During the last days Artois had not
been to the island, nor had he seen the Marchesino.
A sudden passion for work had seized him. Since
the night of Vere’s meeting with Peppina his
brain had been in flood with thoughts. Life often
acts subtly upon the creative artist, repressing or
encouraging his instinct to bring forth, depressing
or exciting him when, perhaps, he expects it least.
The passing incidents of life frequently have their
hidden, their unsuspected part in determining his
activities. So it was now with Artois. He
had given an impetus to Vere. That was natural,
to be expected, considering his knowledge and his
fame, his great experience and his understanding of
men. But now Vere had given an impetus to him and
that was surely stranger. Since the conversation
among the shadows of the cave, after the vision of
the moving men of darkness and of fire, since the
sound of Peppina sobbing in the night, and the sight
of her passionate face lifted to show its gashed cross
to Vere, Artois’ brain and head had been alive
with a fury of energy that forcibly summoned him to
work, that held him working. He even felt within
him something that was like a renewal of some part
of his vanished youth, and remembered old days of
student life, nights in the Quartier Latin, his
debut as a writer for the papers, the sensation of
joy with which he saw his first article in the Figaro,
his dreams of fame, his hopes of love, his baptism
of sentiment. How he had worked in those days
and nights! How he had hunted experience in the
streets and the by-ways of the great city! How
passionate and yet how ruthless he had been, as artists
often are, governed not only by their quick emotions,
but also by the something watchful and dogged underneath,
that will not be swept away, that is like a detective
hidden by a house door to spy out all the comers in
the night. Something, some breath from the former
days, swept over him again. In his ears there
sounded surely the cries of Paris, urging him to the
assault to the barricades of Fame. And he sat
down, and he worked with the vehement energy, with
the pulsating eagerness of one of “les jeunes.”
Hour after hour he worked. He took coffee, and
wrote through the night. He slept when the dawn
came, got up, and toiled again.
He shut out the real world and he
forgot it until the fit was past.
And then he pushed away his paper, he laid down his
pen, he stretched himself, and he knew that his great
effort had tired him tremendously tremendously.
He looked at his right hand.
It was cramped. As he held it up he saw that
it was shaking. He had drunk a great deal of black
coffee during those days, had drunk it recklessly
as in the days of youth, when he cared nothing about
health because he felt made of iron.
And so there was Naples outside, the
waters of the Bay dancing in the sunshine of the bright
summer afternoon, people bathing and shouting to one
another from the diving platforms and the cabins; people
galloping by in the little carriages to eat oysters
at Posilipo. Lazy, heedless, pleasure-loving
wretches! He thought of Doro as he looked at them.
He had given strict orders that he
was not to be disturbed while he was at work, unless
Hermione came. And he had not once been disturbed.
Now he rang the bell. An Italian waiter, with
crooked eyes and a fair beard, stepped softly in.
“Has any one been to see me?
Has any one asked for me lately?” he said.
“Just go down, will you, and inquire of the concierge.”
The waiter departed, and returned
to say that no one had been for the Signore.
“Not the Marchese Isidoro Panacci?
“The concierge says that no one has been, Signore.”
The man went out.
So Doro had not come even once!
Perhaps he was seriously offended. At their last
parting in the Villa he had shown a certain irony that
had in it a hint of bitterness. Artois did not
know of the fisherman’s information, that Doro
had guessed who was Vere’s companion that night
upon the sea. He supposed that his friend was
angry because he believed himself distrusted.
Well, that could soon be put right. He thought
of the Marchesino now with lightness, as the worker
who has just made a great and prolonged effort is
inclined to think of the habitual idler. Doro
was like a feather on the warm wind of the South.
He, Artois, was not in the mood just then to bother
about a feather. Still less was he inclined for
companionship. He wanted some hours of complete
rest out in the air, with gay and frivolous scenes
before his eyes.
He wanted to look on, but not to join
in, the merry life that was about him, and that for
so long a time he had almost violently ignored.
He resolved to take a carriage, drive
slowly to Posilipo, and eat his dinner there in some
eyrie above the sea; watching the pageant that unfolds
itself on the evenings of summer about the ristoranti
and the osterie, round the stalls of the vendors of
Fruitti di Mare, and the piano-organs, to
the accompaniment of which impudent men sing love songs
to the saucy, dark-eyed beauties posed upon balconies,
or gathered in knots upon the little terraces that
dominate the bathing establishments, and the distant
traffic of the Bay. His brain longed for rest,
but it longed also for the hum and the stir of men.
