If you find yourself walking through Madison Square Park or its environs and getting a bit peckish, there are plenty of options, but not all of them are ideal: it takes some fortitude to brave the line at Shake Shack, you might not be in the mood for chain restaurant fare, and Eleven Madison Park is just a bit too pricey. Invariably, you might find yourself wandering into Eataly, the sprawling 42,500-square-foot emporium of everything Italian located on the park’s western border. The marketplace is stunning, and a bit overwhelming in a good way. Just about every Italian food product ever made is available for purchase, along with fresh-made pastas, and the dining options are seemingly limitless. There’s a central "piazza" where you can eat some fresh-sliced prosciutto and drink some wine while standing, and a smattering of bustling restaurants. They tend to be loud and boisterous, though, and are located right in the heart of the market, surrounded by shoppers.
There’s a lunchtime oasis waiting for you, though, if you know where to look: Pranzo. Located near the 23rd Street exit, it’s a separate room entirely from the rest of the market, and by night it’s their culinary classroom, La Scuola. On weekdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., however, it’s a reasonably priced, sun-drenched, market-driven café that seats 35 and is one of the best weekday lunch options in the neighborhood.
In a really interesting move, every month Pranzo highlights the cuisine of one region of Italy while focusing on using only the freshest seasonal ingredients. In May, the menu highlighted the cuisine of Lazio, the region that’s home to Rome. Dishes include spelt fettuccine primavera with whipped sheep’s milk ricotta, pan-seared skate with broccoli ragù, and pan-roasted chicken alla diavola. The menu is small and focused, and quite affordable.
June’s focus is on the cuisine of Le Langhe in northwestern Italy, and July will highlight the cuisine of the coastal region of Liguria. They take reservations, which is certainly nice (even though it never seems to be too crowded), and the space can also be rented out for private parties.
|III||A Night of Dissipation||30|
|V||Palaces and People||56|
|VI||The Plain of Panormos||74|
|VII||Around the Island||87|
|VIII||The Road to Syracuse||107|
|IX||The Harbor and the Anapo||123|
|X||Syracuse the Pentapolis||133|
|XI||Catania and Mt. Ætna||152|
|XIII||Some Mountain Vistas||178|
|XIV||Lights and Shades||192|
|XV||The City that Was||207|
|XVI||The Northern Shore||215|
|XVII||The Western Shore||233|
|The Best Books on Sicily||265|
|Palermo, from the Porta Nuova||5|
|Mte. Pellegrino and the Via Borgo||17|
|The Musical Water-Seller||22|
|The Wonderful Sicilian Cart||25|
|Part of the City Street-Cleaning Department||26|
|A Piece Bitten out of Coney Island||28|
|An “Economical Kitchen”||32|
|The Fried-Entrails Man||32|
|The Holy Bambino of the Onions||36|
|The Garibaldi Theatre||41|
|The Palermo Cathedral’s Facade||42|
|King Roger’s Sarcophagus||44|
|The Monreale Cathedral||49|
|The Creation of Eve, Monreale Cathedral||52|
|Interior of the Cappella Palatina||60|
|The “Church of the Vespers”||75|
|The “Poor Man’s Promenade”||85|
|The Temple of Concord, Girgenti||101|
|Syracuse, from the Greek Theatre||115|
|Queen Philistis’ Coins||120|
|Ætna, the Greek Theatre, and Taormina||171|
|A Taormina Water-Girl||176|
|Taormina Knitting-School Pupils||179|
|The Mola Pigs||184|
|“ Goats! Goats! Goats! ”||189|
|Messina&mdash“The City That Was”||208|
|Cefalù, across the Fields||217|
|The Cefalù Cathedral’s Facade||220|
|Solous, the City of the Rock||225|
|“ Five Minutes for Refreshments ”||251|
|Santa Rosalia’s Grotto||258|
CHAPTER II THE TERMS
The Gulch was naked but unashamed, and lay in a drowsy stupor. An easterly breeze, bringing coolness elsewhere, here gathered radiated heat from gaunt walls on which the sun had poured all day, and desiccating gusts beat on Power&rsquos face like superheated air gushing from a furnace. Not that the place was an inferno&mdashfar from it. On a June day just a year ago two young people had ridden up the rough trail on their way to the Dolores ranch, and the girl had called the man&rsquos attention to the exquisite coloring of the rocks and the profusion of flowers which decked every niche and crevice. It may be that they looked then through eyes which would have tinted with rose the dreariest of scenes but even today, in another couple of hours, when the sun was sinking over the mountain range to the west, the Gulch would assuredly don a marvelous livery of orange, and red, and violet. Each stray clump of stunted herbage which had survived the drought would make a brave show, and rock-mosses which should be moist and green would not spoil the picture because they were withered and brown or black.
