The Land of the Latins

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Read Books, 2008 - Travel - 292 pages
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The Land Of The Latins - By ASHTON ROLLINS WILLARD - CONTENTS I. THE VATICAN 11. PALAZZO RUSPOLI 111. THE RACES IV. COUNTRY HOUSES V. ROYAL HOMES VI. THE THEATRES VII. THE STUDIOS VIII. THE BOOK-SHOPS IX. ON THE HEIGHTS X. BY THE SEA - CHAPTER I - THE VATICAN - A THOUSAND people stood shoulder to shoulder in a contratted space not large enough to hold comfortably half that number. There were stairs ahead, -an intermi- nable incline, barred off at the foot by a tempo- rary gate. Behind was an interminable corridor, dwindling like a railway tunnel to a distant out- let or inlet. Above the heads of the crowd was a colossal horse in sculpture, and on it was a human effigy-a king or an emperor, perhaps. What business had he in this place If we had been dropped down in these strange surroundings by accident, we should have guessed with difficulty where we were. But we had ap- proached the place-as others had laboriously. We had left a distant hotel and threaded narrow streets and crossed squares and traversed bridges and seen masses of memorable masonrywhich are to be seen in only one spot in the world. Rome was in the air. The atmospherewas saturated with it, outside, as it was with the damp of an atrociously damp and misty Roman March. And here we were in the very heart of it-or just a step removed. We were in the grand corridor of the Vatican, at the foot of the scala regia, waiting to be admitted to a papal funaion which was about to take place above. The crowd had all nationalities in it, and all social conditions. Near us was an Austrian noble who had been prime minister and who wore the broad red and green cordon of an imperial order. Beside him and around him were infinitesimal..........

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