Rollo wished to get a small scarf, and the ground of it was to be green. This was in accordance with the instructions which Lucy had given him. He found great difficulty, however, in making the shopman understand what he wanted. To all that Rollo said, the shopman smiled, and said only, "Yes, sir, yes, sir," and took down continually scarfs and aprons of different kinds, and showed them to Rollo, to see if any of them were what he wanted.
At last, by pointing to a large one that had a green ground, and saying, "Color like that," and then to a small one of a different kind, and saying, "Small, like that," the shopman began to understand.
"Yes, sir," said the shopman; "yes, sir; I understand. Must one make—make. See!"
So saying, the shopman opened a door in the back side of the shop, and showed Rollo and Charles the entrance to a room in the rear, where the boys had heard before the sound of a continual thumping, and where now they saw several silk looms, with girls at work at them, weaving scarfs.
"Ah, yes," said Rollo. "You mean that you can make me one. That will be a good plan, Charley," he added. "Lucy will like it all the better if I tell her it was made on purpose for her.
"When can you have it done?" asked Rollo.
"Yes, sir," said the shopman, bowing and smiling; "yes, sir; yes, sir."
"When?" repeated Rollo. "What time?"
"Ah, yes, sir," said the shopman. "The time. All time, every time. Yesterday."
"Yesterday!" repeated Rollo, puzzled.
"To-morrow," said the man, correcting himself. He had said yesterday by mistake for to-morrow. "To-morrow. To-morrow he will be ready—the scarf."
"What time to-morrow shall I come?" asked Rollo.
"Yes, sir," said the shopman, bowing again, and smiling in a very complacent manner. "Yes, sir, to-morrow."
"But what time to-morrow?" repeated Rollo, speaking very distinctly, and emphasizing very strongly the word time. "What time?"
"O, every time," said the man; "all time. You shall have him every time to-morrow, because you see he will make begin the work on him this day."
"Very well," said Rollo, "then I will come to-morrow, about noon."
So Rollo and Charles bade the shopman good by, and went out of the shop.
"Is that what they call speaking English?" asked Charles.
"So it seems," said Rollo. "Sometimes they speak a great deal worse than that, and yet call it speaking English."
So Rollo and Charles got into the carriage again. Rollo took out his wallet, and made a memorandum of the name of the shop where he had engaged the sash, and of the street and number. The coachman sat quietly upon his seat, waiting for Rollo to finish his writing, and expecting then to receive directions where he was to go.
"If I could only find a commissioner that speaks French or English," said Rollo, "I could tell him what we want, and he could tell the coachman, and in that way we should soon get home."
"Can't you find one at some hotel?" asked Charles.
"Why, yes," said Rollo. "Why did not I think of that? We'll stop at the very first hotel we come to. I'll let him drive on till he comes to one. No; I'll tell him to go to the Hotel d'Amerique. That is the only name of a hotel that I know."
So Rollo pronounced the words "Hotel d'Amerique" to the coachman, and the coachman, saying, "Si, signore," drove on. In a short time he drew up before the door of the hotel where Mr. George had stopped first, on arriving in town. A waiter came to the door.
"Is there a commissioner here who speaks English or French?" asked Rollo.
"Yes, sir," said a man who was standing by the side of the door when the carriage stopped, and who now came forward. "I speak English."
"I want you to help us find our hotel," said Rollo. "We don't know the name of it. I shall know it when I see it; and so I want you to get on the box with the coachman, and direct him to drive to one hotel after another, till I see which is the right one."
"Very well," said the commissioner, "I will go. Do you remember any thing about the hotel,—how it was situated."
"There was a small, open space before it," said Rollo, "and a fountain under a tree by the side of it."
"It must have been the Hotel d'Angleterre," said the commissioner.
"In going in at the front door, we went down one or two steps, instead of up," said Rollo.
"Yes," said the commissioner, "it was the Hotel d'Angleterre." Then seating himself on the box by the side of the coachman, he said to the latter, addressing him in Italian,—
"Lo canda d'Ingleterra," which is the Italian for Hotel d'Angleterre, or, as we should express it in our language, "The English Hotel."
The coachman drove on, and in a few minutes came to the hotel.
"Yes," said Rollo, as soon as he came in sight of it. "Yes, this is the very place."
If Rollo had had any doubts of his being right, they would have been dispelled by the sight of Mr. George, who was standing at the hotel door at the time they arrived.
"So you come home in a carriage," said Mr. George.
"Why, we got lost," said Rollo. "I did not take notice of the name of our hotel when we went out, and so we could not find our way home again."
"That's of no consequence," said Mr. George. "I am glad you had sense enough to take a commissioner. Whenever you get into any difficulty whatever in a European town, go right to a commissioner, and he will help you out."
So Rollo paid the coachman and the commissioner, and then he and Charles went into the hotel.
The grandest of all the ruins in Rome, and perhaps, indeed, of all the ruins in the world, is the Coliseum.
The Coliseum was built as a place for the exhibition of games and spectacles. It was of an oval form, with seats rising one above another on all sides, and a large arena in the centre. There was no roof. The building was so immensely large, that it would have been almost impossible to have made a roof over it.
The spectacles which were exhibited in such buildings as these were usually combats, either of men with men, or of men with wild beasts. These were real combats, in which either the men or the beasts were actually killed. The thousands of people that sat upon the seats all around, watched the conflict, while it was going on, with intense excitement, and shouted with ferocious joy at the end of it, in honor of the victors.
The men that fought in the arena were generally captives taken in battle, in distant countries, and the wild beasts were lions, tigers, and bears, that were sent home from Africa, or from the dark forests in the north of Europe.
The great generals who went out at the head of the Roman armies to conquer these distant realms and annex them to the empire, sent home these captives and wild beasts. They sent them for the express purpose of amusing the Roman people with them, by making them fight in these great amphitheatres. There was such an amphitheatre in or near almost every large town; but the greatest, or at least the most celebrated, of all these structures, was this Coliseum at Rome.
Mr. George and Rollo went to the Coliseum in a carriage. After passing through almost the whole length of the Corso, they passed successively through several crooked and narrow streets, and at length emerged into the great region of the ruins. On every side were tall columns, broken and decayed, and immense arches standing meaningless and alone, and mounds of ancient masonry, with weeds and flowers waving in the air on the top of them. There were no houses, or scarcely any, in this part of the city, but only grassy slopes with old walls appearing here and there among them; and in some places enclosed fields and gardens, with corn, and beans, and garden vegetables of every kind, growing at the base of the majestic ruins.
The carriage stopped at one end of the Coliseum, where there was a passage way leading through stupendous arches into the interior.
They dismissed the carriage, Rollo having first paid the coachman the fare. They then, after gazing upward a moment at the vast pile of arches upon arches, towering above them, advanced towards the openings, in order to go in.
There was a soldier with a musket in his hands, bayonet set, walking to and fro at the entrance. He, however, said nothing to Mr. George and Rollo; and so, passing by him, they went in.
They passed in under immense arches of the most massive masonry, and between the great piers built to sustain the arches, until they reached the arena. There was a broad gravel walk passing across the arena from end to end, and another leading around the circumference of it. The rest of the surface was covered with grass, smooth and green.
The form of the arena was oval, as has already been said, and on every side there ascended the sloping tiers, rising one above another to a vast height, on which the seats for the spectators had been placed. Mr. George and Rollo advanced along the central walk, and looked around them, surveying the scene,—their minds filled with emotions of wonder and awe.
"What a monstrous place it was!" said Rollo.
"It was, indeed," said Mr. George.
"Is it here where the men fought with the lions and the tigers?" asked Rollo, pointing around him over the arena.
"Yes," said Mr. George.
"And up there, all around were the seats of the spectators, I suppose," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "on those slopes."
You must know that the scats, and all the inside finish of the Coliseum, were originally of marble, and people have stripped it all away, and left nothing but the naked masonry; and even that is all now going to ruin.
"What did they strip the marble off for?" asked Rollo.
"To build their houses and palaces with," replied Mr. George. "Half of the modern palaces of Rome are built of stone and marble plundered from the ancient ruins."
"O, uncle George!" exclaimed Rollo.
"Come out here where we can sit down," said Mr. George, "and I'll tell you all about it."
So saying, Mr. George led the way, and Rollo followed to one side of the arena, where they could sit down on a large, flat stone, which seemed to have been an ancient step. They were over-shadowed where they sat by piers and arches, and by the masses of weeds and shrubbery that were growing on the mouldering summits of them, and waving in the wind.
In the centre of the arena was a large cross, with a sort of platform around it, and steps to go up. And all around the arena, on the sides, at equal distances, there extended a range of little chapels, with crucifixes and other Catholic symbols.
The arena of the Coliseum was kept in very neat order. For a wonder, there were no beggars to be seen, but instead of them there were various parties of well-dressed visitors walking about the paths, or sitting on the massive stone fragments which lay under the ruined arches.
High up above these arches, the sloping platforms, on which the seats formerly were placed, were to be seen rising one above another, tier after tier, to a great height, with the ruins of galleries, corridors, and vaulted passage ways passing around among them. The upper surfaces of all these ruins were covered with grass and shrubbery.
