Mae Madden eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 139 pages of information about Mae Madden.
For my part, I feel as if I were in the most terrible ghost story.  The old Romans are all around me.  Underneath the street noises, I seem to hear cries, and in the air I half see a constant flashing of swords and scars and blood, and I can’t even put my foot on the Roman pavement without wondering which dead Caesar my saucy Burt boot No. 2 is walking over.  I shouldn’t mind trampling old Caligula, but I don’t like the thought on general principles.  I feel all out of place, so modern and fixed up and flimsy.  If I could get into old picturesque clothes and out of the English-speaking quarter, I should not be so oppressed and might worship Rome.  But I seriously think I shall die if I stay here much longer.  There’s a spirit-malaria that eats into my life.  I feel as if all the volumes of Roman history bound in heavy vellum, that papa has in his study, were laid right on top of my little heart, so that every time it beats, it thumps against them, and I assure you, mamma, its worse than dyspepsia.  If I could only get out on a New England hillside, where there were no graves more important than those of grasshoppers and butterflies!  What should I do when I got there?  Take off my hat, and scream for joy, and feel free and glad to be in a fresh country, with rich, warm, untainted earth and young life.

But all this is nonsense, mamma, and I shouldn’t be writing it, if I hadn’t just come from the catacombs of St. Calixtus.  To think of Albert’s insisting upon going there the very first thing!  But so he did, and so we went, and talked solemnly about the Appian Way, and saw everybody’s tombs and ashes, and quoted poetry, until I stuck a pin in Albert’s arm and sang Yankee Doodle, to keep from crying.  Then, oh, how shocked they looked.  Even Mr. Mann seemed ashamed of me.  When we reached the place, we each took a candle and the guide led the way down into the bowels of the earth.  Mamma, they are very unpleasant.  There were two German youths along, and green lizards crawled all over.  They winked at me.  The way grew so narrow that we had to walk one by one through lines of wall perforated with holes for dead bodies.  Once in a while we would come to a small chapel, for miserable variety’s sake, and be told to admire some very old, very wretched painting.  Jonah and the whale were represented in a double-barreled miracle picture.  Not only was the whale about to swallow Jonah, but he was only as large as a good-sized brook trout, while Jonah towered away above him like a Goliath.  I found myself wondering if the guide had convulsions, and, if he should have one now, and die, how many days would pass before we should eat each other.  And would they take me first, because I am youngest and plumpest?  Albert would make good soup bones, and Eric’s shoulder serve as a delicious fore-quarter.  And by the time we came to the top again, I was all ready to cry.  And then, mamma, I did an awful thing.  Mr. Mann exclaimed:  “Why, Miss Mae, how frightened you look.  You are quite white.” 

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Mae Madden from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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