The Ocean Deity.

The Ocean Deity.

It stood at the very centre of the Mediterranean; and on the narrow strait before it, through which the tidal currents swiftly ebb and flow, the great divinity could feel, as it were, the pulse of his domain, and know of all that took place in his watery kingdom. In sight of it also were the islands where Vulcan labored at his roaring forge, and Eolus, king of the winds and storms, had his abode, and waited for the mandates of his sovereign lord. Up its broad, marble steps the mariners of Greece and Rome climbed reverently to implore the deity for favoring winds, or else to make their votive offerings in gratitude for having been preserved; as even now, in the cathedral, near the same old columns which beheld Greek navigators pray, Sicilian sailors kneel to thank the same great, unseen Power, under a different name. When Neptune smiled, the sunlit sea before his temple here was no less fair than when the goddess Aphrodite, cradled in white foam, was born from its blue waves; and when he frowned, his white-maned chargers raged across the deep, leaped up the rock of Scylla, but two miles away, and thence raced on in splendid wrath along the edge of the Calabrian shore.

Nor are these all the memories connected with this point. The place is haunted by the tragic story of Hannibal's disastrous flight along this strait in 193 B.C. The mighty Carthaginian, who had so often vanquished Rome's most famous generals, had finally been himself defeated, and, hoping to escape to Asia, was a fugitive upon the deep. A few miles north of Cape Pelorus it is impossible to discern the opening between Italy and Sicily, so far does the Sicilian cape stretch eastward toward Calabria. Hannibal, therefore, as he saw apparently the two coasts join and form a solid barrier, concluded that his pilot had deceived him and was treacherously leading him into an impasse, where his enemies could entrap him. The Carthaginian was a man of prompt decisions. Upon his finger gleamed the ring containing the swift poison by which he was at last to end his life. Yet, though he had the means of thus escaping the disgrace of capture and of slavery, he wished at least that he who had betrayed him should precede him to the realm of Pluto, and announce his coming. Accordingly, refusing to believe his pilot's protestations of sincerity, or even to grant him the on the one nana ana liquid turquoise on the other brought us to the base of a huge cliff, upon which, at an elevation of four hundred feet, is perched the beautifully situated town of Taormina. Up from the railway station to the mountain ledge, on which the houses and hotels extend in one long line, winds back and forth an admirable carriage road, whose sweeping serpentines present a series of magnificent vistas to the traveler, and gradually prepare him for the still more wonderful vision which awaits him at its terminus. The town itself consists of little more than a single street, about a mile in length, lined with hotels and curio shops, between which numerous narrow alleys of stone steps lead to the squalid dwellings of the poor. These little stairways, which ascend the mountain on the one side, or descend precipitously on the other, are characterized by such odd, picturesque bits of architecture, or charming vistas of the sea and sky, framed in by towering walls, that artists find innumerable subjects there, and one American painter of most exquisite water-colors has built himself a villa on this lovely cliff, to which he has been coming regularly for a dozen years. Like almost all the prominent, historic cities of Sicily, Tauromenium - - whose ancient name is now voiced softly in the many-voweled "Ta-ormina" - was founded long before the Christian era by Greek colonists in what appeared to them, no doubt, an impregnable po-sition. But even its remote and lofty site could not exempt it from the usual fate of all Sicilian towns, and Taormina's annals form the same old, melancholy story of wars, conquests, and invasions, and man's inhumanity to man. But somehow in the presence of such natural beauty as one sees at every turn in Taor-mina, all that is sad and tragic in its past is speedily effaced; and so supreme is the allurement of the place, that where neptune's white-maned chargers ran

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