But Power, despite a full share of the artist&rsquos temperament, was blind to the fierce blending of color which the cliffs offered in the blaze of sunlight. His eyes were peering into his own soul, and he saw naught [Pg 19] there but dun despair and icy self-condemnation. For he blamed himself for wrecking two lives. If Nancy Willard could possibly find happiness as Hugh Marten&rsquos wife, he might indeed have cursed the folly of hesitation that lost her but there would be the salving consciousness that she, at least, would drink of the nectar which wealth can buy in such Homeric drafts. But he was denied the bitter-sweet recompense of altruism. He knew Nancy, and he knew Marten, and he was sure that the fairest wild flower which the Dolores ranch had ever seen would wilt and pine in the exotic atmosphere into which her millionaire husband would plunge her.
Hugh Marten was a man of cold and crafty nature. Success, and a close study of its essentials, had taught him to be studiously polite, bland, even benignant, when lavish display of these qualities suited his purposes. But he could spring with the calculating ferocity of a panther if thereby the object in view might be attained more swiftly and with equal certainty. His upward progress among the mining communities of Colorado, New Mexico, and, more recently, California had been meteoric&mdashonce it began. None suspected the means until they saw the end then angry and disappointed rivals would compare notes, recognizing too late how he had encouraged this group to fight that, only to gorge both when his financial digestion was ready for the meal. He had the faculty, common to most of his type, of surrounding himself with able lieutenants. Thus, John Darien Power came to him with no stronger backing than a college degree in metallurgy and a certificate of proficiency as a mining [Pg 20] engineer, credentials which an army of young Americans can produce but he discerned in this one young man the master sense of the miner&rsquos craft, and promoted him rapidly.
He paid well, too, gave excellent bonuses over and above a high salary&mdashwas, in fact, a pioneer among those merchant princes who discovered that a helper is worth what he earns, not what he costs&mdashand Power was actually entitled, through his handling of the Sacramento placer mine, to a sum large enough to warrant marriage with the woman he loved. Not for one instant had the assistant dreamed that his chief was casting a covetous eye on Nancy Willard. She was a girl of twenty, he a man looking ten years older than the thirty-eight years he claimed. Apparently, she was wholly unsuited to become the wife of a financial magnate. She knew nothing of the outer maze of society and politics while it was whispered that Marten would soon run for state governor, to be followed by a senatorship, and, possibly, by an embassy. To help such ambitious emprise he needed a skilled partner, a woman of the world, a mate born and reared in the purple, and none imagined, Power least of any, that the vulture would swoop on the pretty little song-bird which had emerged from the broken-down cage of the Dolores ranch. For the place had been well named. Misfortune had dogged its owner&rsquos footsteps ever since the death of his wife ten years earlier, and Francis Willard was buffeted by Fate with a kind of persistent malevolence. Neighboring farms had been rich in metals his was bare. When other ranchers won wealth by raising stock, he hardly held his [Pg 21] own against disease, dishonest agents, and unfortunate choice of markets. This present arid season had even taken from him three-fourths of his store cattle.
Power did not know yet how the marriage had been brought to an issue so speedily. In time, no doubt, he would fit together the pieces of the puzzle but that day his wearied brain refused to act. He might hazard a vague guess that he had been misrepresented, that his absence in California was construed falsely, that the letters he wrote had never reached the girl&rsquos hands but he was conscious now only of a numb feeling of gratitude that he had been saved from killing his usurper, and of an overmastering desire to look once more on Nancy&rsquos face before she passed out of his life forever.
