Page images
PDF
EPUB

(town hall). This is a picturesque building of brick, with pointed arched windows. It has a slender clock tower on one side. Near here is a column, with a shewolf surmounting it. This is the arms of Sienna. We passed another column with the same figures on its top. The streets are quite narrow and steep, sloping toward the piazza. They have few sidewalks. Gaston had gone direct to a garage to work on his car after our hard mountain climb, and it was late when he came for his lunch, but the car was in order for our drive.

We left about 3 P. M., expecting to reach Pisa before dark, but our late start made this doubtful. The car went all right for a couple of hours, then a tire burst. Gaston went right to work, replacing it, in his usual good-natured way. This tire was one we had used on our first motor trip through France, so it had done good service, but for some unaccountable reason it was unusually hard to put the new one on. This is never easy work at any time. Gaston looked tired enough when it was in place. We started again, all moving nicely, but it was getting to be late dusk and suddenly our little engine refused to work. This was the very first time our staunch little motor had given trouble. Gaston tried to find the cause, but night settled so rapidly and, having no lamp with us, he was unable to discover it. A motley crowd of women and children had gathered around, begging, shouting, tooting our horn, jumping on our machine and annoying us dreadfully, till finally Gaston came and told Augusta we had better get out and take the banhoff (railroad) to Pisa. Gaston said he had secured a carriage to take us to the station. He told us he would find a place to put up the car and take lodgings near it, then get help early in the morning and come for us as soon as the engine worked. The carriage came and Gusty and I got in with our luggage. I was in fear and trembling, as I noticed its shaky condition ; Gusty having full confidence, as she had not noticed it. The station was only a short distance away and we could just see it in the dusk, but it took us a long time to reach it. We had barely time to secure our tickets when the train

came.

PISA

We were only forty kilometers from Pisa, and I thought the stuffy old train would never reach there. It finally did, and we went to Hotel Victoria, which is situated on the Arno river. We both felt worried at leaving Gaston, as he only speaks French. We had a good night's rest and awakened this morning, September 27, quite refreshed.

While eating breakfast, which we always have served in our rooms, we received word that Gaston had put his car away safely, locking it up, had taken the 9 P. M. train for Pisa and had stayed at the Victoria all night. This morning early, taking a man from the garage, he had returned to the little village of San Romo, where the car was, and he hoped to have the work done and be in Pisa for us by noon. So our worry was without a great time getting the car put safely away. He had finally secured a pair of oxen to haul the car to a barn, and had paid them a fine price for the use of them.

Gaston told us when he saw us that he had

cause.

They use oxen in this country, and they are lovely white, well-kept animals. Their harness is rope. Horses are rarely used, and when they are, a donkey is usually hitched up with them. This is with the peasant class, of course. I have seen milch cows used to draw carts, and have occasionally seen a milch cow and an ox drawing a wagon.

After breakfast we called a carriage and drove to the cathedral and campanile (the celebrated leaning tower of Pisa). The baptistry and the Campo Santo (their Pantheon). The cathedral is very handsome. It is built of white marble and decorated with bands of black. The west front is decorated with columns and arches on the lower part. The upper has

open arcades across it. We went inside to see its beautiful pictures. St. Agnes is especially beautiful. As mass was being held, we did not remain long, but went over to the baptistry, which is, as usual, a round building. This one has an immense and finely sculptured fount in its center, and a sculptured pulpit at one side. Both of these are either Parian marble or alabaster. From here we went to the Campo Santo. This is a cloistered building, with old paintings on its walls. There are handsomely carved tombs of the celebrated inhabitants of Pisa. In the center of these cloisters, which are on four sides, is what we would call a garden. This is called holy ground, as the earth was all brought in carloads from Jerusalem.

The leaning tower I saw from the outside only, as I had no desire to make the climb, after learning there was no supporting hand rail or banister. The first flight of stairs is inside the tower, the rest of the stairs being outside, circling around the tower to its top. So I did not care to take the risk of that climb. There is an arcade that runs round and round this building to its top. It is built of different colored marbles, most beautifully sculptured. These four buildings form a magnificent group. Leaving here, we drove through the town; saw the little Gothic church called Santa Maria della Spina. They once had a relic here, said to have been one of the spines or thorns from the “Crown of Thorns." This church stands on the bank of the River Arno that flows through Pisa. We drove by the house of Galileo, where this celebrated astronomer was born in 1564. We had seen his tomb in the church of Santa Croce, Florence.

We drove back to the hotel for lunch, which Gusty enjoyed; but I rarely take it myself. While she was at lunch I heard our horn and knew Gaston had arrived. He sent word to us he would be ready to start by 1:30. We prepared for our ride, sent our bags down-stairs, and sat with our hats on, waiting for the word. Onethirty and 2 o'clock came, and then 3 o'clock, yet we had received no word. This, of course, meant something wrong had occurred, and Gusty said she would go down to find out. She saw the porter bring our bags in from the limousine and Gaston walking up and down, talking and gesticulating with his hands, furiously angry about something, so she came without speaking to him. Later, the porter told her Gaston had sent a porter out to buy essence. It was paid for and Gaston had poured some of it into the tank, when he discovered petroleum had been mixed with it. This meant that the whole tank had to be emptied before a new supply of essence could be put in, as one drop of petroleum spoils the essence, and stops the car. The porter had evidently bought a quart of petroleum, thinking he could make a dishonest dollar, as all would be emptied and we would probably be miles from the hotel before the deceit was discovered. Gaston was too sharp for him, and discovered the trick immediately; but we had to suffer for it, as the tank can only be emptied drop by drop, as it is fed for combustion. This is why Gaston was so angry, because of the delay it would cost us. I think it was nearly 5 o'clock when we finally started. Our little motor did not work very smoothly, and Gaston said as long as a speck of the petroleum remained we would have a little trouble.

LUCCA

We had intended reaching Reggio to spend the night, but this was not possible, after our long detention, so we motored on to Lucca, as it was only a few miles from Pisa. We arrived at 6 P. M., stopping at Albergo, Crose di Malta (Maltese Cross Hotel). Lucca is a

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »