February 16.-The clear air this morning gave us fine views of the mountain ranges all the way from Rome. As our long car, which resembled American cars, was some of the time the last one of the train, I stood in the rear window and greatly enjoyed all that was before me. We left Rome at 8:30. The weather had become cooler and we could see, at first, white frost in places. Again we saw oxen with huge horns. Some were ploughing, some drawing loads of straw. Almond trees were in blossom, but not many. A man and a woman were at work together in a field. In one place poor people were carrying baskets of earth on their heads. We had one more view of the Appian Way on which Paul traveled and of the broad Campagna. We saw the aqueducts, both new and old, and other old ruins. Old, old towns were on the hillsides. Often a very small village perched itself on the the very top of a high hill or mountain. There were large orchards of olive trees and near the railroad stations groves of eucalyptus trees. In some places there were orange trees, some with fruit and some without. There were long snow ranges and in other places rocky ranges containing here and there cultivated spots. As we rode along looking at the mountains L. spoke of the Apennines as “the back-bone of Italy.” As we drew nearer to Naples we noticed the miserable huts in which poor people lived. Some of them appeared like hay stacks with sloping roofs. L. said, “as true as I live there are people living in some of those hay stacks.” Where there were doors we could see children and grown people going in and out. Along the banks of a river were long rows of cactus plants, and long avenues lined with deciduous trees without leaves. There were vineyards with grape vines climbing on large stumps of trees which had been trimmed closely for that purpose. Only small tops were left. All the way between Rome and Naples there were pines trimmed almost to the tops, leaving round tops. We reached here at 1:30 and are at Hotel Bellevue. Just as we were leaving the station where I had been waiting in a cab for L. to get the baggage I received a heavy blow on my right ear. I could not see what it was and L. only saw it for an instant, but it seemed like a stone and appeared to have been thrown. Whether it had anything to do with the Carnival we could not tell. If it had struck me on the temple it might have been serious. Fortunately a nubia protected the ear and no special harm was done, although I was greatly startled. Such was our reception in Naples. L. was a long time getting the trunks. I felt somewhat timid while waiting, as a man had informed me that I had better take care of the baggage as thieves were about. So many miserable, wicked-looking people were there. Bad and good were mixed together, but the bad seemed to predominate.
February 17.From a balcony outside our room we look down upon many treesorange, lemon, oleander, and an unknown tree which is full of buds. From this point we look off upon the Bay of Naples and last evening from a terrace belonging to this hotel I saw the burning Vesuvius. Yesterday before reaching here we caught from the train our first glimpse of the smoking mountain.
L. has been out during the morning looking up a boarding place. The sunny rooms in this hotel are all occupied and we are cold and uncomfortable here, as only a fireplace is in the room and the soft wood burns rapidly, giving us but little heat.
The lunch bell has rung but L. is not yet here. I am waiting for him. He has gone to Posilipo to inquire about a pension.
Later.He has returned. No place for us there. The pension, kept by two sisters (the Misses Baker), is full. He brought back with him some pepper seeds from a pepper tree on the grounds of the pension. We have had our lunch and L. has now gone in search of Pension Poli, which he could not find this morning. If only we had a stove in our room we should remain here, as the views from the balconies and terraces are delightful. I miss the kind faces at our table in Rome. The last night we were there I was ill and could not eat dinner. The guests showed much sympathy. Mrs. L. gave me a glass of her wine, thinking it bet-ter than mine. (In America I do not drink wine.) The tears would not be kept back when I said goodbye to some of the guests, for we had become good friends. Especially had I become much attached to the Misses Nicholson, with whom we had spent eight weeks. Miss Tanner, an English lady at our table there, kissed me goodbye most affectionately and said (pointing upwards) : “When we meet again, dear Mrs. Potwin, you will not know me because I have an ordinary face, but you have an unusual face. I shall know you and shall run to meet you.”
February 18.We find Naples colder than Rome, so far. L. found Pension Poli, where we hoped to obtain board, full. This is a bright day. As the balcony roof shuts off the sun from us the greater part of the day, it is only nowbetween three and four o’clockcreeping into our room, but from this balcony we see many things. On a high hill in the distance we see an orchard of almond trees full of blossoms. With our field glass we bring them quite near. In another place we see a number of these trees much nearer. It is only necessary to go out to this balcony to realize that we are in a strange cityvery different from any we have visited before. Many curious trees are about us. Since coming to Italy we have noticed the graceful, beautiful evergreens, be-sides the live oak, pepper, pines, palms and eucalyptus trees.
Small droves of goats are driven by to be milked at different houses. Cows are taken by in the same way for the same purpose. Usually a calf is with each cow. People told us we should have goat’s milk to drink in Naples. I do not know which it is, as I do not drink milk here.
The beds are narrow with narrow blanketsthe poorest we have had since leaving home, except on the steamer.
Naples is one hundred and sixty-two miles from Rome by rail. As it is twice as large as Rome we see greater crowds and a different class of people, but the Corso and other streets were crowded in Rome.
L. walked in the Villa Nazionale today and looked at rooms in the Hotel la Riviera. I have been in all day with a cold. Mrs. Karmine, whom we first met in Florence and who sat next to me at the table, is here.
