Old Calabria By Norman Douglas

 -  As a jeu d'esprit the book might pass; but it is
deadly serious. Single men will always be found to - Page 100
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As A Jeu D'esprit The Book Might Pass; But It Is Deadly Serious.

Single men will always be found to perpetrate monstrosities of literature; the marvel is that an entire generation of writers should have worked themselves into a state of mind which solemnly approved of such freaks.

Every one has heard of the strange position of this hoary island-citadel (a metropolis, already, in neolithic days). It is of oval shape, the broad sides washed by the Ionian Sea and an oyster-producing lagoon; bridges connect it at one extremi-y with the arsenal or new town, and at the other with the so-called commercial quarter. It is as if some precious gem were set, in a ring, between two others of minor worth. Or, to vary the simile, this acropolis, with its close-packed alleys, is the throbbing heart of Taranto; the arsenal quarter - its head; and that other one - well, its stomach; quite an insignificant stomach as compared with the head and corroborative, in so far, of the views of Metch-nikoff, who holds that this hitherto commendable organ ought now to be reduced in size, if not abolished altogether. . . .

From out of this window I gaze upon the purple lagoon flecked with warships and sailing-boats; and beyond it, upon the venerable land of Japygia, the heel of Italy, that rises in heliotrope-tinted undulations towards the Adriatic watershed. At night-time an exquisite perfume of flowers and ripe corn comes wafted into my room over the still waters, and when the sun rises, white settlements begin to sparkle among its olives and vineyards.

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