Northwest Corner of the Vatican From the Garden
( Originally Published 1907 )
We are almost directly opposite to the northwest end of the palace. The wall which rises above the foliage, its gray sides pierced by windows, is a part of the palace devoted to the library. The famous corridor, one-fifth of a mile long (Position 13), is in the story below the one which is now in sight. When the Pope comes out here for his daily drive or walk he passes through this section of the long corridor, having crossed from the southeast side, to arrive at the entrance to the garden, which is located in that dome-covered projection standing at the end of the row of upper windows. The part which towers over all in the background looks down upon the garden of the Pigna which we shall presently visit.
Two American students were wandering about this region one afternoon in the year 1877, at a time when the air was full of rumors concerning the approaching death of Pope Pius IX and his probable successor. The' students encountered two Cardinals taking the air. "Take note of the frail Cardinal," said one, "for the current of opinion holds that this man, Cardinal Pecci, will be the next Pope." Naturally the two young men could not see enough of the papabile, as a likely candidate is designated by the Italians. They saw a frail figure, of wonderful dignity, with snow-white hair and pallid, hawk-like face, lit by keen, dark eyes. They said to each other that it would be a mistake to elect a man on the verge of the grave, even if his mind and ability were far beyond the average. That apparently feeble Cardinal did become Pope Leo XIII, lived a quarter of a century longer, ruled with immense success and with tremendous power, and died at the remarkable age of ninety odd, after having divided the' attention of the world with men like Bismarck and Gladstone, both of whom he surpassed in the field of diplomacy!
Our next position will be at the north end of the Garden of the Pigna, within the palace near its northern end, which can easily be found on either map. Our position is indicated on Map 2 by the figure 34.