Page images

sacristans to swoop down and drive you from altar to altar, and no beggars to hold you up for doing the same to the leather curtains at the door.

There is a fine High Altar in the cathedral, with the bees of the Roman Barberini family decorating it. I don't know whether in imitating the altar in St. Peter's they have copied the emblem too, or whether the Barberini, having some honey to secure, sent a few bronze bees to Foligno to assist their scheme. The bronze on the altar at St. Peter's they stole from the Pantheon, with beelike energy converting all within their reach to their own purposes, and, like every family who gave munificently in those centuries, placarded the offerings with their arms. It would seem they had very little faith in the Creator's memory, that they must keep continually jogging it with the sight of their armorial bearings for the sake of future blessedness, or else, lacking newspapers, it may have been the natural desire of mankind to see his name in print.

With no beggars about to enrich, I left a small offering in the shape of four soldi in the hand of a ragged little urchin who lay asleep by the side of a very dangerous looking stone beast at the church door. The beast was going to attack me at first, as he said the little boy had no home to speak of, and he had taken him under his carven paw, but on seeing the four cents he smiled, as well as a beast could smile who had lost one-half his head, and roared a little, so that the boy woke up, with the most stupid delight on his face when he saw the four coppers.

He immediately taxed his stone friend with giving it, but his protector said no, he was part of the church, and always had to turn over anything he could secure towards its support. Then he waved his. stone tail at the artist and me, since he couldn't wink very well, having lost both his eyes, while I made frantic signs for him not to tell, and he was a “buono sportman," for he kept mute. Without further reflection the little boy flew to the cook shop, under whose portal we were standing, and bought a large casserole of pasta to prove that the money was real, but instead of three cents, the usual price, it cost but one of the strange soldi, which

proved, as the signora of the shop told him (she had witnessed the scene and could wink with the best of them), that the pennies must have come from Domeneddio Himself. So the ragged little boy stood up and made the sign of the cross over his dish, after which he and the stone beast ate the spaghetti in outrageous fashion. And that reminded me to remind the artist that we were an hour late for luncheon.

John said he would like to write a book on "What I Didn't See in Foligno." What he did see was the wood yard where the machines were kept. The little garage was occupied when we arrived by a strange-looking phaeton motor with a seat for a tiger and a canopy, but no front tire at all. Of course, of the three I should take a tire any day. All the works were under the seat, musty and ill kept, and the whole thing was so gloomy in appearance that we were not surprised to hear that the owner had gone to Rome, ostensibly to get a new tire, but we knew never to return.

John and Mrs. Baring agreed that even a mild eight horse-power phaeton would rebel with such lack of care, and that the wise motorist treats his engine well, for it can be a good friend and a dangerous enemy.

"Take a horse," said John, crawling joyfully around his car with the oil can, "and let it go uncurried and unrubbed for a month, fed at irregular intervals and watered when you've got the time, and you'll find it can do about one-half the work that it did under good treatment. Now the same thing holds good with a car, and, moreover, like a horse, it's got to be petted and humoured a little. I've loved this engine ever since it struggled a hundred and twenty miles from Naples with a leaky valve as painful as a dislocated shoulder, settling down every now and then for a rest, but picking up courage after a little nursing and going at it again. I tell you when I see what it has been doing these last few days, now that it's well, I feel like taking off my hat to it."

This is known as Motor Love, and as I think John was on the verge of tears, I ripped off his rubber gloves, also Mrs. Baring's, and drove them in to luncheon.

When that woman is around her car in the stable yard I like her. It's when she's flashing her teeth and urging us to change our route because it is "so nice" for us all to be together that I want to cry out something perfectly unladylike, such as "Oh, thunder!" and walk out of the room. But as I said, my pride will prevent my letting her know how I feel, and I keep telling myself how kind she is to Miss Grey, and patient with Douglas Warwick, who is more helpless than I, and it also comes to me that there must be something very fine in her nature or John wouldn't like her so much. This thought, however, immediately fills me with such alarm that I hurry to forget all about it, or the strange desire again sweeps over me to break the furniture.

