On the thirteenth day after the flight from Capri, Edward Spence, leaving the villa for his afternoon walk, encountered the postman and received from him three letters. One was addressed to Ross Mallard, Esq., care of Edward Spence, Esq.; another, to Mrs. Spence; the third, to Mrs. Baske.
They would make a way to the convent at the most seemingly inaccessible point; like General Lamarque, at the storming of Capri, they would conquer Nature. The cliff at the end of the island, a sheer block of granite, afforded even less hold than the rock of Capri.
And they were such rare days for enjoyment, could she have forgotten her own heart: across the blue waters to Capri, with a visit by the way to the famous Blue Grotto; a whole day in that lovely town, walking about its winding, climbing streets; the long drive from Sorrento to quaint Prajano, with, on one hand, towering, rugged limestone cliffs, to whose rough sides, every here and there, clings an Italian village, and, on the other, the smiling, wide-spreading Mediterranean; the little rowboat ride to Amalfi; the day full of interest spent there; and then the drive close beside the sea toward Palermo, terminated by a sharp turn toward the blue mountains among which nestles La Cava; the railway ride back to Naples.
The shores of Baiae were witnesses of the orgies and cruelties of Nero and a court made in his likeness, and the palpitating loveliness of Capri became the hot-bed of the unnatural vices of Tiberius.
The upper plateau of Anacapri is cold and without any striking points of scenery, but its huge mass serves as an admirable shelter to Capri below, and it is with Capri that the ordinary visitor is alone concerned. The first thing which strikes one is the smallness of the place.
Among the many charms of Capri must be counted the number and interest of its Roman remains. The whole island is in fact a vast Roman wreck. Hill-side and valley are filled with a mass of débris that brings home to one in a way which no detailed description can do the scale of the buildings with which it was crowded.
When the idlers of the Proserpine appeared on deck the following morning, the ship was about a league to windward of Capri, having forged well over toward the north side of the bay during the night, wore round and got thus far back on the other tack.
Landward, a black and dreadful cloud was rolling down, broken by great flashes of forked lightning, and divided by long trains of flame which resembled lightning but were much larger. Soon afterwards the clouds seemed to descend and cover the whole surface of the ocean, hiding the island of Capri altogether and blotting out the promontory of Misenum.
Upon finding his mistake, he commanded him to be put to death, that he might not publish the injury done him. The place of execution is still shown at Capri, where he ordered those who were condemned to die, after long and exquisite tortures, to be thrown, before his eyes, from a precipice into the sea.
Night on the Campagna. Heat in Rome. Illumination of St. Peter's. St. Peter's Day. Vaults of the Church. Feebleness of Pope. Morse and companions visit Naples, Capri, and Amalfi. Charms of Amalfi. Terrible accident. Flippancy at funerals. Campo Santo at Naples. Gruesome conditions. Ubiquity of beggars. Convent of St. Martino. Masterpiece of Spagnoletto. Returns to Rome.