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see it at all, the first time they went—that is, they did not see at all what constitutes the charm of it. A man, for example, who should go into Switzerland and not wish to go again, could only have seen the glaciers and the summits of the Alps as his horse saw them—that is, by having an image of them painted in his eye, and mechanically recognized by his mind as a meaningless mass of form and color, without the vision having penetrated to his fancy or imagination at all.
But to return. The party set off about noon to visit the palace. Mr. Willey did not go with them, having business to attend to at the bankers. He, however, procured a nice carriage for the party, and waited upon them at the door while they were getting in. A beautiful Florentine flower girl stood ready with two bouquets of flowers, one of which she presented to Mrs. Willey, and the other she handed to Edwin with a glance at Florence. With the usual tact and adroitness of her class, she perceived that it would be more agreeable to him to be permitted to give the bouquet to Florence, than that she herself should present it to her.
The moment that the bouquets had been delivered, the girl bowed to the ladies with a bright smile upon her face, and immediately disappeared.
When the party reached the palace, Edwin dismissed the carriage, after having helped the ladies to descend from it. There was a broad flight of stairs in front of the edifice, with a great many groups of ladies and gentlemen going up and down.
Now, John," said Edwin, "if Miss Morelle and mother are willing, you and Willie can have your choice, of either going with us to see the paintings, or playing about in the gardens until we come down."
"Let us go into the gardens, Willie," said John. "I don't care anything about the paintings. They are nothing but pictures of saints and angels, and are not worth seeing."
Willie readily acceded to this proposal, and, as Florence made no objection, it was carried into effect. The children were taken into the garden, and John was directed to go, in threequarters of an hour to a certain seat, and to remain there until Florence and the rest should come.
"But how am I to know when it is threequarters of an hour ?" asked John.
"I will lend you my watch," said Edwin. So saying, Edwin took out his watch from his pocket, and gave it to John to put in his pocket, placing the guard, at the same time, over his neck.
"What a pretty watch," said John. "I wish I had a watch."
"You must save up your spending money till you get enough to buy one, as I did," said Edwin.
So they left John and Willie in the gardens, and Mrs. Willey, Edwin and Florence went into the palace, and spent an hour in rambling through the magnificent saloons, and looking at the paintings and other works of art-the floors inlaid with marble-the beautiful mosaic tablesthe frescoes of the ceilings, and other such things.
After about an hour had been spent in this way, the party left the palace and went into the gardens, and there, at the appointed place, they found John and Willie waiting for them. They all then walked together about the gardens for half an hour or more, and then returned to the hotel.
I have already spoken of two things for which Florence is celebrated, namely, the churches and the galleries of paintings. The third is the mosaics which are made here, and which are of a peculiar style, entirely different from those made at Rome. The two styles are called, respectively, Roman and Florentine mosaics, and are known by these names throughout the world.
The difference is this, that in the Roman mo
saics the design is worked out by a great number of very slender bars, formed of a sort of artificial stone, manufactured for the purpose. These bars are of every imaginable color and shade, and the size of them depends upon the character and fineness of the work to be executed by them.
For fine designs and small objects, such as breast pins and other personal ornaments, they are as slender as fine needles, and on the other hand for large pictures which are meant to be hung up in churches or galleries, they are sometimes as large as a lady's little finger.
The artist, with the design which he is to copy, and a large supply of bars of every hue and color, before him, proceeds to build up his picture, as it were, or rather to set it up, as a printer sets up his type. He takes up the little bars with a pair of small forceps, and sets the lower end of each in a sort of bed formed of a material which is softened by heat to hold them. He then breaks off the bar of about the proper length and when the work is done the upper surface, formed of the ends of the bars, is ground off and polished, and the picture comes cut to view.
By examining the work afterward, with a magnifying-glass, or under a strong light, the divisions between the little bars of which the