Saunterings eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 261 pages of information about Saunterings.
but it is easy enough, if one has such a laboratory as Vesuvius.  How it tumbles up the white smoke!  It is piled up now, I should say, a thousand feet above the crater, straight into the blue sky,—­a pillar of cloud by day.  One might sit here all day watching it, listening the while to the melodious spring singing of the hundreds of birds which have come to take possession of the garden, receiving southern reinforcements from Sicily and Tunis every morning, and think he was happy.  But the morning has gone; and I have written nothing.

THE PRICE OF ORANGES

If ever a northern wanderer could be suddenly transported to look down upon the Piano di Sorrento, he would not doubt that he saw the Garden of the Hesperides.  The orange-trees cannot well be fuller:  their branches bend with the weight of fruit.  With the almond-trees in full flower, and with the silver sheen of the olive leaves, the oranges are apples of gold in pictures of silver.  As I walk in these sunken roads, and between these high walls, the orange boughs everywhere hang over; and through the open gates of villas I look down alleys of golden glimmer, roses and geraniums by the walk, and the fruit above,—­gardens of enchantment, with never a dragon, that I can see, to guard them.

All the highways and the byways, the streets and lanes, wherever I go, from the sea to the tops of the hills, are strewn with orange-peel; so that one, looking above and below, comes back from a walk with a golden dazzle in his eyes,—­a sense that yellow is the prevailing color.  Perhaps the kerchiefs of the dark-skinned girls and women, which take that tone, help the impression.  The inhabitants are all orange-eaters.  The high walls show that the gardens are protected with great care; yet the fruit seems to be as free as apples are in a remote New England town about cider-time.

I have been trying, ever since I have been here, to ascertain the price of oranges; not for purposes of exportation, nor yet for the personal importation that I daily practice, but in order to give an American basis of fact to these idle chapters.  In all the paths I meet, daily, girls and boys bearing on their heads large baskets of the fruit, and little children with bags and bundles of the same, as large as they can stagger under; and I understand they are carrying them to the packers, who ship them to New York, or to the depots, where I see them lying in yellow heaps, and where men and women are cutting them up, and removing the peel, which goes to England for preserves.  I am told that these oranges are sold for a couple of francs a hundred.  That seems to me so dear that I am not tempted into any speculation, but stroll back to the Tramontano, in the gardens of which I find better terms.

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Saunterings from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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