“I’ll tell you anything you want to hear,” said Emilia.
He enjoined her to begin from the beginning.
“Everything about myself?” she asked.
“Everything. I have your permission to smoke?”
Emilia smiled. “I wish I had some Italian cigars to give you. My father sometimes has plenty given to him.”
Wilfrid did not contemplate his havannah with less favour.
“Now,” said Emilia, taking a last sniff of the flowers before surrendering her nostril to the invading smoke. She looked at the scene fronting her under a blue sky with slow flocks of clouds: “How I like this!” she exclaimed. “I almost forget that I long for Italy, here.”
Beyond a plot of flowers, a gold-green meadow dipped to a ridge of gorse bordered by dark firs and the tips of greenest larches.
“My father is one of the most wonderful men in the whole world!”
Wilfrid lifted an eyelid.
“He is one of the first-violins at the Italian Opera!”
The gallant cornet’s critical appreciation of this impressive announcement was expressed in a spiral ebullition of smoke from his mouth.
“He is such a proud man! And I don’t wonder at that: he has reason to be proud.”
Again Wilfrid lifted an eyelid, and there is no knowing but that ideas of a connection with foreign Counts, Cardinals, and Princes passed hopefully through him.
“Would you believe that he is really the own nephew of Andronizetti!”
“Deuce he is!” said Wilfrid, in a mist. “Which one?”
Wilfrid emitted more smoke.
“Who composed—how I love him!—that lovely “la, la, la, la,” and the “te-de, ta-da, te-dio,” that pleases you, out of “Il Maladetto.” And I am descended from him! Let me hope I shall not be unworthy of him. You will never tell it till people think as much of me, or nearly. My father says I shall never be so great, because I am half English. It’s not my fault. My mother was English. But I feel that I am much more Italian than English. How I long for Italy—like a thing underground! My father did something against the Austrians, when he was a young man. Would not I have done it? I am sure I would—I don’t know what. Whenever I think of Italy, night or day, pant-pant goes my heart. The name of Italy is my nightingale: I feel that somebody lives that I love, and is ill-treated shamefully, crying out to me for help. My father had to run away to save his life. He was fifteen days lying in the rice-fields to escape from the soldiers—which makes me hate a white coat. There was my father; and at night he used to steal out to one of the villages, where was a good, true woman—so they are, most, in Italy! She gave him food; maize-bread and wine, sometimes meat; sometimes a bottle of good wine. When my father thinks of it he cries, if