Old Calabria By Norman Douglas

 -  There are no wire-fenced walks among the ruins,
no feeding-booths and cheap reconstructions of draw-bridges and
police - Page 10
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There Are No Wire-Fenced Walks Among The Ruins, No Feeding-Booths And Cheap Reconstructions Of Draw-Bridges And Police-

Notices at every corner; no gaudy women scribbling to their friends in the "Residenzstadt" post cards illustrative of the "Burgruine,

" While their husbands perspire over mastodontic beer-jugs. There is only peace.

These are the delights of Lucera: to sit under those old walls and watch the gracious cloud-shadows dappling the plain, oblivious of yonder assemblage of barbers and politicians. As for those who can reconstruct the vanished glories of such a place - happy they! I find the task increasingly difficult. One outgrows the youthful age of hero-worship; next, our really keen edges are so soon worn off by mundane trivialities and vexations that one is glad to take refuge in simpler pleasures once more - to return to primitive emotionalism. There are so many Emperors of past days! And like the old custodian, I have not so much as set eyes on them.

Yet this Frederick is no dim figure; he looms grandly through the intervening haze. How well one understands that craving for the East, nowadays; how modern they were, he and his son the "Sultan of Lucera," and their friends and counsellors, who planted this garden of exotic culture! Was it some afterglow of the luminous world that had sunk below the horizon, or a pale streak of the coming dawn? And if you now glance down into this enclosure that once echoed with the song of minstrels and the soft laughter of women, with the discourse of wits, artists and philosophers, and the clang of arms - if you look, you will behold nothing but a green lake, a waving field of grass.

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