"What has become of all the seats, uncle George?" said Rollo.
"Why, the seats, I suppose, were made of marble," replied Mr. George, "or some other valuable material, and so all the stones have been taken away."
Presently Rollo saw a party of visitors coming into view far up among the upper stories of the ruins.
"Look, uncle George! Look!" said he; "there are some people away up there, as high as the third or fourth story. How do you suppose they got up there? Couldn't you and I go?"
"I presume so," said Mr. George. "I suppose that, in the way of climbing, you and I can go as high as most people."
While Mr. George was saying this, Rollo was adjusting his opera glass to his eyes, in order to take a nearer view of the party among the ruins.
"There are four of them," said he. "I see a gentleman, and two ladies, and a little girl. They seem to be gathering something."
"Plants, perhaps," said Mr. George, "and flowers."
"Plants!" said Rollo, contemptuously; "I don't believe that any thing grows out of such old stones and mortar but weeds."
"We call such things weeds," said Mr. George, "when they grow in the gardens or fields, and are in the way; but when they grow in wild places where they belong, they are plants and flowers."
"The gentleman is gathering them from high places all around him," said Rollo, "and is giving them to the ladies, and they are putting them in between the leaves of a book."
"They are going to carry them away as souvenirs of the Coliseum, I suppose," said Mr. George.
"The girl has got a white stone in her hand," said Rollo.
"Perhaps it is a piece of marble that she has picked up," said Mr. George.
"Now she has thrown down her white stone," said Rollo, "and has begun to gather flowers."
"There is an immense number of plants that grow in and upon the Coliseum," said Mr. George. "A botanist once made a complete collection of them. How many species do you think he found?"
"Twenty," said Rollo.
"Guess again," said Mr. George.
"Fifteen," said Rollo.
"O, you must guess more, not less," said Mr. George.
"Thirty," said Rollo.
"More," said Mr. George.
"Forty," said Rollo.
"Add one cipher to it," said Mr. George, "and then you will be pretty near right."
"What! four hundred?" exclaimed Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George. "A botanist made a catalogue of four hundred and twenty plants, all growing on the ruins of this single building."
"O, uncle George!" said Rollo; "I don't think that can possibly be. I mean to see."
So saying, Rollo laid the opera glass down upon the seat where he had been sitting, and began to examine the masses of old ruined masonry near him, with a view of seeing how many different kinds of plants he could find.
"Must I count every thing, uncle George?" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "every thing that is a plant. Every different kind of sprig, or little weed, that you can find—mosses, lichens, and all."
Rollo began to count. He very soon got up to twenty, and so he came to the conclusion that the guide book—which was the authority on which Mr. George had stated the number of plants found upon the ruins—was right.
While Rollo was thus engaged, Mr. George had remained quietly in his seat, and had occupied himself with studying the guide book.
"Uncle George," said Rollo, when he came back, "I give it up. I have no doubt that there are hundreds of plants in all, growing on these ruins."
"Yes," said Mr. George; "whatever is stated in this book is very apt to prove true."
"What else did you read about, uncle George," said Rollo, "while I was counting the plants?"
"I read," said Mr. George, "that the Coliseum was begun about A. D. 72, by one of the Roman emperors."
"Then it is almost eighteen hundred years old," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George; "and when it was first opened after it was finished, they had a sort of inauguration of it, with great celebrations, that continued one hundred days."
"That is over three months," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George; "it was a very long celebration. During this time about five thousand wild beasts were killed in the combats in the arena."
"This very arena right before us?" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George.
On hearing this, Rollo looked upon the arena with renewed interest and pleasure. He endeavored to picture to himself the lions, and tigers, and leopards, and other ferocious wild beasts, growling, snarling, and tumbling over each other there, in the desperate combats which they waged among themselves, or with the men sent in to fight with them.
"It continued to be used for such fights," added Mr. George, "for four hundred years; and during this time a great many Christians were sent in to be devoured by wild beasts, for the entertainment of the populace.
"After a while," continued Mr. George, "the Roman empire became Christian; and then the government put a stop to all these savage games."
"And what did they do with the Coliseum then?" asked Rollo.
"They did not know what to do with it for a time," said Mr. George; "but at last, when wars broke out, and Rome was besieged, they tried to turn it into a fortress."
"I should think it would make an excellent fortress," said Rollo, "only there are no port-holes for the cannon."
"Ah! but they had no cannon in those days," said Mr. George. "They had only bows and arrows, spears, javelins, and such sort of weapons, so that they did not require any port-holes. The men could shoot their weapons from the top of the wall."
In further conversation on the subject of the Coliseum, Mr. George explained to Rollo how, in process of time, Rome was taken by the barbarians, and a great portion of the Coliseum was destroyed; and then, afterwards, when peace was restored, how the government, instead of repairing the building, pulled it to pieces still more, in order to get marble, and hewn stone, and sculptured columns, to build palaces with; and how, at a later period, there was a plan formed for converting the vast structure into a manufactory; and how, in connection with this plan, immense numbers of shops were fitted up in the arcades and arches below,—and how the plan finally failed, after having cost the pope who undertook it ever so many thousand Roman dollars; how, after this, it remained for many centuries wholly neglected, and the stones, falling in from above, together with the broken bricks and mortar, formed on the arena below, and all around the walls outside, immense heaps of rubbish; and finally, how, about one hundred years ago, people began to take an interest in the ruins, and to wish to clear away the rubbish, and to prop up and preserve what remained of the walls and arches.
"It was the French that cleared away the rubbish at last," said Mr. George, "and put the ruins in order."
"The French!" repeated Rollo; "how came the French here?"
"I don't know," said Mr. George. "The French are every where. And wherever they go, they always take with their armies a corps of philosophers, artists, and men of science, who look up every thing that is curious, and put it in order, and preserve it if they can."
"Then I am glad they came here," said Rollo.
Here Mr. George shut his book, and rose from his seat, saying, as he did so,—
"The Coliseum is so large that it covers six acres of ground."
"Six acres?" repeated Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George. "It is six hundred and twenty feet long. That is monstrous for such a building; but then the steamship Great Eastern is about a hundred feet longer."
"Then the Great Eastern is bigger than the Coliseum."
"She is longer," said Mr. George, "but she is not so wide nor so high."
"And which, all things considered, is the greatest work, do you think?" asked Rollo.
"The Coliseum may have cost the most labor," said Mr. George, "but the Great Eastern is far above it, in my opinion, in every element of real greatness. The Coliseum is a most wonderful structure, no doubt; but the building of an iron ship like the Great Eastern, to be propelled by steam against all the storms and tempests of the ocean, to the remotest corners of the earth, with ten thousand tons of merchandise on board, or ten thousand men, is, in my opinion, much the greatest exploit."
"At any rate," said Rollo, "the Coliseum makes the finest ruin."
"I am not certain of that, even," said Mr. George. "Suppose that the Great Eastern were to be drawn up upon the shore somewhere near London, and be abandoned there; and that then the whole world should relapse into barbarism, and remain so for a thousand years, and afterwards there should come a revival of science and civilization, and people should come here to see the ruins of the Coliseum, and go to London to see those of the great ship, I think they would consider the ship the greater wonder of the two."
"I think they would," said Rollo, "if they understood it all as well."
"They could not be easily made to believe, I suppose," said Mr. George, "that such an immense structure, all of iron, could have been made, and launched, and then navigated all over the world just by the power of the maze of iron beams and wheels, and machinery, which they would see in ruins in the hold."
"Uncle George," said Rollo, "what curious bricks the Romans used!"
So saying, Rollo pointed to the bricks in a mass of masonry near where they were standing. These bricks, like all those that were used in the construction of the building, were very flat. They were a great deal longer and a great deal wider than our bricks, and were yet not much more than half as thick. This gave them a very thin and flat appearance. Instead of being red, too, they were of a yellow color.
These bricks had not originally been used for outside works, but only for filling in the solid parts of the walls, and for forming the arches. But the stones with which the brick masonry had been covered and concealed having been removed, the bricks were of course in many places brought to view.
After looking about for some time, Rollo found a brick with two letters stamped upon it. It was evident that the letters had been stamped upon the clay in the making of the brick, while it was yet soft. The letters were P. D.
"Look, uncle George!" said Rollo; "look at those letters! What do you suppose they mean?"
"That is very curious," said Mr. George; and so saying he proceeded to examine the letters very closely.
"They were evidently stamped upon the brick," he said, "when it was soft. Perhaps they are the initials of the maker's name."
"I mean to look and see if all the bricks are stamped so," said Rollo.
So Rollo began to examine the other bricks wherever he could find any which had a side exposed to view; but though he found some which contained the letters, there were many others where no letters were to be seen.
"Perhaps the letters are on the under side," said Rollo. "I mean to get a stone and knock up some of the bricks, if I can, and see."
"No," said Mr. George; "that won't do."
"Yes, uncle George," said Rollo; "I want to see very much. And besides, I want to get a piece of a brick with the letters on it, to carry home as a specimen."
"A specimen of what?" asked Mr. George.
"A specimen of the Coliseum," said Rollo.
