beamed from her large, expressive eyes. How delightful! Here was an adventure, perhaps a fair conquest.
"I kiss the hands to your ladyship," said Dick, mustering a sentence from Ollendorff.
"Pardon me for this liberty."
"I assure you it gives me the greatest happiness, and I am wholly at your service."
"I have understood that you are an American."
"I am, Signora."
"And this is your first visit to Naples?"
"My first, Signora."
"How does Naples please you?"
"Exceedingly. The beautiful city, the crowded streets, the delightful views—above all, the most charming ladies."
A bow—a slight flush passed over the lady's face, and Dick whispered to himself—
"Well put, Dick, my boy—deuced well put for a beginner."
"To come to the point," said the lady, with sigh.—("Ah, here we have it!" thought Dick—the point—blessed moment!)—"I would not have ventured to trouble you for any slight cause, Signor, but this nearly concerns myself."—(Keep down—our heart, murmured Dick—cool, you dog—cool!)—"My happiness and my tenderest feelings—"(Dick's suffused eyes expressed deep sympathy.)—"I thought of you—"
"And not being acquainted with you—"(What a shame!—aside)—I concluded to waive all formality"—(Social forms are generally a nuisance to ardent souls—aside)—"and to communicate at once with you."
"Signora, let me assure you that this is the happiest moment in my life."
The Signora looked surprised, but went on in a sort of preoccupied way:
"I want to know if you can tell me any thing about my brother."
"Who is now in America."
Dick opened his eyes.
"I thought that perhaps you could tell me how he is. I have not heard from him for two years, and feel very anxious."
Dick sat for a moment surprised at this unexpected turn. The lady's anxiety about her brother he could see was not feigned. So he concealed his disappointment, and in his most engaging manner informed her that he had not seen her brother; but if she could tell him his name, and the place where he was living, he might be able to tell something about him.
"His name," sighed the lady, "is Giulio Fanti."
"And the place?"
"Yes," said the lady, slowly.
Dick was in despair. Not to know any thing of her brother would make her think him stupid. So he attempted to explain:
"America," he began, "is a very large country—larger, in fact, than the whole Kingdom of Naples. It is principally inhabited by savages, who are very hostile to the whites. The whites have a few cities, however. In the North the whites all speak English. In the South they all speak Spanish. The South Americans are good Catholics, and respect the Holy Father; but the English in the North are all heretics. Consequently there is scarcely any communication between the two districts."
The lady had heard somewhere that in the American wars they employed the savages to assist them. Dick acknowledged the truth of this with candor, but with pain. She would see by this why he was unable to tell her any thing about her brother. His not knowing that brother was now the chief sorrow of his life. The lady earnestly hoped that Rio Janeiro was well protected from the savages.
"Oh, perfectly so. The fortifications of that city are impregnable."
Dick thus endeavored to give the lady an idea of America. The conversation gradually tapered down until the entrance of a gentleman brought it to a close. Dick bowed himself out.
"At any rate," he murmured, "if the lady wanted to inspect me she had a chance, and if she wanted to pump me she ought to be satisfied."
One evening Buttons and Dick came in and found a stranger chatting familiarly with the landlord and a young hussar. The stranger was dressed like a cavalry officer, and was the most astounding fop that the two Americans had ever seen. He paced up and down, head erect, chest thrown out, sabre clanking, spurs jingling, eyes sparkling, ineffable smile. He strode up to the two youths, spun round on one heel, bowed to the ground, waved his hand patronizingly, and welcomed them in.
"A charming night, gallant gentlemen. A bewitching night. All Naples is alive. All the world is going. Are you?"
The young men stared, and coldly asked where?
"Ha, ha, ha!" A merry peal of laughter rang out. "Absolutely—if the young Americans are not stupid. They don't know me!"
"Dolores!" exclaimed Buttons.
"Yes," exclaimed the other. "How do you like me? Am I natural?—eh? military? Do I look terrible?"
And Dolores skipped up and down with a strut beyond description, breathing hard and frowning.
"If you look so fierce you will frighten us away," said Buttons.
"How do I look, now?" she said, standing full before him with folded arms, a la Napoleon at St. Helena.
"Bellissima! Bellissima!" said Buttons, in unfeigned admiration.
"Ah!" ejaculated Dolores, smacking her lips, and puffing out her little dimpled cheeks. "Oh!" and her eyes sparkled more brightly with perfect joy and self-contentment.
"And what is all this for?"
"Is it possible that you do not know?"