We had an accident outside of Foligno. I more than wish it hadn't happened, for it brought to me so vividly the courtesy of the road, which I had disregarded. We were going around a curve on the level when we were brought face to face with a heavy cart which was in the middle of the road, though gallantly striving to make way for us, but it moved too slowly, and John turned out for it, at the same time striking a bit of slippery going. The rear wheels skidded, made a three-quarters revolution and slipped back heavily into a ditch. The mud was up to the hubs, and it seemed that nothing but a derrick would get our big auto


The carter got off his wagon and uttering weird cries, summoned men from all directions, although the country had seemed quite unpeopled. Little children came racing down the road, old dames popped their heads through the hedges, and the incident was immediately converted into an occasion for enjoyment. I had not squealed nor tried to get out, and John had said "Good Girl!" under his breath, nor would the men allow me to descend into the mud of the road, and lacking the usual to do over the situation, put their shoulders to the rear wheels, and with a concerted "Ah-aah!" like the honk of a wild goose, lifted the car out, then stood sweating before us, smiling fondly at their muscles.

After this the miracle of miracles happened, for one and all they refused the

handful of change John offered them. Comrades of the road were we and they, and when the money had been given to the children for a festa, they were doubly pleased, and extolled the kindness of their excellencies.

"Make the most of it, Peggy!" said John when we were again under way, with only mud to tell the tale. "You'll not be 'Excellenza' in little old America with or without a motor car." So I sat up very straight, graciously distributing bows to our friends along the road. It was through these Apennines that John was advised to carry a revolver, but I thought it too dangerous a weapon to have around unless he kept it unloaded, and John said he didn't believe in bluff.

"It's only about once in a man's life when he will need a gun," he said, "and then he needs it bad. On the other occasions, if I was found with one in my possession, it would do me more harm than good. I think my faithful sprag will answer all purposes." And John beamed fondly on his improvised knucks.

We saw nothing more savage than pigs to shoot on our way from Foligno to Rimini, and those were clasped round their waists as we passed by little pig girls, who were fearful for their charges. The wild things were flowers, and the masses of mountain beyond Gubbio, and the dangers of the road were being remedied by pleasant-looking highwaymen working where the rains had loosened the mountain walls. Once we were attacked. A great rock from a quarry above us rolled down directly in the centre of our path. The cry of the men at work came too late, and we passed over it, slightly tearing the apron and merely scratching

the axles.

"I always wanted to know how much. clearance we had under there," said John coolly, just like a hero in a play. And I adored him from the front row of our motor.

There is no lovelier country in the world than the province of Umbria, and with Mrs. Baring one day behind us, my husband close by, an extra tin of gasoline on the side and the engine taking most of the hills on the high speed, my cup of happiness was running over. The only blight was the diary in the basket, that

John is so insistent upon my having out. He calls it "the green book," which shows some consideration, but to me it is the Doomsday Volume, and I have grown to hate it. Perhaps, oh, surely, even after our divorce John will take me out for a spin now and then. I sometimes think I just can't give up this automobile!

We went through Nocera, and at Gualdo deserted our Via Flaminia for half a day, and drove on to Gubbio that we might spend the night in the most medieval town of Italy. It lies at the foot of the Apennines, and is the open door to the Calvo Pass, which leads through the mountains to the other side. Isolated, forgotten by the world, it is like a hideous, crooked old woman. I was surprised to find children laughing in the tortuous streets. Towering over it is the great Palazzo dei Consoli, not as though it were part of the poor people who lived below, but frowning down at them, emblematic of the power of the nobles over the towns they owned. Yet Gubbio had its great painters, its school of art and famous potteries, just as all these dead little places had through which we pass, and I know I shall take a personal interest in these treasures when again I see them in the galleries. (Note: Above to be read at meeting of Minerva Club.)

The Thespian art is still encouraged in Gubbio. The porter of the Albergo San Marco, who refused to take any notice of us or our luggage until he could find his ancient gold-braided cap, told us before we had taken our rooms that there was a play that evening. He evidently feared we might go on unless inducements were held out, and after the dinner we might have considered it had not the Calvo Pass presented double difficulties in the night.

