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from the excavations to the town above them, to an open space which he described as the orchestra; beyond this had been the stage, it is now still filled with the hardened mud which inundated and destroyed the city; in one part the impression of a comic mask is shown, but except this there is little of interest in the Herculaneum excavations, so far at least as we were able to explore them. Torre del Greco is, as our coachman described it, "tutto moderno," the walls and houses are built of the lava which in 1861 destroyed for a third time almost the whole town; the inhabitants are said to be quite undisturbed by apprehensions of future eruptions, and live, according to the description of a local guide-book, "in much security at the base of Vesuvius, who has more than once made for them a girdle of his lava and a burning mantle of his ashes!"
Torre dell' Annunziata comes next, and is only a mile from Pompeii; it is celebrated for its manufacture of maccaroni, long threads of which hang drying on frames through the whole length of the town. We entered Pompeii by the gate leading into the street of Stabiæ, and, being provided with an intelligent guide, were led from one street of unroofed houses to another, stopping here to look at ruts made in the roadway by the chariot-wheels; here at cisterns.placed at the junctions of streets; here at an inscription or name still painted in fresh colours on the walls; here at ovens; there at the amphoræ in the wine shops, at frescoes without end, some graceful, but for the most part voluptuous and indelicate. After the houses came the temples, the forum, and the amphitheatre; but, until we reached the gate of Herculaneum, by which the street of tombs is entered, the whole recovered city put me much in mind of a place that, having been destroyed by fire, had been carefully cleared out and set to rights after the conflagration; it is difficult to realise in its present aspect that it has been buried and excavated, until passing through the Herculaneum gate, by the sentinel porch and the tombs which form the Appian way of Pompeii, the house of Diomede is reached; here, besides a graceful portico, and a room with three windows which command exquisite views of the Bay of Naples, along the coast from Castellamare to Torre dell' Annunziata, there is a staircase leading down to the cellars below the house, and in them the stone wine bottles which stand against the wall are still fixed there by the lava which overwhelmed the city. It was in these cellars, to which they had probably fled for safety, that no less than twenty skeletons were found. Portions of these and casts formed by the stream which hardened on them were removed to the Museum at Naples, and it is there that all the most interesting objects found in Pompeii and Herculaneum are now to be seen. The loaves that had not had time to rise in the ovens, some visibly stamped with the baker's name; nets with which butterflies were
caught, some unfinished with needles hanging to them; eggs, fruit, seeds, colours, gems without number, purses still holding coins, besides statues, bronzes, mosaics, and frescoes-all, with very few exceptions, have been taken there. The fontana nuova, one of the latest discoveries, a mosaic of shell-work in a marvellous state of freshness and perfection, and the remains of three bodies found imbedded in scoriæ, without doubt the most interesting relics the place contains, are still left in Pompeii. These bodies look like casts of grey plaster; they consist of two women and a man-the expression still left on their faces and the position in which they lie tell the sad story of their death agony. The younger of the women evidently struggled for life, one hand shades the face, while the other is clenched tightly, and her feet are apart, as if she had fallen while running. The other woman, on whose fingers are still seen the marks of her rings, has yielded to the inevitable death, and has a calm, resigned expression about her; while the man, a figure of fine and strong proportions, has grappled with death before it conquered him; his arms are extended, and his feet, cased in heavy sandals, look as if they had carried him well till the tide of the burning lava overwhelmed him. Other visits to Pompeii made us better acquainted with its gloomy streets of small houses, in which now the only signs of life are the lizards that sparkle as they creep on the walls and the ferns which grow in rich luxuriance amid the ruins.
After Pompeii, the next necessary trip from Naples is to the top of Vesuvius. A carriage took us as far as Resina; here we hired the ponies and guides who were to conduct us the rest of the way. For some distance out of Resina the road ran along lanes bordered on either side by vineyards and orchards of mulberry-trees, figs, lemons, and pomegranates, with large gardens of the tobacco plant; then began the road made across the fields of lava with which different eruptions of Vesuvius have covered many miles in its neighbourhood. The ponies carefully picked their way along the narrow path between coils of dark-brown calcareous substance that lay curled in every imaginable shape around us; now a sea of black waves, now ropes, then huge serpents, in some places fancy traced human bodies cased in lava—all was desolation and silence. About midway between Resina and the Hermitage, a small black wooden cross marks the spot where, on the seventh Tuesday after Easter, the people of Resina assemble, with their priests, to pray for preservation from the ravages of Vesuvius. Passing the Hermitage-an inn where refreshments, with the Lachryma Christi wine, grown in the vineyards below, may be obtained-our ponies carried us to the Atrio del Cavallo at the base of the cone. Here the foot mounting begins; whatever may be its difficulty or danger during a time of eruption, there is little of either when the
mountain is in repose; strong boots, short petticoats, good lungs, and patience are all that are required.
"Chi va piano, va sano e lontano," were the encouraging words of the guide as he helped me to step over the huge stones of broken lava that lie at intervals imbedded in the loose scoriæ, or waited while I stopped to take breath, and to look upon the splendid views that broke upon us at every step of our hour's ascent. To our left stretched the dark sides of the Somma, from the now exhausted crater of which issued the eruption which destroyed the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii; on the other side lay the Campagna, the bay and city of Naples, the coast of the Mediterranean, with its towns, and its own blue expanse beyond. Towards the summit, the path became more rough, and from several fissures a hot vapour escaped; further on the surface of the ground became too hot to touch, the smell of sulphur was very strong, and eggs were rapidly boiled in the crevices.