"I have no idea."
"Then listen. It is at the Royal Opera-house. It will be the greatest masquerade ball ever given."
"Oh—a masquerade ball!—and you?"
"I? I go as a handsome young officer to break the hearts of the ladies, and have such rare sport. My brave cousin, yonder gallant soldier, goes with me."
The brave cousin, who was a big, heavy-headed fellow, grinned in acknowledgment, but said nothing.
The Royal Opera-house at Naples is the largest, the grandest, and the most capacious in the world. An immense stage, an enormous pit all thrown into one vast room, surrounded by innumerable boxes, all rising, tier above tier—myriads of dancers, myriads of masks, myriads of spectators—so the scene appeared. Moreover, the Neapolitan is a born buffoon. Nowhere is he so natural as at a masquerade. The music, the crowd, the brilliant lights, the incessant motion are all intoxication to this impressible being.
The Senator lent the countenance of his presence—not from curiosity, but from benevolent desire to keep his young friends out of trouble. He narrowly escaped being prohibited from entering by making an outrageous fuss at the door about some paltry change. He actually imagined that it was possible to get the right change for a large coin in Naples.
The multitudes of moving forms made the new-comers dizzy. There were all kinds of fantastic figures. Lions polked with sylphs, crocodiles chased serpents, giants walked arm in arm with dwarfs, elephants on two legs ran nimbly about, beating every body with hope probosces of inflated India rubber. Pretty girls in dominos abounded; every body whose face was visible was on the broad grin. All classes were represented. The wealthier nobles entered into the spirit of the scene with as great gusto as the humblest artisan who treated his obscure sweet-heart with an entrance ticket.
Our friends all wore black dominos, "just for the fun of the thing." Every body knew that they were English or American, which is just the same; for Englishmen and Americans are universally recognizable by the rigidity of their muscles.
A bevy of masked beauties were attracted by the colossal form of the Senator. To say that he was bewildered would express his sensations but faintly. He was distracted. He looked for Buttons. Buttons was chatting with a little domino. He turned to Dick. Dick was walking off with a rhinoceros. To Figgs and the Doctor. Figgs and the Doctor were exchanging glances with a couple of lady codfishes and trying to look amiable. The Senator gave a sickly smile.
"What'n thunder'll I do?" he muttered.
Two dominos took either arm. A third stood smilingly before him. A fourth tried to appropriate his left hand.
"Will your Excellency dance with one of us at a time," said No. 4, with a Tuscan accent, "or will you dance with all of us at once?"
The Senator looked helplessly at her.
"He does not know how," said No 1. "He has passed his life among the stars."
"Begone, irreverent ones!" said No. 3. "This is an American prince. He said I should be his partner."
"Boh! malidetta!" cried No. 2. "He told me the same; but he said he was a Milor Inglese."
No. 4 thereupon gave a smart pull at the Senator's hand to draw him off. Whereupon No. 2 did the same. No. 3 began singing "Come e bello!" and No. 1 stood coaxing him to "Fly with her." A crowd of idlers gathered grinningly around.
"My goodness!" groaned the Senator. "Me! The—the representative of a respectable constituency; the elder of a Presbyterian church; the president of a temperance society; the deliverer of that famous Fourth of July oration; the father of a family—me! to be treated thus! Who air these females? Air they countesses? Is this the way the foreign nobility treat an American citizen?"
But the ladies pulled and the crowd grinned. The Senator endeavored to remonstrate. Then he tried to pull his arms away; but finding that impossible he looked in a piteous manner, first at one, and then at the other.
"He wants, I tell you, to be my partner," said No. 1.
"Bah!" cried No. 2, derisively; "he intends to be mine. I understand the national dance of his country—the famous jeeg Irelandese."
The Senator shouted this one word in a stentorian voice. The ladies dropped his arms and started.
"I say, Mrs.!" cried the Senator. "Look here. Me no speeky Italian—me American. Me come just see zee fun, you know—zee spaort—you und-stand? Ha? Hum!"
The ladies clapped their hands, and cried "Bravo!"
Quite a crowd gathered around them. The Senator, impressed with the idea that, to make foreigners understand, it was only necessary to yell loud enough, bawled so loudly that ever so many dancers stopped. Among these Buttons came near with the little Domino. Little Domino stopped, laughed, clapped her hands, and pointed to the Senator.