February 19.A cloudy day. L. walked on the hill in Via Tasso among almond trees in full bloom. He calls it a delightful walk.
February 20.A rainy Sabbath. Both of us are shut in today on account of colds. L. is chilly and feverish with no appetite.
February 21.I wrote letters this afternoon and have finished repairing a skirt. L.’s cold is serious. Today we are again indoors. Last night at Miss Gilliat’s suggestion I went out on the terrace to see Vesuvius, she putting warm wraps around me. We could see two great fiery spots on the side of the mountain which are openings showing the internal fire. When the air is clear we have a splendid view from our balcony of the island of Capri. Today this remarkable looking island is wholly hidden on account of rain.
February 22.I have taken my first walk in Naples this afternoon, leaving L. still housed with his cold. Climbing a hill in a strange country and in a still more strange city was something new and interesting. Up and up I went by a winding path through almond trees, cactus plants and other wonderful things. I could have gone up steps in places, but preferred the path. As I slowly wound my way around and up the steep hill I looked down upon beautiful terraces filled with almond trees in full bloom, orange and lemon trees, eucalyptus trees and pepper trees. Some of the first things I saw when starting out for my walk were a yucca crowned by its curious blossoms; a cineraria in bloom, and a tall plant full of yellow blossoms. Cacti seemed to grow and thrive on almost nothingon the very walls themselves. Gardens were startedin one place peas were in blossom. I enjoyed the view of the city; as I ascended the hill I looked off to the Bay of Naples, to the Island of Capri, Vesuvius and other mountains. I saw how some poor people live. But the most surprising thing I saw was a boy with two goats entering a house. I watched the three as they went up a marble staircase. They tell me that goats are frequently taken up into the attics to be milked. A lady here has seen them capering about on the fiat roofs of the houses. The goats go by in small flocks, twenty-five sometimes. They behave like little cows and are nice looking goatssome brown, some black, some white and others spotted. On my way home a woman broke off a few almond blossoms and gave them to me. People walk about on the roofs of their homes and dry clothes on them.
February 23.L. is better. We walked out a little but found a “sirocco” wind. We returned and met the hotel proprietor who kept his promise and allowed me to break off an orange from one of his treesalso a lemon. He showed us the buds on an orange tree which will be open in a few days. There were buds on a peach tree, also, which will soon bloom. A very large and luxuriant Marechal Niel climbing on the house has a few fine roses on it. The proprietor showed me how he was starting new Marechal Niels on other roots to take with him when he moves in the month of May. He has a peach tree in a large tub which he took out of the ground, and many other things in pots.
February 24.Yesterday afternoon I walked alone down the hill towards the Bay, hoping to reach it, but found high buildings there instead of water. I passed two abutilon trees in blossom and two century-like plants that bore straight stalks of scarlet blossoms. I wondered what they were. Then I returned to our hotel and walked in a different direction. I admired the fine buildings and beautiful gardens. There were banana trees growing in the ground. Some were tied up, some were covered with canvas. Cows with calves, and goats were being taken to the houses to be milked. I saw men milk into tumblers and glasses, some-times half a glass, sometimes a full glass, according to the order received. Men and women stood about the cow while the milking was going on, waiting for their glass or half-glass of milk. A bell is on each cow which the owner of the cow rings when he reaches the house where milk is wanted.
Naples is truly a different city from any other. I have not yet seen an ass or donkey milked, but a lady saw it done and saw a woman drink the milk afterwards. Mrs. K. tells me it is good for weak lungs.
February 25.-We received our mail from London yesterday. This is a cloudy, rainy morning. Yesterday after-noon we walked to the Bay of Naples and to Villa Nazionale. This long narrow park with the sea close by is the favorite promenade of the Neapolitans. It is near the finest hotels, and during the warm summer evenings is quite gay with fashionable people. We admired the flowers there. Then a horse tram carried us about the city, back and forth, and afterwards an omnibus brought us to our hotel. We walked by the royal palace. Soldiers stood by the sentry boxes and inside the palace stood a man dressed in red and white, exactly as the one in the royal palace in Rome was dressed. We looked into the royal garden. In this palace the Prince of Naples and his wife (formerly the Princess Montenegro) reside.
When looking at the church of S. Francesco di Pao-la I noticed at once a strong resemblance to the Pantheon at Rome. It is spoken of as “one of the finest church edifices of the present age.” We saw only the exterior. The large dome is surpassed in size only by St. Peter’s in Rome and by that of the Duomo in Florence. The forty-four basalt columns which support the round portico are from the quarries of Pozzuoli. Our fireplace greatly adds to our discomfort by smoking. We have not yet been able to warm our room. L. feels the need of toasting again and taking aconite. It is hard for us to keep our heads above water since coming to Naples and to this hotel.
