As I have told, the first visit I paid to the antique world in Rome was at the Colosseum the day after our arrival. For some unknown reason I was going to begin with the Baths of Caracalla, but, as it happened, these were the very last ruins we visited in Rome; and I do not know just what accident diverted us to the Colosseum; perhaps we stopped because it was on the way to the Baths and looked an easier conquest. At any rate, I shall never regret that we began with it.

After twoscore years and three it was all strangely familiar. I do not say that in 1864 there was a horde of boys at the entrance wishing to sell me postcards - these are a much later invention of the Enemy - but I am sure of the men with trays full of mosaic pins and brooches, and looking, they and their wares, just as they used to look. The Colosseum itself looked unchanged, though I had read that a minion of the wicked Italian government had once scraped its flowers and weeds away and cleaned it up so that it was perfectly spoiled. But it would take a good deal more than that to spoil the Colosseum, for neither the rapine of the mediaeval nobles, who quarried their palaces from it, nor the industrial enterprise of some of the popes, who wished to turn it into workshops, nor the archeology of United Italy had sufficed to weaken in it that hold upon the interest proper to the scene of the most stupendous variety shows that the world has yet witnessed. The terrible stunts in which men fought one another for the delight of other men in every manner of murder, and wild beasts tore the limbs of those glad to perish for their faith, can be as easily imagined there as ever, and the traveller who visits the place has the assistance of increasing hordes of other tourists in imagining them.

I will not be the one to speak slight of that enterprise which marshals troops of the personally conducted through the place and instructs them in divers languages concerning it. Save your time and money so, if you have not too much of either, and be one of an English, French, or German party, rather than try to puzzle the facts out for yourself, with one contorted eye on your Baedeker and the other on the object in question. In such parties a sort of domestic relation seems to grow up through their associated pleasures in sight-seeing, and they are like family parties, though politer and patienter among themselves than real family parties. They are commonly very serious, though they doubtless all have their moments of gayety; and in the Colosseum I saw a French party grouped for photography by a young woman of their number, who ran up and down before them with a kodak and coquet-tishly hustled them into position with pretty, bird-like chirpings of appeal and reproach, and much graceful self-evidencing. I do not censure her behavior, though doubtless there were ladies among the photographed who thought it overbold; if the reader had been young and blond and svelte, in a Parisian gown and hat, with narrow russet shoes, not too high-heeled for good taste, I do not believe he would have been any better; or, if he would, I should not have liked him so well.

On the earlier day which I began speaking of I found that I was insensibly attaching myself to an English-hearing party of the personally conducted, in the dearth of my own recollections of the local history, but I quickly detached myself for shame and went back and meekly hired the help of a guide who had already offered his services in English, and whom I had haughtily spurned in his own tongue. His English, though queer, was voluminous; but I am not going to drag the reader at our heels laden with lore which can be applied only on the spot or in the presence of postal-card views of the Colosseum. It is enough that before my guide released us we knew where was the box of Caesar, whom those about to die saluted, and where the box of the Vestals whose fatal thumbs gave the signal of life or death for the unsuccessful performer; where the wild beasts were kept, and where the Christians; where were the green-rooms of the gladiators, who waited chatting for their turn to go on and kill one another. One must make light of such things or sink under them; and if I am trying to be a little gay, it is for the readers' sake, whom I would not have perish of their realization. Our guide spared us nothing, such was his conscience or his science, and I wish I could remember his name, for I could commend him as most intelligent, even, when least intelligible. However, the traveller will know him by the winning smile of his rosy-faced little son, who follows him round and is doubtless bringing himself up as the guide of coming generations of tourists. There had been a full pour of forenoon sunshine on the white dust of the street before our hotel, but the cold of the early morning, though it had not been too much for the birds that sang in the garden back of us, had left a skim of ice in damp spots, and now, in the late gray of the afternoon, the ice was visible and palpable underfoot in the Colosseum, where crowds of people wandered severally or collectively about in the half-frozen mud. They were, indeed, all over the place, up and down, in every variety of costume and aspect, but none were so picturesque as a little group of monks who had climbed to a higher tier of the arches and stood looking down into the depths where we looked up at them, denned against the sky in their black robes, which opened to show their under robes of white. They were picturesque, but they were not so monumental as an old, unmistakable American in high-hat, with long, drooping side-whiskers, not above a purple suspicion of dye, who sat on a broken column and vainly endeavored to collect his family for departure. Whenever he had gathered two or three about him they strayed off as the others came up, and we left him sardonically patient of their adhesions and defections, which seemed destined to continue indefinitely, while we struggled out through the postal-card boys and mosaic-pin men to our carriage. Then we drove away through the quarter of somewhat jerry-built apartment-houses which neighbor the Colosseum, and on into the salmon sunset which, after the gray of the afternoon, we found waiting us at our hotel, with the statues on the balustrated wall of the villa garden behind it effectively posed in the tender light, together with the eidolons of those picturesque monks and that monumental American.

