xt7jsx64526r https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7jsx64526r/data/mets.xml Harris, Credo Fitch, 1874-1956. 1912  books b92-229-31183836 English Moffat, Yard and Co., : New York : This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed.  Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically.  Physical rights are retained by the owning repository.  Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.  For information about permissions to reproduce or publish, contact the Special Collections Research Center. Italy Description and travel. Motor rambles in Italy  / by Credo Harris ; illustrated from photographs. text Motor rambles in Italy  / by Credo Harris ; illustrated from photographs. 1912 2002 true xt7jsx64526r section xt7jsx64526r 
















MOTOR RAMBLES IN ITALY

 

































































"or await your coming in some far off Ostia."



I -k
L 
 ,",,; 'I
   I; , "llM " 
   4
     W

 


MOTOR RAMBLES IN ITALY




                BY

         CREDO HARRIS



   Rlustrated from photographs



















       NEWYORK
MOFFAT, YARD AND COMPANY
         1912

 



































       Copyright, 1912, by
MOFFAT, YARD AND COMPANY
          NEW YORK


     All Riighits Reserred

     Pablished October, 1912

 

















           TO
        MY SISTER

MRS. S. THRUSTON BALLARD

 This page in the original text is blank.

 













CONTENTS



CHAPTER

     I Baden-Baden .

     II  Mlilan.

   III Milan to Parma

   IV  Parma

   V  Parma to Boloy)na

   VI Bologna
   VII Bologna to Rimini
 VIII Rimiini.

   IX  From Rimini to San M1a

   X Rimirni to Ravenna

   XI Ravenna to Florence
   XII Florence

 XIII Florence to Pisa .

 XIV  Pisa and to Siena

 XV Siena.
 Xl'I Siena and to Peru gia

 XVII Perugia
X VIII Assisi.
XIX  To Orvieto and Orvieto

  XX  Orvieto to Rome .
  XXI The Cam payna of Rome



                            PAGE

........ .  .  .  . .  .  ... .....10
                           .  M


........ .  .  .  . .  .  ....... 3.5

. . . . .    .  . .  ...  .............. 47

........ .  .  .  . .  .  ........ 59
. ..........              ..................... 71

........ .  .  .  . .  .  ........ 'S3

no.  . .  .  . . o   .   . 95

........ .  .  . .  .  .  .   ...... 108
       . . ...     . .  .  . . 121
                            .130
........ .  .  .  . .  .  ........ 130

............. .  .  . .  .  .  ... .. 142

       . . ... .  . .  .  . . 159

. .  . .  . .   . . ...   . I............. 1.1
       .. ... . . . . .. 18-t

........ .  .  .  . .  .  ....... 194
       . . ... .  .  . .  . . 206

       . . ... .  .  . .  . . 2_21
       . .  ... . .  .  . . 23,

 . . . . . . . . . . 249



!ri

 This page in the original text is blank.

 











LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



"or await your coming in some far off Ostia" ........ Frontis-piecte
                                                      FACING PAGE
"by the way it runs over everybody's front steps ..........  I
"the aged villas, shrinking back into their shelters of rock"..  6
"old men still sweep the streets ........................  8

"full of corn and smiling faces .........................  10
"and row me yourself, following the picturesque shore-line" U1
"'chimes of near and distant bells .......................  14
'Snamed the little towns in siht" .........................  16

'shoots into th e air, two hundred feet above ....... ........  18
"Orte, on whose silverv breast floats a tiny green island with
     its castle old ..................................... 20
"and details of the door .............................. 2,2
"stood the only living descendent ......... .............. 24
"the promenade for Parvian sweethearts these past six hun-
    dred years ...................................... 26
"Italy has its Cairoli! .. ............................... 2w8
-view from the bridge looks like a perpetual wash-dly"v ... 30
                               ix

 


