Old Calabria By Norman Douglas














































































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The old man's embrocations. . . .




XXX

THE SKIRTS OF MONTALTO


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The Old Man's Embrocations.

.

. .

XXX

THE SKIRTS OF MONTALTO

After such sights of suffering humanity - back to the fields and mountains! Aspromonte, the wild region behind Reggio, was famous, not long ago, for Garibaldi's battle. But the exploits of this warrior have lately been eclipsed by those of the brigand Musolino, who infested the country up to a few years ago, defying the soldiery and police of all Italy. He would still be safe and unharmed had he remained in these fastnesses. But he wandered away, wishful to leave Italy for good and all, and was captured far from his home by some policemen who were looking for another man, and who nearly fainted when he pronounced his name. After a sensational trial, they sentenced him to thirty odd years' imprisonment; he is now languishing in the fortress of Porto Longone on Elba. Whoever has looked into this Spanish citadel will not envy him. Of the lovely little bay, of the loadstone mountain, of the romantic pathway to the hermitage of Monserrato or the glittering beach at Rio - of all the charms of Porto Longone he knows nothing, despite a lengthy residence on the spot.

They say he has grown consumptive and witless during the long solitary confinement which preceded his present punishment - an eternal night in a narrow cell. No wonder. I have seen the condemned on their release from these boxes of masonry at the island of Santo Stefano: dazed shadows, tottering, with complexions the colour of parchment.

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