266 Material for a Projected Sequel
watched me sketching. And the women came and exclaimed :
" Oh che testa, che testa ! "
And the bells in the windows of the campanile began, and
I turned and looked up at their beautiful lolling and watched
their fitful tumble-aboutiness. They swung open-mouthed
like elephants with uplifted trunks, and I wished I could have
fed them with buns. They were not like English bells, and
yet they rang more all Tnglese than bells mostly do in Italy—
they had got it, but they had not got it right.
There used to be two crows, and when one disappeared the
other came to the house where it had not been for a month.
While I was sketching it played with a woman who was
weeding ; it got on her back and tried to bite her hat; then it
got down and pecked at the nails in her boots and tried to
steal them. It let her catch it, and then made a little fuss,
but it did not fly away when she let it go, it continued playing
with her. Then it came to exploit me" but would not come
close up. Signer Scartazzini says it will play with all the
women of the place but not with men or boys, except with him.
Then there came a monk and passed by me, and I knew I
had seen him before but could not think where till, of a sudden,
it flashed across me that he was Valoroso XXIV, King of
Paphlagonia, no doubt expiating his offences.
And I watched the ants that were busy near my feet, and
listened to them as they talked about me and discussed
whether man has instinct.
" What is he doing here ? " they said ; " he wasn't here
yesterday. Certainly they have no instinct. They may have
a low kind of reason, but nothing approaching to instinct.
Some of the London houses show signs of instinct—Gower
Street, for example, does really seem to suggest instinct; "but
it is all delusive. It is curious that these cities of theirs should
always exist in places where there are no ants. They certainly
anthropomorphise too freely. Or is it perhaps that we formi-
comorphise more than we should ? "
And Silvio came by on his way to church. It was he who
taught all the boys in Soglio to make a noise. Before he came
up there was no sound to be heard in the streets, except the
fountains and the bells. I asked him whether the curate was
good to him.
" Si," he replied, " e abbastanza buono."