The crone who waited on us had said the Pass was too high for automobili, and we ourselves had read that heavy carriages did not go over it, but with the morning light we feared nothing, and John told her smilingly in his own tongue that she was absolutely brainless, the truth was not in her, and that her appearance would be greatly improved if she possessed a few teeth. She was an old, unsuspecting crone, and cried Si, si, sig

[blocks in formation]

We took our seats in the poltrone. I think now it means the poltroons, for we saw at a glance we had not done the right thing. Although they were the best seats to be bought, and red velvet besides, the real people, the noblesse of the city, sat in the three tiers of minute boxes that ran around the auditorium, while the commoners stood at the back, rolled on the benches or lolled on the red velvets that constituted the orchestra. Immediately our arrival in the city as motorists lost its prestige; had we been as rich as Croesus and eaten automobiles we could not be seriously considered after sitting among the poltroons. John wanted to get a box and turn our coats wrong side out to deceive them into thinking we were an entirely different couple, but by this time the power of the drama had taken hold of me and I would not move.

Perhaps I should not say it was the performers on the stage that held me fascinated-there were three at the time— but rather a fourth voice that spoke unceasingly, which I at first took to be some noisy person on the red velvets, and glared at them all. Then I thought the play might be a spirit one, Ibsen's Ghosts, perhaps, with a new interpretation, and I endeavoured to trace the spirit actor who had such a very long part.

He was under none of the chairs, nor behind the handsome escretoire as it was painted on the back drop, but I finally found him cunningly hidden under half a shell which came out from the footlights with its back to us, and then I knew he was the prompter. These creatures are the curse of the Continental theatre and a relic of barbarism, toned down and dulled into quiet in the big city theatres, but in Gubbio the one voice that was never

still, never modulated. I am sure he must have once been an actor himself, for, as the plot thickened, he leaned out of his cubby-hole that rose about two feet above the stage and gesticulated as he read. I could see his hands waving wildly. His work was not appreciated by the Gubbiates, and when his voice rose until it drowned that of the performers, he was roundly hissed by the audience, just as though he were a villain en coquille. Now and then the leading woman would hiss at him, too, which rather marred her rendition of the tender passages, and on one occasion she stopped altogether with a wonderful shrug, which said, "Play the part. Play it all yourself. I am only the leading lady. I cannot act. Oh, no; you are the artisto of this company. What? You arrest yourself? Ah, grazie tante! Perhaps I may continue!"

As for the acting, it was so much better in grade than little country companies at home, that my heart went out

[blocks in formation]

to them, and my admiration for their quiet art was extended to their indifference to scenery. Barring a back drop, there was no setting the frames of doors only at the right and left of the stage serving for exits; the sides were quite exposed, and John made a bet with me that one of the company, in some absent-minded moment, would walk through the wall before the play was over-which bet he lost.

We left at 11.30. There was still another act and an afterpiece to come, but John wished to give himself time to get lost and to be found again. Had I felt that getting lost with John would have cut us off permanently from a certain pursuing motor-car I should not have encouraged the brigand, who, at 12.15, picked us out on a bridge that we had crossed ten times, and gently led us home. But no, it will take a much more complex skein of streets than those of Gubbio to save us from the skein of Mrs. Baring's Knitting.


When the fairies bestowed gifts upon the infant in a Bloomsbury lodging-house and upon a certain princeling, they paid homage to the future heroine and hero of this tale. It is the story of Vivien's downfall in the great city of London, of her struggle for existence and, finally, of her happy marriage to the prince. Twisted Eglantine. By H. B. Marriott


In this story Mr. Watson has endeavoured to portray the man beneath the feathers and gay adornment of what is known as the "Beau" of over a century ago. The principals in the romance are Sir Piers Blakiston, known as "Beau Blakiston;" Barbara Galloway, whom he meets in a small town to which he has been driven in a severe storm while crossing from the Isle of Wight to the mainland; and Gilbert Faversham, Barbara's country lover.

The Wild Irishman. By T. W. H. Crosland.

Mr. Crosland has here given the Irish very much the same treatment that the Scotch received in his "The Unspeakable Scot." The superstition, journalism, letters, commerce, and criminality of the Irish are among the subjects of discussion.