His heart lusted for the sight of pleasure, and must
Catching up his hat, almost with the
hasty eagerness of a boy, he went down-stairs.
On the opposite side of the road was a smart little
carriage in which the coachman was asleep, with his
legs cocked up on the driver’s seat, displaying
a pair of startling orange-and-black socks. By
the socks Artois knew his man.
“Pasqualino! Pasqualino!” he cried.
The coachman sprang up, showing a
round, rosy face, and a pair of shrewd, rather small
“Take me to Posilipo.”
Pasqualino cracked his whip vigorously.
“Ah ah! Ah ah!”
he cried to his gayly bedizened little horse, who wore
a long feather on his head, flanked by bunches of artificial
“Not too fast, Pasqualino. I am in no hurry.
Keep along by the sea.”
The coachman let the reins go loose,
and instantly the little horse went slowly, as if
all his spirit and agility had suddenly been withdrawn
“I have not seen you for several days, Signore.
Have you been ill?”
Pasqualino had turned quite round on his box, and
was facing his client.
“No, I’ve been working.”
Pasqualino made a grimace, as he nearly
always did when he heard a rich Signore speak of working.
“And you? You have been
spending money as usual. All your clothes are
Pasqualino smiled, showing rows of
splendid teeth under his little twisted-up mustache.
“Si, Signore, all! And I have also new
He pulled his trousers up to his knees,
showing a pair of pale-blue drawers.
“The suspenders they
are new, Signore!” He drew attention to the
scarlet elastics that kept the orange-and-black socks
in place. “My boots!” He put his
feet up on the box that Artois might see his lemon-colored
boots, then unbuttoned and threw open his waistcoat.
“My shirt is new! My cravat is new!
Look at the pin!” He flourished his plump, brown,
and carefully washed hands. “I have a new
ring.” He bent his head. “My
hat is new.”
Artois broke into a roar of laughter
that seemed to do him good after his days of work.
“You young dandy! And where do you get
Pasqualino looked doleful and hung his head.
“Signore, I am in debt.
But I say to myself, ’Thank the Madonna, I have
a rich and generous Padrone who wishes his coachman
to be chic. When he sees my clothes he will be
contented, and who knows what he will do?’”
“Per Bacco! And who is this rich and generous
“Ma!” Pasqualino passionately
flung out the ringed hand that was not holding the
reins “Ma! you, Signore.”
“You young rascal! Turn round and attend
to your driving!”
But Artois laughed again. The
impudent boyishness of Pasqualino, and his childish
passion for finery, were refreshing, and seemed to
belong to a young and thoughtless world. The
sea-breeze was soft as silk, the afternoon sunshine
was delicately brilliant. The Bay looked as it
often does in summer like radiant liberty
held in happy arms, alluring, full of promises.
And a physical well-being invaded Artois such as he
had not known since the day when he had tea with Vere
upon the island.
He had been shut in. Now the
gates were thrown open, and to what a brilliant world!
He issued forth into it with almost joyous expectation.
They went slowly, and presently drew
near to the Rotonda. Artois leaned a little forward
and saw that the fishermen were at work. They
stood in lines upon the pavement pulling at the immense
nets which were still a long way out to sea.
When the carriage reached them Artois told Pasqualino
to draw up, and sat watching the work and the fierce
energy of the workers. Half naked, with arms
and legs and chests that gleamed in the sun like copper,
they toiled, slanting backward, one towards another,
laughing, shouting, swearing with a sort of almost
angry joy. In their eyes there was a carelessness
that was wild, in their gestures a lack of self-consciousness
that was savage. But they looked like creatures
who must live forever. And to Artois, sedentary
for so long, the sight of them brought a feeling almost
of triumph, but also a sensation of envy. Their
vigor made him pine for movement.
“Drive on slowly, Pasqualino,”
he said. “I will follow you on foot, and
join you at the hill.”
He got out, stood for a moment, then
strolled on towards the Mergellina. As he approached
this part of the town, with its harbor and its population
of fisherfolk, the thought of Ruffo came into his mind.
He remembered that Ruffo lived here. Perhaps
he might see the boy this afternoon.
