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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/106

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Pantheon, and in a few minutes came to the Tiber. If we except the quaint and bright costumes of many classes of the people, and the ever-changing street scenes of Rome, there is nothing in the drive of very much interest until we reach the river. Here, looking back, we see the noble structure which crowns the Capitoline Hill. The fine building on the farther bank of the river is the Hospital of St. Michele. On this side we are passing the small harbor of the steamboats which ply to Ostia. Presently, the Marmorata, or landing-place of the beautiful marble of Carrara, is reached. From here a drive of a few minutes brings us to the cypress-covered slope of the Protestant Cemetery, where, in the shadow of the pyramid of Cestius, lie the graves of Shelley and Keats. Apart from the interest attached to these two lowly tombs and the memories aroused by their touching epitaphs, no Englishman can visit this secluded spot and look without deep feeling upon the last resting-places of his countrymen, who have died so many hundred miles from home and friends. The cemetery is kept in order and neatness, and flowers grow upon nearly all the graves.

Our route next lay along the base of that remarkable enigma the Monte Testaccio, a hill as high as the London Monument or the Vendôme Column at Paris, made entirely of broken Roman pots and tiles, as old perhaps as the time of Nero! Leaving behind this singular heap of earthenware, we thread long avenues of locust-trees, and presently, passing through the gate of St. Paul, reach the magnificent basilica of that name. Nor can I pause here to dwell upon the marvels of this noble temple, or to tell of its glorious aisles and column-supported galleries; of its lake-like marble floor, or of the wealth of malachite, of lapis lazuli, of verde antique, of alabaster, and of gold, that has been lavished upon the decoration of its shrine. I must stop, however, to note that nowhere has the presence of the dread malaria made itself so obvious to myself. We had scarcely entered the church, when we became conscious of an odor which recalled at once the retort-house of a gas-works, the bilge-water on board ship, and the atmosphere of a dissecting-room; and we were obliged to make a hasty retreat. There could be little doubt that the gaseous emanations which produced this intolerable odor were equally present in the Campagna outside, but that in the church they were pent up and concentrated.

Even did space admit, this is not the place to enter into any prolonged dissertation on the history or causes of this terrible scourge of the Roman Campagna, the fever-producing malaria. The name expresses the unquestionable truth, that it is a gaseous emanation from the soil; and all that is certainly known about it may be summed up in a very few lines. The vast undulating plain known as the Campagna was ages ago overflowed by the sea, and owes it present aspect to volcanic agency. Of this the whole soil affords ample evidence.