And at last, when its walls were reached, and the outmost of its untrodden streets was entered, not through towered gate or guarded rampart, but as a deep inlet between two rocks of coral in the Indian sea; when first upon the traveller's sight opened the long ranges of columned palaces each with its black boat moored at the portal each with its image cast down, beneath its feet, upon that green pavement which every breeze broke into new fantasies of rich tessellation; when first, at the extremity of the bright vista, the shadowy Rialto threw its colossal curve slowly forth from behind the palace of the Camerlenghi; that strange curve, so delicate, so adamantine, strong as a mountain cavern, graceful as a bow just bent; when first, before its moonlike circumference was all risen, the gondolier's cry, "Ah!

The first palace beyond the bridge, now a decaying congeries of offices, has very rich decorative stone work, foliation and festoons. It was once the head-quarters of the Camerlenghi, the procurators-fiscal of Venice.

And at last, when its walls were reached, and the outmost of its untrodden streets was entered, not through towered gate or guarded rampart, but as a deep inlet between two rocks of coral in the Indian sea; when first upon the traveller's sight opened the long ranges of columned palaces, each with its black boat moored at the portal, each with its image cast down, beneath its feet, upon that green pavement which every breeze broke into new fantasies of rich tessellation; when first, at the extremity of the bright vista, the shadowy Rialto threw its colossal curve slowly forth from behind the palace of the Camerlenghi; that strange curve, so delicate, so adamantine, strong as a mountain cavern, graceful as a bow just bent; when first, before its moonlike circumference was all risen, the gondolier's cry, "Ah!

From here, too, the beautiful palace of the Camerlenghi at the edge of the Erberia is most easily studied. The Rialto bridge itself exerts no spell. It does not compare in interest or charm with the Ponte Vecchio of Florence.

All these figures, the standing ones who introduce and the kneeling ones who are being introduced, are the most perfect types of various states of dull, commonplace, mediocre routinist superstition; so many Camerlenghi on the one hand, so many Passionist or Propagandists on the other: the first aristocratic, bland and bored; the second, dull, listless, mumbling, chewing Latin Prayers which never meant much to their minds, and now mean nothing; both perfectly reverential and proper in behaviour, with no more possibility of individual fervour of belief than of individual levity of disbelief: the Church, as it exists in well-regulated decrepitude.

Some would choose Carpaccio's painted lion in this palace; others might say that the lion over the Giants' Stairs is as satisfying as any; others might prefer that fine one on the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi by the Rialto bridge, and the Merceria clock tower's lion would not want adherents.