"No," said Mr. George; "I don't think that will do. They don't want to have the Coliseum knocked to pieces, and carried off any more."
"Who don't?" asked Rollo.
"The government," said Mr. George; "the pope."
"But it's very hard," said Rollo, "if the popes, after plundering the Coliseum themselves for hundreds of years, and carrying off all the beautiful marbles, and columns, and statues, to build their palaces with, can't let an American boy like me take away a little bit of a brick to put into my museum for a specimen."
Mr. George laughed and walked on. Rollo, who never persisted in desiring to do any thing which his uncle disapproved of, quietly followed him.
"Uncle George," said Rollo, "how do you suppose we can get up into the upper part, among the tiers of seats?"
"I think there must be a staircase somewhere," said Mr. George. "We will ramble about, and see if we do not find one."
So they walked on. They went sometimes along the margin of the arena, and then at other times they turned in under immense openings in masonry, and walked along the vaulted corridors, which were built in the thickness of the walls. There were several of these corridors side by side, each going entirely round the arena. They were surmounted by stupendous arches, which were built to sustain the upper portions of the building, which contained the seats for the spectators, and the passages on the upper floors leading to them.
After rambling on through and among the corridors for some time, Mr. George and Rollo, on emerging again into the arena, came to a wooden gate at the foot of a broad flight of stone steps, which seemed to lead up into the higher stories of the ruin.
"Ah!" exclaimed Rollo, as soon as he saw this gateway and the flight of steps beyond it, "this is the gate that leads up to the upper tiers."
"Yes," replied Mr. George, "only it is shut and locked."
Rollo went to the gate and took hold of it, but found, as Mr. George had said, that it was locked.
"But here comes the custodian," said Mr. George.
Rollo looked, and saw a man coming along the side of the arena with a key in his hand. When the man came near, he looked at Mr. George and Rollo, and also at the door, and then asked a question in Italian.
"Si, signore," said Mr. George.
So the man advanced and unlocked the door. As soon as he had unlocked it, and Mr. George and Rollo had passed through, he looked towards them again, and asked another question.
"No, signore," said Mr. George.
Mr. George and Rollo then began to go up the stairs, while the man, having locked the door after them, went away.
"How did you know what it was that that man asked you?" asked Rollo.
"I knew from the circumstances of the case," replied Mr. George. "The first question I knew must be whether we wished to go up; and the second, whether we wished him to go with us."
"What do you suppose they keep the gate locked for?" asked Rollo.
"So as to make us pay when we come down," said Mr. George.
"Do you suppose they mean to make us pay?" asked Rollo.
"They will not make us, exactly," said Mr. George; "but they will expect something, no doubt. There may be another reason, however, why they keep the gate locked; and that is, to prevent children and stragglers from going up, where they might fall and break their necks at some of the exposed and dangerous places."
"Do you suppose that there are dangerous places up here?" asked Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George; "I suppose there are a great many; and I advise you to be very careful where you go."
The flight of stairs where Mr. George and Rollo were ascending was very broad; and it was formed of the long, flat bricks, such as Rollo had observed below. The bricks were placed edgewise.
"I suppose that these steps were covered with slabs of marble, in old times," said Rollo.
"Probably," said Mr. George; "either with marble, or some other harder stone."
After ascending some distance, Rollo, who went forward, came out upon the landing which led to a range of corridors in the second story, as it were. There were several of these corridors, running side by side, all along the building. On one side, you could pass through arches, and come out to the platforms where the seats had originally been arranged, and where you could look down upon the arena. The seats themselves were all gone, and in their places nothing was left but sloping platforms, all gone to ruin, and covered now with grass, and weeds, and tall bramble bushes. On the other side, you could go out to the outer wall, and look down through immense arched openings, to the ground below.
[Footnote 5: See Frontispiece.]
"Take care, Rollo," said Mr. George; "don't go too near."
"You may go as near as you think it is safe," said Rollo, "and I will keep back an inch from where you go."
"That's right," said Mr. George. "There is great pleasure and satisfaction in going into dangerous places with such a sensible boy as you."
After rambling about among the arches and corridors of the second story for some time, Mr. George and Rollo mounted to a story above. They found ruins of staircases in great numbers, so that there were a great many different places where they could go up. Mr. George allowed Rollo to go about wherever he pleased, knowing that he would keep at a safe distance from all places where there was danger of falling.
From time to time, they met other parties of visitors rambling about the ruins. If these persons were French or German, they generally bowed to Rollo and Mr. George as they passed, and greeted them with a pleasant smile, as if of recognition. If, on the other hand, they were English, they passed directly by, looking straight forward, as if they did not see them at all.
Whenever Rollo came to a new staircase, he wished to ascend it, being seemingly desirous of getting up as high as he could. Mr. George made no objection to this. Indeed, he allowed Rollo to choose the way, and to go where he pleased. He himself followed, walking slowly, in a musing manner, filled, apparently, with wondering admiration, and contemplating the stupendous magnitude of the ruin.
"Uncle George," said Rollo, "if I had my pressing book here, I would gather some of these plants and press them, to carry home."
Mr. George did not answer. He was standing in an advanced position, where he had an uninterrupted survey of the whole interior of the Coliseum; and he was endeavoring to picture to his imagination the scene which must have been presented to view when the vast amphitheatre was filled with spectators.
"If I had expected to find so many plants growing on the ruins of a building, I should have brought it," said Rollo.
The pressing book which Rollo referred to, was one made expressly for the purpose of pressing flowers. The leaves of it were of blotting paper.
Rollo was half inclined to ask Mr. George to put some specimens into the Guide Book; but he did not ask him, because he knew that Mr. George did not like to have dried plants in the Guide Book. Such specimens between the leaves of a book interfere very much with the convenience of using it, by dropping out when you open the book, or impeding the turning of the leaves.
"But I mean to come again," continued Rollo, "and bring my pressing book, and then I can get as many specimens as I please. Wouldn't you, uncle George?"
"Wouldn't you what?" said Mr. George. Mr. George had been paying very little attention to what Rollo had been saying.
"Come again some day," said Rollo, "and bring my pressing book, so as to collect specimens of some of these little plants."
"Yes," said Mr. George, "that will be an excellent plan. And I wish, while you are doing it, you would gather some for me. And if you wish for some now, I can let you put them in the Guide Book."
"No, I thank you," said Rollo. "I will wait till I come again."
The height of the outer walls of the Coliseum is over a hundred and fifty feet, which would be the height of a house fifteen stories high. There are not many church steeples higher than that.
If, therefore, you conceive of an oval-shaped field six acres in extent, with a massive wall one hundred and fifty feet high, and divided into four immense stories, surrounding it, and from the top of this wall ranges of seats, with passages between them, sloping in towards the centre, leaving about an acre of open and level space in the centre for the arena, the whole finished in the most magnificent and gorgeous manner, with columns, statues, sculptured ornaments, and all the seats, and walls, and staircases, and corridors, and vestibules, and tribunes, and pavilions for musicians, and seats for judges, designed and arranged in the highest style of architectural beauty, and encased and adorned with variegated marbles of the most gorgeous description,—if, I say, you can conceive of all this, you will have some faint idea of what the Coliseum must have been in the days of its glory.
Mr. George and Rollo continued to ascend the different staircases which they met with in their wanderings, until at length they had reached a great elevation; and yet so immense was the extent of the interior of the edifice, that they were not at all too high to see the arena to advantage. Here Rollo crept out upon one of the sloping platforms, where there had formerly been seats for spectators, and calling to Mr. George to follow him, he sat down upon a great square stone, which seemed to have formed a part of the ancient foundation of the seats.
"Come, uncle George," said Rollo, "let us sit down here a few minutes, and make believe that the games are going on, and that we are the spectators."
"Yes," said Mr. George, "we will. In that way we can get a better idea of what the Coliseum was."
"I wish we could bring it all back again," said Rollo, "just as it was in old times, by some sort of magic."
"We must do it by the magic of imagination," said Mr. George.
"Only," continued Rollo, "the things that they did down in the arena were so dreadful that we could not bear to look at them."
"True," said Mr. George. "The spectacles must have been very dreadful, indeed."
"Such as when the lions and tigers came out to tear and devour the poor Christians," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Mr. George; "but generally, I suppose, when wild beasts and men were brought out together on the arena, it was the beasts that were killed, and not the men. It was a combat, and I suppose that the men were usually victorious. It was the spectacle of the fury of the combat, and of the bravery which the men displayed, and of the terrible danger that they were often exposed to, that so excited and pleased the spectators."
"I should not have thought that they could have found any men that would have been willing to fight the beasts," said Rollo.
"Perhaps the men were not willing," replied Mr. George, "but were compelled to fight them. Indeed, I suppose that they were generally prisoners of war or criminals. The generals used to bring home a great many prisoners of war from the different countries that they conquered, and these men were trained in Rome, and in other great cities, to fight on the arena, either with wild beasts, or with one another. They were called gladiators. There is a statue of one, wounded and dying, somewhere here in Rome."
"I should like to see it," said Rollo.
