Paul laughed at their fears and amidst the plaudits of the spectators, disappeared in the darkness. The weir so feared by the people, proved a mere toy for him. A demonstration in his honor was prepared at Pontedera, where he arrived at 12 o'clock. Regardless of the late hour, the banks were crowded and torches gleamed along the entire length of the town.

The high road, Via Pisana, as it is still called, though, indeed, it was more often the way of the Florentines, sometimes almost deserted, sometimes noisy with peasants returning from market, finds the river again at Cascina only to lose it, however, till after a walk of some five miles you come to Pontedera, a wild and miserable place, full of poor and rebellious people, who eye you with suspicion and a sort of envy.

And it is then, I think, that Pontedera is at her best; life which ever contrives in Italy to keep something of a gay sanity, disposing for that day at least of the surliness of this people, who are very poor, and far from any great city.

M. de Haller was a great physiologist, a great doctor, and a great anatomist. He called Morgagni his master, though he had himself made numerous discoveries relating to the frame of man. While I stayed with him he shewed me a number of letters from Morgagni and Pontedera, a professor of botany, a science of which Haller had an extensive knowledge.

Paul remained at Pontedera until morning, simply because he did not wish to reach Pisa until the following mid-day, which was the time appointed. Consequently it was 8 o'clock in the morning when he resumed the voyage; he was escorted to the river by the same enthusiastic crowds. At noon he arrived at Pisa. A unique reception had been arranged.

As for me, I left Pontedera with all speed, being intent on Vico Pisano, a fortress built by Filippo Brunellesco for the Republic of Florence, after the fall of the old Pisan Rocca of Verruca, on the hill-top. There, too, if we may believe Villani, the Marchese Ugo founded a monastery.

It is a long road of some fifteen miles from Pontedera to S. Miniato al Tedesco: a hot road not without beauty passing through Rotta, own sister to Pontedera, through Castel del Bosco, only a dusty village now, for the castello is gone which guarded the confines of the Republic of Pisa, divided from the Republic of Florence by the Chiecinella, a torrent bed almost without water in the summer heat, while not far away on the southern hills Montopoli thrusts its tower into the sky, keeping yet its ancient Rocca, once in the power of the Bishops of Lucca, but later in the hands of Florence, an answer, as it were, to Castel del Bosco of Pisa in the land where both Pisa and Florence were on guard.

The beauty of the country is now at an end that is, in the eyes of the vulgar: a botanist would, at this point, find it more than usually wonderful and magnificent; for the most beautiful aquatic plants, especially the Nymphia, the Pontedera, and the Cyprian grass are spread out, both in the water and all round it.

M. de Haller was a great physiologist, a great doctor, and a great anatomist. He called Morgagni his master, though he had himself made numerous discoveries relating to the frame of man. While I stayed with him he shewed me a number of letters from Morgagni and Pontedera, a professor of botany, a science of which Haller had an extensive knowledge.

There in Pontedera they preach their socialism, and none is too miserable to listen; these poor folk have been told they are unhappy, and, indeed, Pontedera is not beautiful. Yet on a market day you may see the whole place transformed. It has an aspect of joy that lights up the dreary street.