We could safely have stayed longer, for the evening damp no longer brings danger of Roman fever, which people used to take in the Colosseum, unless I am thinking of the signal case of Daisy Miller. She, indeed, I believe, got it there by moonlight; but now people visit the place by moonlight in safety; and there are even certain nights of the season advertised when you may see it by the varicolored lights of the fireworks set off in it. My impression of it was quite vivid enough without that, and the vision of the Colosseum remained, and still remains, the immense skeleton of the stupendous form stripped of all integumental charm and broken down half one side of its vast oval, so that wellnigh a quarter of the structural bones are gone.

With its image there persisted and persists the question constantly recurrent in the presence of all the imperial ruins, whether imperial Rome was not rather ugly than otherwise. The idea of those world-conquerors was first immensity and then beauty, as much as could survive consistently with getting immensity into a given space. The question is most of all poignant in the Forum, which I let wait a full fortnight before moving against it in the warm sun of an amiable February morning. On my first visit to Rome I could hardly wait for day to dawn after my arrival before rushing to the Cow Field, as it was then called, and seeing the wide-horned cattle chewing the cud among the broken monuments now so carefully cherished and, as it were, sedulously cultivated. It is doubtful whether all that has since been done, and which could not but have been done, by the eager science as much involuntarily as voluntarily applied to the task, has resulted in a more potent suggestion of what the Forum was in the republican or imperial day than what that simple, old, unassuming Cow Field afforded. There were then as now the beautiful arches; there were the fragments of the temple porches, with their pillars; there was the "unknown column with the buried base"; there were all the elements of emotion and meditation; and it is possible that sentiment has only been cumbered Avith the riches which archasology has dug up for it by lowering the surface of the Cow Field fifteen or twenty feet; by scraping clean the buried pavements; by identifying the storied points; by multiplying the fragments of basal or columnar marbles and revealing the plans of temples and palaces and courts and tracing the Sacred Way on which the magnificence of the past went to dusty death. After all, the imagination is very childlike, and it prefers the elements of its pleas-ures simple and few; if the materials are very abundant or complex, it can make little out of them; they embarrass it, and it turns critical in self-defence. The grandeur that was Rome as visioned from the Cow Field becomes in the mind's eye the kaleidoscopic clutter which the resurrection of the Forum Romanum must more and more realize.

If the visitor would have some rash notion of what the ugliness of the place was like when it was in its glory, he may go look at the plastic reconstruction of it, indefinitely reduced, in the modest building across the way from the official entrance to the Forum. One cannot say but this is intensely interesting, and it affords the consolation which the humble (but not too humble) spirit may gather from witness of the past, that the fashion of this world and the pride of the eyes and all ruthless vainglory defeated themselves in ancient Rome, as they must everywhere when they can work their will. If one had thought that in magnitude and multitude some entire effect of beauty was latent, one had but to look at that huddle of warring forms, each with beauty in it, but beauty lost in the crazy agglomeration of temples and basilicas and columns and arches and statues and palaces, incredibly painted and gilded, and huddled into spaces too little for the least, and crowding severally upon one another, without relation or proportion. Their mass is supremely tasteless, almost senseless; that mob of architectural incongruities was not only without collective beauty, but it was without that far commoner and cheaper thing which we call picturesqueness. This has come to it through ruin, and we must give a new meaning to the word vandalism if we would appreciate what the barbarians did for Rome in tumbling her tawdry splendor into the heaps which are now at least paint-able. Imperial Rome as it stood was not paintable; I doubt if it would have been even photographable to anything but a picture post-card effect.

