(Ho, Pedant! Did you
think I missed you, hiding and lurking there?) Many churches were to
hand; I took the most immediate, which stood just within the wall and
was called Our Lady of the People - (not 'of the Poplar'. Another fall
for the learned! Professor, things go ill with you to-day!). Inside
were many fine pictures, not in the niminy-piminy manner, but strong,
full-coloured, and just.
To my chagrin, Mass was ending. I approached a priest and said to him:
_'Pater, quando vel a quella hora e la prossimma Missa?'_
_'Ad nonas,'_ said he.
_'Pol! Hercle!'_ (thought I), 'I have yet twenty minutes to wait!
Well, as a pilgrimage cannot be said to be over till the first Mass is
heard in Rome, I have twenty minutes to add to my book.'
So, passing an Egyptian obelisk which the great Augustus had nobly
dedicated to the Sun, I entered....
LECTOR. But do you intend to tell us nothing of Rome?
AUCTOR. Nothing, dear Lector.
LECTOR. Tell me at least one thing; did you see the Coliseum?
AUCTOR. ... I entered a cafe at the right hand of a very long,
straight street, called for bread, coffee, and brandy, and
contemplating my books and worshipping my staff that had been friends
of mine so long, and friends like all true friends inanimate, I spent
the few minutes remaining to my happy, common, unshriven, exterior,
and natural life, in writing down this