“I would like to be,” she continued pensively, “one of those animals of the sea that can cut with their claws, that have arms like scissors, saws, pincers ... that devour their own kind, and absorb everything around them.”
Then she looked at the branch of a tree from which were hanging several silver threads, sustaining insects with active tentacles.
“I would like to be a spider, an enormous spider, that all men might be drawn to my web as irresistibly as flies. With what satisfaction would I crunch them between my claws! How I would fasten my mouth against their hearts!... And I would suck them.... I would suck them until there wasn’t a drop of blood left, tossing away then their empty carcasses!...”
Ulysses began to wonder if he had fallen in love with a crazy woman. His disquietude, his surprise and questioning eyes gradually restored Freya’s serenity.
She passed one hand across her forehead, as though awakening from a nightmare and wishing to banish remembrance with this gesture. Her glance became calmer.
“Good-by, Ferragut; do not make me talk any more. You will soon doubt my reason.... You are doing so already. We shall be friends, just friends and nothing more. It is useless to think of anything else.... Do not follow me.... We shall see each other.... I shall hunt you up.... Good-by!... Good-by!”
And although Ferragut felt tempted to follow her, he remained motionless, seeing her hurry rapidly away, as though fleeing from the words that she had just let fall before the little temple of the poet.
THE AQUARIUM OF NAPLES
In spite of her promise, Freya made no effort to meet the sailor. “We shall see each other.... I shall hunt you up.” But it was Ferragut who did the hunting, stationing himself around the hotel.
“How crazy I was the other morning!... I wonder what you could have thought of me!” she said the first time that she spoke to him again.
Not every day did Ulysses have the pleasure of a conversation which invariably developed from the Via Partenope to Virgil’s monument. The most of the mornings he used to wait in vain opposite the oyster stands, listening to the musicians who were bombarding the closed windows of the hotel with their sentimental romances and mandolins. Freya would not appear.
His impatience usually dragged Ulysses back to the hotel in order to beg information of the porter. Animated by the hope of a new bill, the flunkey would go to the telephone and inquire of the servants on the upper floor. And then with a sad and obsequious smile, as though lamenting his own words: “The signora is not in. The signora has passed the night outside of the albergo.” And Ferragut would go away furious.