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66 "But, Florence," said he, "I don't see what we can do."

"Why, we can engage a vetturino," said Florence, "or a courier, and so set off and go to France. That's the way every body has to do, when they are travelling in Italy. If we can only get a good trustworthy vetturino we shall do very well."

"But, I don't see how we are to find a good trustworthy one," said John. "We shall have to take the first one that comes, if we take any."

"No," said Florence, "we can get the hotelkeeper to choose us one."

"Or we can go to the American consul," she added, after a moment's pause, and speaking in a very eager manner, as if she considered that quite a bright idea. "We will go to the American consul's. That will be just the thing."

"I don't think he will care anything about us," said John, despondingly, "and so he won't help us."

"Yes," said Florence, "that is just what a consul is for-to help the people of his nation when they are in distress. I shall ask the landlord of the hotel first if he can recommend us a good vetturino, and if he cannot, then we will go to the consul's. If we can

only get a good vetturino we shall do very well."

The carriage by this time arrived at the hotel, and the children, after paying and dismissing the coachman, went up into their room.



IN the course of the day the question arose between Florence and John whether it would not be better for them to go by water from Civita Vecchia to Marseilles, on their way to France and England, than to attempt to make the journey all the way by land, and they had quite a long and serious consultation on the subject. To go by sea, along the coast, in one of the steamers of the Messageries Imperiales, as the line is called, would be the shortest, quickest and cheapest mode, and if they were only sure of a safe and prosperous passage, it would be much the best plan for them to take that route. But then it was to be considered, as Florence said, that although when once on board the steamer it would be much easier for them to make the transit in that way, there was still a good deal to do to get fairly on board. They would have a considerable preliminary journey to make to get to Civita Vecchia, where they would have to

take the steamer. Then the getting on board was quite an undertaking, on account of the various formalities and ceremonies to be gone through, connected with the custom house, the passport office, and for aught they knew, the police.

"Then," said Florence, "there is no knowing whether there would be any berths for us when we get on board. The passengers from Naples have the first berths, and after they are all supplied, then if any are left over they are for the passengers from Rome. I suppose we might have berths secured by writing to Naples and paying for them from there, but I don't know how to manage that exactly."

"And then, besides that," said John, "suppose that there should be a storm and we should get wrecked."

John pictured to himself in imagination the idea of Florence and himself being wrecked and cast upon some desert and uninhabited island, without their father or mother, or any one else to take care of them.

"Yes," said Florence, "in case of any difficulty or disaster it would be much better to be on land than at sea, and so I think we had better engage a vetturino."

Florence also determined first to see the land

lord of the hotel and ask him if he could recommend a vetturino to them. If it should prove that the landlord did know of one who he was sure would be trustworthy and faithful, then Florence would engage him. If not, then she determined to apply to the American consul.

If Florence had actually gone to the consul, I am sure he would have taken a great interest in her case, and would have given her all the assistance that she required. But it so happened that she had no occasion to go to him, for when she came to see the landlord and state the circumstances to him, he said at once,

"Do not disquiet yourself at all, my young lady. You shall not find any difficulty at all. I shall make come an excellent vetturino, and his vettura shall be perfectly convenable. If Pacifico is only in Rome, now, perhaps."

The hotel keeper spoke what he called English. It was the English of all the hotel keepers and commissioners of Switzerland and Italy, which, though pronounced with a strong foreign accent, and full of foreign idioms, soon becomes very easily intelligible to the travellers to whom it is addressed. Florence and John had long been familiar with this dialect, and she understood now very readily that the landlord was confident that he could easily procure for her an

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