The Senator was yelling vehemently in broken English to a large crowd of masks. He told them that he had a large family; that he owned a factory; that he was a man of weight, character, influence, popularity, wealth; that he came here merely to study their manners and customs. He disclaimed any intention to participate in their amusements just then, or to make acquaintances.—He would be proud to visit them all at their houses, or see them at his apartments, or—or —in short, would be happy to do any thing if they would only let him go in peace.
The crowd laughed, chattered, and shouted "Bravo!" at every pause. The Senator was covered with shame and perspiration. What would have become of him finally it is impossible to guess; but, fortunately, at this extremity he caught sight of Buttons. To dash away from the charming ladies, to burst through the crowd, and to seize the arm of Buttons was but the work of a moment.
"Buttons! Buttons! Buttons! Help me! These confounded Italian wimmin! Take them away. Tell them to leave me be. Tell them I don't know them—don't want to have them hanging round me. Tell them I'm your father!" cried the Senator, his voice rising to a shout in his distraction and alarm.
About 970 people were around him by this time.
"Goodness!" said Buttons; "you are in a fix. Why did you make yourself so agreeable? and to so many? Why, it's too bad. One at a time!"
"Buttons," said the Senator, solemnly, "is this the time for joking? For Heaven's sake get me away."
"Come then; you must run for it."
He seized the Senator's right arm. The little Domino clung to the other. Away they started. It was a full run. A shout arose. So arises the shout in Rome along the bellowing Corso when the horses are starting for the Carnival races. It was a long, loud shout, gathering and growing and deepening as it rose, till it burst on high in one grand thunder-clap of sound.
Away the Senator went like the wind. The dense crowd parted on either side with a rush. The Opera-house is several hundred feet in length. Down this entire distance the Senator ran, accompanied by Buttons and the little Domino. Crowds cheered him as he passed. Behind him the passage-way closed up, and a long trail of screaming maskers pressed after him. The louder they shouted the faster the Senator ran. At length they reached the other end.
"Do you see that box?" asked Buttons, pointing to one on the topmost tier.
"Fly! Run for your life! It's your only hope. Get in there and hide till we go."
The Senator vanished. Scarcely had his coat-tails disappeared through the door when the pursuing crowd arrived there. Six thousand two hundred and twenty-seven human beings, dressed in every variety of costume, on finding that the runner had vanished, gave vent to their excited feelings by a loud cheer for the interesting American who had contributed so greatly to the evening's enjoyment.
Unlucky Senator! Will it be believed that even in the topmost box his pursuers followed him? It was even so. About an hour afterward Buttons, on coming near the entrance, encountered him. His face was pale but resolute, his dress disordered. He muttered a few words about "durned Italian countesses," and hurried out.
Buttons kept company with the little Domino. Never in his life had he passed so agreeable an evening. He took good care to let his companion know this. At length the crowd began to separate. The Domino would go. Buttons would go with her. Had she a carriage? No, she walked. Then he would walk with her.
Buttons tried hard to get a carriage, but all were engaged. But a walk would not be unpleasant in such company. The Domino did not complain. She was vivacious, brilliant, delightful, bewitching. Buttons had been trying all evening to find out who she was. In vain.
"Who in the world is she? I must find out, so that I may see her again." This was his one thought.
They approached the Strada Nuova.
"She is not one of the nobility at any rate, or she would not live here."
They turned up a familiar street.
"How exceedingly jolly! She can't live far away from my lodgings."
They entered the Strada di San Bartolomeo.
"Hanged if she don't live on the same street!"
A strange thought occurred. It was soon confirmed. They stopped in front of Buttons's own lodgings. A light gleamed over the door. Another flashed into the soul of Buttons. That face, dimpled, smiling, bewitching; flashing, sparking eyes; little mouth with its rosy lips!
"Blessed Saints and Holy Virgin! Is it possible that you never suspected?"
"Never. How could I when I thought you were dressed like a dragoon?"
"And you never passed so happy an evening; and never had so fascinating and charming a partner; and you never heard such a voice of music as mine; and you can never forget me through all life; and you never can hope to find any one equal to me!" said Dolores, in her usual laughing volubility.
"Never!" cried Buttons.
"Oh dear! I think you must love me very much."
And a merry peal of laughter rang up the stairs as Dolores, evading Buttons's arm, which that young man had tried to pass about her waist, dashed away into the darkness and out of sight.
ADVENTURES AND MISADVENTURES.—A WET GROTTO AND A BOILING LAKE.—THE TWO FAIR SPANIARDS, AND THE DONKEY RIDE.