"We shall see it, undoubtedly," said Mr. George. "It is one of the most celebrated statues in the world. It is called the Dying Gladiator. I presume the sculptor of it made it from his recollections of the posture and expression of face which were witnessed in the case of real gladiators in the arena, when they had been mortally wounded, and were sinking down to die."
"We certainly must see it," said Rollo.
"We certainly will," rejoined Mr. George. "It is celebrated all over the world. Byron wrote a very fine stanza describing it."
"What was the stanza?" asked Rollo.
"I don't remember it all," said Mr. George. "It was something about his sinking down upon the ground, leaning upon his hand, and the expression of his face showed, though he yielded to death, he conquered and triumphed over the pain. Then there is something about his wife and children, far away in Dacia, his native land, where he had been captured in fighting to protect them, and brought to Rome to fight and die in the Coliseum, to make amusement for the Roman populace."
"I wish you could remember the lines themselves," said Rollo.
"Perhaps I can find them in the Guide Book," said Mr. George.
So saying, Mr. George opened the Guide Book, and turned to the index.
"I believe," said he, "that the statue of the Dying Gladiator is in the Capitol."
"We have not been there yet, have we?" asked Rollo.
"Yes," replied Mr. George; "we went there the first day, to get a view from the cupola on the summit. But there is a museum of sculptures and statues there which we have not seen yet. You see the Capitol Hill was in ancient times one of the most important public places in Rome, and when the city was destroyed, immense numbers of statues, and inscribed marbles, and beautiful sculptured ornaments were buried up there in the rubbish and ruins. When, finally, they were dug out, new buildings were erected on the spot, and all the objects that were found there were arranged in a museum. Ah! here it is," he added. "I have found the lines."
So Mr. George read the lines as follows. He read them in a slow and solemn manner.
"I see before me the gladiator lie; He leans upon his hand; his manly brow Consents to death, but conquers agony; And his drooped head sinks gradually low; And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one, Like the first of a thunder shower; and now The arena swims around him—he is gone, Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch who won.
"He heard it, but he heeded not; his eyes Were with his heart, and that was far away. He recked not of the life he lost, nor prize, But where his rude hut by the Danube lay, There were his young barbarians all at play; There was their Dacian mother—he, their sire, Butchered to make a Roman holiday. All this rushed with his blood. Shall he expire, And unavenged? Arise, ye Goths, and glut your ire."
"The Goths did arise and glut their ire," said Mr. George, after he had finished reciting the lines, "for they were in great measure the authors of all this ruin and destruction."
After sitting nearly half an hour in this place, Mr. George rose, and, Rollo following him, went back into the corridors again. They rambled along the corridors, and mounted the staircases to higher and higher points, until they had ascended as far as they could go. In these upper regions of the ruin Rollo had a good opportunity to procure specimens of marble and of stamped bricks, for in various places there, he found immense stores of bricks and marble, and other rubbish, piled up in square heaps under arches, or in great recesses among the ruins. Rollo selected some of the bricks which had stamps upon them, and then, with a piece of marble for a hammer, he contrived to break away all of the brick except the part which contained the stamp, and thus procured specimens of a convenient form for carrying. These specimens he wrapped separately in pieces of newspaper, and put them in his pockets.
At length Mr. George said it was time for them to go home; so they began to descend. They went down by different passages and staircases from those which they had taken in coming up; but they came out at last at the same gateway. The custodian was just unlocking the gate when they arrived, in order to admit another party. Mr. George gave him a couple of pauls, and then he and Rollo set out to go home.
Their way led them over the ancient site of the Roman Forum, which presented to view on every side, as they passed, broken columns and ruined arches, with the mouldering remains of ancient foundations, cropping out here and there amid grassy slopes and mounds.
"Uncle George," said Rollo, as they walked along, "we are going directly by the Capitol Hill as we go home. Let us go in now and see the Dying Gladiator."
"Very well," said Mr. George, "we will."
Accordingly, when they reached the base of the hill, they turned to go up. There was a broad and steep paved ascent leading up the hill, somewhat like a road, only it was too steep for a carriage. Indeed, there were little steps at short intervals, with a sloping pavement between them. You see this ascent in the engraving. It is in the centre of the view. There are statues of lions at the foot of it, with water spouting from their mouths. At the top are larger statues of horses, standing on lofty pedestals, with men by the side of them, holding them by the bridles. These are ancient statues. They were found buried up in rubbish in an obscure quarter of Rome, about two hundred years ago. Beyond, you see other groups of colossal statuary raised on lofty pedestals in various parts of the great square which forms the summit of the hill.
On the left you see a church, standing in a very high position, with a still steeper ascent than the one I have been describing, leading up to it. On the right is a winding road for carriages, which leads up, by a tolerably gentle ascent, to the great square.
The great square is surrounded with vast palaces, almost all of which are filled with paintings, statuary, sculptures, and other treasures of ancient and modern art. Mr. George and Rollo turned to the left after they had ascended into the square, and entered a door over which was an inscription denoting that it led to the museum of sculptures and statues. After ascending one or two staircases, they came to the entrance of a suit of apartments in which the statuary was contained. There was a public functionary, dressed somewhat like a soldier, standing sentinel at the door. He, however, readily allowed Mr. George and Rollo to pass in. There were various other parties of visitors going in at the same time.
Mr. George and Rollo walked through one long room after another, with rows of statues, and busts, and other works of ancient sculpture on each side. These marbles were almost all more or less chipped and broken, or otherwise greatly defaced by the hard usage to which they had been subjected.
"Uncle George," said Rollo, as they walked along, "how came all their ears and noses broken off in this way?"
"Why, all these things were dug out from heaps of stones and rubbish," said Mr. George, "a few hundred years ago. For nearly a thousand years before that time, they were regarded as of no more value than so many old bricks.
"Here's a gentleman coming," added Mr. George, interrupting himself, "who looks as if he could speak French. I mean to ask him where the hall of the Dying Gladiator is."
Accordingly, when the gentleman came up, Mr. George, accosting him in French, asked him the question, and the gentleman, replying in French, gave the information in a very polite manner. It was a little farther on, he said.
"Is there a special hall for the Dying Gladiator?" asked Rollo.
"No," said Mr. George, "not for the Dying Gladiator alone. But many of the halls in these museums are named from the most celebrated statue that there is in them. And I knew that the room where the Dying Gladiator is placed was called by that name."
So they walked on, and presently they came to the room. There were a great many large statues in it; but among them it was very easy to recognize at once the one which they had come to see, both on account of the conspicuous situation in which it was placed, and also from its form. Here is a representation of it.
Mr. George and Rollo both looked upon the statue for a few minutes in silence.
"Yes," said Rollo, at length, "yes, I see. He is dying. He is sinking gradually down."
"Do you see the wound in his side?" asked Mr. George.
"Yes," replied Rollo, "and the drops of blood coming out."
"He has dropped his sword," said Mr. George. "It is lying there near his hand."
"What a short sword!" said Rollo. "There are some other things lying on the ground beneath him, but I do not know what they are."
"Nor I," said Mr. George. "One of them seems to be a sort of trumpet. People think from that that this man was a herald."
"But I thought he was a gladiator," said Rollo.
"They call him a gladiator," replied Mr. George, "but nobody really knows what the statue was originally intended for. You see it was dug up out of a heap of rubbish, just as almost all these statues were, and people have to guess what they were intended for. This statue was dug up in a garden—a garden belonging to an ancient Roman villa."
"What does that cord around his neck mean?" asked Rollo.
"They think it means that the man was a Gaul. The Gauls used to wear such cords, I believe."
"I thought he was a Dacian," said Rollo.
"I suppose it is uncertain who he was," replied Mr. George; "but look at his face. See the expression of it. It is an expression of mingled suffering and rage, and yet he looks as if he were so far gone as to begin to be unconscious of every thing around him."
"Yes," said Rollo; "he does not seem to notice us at all."
"In that," said Mr. George, "is shown the great skill of the sculptor, to express such different, and, as one would think, almost conflicting emotions in the same face, at the same time."
After looking at the statue some time longer, Rollo and Mr. George walked around the room, and looked at the other pieces of sculpture that there were there. They afterwards came back again to the gladiator, in order to take one more view of it before they went away. Mr. George advised Rollo to look at it well, and impress the image of it strongly on his mind.
"It is one of the treasures of the world," said he; "and in the course of your life, though you may never see it here, in the original, again, you will meet with casts of it and drawings of it without number, and you will find descriptions of it and allusions to it continually recurring in the conversation that you hear and the books that you read. Indeed, the image of the Dying Gladiator forms a part of the mental furnishing of every highly-cultivated intellect in the civilized world."
THE TARPEIAN ROCK.
One morning while Mr. George and Rollo were taking breakfast together in the dining room of the hotel, Mr. George remarked that he had received some news that morning.
"Is it good news, or bad news?" asked Rollo.
"It is good for me," replied Mr. George, "but I rather think you will consider it bad for you."
"Tell me what it is," said Rollo, "and then I will tell you how I consider it."
So Mr. George informed Rollo that the news which he had received was, that there had been an arrival from America, and that the last night's post had brought the papers to town.
"And so," said Mr. George, "I am going to spend the morning at Piale's library, reading the papers, and you will be left to entertain yourself."
