Old Calabria By Norman Douglas

 -  They have the
same forgiveness for the shortcomings of nature as for a wayward child.
And no wonder they are - Page 70
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They Have The Same Forgiveness For The Shortcomings Of Nature As For A Wayward Child. And No Wonder They Are Distrustful.

Ages of oppression and misrule have passed over their heads; sun and rain, with all their caprice, have been kinder friends to them than their earthly masters.

Some day, presumably, the government will wake up to the fact that Italy is not an industrial country, and that its farmers might profitably be taken into account again.

But a change is upon the land. Types like this old man are becoming extinct; for the patriarchal system of Coriolanus, the glory of southern Italy, is breaking up.

This is not the fault of conscription which, though it destroys old dialects, beliefs and customs, widens the horizon by bringing fresh ideas into the family, and generally sound ones. It does even more; it teaches the conscripts to read and write, so that it is no longer as dangerous to have dealings with a man who possesses these accomplishments as in the days when they were the prerogative of avvocati and other questionable characters. A countryman, nowadays, may read and write and yet be honest.

What is shattering family life is the speculative spirit born of emigration. A continual coming and going; two-thirds of the adolescent and adult male population are at this moment in Argentina or the United States - some as far afield as New Zealand. Men who formerly reckoned in sous now talk of thousands of francs; parental authority over boys is relaxed, and the girls, ever quick to grasp the advantages of money, lose all discipline and steadiness.

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