They walked slowly back towards the villa in silence. Lady Bexbury was conversing of novels with a well-looking fellow of middle years, that to Beauf’s astonishment spoke English with a somewhat Cockney accent though he was as bronzed as any Neapolitan. She made introductions and Beauf apprehended that this was Traversini’s dear companion. Should be entire ecstatic, said Lady Bexbury, would you stay to dine the e’en. Although Beauf felt that all he wanted to do was to return to Naples and brood in his room, or if Julius was around, tell him what had passed, he could not refuse.
Sure it was a very fine dinner, especial had they not been expecting any company. When they had finished, and night had fallen, Lady Bexbury offered that the sight of fireflies among the olive trees was most exceeding pretty, why did Flora not take His Lordship to see 'em? Flora bit her lip, then smiled and said, sure 'tis indeed the prettiest thing, let us go view 'em. And somehow, as they walked towards the olive grove, their hands found one another. Over there, said Flora, that quite menacing red glow? 'Tis the burning mountain Vesuvius: here are lesser fires.
She gestured towards the little sparks of light darting among the olive trees. Indeed 'twas a most exquisite pretty sight. He turned towards Flora and saw his own pleasure mirrored on her face. Mayhap it was the romantic setting; mayhap the excellent wine they had drunk had somewhat to do with it; but he put his arms around her and kissed her as no decent man should kiss a respectable young women before they had reached an understanding. And Flora kissed him back as no respectable young woman should kiss a man that had not already spoke to her papa.
At length they drew away from one another. Beauf began stammering an apology: oh, fie, said Flora, you must have apprehended that I too was quite overcome. She looked down at the ground. 'Twas most exceeding pleasant, I liked it quite extremely, should greatly desire to do it again: but, dearest Beauf, 'twould not be right. I hope, said Beauf, I should not take advantage of your kindness - Flora looked up with a bewitching smile and said, sure I have the greatest confidence in your honour. But m – my godmother has conveyed to me certain matters concerning the sexes –
And, said Flora, drawing herself up and looking like a small Valkyrie, I daresay there are those would condemn her for sullying my maiden innocence or some such nonsense, but I find myself in entire agreement with her that 'tis a shocking thing the way young women are kept in ignorance of matters so very material to their lives and happiness. Why, said Beauf, I fancy my stepmother would be in agreement with such arguments. And when one goes ponder over the topic, 'twould at least be prudent were young women given some warning concerning how some men carry on.
Flora gave another of her enchanting smiles and said, but she avers that young women should also be informed about their own natures: and that they should know that they may find that there is a traitor within the citadel that undermines their resistance to a siege. Beauf looked at her and considered upon this – was it a confession? – that she too felt ardours that might lead them into most improper conduct together. Indeed, Flora said more soberly, I come to an apprehension of her meaning. But she says, too, that does not always import for better for worse &C.
We had better, said Flora, be returning to the villa. She sighed. Flora, said Beauf, dearest Flora, at least say that I may speak again, when we are back in Town and not beguiled by romantic surroundings. She sighed again. You may, dearest Beauf: perchance we may find that 'twas entirely a glamour and you may go find one more apt to duchessing than I. I do not think so, he said. In all our travels have seen none that moves me as much as you. Flora made a little noise, almost a sob, and then turned towards the villa.
The coachman was mayhap a little displeased at being routed out from the kitchen and flirtatious conversation with the buxom Giulia, no hag-like sorceress. But he went ready the horses, and Beauf took his leave of Lady Bexbury and Alf, bowed over Flora’s hand. As he mounted to the carriage, and it began to drive away, he glimpsed, through a window, the fleeting sight of Flora kneeling by her godmother’s chair, her head in her lap, Lady Bexbury stroking the golden curls. Beauf thought that he would have welcomed an attack by banditti as a distraction from his troubled thoughts.
There were no untoward happenings on the road back to Naples. At their lodgings, he found Julius alone – he had not expected Bobbie to be in, but Quintus had regular habits. Is a dinner of some medical club or such, said Julius, seeing Beauf look around, that Quintus was invited to. But, dear friend, you look troubled. Oh, Julius, sighed Beauf, going to sit beside him upon the chaise-longue, indeed I am troubled, for Flora – was’t another woman I would say, goes play the coquette, but 'tis not Flora’s way – Julius put an arm around Beauf in the old way.
