"Very well. Have your way, friend Peter! But something awkward is bound
to happen. It always does, you know, with those improvements of yours."
And, sure enough, one of these enormous olives fell from the tree
straight on the saint's head, and ruined his new hat.
"I told you so," said N. S. G. C.
I remember a woman explaining to me that the saints in Heaven took their
food exactly as we do, and at the same hours.
"The same food?" I asked. "Does the Madonna really eat beans?"
"Beans? Not likely! But fried fish, and beefsteaks of veal." I tried to
picture the scene, but the effort was too much for my hereditary Puritan
leanings. Unable to rise to these heights of realism, I was rated a
pagan for my ill-timed spirituality.
Madame est servie. . . .
The train conveying me to Taranto was to halt for the night at the
second station beyond Venosa - at Spinaz-zola. Aware of this fact, I had
enquired about the place and received assuring reports as to its hotel
accommodation. But the fates were against me. On my arrival in the late
evening I learnt that the hotels were all closed long ago, the townsfolk
having gone to bed "with the chickens"; it was suggested that I had
better stay at the station, where the manageress of the restaurant kept
certain sleeping quarters specially provided for travellers in my