On the mole that serves as a slight
barrier between the open sea and the snug little harbor
several boys were fishing. Others were bathing,
leaping into the water with shouts from the rocks.
Beyond, upon the slope of dingy sand among the drawn-up
boats, children were playing, the girls generally
separated from the boys. Fishermen, in woolen
shirts and white linen trousers, sat smoking in the
shadow of their craft, or leaned muscular arms upon
them, standing at ease, staring into vacancy or calling
to each other. On the still water there was a
perpetual movement of boats; and from the distance
came a dull but continuous uproar, the yells and the
laughter of hundreds of bathers at the Stabilimento
di Bagni beyond the opposite limit of the
Artois enjoyed the open-air gayety,
the freedom of the scene; and once again, as often
before, found himself thinking that the out-door life,
the life loosed from formal restrictions, was the only
one really and fully worth living. There was
a carelessness, a camaraderie among these people that
was of the essence of humanity. Despite their
frequent quarrels, their intrigues, their betrayals,
their vendettas, they hung together. There
was a true and vital companionship among them.
He passed on with deliberation, observing
closely, yet half-lazily for his brain
was slack and needed rest the different
types about him, musing on the possibilities of their
lives, smiling at the gambols of the intent girls,
and the impudent frolics of the little boys who seemed
the very spawn of sand and sea and sun, till he had
nearly passed the harbor, and was opposite to the
pathway that leads down to the jetty, to the left
of which lie the steam-yachts.
At the entrance to this pathway there
is always a knot of people gathered about the shanty
where the seamen eat maccaroni and strange messes,
and the stands where shell-fish are exposed for sale.
On the far side of the tramway, beneath the tall houses
which are let out in rooms and apartments for families,
there is an open space, and here in summer are set
out quantities of strong tables, at which from noon
till late into the evening the people of Mergellina,
and visitors of the humbler classes from Naples, sit
in merry throngs, eating, smoking, drinking coffee,
syrups, and red and white wine.
Artois stood still for a minute to
watch them, to partake from a distance, and unknown
to them, in their boisterous gayety. He had lit
a big cigar, and puffed at it as his eyes roved from
group to group, resting now on a family party, now
on a quartet of lovers, now on two stout men obviously
trying to drive a bargain with vigorous rhetoric and
emphatic gestures, now on an elderly woman in a shawl
spending an hour with her soldier son in placid silence,
now on some sailors from a ship in the distant port
by the arsenal bent over a game of cards, or a party
of workmen talking wages or politics in their shirt-sleeves
with flowers above their ears.
What a row they made, these people!
Their animation was almost like the animation of a
nightmare. Some were ugly, some looked wicked;
others mischievous, sympathetic, coarse, artful, seductive,
boldly defiant or boisterously excited. But however
much they differed, in one quality they were nearly
all alike. They nearly all looked vivid.
If they lacked anything, at least it was not life.
Even their sorrows should be energetic.
As this thought came into his mind
Artois’ eyes chanced to rest on two people sitting
a little apart at a table on which stood a coffee-cup,
a thick glass half full of red wine, and a couple of
tumblers of water. One was a woman, the other yes,
the other was Ruffo.
When Artois realized this he kept
his eyes upon them. He forgot his interest in
At first he could only see Ruffo’s
side-face. But the woman was exactly opposite
She was neatly dressed in some dark
stuff, and wore a thin shawl, purple in color, over
her shoulders. She looked middle-aged. Had
she been an Englishwoman Artois would have guessed
her to be near fifty. But as she was evidently
a Southerner it was possible that she was very much
younger. Her figure was broad and matronly.
Her face, once probably quite pretty was lined, and
had the battered and almost corrugated look that the
faces of Italian women of the lower classes often reveal
when the years begin to increase upon them. The
cheek-bones showed harshly in it, by the long and
dark eyes, which were surrounded by little puckers
of yellow flesh. But Artois’ attention was
held not by this woman’s quite ordinary appearance,
but by her manner. Like the people about her
she was vivacious, but her vivacity was tragic she
had not come here to be gay. Evidently she was
in the excitement of some great grief or passion.
She was speaking vehemently to Ruffo, gesticulating
with her dark hands, on which there were two or three
cheap rings, catching at her shawl, swaying her body,
nodding her head, on which the still black hair was
piled in heavy masses. And her face was distorted
by an emotion that seemed of sorrow and anger mingled.
