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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

to Alps and Sanctuaries          275

We then went into the Libreria to see the frescoes by
Pinturicchio—which we did not like—and spent some little
time in attending to them. On leaving we were told to sign
our names in a book and did so. As we were going out we met
the bishop and his lady coming in; whether they had been
kneeling all the time, or whether they had got up as soon as
we were gone and had spent the time in looking round I cannot
say, but, when they had seen the frescoes, they would be told
to sign their names and, when they signed, they would see
ours and, I flatter myself, know who we were.

On returning to our hotel we were able to collect enough
information to settle in our own minds which particular
bishop he was.

A day or two later we went to Poggibonsi, which must have
been an important place once; nothing but the walls remain
now, the city within them having been razed by Charles V.
At the station we took a carriage, and our driver, Ulisse Pogni,
was a delightful person, second baritone at the Poggibonsi
Opera and principal fly-owner of the town. He drove
us up to S. Gimignano and told us that the people
still hold the figures in Benozzo Gozzoli's frescoes to be
portraits of themselves and say : " That's me/' and " That's
so and so."

Of course we went to see the frescoes, and as we were
coming down the main street, from the Piazza on which the
Municipio stands, who should be mounting the incline but our
bishop and his lady. The moment he saw us, he looked cross,
stood still and began inspecting the tops oi the houses on the
other side of the street; so also did the lady. There was
nothing of the smallest interest in these and we neither of us
had the smallest doubt that he was embarrassed at meeting
us and was pretending not to notice us. I have seldom seen
any like attempt more clumsily and fatuously done. Whether
he was saying to himself, " Good Lord ! that wretch will be
putting my kneeling down into another Alps and Sanctuaries
or Ex Voto " ; or whether it was only that we were a couple of
blackguard atheists who contaminated the air all round us,
I cannot tell; but on venturing to look back a second or two
after we had passed them, the bishop and the lady had got a
considerable distance away.

As we returned our driver took us about 4 kilometres