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



                                                    FACING PAGIS
"the city sleeps ...................................... 32
"festooned together with grape vines .....................3 I
"City Hall, with its quaint sun dials ..................... 36
"to the river that washes its skirts ...................... 38
"and its castellated walls .............................. 40
"with its vine covered gate ............................. 42
"work in the fields as though it were the most humorous
    occupation extant ................................. 48
"in a reclining attitude, as though nonchantly considering".  50
"There's a place that will do your heart good! ............. 52
"no town in Italy is too poor for these ................... 51
"dash up to the city gates like a pack of wolves ............ 56
"looking out at the tombs of Jurists ..................... 60
"along the streets with arcades ......................... 62
"Gregory XIII, who gave us our calendar ................ 64
"that their fall seems a matter of seconds ................. 66
"hold your breath and take a look into the fish market" .. . 68
"being Sunday the market stalls were snubbed and deserted"  74
"beyond the gates, idling in the public gardens ............ 76
"and the broken arches of the crumbling city gate .......... 78
"crowded up, looking at our motor ...................... 80
"Cesena, with its quaint donkey carts ................... 82
"that a Kansas cyclone has passed this way ................ 81,
"before the Madonna, face down upon the steps" ........... 86
"there are water carts pushed by hand ................... 88
"he beckoned up other soldiers who had been to America". . .90



X

 


                LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                        xi
                                                    FACING PAGE
"picturesque lot of women washing clothes in the little
    stream .. .......................................  92
"the identical spot where Caesar stood ................... 94
'or work among the grape vines ........................ 96
"that on its summit a city lies ......................... 98
your motor cannot go farther than the gate ............... 100
"look down hill and up hill at the same time ....... ........ 102
"local measures, where occasional disputes are settled" . .. 104
"from where the valley cattle look like ants" ................ 106
"across the Augustus Caesar bridge" ...................... 108
"with windows overlooking the moat ..................... 110
"whose deep red or bright brown sails ................... 112
"and produces some rare types of Italian beauty .......... 114
"gorging himself and copiously weeping .................. 116
"Dante's tomb is in a thickly populated district" ............ 120
"an old man bent and crooked, wearing a long cape".  122
a ruined castle towering above it ....................... 124
"one bursts right in upon little Castorcaro ................ 126
"from a very pretty girl who stands beneath the arch" ... . 128
"the ruined baths and ampbitheatre at Feisole ............. 130
"like a reflected grandeur of the dead past ................ 132
"go into the Cathedral at dusk .......................... 134
"from the Ponte Vecchio to the walls .................... 140
"all are plaiting straws ................................ 144
"from a woman's basket we picked the brownest rolls I ever
     saw  ..........................................   146

 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



                                                    FACING PAGE
"This is the Chiante country ............................ 148
"around the artistically fashioned street lights were grouped
     crude bazaars ..................................... 150
"three tiers of arches in Pisan style were added ............. 152
"hurried to the Duomo and its towering campanile" ......... 154
"to unmask and stand for his picture ..................... 156
"drive your car around the city walls ..................... 158
"in the tourist's mind to the exclusion of all else ........... 160
"when entering this most beautiful of baptisteries .......... 162
more attractive because a fair was in progress' ........... 164
as we were curious to them ............................ 166
"with its sky-line cleaving tower .......... ............. 168
"the sweet Aria laughed from the highest tower of her castle" 176
"down in a humble quarter of town ..................... 178
"Piazzo del Campo, where the execution took place ........ 180
"said to possess more grace than any tower in Italy ........ 182
"will be terribly upset by the mysteries of your motor".... 184
"between groves and groves of olive trees ................. 186
"all along here are armies of dark skinned girls picking
    olives" ......................................    188
"where, oh where, is the spirit of that ancient pride !.... 190
"leading to its thick set gates .......................... 192
"passing from the world of today back into the middle ages" 194
"when standing anywhere along her angled walls .......... 196
"curving vines have artfully coaxed a living presence from
    a morbid past" .................................... 198



Xii

 



                LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                      Xiii
                                                     FACING PAGE
"here dripped blood from window sills ................... 200
'"lead gentle sheep which look on in mild wonder .......... 202
"somewhere down under the eastern walls ................2 L04
"her pretty fingers curl beneath the handle of an Etruscan
     vase ..9.......................................... 206
"and their utter disregard for direction .................. 208
"old monastery of' the Franciscans ...................... . 210
"will le at the gate to meet you ........................ . 222
pass it through their lips and spin it into thread ..........2 24
are shepherdesses tending flocks ....................... 224
"This road is a wonder in itself ......................... 226
"ushers one through the arched and ancient gates ..........2 26
"no army could withstand the shower of rocks ............. 228
"the streets are paved with lava blocks ................... 230
"So he built a curious theatre" ........................... 232
"a well, with two winding stairs that never meet ............ 234
"above the dismal entrance the tenant was trimming grape
    vines .. . ........................................ 236
"and a few women riding on mules to market ............ 238
"absorb inspiration from the spirits of that lost Etruscan
    race . .        .........................................  240
"one of its churches converted into a courtroom" ............ 242
"for its ingeniously built fountains ...................... 244
"Forbididng, and almost terrifying, in the appearance of
    its deep gorges" ................................... 246
"the most extraordinary Roman tombs .................... 248

 




Xiv            LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
                                                FACING PAGE
"little shops are stuck away in Roman ruins" .............. 250
"in the excavated Ostia, I dreamed! ...................... 2 5 2
"idling between the irregular columns of a once proud prom-
    enade" ......................................... 254

 












MOTOR RAMBLES IN ITALY

 This page in the original text is blank.

 





    MOTOR RAMBLES IN ITALY


                        I

                 BADEN-BADEN

O z F all the grateful and exciting surprises that
     were ever showered upon a fellow from one en-
velope, your letter, Polly, crowns the lot. And just
one year ago to-day I last saw vou! Did you real-
ize this, and time your note with a nicety equaled
only by its contents
  You cannot be serious about dragging your poor
mother away from her beautiful Lago di Como, to
come clear up here to see me before returning to
America! Oh, I say now, I'm not such a has-been
as all that! In fact, you would not find me any-
way, because Dr. Brentheim, the thoughtful, has just
suggested a trip to the lakes and we are leavning in
twco days. Let the mountain go to Mliss Mohammed
this time, do! And may I playx with you every day
for a whole week It will seem like being in Con-
stantinople again, except-well, except that I shall
not be serious for a minute this time.
  What a dispenser of delights you are! You really
would make a fellow think that his welfare is of vital

 


MOTOR RAMBLES IN ITALY



interest to you-and my! the scoldings you do give
simply because a chap fails to send out circulars ad-
vertising a trivial accident! But you were always
good at scoldings-charming little tempests that they
were, with a free forgiveness tied up and waiting at
the end of each!
  I am considering whether to challenge your friend,
Wim. Noles, Esq., before leaving here. When he
discovered me the other day, I did not suspect he
would publish the fact that I was hobbling around on
crutches-especially to the one girl of all others I
wanted to keep in ignorance. And yet I might have
been justly suspicious from the astonishment which
crossed his face as he stopped stock still in the road
and gazed at me- and then almost hugged my life
out; good old Billy! But the cat has wiggled loose,
and his arguments-Billy's-have rather convinced
me that I am a shade too sensitive; so now, after his
clear persuasion that the whole town will not turn
out with opera glasses every time I go upon the
street, and with the coming of your wonderful little
letter, too, I've determined to shake my ten months
of hermit life and stir abroad, taking the aforesaid
doctor, both as adviser and companion-a fine fel-
low who is building carefully and well.
  I do not know what it is-foolish, of course you
will say-lbut I have always dreaded the ordeal of
receiving sympathy. I have never wanted people



4

 


































un







-M


0






In

Eo


:!

 This page in the original text is blank.