February 26.L. not so well last night and this morning. He is now sleeping on the sofa. Yesterday afternoon I left him resting and went to Posilipo with Mrs. Karmine. Unfortunately we missed a tram and were obliged to walk considerably. We looked down upon vineyards, gardens, flowers and a variety of trees as we walked along. Had fine views of Vesuvius and portions of Naples and the Bay of Naples. On the left of Vesuvius we could see a snowy range of mountains. The hill between the Vomero and the sea bears the name Posilipo. Missing the tram prevented our seeing the village, which I much regretted. I wish we might not only have seen the town but also the grotto of the same name, and the so-called tomb of Virgilpartly because of the fine view of Naples and the Bay from that pointand also the poet’s villa. John L. Stoddard says, “Here Virgil composed his two great works whose glory has outlived by many centuries the Roman Empire itself.” Yesterday afternoon when near there we noticed the wild oxalis blossoms which were very large and fine. We saw also a tree covered with yellow blossoms and one with light pinkish blossoms.
February 27.I have remained at home yesterday and today with L., who is ill in bed. He ate, however, a fine piece of steak, this noon, which greatly pleased me because he has had no appetite at all. It is very, very hard to have him ill so far from home and in a strange hotel.
February 28.-Last evening on the terrace I fancied I could see flames in the two fiery openings on the side of Vesuvius. Yesterday, during the day, I could hardly tell the smoke that poured out of the mountain from the clouds above the smoke.
Have been to an Italian pharmacy this afternoon for L. He sat up some today.
March 1.-A physician this morning pronounced L.’s illness a case of pleurisy, but not severe. I have taken a long walk to an Anglo-American pharmacy.
March 2.It is two weeks today since we left Rome and came here. The doctor thought L. better this morning, but after he left L. had a return of the unfavorable symptoms. Have been to the pharmacy again this afternoon for medicine.
March 3.-There is some improvement. I have not been out at all today.
March 4.This morning I went alone to see a review and parade of soldiers but did not stay long. After I left, the Prince and Princess of Naples were therethe Prince on horseback and the Princess in her carriage.
I went this afternoon to Cook’s, with L.’s letter of credit, to get money, but failed.
I frequently go out on the terrace to see Vesuvius. That is all the sight seeing I can do. I not only can see smoke going out from the crater today but from two places on the side.
March 5.Vesuvius is dark blue today and without a cloud. So also is the Island of Capri. I saw many boats on the Bay today. Again walked alone this afternoon to the Anglo-American pharmacy. L. is sitting up.
March 6.Yesterday I saw a flock of goats climbing a hill by one of the long flights of stone steps. This afternoon a goat was milked in our hotel doorway. I was invited to buy some milk. The milk of the ass is sold here by the ounce. Sheep are also milked here. I am told the milk is not used to drink, but for making cheese.
March 7.-I have been with Mrs. K. to the glove stores. Then went to the pharmacy to do errands for L.
March 8.-Last evening some Neapolitans, six men and two women, amused and entertained the guests in the hotel while at dinner. Dressed in gay fashion they came to sing and play on various instruments and to dance the tarantella a national dance. They played and sang while we were eating. I had a good view of them from the table. After dinner they danced in the hall. I wished so much that L. could see them but he did not care. Mrs. K. left last night for Siena. At the hotel in Florence where I first met her, at the hotel in Rome, and also here in Hotel Bellevue I seemed to be the only one she really became attached to. She kissed me goodbye most affectionately.
L. is taking fresh air on our balcony. He has walked down stairs and out on the terrace, where he remained but a short time.
March 9.L., much to my surprise, rode to Cook’s this morning for money. He has paid our hotel bill for two weeks. I have been to see L.’s physician and have paid the bill. When Mr. Stone left for Rome he gave me a cineraria which is a mass of purple blossoms. This belonged to his sister-in-law, Mrs. Stone, who was summoned back to Rome on account of the illness of her little boy. Her husband and brother-in-law (Mr. Stone) went next day.
March 10, 5 p. m.L. and I have just been down to the terrace to see Vesuvius. Clouds of smoke were pouring out and sweeping down the side of the mountain. The sun was shining on the smoke and on the houses on the slope of the mountain. This forenoon the funicular railway carried us to Vomero. It is a very steep and sloping ride–“a slanting elevator,” L. calls it. From the hill we had a fine view of the promontory of Posilipo. We did not walk as far as San Martino where we expected the finest view. It was too far for L., although near. On our way home we met Mrs. Rhodes. I was surprised and glad to see her. This afternoon Mrs. Lewis, of Kansas City, went with me to see the interior of the Royal Palace but we were too late. We did go, however, into the Galleria Umberto I, a very fine arcade in the form of a Latin cross, which is used for stores.
While waiting on the Piazza S. Ferdinando for an omnibus a horse and ox went by together drawing a load. In an-other instance one ox was drawing a cart with large wheels.
While I was writing, Mrs. R. came to call. L. sits here eating his dinner by the open fire.
March 11.Yesterday morning while L. and I were out we saw a beautiful climbing pink rose. The enormous Marechal Niel at the rear of the hotel is filled with fine, well developed buds. The lovely almond blossoms are gone. Now we have the peach blossoms. In the yard an orange tree and a peach tree are blooming together side by side. Not many orange trees are in bloom. It seems early for them. It is now more than three weeks since we came to Naples. Five ladies went up Vesuvius yesterday from this hotelall Americans. Mrs. S., an elderly lady belonging to the party, said to me at the breakfast table yesterday morning: “There are some people who do not believe in fire and brimstone; I am going to inquire into the business today.” She found plenty of both, as the wind blew in the wrong direction and they were overwhelmed at times by dense smoke and sulphurous fumes from the great mountain of fire. Last evening when L. and I went out to the terrace Vesuvius looked very red and interesting.
