Hall Of Large Bronzes.
Before departing from Pompeii we spent some time in watching the work of excavation. It is a fascinating yet a melancholy sight; fascinating, because at any moment the pick or shovel may disclose new treasures; but sad, because the progress is so slow that we shall probably never know half that is hidden under all the earth still waiting to be turned to the light of day. It makes one wish that the United States could own Pompeii for about six months. The Italian Government sets aside for excavations here only twelve thousand dollars a year, and at the present rate sixty years more will be required to unearth the city. Not in exaggeration, but sober earnest do I say that, were Pompeii within our territory, the whole sum needed could be raised easily within a week among the public-spirited citizens of this Republic, and within half a year the whole remaining portion of Pompeii would be laid open to the scholars of the world. What would three-quarters of a million be to raise for such a purpose when one American gives a million dollars for the founding of an art museum?
Excavations At Pompeii.
The Site Of Tasso's House, Sorrento.
The Road To Amalfi.
The road beyond Pompeii, on the southern shore toward Sorrento and Amalfi, is one of the finest in the world. For miles it winds through pretty towns and over vine-clad terraces, sometimes upon a shelf of rock hundreds of feet above the waves. Beside it countless orange and lemon trees hang out their golden globes against the clear blue sky, and the soft breeze which passes over them conveys the perfume of a million blossoms to the sea. Occasionally, also, on high bluffs appear the threatening forms of ruined castles which, in the distance, look like outgrowths of the cliffs themselves, and seem as truly portions of the crags on which they stand as were the fabled centaur's head and shoulders a part of the steed from which they sprang. They serve as reminders of the fact that, formerly, this coast was lined with massive towers whose bells gave warning of the approach of pirates. Best of all, beneath us always on this glorious driveway is the sparkling sea. It knows no change amid these ruins of the past, but spreads along the shore its filagree of silver foam, as when its waves were furrowed by the ships from Troy. What wonder that the curving coast of this inimitable bay has been for centuries the battle-ground of those who longed for its possession! Is it too fanciful to compare the entire region to a beautiful slave in the market-place, contended for by wrangling rivals, who have in turn possessed, ill-treated, and abandoned her, till now her smile, though beautiful and bewitching as of old, has for the traveler who knows her history a sadness which is full of pathos? Greeks, Romans, Norsemen, Saracens, Frenchmen, and Spaniards all fought desperately to secure her; but, one by one, her masters became enervated by her charms, and the strong hand that grasped the sword at first so firmly, gradually relaxed its hold, and, finally, did little save bestow caresses till a new conqueror arrived.
Convent Of The Capuchins.
Now and then a turn in the road reveals to us a score of fishermen's boats along the beach. "Is it possible," we cry, "that these patched, dingy sails are such as we admire far out upon the bay, as the boats glide with snow-white wings from Ischia to Capri?" Ah ! but the poet tells us :
"The sails we see on the ocean Are as white, as white can be; But never one in the harbor Is as white as the sails at sea.
Yet, Distance, thou dear enchantress,
Still hold in thy magic veil The glory of far-off mountains,
The gleam of the far-off sail".