Beauf rested his head upon Julius’ shoulder, thinking of all the times they had comforted one another. He was blessed in having such a friend. Surely marriage, especially marriage to Flora, whose own dearest friend was Julius’ sister Hannah, would not come between? Julius remarked that he was going to see a very fine garden the morrow, would Beauf care to come? Indeed he had not seen so much of Julius lately, would be most agreeable to spend time in one another’s company. That would be exceeding pleasant, he said, do you desire my company. How not, said Julius, smiling.
No doubt Lady Bexbury apprehended something of his reason for the visit: very shortly she said, I daresay you have come see Flora. At present I confide she goes walk in the olive groves – Alone? cried Beauf. La, she is as safe here as she would be at home. There will be none to come trouble her: 'tis most exceeding useful to have a cook in the place that is give out a strega and able to cast heavy curses upon trespassers &C, even is Giulia not so powerful a one as Guiseppina, that was her aunt, used to be.
Beauf blinked: he would have liked to know more of the matter – surely Lady Bexbury did not believe in witchcraft? 'Tis a useful superstition, she said smiling. But away to the olive groves – she waved in their direction. He bowed over his hand and went where she pointed. Sure olive trees were a very picturesque sight – he wondered whether there were artists had painted them – but even more delightful was the sight of Flora Ferraby, in a becoming light gown, a wide-brimmed hat upon her head, carrying a parasol. Why, Beauf! she cried, almost running towards him. Such a pleasure.
Flora dropped her parasol and clasped his hands in hers. Sure 'tis good to see you, she said. And are the others here as well? They remain at Naples, he said, looking down at her: perchance she had neglected one day to carry her parasol or put on her hat, for she was a little browned by the sun: however unfashionable, 'twas exceeding becoming. But, she said, tell me all of what you have been at, for Quintus’ letters only recount such and such an operation he saw, or some anatomical demonstration he attended. We have been here some while.
So, finding her hand remaining in his, he walked with her among the olive trees and told her of their adventures since Venice. But, he said, did she not go about a good deal in Society at Naples? He had been surprized to hear no reports of the bella signorina Ferraby and sighings over her. La, said Flora, we live here most agreeable quiet, sure I became somewhat jaded with the pursuit of pleasure, and sure these Italians are excessive amorous and given to jealousy, 'tis exceeding tiresome when they brangle over whether I go favour one more than another.
But is it not a little dull? Beauf asked. As I collect you have no great interest in painting water-colours, that one might well wish to undertake in such fine scenery did one have the skill. Indeed 'tis not, said Flora. My dear – my godmother is quite the finest company, there is an excellent fine library with a deal of English books in the place, Marcello is entire happy to escort me on excursions to classical antiquities &C – fie, I suppose I should say Signor Traversini, but I catch the habit of informality from Her Ladyship’s old acquaintance of him.
Also, she went on, there is excellent fine conversation of an e’en: Marcello and Alf are quite the greatest friends of Mr MacDonald, in constant correspondence, sure 'tis good serious discourse such as I have been feeling the want of. For from early years I was used to hear Papa and Mama and their company talk of matters in Parliament, and questions of business, and it feels home-like. And oh, have you heard? Papa goes be knighted. Entire well-deserved, said Beauf, my father the Duke holds him in quite the greatest esteem. Oh, 'tis an entire mutual esteem, said Flora.
Beauf looked down at Flora. He had seen more beautiful women, women with all the feminine arts of flirtation, but none of them had affected him as Flora did. Oh Flora, he said, I find myself in an ever-increasing fondness for you, sure I cannot suppose my father would make a deal of a fuss whosoever my choice lighted upon, he is not that kind, but I confide he would welcome a closer union with your family, there could be no objection, indeed I hazard 'twould delight my stepmother. Dear Flora, I should be honoured would you be my wife.
Flora dropped her head and gazed at the ground, and let her hand slip out of his. Oh Beauf, she said after what seemed like an exceeding lengthy silence, sure I am entire aware of the great honour you do me, and indeed I find myself in great liking towards you. But, she said, and then paused again. I know, she began again, that 'tis considered quite the highest achievement of a young lady to attach a fellow of your rank; but – oh, dearest Beauf – 'tis that matter of rank and being a Duchess in due course, gives me pause.
Why, you could not but adorn such a position, cried Beauf. Indeed, replied Flora, I hope that did it come to it I should do all that was proper: but I am in some concern that I should find it most immense tedious. There are duties and responsibilities, and sure I think some of 'em I could contrive to quite well. But I think of all the doing the polite, and making agreeable, and sure I do not attain to have my – godmother’s capacity to smile upon bores and laugh at weak jests, I entire lack her skills of diplomacy.
I see, said Beauf, that I have come about the matter very abrupt – 'twas not thus that I meant to proceed, but it has been on my mind ever since Venice, that I have seen no woman that I like so much as you and that I should desire to be wedlocked with. Flora gave him a wistful little smile and said that sure they were still yet young and perchance 'twas an entire glamour cast by these romantic parts, and mayhap did they go look at one another on a chill foggy day in Town, 'twould be another tale.
The season of fests & exchanges is picking up speed, so we reformat the Sutcliff Monthly Challenge for your convenience. Do you have a fest/exchange assignment for a Sutcliff canon? Are you looking for plot bunnies, title ideas, or just a little special something to add zest to your story or artwork? Browse these prompt entries to your heart's content! Get your groove for historical and pseudohistorical fiction!
You are welcome to drop an anonymous note here with your feedback, or a (possibly anonymous) link to your posted work, or a signed comment linking to your work that was (maybe a little) inspired by these prompts after the reveals. And if these happen to help someone with a non-Sutcliff work - we are happy to hear from you as well. Have fun!
Onwards, to the CORNUCOPIA OF IDEAS.
( Quotes )
Julius had always been there, from the days of the Raxdell House nursery-set. It had been Julius to whom he had disclosed, weeping, how very dreadful he had found his early days at Eton. They had shared boyish explorations of their changing bodies. But that was – according to the way of boys, was it not? not continued into maturity. And yet: had not his father spoken to him of the exceeding cruelty of the law regarding the carnal commerce of man with man? And the terrible popular prejudices that affected the ability to alter that law? So there were fellows –
It was somewhere between a joke and a proverb among their circle that, did you find yourself in puzzlement about anything that was a matter to do with people and the relations between them, the person to apply to for enlightenment was Lady Bexbury. If she did not see at once what was ado, she had an uncanny capacity to find out. He should ask her, when next he went to take tea at their lodgings: but preferably when Flora was elsewhere. Even if Flora had often snorted about the ridiculous desire of Society to keep young women entire innocent.
La, said Lady Bexbury, pouring Beauf tea, sure I have known Marcello this age, was a protégé of the late Marquess my husband, had him educated &C. And indeed he is of the disposition, that is what we say for fellows that incline to their own sex – though there are some that will incline to both - but he would not do any harm to a fellow; has a dear companion that remains at their villa near Naples. Would not force himself upon one unwilling. 'Tis entire the case that such fellows may manifest quite the finest mutual affection.
What Beauf could not ask Lady Bexbury – not yet, it might come to it – was why he, himself, should feel something very like unto jealousy at how very impressed Julius showed with Marcello Traversini? Perchance it was because he had always supposed himself Julius’ preferred friend just as Julius was his. But lately it seemed that Julius was ever about some expedition with the Italian, showing little interest in the various doings of Beauf and the others. But, he thought, we all go our own ways: sure Quintus has the entrée to dissections &C, that one would not wish to attend.
As a result of these puzzlings, Beauf had not made any declaration to Flora by the time all came to depart from Venice. Their paths lay in different directions, but all would remeet in due course in Naples. Julius showed some inclination to go with Lady Bexbury’s party, but then minded that he had the entrée to see certain gardens, and introductions to horticulturalists and botanists that 'twould be uncivil to cut. Beauf recollected what his stepmother would say about sorting her thoughts and giving matters time and determined to see how time and absence affected his feelings for Flora.
Although there were further adventures and escapades while travelling south, Beauf did not find himself forgetting Flora or dismissing their time together in Venice as a mere flirtation, inspired by the romantic spirit of the place. Rather he found himself considering that there were entire prudential arguments for the match. While the Ferrabys were not of aristocratic stock, they were wealthy, very well-thought-of, widely received in Society: Lord Nuttenford had had no objections to Harry’s suit to his youngest sister. They were quite the greatest friends of his own parents. His stepmother would delight in such a lively intelligent daughter-in-law.