But as yet I wandered in the Forum safe from the realization of its ugliness when it was in its glory. I cannot say that even now it is picturesque, but it is paintable, and certainly it is pathetic. Stumps of columns, high and low, stand about in the places where they stood in their unbroken pride, and though it seems a hardship that they should not have been left lying in the kindly earth or on it instead of being pulled up and set on end, it must be owned that they are scarcely overworked in their present postures. More touching are those inarticulate heaps, cairns of sculptured fragments, piled here and there together and waiting the knowledge which is some time to assort them and translate them into some measure of coherent meaning. But it must always be remembered that when they were coherent they were only beautiful parts of a whole that was brutally unbeautiful. We have but to use the little common-sense which Heaven has vouchsafed some of us in order to realize that Rome, either republican or imperial, was a state for which we can have no genuine reverence, and that mostly the ruins of her past can stir in us no finer emotion than wonder. But necessarily, for the sake of knowledge, and of ascertaining just what quantity and quality of human interest the material records of Roman antiquity embody, archaeology must devote itself with all possible piety to their recovery. The removal, handful by handful, of the earth from the grave of the past which the whole Forum is, tomb upon tomb, is as dramatic a spectacle as anything one can well witness; for that soil is richer than any gold-mine in its potentiality of treasure, and it must be strictly scrutinized, almost by particles, lest some gem of art should be cast aside with the accumulated rubbish of centuries. Yet this drama, poignantly suggestive as it always must be, was the least incident of that morning in the Forum which it was my fortune to pass there with other better if not older tourists as guest of the Genius Loci. It was not quite a public event, though the Commend atore Boni is so well known to the higher journalism, and even to fiction (as the reader of Anatole France's La Pierre Blanche will not have forgotten), that nothing which he archseolog-ically does is without public interest, and this excursion in the domain of antiquity was expected to result in identifying the site of the Temple of Jupiter Stator. It was conjectured that the temple vowed to this specific Jupiter for his public spirit in stopping the flight of a highly demoralized Roman army would be found where we actually found it. Archaaology seems to proceed by hypothesis, like other sciences, and to enjoy a forecast of events before they are actually accomplished. I do not say that I was very vividly aware of the event in question; I could not go now and show where the temple stood, but when I read of it in a cablegram to the American newspapers I almost felt that I had dug it up with my own hands.

Of many other facts I was at the time vividly aware: of the charm of finding the archaeologist in an upper room of the mediaeval church which is turning itself into his study, of listening to his prefatory talk, so informal and so easy that one did not realize how learned it was, and then of following him down to the scene of his researches and hearing him speak wisely, poetically, humorously, even, of what he believed he had reason to expect to find. We stood with him by the Arch of Titus and saw how the sculptures had been broken from it in the fragments found at its base, and how the carved marbles had been burned for lime in the kiln built a few feet off, so that those who wanted the lime need not have the trouble of carrying the sculptures away before burning them. A handful of iridescent glass from a house-drain near by, where it had been thrown by the servants after breaking it, testified of the continuity of human nature in the domestics of all ages. A somewhat bewildering suggestion of the depth at which the different periods of Rome underlie one another spoke from the mouth of the imperial well or cistern which had been sunk on the top of a republican well or cistern at another corner of the arch. In a place not far off, looking like a potter's clay pit, were graves so old that they seem to have antedated the skill of man to spell any record of himself; and in the small building which seems the provisional repository of the archaeologist's finds we saw skeletons of the immemorial dead in the coffins of split trees still shutting them imperfectly in. Mostly the bones and bark were of the same indifferent interest, but the eternal pathos of human grief appealed from what mortal part remained of a little child, with beads on her tattered tunic and an ivory bracelet on her withered arm. History in the presence of such world-old atomies seemed an infant babbling of yesterday, in what it could say of the Rome of the Popes, the Rome of the Emperors, the Rome of the Republicans, the Rome of the Kings, the Rome of the Shepherds and Cowherds, through which a shaft sunk in the Forum would successively pierce in reaching those aboriginals whose sepulchres alone witnessed that they had ever lived.

It is the voluble sorrow common to all the emotional visitors in Rome that the past of the different generations has not been treated by the present with due tenderness, and the Colosseum is a case notoriously in point. But, if it was an Italian archaeologist who destroyed the wilding growths in the Colosseum and scraped it to a bareness which nature is again trying to clothe with grass and weeds, it ought to be remembered that it is another Italian archaeologist who has set laurels all up and down the slopes of the Forum, and has invited roses and honeysuckles to bloom wherever they shall not interfere with science, but may best help repair the wounds he must needs deal the soil in researches which seem no mere dissections, but feats of a conservative, almost a constructive surgery. It is said that the German archaeologists objected to those laurels where the birds sing so sweetly; perhaps they thought them not strictly scientific; but when the German Kaiser, who always knows so much better than all the other Germans put together, visited the Forum, he liked them, and he parted from the Genius Loci with the imperial charge, "Laurels, laurels, evermore laurels." After that the emotional tourist must be hard indeed to please who would begrudge his laurels to Commendatore Boni, or would not wish him a perpetual crown of them.