The most unpleasant feature of Monte Carlo, - the serpent in the paradise, - is the fact that tragedies frequently occur within its limits. It is said that a conservative estimate of the suicides that take place here would be six a month, and many maintain that twelve or fifteen would not be too high an average; for the employees maintain perfect silence regarding such "accidents," and the papers of Nice are bribed to say little or nothing of such matters. Moreover, the police have strict orders to search the grounds every morning for dead bodies, and to remove them as quickly as possible; and if a man loses all his money and seems desperate, the bank will gladly give him funds enough to enable him to cross the frontier and depart for home.
Not long ago, however, this generosity of the "Administration" was misused in an unexpected manner. One evening, when the play was at its fiercest, a stranger was seen to rush out of the Casino, with despair and madness evident in his excited strides, wild eyes, and ruffled hair. Soon the familiar bang! bang! of a revolver rang through the air; and one of the attendants, running in the direction of the sound, found the unfortunate stranger stretched out motionless in a secluded corner of the garden, the smoking revolver in his hand. At once, with great presence of mind, and in obedience to the rules of the Administration, he stuffed the pockets of the fallen man with bank-notes enough to convince the most prejudiced observer that the catastrophe could not have been the result of ruin at the tables, and then sped off to give the alarm. A few minutes later, a cloud of would-be witnesses were on the spot, but, lo! there was nothing for them to witness. The stranger and the notes had vanished.
The Public Garden, Nimes.
The pretty manufacturing city of sixty thousand inhabitants in the south of France, which bears the name of Nimes, (or Nismes), retains in its contracted form, a reminder of its Roman ancestor, "Nemausus."
"Nemausus!" the reader perhaps exclaims, "I never heard of such a place." Nor is it strange, for it was seldom mentioned by classical authors, and its origin is wrapped in obscurity; yet while many more celebrated cities have fallen into complete ruin, Nemausus, or Nimes, as it is now called, still retains relics of its ancient splendor.
The most remarkable of these is its grand amphitheatre, which is better preserved than the Colosseum at Rome. Yet what a series of misfortunes have its walls survived! Long after the death of the Roman emperor during whose reign it was founded, the Goths converted it into a fortress. The Saracens also, at the beginning of the eighth century, entrenched themselves within its walls, until expelled by Charles Martel, who himself endeavored to destroy the building by filling its many passages with wood, and setting it on fire. Then, for centuries, a multitude of common people made their homes within its corridors, until in 1810, when by order of Napoleon the place was cleared, there had been constructed here no less than three hundred houses, inhabited by some two thousand people.
I felt a deeper admiration for the architecture of the Romans, as I walked in these gigantic passageways, which formerly swarmed with thousands of excited citizens going to and from their seats. So vast are the proportions of this amphitheatre, and so massively is it constructed, that it will probably continue to exist for as many centuries as have elapsed since its completion. Thus in these corridors are hundreds of stone blocks eighteen feet long, yet fastened by no cement. One feels that this was the work of men who built with blocks of stone commensurate in size with their gigantic plans. What perfect means the Romans always provided to facilitate the egress of their multitudes! Here, for example, there were no less than sixty enormous archways opening from the outside corridor, and every passage leading into this from the interior was of great breadth, and widened outwards; so that the building, colossal though it was, could in a few minutes be easily emptied of its twenty thousand spectators. The structure is astonishingly well preserved, and hundreds of the old seats, are almost as perfect as when their occupants, in bloodthirsty excitement, gazed downward from them into the arena, now so silent and deserted.