He climbed the Gulch to the divide. From that point he could see the long, low buildings of the ranch, lying forlornly in the midst of empty stockyards and scorched grazing land though the Dolores homestead itself looked neither forlorn nor grief-stricken. A hundred horses, or more, were tethered in the branding yard near the house. Two huge tents had been brought from Denver the smoke of a field oven showed that some professional caterer was busy and a great company of men, women, and children was gathered at that very moment near the porch, close to which a traveling carriage was drawn up. A spluttering feu de joie, sounding in the still air like the sharp cracking of a whip, announced that the departure of bride and bridegroom was imminent but the pair of horses attached to the carriage reared and bucked owing to [Pg 22] the shouting, and Power had a momentary glimpse of a trim, neat figure, attired in biscuit-colored cloth, and wearing a hat gay with red poppies, standing in the veranda. Close at hand was a tall man dressed in gray tweed.
Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Marten were about to start on their honeymoon trip to New York and Europe!
For an instant Power&rsquos eyes were blinded with tears but he brushed away the weakness with a savage gesture, and examined the stark rocks on each side in search of a nook whence he might see without being seen. It was the careless glance of a man maddened with well-nigh intolerable loss yet, had he known how much depended on his choice of a refuge, even in the very crux of his grief and torment he would have given more heed to it. As it was, he retreated a few paces, until hidden from any chance eye which might rove that way from the ranch, chose a break in the cliff where an expert cragsman could mount forty feet without difficulty, and finally threw himself at full length on a ledge which sloped inward, and was overhung by a mass of red granite, all cracked and blistered by centuries of elemental war. Some stunted tufts of alfalfa grass were growing on the outer lip of the ledge. By taking off his sombrero, and peeping between the dried stems, he could overlook the cavalcade as it passed without anyone being the wiser.
The surface of the rock was so hot as to be almost unbearable but he was completely oblivious of any sense of personal discomfort. That side of the Gulch was in shadow now, and concealment was all he cared for. He was sufficiently remote from the narrow track [Pg 23] to which the horses would necessarily be confined that he ran no risk of yielding to some berserker fit of rage if he encountered Marten&rsquos surprised scrutiny, when, perchance, he might have flung an oath at the man who had despoiled him, and thereby caused distress to the woman he loved. To avoid that calamity, he would have endured worse evils than the blistering rock.
He remembered afterward that while he waited, crouched there like some creature of the wild, his mind was nearly a blank. He was conscious only of a dull torpor of wrath and suffering. He had neither plan nor hope for the future. His profession, which he loved, had suddenly grown irksome. In curiously detached mood, he saw the long procession of days in the mines, in the mart, in the laboratory. And the nights&mdashah, dear Heaven, the nights! What horror of dreariness would come to him then! He seemed to hear an inner voice bidding him abandon it all, and hide in some remote corner of the world where none knew him, and where every familiar sight and sound would not remind him of Nancy Willard. Nancy Willard&mdashshe was Nancy Marten now! He awoke to a dim perception of his surroundings by hearing his teeth grating. And even that trivial thing brought an exquisite pain of memory for Nancy, reading a book one day, came across a passage in which some disappointed rascal had &ldquoground his teeth in baffled rage,&rdquo and he had joined in her shout of glee at the notion that anyone should express emotion so crudely. So, then, a man might really vent his agony in that way! Truly, one lived and learned, and this was certainly [Pg 24] an afternoon during which he had acquired an intensive knowledge of life and its vicissitudes.
But now the elfin screeching of excited cowboys, and a continuous fusillade of revolvers fired in the air as their owners raced alongside the lumbering coach, announced that the wedded pair had begun their long journey. The racket of yells and shooting, heightened by weird sounds extracted from tin trumpets, bugles, and horns, drew rapidly nearer, and, at any other time, Power would have been amused and interested by the sudden eruption of life in the canyon brought about by this unwonted intrusion on its peace. A horse or so, or a drove of steers, these were normal features of existence, and no respectable denizen of the Gulch would allow such trifles to trouble his or her alert wits for a moment. But this tornado of pistol-shots and bellowing was a very different matter, and coyotes, jack-rabbits, a magnificent mountain sheep, a couple of great lizards&mdashin fact, all manner of furred and scaly creatures&mdashdeserted lairs where they might have remained in perfect security, scampered frantically to other retreats, and doubtless cowered there till dusk.