 


BADEN-BADEN



to see me weak enouiglh to yield to pain. That,
since you command a reason, is perhaps the only one
I had for dropping away from friends, and from the
world, after finding myself deprived of the place in
it I had always enjoyed. And I may admit a rather
pagan wish to preserve the memory of my body when
it was strong. You cannot understand this, since
yoti have never experienced the sensation of loss, any
nmore than vou have understood-if indeed you gave
a thought to it-why, a month after we separated at
Constantinople last year, my correspondence with
you suddenly gathered itself into one large rocket,
flared up, burst and ended. Had I continued to
write, I should have continued to implore you, and
such would have been an unforgivable sin.
  For it has long been a creed all my own that the
immortal gods will smile on any man's love, provid-
ing his heart is kept clean, and his body strong.
Should these fail, let him beware; for in either case
he is rendered unfit to enter the holy temple of
Venus; a sort of leper lie becomes in the realm of
Olympus; and must either hide away, or go about
forever crying, "Tami! Tami !" I know you will
believe that it was purely an honest accident which
is robbing me of the sweetest dream man's fancy ever
pictured.
  But your comprehension of all things human is too
sympathetic to be in need of explanations, now that



5

 


6



MOTOR RAMBLES IN ITALY



I know Billy has betrayed me. Your woman's heart
has guessed more than he could possibly have known,
and I thank you. Whisper a prayer of gratitude,
fortunate Polly, that I shall no more echo the thun-
der of my previous determination to ignore those
three refusals you gave me in so many days, nor con-
tinue besieging you in the hope that some time, taken
off your guard, you might reply to my importuni-
ties: "Oh, wNell, then-yes."
  Old Uncle Ben says he will get into heaven on that
principle: that he will go up to the gate, open it, look
in, and slam it shut; open it, look in, and slam
it again; open it, look in, and slam it again; and
keep this up until St. Peter, losing all patience,
will yell at him: "Well, either come in or stay out,
you fool nigger, you !" Then, he says, he will go
in. I may be forgiven now the admission that this
was the plan I had intended adopting with you, sweet
tyrant. Indeed, I may confess anything now, may
I not; since it is but a phonographic record of a
passed voice, the pastime of a broken body, a sick
heart's fancy, a fool's paradise! And you need not
even bother about refusals, should I make love to you
again.
  Do you realize the trying ordeal you impose by
demanding a full account of my accident Let us
have it over, but its history will touch only the
high spots, I assure you. After we said good-by

 









































"the aged villas, shrinking back into their shelters of rock"

 This page in the original text is blank.

 

BADEN-BADEN7



in Constantinople I went to England, and in a
steeplechase my horse fell at the water jump. I
have always been distrustful of water jumps; per-
haps that is why he fell. The doctors took a week
for studious observation, then passed on their way,
leaving me shelved and labeled with some-kind-of-a-
long-name spine injury. It was then I wrote you
about leaving for a big game hunt in Africa, which
was intended to explain the silence I knew must fol-
low. Forgive me. That was the only way I could
see, the only kind of a lie I could ever tell you. A
week later I had myself lifted from the shelf-it was
getting intolerably damp in England-and taken over
to an Austrian physician, who read my label and
sent me here, where I've improved to his entire sat-
isfaction; finally being able, as the perfidious Billy
doubtless wrote you, to get about quite nicely.
  For awhile the Austrian M.D. came up every
week, then detailed young Brentheim to keep an eye
on the case-and that is the whole story. There is
no pain, I assure you; the trouble will get no worse,
and perhaps no better, so philosophically I've become
quite accustomed to the quiet life. In fact, I rather
prefer it to aeroplanes and p)olo, which your charm-
ing mother always declared would sooner or later
knock out my brains.
  Since you will meet Brentheim, I must tell vou
about hinm. An Austrian count, really and truly



q

 