[Footnote 6: Pronounced Pe-ah-ly's.]
"O, that's no matter," said Rollo. "I can get Charles Beekman to go with me. We can take care of ourselves very well."
"What will you do?" asked Mr. George.
"I want to go and see the Tarpeian Rock," said Rollo. "I read about that rock, and about Tarpeia, in a history in America, and I want to see how the rock looks."
"Do you know where it is?" asked Mr. George.
"No," said Rollo; "but I can find out."
"Very well," said Mr. George; "then I leave you to take care of yourself. You can get Charles to go, if his mother will trust him with you."
"She will, I am sure," said Rollo.
"Why, you got lost when you took him the other day," said Mr. George, "and you had ever so much difficulty in finding your way home again."
"O, no, uncle George," said Rollo, "we did not have any difficulty at all. We only had a little fun."
Soon after breakfast Mr. George bade Rollo good by, and went off to the bookstore and library, where he was to see and read the American papers. As soon as his uncle had gone, Rollo went up to Mrs. Beekman's room, and knocked at the door. A well-dressed man servant came to the door. It was Mr. Beekman's courier.
"Walk in, Mr. Rollo," said the courier; "Mrs. Beekman and Charles will come in a minute."
So Rollo went in. The room was a small parlor, very beautifully furnished. In a few minutes Mrs. Beekman and Charles came in, followed by Charles's sister, a lively young lady about twelve years of age. Her name was Almira, though they usually called her Allie.
Rollo informed Mrs. Beekman, when she came into the room, that he had come to ask her to allow Charles to go and make an excursion with him. He was going, he said, to see the Tarpeian Rock.
"O, I would not go to see the Tarpeian Rock," said Mrs. Beekman. "Some ladies of my acquaintance went to see it the other day, and they said it was nothing at all."
"Ah, yes, mother!" said Charles, in an entreating tone of voice, "let me go with Rollo."
"Why, there is nothing at all to see," said Mrs. Beekman. "It is only a small, steep face of a rock in a bank. On the Hudson River Railroad you see rocks and precipices forty times as picturesque, all along the way."
Still Rollo and Charles were very desirous to go. The truth was, it was not so much what they expected to see at the end of the excursion, which made it so alluring to them, as the interest and excitement of the various adventures which they thought they would meet with on the way. Finally Mrs. Beekman said that she had not the least objection in the world to their going to see the rock, only she was herself perfectly convinced that they would not find any thing worth seeing.
"I wish Allie could go too," said Rollo.
"Yes, mother," said Allie, clapping her hands.
"Why, do you care about seeing the Tarpeian Rock?" asked her mother.
"Yes, mother," said Allie, "I wish to see it very much, though I don't know what it is. What is it, Rollo?"
"I'll tell you all about it on the way," said Rollo, "if you can only go with us."
"But she cannot walk there," said Mrs. Beekman. "No lady ever walks in Rome."
"I will take a carriage," said Rollo.
"I am afraid you don't know how to manage about a carriage," said Mrs. Beekman.
"Yes, mother," replied Charles, "he knows how to manage about a carriage perfectly well. I tried him the other day."
Mrs. Beekman finally gave a tardy and reluctant consent to the children's proposal. She did not manage the case very wisely. She should have considered in the first instance what her decision ought to be, and then she should have adhered to it. If she was going to consent at all, she should have consented cordially, and at once. For parents first to refuse their children's request, and then allow themselves to be induced to change their determination by the entreaties and persuasions of the children themselves, is bad management.
Allie went into her mother's bed room to get ready, and in a few minutes returned, her countenance beaming with animation and pleasure.
They all went down to the door of the hotel. There were several carriages standing in the square. The coachmen, as soon as they saw the party at the door, all began to hold up their whips, and to call to Rollo. Some of them began to move their horses towards him.
Rollo glanced his eyes rapidly at the several coaches, and selecting the one which he thought looked the best, he beckoned to the coachman of it. The coachman immediately drew up to the door. He then jumped down from the box, and opened the carriage door.
Before getting in, however, Rollo wished to make his bargain; so he said to the coachman,—
"To the Capitol. Two pauls."
He spoke these words in the Italian language. He had learned the Italian for "two pauls" long before, and he had looked out the Italian name for the Capitol in his Guide Book that morning, so as to be all ready. The Italian name which he found was Campidoglio.
The coachman hesitated a moment, and then said, holding up three fingers at the same time,—
Of course he spoke in Italian.
Rollo, instead of answering him, immediately began to turn away and look out towards the other carriages.
"Si, signore, si," said the coachman. "Two pauls let it be."
So he held open the carriage door wider than ever, and Rollo assisted Allie to get in. He and Charles followed, and then the coachman drove away.
"You agreed to give him too much," said Charles, as soon as they were seated. "A paul and a half is the regular fare."
"I know it," said Rollo; "but I always offer a little more than the regular fare, especially when I have a lady with me, for then they have not a word to say."
"But this man had a word to say," replied Charles. "He wanted you to give him three pauls."
"Yes," said Rollo, "sometimes they try a little to make a dispute; but they have no chance at all, and they give right up."
Rollo had ordered the coachman to drive to the Capitol, because he had found, by studying the map and the Guide Book, that the entrance to the enclosure where the Tarpeian Rock was to be seen was very near there. He had examined the map attentively, and so he knew exactly which way he must go after being set down at the foot of the Capitol stairs.
Accordingly, when the carriage stopped, Rollo got out first himself, and then helped Allie and Charles out. He paid the coachman the price agreed upon, and a couple of coppers over for buono mano.
"Now," said he to Charles and Allie, "follow me."
Rollo went on a little way along a winding street, and then turning to the right, began to go up a steep ascent, formed of very broad steps, which seemed to lead to a higher street. As soon as the party began to go up these steps, they saw several children running down from above to meet them. When these children reached the place where Rollo was, they began saying something very eagerly in Italian, scrambling up the steps again at the same time, so as to keep up with Rollo and his party.
"What do these children want?" asked Allie.
"I don't know," said Rollo. "I have not the least idea."
"I suppose they are begging," said Charles.
"No," said Allie. "If they were begging, they would hold out their hands."
At the top of the stairs Rollo and his party were met by half a dozen more children, so that there were now eight or ten in all. They ran on before and by the side of Rollo and his party, all looking very eager and animated, talking incessantly, and beckoning and pointing forward.
"Ah!" said Rollo, "I know. They want to show us the way to the Tarpeian Rock."
"But you said you knew the way," said Allie.
"I said I could find it," replied Rollo, "and so I can; but I am willing to pay one of these children for showing me, but not all. Stop a minute, till I choose. Or, rather, you may choose, Allie," he added.
The party now stopped, while Allie surveyed the ragged and wretched-looking group before her.
"There is not a pretty child among them," said Allie.
"You should not look for the best looking one, Allie," said Charles. "You should choose the worst looking one. She is likely to need it most. Pretty looking girls get along well enough."
"Then I choose that poor barefooted girl, that looks so pale," said Allie.
"Yes," said Rollo; "she looks as if she had had a fever."
So Rollo pointed to the girl, and showed her a copper, which he took for the purpose from his pocket. At the same time he made a waving motion with his hand to the rest, to denote that he did not wish for their services, and that they might go away.
The barefooted girl seemed greatly pleased. Her pale and emaciated face was lighted up with a smile of pleasure. She ran along forward, beckoning to Rollo and his party to follow.
The rest of the children, though they understood perfectly the signal of dismission that Rollo had made to them, were determined not to be sent off in that way; so they went on gesticulating and clamoring as much as ever.
Rollo paid no attention to them, but walked on with Charles and Allie at his side. Presently their guide, and all the other children with her, stopped at a sort of gateway in a wall. By the side of the gateway there was an iron ring hanging by a chain. Two or three of the children seized this ring together and pulled it, by which means a bell was rung inside. The other children crowded together on each side of this gate, leaving room, however, for Rollo and his party to go through, and all held out their hands for money.
"I am only going to pay the one that I engaged," said Rollo; "but, poor thing, I mean to give her two coppers, instead of one, she looks so sick and miserable."
"So I would," said Allie. "And here," she added, putting her hand into her pocket and taking out a Roman copper coin, "I have got a penny here; you may give her that, too."
"That is not a penny," said Charles. "That is a baioccho."
"Never mind," said Allie; "I call it a penny. I can't remember the other name. Besides, it is all the same thing."
Rollo gave the three pieces of money to the poor girl, and the rest of the children, when they saw how generous he was, became more clamorous than ever. But Rollo paid no heed to them. Indeed, a moment after he had paid his little guide her money, the gate opened, and the party went in. The poor children were all left outside, and shut out.
It was a small girl, about thirteen years old, that opened the gate.
Rollo and his party found themselves ushered into a sort of garden. The girl led the way along a narrow path between beds of beans, lettuce, and other garden vegetables. Besides these vegetables, there were groups of shrubbery here and there, among which roses and other flowers were blooming. This garden seemed to be in the heart of the city, for it was bordered on three sides by buildings, and on the fourth by a low wall, which appeared to be built on the brow of a hill, for the roofs and chimneys of other houses, situated on a lower level, could be seen over it below.
The girl led the way to a place by this wall, where, by looking over, there could be seen, at a distance along the hill, a small place where the rock which formed the face of it was precipitous. The precipice seemed to be about ten or fifteen feet high.
"Is that the Tarpeian Rock?" asked Rollo.
The girl who conducted them did not reply, not knowing any language but the Italian.
"I've seen a great deal prettier rocks in America," said Allie.
"Then are you sorry you came?" asked Rollo.
"O, no!" said Allie; "I am very glad I came. But what is it that makes this rock so famous?"
"Why, it is the place where, in old times, a very remarkable thing happened," replied Rollo. "I read the story in the history of Rome, when I was studying history in America. There was a girl named Tarpeia. She lived somewhere near the top of this rock, and the wall of the city came somewhere along here, and there was a gate. The Sabines made war against the Romans, and came to attack the city, but they could not get in on account of the walls. One day Tarpeia was on the wall looking down, and she saw some of the Sabine soldiers walking about below."
"Why did not they shoot her?" asked Charles.
"O, they had no motive for shooting her," replied Rollo. "She was a nice, pretty girl, I suppose, and they liked to look at her, and to talk with her. Besides, they had a cunning plan in view. They asked her whether they could not induce her to open the gates and let them into the city. She said she would do it if they would give her what they wore on their arms. She meant their bracelets. The soldiers in those days used to adorn themselves with rings, and bracelets, and other such things. But then, besides these bracelets they wore their shields and bucklers on their arms. These were very heavy things, made of iron, and covered with hides. So they agreed that they would give her what they wore on their arms, secretly meaning that they would throw their bucklers upon her; but she thought they meant that they would give her their bracelets.
"So that night," continued Rollo, "the soldiers came, bringing a great many other soldiers with them, and Tarpeia opened the gate and let them in. The whole troop rushed by her into the town, as fast as they could go, and as they passed they all threw their bucklers upon poor Tarpeia, till she was crushed to death, and buried up by them. It was pretty near this rock where this happened, and so, forever after, they called it the Tarpeian Rock, and that is the reason why so many people come to see it."
There was a moment's pause after Rollo had finished his story, during which Allie looked quite concerned. At length she said, in a very earnest tone,—
"I think it was a shame!"
"I think they served her just right," said Charles.
"O, Charles!" replied Alice, "how can you say so?"
The girl who had conducted the party through the garden now began to lead the way back again, and they all followed her. As she walked along, the girl began to gather flowers from the beds and borders, and finally made quite a pretty bouquet. When she got to the gate, and was ready to open it, she presented this bouquet in a very polite and graceful manner to Allie. Rollo took some money from his pocket, and put it into her hand; and then she opened the gate, and let them all out.
"How much did you pay her, Rollo?" asked Charles.
"I paid her double," said Rollo, "because she was so polite as to give Allie such a pretty bouquet."
Allie was now more pleased with her bouquet than before. It pleased her extremely to find that Rollo took so much interest in her receiving a bouquet as to pay something specially for it.
So they all went down the steps which led to the foot of the Capitol Hill.
"Shall we walk home?" asked Rollo, "or shall I find a carriage, so that we can ride?"
"Let us walk," replied Allie, "and then we shall be longer on the way."
Just then Rollo, looking at the sky, saw that there were some rather threatening clouds diffused over it. Indeed, on putting out his hand, he plainly felt a sprinkling of rain.
"It is going to rain," said he, "and so we shall be obliged to ride. But we can make it longer by stopping to see something on the way."
"Well," said Allie, "let's do it. What shall we stop to see?"
"If there is going to be a shower," said Rollo, "it would be a good time to stop and see the Pantheon."
"What is the Pantheon?" asked Allie.
"It is an immense round church, with a great hole in the roof," replied Rollo.
"Why don't they mend the hole?" asked Charles.
"O, they made it so on purpose," said Rollo.
"Made it on purpose!" repeated Allie. "I never heard of such a thing. I should think the rain would come in."
"It does come in," said Rollo, "and that is the reason why I want to go and see the Pantheon in the time of a shower. It is so curious to see the rain falling down slowly to the pavement. You see, the church is round, and there is a dome over it, and in the centre of the dome they left a great round hole."
"How big?" asked Allie.
"It is twenty-eight feet across," said Rollo; "but you would not think it so big when you come to see it. It is up so high that it looks very small. We know how big it is by the size of the wet spot on the floor."
By the time that the party had arrived at this point in the conversation, Rollo saw a carriage standing in the street at a little distance before him, and he made a signal to the coachman to come to him. The coachman came. Rollo made his bargain with him, and they all got in. The coachman drove immediately to the Pantheon, and they arrived there just as the shower began to come on.
Before the church was an immense portico, supported by columns. The columns, and the whole entablature which they supported, were darkened by time, and cracked, and chipped, and broken in the most remarkable manner. Allie and Charles stood under the portico and looked around, while Rollo paid the coachman.
There was a large open square before the Pantheon, with an ancient and very remarkable looking fountain in the centre of it. There was a basin around this fountain, into which monstrous mouths, carved in marble, were spouting water. When Rollo had paid the coachman, he led the way into the church. Allie and Charles followed him. They found themselves ushered into an immense circular interior, with rows of columns all around the sides, and chapels, and sculptures, and paintings, and beautiful panels of variegated marbles between them.
Overhead was an immense dome. This dome is nearly a hundred and fifty feet high, and the circular opening in the centre of it is about thirty feet across. Through this opening the rain was descending in a steady but gentle shower. It was very curious to look up and see the innumerable drops falling slowly from the bright opening above, down to the marble floor. This opening is the only window. There is no other place, as you will see by the engraving, where light can come in.
The margin of the opening is formed of an immense brass ring. Such a ring is necessary in a structure like this, and it must be of great thickness and strength, to resist the pressure of the stones crowding in upon it all around.
This Pantheon was built by the ancient Romans, two thousand years ago. What it was built for originally nobody now knows. In modern times it has been changed into a church. It is immensely large, being nearly a hundred and fifty feet in diameter, and a hundred and fifty feet high. If you will inquire and ascertain what is the size of some large building in your vicinity, and compare it with these dimensions, you will form a clearer idea of the magnitude of this ancient edifice than you can acquire in any other way.
Rollo and his party rambled about the Pantheon, looking at the statues, and paintings, and chapels, and observing the groups of pilgrims and of visitors that were continually coming and going, for nearly an hour. By this time the shower had entirely passed away, and the sun having come out bright, they all walked home.
GOING TO OSTIA.
While Rollo was at Rome, he made the acquaintance of a boy named Copley. Copley was an English boy, and he was about a year older than Rollo. Rollo first saw him at the door of the hotel, as he, Copley, was dismounting from his horse, on his return from a ride which he had been taking into the country. He had been attended on his ride by a servant man named Thomas. Thomas dismounted from his horse first, and held the bridle of Copley's horse while Copley dismounted.
"There!" said Copley, walking off with a very grand air, and leaving his horse in Thomas's hands; "take the horse, Thomas, and never bring me such an animal as that again. Next time I ride I shall take Jessie."
"But Mr. William has forbidden me to give you Jessie," said Thomas. "He says she is not safe."
"It's none of his business," said Copley. "He thinks, because he is a little older than I am, and because he is married,—though he has not been married much more than a month,—that he has a right to order me about just as he pleases. And I am determined not to submit to it—would you?"
These last words were addressed to Rollo. Copley had been advancing towards the door of the hotel, while he had been speaking, and had now just reached the step where Rollo was standing.
"Who is he?" asked Rollo. "Who is William?"
"He is my brother," said Copley; "but that has nothing to do with it."
"Are you under his care?" asked Rollo.
"Why, I am travelling with him," said Copley; "but he has no business on that account to lord it over me. I have as good a right to have my way as he has to have his."
Some further conversation then followed between Copley and Rollo, in which the former said that he had been for several weeks in Rome, in company with his brother. He had an uncle, too, in town, he said, at another hotel.
"But I stay with my brother," said Copley, "because he is going to make a longer journey, and I want to go with him."
"Where is he going?" asked Rollo.
"Why, we have engaged a vetturino," replied Copley, "and are going to travel slowly to Florence, and from Florence into the northern part of Italy, to Milan and Venice, and all those places. Then, afterwards, we shall go over, by some of the passes of the Alps, into Switzerland. I like to travel in that way, I have so much fun in seeing the towns and the country. Besides, when we travel with a vetturino, I almost always ride on the outside seat with him, and he lets me drive sometimes."
"Then your uncle is not going that way?" said Rollo.
"No," replied Copley; "he is going directly home by water. He is going down to Civita Vecchia, to take the steamer there for Marseilles, and I don't want to go that way."
Copley then asked Rollo to go out into the Corso with him. He said that he saw a shop there, as he was coming home, which had a great display of whips at the window, and he wanted to buy a whip, so that when they set out on their journey he could have a whip of his own.
"The vetturino never will let me have his whip," said he. "The lash is so long that he says I shall get it entangled in the harness. That's no reason, for he is always getting it entangled himself. But that's his excuse, and so I am going to have a whip of my own."
