Charles Dudley Warner
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The traveller who descends into Italy by an Alpine pass never forgets the surprise and delight of the transition. In an hour he is whirled down the slopes from the region of eternal snow to the verdure of spring or the ripeness of summer. Suddenly—it may be at a turn in the road—winter is left behind; the plains of Lombardy are in view; the Lake of Como or Maggiore gleams below; there is a tree; there is an orchard; there is a garden; there is a villa overrun with vines; the singing of birds is heard; the air is gracious; the slopes are terraced, and covered with vineyards; great sheets of silver sheen in the landscape mark the growth of the olive; the dark green orchards of oranges and lemons are starred with gold; the lusty fig, always a temptation as of old, leans invitingly over the stone wall; everywhere are bloom and color under the blue sky; there are shrines by the way-side, chapels on the hill; one hears the melodious bells, the call of the vine-dressers, the laughter of girls.