Old Calabria By Norman Douglas














































































 -  And then - what else can
one offer to these Abruzzi mountain-folk? Their life is one of
miserable, revolting destitution - Page 40
Old Calabria By Norman Douglas - Page 40 of 488 - First - Home

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And Then - What Else Can One Offer To These Abruzzi Mountain-Folk?

Their life is one of miserable, revolting destitution.

They have no games or sports, no local racing, clubs, cattle-shows, fox-hunting, politics, rat-catching, or any of those other joys that diversify the lives of our peasantry. No touch of humanity reaches them, no kindly dames send them jellies or blankets, no cheery doctor enquires for their children; they read no newspapers or books, and lack even the mild excitements of church versus chapel, or the vicar's daughter's love-affair, or the squire's latest row with his lady - nothing! Their existence is almost bestial in its blankness. I know them - I have lived among them. For four months in the year they are cooped up in damp dens, not to be called chambers, where an Englishman would deem it infamous to keep a dog - cooped up amid squalor that must be seen to be believed; for the rest of the time they struggle, in the sweat of their brow, to wrest a few blades of corn from the ungrateful limestone. Their visits to the archangel - these vernal and autumnal picnics - are their sole form of amusement.

The movement is said to have diminished since the early nineties, when thirty thousand of them used to come here annually. It may well be the case; but I imagine that this is due not so much to increasing enlightenment as to the depopulation caused by America; many villages have recently been reduced to half their former number of inhabitants.

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