March 12.It may be that a kind and wise Providence has obliged us to take this enforced rest although L. wishes that he might have been allowed to choose the time and place himself. His improvement is slow, the weather being unfavorable. We have done no sight seeing either today or yesterday except that L. took a short walk yesterday afternoon and this morning has walked on the terrace awhile. This hotel is crowded. The guests are continually changing. This gives an opportunity to study character, which is diverting. We are receiving much kindness in this hotel and find many pleasant people.
March 13.We have been at home all day except that I took a short walk to call upon Mrs. R. at her hotel but did not find her at home. Four Catholic priests are at our table now. One of them, a young Irish priest, has gone to Pompeii. The two American priests have gone to the Island of Capri today.
March 14.-Paul B. Tuzo, a young architect who has been spending some time in Paris, has just called upon us in our room to say goodbye (11 o’clock a. m.) I have much enjoyed his society at the table. Very sociable and pleasant he has been with us, which we consider most unusual in so young a man. He has kindly enriched my souvenir book with a beautiful drawing and conundrum. I greatly appreciate his kindness. Last night he returned from a visit to Pompeii. During his stay there I received from him a post card of that deserted city. One wild night he went to Sicily from here when the sea was rough. He wished us to let him know when we sail from London, and promised to meet us on our arrival in New York. An Englishman here who calls himself John Bull speaks of Naples as a “beastly city.” Father and daughter are here from Liverpool. We received a long call from Mrs. Rhodes this afternoon. She soon sails for America. I bought a shell comb from a boy who was selling them down stairs. L. and I both feel that we must leave Naples as soon as possible. We are neither of us as well as usual. Both of us have colds. Naples, for some reason (perhaps on account of the sulphurous atmosphere), does not agree with us. We have hoped to visit Sicily and Pompeii and do many other things before leaving.
March 16.-The Catholic priests leave today. Father Rinhart has given me a chain which was blessed by the Pope while in his hands. It is a facsimile of the chain with which it is said St. Peter was bound. The original, as I have said before, is kept in the church of S. Pietro in Vincoli where we saw Michael Angelo’s Moses. Father Mahoney gave me two pictures. Both have written in my souvenir book. Every day we look with interest at the island of Capri. On this island the Roman emperor Tiberius Caesar was living when our Saviour was crucified, but it was during the reign of Nero, that wicked, cruel emperor, that Paul was taken to Rome a prisoner, and it was he of whom Paul spoke when he said, “I appeal unto Caesar.”
L. is anxious to go to Pozzuoli. It is rainy.
March 18.This forenoon we ventured out sight seeing although with fear and trembling on my part lest it might harm L. He said just now, “0, my darling, you know it is always darkest before daylight, and it is true!” His sickness here has been and is a real affliction to us both. It has prevented our going to Athens which L. so greatly desired to do. It has kept us from sight seeing much of the time since coming here and of course this, too, has been a trial. But the hardest thing to bear is that his difficulty is not yet removed. We first went to the drug store and Cook’s this morning and then in a tram along Via Santa Lucia to S. Ferdinando. On this route there were strange sights. There were many people in the lower walks of life. Women were washing on the street and in unclean water ! Others were knitting, others were cooking, some were tending their babies and some were selling their merchandise of various kinds. There was a woman combing and brushing another woman’s hair. There were lines and lines of dingy looking clothes drying in all sorts of placeson the houses and elsewhere.
I have two picture post cards of Santa Lucia. From S. Ferdinando we went by omnibus the whole length of Via Roma, which is the greatest business street in Naples, to the National Museum and Piazza Cavour. On our way there we saw two other pretty piazzas, one of whichthe Piazza Dantecontains his monument. At the Museum a steam tram carried us along the Corso Victor Emmanuel to within a short down-hill walk to our hotel. From the tram we had fine views of Vesuvius, the gulf of Naples, the promontory of Posilipo and of the opposite promontory near Sorrento. of the city of Naples below us and of some portions which were higher than we were, although we were on high ground. These included the castle of St. Elmo. It is an interesting ride which L. planned. We rode nearly all this roundabout way in different omnibuses and trams. I bought a cheap cameo brooch of a man who kept following me. He even followed me into our tram.
We have now had three lovely days in succession and hope there has been a decided change in the weather. It has been damp, unsettled weather the most of the time with considerable rain since our arrival in Naples.
We saw this morning Mr. and Mrs. Rivers, whom we met in Florence. She has not been well and was longing for her native land. They sail this afternoon for America. After leaving Florence we met Mr. R. in St. Peter’s church, Rome. Mrs. R. was a very dressy bride. She attracted much attention at our table in F. by appearing each day in a new and very beautiful dressdifferent from any she had previously worn.
March 19.This morning we did one of the things L. has much desired to dowe went to Pozzuoli. This most ancient town, founded by the Greeks, is seven miles by steam tram from Naples.