At length we reached the lip of the crater, and looking down we saw below a floor encrusted with what looked like moss shaded in most delicate gradations, from the palest straw-colour to the darkest, richest green. From this beautiful carpet of sulphur came jets of light filmy smoke, which rose five or six feet from the surface; but this was the nearest approach to an eruption that Vesuvius now displayed.
We were trying to follow the finger of our guide as he pointed to a white spot in the distance below, which, he said, was Pompeii, when, as it were, a deep blue curtain rose from the horizon; gradually it covered the sunny landscape beneath, shutting out one by one the objects that had attracted us by their loveliness, until, as it reached us, it fell in heavy showers of rain and hail, making the otherwise easy descent of Vesuvius a walk of much discomfort, inasmuch as the loose ashes into which at every downward step one sinks nearly to one's knees, speedily became saturated with the rain, and rendered the state of one's stockings and legs anything but pleasant.
Orders of entrance are easily obtained, and the train runs in an hour from Naples to Caserta, where, opposite to the station, is a palace, with a magnificent marble staircase, vast and richly adorned rooms, a theatre, and a chapel lavishly decorated with marbles, gems, and gold. The grounds in which it stands are, however, more interesting than the palace itself. Amid the shrubs on the lawns, pheasants, partridges, and other birds run about with the tameness of farmyard poultry; flowers grow in luxuriance; but the fountains and cascades are the chief features of the gardens. The principal one plays over figures in white marble, representing the story of Diana and Acteon; behind this, in deep rocky basins, are some fat old trout, which remind one of the
carp at Fontainebleau; they are quite tame, and rose readily to view when the gardener whistled and threw them a handful of worms.
While we were waiting for the train back to Naples, a pretty rural procession passed along the road. First came a cart full of new cottage furniture; across the top of the cart, supported by two poles, placed fore and aft, hung a rope to which were suspended saucepans, kettles, and other kitchen utensils; the cart was drawn by two milk-white oxen, and at the side were several peasants in holiday attire. Behind it walked two gaily-dressed young village girls, bearing each on her head two pillows in white cases trimmed with broad frills of lace, bows of ribbon, and bunches of flowers; the procession was closed by more young men and maidens. I inquired of course what it all meant, and learnt that it was a bridal procession on its road to furnish the cottage of a newly-married pair.
"E la roba d'una sposa, signora, che va a casa finchè sia tutta preparata per lei; non sono che i personi bassi. La sposa ne andrà Domenica," was the explanation given me by the woman at whose stall I gladly drank a glass of lemonade cooled by lumps of pure white snow.
As we drove along the Santa Lucia on our way from the station to the hotel, we met the caritellas on their return to Resina; these extraordinary vehicles consist of a cabriolet without a hood, and with a netting beneath; in the carriage, on the shafts, in the netting, clinging to the wheels, everywhere that hands or legs can grasp, are the passengers. We counted more than once seven-andtwenty in one caritella, all drawn by a miserable horse, whipped into a quick trot by the unceasing lashes of the cruel driver.
One fine morning we started from Santa Lucia at nine o'clock in the little steamer Risposta for Capri. The voyage lasted about two hours and a half; there was just breeze enough to be pleasant; the sea looked exactly like liquid turquoise, and the views on every side were as beautiful as they well could be. We stopped at Sorrento to land passengers, and gained a view of the town built on the edge of the cliff, and thickly planted with orange and lemon-groves.
The island of Capri, as the steamer neared it, appeared to be a mass of precipitous cliffs rising straight out of the sea. On the top of some, and lower down on others, are the ruins of castles, palaces, and aqueducts built by Augustus, who exchanged this island with the Neapolitans for the neighbouring one of Ischia, and by Tiberius, who built, it is said, no less than twelve palaces in Capri. Beneath one of the cliffs is the Grotta Azzurra, and as the sea was calm enough to permit its being entered, our approach to it brought sundry little boats to the side of the steamer, all of which were rapidly filled. A few minutes brought us to the en
trance of the grotto; it was necessary to save our heads by bending very low as the boat went in; we then found ourselves beneath a vault of frosted silver, supported by rugged columns of apparently the same material, and covering a lake of water clear as crystal, yet of the deepest blue colour!
The Marina Grande was filled with the Capri peasants when we landed, some with donkeys, others offering for sale stones and shells, or the straw baskets and fans they make, while many little girls were clamorous to be engaged as guides to those who wished to explore the island on foot. As we had neither time nor inclination to visit the ruins on the high cliffs, we wandered through lanes bordered by gardens of olives and myrtle, passing cottages shaded by pergole, or trellised roofs supported on poles, over which the trained vines were already spreading their leaves, and showing little green bunches of grapes; we were attended by two brighteyed merry maidens, who laughed and chatted, took us into the village church, dropping a respectful curtsey to the kind-looking old priest we found within it, and amused themselves and us afterwards by dancing the tarantella to the music of their own voices, while we ate our luncheon in a grove opposite to the ruined arches of an old road, beyond which the Bay of Naples, the city, and Vesuvius, formed a picture of almost unsurpassable beauty.
Capri is celebrated for quails, with which it supplies the Neapolitan markets; birds of various kinds abound in the island, and judging from our experience, the younger population are very expert at catching them.
"Uccellino da vendere, Signora," said a black-eyed urchin, as he held towards me a handsome brown and yellow bird.
Giving the boy a soldo, I gladly watched the flight of the liberated captive as it winged its way from the little hot hand that had held it. The news of my liberality spread quickly; boys with birds, some dead, some alive, met me at every turn. I bought until my halfpence were all gone.
"Molto buoni per la mensa," said the little maidens to whom I gave my purchases.
THE PAGAN'S PRAYER.
FROM THE PERSIAN OF ATTAR'S "LANGUAGE OF BIRDS."
ONE night, amidst the Sudra's shade,