"Well," said Rollo, "I rather think I will go with you; but you must wait here for me a minute or two. I must go up to my room first; but I will come directly down again."
Rollo wished to go up to his room to ask his uncle's permission to go with Copley. He made it an invariable rule never to go any where without his uncle's permission. Mr. George was always ready to give permission in such cases, unless there was some really good and substantial reason for withholding it. And whenever Mr. George withheld his consent from any of Rollo's proposals, Rollo always submitted at once, without making any difficulty, even when he thought that his uncle was wrong, and that he might have consented as well as not.
It was not altogether principle on the part of Rollo, that made him pursue this course; it was in a great measure policy.
"I like travelling about the world with uncle George," he used to say to himself, "and in order that I may travel with him a great deal, I must make it for his interest to take me. That is, I must manage so that he will have a better time when I am with him, than when he goes alone; and in order to do this, I must take care never to give him any trouble or concern of any kind on my account. I must comply with his wishes in every thing, and be satisfied with such pleasures and enjoyments as he fully approves."
Rollo did not think of this altogether of himself. It was his father that put the idea into his mind. He did it in a conversation that he had with Rollo the day before he set out on the journey.
"Rollo, my boy," said he, "in going on this journey into Italy with your uncle George, there is one danger that you will have to look out for very carefully."
"Getting robbed by the brigands?" asked Rollo.
"No," said Mr. Holiday; "it is something very different from that, and a great deal worse. That is to say, the evil that you have to fear from it is a great deal worse than any thing that would probably happen to you by being robbed. The danger is of your having too much independence, or, rather, a wrong kind of independence. What is independence?"
Rollo reflected a moment in order properly to frame his answer to his father's question. He thought he knew very well what the meaning of the word independence was, but he did not readily know how to clothe the meaning in language. At last he said that he thought independence was doing what you thought was best yourself, without regard to what other people thought.
"Very well," said his father. "That's a pretty good definition of it. And now, do you think it is a good quality, or a bad quality?"
"A good quality," said Rollo; "that is, I suppose it is good," he added, hesitatingly, "but I don't know."
"It depends upon circumstances," said Mr. Holiday. "Should you think that firing his gun when he thought best, instead of when the captain thought best, was a good thing in a soldier, on the field of battle?"
"No, sir," said Rollo.
"And so, would the independence of the colonel of a regiment," continued Mr. Holiday, "in marching when he thought best, instead of when the general ordered him, be a good quality or a bad quality?"
"Bad," said Rollo; "very bad indeed."
"Independence is an excellent quality in its own right and proper sphere," said Mr. Holiday; "but when it takes the form of disregarding or rebelling against right and proper authority, it is a very bad quality. It cannot be tolerated. If it were allowed generally to prevail among mankind, the whole world would be thrown into confusion, and nothing could go on. This is now the kind of independence that you must guard against. You are growing up rapidly, and increasing in strength and knowledge every day. You are becoming a young man, and in a great many of the situations in which you are placed, you are fully competent to take care of yourself. Still you are what the law calls a minor. That is, you have not arrived at an age when you can safely be your own master, and support and take care of yourself. Consequently, the law makes it your father's duty, for some years to come, to furnish money for your support, and to provide for you all necessary protection. And the same law makes it your duty to be under my direction, to conform your conduct to my judgment; or, in other words, to do, not as you think best, but as I, or whomsoever I may delegate to act in my stead, thinks best. This is reasonable. As long as a boy depends upon his father for the means of his support, it is right that he should act as his father's judgment dictates. It will be time enough for him to expect that he should act according to his own judgment, in his conduct, when he is able to earn his own living, and so release his father from all responsibility on his account. In a word, the pecuniary responsibility of the father, and the moral obligation of the son, go together."
"Yes, father," said Rollo; "I think that is all true."
"And now," continued Mr. Holiday, "I put you, for this journey, under your uncle George's care. I delegate my parental power over you to him. It is your duty, therefore, to obey him in all things, and to comply with all his wishes, just as you would if I were in his place."
"Yes, father," said Rollo, "I will."
"Besides being your duty," added Mr. Holiday, "it is greatly for your interest to do so. If you begin to show your independence, as it is sometimes called, and insist on doing what you think is best, instead of what he thinks is best, so as to cause him trouble, and make him feel anxious and uneasy on your account, you will spoil the pleasure of his journey, and he will not wish to take you with him again."
Mr. Holiday had some further conversation with Rollo on the subject, and the effect of what he said was to lead Rollo to think more than he otherwise would have done on the proper course which a boy ought to pursue when travelling under the charge of his uncle, and he resolved that he would, in all cases, not only obey implicitly his uncle's commands, but that he would comply readily and cordially with his wishes, whenever he could ascertain them.
Accordingly, in this case, he would not go even out into the Corso without first going up to obtain his uncle's permission. He opened the door of the room, and found his uncle there, writing a letter.
"Uncle George," said he, "here is a boy down below, who asks me to go out into the Corso with him."
"What boy is it?" asked Mr. George.
"I don't know what his name is," said Rollo. "He is an English boy, I suppose. He just came in from taking a ride on horseback."
"How long shall you probably be gone?" said Mr. George.
"I don't know," said Rollo, hesitating. "Perhaps about half an hour."
"Very well," said Mr. George; "you can be gone two hours if you choose. If you form any plan that will require more time than that, come home first and let me know."
So Rollo went down stairs again, and having joined Copley at the door, they went together out towards the Corso.
In the mean time, Copley's brother William and his wife were waiting in their room for Copley to come up. They knew at what hour he would return from his ride, and they had formed a plan for going in a carriage out upon the Appian Way, to see some ancient ruins there. They knew very well that Copley would not care any thing about the ruins, but he always liked to go with them when they took drives in the environs of Rome. The special reason why Copley was so much interested in going on these excursions was, that he was accustomed, in such cases, to sit on the front seat with the coachman, as he did when travelling with the vetturins, and sometimes he obtained permission to drive a little, by secretly offering the coachman a piece of money. Mr. William had charged his brother to come up to the parlor as soon as he came home from his ride, and Copley ought to have done so. But it was never Copley's practice to pay much heed to requests of this kind from his brother.
Mr. William, having waited for some time after he had seen the two horses arrive at the door, wondering all the time why Copley did not come up, went down to the door to inquire what had become of him. The concierge informed him that Copley had gone away with another boy, out to the Corso. So Mr. William ordered the carriage, and he and his wife went away on their excursion alone.
Rollo and Copley had a very pleasant walk along the Corso. They were obliged, however, to walk in the middle of the street, for the sidewalks were so narrow and so irregular in shape, sometimes growing narrower and narrower, until at length there was scarcely any thing but the curb-stone left, that Rollo and Copley could not walk upon them.
At last, however, they came to the place where Copley had seen the whips. Copley had plenty of money, but I do not know how he would have managed to buy one of the whips, if Rollo had not been with him; for the man who had them to sell could only speak French and Italian, and Copley did not know either of these languages. He had been studying French, it is true, for several years in school, but he had taken no interest in learning the language, and the little knowledge of it which he had acquired was not of such a character as to be of any use to him. As to the Italian, he knew nothing at all of it.
Accordingly, Rollo acted as interpreter.
"I might have brought our courier with us," said Copley, "only it is such a bore to have him about; and you do just as well."
After having bought the whip, Copley proposed that they should go to the diligence office and see if there were any diligences there about setting out on their journeys. The diligence office which Copley referred to was not in the Corso, but in another street, at right angles to it. When the boys reached the office, they found that there were no diligences there; so they rambled on without much idea of where they were going, until at length they came to the river, near one of the bridges leading across it. A short distance below the bridge, there was a small steamboat coming up the river.
"Ah, look there!" said Copley. "There's a steamer coming! Where do you suppose that steamer is coming from?"
"It is coming from Ostia, I suppose," said Rollo. "At any rate, I know that there is a steamer that goes to Ostia."
"Let us go there," said Copley. "Where is Ostia?"
"It is at the mouth of the river," said Rollo. "You may know that from the name. Ostia is the Latin word for mouth."
"I hate Latin," said Copley.
The little steamer came rounding up to a pier not far below the bridge. Copley and Rollo leaned over the parapet, and looked to see the passengers get out; but there were very few passengers to come. The boys then went down towards the pier, and on inquiring of a gentleman whom they saw there, they found that the boat went down the river to Ostia every morning, and returned every night, and Copley immediately conceived the idea of going down in her.
"Let's go down to-morrow," said he. "It is just far enough for a pleasant sail."
Rollo's imagination was quite taken with the idea of sailing down to Ostia. There seems to be something specially attractive to boys in the idea of sailing down to the mouths of rivers. It is so pleasant to watch the gradual widening of the stream, and to meet vessels coming up, and to see the fishermen's boats, and the nets spread on the land, and the little inlets, with the tide flowing in and out, and other indications of the approach towards the sea. Besides, Rollo wished very much to see what sort of a place Ostia was.
However, he would not positively promise to go. He said he should like to go very much, but that he could not decide the question until he should go home.
"I must see uncle George first," said Rollo. "It is possible that he may have formed some engagement for me to-morrow."