MOTOR RAMBLES IN ITALY



one, but not as liberally endowed with cash as title.
He took up medicine and practices simply as Dr.
Fritz Von Brentheim; averring, and logically so, that
the lower classes would never have sufficient courage
to tell their intimate symptoms to a nobleman, and his
fellow aristocrats would regard his struggle as misdi-
rected energy. Figuratively speaking, his sleeves
are rolled up, and literally, he's working like a dog.
But each year he allows himself a month or so vaca-
tion, and therefore is coming with me. I'm devoted
to him, and we have splendid times. So much for
Brentheim.
  The thought of being at Como and near you is
really the most exciting thing I have known for ages.
There is no spot on this half of the earth I love more
than it, nor any one in the whole creation more than
you, so why not grow excited
  We shall be at the d'Este. You have a telephone
in your villa What a desecration it does seem,
doesn't it, to have telephones and graphophones in
that garden spot of romance; almost as bad as those
advertisements that used to stick out on the mountain
above Como town. Has the classic Italian tempera-
ment allowed them to remain
  Somehow that old lake always reminds me of an
overgrown, irresponsible and very much spoiled pup,
by the way it runs over everybody's front steps,
tracking up each with impartial interest; or, when



8

 































              'A

              1ll-
              .11

              v

              ;7-
              L)
              w
              r
              In


 j 9      'A
   4 --      ..)
 ", , k               E
 ,;11,14,    Irl
 ,, , 4
Nk           1.0

 This page in the original text is blank.

 


BADEN-BADEN



the wind is out of the north, frisking and cutting up
capers and shaking water from itself almost into peo-
ple's front halls. And no one seems to care; they
even like it, as evidenced by the way they have built
their musty old entrances right down between his
paws.
  We shall call you up the minute we arrive. I do
hope your balustrades and pergolas are festooned
with ivy and creeper, whicch ought to be rich in color
this time of the year, blending with the terra cotta
of roofs and other balustrades across the water. For
I remember Como in October. It was the dreamiest
place in all existence. The aged villas, shrinking
back into their shelters of rock; the changing foliage,
dropping scarlet leaf by scarlet leaf upon the loamy
ground, seemed to be undergoing a magic form of
dissolution. I felt charmed and helpless in the pres-
ence of this invisible power which, before my very
eyes, converted hour by hour the beautiful into the
more beautiful.
  Do the old men still sweep the streets And is
the sweet olive still in bloom It is the one fra-
grance-it and the wild grape at home-which always
reminds me of You.
  Good-night, dear Polly. In three days-and
thank you.



9

 






II



                     MILAN

I FELT that my thanks, dear Polly, to you and
    your mother were wholly inadequate to express
my gratitude, and Brentheim would fain be kiss-
ing your hands yet, I'm sure. There is no deny-
ing the fact that you and Como are good medicine
--the Count says so and, being a doctor, he should
know. Indeed he says that in very truth I am fifty
per cent. better, and I've noticed a more or less up-
ward lift in him as well. There now, don't scold me
for this timid suggestion, but teasing you is too hard
to resist, and no one can deny that he is touched.
  I shall never forget our week with you, and it gives
me a gleeful turn to think how a hundred or so fellows
at home would glare did they know Miss Polly
played every afternoon with the selfsame man. It
would not do to let on that he wears crutches, for
that would be the death knell to its romance. Nor
perhaps was it well to let you see how those seven
days reopened a rush of happy memories which, de-
spite a year of silence, proved anew what I had al-
ready known.
  Coming down on the train we happened in the
                        10

 




































In
c)
















0
C--

 This page in the original text is blank.

 



same compartment with a bishop who entertained us
with some things about Como which vou may like to
add to your already large supply of interesting facts.
Having dug exhaustively into the history of these
lakes, his information is far-reaching, and his way of
telling how funds were raised to build that great cathe-
dral down in Como town (which you insist is the most
perfect structure in Italy to illustrate the fusion of
Gothic and Renaissance styles-both being exquisite
in their sobriety) was delightful; how contribution
boxes had been put up in every church throughout the
province; how the priests begged during Lent from
door to door; how the very poor gave donations
of lime and stone for building, and geese to
feed the builders; how notaries, under penalty of
heavy fines, were obliged to persuade testa-
tors to leave something for the Duomo in their
wills; how newly appointed dignitaries, both of
church an(l state, on assuming office were expected
to make handsome offerings or be ostracized by so-
ciety; and how, when every other form of levy had
been exhausted, a lottery was started. His gentle
perturbation over the fact that, since every donation
carried its special privilege, the 200,000 golden
crowns subscribed must have pardoned a multitude
of indiscretions, was expressed with a mischievous
twinkle most unchurchlv.
  His familiarity with Gian Giacomo di Medici, the