It almost came to a quarrel one day betwixt Beauf and Bobbie, when the latter remarked thoughtfully that not only did one confide that Miss Ferraby would come exceeding well-dowered, surely Lady Bexbury was likely to do something very handsome for her god-daughter. They might have come to blows but that Quintus offered to take Bobbie to see some collection of medical curiosities to which he had the entrée, and Julius drew Beauf aside to walk in a fine garden that Traversini’s recommendation had opened to him. Beauf fumed to the sympathetic ear about how very vulgar Bobbie sometimes showed.
The quarrel was made up: one could not keep up a quarrel with Bobbie, he was too easy-going, but nonetheless Beauf felt somewhat of a reserve towards him for his remarks. Even had Flora herself commented so very disdainfully on Bobbie’s conversation, or lack of it. Indeed he could not imagine her inclining to him however fine a dancer she thought him. He was in some mind to endeavour to sound out the matter with Quintus, who might know somewhat of his sister’s mind, but something held him back. It was too early to put the matter into definite words.
At last they came to Naples. Beauf found himself chafing against the reception they received into Society there, the necessity to go do the polite, the asking after parents and family and old friends in Bella Londra. Sure ‘twas all most exceeding hospitable and kind, but yet he found himself in a considerable impatience to go visit Lady Bexbury at the late Marquess’s fine villa, without making it into a general excursion. Bobbie had already found a congenial set to frolic with, Quintus had savants of medicine to discourse with; and Traversini had come to welcome Julius to the city.
But in due course he was able to take a carriage out of the city and along through exceeding fine views of the bay and the volcano, to the very fine villa Bexbury. On his arrival he found Lady Bexbury reclining in a chair upon the terrace, scribbling at somewhat on her traveling desk. He dared say that she was still obliged to keep a hand upon the various philanthropic enterprizes she was associated in. La, Lord Sallington! she cried. Entire delightful! Come have some refreshment. Even in his impatience to see Flora, he could not resist that famed charm.
Midnight Riot/Rivers of London was published in 2011. Let's assume that what was happening in that book takes place in 2011. (I don't think we have any evidence to the contrary?)
At that point, he has just completed his two years of being a probationary constable, which means he started in 2009.
Hendon training courses seem to last about a month, so still 2009.
British secondary education confuses me, so I'm not really sure what you would call what Peter did, but I'm assuming he finished at age 18 or so, and went straight from there to Hendon. This would mean he would have been born in, what, 1991?
Can someone who knows more about British stuff than I do reassure me that I'm not missing something?
Oh, God, he's a baby!
ETA: According to the Word of God, Peter was 25 at the start of RoL. Which would have him born in 1986, and then begs the questions what he was doing between Hendon at age 23 and being done with his schooling at age 18. There's five years unaccounted for. All told, it was probably something terribly boring--working some low-end job somewhere?
The thing about that, though, is that I wonder what it was. He spends a lot of time empathizing with people and noting what various jobs are like and/or what their perspective is, and in all that time he's never indicated that HE used to do that job. I mean, he might have joined his mum as a cleaner, but then all the times he evaluates a cleaning job with a professional eye surely he would remember it instead of his mum's job which he occasionally helped with as a child. And it can't have been a paperwork job--beginning secretary, or something--because he would probably have mentioned it when he was dreading going into the CPU.
Peter's just so chatty, with so many digressions inside his head, I just can't imagine him coming across a job he used to do in the course of any of the stories and not mentioning "oh, hey, I know what that is like ..."
They looked where Bobbie pointed and observed two golden-haired ladies, dressed entirely proper and carrying parasols, accompanied by an Italian-looking fellow. Hah! cried Quintus, 'tis Aunty Clo – I mean, the exquisite Lady Bexbury, and our Flora, that attract attention. I know not who that fellow is with 'em, though. Mayhap some hired cicerone? But let us go make ourselves known to them. They made their way through the crowds to where Lady Bexbury and her god-daughter looked into a shop-window, carefully guarded by their companion. He showed some disposition to shoo Quintus and his friends away, as Flora turned smiling.
