The Place of Honeymoons (Chapter 7, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 7

There is a heavenly terrace, flanked by marvelous trees. To the left, far
down below, is a curving, dark-shaded, turquoise body of water called
Lecco; to the right there lies the queen of lakes, the crown of Italy, a
corn-flower sapphire known as Como. Over and about it--this terrace--poets
have raved and tousled their neglected locks in vain to find the perfect
phrasing; novelists have come and gone and have carried away peace and
inspiration; and painters have painted it from a thousand points of view,
and perhaps are painting it from another thousand this very minute. It is
the Place of Honeymoons. Rich lovers come and idle there; and lovers of
modest means rush up to it and down from it to catch the next steamer to
Menaggio. Eros was not born in Greece: of all barren mountains,
unstirring, Hymettus, or Olympus, or whatever they called it in the days
of the junketing gods, is completest. No; Venus went a-touring and abode a
while upon this same gracious spot, once dear to Pliny the younger.

Between the blessed ledge and the towering mountains over the way, rolls a
small valley, caressed on either side by the lakes. There are flower
gardens, from which in summer rises the spicy perfume of lavender; there
are rows upon rows of grape-vines, terraced downward; there are purple
figs and white and ruby mulberries. Around and about, rising sheer from
the waters, wherever the eye may rove, heaven-touching, salmon-tinted
mountains abound, with scarfs of filmy cloud aslant their rugged profiles,
and beauty-patches of snow. And everywhere the dark and brooding cypress,
the copper beech, the green pine accentuate the pink and blue and white
stucco of the villas, the rich and the humble.

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