A coyote raced up the cleft at the top of which Power was hidden but, ere ever he had seen his enemy, man, he was aware of the hidden danger, and fled to an untainted sanctuary elsewhere. He had hardly vanished before the leading horsemen galloped into sight, and soon a motley but highly picturesque regiment of Westerners filled the trail to its utmost capacity. Both men and horses were at home in this rugged land, and raced over its inequalities at a pace which would have brought down many a rider who thinks he is a devil [Pg 25] of a fellow when a mounted policeman gallops after him in the park and cautions him sharply to moderate his own and his steed&rsquos exuberance. Even in the joyous abandonment of this typical western crowd there was a species of order for they took care not to incommode the coach, a cumbersome vehicle, but the only practicable conveyance of its kind on four wheels which could be trusted to traverse that rock-strewn path. Its heavy body was slung on stout leather bands, and the wheels were low, set well apart, and moving on axles calculated to withstand every sort of jolt and strain. The driver was performing some excellent balancing feats on his perch while he egged on a willing team or exchanged yells with some other choice spirit who tore ahead when the road permitted. Among the throng were not a few women and girls from Bison. They rode astride like their men folk, and their shrill voices mingled cheerfully in the din.
Power was deaf and blind to the pandemonium and its sprites: he had eyes only for the two people seated in the coach. The ancient equipage owned low seats and lofty windows, having been built during a period when ladies&rsquo headgear soared well above normal standards so its occupants were in full view, even at the elevation from which the unseen observer looked down.
Marten, a powerfully built man, of commanding height and good physique, clean-shaven, though the habit was far from general in the West at that date, was evidently exerting himself to soothe and interest his pallid companion. His swarthy face was flushed, and its constant smile was effortless for he had schooled [Pg 26] himself to adapt the mood to the hour. As the personnel of the cavalcade changed with each headlong gallop or sudden halt, he nodded affably to the men, or bowed with some distinction to the women for Marten knew, or pretended that he knew, every inhabitant of Bison.
His wife knew them too, without any pretense but she kept her eyes studiously lowered, and, if she spoke, used monosyllables, and those scarcely audible, for Marten had obviously to ask twice what she had said even during the fleeting seconds when the pair were visible to Power. Her features were composed almost to apathy but the watcher from the cliff, who could read the slightest change of expression in a face as mobile to the passing mood as a mountain tarn to the breeze, felt that she was fulfilling a compact and holding her emotions in tense subjection.
He hoped, he prayed, with frenzied craving of the most high gods, that she might be moved to lift her eyes to his aery but the petition was denied, and the last memory vouchsafed of her was the sight of her gloved hands clasped on her lap and holding a few sprigs of white heather. Now, it was a refined malignity of Fate which revealed that fact just then, because heather does not grow in Colorado, and the girl had culled her simple little bouquet from a plant which Power had given her. Once, in Denver, he had rendered some slight service to an expatriated Scot, and, when a sister from Perth joined her brother, bringing with her a pot of Highland soil in which bloomed the shrub dear to every Scottish heart, Power was offered a cutting &ldquofor luck.&rdquo Great was Nancy Willard&rsquos [Pg 27] delight at the gift for, like the majority of her sex, she yielded to pleasant superstition, and the fame of white heather as a mascot has spread far beyond the bounds of Great Britain.
Power might well have cried aloud in his pain when he discovered that his lost love had thought of him at the moment she was leaving her old home. Perhaps he did utter some tortured plaint: he never knew, because of what happened the instant after Nancy and her spray of heather were reft from his straining vision.
One-thumb Jake, who had loitered at the ranch for a farewell drink, rode up at a terrific pace, pulled his bronco on to its haunches alongside the coach, and by way of salute, fired three shots from a revolver as quickly as finger could press trigger.
