Sole Relic Of The Temple Of Olympian Jove, Near The River Anapo.

Sole Relic Of The Temple Of Olympian Jove, Near The River Anapo.

Etna, Seen From Syracuse.

Etna, Seen From Syracuse.

Castrog10vanni, The Ancient Enna.

Castrog10vanni, The Ancient " Enna".

The few Sicilian towns that one discerns are usually perched on rocky and precipitous heights. Thither the peasants, warned by long experience with banditti, return at night on mules and donkeys from the distant fields which they have cultivated through the day. Thus, though there are in Sicily numerous populous centres, the villages are few in number, and one sees very rarely any isolated houses. Moreover, so malarial are parts of the interior, that even peasants will not sleep there. Indeed, from a certain station on the line between Syracuse and Gir-genti it is customary to send the railroad employees by special train each evening to the neighboring, healthful town of Castro-giovanni, and on the following morning to convey them back again! This town of Castrogiovanni, by the way, not only occupies the centre of the island, but, on account of its wonderful situation on a mountain summit more than three thousand feet above the sea, is one of the most picturesquely located cities in the world. This was the celebrated "Enna" of the Greeks and Romans, and held for centuries the noble temple to Deme-ter, patroness of Sicily, whose name and power were here espedaily revered. Opposite this, on the other side of the valley, rises another mountain crest, on which is built the town of Calas-cibetta. Between them is the railway station common to them both, and round them lie the fields, so famed for their fertility, where fair Persephone was gathering flowers, when carried off by Pluto. It is not strange that this remarkable legend should have had its origin here; for if the lands surrounding "Enna" formed in ancient times a mighty sea of undulating grain, they also had adjoining them a region so replete with sulphur that it suggested necessarily the close proximity of the nether world. In fact, the region lying between Castrogiovanni and Girgenti might be called the Yellow Country, for practically the only exportation from this portion of Trinacria is sulphur. One sees innumerable freight cars filled with amber blocks of it, and frequently the station platforms and the rails are covered with its yellow dust.

Castle Of Castrogiovanni.

Castle Of Castrogiovanni.

The importance of this industry to the country will be seen from the fact that out of the five hundred thousand tons of sulphur annually necessary for the world's consumption, no less than four hundred thousand (or four fifths of the whole amount) are now produced in Sicily. One might conclude from this that sulphur mining here would be remunerative. But now that sulphur can be readily extracted, and sulphuric acid can be easily made from iron pyrites, keen competition has reduced the business to a painful struggle for existence. Of course the problem is how to reduce to a minimum the cost of its production. The mines are practically all alike. Steep, rock-hewn steps descend to depths at which the heat resembles that of a furnace, and nauseating odors make one's breathing difficult. The miners work below in a temperature of over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, and earn for this exhausting labor about forty cents a day. But since their employer usually pays them only by the month or quarter, they are obliged meanwhile to live on credit at the manager's store. This means, of course, that owing to exorbitant charges and excessive rates of interest, the men have little or nothing finally to show for their unhealthful toil.

Calascibetta.

Calascibetta.

But even this expenditure must be materially lessened ! Accordingly, the managers of the mines employ a mul-ti t u d e of wretched children, who are virtually slaves, having been sold by their parents to the overseers for fifty or sixty dollars apiece, when eight or nine years old. The agonizing life led by these children, who are called carusi, is said by those who have investigated their condition to be something horrible. Their duty is to bring to the surface sacks or baskets of the excavated ore, and up the steep and arduous ascent these youthful martyrs toil with well-nigh naked bodies, panting breath, and trembling limbs, looking like living skeletons, as, bathed in sweat, they mount the steps which are too high for their small legs. The wage which they receive for this is ten cents for twelve hours' labor! Theoretically, when they have thus worked off the money paid for them, they are free to go; but usually many years of almost insupportable suf-feringmustbe endured before that goal is reached, and during that long interval a large proportion of them die, or become physical wrecks. I saw a number of these sulphur mines from a distance, but I confess I did not have the heart to look upon the misery which a descent into those infernos would have certainly revealed.