The Grotto of Posilippo is a most remarkable place, and, in the opinion of every intelligent traveller, is more astonishing than even the Hoosac Tunnel, which nobody will deny except the benighted Bostonian.
The city of Pozzuoli is celebrated for two things; first, because St. Paul once landed there, and no doubt hurried away as fast as he could; and, secondly, on account of the immense number of beggars that throng around the unhappy one who enters its streets.
The Dodge Club contributed liberally. The Doctor gave a cork-screw; the Senator, a bladeless knife; Dick, an old lottery ticket; Buttons, a candle-stump; Mr. Figgs, a wild-cat banknote. After which they all hurried away on donkeys as fast as possible.
The donkey is in his glory here. Nowhere else does he develop such a variety of forms—nowhere attain such an infinity of sizes—nowhere emit so impressive a bray. It is the Bray of Naples. "It is like the thunder of the night when the cloud bursts o'er Cona, and a thousand ghosts shriek at once in the hollow wind."
There is a locality in this region which the ancient named after a certain warm region which no reined person ever permits himself to mention in our day. Whatever it may have been when some Roman Tityrus walked pipe in mouth along its shore, its present condition renders its name singularly appropriate and felicitous. Here the party amused themselves with a lunch of figs and oranges, which they gathered indiscriminately from orchards and gardens on the road-side.
There was the Lake Lucrine. Averno and the Elysian Fields were there. The ruins of Caligula's Bridge dotted the surface of the sea. Yet the charms of all these classic scenes were eclipsed in the tourists' eyes by those of a number of pretty peasants girls who stood washing clothes in the limpid waters of the lake.
It was in this neighborhood that they found the Grotto of the Cumaean Sibyl. They followed the intelligent cicerone, armed with torches, into a gloomy tunnel. The intelligent cicerone walked before them with the air of one who had something to show. Seven stoat peasants followed after. The cavern was as dark as possible, and extended apparently for an endless distance.
After walking a distance of about two miles, according to the Senator's calculation, they came to the centre of interest. It was a hole in the wall of the tunnel. The Americans were given to understand that they must enter here.
"How? Why on the broad backs of the stout peasants, who all stood politely offering their humble services." The guide went first. Buttons, without more ado, got on the back of the nearest Italian and followed. Dick came next; then the Doctor. Mr. Figgs and the Senator followed in the same dignified manner.
They descended for some distance, and finally came to water about three feet deep. As the roof was low, and only rose three feet above the water, the party had some difficulty, not only in keeping their feet out of the water, but also in breathing. At length they came to a chamber about twelve feet square. From this they passed on to another of the same size. Thence to another. And so on.
Arriving at the last, Bearer No. 1 quietly deposited Buttons on a raised stone platform, which fortunately arose about half an inch above the water. Three other bearers did the same. Mr. Figgs looked forlornly about him, and, being a fat man, seemed to grow somewhat apoplectic. Dick beguiled the time by lighting his pipe.
"So this is the Grotto of the Cumaean Sibyl, is it?" said Buttons. "Then all I can say is that—"
What he was going to say was lost by a loud cry which interrupted him and startled all. It came from the other chamber.
"The Senator!" said Dick.
It was indeed his well-known voice. There was a splash and a groan. Immediately afterward a man staggered into the room. He was deathly pale, and tottered feebly under the tremendous weight of the Senator. The latter looked as anxious as his trembling bearer.
"Darn it! I say," he cried. "Darn it! Don't! Don't!"
"Diavo-lo!" muttered the Italian.
And in the next instant plump went the Senator into the water. A scene then followed that baffles description. The Senator, rising from his unexpected bath, foaming and sputtering, the Italian praying for forgiveness, the loud voices of all the others shouting, calling, and laughing.
The end of it was that they all left as soon as possible, and the Senator indignantly waded back through the water himself. A furious row with the unfortunate bearer, whom the Senator refused to pay, formed a beautifully appropriate termination to their visit to this classic spot. The Senator was so disturbed by this misadventure that his wrath did not subside until his trowsers were thoroughly dried. This, however, was accomplished at last, under the warm sun, and then he looked around him with his usual complacency.
The next spot of interest which attracted them was the Hall of the Subterranean Lake. In this place there is a cavern in the centre of a hill, which is approached by a passage of some considerable length, and in the subterranean cavern a pool of water boils and bubbles. The usual crowd of obliging peasantry surrounded them as they entered the vestibule of this interesting place. It was a dingy-looking chamber, out of which two narrow subterranean passages ran. A grimy, sooty, blackened figure stood before them with torches.