In her ears, pretty and almost delicate in contrast
to the ruggedness of her face, were large gold rings,
such as Sicilian women often wear. They swayed
in response to her perpetual movements. Artois
watched her lips as they opened and shut, were compressed
or thrust forward, watched her white teeth gleaming.
She lifted her two hands, doubled into fists, till
they were on a level with her shoulders, shook them
vehemently, then dashed them down on the table.
The coffee-cup was overturned. She took no notice
of it. She was heedless of everything but the
subject which evidently obsessed her.
The boy, Ruffo, sat quite still listening
to her. His attitude was calm. Now and then
he sipped his wine, and presently he took from his
pocket a cigarette, lighted it carefully, and began
to smoke. There was something very boyish and
happy-go-lucky in his attitude and manner. Evidently,
Artois thought, he was very much at home with this
middle-aged woman. Probably her vehemence was
to him an every-day affair. She laid one hand
on his arm and bent forward. He slightly shrugged
his shoulders and shook his head. She kept her
hand on his arm, went on talking passionately, and
suddenly began to weep. Tears rushed out of her
eyes. Then the boy took her hand gently, stroked
it, and began to speak to her, always keeping her
hand in his. The woman, with a despairing movement,
laid her face down on the table, with her forehead
touching the wood. Then she lifted it up.
The paroxysm seemed to have passed. She took
out a handkerchief from inside the bodice of her dress
and dried her eyes. Ruffo struck the table with
his glass. An attendant came. He paid the
bill, and the woman and he got up to go. As they
did so Ruffo presented for a moment his full face
to Artois, and Artois swiftly compared it with the
face of the woman, and felt sure that they were mother
Artois moved on towards the hill of
Posilipo, but after taking a few steps turned to look
back. The woman and Ruffo had come into the road
by the tram-line. They stood there for a moment,
talking. Then Ruffo crossed over to the path,
and the woman went away slowly towards the Rotonda.
Seeing Ruffo alone Artois turned to go back, thinking
to have a word with the boy. But before he could
reach him he saw a man step out from behind the wooden
shanty of the fishermen and join him.
This man was Gaspare.
Ruffo and Gaspare strolled slowly
away towards the jetty where the yachts lie, and presently
Artois found Pasqualino waiting for
him rather impatiently not far from the entrance to
the Scoglio di Frisio.
“I thought you were dead, Signore,”
he remarked, as Artois came up.
“I was watching the people.”
He got into the carriage.
“They are canaglia,”
said Pasqualino, with the profound contempt of the
Neapolitan coachman for those who get their living
by the sea. He lived at Fuorigrotta, and thought
Mergellina a place of outer darkness.
“I like them,” returned Artois.
“You don’t know them,
Signore. I say they are canaglia.
Where shall I drive you?”
Artois hesitated, passing in mental
review the various ristoranti on the hill.
“Take me to the Ristorante
della Stella,” he said, at length.
Pasqualino cracked his whip, and drove
once more merrily onward.
When Artois came to the ristorante,
which was perched high up on the side of the road
farthest from the sea, he had almost all the tables
to choose from, as it was still early in the evening,
and in the summer the Neapolitans who frequent the
more expensive restaurants usually dine late.
He sat down at a table in the open air close to the
railing, from which he could see a grand view of the
Bay, as well as all that was passing on the road beneath,
and ordered a dinner to be ready in half an hour.
He was in no hurry, and wanted to finish his cigar.
There was a constant traffic below.
The tram-bell sounded its reiterated signal to the
crowds of dusty pedestrians to clear the way.
Donkeys toiled upward, drawing carts loaded with vegetables
and fruit. Animated young men, wearing tiny straw
hats cocked impertinently to one side, drove frantically
by in light gigs that looked like the skeletons of
carriages, holding a rein in each hand, pulling violently
at their horses’ mouths, and shouting “Ah ah!”
as if possessed of the devil. Smart women made
the evening “Passeggiata” in landaus
and low victorias, wearing flamboyant hats, and
gazing into the eyes of the watching men ranged along
the low wall on the sea-side with a cool steadiness
that was almost Oriental. Some of them were talking.
But by far the greater number leaned back almost immobile
against their cushions; and their pale faces showed
nothing but the languid consciousness of being observed
and, perhaps, desired. Stout Neapolitan fathers,
with bulging eyes, immense brown cheeks, and peppery
mustaches, were promenading with their children and
little dogs, looking lavishly contented with themselves.
