Many people of the poorer sort have made their homes here, living either in the tombs or in rude and makeshift shelters. I walked between their campfires, marveling at how so great an Empire as that of the Romans should have fallen into so sad a ruin.
An old woman beckoned from an arch and offered me the use of her grand-daughter for money. I, fool that I was, considering how it would be an act of virtuosity to celebrate the rites of Venus in so august and haunted a place, accepted her offer. The girl, therefore, was paraded for my inspection, and while I was examining her, and doing my best to overlook the sullenness of her disposition and the dirtiness of her person (The old woman assured she was a virgin) a confederate- perhaps the girl's father or brother- crept up behind me and struck me on the head with a rock.
I awoke in great pain to find myself thrust into some sort of rocky niche or alcove and naked but for my shirt. I watched Cynthia rise trembling though the smoky air and bethought me of my father's stern eye and my mother's parting tear and decided I would henceforth lead a more serious life and utterly forswear venery.