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288

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - Pencil Sketches in Rome - 1. Ecclesiastical Rome, and Italian

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288 ROMAN DA YS.
which I described on another occasion—the first sight
that met my glance was a group of Httle boys playing
cards, who had settled themselves down on the steps of
the church of S. S. Martino e Luca, diagonally opposite.
By the side of them stood a black-bearded fellow, as
buried in the progress of the game as if he never in the
world had seen anything more fascinating. Now the
door of the church is opened, and two priests come forth,
who have maybe just before been saying mass within.
One of them very nearly fell over the smallest of the
little ones, who sat at his very feet with both hands full
of dirty cards ; and I expected that our worthy would,
if for no other reason, out of pure vexation, urge the
little vagabonds to leave the church steps. But no
:
they had now three spectators instead of one. The gen-
tlemen of the priestly gown stopped, took out their snuff-
boxes, mustered the situation on the field of battle, and
for a short time followed with about the same eagerness
as the fellow with the beard did, the battle constantly
going on between hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades.
On one of my visits to the church of Santa Maria in
Cosmedin, I came quite unexpectedly into the very midst
of a school of the old Roman kind. This century-old
basilica, with its beautiful Roman towers, lies at the foot
of the Aventine, facing the Tiber, in a district that with
its antique buildings and its memories of the combat of
the Gracchi, has something especially eloquent and fitted
to awaken romance. My intention was again to look at
the admirable mosaics in the basilica, which have how-
ever far less contributed to its renown than the round
colossal mask, which stands on the left in the vestibule,
and which under the name of the " Mouth of Truth
’’
{la bocca della Verita) has been the theme of all sorts of

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