“I wouldn’t have missed Bologna for anything,” said Ellen, one very warm June morning, as Mrs. Sanford and Mr. and Mrs. Curtin and the young people in their care found themselves on the train between Bologna and Ravenna. “If every Italian city would have arcades over the sidewalks like those in almost every street of Bologna, life would be better worth living.”
“So the arcades made the most impression on you,” said Uncle Jim smiling.
“And what have you to say of Bologna, Mrs. Sanford?”
“Well I am glad to have found that it is really true that there were learned women in Italy in the Middle Ages. I certainly cannot forget that I have seen a statue to a woman professor of the fourteenth century, who used to lecture in this university at Bologna. If there were women professors, there must have been women students.”
“Ellen thinks the little tombs on pillars outside the churches were the strangest things she saw,” cried Katie.
“Not stranger than the leaning towers,” interposed Irma. “I suppose the people of Bologna must be terribly afraid of earthquakes. I hated even to drive near the leaning towers.”
“I did not know we were to tell only strange things we had seen,” said Aunt Caroline. “I was most impressed by the Accademia. You others did not stay long enough in the gallery. Besides Raphael’s St. Cecilia, there are very many pictures worth seeing; no one can really have a good idea of Guido Reni without coming to Bologna.”
“Well, I enjoyed the drive through the park, and our glimpse of Carducci’shouse on the way back. It was all so restful after the noise of the streets,” said Uncle Jim.
“There are certainly many beautiful churches in Bologna, and more homelike-looking palaces than I have seen anywhere else in Italy,” said Mrs. Sanford. “We might have enjoyed a longer stay there.”
“I didn’t think much of the shops,” interposed Katie. “There was hardly a thing I wanted to buy.” Whereat the others smiled, as shopping was Katie’s favorite pastime.
“You’ll find them worse in Ravenna, for that is not only a decaying, but a decayed city, from all the accounts I’ve heard.”
“I almost wish we were not going there,” added Aunt Caroline. “They say it’s full of malaria.”
“Oh, in one short day and night we can keep out of the way of germs.”
It was noon when they reached Ravenna, tired enough after a warm journey.
“Dante’s tomb is only a step from here,” said Marion to Irma, as they finished déjeuner. “Bring your camera and we’ll go out and take a shot at it.” Irma posed herself in front of the door of the domed building containing the remains of the great poet, while Marion took a snapshot.
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