Old Calabria By Norman Douglas














































































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The view from this castle must be superb on clear days. Standing there,
I looked inland and remembered all the - Page 30
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The View From This Castle Must Be Superb On Clear Days.

Standing there, I looked inland and remembered all the places I had intended to see - Vieste, and Lesina with its lakes, and Selva Umbra, whose very name is suggestive of dewy glades; how remote they were, under such dispiriting clouds!

I shall never see them. Spring hesitates to smile upon these chill uplands; we are still in the grip of winter -

Aut aquilonibus Querceti Gargani laborent Et foliis viduantur orni -

so sang old Horace, of Garganian winds. I scanned the horizon, seeking for his Mount Vulture, but all that region was enshrouded in a grey curtain of vapour; only the Stagno Salso - a salt mere wherein Candelaro forgets his mephitic waters - shone with a steady glow, like a sheet of polished lead.

Soon the rain fell once more and drove me to seek refuge among the houses, where I glimpsed the familiar figure of my coachman, sitting disconsolately under a porch. He looked up and remarked (for want of something better to say) that he had been searching for me all over the town, fearing that some mischief might have happened to me. I was touched by these words; touched, that is, by his child-like simplicity in imagining that he could bring me to believe a statement of such radiant improbability; so touched, that I pressed a franc into his reluctant palm and bade him buy with it something to eat. A whole franc. . . . Aha! he doubtless thought, my theory of the gentleman:

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