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Grasping for a Bag of Pearls

In his book Feminine Faces, Clovis Chappel wrote that when the Roman city of Pompeii was being excavated, the body of a woman was found mummified by the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius. Her position told a tragic story. Her feet pointed toward the city gate, but her outstretched arms and fingers were straining for something that lay behind her. The treasure for which she was grasping was a bag of pearls. Chappel said, “Though death was hard at her heels, and life was beckoning to her beyond the city gates, she could not shake off their spell…But it was not the eruption of Vesuvius that made her love pearls more than life. It only froze her in this attitude of greed.”

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