We talked rather sadly, wistfully. Young people, especially nice ones like the driver, are too sad and serious these days. The little conductor made big brown eyes at us, wistful too, and sad we were going.
For in the morning they were driving back again to Sorgono, over the old road, and we were going on, to Terranova, the port. But we promised to come back[Pg 259] in the summer, when it was warmer. Then we should all meet again.
“Perhaps you will find us on the same course still. Who knows!” said the driver sadly.
VII. TO TERRANOVA AND THE STEAMER
The morning was very clear and blue. We were up betimes. The old dame of the inn very friendly this morning. We were going already! Oh, but we hadn’t stayed long in Nuoro. Didn’t we like it?
Yes, we like it. We would come back in the summer when it was warmer.
Ah yes, she said, artists came in the summer. Yes, she agreed, Nuoro was a nice place—simpatico, molto simpatico. And really it is. And really she was an awfully nice, capable, human old woman: and I had thought her a beldame when I saw her ironing.
She gave us good coffee and milk and bread, and we went out into the town. There was the real Monday morning atmosphere of an old, same-as-ever provincial town: the vacant feeling of work resumed after Sunday, rather reluctantly; nobody buying anything, nobody quite at grips with anything. The doors of the old-fashioned shops stood open: in Nuoro they have hardly reached the stage of window-displays. One must go inside, into the dark caves, to see what the goods are. Near the doorways of the drapers’ shops stood rolls of that fine scarlet cloth, for the women’s costumes. In a large tailor’s window four women sat sewing, tailoring, and looking out of the window with eyes still Sunday-emancipate and mischievous. Detached men, some in the black and white, stood at the street corners, as if obstinately avoiding the current of work. Having had a day off, the salt taste of liberty still lingering on their lips, they were not going to be dragged so easily back into harness. I always sympathise with these rather sulky, forlorn males who insist on making another day of it. It shows a spark of spirit, still holding out against our over-harnessed world.
There is nothing to see in Nuoro: which, to tell the truth, is always a relief. Sights are an irritating bore. Thank heaven there isn’t a bit of Perugino or anything Pisan in the place: that I know of. Happy is the town that has nothing to show. What a lot of stunts and affectations it saves! Life is then life, not museum-stuffing. One could saunter along the rather inert, narrow, Monday-morning street, and see the women having a bit of a gossip, and see an old crone with a basket of bread on her head, and see the unwilling[Pg 262] ones hanging back from work, and the whole current of industry disinclined to flow. Life is life and things are things. I am sick of gaping things, even Peruginos. I have had my thrills from Carpaccio and Botticelli. But now I’ve had enough. But I can always look at an old, grey-bearded peasant in his earthy white drawers and his black waist-frill, wearing no coat or over-garment, but just crooking along beside his little ox-wagon. I am sick of “things,” even Perugino.Share It