National Geographic : 1913 Mar
Photo by Carroll S. Alden DIONYSOS IN HIS CELL gloomy window, as I judged but little used; but if the monks have nothing of a library it may be remarked that books and learning are not their specialty. Af ter groping along a pitch-dark passage we descended into a huge, cobwebby cav ern in the mountain, where water was dripping in a dozen places from the rock ceiling and the sides. Here I saw what certainly could not be regarded as commonplace, for there were gigantic tuns of wine that would have been a credit to Heidelberg. It is in their wine cellar that the monks of Megaspelheon excel, and as I watched two monks who had brought the pilgrims down here and heard them explaining what I could easily guess was the extra ordinary capacity of the tuns and the ex cellent quality of the wines, I observed a flash of pride and enthusiasm such as nothing else had elicited. On the stairs we had met the keeper of the cellar-a rough, square-built fel low-carrying on his shoulder a wine- skin which he had just filled and was taking up for the morning's distribution. In the hall above, where there hung a row of 15 or 20 wine-skins, old and new, the wine was doled out, each monk re ceiving his pitcher full and also a loaf of rye bread. The Greeks eat scarcely half what the northern European nations require. The II o'clock breakfast was the first meal of the day, and at the monastery con sisted of the same articles as I ate for supper the preceding evening. While for this vicinity it was a sumptuous repast, it would have seemed like Spartan sim plicity to a hungry German. When breakfast was about to be served I made a move to join the pil grims at a large table, for I sought inti mate acquaintance with their life. But no, the Xenodochos was a stickler on class distinction, and again I had a room and a table all to myself, where I might eat with great dignity and loneliness.