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How To Make The Pilgrimage To St. Peter's

( Originally Published 1907 )

Millions of men and women have made a pilgrimage to St. Peter's and the home of the Holy Father. Millions more have longed all their lives to see these famous places, but never reached the fulfilment of their dreams. For centuries it was an impossibility for most people to look upon these places, made sacred by the memory and presence of holy men. It is now no longer an impossibility.

This brief guide-book undertakes to show how to use stereographs as windows through which you can see for yourself the most sacred and famous places in the very heart of Rome—windows through which you can, in fact, look straight into the face of the beloved Head of the Holy Catholic Church.

This is the first time in all the ages when it has been made possible for persons living in any part of the world to see this great centre of the Christian faith and the noble guardian- of the old Christian faith, with the full effect of being present, themselves, right on the spot.

Stereographs are not mere photographic pictures. The two prints mounted side by side are not alike, though they seem alike to the unaided eye. They were made from two different negatives, and those two negatives were produced at the same instant by the two separate lenses set side by side in a "stereoscopic" camera, i. e., a camera whose lenses are arranged to act like the two eyes of a human observer. Now, a man's two eyes give him knowledge far beyond what he could get from one eye alone. (The ordinary photographic camera works as a one-eyed man sees.)

Experiment for yourself to see the difference between the reports given by your right and your left eye; hold your right arm out straight be-fore you at full length, the palm toward the left; close your left eye and look with the right eye alone. You see the edge of your hand and a little of the back of the hand.

Keep the arm in exactly the same position; close the right eye and look only with the left eye. You see now the edge of the hand and a little of the palm, but not the back.

Look with both eyes at once. You see now the edge of the hand, a part of the back and at the same time a part of the palm—the fact is you see part way around the hand, and so your eyes assure you that the hand is a solid object with length and width and thickness, all three.

The two eyes work together in this same manner whenever you use them in looking at any solid object within reasonably near range. A one-eyed person does not have this advantage; his sense of solidity and distance can come only through experience and judgment, as he learns to infer that a thing is solid or reaches back into space, from the way in which the light and shade appear on its surface, or the way in which certain farther parts look smaller than the nearer parts; but all this power of judgment the two-eyed man likewise possesses, so his capacity for correct seeing must be immensely greater than that of the one with defective vision.

Now, see how this principle of two-eyed vision works through a stereograph. Find No. 4 of this series, the statue of St. Peter. Cover one-half with this book or with your hand, and look at the other half without using any stereoscope. The tall candlestick and the woman at her devotions seem to be in close proximity.

Put this same stereograph in place and see it through the stereoscope lenses. Now the candle-stick stands right out in space ; you can see for yourself the space there is between it and the giant pillars. You see also what was not at all evident before, that the right foot of the bronze statue projects some distance beyond the marble pedestal. In short, you see it all now, just as it is in actual reality.

The fact that objects and people, seen through these stereographs, appear in their full, natural size, is surprising until one thinks carefully about what the case involves. Everybody has noticed that the farther away a person is the smaller his form appears; it is our experienced judgment which prevents our being confused by this lessening in size. As a matter of fact, every child soon learns that a man who looks very small because he is far away, may be actually as tall as another man whose figure appears bigger because it is near. Look out of your own window, six feet from where you are standing, at a horse and wagon fifty feet away. Notice how small a space they fill on the glass—a cent, held six inches be-fore your eye (the other eye closed), might hide them entirely; that is to say, the cent, six inches from your eye, would occupy the same space as the horse and wagon fifty feet away. This underlying principle is also utilized in the study of places through stereographs. As you already know, looking with the two eyes through the stereoscopic lenses at the two complementary portions of a stereograph gives the impression of space extending off before you in the direction in which you are looking. Now, since you practically see through the stereograph as through a window, the small figures of men and women, the small shapes of furniture, buildings, hills and mountains, all become translated into full-size things farther off, just where they belong, in fact.

It is not to be supposed that seeing St. Peter's and the Vatican in this way can be in all respects equivalent to making the journey in the ordinary way and getting all the innumerably varied experiences of a traveler who is moving bodily from place to place. Of course there will be nothing coming through the sense of hearing or of touch—it is through the sense of sight alone that the traveler who uses a stereoscope gets his experiences of being personally on the spot; but the sense of sight in any case does by far the greater part of the work in giving us the feeling of being in a certain place.

"Our sense of location is determined, in nearly all cases, not from what we hear or feel, but from what we see. When we look at ordinary photo-graphs in our 'hands, or on. a wall, we always see the book or frame or part of the room about us, as well as the pictured scene, and consequently we continue to have a distinct sense of our location in the place where the picture is. In using the stereoscope, however, the hood about our eyes shuts our room away from us, shuts out the America or England that may be about us, and shuts us in with the city or the people standing beyond the stereoscopic card."

But the experience of seeing other places just as if we were there can be thoroughly sensible and satisfactory only when we know just where "there" is. The special maps accompanying this guide-book tell you where you are each time you take a new standpoint for observation. Notice that thirty-six different standpoints are located on the maps by means of red figures ; these figures correspond with the numbers on the mounts of the stereographs to be used in these several positions. The apex, or point from which two red lines branch, indicates the point from which you look. You see in each case over or through the space included between the branching red lines; where one of these red lines is shorter than the other it indicates that you will not see so far on that side as on the other side. A very little experience in the use of the map will make its idea perfectly clear. Be sure to refer to the map each time before you begin to look at the place ; then you can look with much more definite knowledge of where you are, and the satisfaction and pleasure of the experience will be immensely in-creased. The very slight trouble involved in consulting it will be found repaid many times over by the help it gives in making you feel yourself on the spot.

Brief explanatory notes in regard to what you see are printed on the back of each stereographmount. Read those notes carefully; they are not repeated in this guide-book, but only supplemented by other notes.

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