A Yellow Journalist. By Miriam Michelson. Reviewed elsewhere in this magazine. The Carlyles. By Mrs. Burton Harrison.

The scenes of this tale of love and adventure are laid in Richmond, just prior to Lee's surrender. The chief figures in the story are Monimia Carlyle, a young daughter of the South; Launcelot Carlyle, to whom Monimia is engaged, although she does not love him; Donald Lyndsay, a young Union officer who unwittingly steals the heart of the heroine; and Cecil Dare, who passes herself off as Launcelot's wife when she is discovered hiding as a spy. At the Emperor's Wish. By Oscar King Davis.

This tale of New Japan shows plainly the reverence in which the people hold their Emperor. The principal figures in

the love story are the son of a low-born banker and the daughter of a Samurai. The hero proves himself a hero and is rewarded with the hand of the girl in marriage.

The Game and the Candle. By Frances Davidge.

This novel is said to portray_New York types and society. Richard Faxon and Emily Blair are two important characters, as is also Pinkle Gibbs. Richard loves and marries Pinkle, although he is dependent upon Emily. When Pinkle elopes with another man she breaks her husband's heart, as well as his pride. He eventually loves Emily, but certain obstacles for a long time prevent their marriage. The climax is aided by Casimir Driscoll, the clubman and philosopher, and the end of the story sees all its characters happy.

The Staircase of Surprise. By Frances Aymar Mathews.

A Chinese Princess is the heroine of this tale of the Russo-Japanese War. The hero, a young Englishman, falls in love with the Princess in a missionschool in China. Their marriage is declared invalid, owing to the omission of a few words in the ceremony. The husband is imprisoned by his wife's uncle in order that she may marry a Japanese count. The scenes are changed to Washington. Here the Englishman finds his mother and an American heir-. ess whom she has selected as her son's future wife.

The Seats of the Mighty. By Gilbert Parker.

A new holiday edition of a well-known novel illustrated with eight full-page pictures in colour.

The Seven Seas. By Rudyard Kipling.

A special holiday edition of Kipling's poems appropriately illustrated. The marginal decorations and printing are in green ink.

The Young Man and the World. By Albert J. Beveridge.

"While addressed more directly to young men, these papers were yet written for men on both sides the hill and on the crest thereof. I would draw maturity and youth closer together." There are twelve articles, the first of which gives the book its name. Some of the other papers discuss The Old Home, The New Home, The Young Lawyer and His Beginnings, Public Speaking, The Young Man and the Pulpit, Great Things Yet to be Done, etc.

Duke of Devil-May-Care. By Harris Dick


The Duke is a Southern planter; "Devil-May-Care" is the name given to

[blocks in formation]

An idyl of the mountains in which humour, nature and love are interwoven. The poet is a lawyer and poet, who goes from New York to the mountains of West Virginia to die; "I" is a girl whom he meets and who makes life worth struggling for; Miss Kate is the faithful mare which the girl rides. The book is decorated and is illustrated in colour and in black and white.

The Appreciation of Pictures. By Russell Sturgis.

The fourth volume in the "Popular Art" series. It is supplementary to the author's previous works on architecture and sculpture. The book is written from the standpoint of the enthusiastic lover of pictures, and contains seventy-three illustrations.

Impressions of Japanese Architecture and the Allied Arts. By Ralph Adams Cram.

The titles of the ten papers in this collection are: The Genius of Japanese Art, The Early Architecture of Japan, The Later Architecture of Japan, Temples and Shrines, Temple Gardens, Domestic Interiors, The Minor Arts, A Colour Print of Yeizan, A Note on Japanese Sculpture, and The Future of Japanese Art. The volume is well illustrated.

A Christmas Carol and The Cricket on the Hearth. By Charles Dickens.

Grotesqueness in the interpretation of Dickens has been abandoned in these stories for a more human portrayal of his characters by Mr. Williams. There are ten illustrations in line and in col


When You Were a Boy. By Edwin L. Sabin.

The joys and miseries which usually attend the normal small boy are recounted in a way intended to carry the reader back to childhood days. The

« PreviousContinue »