Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XII / The Picture of Judgment; Or, The Grotta Del Tifone >> Page 222

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 222 SOUTHWARD Ho !
family of Pomponius. It is a chamber eighteen paces long and
sixteen broad, and is hewn out in the solid rock. The sarcoph-
agi were numerous when first discovered. The ledges were
full�every place was occupied, and a further excavation had
been made for the reception of other tenants. These tombs
were all carefully examined by the explorers with that intense
feeling of curiosity which such a discovery was calculated to
inspire. The apartment was in good preservation ; the paint-
ings bright and distinct, though fully twenty-two centuries must
have elapsed since the colors were first spread by the hands
of the artist. And there were the inscriptions, just declaring
enough to heighten and to deepen curiosity. A name, a frag-
ment�and that in Latin. That a Roman should sleep in a
tomb of the Etruscan, was itself a matter of some surprise ; but
that this strangeness should be still further distinguished by an
inscription, an epitaph, in the language of the detested nation
as if the affront were to be rendered more offensive and more
imposing�was calculated still further to provoke astonishment !
Why should the hateful and always hostile Roman find repose
among the patriarchs of Tarquinia ?�the rude, obscure barba-
rian, in the mausoleum of a refined and ancient family ? Why
upon an Etruscan tomb should there be other than an Etruscan
inscription? One of the strangers was a woman ! Who was
she, and for what was she thus distinguished ? By what fatality
came she to find repose among the awful manes of a people,
between whom and her own the hatred was so deep and inex-
tinguishable�ending not even with the entire overthrow of the
superior race ? The sarcophagus of the other stranger was with-
out an inscription. But he, too, was a Roman ! His effigy,
betraying all the characteristics of his people, lay at length
above his tomb ; a noble youth, with features of exquisite deli-
cacy and beauty, yet distinguished by that falcon visage which
so well marked the imposing features of the great masters of
the ancient world.
The wonder and delight of our visiters were hardly lessened,
while their curiosity was stimulated to a still higher degree of
intensity, as their researches led them to another discovery
which followed the further examination of the Grotta." On
the right of the entrance they happened upon one of those