The first bullet sang through the air not more than an inch above Power&rsquos forehead. He recalled afterward a slight stirring of his hair caused by the passing of the missile, which spat viciously against the wall of rock some ten feet above the ledge. The next two bullets struck higher, and their impact evidently disturbed the equipoise of a mass of stone already disintegrated by frost, because more than a ton of débris crashed down, pinning Power to the ledge and nearly pounding the life out of him. The resultant cloud of dust probably helped to render him unconscious. At any rate, he lay there without word or movement, and, if he were dead, his bones might have rested many a year in that strange tomb unless the curiosity of some passerby was aroused by a flock of quarreling vultures&mdasha spectacle so common in cattle-land that the way [Pg 28] farer does not deviate a hand&rsquos breadth from his path because of it.
Nancy heard the thunder of the falling rocks, and looked out. The dust pall told her exactly what had occurred, though the jubilant congratulation of the shooter by the driver would have explained matters in any event.
&ldquoGood fer you, Jake!&rdquo he shouted. &ldquoGosh! when you&rsquore fed up on cowpunchin&rsquo you kin go minin&rsquo wid a gun!&rdquo
She saw, too, what many others saw: A rattlesnake, rudely dislodged from some deep crevice, emerged from the heap of rubbish, stopped suddenly, swelled and puffed in anger, rattled its tail-plates, and was obviously primed for combat. It seemed to change its mind, however, when a fourth bullet from the cowboy&rsquos revolver grazed a big brown rhomboid which offered a fair target just below the curved neck. There was another shower of dust and granite chips, and, when this subsided, the reptile had vanished.
Nancy sat back in the coach. Amid a chorus of laughter and jeers at what his critics were pleased to regard as bad marksmanship, Jake spurred his horse into a gallop again.
&ldquoWhat was it?&rdquo inquired Marten. Being on the other side of the vehicle, he was unaware of the cause of this slight commotion.
&ldquoNothing, really,&rdquo she said dully.
&ldquoOh, come now, little woman&mdashthe crowd would not yelp at Jake for no reason.&rdquo
&ldquoWell, his shots brought down some loose stones, and a rattler appeared in the middle of the heap. It [Pg 29] showed fight, too but made off when Jake fired again.&rdquo
&ldquoOh, is that all? There wouldn&rsquot be a snake on the ranch if your father had kept a few pigs.&rdquo
&ldquoPoor old dad couldn&rsquot keep anything&mdashnot even me!&rdquo
Her listless tone might have annoyed a weaker man but Marten only laughed pleasantly.
&ldquoI should be very unhappy if he had insisted on keeping you,&rdquo he said. &ldquoOf course, you hate having to part from him, and from a place where you have lived during a few careless years but you will soon learn to love the big world to which I am taking you. Colorado in June is all very well but it can&rsquot begin to compare with London in July, the Engadine in August, and Paris in September. Don&rsquot forget that the proper study of mankind is man&mdashand woman.&rdquo
And so, the line was dangled skilfully before her eyes, and the spell whispered gently into her ears, while she, mute and distraught, wondered whether the dear memories of Colorado would ever weaken and grow dim. Then she thought of Derry Power, and a film came over her blue eyes but she bit her under-lip in brave endeavor, and forced a smile at some passing friend.
Power did not remain unconscious many minutes. The last straggler among the mounted contingent was clattering through the canyon when the man who had been near death three times in the same number of seconds awoke to a burden of physical pain which, [Pg 30] for the time, effectually banished all other considerations.
At first he hardly realized where he was or what had happened. He was half choked with dust, and the effort of his lungs to secure pure air undoubtedly helped to restore his senses. It was humanly impossible to curb the impulse toward self-preservation, and he tried at once to free his limbs of an intolerable weight. He was able to move slightly but the agony which racked his left leg warned him that the limb was either broken or badly sprained. His profession had often brought similar accidents within his ken, and indications of a further probable subsidence among the fallen stones&mdashthough the warning was so slight as to be negligible to the ordinary ear&mdashtold him that he must be wary, or a second avalanche might kill him outright.
By now the air was breathable, and he could see into the deserted Gulch. He was well aware that no one might be expected to pass that way during the next hour. Before returning to the feast in preparation at the ranch, the escort would await the departure of the train while those who had not taken part in the procession would certainly remain there until darkness ended the festivities. So he had the choice of two evils. He could either possess his soul in patience until the mounted contingent began to straggle back, or risk another rock-fall.