This was all that he condescended to say, after lighting his torches and distributing them to his visitors. He stalked off, and stooping down, darted into the low passage-way. The cicerone followed, then Buttons, then Dick, then the Senator, then the Doctor, then Mr. Figgs. The air was intensely hot, and the passage-way grew lower. Moreover, the smoke from the torches filled the air, blinding and choking them.
Mr. Figgs faltered. Fat, and not by any means nimble, he came to a pause about twenty feet from the entrance, and, making a sudden turn, darted out. The Doctor was tall and unaccustomed to bend his perpendicular form. Half choked and panting heavily he too gave up, and turning about rushed out after Mr. Figgs.
The other three went on bravely. Buttons and Dick, because they had long since made up their minds to see every thing that presented itself, and the Senator, because when he started on an enterprise he was incapable of turning back.
After a time the passage went sloping steeply down. At the bottom of the declivity was a pond of water bubbling and steaming. Down this they ran. Now the stone was extremely slippery, and the subterranean chamber was but faintly illuminated by the torches. And so it came to pass that, as the Senator ran down after the others, they had barely reached the bottom when
At once all turned round with a start.
Not too quickly; for there lay the Senator, on his back, sliding, in an oblique direction, straight toward the pool. His booted feet were already in the seething waves; his nails were dug into the slippery soil; he was shouting for help.
To grasp his hand, his collar, his leg—to jerk him away and place him upright, was the work of a shorter time than is taken to tell it.
The guide now wanted them to wait till he boiled an egg. The Senator remonstrated, stating that he had already nearly boiled a leg. The Senator's opposition overpowered the wishes of the others, and the party proceeded to return. Pale, grimy with soot, panting, covered with huge drops of perspiration, they burst into the chamber where the others were waiting—first Buttons, then Dick, then the Senator covered with mud and slime.
The latter gentleman did not answer much to the eager inquiries of his friends, but maintained a solemn silence. The two former loudly and volubly descanted on the accumulated horrors of the subterranean way, the narrow passage, the sulphurous air, the lake of boiling floods.
In this outer chamber their attention was directed to a number of ancient relics. These are offered for sale in such abundance that they may be considered stable articles of commerce in this country.
So skillful are the manufacturers that they can produce unlimited supplies of the following articles, and many others too numerous to mention:
Cumaean and Oscan coins; Ditto and ditto statuettes; Ditto and ditto rings; Ditto and ditto bracelets; Ditto and ditto images; Ditto and ditto toilet articles; Ditto and ditto vases; Ditto and ditto flasks; Relics of Parthenope; Ditto of Baiae; Ditto of Misenum; Ditto of Paestum; Ditto of Herculaneum; Ditto of Pompeii; Ditto of Capraea; Ditto of Capua; Ditto of Cumae—
And other places too numerous to mention; all supplied to order; all of which are eaten by rust, and warranted to be covered by the canker and the mould of antiquity.
The good guide earnestly pressed some interesting relics upon their attention, but without marked success. And now, as the hour of dinner approached, they made the best of their way to a neighboring inn, which commanded a fine view of the bay. Emerging from the chamber the guide followed them, offering his wares.
"Tell me," he cried, in a sonorous voice, "oh most noble Americans! how much will you give for this most ancient vase?"
"Un' mezzo carlino," said Dick,
"Un' mezzo carlino!!!"
The man's hand, which had been uplifted to display the vase, fell downward as he said this. His tall figure grew less and less distinct as they went further away; but long after he was out of sight the phantom of his reproachful face haunted their minds.
After dinner they went out on the piazza in front of the hotel. Two Spanish ladies were there, whose dark eyes produced an instantaneous effect upon the impressible heart of Buttons.
They sat side by side, leaning against the stone balustrade. They were smoking cigarettes, and the effect produced by waving their pretty hands as they took the cigarettes from their mouths was, to say the least, bewildering.
Buttons awaited his opportunity, and did not have to wait long. Whether it was that they were willing to give the young American a chance, or whether it was really unavoidable, can not be said, but certainly one of the fair Spaniards found that her cigarette had gone out. A pretty look of despair, and an equally pretty gesture of vexation, showed at once the state of things. Upon which Buttons stepped up, and with a bow that would have done honor to Chesterfield, produced a box of scented allumettes, and lighting one, gravely held it forward. The fair Spaniard smiled bewitchingly, and bending forward without hesitation to light her cigarette, brought her rosy lips into bewildering proximity to Buttons's hand.