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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 109 pages of information about Mae Madden.

CHAPTER XII.

Early the next morning, in the misty light, Lisetta and Mae, the latter still in her contadina costume, left the house quietly.  In an hour the train for Naples was to start, but Lisetta wanted to say her prayers in Rome on this Ash Wednesday.  They wandered into a little church, one of the many Roman churches, and knelt side by side, Lisetta with her beads and her penance, and Mae with her thoughts, which grew dreary enough before the peasant was ready to go.  Mae had already entrusted her money to Lisetta’s keeping—­some one hundred and fifty dollars, which she had gotten the day before from Albert to buy clothes with—­and with her money she had also resigned all care.  She did not know therefore, until the train started, that their seats were in a third-class carriage.  Every one was hurrying on board, so Mae was obliged to jump in without a word, and accept her fate as best she could.  It was no very pleasant fate.  The van was dirty, crowded, garlic-scented.  Mae was plucky, however, and knew she was to find dirt and dreadful odors everywhere.  Two months of Rome had taught her that.  But it grew very dreadful in the close travelling-carriage.  There was an old woman at her side, with a deformed hand, and two soldiers opposite, who stared rudely at her, and made loud, unpleasant remarks; and having no books, and nothing to entertain herself with, she was forced to curl up in a corner, and try to sleep, which she could not do.

Poor child! it was a hard day.  Dull and dreary outside, and within, the sickening odors and people.  Back in Rome, what were they doing?  Had they found out that she had gone?  And Eric, how was he feeling?  No, no, she must not think of all this.  It belonged to the past.  Before her lay Sorrento, the bay of Naples, oranges, white clouds, and the children of the sun.  Mamma was south, too—­if she were only going to her.  So the day dragged on, until with the evening they reached Naples.  They spent the night with a friend of Lisetta, who rented apartments to English and Americans.  Mae was fortunate, therefore, in securing an unlet bedroom that was comfortably furnished.  She enjoyed listening to Lisetta’s stories of Rome and the Carnival; and after a quiet night in a clean bed, awoke tolerably happy and very eager for her first sight of the bay.  They took an early train out to Castellamare, and as they left the city, Mae wondered if Bero were just entering it.  But she soon forgot him and every one in the blue glories of the bay.

At Castellamare, Gaetano, Lisetta’s husband, was awaiting them, with a malicious little donkey, tricked out gaily enough in tags of color and tinkling bells.  It was very quaint and delightful to get into the funny, low, rattling cart, and go jogging off, while the feminine sight-seers fanned themselves in the windows of the ladies’ waiting-room, and grumbled, and the poor masculine travellers bartered in poor Italian, with their certain-to-conquer enemies, those triumphant swindlers, the drivers of the conveyances between Sorrento and Castellamare.

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