It was, in ages long gone by, the most important town of Italy. Although it still has a population of eleven or twelve thousand, it is the ruins and not the town that is visited. A guide conducted us to the ruins of the old Roman amphitheatre which is on a hill back of the town. This amphitheatre, excavated in 1838, must have been capable of seating from twenty thousand to thirty thousand people. Although thickly covered with grass we could see where the seats had been. It was a tiresome, up-hill walk and the place was rather damp and forbidding when we reached there. We contrasted it with the old Roman amphitheatre in Verona which is in such fine condition. While walking to the ruins of the Temple of Serapis, which we saw but had not time to examine thoroughly, we passed the ruins of the dock where St. Paul landed on his way to Rome. Half a mile from Pozzuoli at Solfatera is a half extinct volcano. Through cracks still come smoke and sulphurous fumes. A stone thrown on the ground indicates its hollowness. On our way to Pozzuoli we greatly admired the picturesque rocky island of Nisida with an extinct volcano. Here Brutus retired in the year 44 B. C., after the murder of Caesar. Here he received visits from Cicero. A prison is on the is-land. We should have been glad to spend more time at Pozzuoli if L. had been well. We had only one hour between trains. L. is resting.
We saw orchards of peach trees pink with blossoms and on the banks of the railroad a large variety of wild flowers. Many people were on the streets. One woman was combing another woman’s hair as she sat on a chair in the street. They both laughed when they saw me looking at them and said something to me in Italian.
When Pozzuoli fell into the hands of the Romans the name Puteoli was given it, which name it bore when Paul landed there and spent seven days with the brethren. We reached our hotel in season for lunch. This evening we have again seen Vesuvius from the terrace. Hitherto the fire has been visible only on the sides of the mountain, but tonight it appeared to be actual fire pouring out of the mouth of the crater. The volume of red light rose considerably above the mountain but soon disappeared. A grand sight ! Miss B. made the ascent today and brought back to me a fine specimen of lava which she picked up very near the mouth of the crater. She would not advise a friend to go up. I wish much that I might, but would not like to go without L. Mrs. Rhodes called last night to say goodbye. How long it seems since we first met her in Venice. Since that time we have frequently seen her in Florence, Rome and in this city.
March 20.-The Aquarium in the Villa Nazionale, where we have been this morning, is beyond description. The collection of fishes and crustacea from the Mediterranean is most wonderful. The beautiful star fishes of different colors, some a bright red, we much admired, also the feather star fishes. The variety of lobsters, the sea anemones, the corals, the torpedo, the octopus, the cuttle fish, jelly fish, sponges, sea horse, hermit crabs and burrowers in the bottom all excited our wonder and admiration. The last mentioned in Tank 24 “illustrate concealment and mimicry of surroundings.” The corals in Tank 9 resemble reddish moss and nearly cover the floor of the tank. In Tank 21 the corals are hard, including the red coral used in jewelry. This last is from a coral bed in the Mediterranean between Naples and the island of Capri. We were interested in the black and white corals. The torpedo fish I took between my thumb and fingers and with the help of a gentleman received an electric shock from it. They must be pressed hard and teased.
March 21.-A long ride from S. Ferdinando in a horse tram this afternoon included a fine view of the shipping and that part of the city with Vesuvius beyond the bay. We passed Villa del Popolo, a beautiful garden containing a fine marble statue, the railroad station, and then went on and on through a new part of the city to us until we reached Piazza Cavour and the Museum. We saw many strange sights. The streets were crowded with people. Very few of them seemed well-to-do. There was much poverty and dirt. Naples is not only the largest city in Italy and the most picturesque, but resembles a foreign city more than any we have visited and this we enjoy. But there is much here to make our hearts ache.
When we returned to S. Ferdinando, L. took an omnibus and rode home and I went into shops to look at lava pins, corals, shell combs and cameos. There are many interesting walks here, but so much up hill that walking is not easy. There are long flights of stone steps which we are glad to go down but avoid going up if we can. Sometimes there is a way around which is longer but easier for us. In the Villa Nazionale (Public Garden) there are beautiful flowers. Very lovely camellias are there in a variety of colors, including striped ones ; a bed of beautiful hyacinths, pansy beds, borders of pink and white daisies, primroses and a low yellow flower which I never saw before. It grows in masses and blends prettily with other flowers.
March 22.In the National Museum this morning there was much to see and enjoymuch more than I can even allude to. We found the building cold and were obliged to go about quickly. The ancient bronzes, the finest collection in the world, were mostly found in Herculaneum. A few were from Pompeii. One would never have dreamed that so long ago the ancients did such remarkable work. Bulls, goats, deer, a pig, horses, dogs and other animals were there in bronze. A large, splendid looking horse in bronze attracted our attention, and a colossal head of a horse. We were greatly interested in the loaves of charred breadone half-loaf cut exactly in the middle, grains of wheat, English walnuts, figs, hazel nuts and olives from which oil has been taken since they were exhumed from Pompeii, where they were buried more than eighteen hundred years ago by the eruption of Vesuvius. The mural paintings, marble sculptures, ancient terra-cottas and many other wonderful things from the two buried cities are there. L. and I were much interested in that half-loaf of bread. We met Mrs. Platner and her sister in the Museum. They came from Rome yesterday with Prof. Platner. We have again visited the Aquarium which Baedeker says is the finest in the world.
March 23.An hour’s ride by railway carried us to Pompeii this morning. We rode by the Bay of Naples nearly all the waya most delightful ride through the clear air. We had fine views of the mountains beyond the Bay, including Vesuvius, of the islands of Ischia and of Capri and of the towns near the foot of Vesuvius. Boats of various kinds were in the Bay close to the shore. Among others were fishing boats and boats for gathering coral and sponges. Many of the people were curiosities. We saw macaroni drying. Boys walked about in their bare feet spreading it as it dried. We passed through the town of Torre del Greco, which has a thriving business in coral. From this town the fishing boats start that supply the larger part of Europe with coral. Earthquakes and eruptions from Vesuvius, which partly destroy the town, still take place, but the people love their homes. They rebuild their houses and re-main in that dangerous spot. The next town we saw was Torre Annunziata where a flourishing trade is carried on in the various pastes manufactured in this part of Italy.
Pompeii had, when destroyed, about thirty thousand in-habitants. History says it was founded six hundred years before Christ by Italians. “In the year 63 during the reign of Nero, it was partly ruined by an earthquake. Before it had fully recovered from this shock, the terrible eruption of Vesuvius took place on the 23rd of August, A. D. 79, which continued three days. During those awful days streams of burning material, boiling water, ashes and pumice stones were poured upon the stricken city. The wooden roofs of the houses were either burned or fell under the weight of all this dreadful material until the whole city was buried and in that condition it remained sixteen hundred and sixty-nine years.” Excavations, begun in 1748, have continued more or less since that time. Much has been uncovered, but not all. L. and I felt that we could not leave Naples without visiting this strange deserted city. We decided, on account of L.’s recent illness, to be carried about in chairs, although I should much have preferred my feet. At times we left the chairs and walked a little to see things that were not in sight and to which we could not be carried.
The guide took us to a high point which overlooked the city and much besides. Excavation was going on. Baskets of earth were being carried on the heads of men and boys. We noticed the ancient walls that defended the city so long agodouble walls from twenty-five to thirty feet high. The streets are largely straight and so narrow that there could not have been room for more than one vehicle. The ruts of ancient wheels in the lava pavements as hard as stone (L. says they are stone) are plainly to be seen, a raised foot-path on each side of the street for rainy weather and huge stepping stones for crossings. All greatly interested us.
At the entrances of the principal streets were public fountains. On Herculaneum street, which is called the street of the tombs, we went into several houses, the finest one being called the New House, which was excavated only two years ago. The ancient frescoes in these houses are most curious and interesting and well preserved. Around the garden was considerable statuary. We saw kitchen utensils, lamps and scales. In a kitchen we saw a small stove (L. calls it “a three-legged cooking pot”) which required a fire of wood underneath. Cooking and baking were apparently going on when the eruption took place. We saw baths, a theatre, a bakery, also temples in ruins around the Forum. In a small museum we saw casts of people just as they were found after the eruption. A cast of a dog is there. He is lying on his back curled up with one foot in the air. The oven in the baker’s shop interested us. From this oven were taken the charred loaves of bread.
I picked up lava and pumice stones. Sweet alyssum, red poppies and other flowers grew wild about the grounds. I gathered some to press. Vesuvius seemed much nearer at Pompeii. We could see quite distinctly the winding, zigzag road which leads up this smoking mountain. Prof. Platner called this evening. We were very glad to see him.
March 24.-This morning my wish to see the royal palace has been gratified. I was not expecting L. to go with me, but he enjoyed it as much as I did. As the palace is now occupied by the Prince and Princess of Naples, we were not permitted to see any of the private rooms. In the royal palaces in Venice and Florence we saw bedrooms belonging to the King and Queen of Italy and Prince of Naples which are occupied by them when they visit those cities. In the palace this morning we found no two rooms alike, but all are elegant, beautiful and costly. In the refreshment room (formerly the Hall of Hercules) we greatly admired the Gobelin tapestry, illustrating mythological subjects, with which the walls are decorated. This tapestry is so fine that it can hardly be told from the finest oil paintings. The walls of other rooms are hung with silk tapestry, the chairs and sofas being covered with rich materials harmonizing with them in color. The ceilings are beautifully frescoed and rich in gildings. Some of the floors are of inlaid wood, some of marble of different colors, and others are carpeted. Many fine oil paintings are on the walls. In the rooms are beautiful and interesting tables and vases. The dining room, waiting rooms and reception rooms interested us, also the throne room, which has an elegant throne canopy of velvet embroidered with gold. In the Hall of the Cuirassiers is the same fine Gobelin tapestry. In the different parlors there is much that is attractive. A glass passage leads to the chapel, which contains a magnificent altar rich in precious stones and splendid paintings by the finest modern artists. Farther on is the massive marble staircase, the private court theatre and the large gala hall.
The Piazza del Plebiscito, on which the royal palace stands, is the most attractive in Naples. A fountain is in the center. A high iron fence separates the palace garden from the piazza. At the entrance gate of this royal palace are two bronze equestrian statues.
We were allowed to walk in the royal garden where the Princess of Naples rides her bicycle for exercise. A glass door leads into this beautiful garden, which contains lovely walks shaded by orange trees and other trees. From this high point there is a fine view. Opposite the palace is the church of S. Francesco di Paola, which, as I have said be-fore, imitates the Pantheon in Rome. There are very few piazzas, or squares, in Naples.
