This is the third day of sirocco, heavy-clouded, sunless. All the
colour has gone out of Naples; the streets are dusty and stifling. I
long for the mountains and the sea.
To-morrow I shall leave by the Messina boat, which calls at Paola.
It is now more than a twelvemonth since I began to think of Paola,
and an image of the place has grown in my mind. I picture a little
marina; a yellowish little town just above; and behind, rising
grandly, the long range of mountains which guard the shore of
Calabria. Paola has no special interest that I know of, but it is
the nearest point on the coast to Cosenza, which has interest in
abundance; by landing here I make a modestly adventurous beginning
of my ramble in the South. At Paola foreigners are rare; one may
count upon new impressions, and the journey over the hills will be
Were I to lend ear to the people with whom I am staying, here in the
Chiatamone, I should either abandon my project altogether or set
forth with dire misgivings. They are Neapolitans of the better
class; that is to say, they have known losses, and talk of their
former happiness, when they lived on the Chiaia and had everything
handsome about them. The head of the family strikes me as a typical
figure; he is an elderly man, with a fine head, a dignified
presence, and a coldly courteous demeanour.
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