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275 A statue of the goddess surmounted the high altar. The secret stairs up which the priests ascended, behind the curtain, to give responses to worshippers, are still seen. A more gross and bungling attempt at imposition cannot well be imagined, proving that with the Egyptian religion, Egyptian credulity, which could bend to cats, crocodiles, and onions, must also have been imported. Below the shrine, are the altars on which the burnt-offerings were made, the reservoir in which their ashes were preserved; and here lavers for purification were found. In fact, the whole apparatus for performing the mystic and superstitious rites is nearly complete. The worship of Isis seems to have been just coming into fashion in Italy, at the commencement of the Christian era, and in the succeeding ages, it acquired new eclat from becoming the religion of the emperors. It appears to have been introduced by a connexion with Egypt in commerce. It was evidently in vogue to the last fatal day of Pompeii; for the skeletons of priests have been found in the refectory and other apartments of the temple, where they were overwhelmed by the tempest of fire, while clinging to the post of duty, or lost in sensual enjoyments. The fragments of the very banquet at which they were seated, when the awful moment of destruction arrived, were discovered in disinterring the temple, and are seen in the collection of curiosities already described.

Round the Forum Civile, a spacious public square, and apparently the centre of the town, rose other edifices of no ordinary magnificence. Among these is the splendid dwelling house disinterred under the direction of the French General Championet, and which has very justly taken his name. It contains numerous apartments, small but remarkably neat, in a perfect state of preservation, displaying frescos and other ornaments in all their original freshness. of females, with rings upon their fingers, were found in this mansion. Several skeletons It appears to have been the seat of wealth and luxury. The remains

of baths and alcoves are found in the gardens.

On the western side of the Forum stood the Basilica, or Court of Justice-a colossal building, two hundred feet in length, and seventy or eighty in breadth, adorned with Corinthian columns. The tribunal or bench for the judges is elevated by several steps above the pavement at one end, and directly under it is a cell, supposed to have been a prison, with apertures in the ceiling through which criminals received their sentences. Another court, or more properly a municipal Senatehouse, is situated near the temple of Isis. a flight of steps, is yet standing. Contiguous to the Basilica are the The rostrum, ascended by temples of Jupiter and Venus, the mosaic pavements and paintings of which furnish proofs of their former splendour. We climbed to the

top of the former, now mantled with foliage, and took a view of the deserted city. The Pantheon and the fane of Mercury border the other side of the Forum. They have just been opened, and the colours of their frescos are more vivid than those that have been longer exposed to the action of the air. Immense quantities of statues and other ornaments have been dug up and deposited under lock and key in the

courts.

In the region of the Forum, the excavations are now in progress. About one hundred men are employed, under the superintendence of an agent of the Neapolitan government. The bank which they are digging down and carting without the walls, is eighteen or twenty feet in height, and so loose as almost to slide of itself. One old man among the labourers particularly arrested our attention. He had a hoary beard, and a black, piercing eye. His naked arms, and legs below his kilts, were of as deep a bronze, as the most tawny of the American Indians. As he stood knee-deep in cinders and ashes, using bis spade in opening the grave of the city, he sang aloud a merry song, the notes of which expired in echoes along the deserted streets and through unpeopled houses. It is indeed a most melancholy sight to watch these labours-to see columns, statues, and the walls of buildings just coming into view, and gradually developed by the workinen with as much indifference, as they would manifest in digging out a stump or a stone. We here examined apartments, which had been unburied on the day of our visit. The paintings were slightly moistened, and appeared as bright as when they received the last touches of the pencil. Among the most recent discoveries, is a large woollen manufactory. The whole establishment, even to the sign, is entire. But time would fail me to enter into particulars. The progress of excavation is slow, compared with what it was under the French, who have done more towards disclosing the remains of Pompeii and the ruins scattered over Italy, than all others put together. Had Napoleon maintained his ascendency, and made Rome the capital of the kingdom, few antiquities would now have remained to be explored. But he preferred to play the madman in his boundless ambition, and to aim at new conquests instead of securing those he had already made. The impulse which his energy of character gave to the spirit of research and improvement in Italy, has in a great measure been spent, and the present inhabitants content themselves with revelling amidst the ruins of their country, without pushing vigorously their investigations into the imperial monuments of their ancestors.

Returning towards the Appian Way, we visited the houses of Sallust, the historian, and of Pansa, the last of the Roman Consuls, be

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fore the usurpation of the Cæsars, who reduced the office to a shadow.
Both of these wealthy and distinguished citizens had splendid man-
sions, to which they probably used to resort as winter residences.
Traces of the Triclinium and banqueting rooms, of sumptuous baths
lined with Parian marble, of mosaic pavements, and other luxuries,
present vivid images of taste and splendour. In our walk along the
street towards the northern gate, sundry indications of the gross vice
and sensuality of the Pompeiians, alluded to in my remarks on one of the
apartments in the Museum at Naples, were pointed out by the cicerone.
Signs of the most obscene descriptions were openly paraded over the
doors of the houses, on the main avenue leading through the city.
Others of a more delicate but doubtful character are seen.
On one
threshold the word “salve”—which may be translated, "walk in”—is
inscribed. Some writers have oddly enough conjectured, that the
house belonged to the Vestal Virgins, who were as repulsive as modern
Others more rationally believe, that it was the office of a scribe,
and that the welcome was addressed to his clients. In the same
quarter a coffee-house, or more properly a tippling-shop, is shown,
with rings of the wet glasses upon the counter. Here also are oil
stores, where large jars were found standing in holes or matrices, just
as they were left. A bottle in the Studii at Naples is filled with a
liquid, which was found corked among these ruins.

nuns.

