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Of the 20,000 inhabitants of Pompeii, some 2,000 lost their lives, among them a woman who loved finery above all else. As the deadly rain of fire came down, she decided to run to the harbor and escape by ship. That was wise, but this rich and beautiful woman stayed behind just long enough to collect as much jewelry as she could carry. Snatching up her rings, she hastily thrust them on her fingers. There was no time to hunt for a box or a bag in which to cram her ornaments, so she picked up as many as she could hold, and rushed into the street, clutching her pearls and diamonds, her rubies and sapphires, her gold brooches and her earrings--a wealth of finery that would be placed at thousands of dollars today.

But she delayed too long. The poisonous fumes overcame her as she ran; and with all her...

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