There still exist in Rome large remains of a long and high wall which once connected the Vatican with the Castello Angelo. It is ten or twelve feet high and is said to have been built in the early part of the Middle Ages for defense and protection in the many civil wars and sieges to which that unhappy city was so constantly subject. From the platform on the top of the Castello Angelo its course can easily be traced, though in places it has been destroyed and at present it serves no useful purpose. The guide points it out to visitors and explains to them that for several centuries it was considered to be merely a wall. But within recent times, in the course of some restorations, a passage was found leading into the wall at one end, and on further investigation it was discovered that a narrow space had been left throughout the entire length of the wall in the center of it, large enough to permit one person passing at a time.

It takes but little imagination to picture to oneself one of the innumerable faction fights of the Middle Ages taking place on either side of this wall, clouds of arrows flying over it, scaling ladders planted against one side by the besiegers only to be hurled down again with their living freight by the besieged; battle cries, groans, and shrieks resounding on every side, and in the midst of all this hurly-burly men were passing to and fro in peace and confidence, in complete security because unseen and unsuspected. They could hear the battle raging within a foot or two; perhaps through some tiny, cleverly contrived crack they would even see the combatants. Yet they felt no fear and stood to watch or passed along on their business, safe in the certainty that no one dreamed of their presence there.

February 22, 1908

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