As Seen By Me eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 244 pages of information about As Seen By Me.
invaded by foreigners, the bambino’s existence is quite happy.  Babies seem to be no trouble in Italy, and one cannot but be struck by the number of them.  One can hardly remember seeing many French babies, for the reason that there are so few to remember—­so few, indeed, that the French government has put a premium upon them; but in Naples the pretty mothers with their pretty babies, playing at bo-peep with each other like charming children, are some of the most delightful scenes in this fascinating Street of the Door.

These bambinos hooked against the wall look down upon curious scenes.  Their mothers bring their wash-tubs into the street, wash the clothes in plain view of everybody, hang them on clothes-lines strung between two chairs, while a diminutive charcoal-stove, with half a dozen irons leaning against its sides, stands in the doorway ready to perform its part in the little scene.  I saw a boy cooking two tiny smelts over a tailor’s goose.  The handle was taken off, and the fish were frying so merrily over the glowing coals, and they looked so good, and the odor which steamed from them was so ravishing, that I wanted to ask him if I might not join him and help him cook two more.

In point of fact, Naples seems like a holiday town, with everybody merely playing at work, or resting from even that pretence.  The Neapolitans are so essentially an out-of-door people and a leisurely people that it seems a crime to hurry.  The very goats wandering aimlessly through the streets, nibbling around open doorways, add an element of imbecile helplessness to a childish people.

Did you ever examine a goat’s expression of face?  For utter asininity a donkey cannot approach him.  Nothing can, except, perhaps, an Irish farce-comedian.

Beautiful cows are driven through the streets, often attended by the owner’s family.  The mother milks for the passing customers, the father fetches it all lovely and foaming and warm to your cab, and the pretty, big-eyed children caper around you, begging for a “macaroni” instead of a “pourboire.”

Then, instead of dining at your smart hotel, it is so much more adorable to drop in at some charming restaurant with tables set in the open air, and to hear the band play, and to eat all sorts of delicious unknowable dishes, and to drink a beautiful golden wine called “Lachrima Christi” (the tears of Christ), and to watch the people—­the people—­the people!

XIV

ROME

On Easter Sunday I had my first view of Rome, my first view of St. Peter’s.  The day was as soft and mild as one of our own spring days, and there was even that little sharp tang in the air which one feels in the early spring in America.  The wind was sweet and balmy, yet now and then it had a sharp edge to it as it cut around a curve, as if to remind one that the frost was not yet all out of the ground, and that the sun was still only the heir-apparent

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As Seen By Me from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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