"O, never mind what engagement he has formed," said Copley. "Tell him that you can't go with him, because you have agreed to go down the river with me."
"No," said Rollo, shaking his head.
"Why, what a little fool you are!" said Copley.
After remaining some time on the bridge, looking at the steamer, the boys returned home. Rollo took care to arrive at the hotel before the two hours were expired. Mr. George had just finished his letter, and was folding it up and sealing it.
"Well, Rollo," said Mr. George, "have you had a pleasant walk?"
"Very pleasant, indeed," said Rollo. "We walked in the Corso till Copley had bought his whip, and then we went on till we came to the bridge, and there we saw a steamboat which goes to Ostia and back. Copley wants me to go down with him in her to-morrow. We shall get back about this time, I suppose."
Mr. George was at this time just writing the address on the back of his letter. He did not say any thing, but Rollo observed a very slight and almost imperceptible shaking of his head.
"You don't like the plan very well, uncle George," said Rollo.
"Not very well," said Mr. George. "I feel a little afraid of it."
"Then it is of no consequence," said Rollo. "I don't care a great deal about going."
Most boys, perhaps, under these circumstances, would have asked why, in order that, after hearing their uncle's objections to their plans, they might argue against them. But Rollo knew very well that this would be very bad policy for him.
"If uncle George finds that he has a long argument to maintain against me, every time that he refuses me any thing," said he to himself, "he will soon get tired of having me under his care."
So he acquiesced at once in what he perceived was his uncle's opinion, and resolved to tell Copley, when he saw him, that he could not go to Ostia.
Copley was to have called that evening at Rollo's room, to obtain his answer; but on further reflection, he concluded not to do so.
Indeed, he had a secret feeling that neither Rollo's uncle nor his own brother would approve of the plan of two such boys going alone, in such a country, on an expedition which was entirely outside of the usual range of tourists and travellers. That this expedition was outside the range was evident from the character of the steamboat that the boys had seen, which was evidently not intended for the conveyance of ladies and gentlemen, but of people of the country—and those, moreover, of the lowest class.
So Copley concluded that if he were to go at all to Ostia, it would be necessary for him to go by stealth, and he resolved not to say any thing about his plan to his brother or sister. He was very sure, too, that Rollo would fail of obtaining his uncle's consent. So he concluded to say no more to Rollo on the subject, but instead of that, he proposed the plan to another boy of his acquaintance, who lodged with his friends at another hotel.
"The best way will be," said he, when he made the proposal, "for us not to tell any body where we are going."
"Then they'll wonder where we are," said the boy, "and be frightened half to death about us."
"But we can leave word when we go, with the porter of the hotel, or the concierge," said Copley, "that we have gone down the river in the steamboat, and shall not be back till night."
"Good," said the other boy; "that's what we'll do."
Accordingly, the next morning, the two boys left word at their respective hotels where they were going, and set forth. They stole away very secretly, and after running round the corner, they crept along close to the wall of the hotel, until they thought they were at a safe distance. They reached the boat in good season, went on board, and in due time set sail.
About ten o'clock, when the two boys had been gone about an hour, Mr. William began to miss his brother, and to wonder where he had gone. So he rang the bell, and his courier came into the room.
"Pacifico," said Mr. William, "do you know where Copley is?"
"No, sir," said Pacifico; "I did not see him from since it was nine o'clock."
"Go down below," said Mr. William, "and inquire of the concierge and the porters if they have seen him, or know where he is."
Mr. William followed Pacifico as he went out, in order to speak a moment to a friend of his who occupied the next apartment. As he came back he met Pacifico at the head of the stairs, and received his answer there. The answer was, that Copley had gone down the river to Ostia with another boy.
Mr. William was greatly astonished to hear this. He, however, said nothing to Pacifico, but after pausing a moment, as if reflecting upon what he had heard, he went back into his own apartment.
"Maria," said he, addressing his young wife, "where do you think Copley has gone?"
"I cannot imagine," said Maria.
"He has gone down the Tiber in the steamer to Ostia," replied Mr. William.
"Is it possible?" exclaimed Maria, in astonishment.
"Yes," said William; "and I am very glad of it."
"Glad of it?" repeated Maria, surprised more and more.
"Yes," said Mr. William; "for it decides me what to do. I shall send him home with his uncle. I have been half inclined to do this for some time, and this settles the question. It destroys all the peace and comfort of our journey to have a boy with us that is determined to have his own way, without regard to the inconvenience or anxiety that he occasions me."
"But how will you manage to get him to go with his uncle?" said Maria. "He will refuse to go, and insist on accompanying us, for his uncle is going directly home, which is what he does not wish to do."
"I'll manage that," said Mr. William. "I'll take a hint from his own way of proceeding. I will go off and leave him."
"O husband," said Maria, "that will never do."
"You'll see how I will manage it," said Mr. William.
So saying, Mr. William rang the bell. Pacifico immediately appeared.
"I wish to write a letter," said Mr. William. "Bring me some paper, and pen and ink."
Pacifico brought the writing materials, and laid them on the table.
"I have concluded to leave town this afternoon," said Mr. William, as he took up the pen and began to make preparations to write. "I intend to go as far as Civita Castellana to-night. We will set out at two o'clock. I wish you to go and find our vetturino, and direct him to be here half an hour before that time with the carriage, to load the baggage. He knows that we were going soon, and he will be prepared. In the mean time you may get our baggage ready. Copley's trunk, however, is not to go. Pack that, and send it by a porter over to the Hotel d'Amerique. I am going to leave him there under the care of his uncle."
"Very well, sir," said Pacifico; "I shall do it."
Pacifico retired, and Mr. William proceeded to write his letter. When it was finished, he read it to his wife, as follows. It was addressed to his father in England.
"ROME, June 20, 1858.
"DEAR FATHER: We are all well, and, on the whole, have enjoyed our residence in Rome very much. We are now, however, about ready to leave. We set off this afternoon for Florence and the north of Italy.
"I have concluded, all things considered, to let Copley return to you with his uncle. Though a pretty good boy in other respects, he does not seem to be quite willing enough to submit to my direction, to make it pleasant for me, or safe for him, that we should travel together. I will not say that it is his fault altogether. It is perhaps because there is not difference enough in our ages for him to feel that I ought to have any authority over him. At any rate, he is unwilling to acknowledge my authority, and he takes so many liberties that I am kept in a constant state of anxiety on his account. Besides, I do not think that it is safe for him to be so much at his own disposal. This country is full of thieves, brigands, and rogues, of the most desperate and reckless character; and young men sometimes suffer extremely in falling into their hands. Copley is not aware of the danger, and he thinks that the restraints which I feel compelled to impose upon him are unnecessary and vexatious. Often he will not submit to them. To-day, he has gone down the river on board one of the country steamers, without saying any thing to me about it; and, though I do not suppose he will get into any difficulty, in making such an excursion, still the fact that he takes the liberty of doing such things keeps me continually uneasy about him, and there is danger that, sooner or later, he will get into some serious trouble.
"I have, accordingly, concluded to leave him under uncle's charge, with a view of having him return with uncle to England, by way of the Mediterranean. Uncle will leave here in a few days, and you may accordingly expect to see Copley at home again in the course of a week after receiving this.
"With love from Maria and myself for all at home, I am your dutiful son,
Mr. William sealed his letter, and then took it down to the "bureau," as the hotel office is called, where he left it with the secretary of the hotel, to be sent to the post office.
He then went out at the front door of the hotel to the public square before it, and there taking a carriage, he ordered the coachman to drive to the Hotel d'Amerique. When arrived there, he went to his uncle's apartment, and explained the plan which he had formed, and the reason for it. His uncle said that he would very readily take Copley under his charge. Mr. William then said that he was intending to leave town that day, but he should leave Thomas at his hotel to wait for Copley, and bring him over to the Hotel d'Amerique as soon as he returned.
This arrangement was carried into effect. Mr. William directed Thomas to remain in town, to take care of Copley on his return from Ostia, and deliver him safely into his uncle's hands. It occasioned Mr. William no inconvenience to leave Thomas behind for a day, since, though Thomas usually travelled in the same carriage with the family, the vetturino himself always drove. Thomas, together with Pacifico, the courier, rode on an outside seat in front, while Copley sometimes rode inside, though more frequently on the driver's seat, by the side of the vetturino.
"Thomas," said Mr. Grant, in giving Thomas his instructions, "I am going to set out on my journey this afternoon, but I shall leave you behind, to come on to-night by the diligence. You will find me at the Hotel of the Post, at Civita Castellana. I wish you to wait here until Copley comes home, and then tell him that I have gone out of town, and shall not be back to-night, and that he is going to spend the night at the Hotel d'Amerique with his uncle. Do not tell him where I have gone, nor that you are coming after me. His uncle will tell him all to-morrow morning."
In the mean time, while these occurrences had been taking place at the hotel, Copley and his companion had been sailing down the river on board the little steamboat. They had, on the whole, a pretty pleasant time, though they were somewhat disappointed in the scenery on the banks of the river. The country was perfectly bare of trees, and destitute of all cultivation. There were no villages, and scarcely a human habitation to be seen. The boys, however, met with no trouble, and returned safely home about four o'clock.