The Nabob eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 527 pages of information about The Nabob.

Pozzonegro—­near Sartene.

At last I can give you my news, dear M. Joyeuse.  During the five days we have been in Corsica we have rushed about so much, made so many speeches, so often changed carriages and mounts—­now on mules, now on asses, or even on the backs of men for crossing the torrents—­written so many letters, noted so many requests, visited so many schools, presented chasubles, altar-cloths, renewed cracked bells, and founded kindergartens; we have inaugurated so many things, proposed so many toasts, listened to so many harangues, consumed so much Talano wine and white cheese, that I have not found time to send even a greeting to the little family circle round the big table, from which I have been missing these two months.  Happily my absence will not be for much longer, as we expect to leave the day after to-morrow, and are coming straight back to Paris.  From the electioneering point of view, I think our journey has been a success.  Corsica is an admirable country, indolent and poor, a mixture of poverty and pride, which makes both the nobles and the middle classes strive to keep up an appearance of easy circumstances at the price of the most painful privations.  They speak quite seriously of Popolasca’s fortune—­that needy deputy whom death robbed of the four thousand pounds his resignation in favour of the Nabob would have brought him.  All these people have, as well, an administrative mania, a thirst for places which give them any sort of uniform, and a cap to wear with the words “Government official” written on it.  If you gave a Corsican peasant the choice between the richest farm in France and the shabbiest sword-belt of a village policeman, he would not hesitate and would take the belt.  In that conditions of things, you may imagine what chances of election a candidate has who can dispose of a personal fortune and the Government favours.  Thus, M. Jansoulet will be elected; and especially if he succeeds in his present undertaking, which has brought us here to the only inn of a little place called Pozzonegro (black well).  It is a regular well, black with foliage, consisting of fifty small red-stone houses clustered round a long Italian church, at the bottom of a ravine between rigid hills and coloured sandstone rocks, over which stretch immense forests of larch and juniper trees.  From my open window, at which I am writing, I see up above there a bit of blue sky, the orifice of the well; down below on the little square—­which a huge nut-tree shades as though the shadows were not already thick enough—­two shepherds clothed in sheep-skins are playing at cards, with their elbows on the stone of a fountain.  Gambling is the bane of this land of idleness, where they get men from Lucca to do their harvesting.  The two poor wretches I see probably haven’t a farthing between them, but one bets his knife against a cheese wrapped up in vine leaves, and the stakes lie between them on the bench.  A little priest smokes his cigar as he watches them, and seems to take the liveliest interest in their game.

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The Nabob from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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