MILAN



11

 


MOTOR RAMBLES IN ITALY



Lorian corsair (whom you call your "favorite devil")
was almost brotherly, and I experienced a growing
admiration for that adventurer whose schemes for
power were so subtle and so daring.
  At this time the Duchy of Milan-ruled by a
Sforza Duke-was smarting under a recent defeat
by the Switzers who had laid hold of all that terri-
tory north of Como, known as the Vatelline valley.
  Gian saw an opportunity, and began whispering
to certain court favorities that, were he given the gov-
ernorship of uAlusso-a well nigh impregnable
stronghold on the border-he could retake this coun-
try and restore it to Milan. As a matter of fact,
he intended to keep it for himself, and there set up a
little government of his own.
  Perhaps the Duke suspected something of the sort;
at any rate, he had conferred this important post
upon one of his political allies and had no thought
of changing. The day soon came, however, when
he realized that further refusals would be decidedly
awkward, and it was then that he began some clever
scheming-clever, at least, for a Sforza.
  May I say here that the more one familiarizes him-
self with these old lines of Italy, the more he is im-
pressed by the subtle potency of some law which gov-
erns family characteristics; for, throughout mediwval
and later history, a Sforza will almost invariably show
the low-brow, animal trait; a Medici, the intellectual,

 


























.5


0
C)
z
v

C.)
Ul


z




C)
3
Ur






C)
0
C.)


-
ED

_
S.
r.

 This page in the original text is blank.

 



polished-nail variety of crime; a Podesta, an enthusi-
asm for high ideals strangely tarnished by inordinate
love of flesh; and so on through the list: Baglioni,
Piccalomini, Borgia-all have held true to their par-
ticular family traits. But my story:
  Taking Gian into a private chamber, the Duke
explained that just one man stood in the way of this
appointment, but were he removed-well, the old fel-
low shrugged his shoulders and Gian leaned near,
asking who -was this infernal obstacle; whereupon the
wily Sforza whispered the name of one not in any
way interested in the future of Musso, but a private
enemy of his own.
  The next morning dawned upon this man lying
dead in the street, and when Gian again faced the
I)uke he was given the official papers and speeded
toward the north. But he had scarcely left the room
before the Duke despatched a messenger to the gov-
ernor in power, with a note which ran somewhat in
this wise:

  "Gian Giacomo de Medici is on his way with my official
seal to take your job. I could not avoid placing you in
this embarrassing position, so pray forgive me. When he
arrives, be good enough to assign him a quiet spot in your
prosperous Campo Santo, and believe mne,
                                     Yours truly."



Ile then leaned back and chuckled, afterwards order-



MILAN



13

 


MOTOR RAMBLES IN ITALY



ing a sumptuous banquet to celebrate, outwardly, the
fortune of having obtained so enviable a governor
for the Como country, and, inwardly, the success of
his own statesmanship.
  However shocking was his life in other respects,
Gian possessed one virtue: the virtue of promptness.
Whenever he undertook to do a thing he went imme-
diately at it, therefore, with his cavaliers, was ahead
of the messenger. Toward afternoon, hearing a gal-
loping horse, they drew aside and waited, whereupon
the Duke's man rode into their midst and, being ig-
norant of his master's treachery, spoke out concern-
ing his mission. The Corsair, now the rightful gov-
ernor, demanded the letter, read it, and handed it to
his cavaliers, then sat upon a stone and laughed.
They, in turn, rolled upon the ground in an ecstasy
of mirth. When finally this had moderated the
young man wrote the following:

"The Duke of Milan:
  Your Excellency's commands have just reached me on the
roadside where I am stopping to breathe my beasts, and
what your Excellency desires shall be carried out as nearly
as compatible with the new governor's comfort. Attention
shall be given to the continued welfare of the Musso Campo
Santo, in which prosperity it is hoped the I)uke of Milan
will assist by a protracted visit. Commend the messenger
for his unerring dispatch.
                          GiAN, Governor of Musso."



11

 
































z
E
lah
I=
E
t:


W.
C.

 This page in the original text is blank.

 



  Then they laughed afresh and bade the man turn
back, but Gian called after him, saying:
  "Fellow, see that the letter is put into the Duke's
hand by the one you hate most in all Mlilan, then do
you hasten and join my army at Musso. Heed well
what I say," he laughed, "for 'tis the best service and
advice I can render you!"
  The castle cemetery prospered for several days
thereafter, and when Gian had killed everybody worth
while he set about gathering an army. It was a mot-
ley crowd, but with it he marched upon the Switzers,
recaptured the Vatelline valley, and sent such imper-
tinent messages to Milan that the Duke set out with
a large army to avenge his honor.
  It was the result of this that brought about the
naval engagement on Como, when seven battleships
of forty-eight oars each, built by the Duke and
launched in an obscure arm of the lake, fought an
equal fleet hastily prepared by Gian; and the bishop
said tradition has it that the water just off Tenaggio
point was stained with blood from shore to shore.
Little did these galleys resemble the present day
push-oar boats filled with corn and smiling faces!
  Fortune finally turned her face from your favorite
devil, but not before he had so thoroughly terrorized
northern Italy that until this day from those moun-
tain peaks float whispers of his prowess.
  You must find the site of this bloody castle Musso,



MILAN



15

 


13        MOTOR RAMBLES IN ITALY
long ago torn down, for our bishop says that other-
wise one does not absorb the full romance of Como.
It may help your search to know that the little chapel
was left standing-St. Eufemia, he says it was called
-on a prominent headland somewhere between
Gravedonia and Menaggio. Do find it, so, if I come
again, you can point it out to me as the reliquary of
those restless spirits who once made that lovely basin
a sounding bowl of bitter passions, war and death.
  But what does a bishop know of "the full romance
of Como!" How could he ever understand the mean-
ing of those days when you came in a trim skiff and
rowed me yourself, following the picturesque shore
line; sometimes stopping in at nearby villas whose
owners had flown, and sometimes-just drifting!
He, telling his tales of wicked castles, never dreamed
they were recalling the very sweetest day of Como's
history-one particular afternoon, not far from sun-
set, when you floated with me between two castles
of our own design: Friendship, in which you dwelt,
and Love-my home! It was Sunday, and the
heavy peace which that day always breathes to make
itself felt lest men forget, lay like a benediction on
the lake. 'No stir was in the air, no motion in the
water to distort its clear reflection of the shore; and
in this mirror of inverted landscape we named the lit-
tle towns for people whom we knew-little sleeping
towns hanging by their toes, on crystal mountains

 























ED
.-
wa
.=


4T1

1
w
rz
Pa

 This page in the original text is blank.

 



upside down! Over the calm, so soft and saintly
with you close by, was borne the chime of near and
distant bells from a score of campaniles, standing
like good watchful sentinels amidst villages set at
random in the crags. And across the face of the still
more distant peaks hung a fringe of round, white,
puffy clouds, as though uncertain of which way to
turn-whether to the deep blue sky above, or the
deep blue lake below; pitiful little lost clouds, you
said they were, which did not know how to get home!
  Then you whispered that these suspended puffs
were like the powder smoke of cannon, that instant
fired from their entrenchment in the rocks; and so
realistic did this seem, so startlingly did it resemble
the white smoke of powder which gushes from a bat-
tery and stops in mid-air as though dazed by
its sudden projection into life, that we found our-
selves looking into each other's eves and waiting,
breathless, for the thunderous detonation. At that
moment, more than ever before, I relegated all
steeple-chases and water jumps to a place where
steeples are unknown and water is supposed to be a
physical impossibility.
  What if we (id disagree over the respective merits
of our two favorite villas: Charlotta and Pliniana
You were right in arguing the beauties of Charlotta's
grounds, its walks and