National Geographic : 1923 Sep
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by Maynard Owen Williams MAKING LOBSTER TRAPS OF WITIIES FROM STRIPPED MYRTLE BRANCHES: AJACCIO structure, which it would be impossible to see in its proper perspective if the de struction of two houses opposite had not made possible the little Place Letizia, from which one can view the whole height of four stories, the upper three marked by eighteen regular windows, as well as the family arms and the tablet reading NAPOLEONN I EST NE DANS CETTE MAISON LE XV AOCT 1769." The peo ple call it a three-story house, since in Corsica the lower story, which may be given to shops or stables, does not count. IN THE ROOM WHERE NAPOLEON WAS BORN The interior, like some interiors in Palestine, is a hindrance to imagination rather than a help. The furniture looks lonesome in the bare rooms, as if, after the intimate life it knew, it has been for gotten, even by the caretaker, who lives opposite and only enters the cold rooms when foreign curiosity promises a fee. There is the bed in which Napoleon was born, the chair in which his beautiful mother was brought from the cathedral with genius struggling for birth. But the strongest impression one has on seeing the Casa Napoleon is the beauty and com pleteness of Mount Vernon. Ajaccio has two statues of its hero, neither very good, but both escaping the not-entirely-Prussian idea of picturing the great military genius in uniform. In the Place des Palmiers the statue shows the consul as a rather emaciated river god standing among four very wooden lions. The statue on the Place du Diamant is much better. Yet the facetious among the people long since gave it the name of "The Inkstand." The story goes that the sculptor committed suicide because he failed to put a horseshoe on the free foot of the steed upon which Napoleon sits in the garb of a Roman emperor, holding a terrestrial globe on which Victory is poised (see page 227). On the four corners of the pedestal are Napoleon's brothers, garbed as lic tors. The figures are the work of four different sculptors and the pedestal of red granite is from the precipice of Ap pietto, which rises from the plain behind Ajaccio. As if this table ornament needed a couple of calendar pads flanking it, there are two tablets of Victory, at the 232 i.