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PIAZZA SAN NlCOLO Longtemps je me suis couche de bonne heure* the house full of grilles and distrust when you examine it closely in its dark corners— "For years I used to go to bed early," it whispers "I would gaze at the picture of Hylas and the picture of Mary Magdalene* before saying goodnight. I would gaze at the white light of the candelabra the glistening metal, and it would be difficult for me to leave the last voices of day." The house, when you examine its old cornices closely, wakens with a mother's footsteps on the stairs the hand that arranges the covers or fixes the mosquito net the lips that put out the candle's flame. And all this is an old story that no longer interests anyone; we've hardened our hearts and grown up. The mountain's coolness never descends lower than the bell-tower that counts out the hours in monologue, as we observe 109 when aunt Daria Dimietrovna nee Trofimovitch comes into the courtyard of an afternoon. The mountain's coolness never touches the steady hand of St. Nicholas nor the druggist who looks out between a red and black sphere like a petrified transatlantic liner. To find the mountain's coolness you must climb higher than the bell-tower and the hand of St. Nicholas about 70 or 80 meters higher, nothing really. Yet there you whisper as you would when going to bed early and in the ease of sleep the bitterness of separation would disappear not many words, one or two only and that's enough since the water rolls on and they're not afraid it will stop you whisper resting your head on a friend's shoulder as though you hadn't grown up in the silent house with faces that became heavy and made us awkward strangers. Yet there, a little higher than the bell-tower, your life changes. It's no great matter to climb up but it's very difficult for you to change when the house is in the stone church and your heart in the darkening house and all the doors locked by the huge hand of St. Nicholas. Pelion—Koritsa, summer-fall '37 HO ...


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