Old Calabria By Norman Douglas














































































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Conceive, now, what trouble it entails to find a man in a strange
village if you happen not to know - Page 80
Old Calabria By Norman Douglas - Page 80 of 488 - First - Home

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Conceive, Now, What Trouble It Entails To Find A Man In A Strange Village If You Happen Not To Know His Contranome (And How On Earth Are You To Discover It?), If His Surname Means Nothing To The Inhabitants, And His Christian Name Is Shared By A Hundred Others.

For they have an amazing lack of inventiveness in this matter; four or five Christian names will include the whole population of the place.

Ten to one you will lose a day looking for him, unless something like this takes place:

You set forth your business to a crowd of villagers that have collected around. It is simple enough. You want to speak to Luigi So-and-so. A good-natured individual, who seems particularly anxious to help, summarizes affairs by saying:

"The gentleman wants Luigi So-and-so."

There is evidently some joke in the mere suggestion of such a thing; they all smile. Then a confused murmur of voices goes up:

"Luigi - Luigi. . . . Now which Luigi does he mean?"

You repeat his surname in a loud voice. It produces no effect, beyond that of increased hilarity.

"Luigi - Luigi. . . ."

"Perhaps O'Zoccolone?"

"Perhaps O'Seticchio?"

"Or the figlio d' O'Zibalocchio?"

The good-natured individual volunteers to beat the surrounding district and bring in all the Luigis he can find. After half an hour they begin to arrive, one by one. He is not among them. Dismissed with cigars, as compensation for loss of time.

Meanwhile half the village has gathered around, vastly enjoying the fun, which it hopes will last till bedtime.

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