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When they arrived at Nemi, Manisty as usual showed that he knew nothing of the practical arrangements of the day, which were always made for him by other people. 'What am I to do with these? he said, throwing his hands in despair towards the tea-baskets in the carriage. 'We can't drive beyond this And how are we to meet the others? when do they come? why aren't they here?

In Europe, the inhabitant of the north feels an almost similar emotion, when he quits even after a short abode the shores of the Bay of Naples, the delicious country between Tivoli and the lake of Nemi, or the wild and majestic scenery of the Upper Alps and the Pyrenees. Yet everywhere in the temperate zone, the effects of vegetable physiognomy afford little contrast.

This solemn type of sixteenth-century White Devil of Italy palace or villa recurs in this neighbourhood; places to keep their secrets; some apparently on the very border of the Campagna, where vines and olives end. Wonderful woods full of flowers between Albano and Genzano. The little round Lake of Nemi disappointed me.

Diana was still the league-goddess; tradition has it that the league helped to build the temple; and the dedication day of the temple, August 13, was the same as that of the temple at Nemi. The Roman temple was outside the pomerium therefore, not because she was a foreign goddess like Minerva, but because as a league-goddess she must be outside, not inside, the sacred wall of Rome.

That, if my conjecture is right, was why the priest of Aricia, the King of the Wood at Nemi, had regularly to perish by the sword of his successor. But we have still to ask, What was the Golden Bough? and why had each candidate for the Arician priesthood to pluck it before he could slay the priest? These questions I will now try to answer.

Then one at last reached Albano, a small town less modernised and less cleansed than Frascati, a patch of the old land which has retained some of its ancient wildness; and afterwards there was Ariccia with the Palazzo Chigi, and hills covered with forests and viaducts spanning ravines which overflowed with foliage; and there was yet Genzano, and yet Nemi, growing still wilder and more remote, lost in the midst of rocks and trees.

Reviewing the evidence as a whole, we may conclude that the worship of Diana in her sacred grove at Nemi was of great importance and immemorial antiquity; that she was revered as the goddess of woodlands and of wild creatures, probably also of domestic cattle and of the fruits of the earth; that she was believed to bless men and women with offspring and to aid mothers in childbed; that her holy fire, tended by chaste virgins, burned perpetually in a round temple within the precinct; that associated with her was a water-nymph Egeria who discharged one of Diana's own functions by succouring women in travail, and who was popularly supposed to have mated with an old Roman king in the sacred grove; further, that Diana of the Wood herself had a male companion Virbius by name, who was to her what Adonis was to Venus, or Attis to Cybele; and, lastly, that this mythical Virbius was represented in historical times by a line of priests known as Kings of the Wood, who regularly perished by the swords of their successors, and whose lives were in a manner bound up with a certain tree in the grove, because so long as that tree was uninjured they were safe from attack.

Diana herself might still linger by this lonely shore, still haunt these woodlands wild. In antiquity this sylvan landscape was the scene of a strange and recurring tragedy. On the northern shore of the lake, right under the precipitous cliffs on which the modern village of Nemi is perched, stood the sacred grove and sanctuary of Diana Nemorensis, or Diana of the Wood.

In other words, may not his predecessors in office have been a line of kings whom a republican revolution stripped of their political power, leaving them only their religious functions and the shadow of a crown? There are at least two reasons for answering this question in the negative. One reason is drawn from the abode of the priest of Nemi; the other from his title, the King of the Wood.

He may have personated in flesh and blood the great Italian god of the sky, Jupiter, who had kindly come down from heaven in the lightning flash to dwell among men in the mistletoe the thunder-besom the Golden Bough growing on the sacred oak in the dells of Nemi.