March 25.-We shall never forget Naples. It is so different from other cities. We have seen large droves of goats today and cows with their calves on their way to the houses to be milked. We shall never see these things in any other city. Perhaps we do not care to, but they are interesting. Neither do I expect ever to visit another city or stay in another hotel where I shall receive more kindness than I have received here. The guests in the hotel have known of the illness of my husband. They have seen me alone at the table in a strange city and far from home. They have expressed much sympathy for me and have been most kind and helpfulone lady from St. Louis offering me her maid to assist me in caring for my husband. A gentle-man gave me when he left three addresses, saying that one of them would be sure to find him. He wished me to let him know if ever I was in trouble.
This afternoon, after a rainy morning, L. and I rode in an omnibus to two photograph stores where we bought illustrated post cards and photos. We walked home because we had waited for an omnibus until we were tired. Before we reached home it began to rain again. L. is sitting by the fire drying his damp clothing. His health improves.
March 26.-While waiting in the pharmacy yesterday afternoon a noticeable funeral procession passed consisting partly of men in light colored circular cloaks of different shades. The hearse and tops of all the private carriages were brilliant with bright flowers.
Yesterday’s rain continues. We wished for a pleasant day as we hoped to take the steamer for the island of Capri.
March 27.This morning we have had the celebrated view of Naples and vicinity to which we have been looking forward. The funicular railway carried us to the hill region of Vomero, attractive in summer because of its pretty villas and fine air. After leaving the railway we first climbed several flights of stone steps before going down the hill to the Camaldoli monastery. As ladies are not admitted there we went a little farther on to a balcony (Belvedere) where the same fine view can be obtained as from the grounds of the monastery. There were beautiful glimpses as we passed openings. The view from this spot is thought by many to be the finest that can be found in Italy, and was the origin of the Neapolitan saying, “See Naples and die.” The whole city with its bay and islands was before us. Capri stood in front seemingly quite near. In the distance were the beautiful Apennines with snow-crowned summits. The blue-smoking Vesuvius, with the townships of Portici, Resina and Torre del Greco at its base, was a little to the right of the long range of snowy mountains. Still farther to the right was the promontory of Sorrento, and on the other side of the Bay the promontory of Posilipo. After leaving the balcony we passed hastily through the museum and the cloisters belonging to the monastery but the church was closed. We saw large fig trees with thick stumpy branches which were beginning to clothe them-selves with leaves. The air was fine and clear after the rain just the day for the magnificent view. It is cool and bracing. Naples is undoubtedly, with the exception of Constantinople, the most picturesque city in the world.
I am sorry for travelers who fail to visit Naples. Although there is much that is unpleasant and even painful it is not a city to be passed by. Many of the people on the streets are disagreeable to encounter. Some mock you if you refuse to buy of them or ride in their cabs. The offensive odors and the beggars are objectionable, but notwithstanding these drawbacks Naples is both interesting and beautiful.
There are nine Americans in our hotel, including our-selves. We have not met many since leaving home.
March 28.We rose early this morning expecting to take. a steamer for Capri if the weather proved favorable, but it did not. The water is rough.
Last evening we again saw the sky and clouds lighted up above the crater of Vesuvius. It is a mile, we are told, from one side of the crater to the other.
Although this has been an unfavorable day for sightseeingraining some and threatening moreit has not been lost. This morning after L. had been to Cook’s he joined me in a store where we looked at photographs, and this afternoon we have taken a long ride in a horse-tram from Piazza S. Ferdinando to Torre del Greco. During the early part of the ride the people looked poor and pitiable. Unpleasant looking men and women were frequently in the car with us. There were all sorts of street scenes. We saw women riding in long old carts, with feet and legs dangling behind. There was washing on the street. Two women were wringing a long sheet close to the edge of the sidewalk. There were dingy looking clothes hanging over the sidewalks and on the houses to dry. People were cooking on the street. There was much poverty and dirt, and men, women and children in soiled clothes, with unclean hands and faces, and uncombed hair. Women stood knitting in the doorways and on the sidewalks. Many of the houses looked large but uncared for. We saw much shippingmany steamers and small, cloth-covered boats. There were ill-assorted teamsa horse and cow together, a horse and donkey, and three donkeys with the large one in the middle.
After awhile we saw large fig trees just putting out their leaves, and lemon trees with fruit. This was after we left the poverty-stricken region. We passed the entrance to the Herculaneum excavations, riding over the buried city through a street of Resina, both going and returning, and had a fine view of the Ingresso but did not go down to see the ruins. We could see portions of the city that seemed to be on the old low level. L. felt that it was “of great interest to be riding over an ancient city still buried.” Here we saw Vesuvius from a different point of view. Herculaneum, being on another side and nearer Vesuvius than Pompeii, was overwhelmed by a different and more solid material. The township of Resina is built on this bed of ashes and lava (from 70 to 112 feet deep) which covers Herculaneum. L. says he “had a feeling of awe when we were riding over it.” It is thought to have been a richer city than Pompeii. We have seen in the museum the wonderful old bronzes that came from theremany of them, without doubt, made be-fore the birth of Christ.
