back to the hotel. The Romans stay outrnlate at night, sauntering past the openrnshops, the restaurants, the hostarias, birrerias,rnand trattorias, all of them filledrnwith eminently purchasable, edible, orrnpotable things. (“So much to eat, so littlerntime to do it in,” as Clyde Wilson later remarked.)rnFrom being raised in Manhattan,rnI’ve acquired the survival instincts ofrnan Apache warrior, yet at no time in ourrnnocturnal perambulation did I sense thernfamiliar prick of danger lurking near.rnOnly the pigeons, wheeling in flocksrnabove the floodlit buildings, seemed agitated.rnBack at the hotel, we sat up drinkingrnpear brandy (“V’ilsamovka”) fromrnSerbia in Srdja’s room for half an hourrnbefore I called my first night in Rome arnday, and turning in.rnAt seven the next morning, I sat eatingrnwhite-bread rolls and fruit and drinkingrnblack coffee in the roof restaurant abovernthe hotel while shadows drained from thernRoman Forum and the rising sun illuminatedrnthe massy green foliage surmountingrnthe Palatine, Capitoline, and AventinernHills, pinked the brick towers, andrnfired the marble fagades on the Janiculumrnacross the Tiber. After breakfast Irntook a taxi, together with Mrs. Besemerrnand the Zanoccos, across town to VaticanrnCity, where I had my first look at St. Peterrn(from the Piazza) and we walked throughrnthe Vatican Museum, rather fussy andrnacademic except for the wonderful tapestriesrndepicting most realistically thernSlaughter of the Innocents and seemingrnto pull you inside the picture (somewherernyou felt you really would preferrnnot to go). The tour ends in the SistinernChapel, filled, only a few days past NewrnYear’s, with Jubilee pilgrims and wherernthe authorities request you (rather unrealistically)rnnot to talk. Wlien, on the wayrnback across the Tiber, I recognized PadrernPio’s face stuck on the windshield, therndriver gave me a sticker like it to affix tornmy own vehicle. “Molto importante,rnPadre Pio,” he assured me, taking myrnhand as I left the cab. For lunch, 1 wentrnround with the Flemings, Terry andrnMar’ Kohler, and Ray Olson to the TavernarnRomana a block from the hotel,rnwhere the pasta was again homemadernand they gave you jerkied pork, togetherrnwith sheep cheese and salami, for an antipasto;rnour relatively simple lunchrnturned out to be one of the best meals Irnwas to enjoy in Rome. The luncheonrnconversafion, as usual, covered many topics,rnamong which I especially recall Tomrnquoting the Holy Father whom historyrnreports as saying, “Since God has givenrnus the papacy, we propose to enjov it.”rnAll plav and no work flunks Jack out ofrnthe Academia Fleming, so at 1:30 sharprnthat afternoon we got down to business inrnthe conference room of the Hotel Forumrnwith a talk by Dr. Fleming on the legendsrnof early Rome, followed by Gail Flemingrnspeaking on Roman myth and ritual.rn(She reminded us that Roman successrnwas produced by the Roman character,rnwhich itself was formed b’ the Roman religion.)rnThe audience’s reward for itsrnhard intellectual concentration was arnslog through the rain while I caught uprnfurther on my sleep, awaking in late afternoonrnto the sound of water pouring fromrnthe surrounding roofs. The walking party,rnreturning soaking wet below thernknees, went upstairs to change while I patienflyrnawaited them in the hotel bar overrna Prosecco or two. Around suppertime,rnSrdja Trifkovic showed up, thus resolvingrnthe mystery of his absence all day fromrnthe proceedings, which Tom had uncharitablyrnattributed to the pear brandy.rnNot katzenjammer but the erasure of hisrntalk from his laptop computer had keptrnhim from us, as he labored for hours inrnsolitary confinement to recreate the textrnof the original speech.rnWe got to hear the reconstruction nextrnmorning: In “From Republic to Empire,”rnSrdja characterized empire as thernproduct of what he called “the neuroticrndesire to control all realit).” The idea ofrna Christian empire he dismissed as oxymoronic,rnempires being unitarian in nature,rnnations trinitarian. The imperialrnloathing for organic communities is thernspirit of Antichrist, bent on making allrnpeople and sociefies subject to the samernplan. Rome’s hubristic program, Srdjarnasserted, though finally a failure, hasrnhaunted Europeans ever since. Thernmorning’s other talk, “Cicero, Cato,rnClodius, and Caesar,” was delivered byrnTom Fleming. He ended it with a rousingrnpassage from Addison’s Cato—somethingrnabout an hour of virtuous libert)’rnbeing worth more than an eternity ofrntyranny—before school let out and we allrnwent off to eat. .. again.rnIn the afternoon, I experienced myrnfirst real disruption and breakdown of thernongoing, uncertain tango between thernEnglish and the Italian languages I’drnbeen observing since my arrival in Rome.rnAaron and I had engaged a Pronto taxi tornride over with Ruth Besemer to the CapitolinernMuseums, which Tom had describedrnas being a two-minute ride fromrnthe Hotel Forum. Confident after severalrnmonths’ study of the Berlitz ItalianrnSelf-Teacher, I launched into what oughtrnto have been fluent and precise directions,rndelivered in tiie local dialect. Butrnthe driyer didn’t know where the MuseirnCapitolini were. Nor did he know a wordrnof English. Instead, he took both handsrnoff the wheel of the cab as it guided itselfrnat high speed aroimd the Piazza Veneziarnto make a scribbling motion, as on a padrnof paper. “Add resse? ne sugg’ ested.rnscowUng. So he did know one word —rnsort oh Only we didn’t have anythingrnthat corresponded with it to give him.rnThe taxi was in the Via del Plebisciternnow, headed into the Corso; alreadyrnfour minutes from the hotel and out ofrnJames Schreiber (1-center), Thomas Fleming (center), Mary and Terry Kohler,rnand Ray Olson (r) admire the Dying Gaul at the Capitoline Museum.rn32/CHRONICLESrnrnrn