Quintus! What, not walking the wards but disporting yourself in Venice? Beauf stared: 'twas a good number of years since they were in the Raxdell House nursery-set, and having the great treat of Lady Bexbury come among 'em to play tigers. (Did a fellow no harm at all to be able to boast of that.) But then he had been sent away to school, and then to Oxford, and saw Flora much less frequently: the last time at a Christmas party at Raxdell House, he an obnoxious arrogant sprig, he confided, and she a hoyden not come to her looks.
But they collected their manners, and all bowed over Lady Bexbury’s hand, and then Flora’s, and were introduced to Signor Traversini – is’t not entire fortunate, remarked Lady Bexbury, that Signor Traversini, that looks after my estate at Naples, found himself obliged to come convoke with certain savants of agrarian reform in these parts? The Signor declared that he was entire enchanted to be able to do Her Ladyship this service. Sure, he added, scowling, there are a deal of rogues and cheats haunt this city, would endeavour go beguile English miladies. He spoke English excellent well, but for an accent.
Oh! cried Julius, Signor Traversini that has made such remarkable improvements in grafting vines? Sure I should most greatly like to have some discourse with you, sir. Traversini looked at him and a warm smile quite transfigured his well-cut features. Why, Mr Roberts, he said, 'twould be entire agreeable to me. I hazard, he went on, you are some connexion of Hector’s? Julius gave a brief outline of the relationship, as Traversini asked about Hector and Euphemia, that he confided Julius had seen more recently than Her Ladyship or Sophy had. A sudden sympathy 'twixt the two began to manifest.
Had he not been so delighted by the pleasures and distractions of Venice, Beauf thought that he might have somewhat have resented the degree to which Julius became taken up with Traversini, but 'twas somewhat of a relief that Julius had found a fellow-spirit, one, moreover, that was able to take him about various places upon the mainland. Quintus had found those of his profession that he might debate matters with, Bobbie was ever able to find entertainment, and Beauf – had offered to escort Lady Bexbury and her god-daughter to see various collections of art where he had the entrée.
Lady Bexbury was, of course, the most exquisite and charming of women, as all quite universally agreed. It could only benefit Flora Ferraby to be taken about by her and to have that example in front of her. Flora had indeed grown into a fine handsome young woman, her features a more feminine version of Quintus’s, but even with youth upon her side she could hardly rival Lady Bexbury. She was also inclined to be contentious and contradictory, though when Beauf took time to consider what she had said, he did concede that she often had the right of it.
He ought to confess, that even when he did not agree that she was entirely right, there was something in what Flora said. For it was not some puritanical Evangelical objection that she took to certain paintings – would even praise the technique and the composition &C – but why, she sighed, were there so many ladies painted in a state of nature or very lightly draped? Lady Bexbury gave her adorable musical giggle and said, La, 'tis give out symbolical, or so Sir Zoffany told me many years ago; but indeed, one might wish gaze upon some symbolical fellows as well.
Beauf and Flora did not spend all their time arguing: they were in entire agreement over the ludicrous sight of stout opera singers, while admiring the exquisite sounds that emerged from those corpulent forms. They danced exceeding well together at an immense number of balls, masquerades and parties of pleasure. And he had found insipid misses squeaking yes and no tiresome indeed. There was really no need for him to begin thinking of marriage just yet: his father in quite the finest health, two thriving younger half-brothers. And yet – there could be no objection to an alliance with the Ferrabys.
Flora even seemed to show Beauf some preference, complaining upon fellows that had no conversation, for, she remarked, telling me how fine my eyes are &C cannot be considered conversation. And neither, she added, is Bobbie telling me how well he did at the tables t’other e’en, For though Bobbie had of course found the entrée to a fast set, that included by report some very fine and accommodating ladies, he also showed some notion towards Flora. Quintus, she went on, may talk at length on some very horrid medical matters, but at least it is good sensible interesting stuff.
Beauf stood on the balcony smoking, looking out at the moonlit vista and pondering whether 'twas premature to make any declaration to Flora. He looked down and saw Traversini and Julius coming along the calle, and pausing by the entrance to the building. Traversini laid a light hand upon Julius’ shoulder; Julius looked up at him. Beauf drew in a breath. In the moonlight Traversini was of an almost haunting masculine beauty. Julius – he could not say whether or not Julius was good-looking: from childhood he had been his greatest friend, his face was dear and loved from long acquaintance.