Young girls went primly past, holding their narrow,
well-dressed heads with a certain virginal stiffness
that was yet not devoid of grace, and casting down
eyes that were supposed not yet to be enlightened.
Their governesses and duennas accompanied them.
Barefooted brown children darted in and out, dodging
pedestrians and horses. Priests and black-robed
students chattered vivaciously. School-boys with
peaked caps hastened homeward. The orphans from
Queen Margherita’s Home, higher up the hill,
marched sturdily through the dust to the sound of a
boyish but desperately martial music. It was a
wonderfully vivid world, but the eyes of Artois wandered
away from it, over the terraces, the houses, and the
tree-tops. Their gaze dropped down to the sea.
Far off, Capri rose out of the light mist produced
by the heat. And beyond was Sicily.
Why had that woman, Ruffo’s
mother, wept just now? What was her tragedy?
he wondered. Accurately he recalled her face,
broad now, and seamed with the wrinkles brought by
trouble and the years.
He recalled, too, Ruffo’s attitude
as the boy listened to her vehement, her almost violent
harangue. How boyish, how careless it had been yet
not unkind or even disrespectful, only wonderfully
natural and wonderfully young.
“He was the deathless boy.”
Suddenly those words started into
Artois’ mind. Had he read them somewhere?
For a moment he wondered. Or had he heard them?
They seemed to suggest speech, a voice whose intonations
he knew. His mind was still fatigued by work,
and would not be commanded by his will. Keeping
his eyes fixed on the ethereal outline of Capri, he
strove to remember, to find the book which had contained
these words and given them to his eyes, or the voice
that had spoken them and given them to his ears.
“He was the deathless boy.”
A piano-organ struck up below him,
a little way up the hill to the right, and above its
hard accompaniment there rose a powerful tenor voice
singing. The song must have been struck forcibly
upon some part of his brain that was sleeping, must
have summoned it to activity. For instantly,
ere the voice had sung the first verse, he saw imaginatively
a mountain top in Sicily, evening light such
as was then shining over and transfiguring Capri and
a woman, Hermione. And he heard her voice, very
soft, with a strange depth and stillness in it, saying
those words: “He was the deathless boy.”
Of course! How could he have
forgotten? They had been said of Maurice Delarey.
And now idly, strangely, he had recalled them as he
thought of Ruffo’s young and careless attitude
by the table of the ristorante that afternoon.
The waiter, coming presently to bring
the French Signore the plate of oysters from Fusaro,
which he had ordered as the prelude to his dinner,
was surprised by the deep gravity of his face, and
“Don’t you like ‘A
Mergellina,’ Signore? We are all mad about
it. And it won the first prize at last year’s
festa of Piedigrotta.”
exclaimed Artois, as if startled. “What? no yes.
I like it. It’s a capital song. Lemon?
That’s right and red pepper.
And he bent over his plate rather
hurriedly and began to eat.
The piano-organ and the singing voice
died away down the hill, going towards Mergellina.
But the effect, curious and surely
unreasonable, of the song remained. Often, while
he ate, Artois turned his eyes towards the mountain
of Capri, and each time that he did so he saw, beyond
it and its circling sea, Sicily, Monte Amato, the
dying lights on Etna, the evening star above its plume
of smoke, the figure of a woman set in the shadow of
her sorrow, yet almost terribly serene; and then another
woman, sitting at a table, vehemently talking, then
bowing down her head passionately as if in angry grief.
When he had finished his dinner the
sun had set, and night had dropped down softly over
the Bay. Capri had disappeared. The long
serpent of lights had uncoiled itself along the sea.
Down below, very far down, there was the twang and
the thin, acute whine of guitars and mandolines,
the throbbing cry of Southern voices. The stars
were out in a deep sky of bloomy purple. There
was no chill in the air, but a voluptuous, brooding
warmth, that shed over the city and the waters a luxurious
benediction, giving absolution, surely, to all the
sins, to all the riotous follies of the South.
Artois rested his arms on the balustrade.
The ristorante was nearly full
now, gay with lights and with a tempest of talk.
The waiter came to ask if the Signore would take coffee.
Artois hesitated a moment, then shook
his head. He realized that his nerves had been
tried enough in these last days and nights. He
must let them rest for a while.