Naturally, he understood the cause and extent of the mishap, and his present mood did not brook the delay entailed by the safer course. Raising head and shoulders by lifting himself on both hands, he con [Pg 31] trived to twist round on his left side, and surveyed the position. It was bad enough, in all conscience, but might have been worse. By far the largest piece of granite had been the last to drop, and he saw that it was poised precariously on some smaller lumps. Any attempt to withdraw either of his legs (the left one was broken, beyond a doubt) would disturb its balance, and, if it toppled on his body, he would be imprisoned without hope of relief by his own effort. Rising still higher, though each inch gained cost a twinge of agony that brought sweat from every pore, he achieved a half-sitting, half-lolling posture. Then, applying his miner&rsquos aptitude to the dynamics of the problem, he packed the threatening boulder with others until it was wedged into partial security.
He had barely finished this task, which only a splendid vitality enabled him to carry through, when his eye was caught by something in the new face of the rock which seemed to fascinate him for a second or two. Then his mouth twisted in a rictus of dreadful mirth, so wrung was he with pain, yet so overcome by what he had seen.
&ldquoSo that is the price!&rdquo he almost shouted, accompanying the words with others which seldom fell from his lips. &ldquoThose are the terms of surrender, eh? Well, it is a compact made in hell but I&rsquoll keep it!&rdquo
After that, his actions savored of a maniac&rsquos cunning rather than the desire of a sane man to save his own life. Slowly, with never a groan, he extracted both legs from beneath the pile of stones. The spurs were his chief difficulty. One was held so tightly that he had to tear his foot out by main force but luckily [Pg 32] it was the right foot, or he could not have done it. Something had to give way under the strain, and ultimately the spur was released by the yielding of a strap at a buckle. The torture he suffered must have been intense but he uttered no sound save an occasional sob of effort, when all the strength of hands and wrists were needed to move one or other of the chunks of granite without dislodging the grim monster he had chained.
At last he was free. He felt the injured limb, which was almost benumbed, and ascertained beyond doubt that it was fractured below the knee. But he was safe enough, even though the precarious structure of stones collapsed, and any other victim of like circumstances would have been content with that tremendous achievement. Not so John Darien Power.
The mere fact that he need now only lie still until assistance reached him seemed to lash him into a fresh panic of energy. After a hasty glance into the canyon, obviously to find out whether or not anyone was approaching, he began to throw pieces of débris into the fissure left bare by the fall. When he had exhausted the store within reach he crawled to a new supply, and piled stone upon stone until the rock wall was covered to a height of more than two feet. Even then he was not satisfied but moved a second time, his apparent object, if any, being to give the scene of his accident the semblance of a stone slide.
Finally, he did the maddest thing of all, lowering himself down the cleft with a rapidity that was almost inconceivable in a man with a broken leg. On reaching the level of the trail he slipped and fell. That [Pg 33] drew a queer sort of subdued shriek from his parched throat but, after a moment of white agony, he began to crawl in the direction of the ranch. He chose that way deliberately, because the slope was downhill, and not so rough as in the upper part of the gorge. With care, for he meant to avoid another slip, but never halting, he dragged his crippled body fully a hundred yards from the foot of the ledge. Then he crept into the shade, at a spot where the side of the Gulch rose sheer for twenty feet, turned over on his back, and lay quietly.
He had almost reached the end of his tether. His face was drawn, and disfigured with dirt and perspiration. His eyelids dropped involuntarily, as though to shut out a world which had suddenly become savagely hostile but his lips moved in a wan grimace, a wry parody of the generous, warm-hearted smile that people had learned to associate with Derry Power.
&ldquoMy poor Nancy!&rdquo he murmured brokenly. &ldquoMy dear lost sweetheart! If the Fates have bought you from me, I was no party to the deal, and I&rsquoll exact the last cent on it&mdashI swear that by your own sprig of white heather! Someone will pay, in blood and tears, or I&rsquoll know the reason why! Yes, someone will pay! Power versus Marten, with the devil as arbitrator! Marten has won the first round but I&rsquoll take it to a higher court. I&rsquoll choke the life out of him yet&mdashchoke&mdashthe beast!&rdquo
Of course, Power was light-headed.