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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

274     Material for a Projected Sequel

we had to go through her bedroom as also through my host's.
When the monsignore came, she dined with us just the same,
and the old priest evidently did not mind at all. In Sicily
they do not bring the scent of the incense across the dining-
room table. And one would hardly expect the attempt to be
made by people who use the oath " Santo Diavolo."

Siena and S. Gimignano

At Siena last spring, prowling round outside the cathedral,
we saw an English ecclesiastic in a stringed, sub-shovel hat.
He had a young lady with him, presumably a daughter or
niece. He eyed us with much the same incurious curiosity
as that with which we eyed him. We passed them and
went inside the duomo. How far less impressive is the
interior (indeed I had almost said also the exterior) than
that of San Domenico ! Nothing palls so soon as over-
ornamentation.

A few minutes afterwards my Lord and the young lady
came in too. It was Sunday and mass was being celebrated.
The pair passed us and, when they reached the fringe of the
kneeling folk, the bishop knelt down too on the bare floor,
kneeling bolt upright from the knees, a few feet in front of
where we stood. We saw him and I am sure he knew we
were looking at him. The lady seemed to hesitate but,
after a minute or so, she knuckled down by his side and
we left them kneeling bolt upright from the knees on the
hard floor.

I always cross myself and genuflect when I go into a Roman
Catholic church, as a mark of respect, but Jones and Gogin
say that any one can see I am not an old hand at it. How
rudimentary is the action of an old priest! I saw one once
at Venice in the dining-room of the Hotel la Luna who crossed
himself by a rapid motion of his fork just before he began to
eat, and Miss Bertha Thomas told me she saw an Italian lady
at Varallo at the table-d'hote cross herself with her fan. I do
not cross myself before eating nor do I think it incumbent
upon me to kneel down on the hard floor in church—
perhaps because I am not an English bishop. We were
sorry for this one and for his young lady, but it was their
own doing.