The waiter went away, and he turned
once more towards the sea. To-night he felt the
wonder of Italy, of this part of the land and of its
people, as he had not felt it before, in a new and,
as it seemed to him, a mysterious way. A very
modern man and, in his art, a realist, to-night there
was surely something very young alert within him, something
of vague sentimentality that was like an echo from
Byronic days. He felt over-shadowed, but not
unpleasantly, by a dim and exquisite melancholy, in
which he thought of nature and of human nature pathetically,
linking them together; those singing voices with the
stars, the women who leaned on balconies to listen
with the sea that was murmuring below them, the fishermen
upon that sea with the deep and marvellous sky that
watched their labors.
In a beautiful and almost magical
sadness he too was one with the night, this night
in Italy. It held him softly in its arms.
A golden sadness streamed from the stars. The
voices below expressed it. The fishermen’s
torches in the Bay, those travelling lights that are
as the eyes of the South searching for charmed things
in secret places, lifted the sorrows of earth towards
the stars, and they were golden too. There was
a joy even in the tears wept on such a night as this.
He loved detail. It was, perhaps,
his fault to love it too much. But now he realized
that the magician, Night, knew better than he what
were the qualities of perfection. She had changed
Naples into a diaper of jewels sparkling softly in
the void. He knew that behind that lacework of
jewels there were hotels, gaunt and discolored houses
full of poverty, shame, and wickedness, galleries
in which men hunted the things that gratify their
lusts, alleys infected with disease and filth indescribable.
He knew it, but he no longer felt it. The glamour
of the magician was upon him. Perhaps behind
the stars there were terrors, too. But who, looking
upon them, could believe it? Detail might create
a picture; its withdrawal let in upon the soul the
spirit light of the true magic.
It was a mistake to search too much,
to draw too near, to seek always to see clearly.
The Night taught that in Italy, and
many things not to be clothed with words.
Reluctantly at last he lifted his
arms from the balcony rail and got up to leave the
restaurant. He dreaded the bustle of the street.
As he came out into it he heard the sharp “Ting!
Ting!” of a tram-bell higher up the hill, and
stepped aside to let the tram go by. Idly he looked
at it as it approached. He was still in the vague,
the almost sentimental mood that had come upon him
with the night. The tram came up level with him
and slipped slowly by. There was a number of people
in it, but on the last seat one woman sat alone.
He saw her clearly as she passed, and recognized Hermione.
She did not see him. She was looking straight
A shower of objurgations in the Neapolitan
dialect fell upon Artois from the box of a carriage
coming up the hill. He jumped back and gained
the path. There again he stood still. The
sweet and half-melancholy vagueness had quite left
him now. The sight of his friend had swept it
away. Why was she going to Mergellina at that
hour? And why did she look like that?
And he thought of the expression he
had seen on her face as the tram slipped by, an expression
surely of excitement; but also a furtive expression.
Artois had seen Hermione in all her
moods, and hers was a very changeful face. But
never before had he seen her look furtive. Nor
could he have conceived it possible that she could
Perhaps the lights had deceived him.
And he had only seen her for an instant.
But why was she going to Mergellina?
Then suddenly it occurred to him that
she might be going to Naples, not to Mergellina at
all. He knew no reason why her destination should
be Mergellina. He began to walk down the hill
rather quickly. Some hundreds of yards below
the Ristorante della Stella there is
a narrow flight of steps between high walls and houses,
which leads eventually down to the sea at a point
where there are usually two or three boats waiting
for hire. Artois, when he started, had no intention
of going to sea that night, but when he reached the
steps he paused, and finally turned from the path
and began to descend them.
He had realized that he was really
in pursuit, and abruptly relinquished his purpose.
Why should he wish to interfere with an intention of
Hermione’s that night?
He would return to Naples by sea.
As he came in sight of the water there
rose up to him in a light tenor voice a melodious
He answered the call.
The sailor who was below came gayly to meet him.
“It is a lovely night for the
Signore. I could take the Signore to Sorrento
or to Capri to-night.”
He held Artois by the right arm, gently
assisting him into the broad-bottomed boat.
“I only want to go to Naples.”
“To which landing, Signore?”
“The Vittoria. But
go quietly and keep near the shore. Go round as
near as you can to the Mergellina.”
“Va bene, Signore.”
They slipped out, with a delicious,
liquid sound, upon the moving silence of the sea.