« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
fun, and joked us about getting lost if our candles went out. Finally we arrived at the first flight of steps, then on and around the turn up the next Alight, and our tour of the catacombs was completed. We bade our little monk good-by, as we went up. We stopped at the office on our way out, and bought some chocolate made by the monks. Gusty made the remark to our guide just before leaving that she had been here several years before. He said, “Can you go through alone now ?” She replied, “Oh, no!” He then said, “Well, now, the next time you come you can go through alone.”
It was commencing to rain just as we reached our carriage. Had it not, we would have continued our drive out the Appian way to see some of the tombs that line this ancient road for a long distance.
On our way back to the city, inside the gate, we passed the Baths of Caracalla. They are now in ruins, but enough remains to show how magnificent they have been. We reached the hotel just in time to escape a heavy downpour of rain, which lasted through the night.
Friday, September 23, we left the hotel for the station with only handbags and a roll, as we will only remain away one night. On reaching there, we found the coaches all full, even at this early hour, as it is a through train. We were fortunate, though, in finding good seats in one compartment. While waiting for the train to start, we noticed a gentleman pass by, looking into our compartment. This he did several times. He was an American, and Gusty said, “If he passes again, I will ask him if he is looking for seats.” Soon he appeared, and she asked him. He replied quickly, “Yes, I am.” She said, “There are two in this compartment."
A compartment holds six people. Two foreigners were already in when we took our seats. The American came right in and took possession by placing his baggage in the racks above, and going out, returned with his wife. We entered into conversation with them and soon found we had mutual friends. This was pleasant, particularly so as we were sightseeing in the same places. They were going to Naples and Pompeii; so were we. They were Dr. and Mrs. Flowers, of Joliet, Illinois. It rained in torrents all the way to Naples, where we arrived about noon. There being but two trains a day to Pompeii, we were undecided whether to leave our bags in the left luggage room and take the train which would leave in a few minutes for Pompeii, or go to a hotel and take the later train. We finally decided the latter was best, so we secured carriages, driving direct to Hotel Victoria. This is situated on the Bay of Naples and it is a long ride from the station out there. We noticed the hotel seemed almost empty, having only one or two guests in the rooms. This seemed peculiar, as it was in the height of the season. We had our lunch, which was only a fair one; then took carriages down to the station in time to catch the afternoon train for Pompeii. It still continued raining in hard showers. When seated in the train, Dr. Flowers found a guide on board, who had passed through several of the eruptions and had lived in the neighborhood of Pompeii all his life. During the last eruption he remained in his home, but sent his family to safety. We engaged him, as our time would be very limited in Pompeii. All around us on the ride down we could see ruin and devastation. Occasionally stunted trees and shrubs, with rank weeds and grass were to be seen, but the dark lava, or rock, almost black, is plainly visible through all. It was nearly 5 o'clock when we arrived at the gates of Pompeii. They close at this hour, but Dr. Flower interviewed the gateman, and he gave us three-quarters of an hour for our visit. The guide took us to the most interesting parts of the ruins of this once great city. It was a long walk through, but not raining at the time, and it seemed to have stopped for our especial benefit. Pompeii is now under government supervision, and all excavating is done under it. Everything of virtue or art found, is classified, labeled, and sent to the Art Museum in Naples. Enough, however, remains on the walls, floors and pavements to give a good impression of what it had once been. One handsome home was fairly well preserved, even part of the roof remaining. A few of the frescoes still are seen on the walls in places. Most of these have been removed to the Art Museum in Naples. Marble was their chief building material and their baths were luxurious. Fountains and statuary, remains of which are plainly seen, were in all parts of the city.
It was now nearing train time, and we left with a feeling of satisfaction of having seen the best of the old ruins. Scarcely were we seated in the train before a heavy downpour of rain commenced. This continued the entire night. We decided on our return to Naples to remain there till 2 o'clock the next afternoon, and by so doing it would give us half a day in which to see the city. I regretted very much not being able to see Sorento and the other cities along the coast, and also to have missed the beautiful Amalfi drive. I had given all that part of it up when I found we were obliged to leave our car in Rome. Part of this drive is along very high cliffs, and I was not willing to risk it with a strange car and chauffeur. It is probably fortunate in many ways that I had done so.
Saturday, September 24. It had rained all night, but when I awakened and looked out on the bay, it had stopped and the sun was making desperate efforts to peep out through the heavy clouds and mist. It shone long enough to give me a glimpse of how beautiful the bay could be in clear weather. There was a rosy cast on sea and land, and a lovely blue, even though the waters were so troubled. The doctor and his wife started sightseeing after breakfast, telling us they would meet us here at the hotel in time for luncheon and to go to the station with us. We called a carriage and started out to do a little shopping. On our way to the city we had a fine view of Vesuvius, as the rain had stopped and the clouds had lifted for a short time. It had two cones instead of one. I am told this has been so since the last eruption. The clouds were flying over its summit, but we had a good view of it. Before we had quite finished our purchases, the clouds settled and the rain again commenced. I found some beautiful views of the city and Vesuvius and a number of other lovely postcards. We went from her where fine corals were sold and I purchased several strands. Then we went to the museum to see the beautiful bronzes, and were well repaid. The paintings, mosaics and relics from Pompeii were on an upper floor, up several flights of stairs, so I did not care to go. Gusty had seen them several years ago. It was raining so hard that we waited until it slackened before taking our carriage back to the hotel. We had almost finished our luncheon before the doctor and his wife appeared. We took carriages to the station, still in a heavy downpour, which continued till we had almost reach Rome.
We arrived about 8 o'clock, found it still raining but in light showers. We went into the station until a carriage could be secured, and for some reason, which we could not discover, we were detained. Wondering at the delay, I asked Gusty to try and find the cause of it. All she could learn was that passengers were detained and obliged to pass before the city officials. The doctor and his wife passed through this