If enlivened with
blossoms, with pendent carnations or pelargonium; but there is no great
display of these things; the deficiency of water is a characteristic of
the place; it is a flowerless and songless city. The only good
drinking-water is that which is bottled at the mineral springs of Monte
Vulture and sold cheaply enough all over the country. And the mass of
the country people have small charm of feature. Their faces seem to have
been chopped with a hatchet into masks of sombre virility; a hard life
amid burning limestone deserts is reflected in their countenances.
None the less, they have a public garden; even more immature than that
of Lucera, but testifying to greater taste. Its situation, covering a
forlorn semicircular tract of ground about the old Anjou castle, is a
priori a good one. But when the trees are fully grown, it will be
impossible to see this fine ruin save at quite close quarters - just
across the moat.
I lamented this fact to a solitary gentleman who was strolling about
here and who replied, upon due deliberation:
"One cannot have everything."
Then he added, as a suggestive afterthought:
"Inasmuch as one thing sometimes excludes another."
I pause, to observe parenthetically that this habit of uttering
platitudes in the grand manner as though disclosing an idea of vital
novelty (which Charles Lamb, poor fellow, thought peculiar to natives of
Scotland) is as common among Italians as among Englishmen.