Once more we saw cows milked on the sidewalk near the houses and in one instance a glass of milk was drawn to an upper story in a basket. The customer was not satisfied and lowered the basket to the boy, who went back to the cow and milked one more stream into the glass.
We met a funeral procession. Men dressed in white, and wearing blue capes, carried the bier and followed it. Heads and faces were wholly covered excepting the eyes, seen through holes in the white cloth. The bier was covered with a crimson cloth and handsomely embroidered with gold. It is an interesting ride to look back upon.
At Piazza S. Ferdinando, which is not far from the royal palace, the trams, omnibuses and carriages concentrate. For all excursions this is the starting point.
The beautiful Marechal Niel rose on the grounds of our hotel is now loaded with well-developed buds and roses in full bloom. There have been roses all winter.
March 29.It was raining while we stood on the wharf this morning. We greatly desired to visit Capri but hesitated about going in the rain. Had we better go? It was a serious question. It was then or never. At length we took our seats in the small, wet boat and were rowed to the steamer, hoping it would clear off during the day. When we were opposite Sorrento the sun came out from its hiding place and gave us a lovely view of the town on its rocky cliffs. Our glass brought the place quite near. Wild flowers were blooming on its banksmasses of yellow flowers. I am told that a pink daisy is found there, like an oxeye daisy except that it is pink instead of white. I wished much to see it. Some of the passengers left our steamer to go to Sorrento. It was a pretty sight to see them on their way in the small boats and I wished I were going, too, but we went on to Capri. We rejoiced that it did not rain while we were there.
At first we were carried past the town, or landing place, and anchored off the entrance to the Blue Grotto. Here small boats carried passengers into the grotto. Only two passengers were allowed in a boat. L., not having yet re-covered his usual strength, did not wish to take the trip but was glad to have me go. A strange lady who spoke a strange tongue was with me. As we sat in the boat it was necessary to bend the body as low as possible while passing through the small aperture leading into the grotto. No one dares attempt going through those low entrances in a storm. As we entered a wonderful picture was before us. It seemed like fairyland ! Not only was the water bluea lovely, heavenly bluebut the stone walls (the natural rock) were blue also. We passed through from one low entrance to the other and I thought it the most beautiful, wonderful place I ever was in.
“The Blue Grotto is situated on the Island of Capri, twenty-two miles from Naples by steamer. The entrance to the cave is four feet high and four feet wide and is in the face of a lofty perpendicular cliff–the sea wall. You enter in small boats and a tight squeeze it is too. You cannot enter it at all when the tide is up. Once within, you find yourself in an arched cavern about one hundred and sixty feet long and one hundred and twenty feet wide and about seventy feet high. How deep it is, no man knows. It goes down to the bottom of the ocean. The waters of this placid subterranean lake are the brightest, loveliest blue that can be imagined. They are as transparent as plate glass and their coloring would shame the richest sky that ever bent over Italy. No tint can be more ravishing, no lustre more superb. Throw a stone into the water and the myriad of tiny bubbles that are created flash out a brilliant glare like blue theatrical fires. Dip an oar and its blade turns to splendid frosted silver tinted with blue. Let a man jump in and instantly he is cased in armor more gorgeous that ever kingly Crusader wore.” (From Mark Twain’s “Innocents Abroad.”) How much I wished that L. had gone, too. He could see the dark blue water all about the steamer but he could not see the different shades of lovely blue in the grotto.
From the grotto the steamer carried us to the town of Capri. Here passengers were taken in small boats to the shore. Nearly all went, but L. and I remained on board. From the steamer we had good views of the buildings and ruins on the island. We could see both Capri and Sorrento better than if we had gone close to the shore, and with our field glass could bring them very near. After the passengers returned to the. boat it began to rain again. Some of them were seasick in the morning. L. took a picture of the “precipices of Capri,” as he called them.
While in the Blue Grotto I was really in the Mediterranean sea. Think of my sailing in a small boat on the Mediterranean ! At Capri and near there we looked out upon open sea, as this is the boundary between the Bay of Naples and the Mediterranean. The water was very rough when we reached Naples. After leaving the steamer our small boat bounded over the rough waves but we reached the wharf safely and took a cab to our hotel.
While in the steamer on our way back to Naples we had good views of the Sorrento and Posilipo promontories, in spite of the rain.
Very soon after reaching here we received a telegram from the Marley Pension in Rome saying that a room would be ready for us the next day. We have decided to go to Rome tomorrow afternoon.
March 30.It is six weeks since we came here. Much time has been lost on account of L.’s illness but we have seen much and have tried to rest. We are glad to have seen Naples. It is worth coming to see. Now our trunks are packed and we are ready to leave. I wished to go into the stores again but the telegram hurries us away, so we say goodbye to Naples and to Hotel Bellevue; to the little goats which have passed here in droves twice a daywe shall not hear their bells any longer; to the cows and the jingle of their bells which we have heard every day during our stay in Naples; to Vesuvius; to the lovely water view and to the island of Caprino picture can do it justiceits steep, rocky cliffs I cannot forget; to the beggars and to, the poor, poverty-stricken people; to the braying of donkeys and to the “loud voiced population.”
We have met many pleasant people in our hotel. I have received today a box of yellow primroses from an English lady who went from here to Florence. It is pleasant to be remembered.