Inn of Tranquillity eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 51 pages of information about Inn of Tranquillity.

THE INN OF TRANQUILLITY

Under a burning blue sky, among the pine-trees and junipers, the cypresses and olives of that Odyssean coast, we came one afternoon on a pink house bearing the legend:  “Osteria di Tranquillita,”; and, partly because of the name, and partly because we did not expect to find a house at all in those goat-haunted groves above the waves, we tarried for contemplation.  To the familiar simplicity of that Italian building there were not lacking signs of a certain spiritual change, for out of the olive-grove which grew to its very doors a skittle-alley had been formed, and two baby cypress-trees were cut into the effigies of a cock and hen.  The song of a gramophone, too, was breaking forth into the air, as it were the presiding voice of a high and cosmopolitan mind.  And, lost in admiration, we became conscious of the odour of a full-flavoured cigar.  Yes—­in the skittle-alley a gentleman was standing who wore a bowler hat, a bright brown suit, pink tie, and very yellow boots.  His head was round, his cheeks fat and well-coloured, his lips red and full under a black moustache, and he was regarding us through very thick and half-closed eyelids.

Perceiving him to be the proprietor of the high and cosmopolitan mind, we accosted him.

“Good-day!” he replied:  “I spik English.  Been in Amurrica yes.”

“You have a lovely place here.”

Sweeping a glance over the skittle-alley, he sent forth a long puff of smoke; then, turning to my companion (of the politer sex) with the air of one who has made himself perfect master of a foreign tongue, he smiled, and spoke.

“Too-quiet!”

“Precisely; the name of your inn, perhaps, suggests——­”

“I change all that—­soon I call it Anglo-American hotel.”

“Ah! yes; you are very up-to-date already.”

He closed one eye and smiled.

Having passed a few more compliments, we saluted and walked on; and, coming presently to the edge of the cliff, lay down on the thyme and the crumbled leaf-dust.  All the small singing birds had long been shot and eaten; there came to us no sound but that of the waves swimming in on a gentle south wind.  The wanton creatures seemed stretching out white arms to the land, flying desperately from a sea of such stupendous serenity; and over their bare shoulders their hair floated back, pale in the sunshine.  If the air was void of sound, it was full of scent—­that delicious and enlivening perfume of mingled gum, and herbs, and sweet wood being burned somewhere a long way off; and a silky, golden warmth slanted on to us through the olives and umbrella pines.  Large wine-red violets were growing near.  On such a cliff might Theocritus have lain, spinning his songs; on that divine sea Odysseus should have passed.  And we felt that presently the goat-god must put his head forth from behind a rock.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Inn of Tranquillity from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook