al Origin--My Jew friend's letters--Italian dolce far niente.
Conceive yourself confronted by a pop-gun, some ten feet in diameter, charged with mephitic vapours and plugged with microbes of typhoid fever. Conceive your sensations when you were aware that the piston was being driven home.
That was my situation in March, 1890, when I got a letter from Messrs. Allen asking me to go into Provence and Languedoc, and write them a book thereon. I dodged the microbe, and went.
To make myself understood I must explain.
I was in Rome. For ten days with a sirocco wind the rains had descended, as surely they had never come down since the windows of heaven were opened at the Flood. The Tiber rose thirty-two feet. Now Rome is tunnelled under the streets with drains or sewers that carry all the refuse of a great city into the Tiber. But, naturally, when the Tiber swells high above the crowns of the sewers, they are choked. All the foulness of the great town is held back under the houses and streets, a
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