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Paestum and Pompeii

Primary Kids Stories | 6-9 yrs | Reading Pod

“There is said to be one vehicle in Paestum,” remarked Uncle Jim, as they reached the little station, “and as we are not the only passengers on this train we might as well make up our minds in advance whether we shall fight for it or walk.”

“Walk,” was the unanimous response, and after checking their luggage they started up a long, dusty road. Some distance from the station an arch spanned the roadway. “It must have been part of an old town wall,” said Marion, and at the same moment a tall, short-skirted woman came toward them, carrying a large stone water jar on her head. In an instant Irma had focussed her camera, aiming it just as the woman was in the center of the arch.

“She doesn’t seem to object,” murmured Aunt Caroline. The woman was now close to them, and as she passed them she did not even deign to smile or to look at them directly.

“The Temples! The Temples!” A few minutes later Irma gave an exclamation of delight.

“How beautiful—with the view of the sea beyond,” added Aunt Caroline.

Then all stood still. Before them, with a background of blue sea and bluer sky, rose the two great temples, the largest of the three edifices that are now practically the sole remains of a once great city—Poseidonia—founded six hundred years before Christ, by colonists from Sybaris in Greece.

“Outside of Athens, there are no finer temples left standing in the world!” said Uncle Jim.

“Until I read it in my guidebook to-day, I thought one had to go to Greece to see Greek temples,” added Irma.

“Oh, there are several in Sicily,” rejoined Marion, in what Irma to herself called his “high and mighty tone,” a tone that always made her feel that he despised her lack of knowledge.

“Yes,” said Aunt Caroline, “but for those of us who are not going now to Greece or Sicily, these are worth printing on our memories. I dare say, Marion, with your exactness, you would like to walk around them and measure them to see whether they are what they are represented to be. Irma and I will content ourselves with general impressions.”

“I might verify the fact that the Temple of Neptune is one hundred and ninety-six feet long and seventy-nine feet wide, but it would be harder for me to prove without a ladder that each of the thirty-six columns is twenty-eight feet high,” responded Marion good naturedly.

“No, no,” cried Aunt Caroline, “no such uninteresting facts! All I wish to remember is the soft, mellow brown of the whole structure and its noble proportions.”

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