At the Herculaneum or northern gate, the walls were examined to the best advantage. They are lofty and substantial, but rather rude in construction, built probably to guard against earthquakes, as were the houses of the city, which were generally of one or two stories. The gate itself, which spans the Appian Way, and seems to have been the principal of the four entrances, is a stately arch with two side-paths for pedestrians. Beyond it, a faubourg extends for some distance towards Naples, lined with taverns and other accommodations for travellers, who arrived too late to enter the town at night. A circular seat designed as a resting place is seen by the way-side, near which the skeleton of a female and a child were discovered, supposed to be a mother who here sat down with her babe, and was overtaken by the storın. Here also was the cemetery of the city. The remains of many tombs rise along the road. Some of them exhibit beautiful specimens of sculpture. In one, the urns containing the ashes of the dead are left precisely as they were discovered. We caught a glimpse of the unknown dust through the grate, by which it is guarded from intrusion. The Tomb of the Gladiators is similar in construction to the Mausoleum of Cicero near Mola di Gaeta. A column rises in the centre, with niches, technically denominated columbaria or pigeon holes, for

holding cinerary urns. In the vicinity stood a building, used as a sort of refectory for supplying refreshments to persons engaged in burying the dead. A country-seat without the gate is ascribed to Cicero; but its character seems to be little known, and the conjecture rests on slender authority.

Our tour of observation ended where that of others generally begins —with the Villa of Diomede, standing upon an eminence close to the Appian Way, and affording a magnificent view of the shores of the bay of Naples. It is perhaps the most perfect of all the ruins, if indeed any thing can produce more vivid impressions, than the objects already described. From its elevation and prominence, it accidentally led to the discovery of the buried city, by peasants at work in a vineyard, about the middle of the last century. The house is two stories high, fitted up with all the splendour, which taste and luxury could devise. Marcus Arius Diomedes, the proprietor, seems to have been a man of great wealth, and sumptuous in his style of living. He had a splendid tomb on the other side of the way, which his ashes never reached; for his skeleton was found exhibiting his ruling passion strong in death-in his wine cellar, with his keys in one hand and his gold in the other. His servant was behind him, laden with splendid plate. Seventeen other skeletons, one of whom seems to have been the mistress of the Villa, were discovered in the same gloomy, subterranean arches, in the gardens of the mansion whither they had fled for shelter from the fiery tempest, and where they all perished. Long ranges of amphora, for containing a stock probably of the choicest wines, are yet standing along the walls of the arcades.

Such is a very imperfect sketch of Pompeii and of some of the most prominent antiquities it contains. Although I have entered more into detail, than some of my readers will probably wish; yet a small part only of the interesting ruins have been described. A volume might be written without exhausting the subject, or without being able to convey an adequate idea of the vivid and impressive picture, which the reality presents. So intensely are the feelings engaged, that the visitant does not dream of fatigue till the examination closes, although he is necessarily kept upon his feet during a long day, to enable him to catch a glance at such a multiplicity of objects.

LETTER LXVIII.

EXCURSION TO PESTUM-VALE OF THE SARNO-NOCERA-LA CAVABAY AND TOWN OF SALERNO-EBOLI-SKETCH OF THE RUINS OF PESTUM.

May, 1826.

OUR excursion to the ruins of Pæstum, fifty-four miles south of Naples, occupied three days, which were among the most pleasant I have passed in Europe. The American Chargé des Affaires and our old medical friend accompanied us, contributing largely to the pleasures of the jaunt. We left Naples at an early hour in the morning. The road as far as Pompeii has already been described. A few miles beyond the walls of the ancient city, it crosses the Sarno, a large and romantic stream, which falls into the bay near Castellamare. At its mouth stood the ancient Stabiæ, where the elder Pliny landed in his excursion from Cape Misenus, and fell a martyr to his philosophical curiosity, during the same eruption which overwhelmed Pompeii. The vale watered by the Sarno is one of the most rural, fertile, and delicious imaginable. Its broad alluvial borders are richly covered with vines, flax, hemp, corn, grain, and vegetables of various kinds. Orchards like those of the United States border the road. The country was all in bloom, and the flowery plains exhibited a gaiety of landscape, which can hardly be conceived in less sunny climes. But the inhabitants are miserable, and know not how to appreciate or improve the munificence of nature. We actually saw females harnessed like cattle to the plough, and dragging it through the light soil, while a man was lounging in the furrow, guiding the share! Woman, poor woman, is here emphatically degraded into the servant of servants, and it makes the heart bleed to witness the burdens she is often compelled to bear. There is no affectation nor sentimentality in this. It is plain, downright matter of fact, which stares the traveller in the face, at every step of his progress through Italy.

The general features of the district between the vale of the Sarno and the bay of Salerno, may be given in few words. It is a deep and romantic pass through the Apennines. The hills on either hand are lofty, broken, and picturesque; in many places beautifully wooded, and in others, the heights are crowned with villages and solitary convents, old fortresses, and towers, which sometimes appear almost beyond the reach of human footsteps. On the right, the mountains extend for many miles towards the Mediterranean, terminating in the

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