I succeeded to my uncle, explained the Duke of Mulcaster, which is why I do not sport the ancient name of former Dukes: it was always given to the eldest son, and then to his. Indeed, apart from the tradition in the matter, I am glad of it, for it was not only repetitious but somewhat quaint. He never married – devoted his life to the duties of his rank and to connoisseurship: his feeling for art was widely acclaimed. He turned Nitherholme into the showplace it is, with the aid of Julius – now Sir Julius – Roberts; now quite surpasses Qualling.
Beaufoyle, Baron Sallington, heir to the Duke of Mulcaster, lay back on the stone bench and looked up at the sky. Out of view he could hear Julius, his best friend, whistling softly as he examined the roses, which were not blooming as they should this summer, so the head gardener had gone begging to Raxdell House to see if Elisha Roberts or his son could solve the mystery. He picked up the little volume of his father’s memoir of the mother he had never known, now that he had mastered his feelings and was no longer like to weep.
He could not have had a kinder or more affectionate stepmother, the only mother he had ever known. But his father had suddenly remarked, just the other day, what a look he had of dear Kitty. He had gone to look at the portrait of her, and then into the mirror, and indeed, he was like her. He was also like her in his love for art. While lessons with Raoul de Clérault had convinced him he would never be an artist, it was admitted that he had an eye, and since childhood he had loved the famed Mulcaster collection.
A more cacophonous whistling announced Bobbie Wallace. How now, Beauf! (The family still used the nursery name of Essie; old Etonian acquaintances called him Sally. Real friends, such as the old Raxdell House nursery set, now called him Beauf.) Julius! Pa has put it to me that I might care to do the Grand Tour, and why should we not go together? There will be paintings for you, fine gardens for Julius, and I am sure I shall contrive to entertain myself. The only objection is that he makes mutterings about employing some bear-leader to keep us out of mischief –
Why, Beauf sat up, is there no older, responsible fellow might be of our party? At which exact moment came through the gate into the walled garden Dr Quintus Ferraby, to cries of, how now sawbones! How many have you put in their grave today? Just the fellow! said Bobbie, all consider him sober and responsible, an entire good influence, do you not desire undertake the Grand Tour, Quintus? Indeed, replied Quintus, greatly envy Flora that her godmother takes about the Continent. There are a deal of hospitals and asylums one would wish visit, attend lectures of learned professors –
His friends groaned at the prospect of such worthy enterprize. But it was entirely true that their families considered Quintus Ferraby to be an old head on young shoulders and therefore, was he of the party, it would be unlikely they would impose some tedious fellow upon them. Julius? said Beauf, looking round to where Julius was poking thoughtfully into the soil about the rose-bushes. Julius stood up, remarking that 'twould be a fine thing to see those famed gardens on the Continent, visit certain noted botanists, &C. The sunlight catching the tight black curls of hair struck glints of reddish-gold.
Beauf thought that he would not care to go unless Julius was of the party. Julius smiled at him and said, his papa had a fine book of engravings of gardens that Her Ladyship gave him: he was inclined to think he would approve of this excursion, as exceeding educational. O, he dared say his mama might fret, but indeed, 'twas not like going to America. They all looked at Julius and Bobbie was the first to remark that sure, one might take you for a Spaniard or an Italian, indeed, are there not Frenchmen as dark? They all nodded.
The proposal was approved among their families with amazing rapidity. There was a deal of writing of letters of introduction, as well as Beauf’s father writing to former colleagues in the Diplomatic. And a deal of advice all round. On the packet crossing the Channel they all began to wonder whether this was really such an exciting adventure, but the morning after their arrival, when they woke up in Calais and the sun was shining and there was a fine smell of coffee, they looked around at one another with cheerful smiles. Onward to Paris! cried Bobbie, banging the table.
There were adventures and misadventures across France, Switzerland, several German principalities, Austria, until at last they came to Venice. Beauf had most particularly desired to visit Venice, but it was so private and delicate a longing that he shrank from disclosing it to his friends, or from forcing on the pace of their tour. But he apprehended from his father’s memoir of his late mother, and the letters that Lady Wallace had so kindly shown him, that his mother had been most extreme happy in Venice. He had made his own memorandum of the works she had considered particularly fine.
Julius, he apprehended, was not entire delighted with the place, that as 'twere floated upon the waters, was not rooted upon soil. But there was talk of excursions inland – Padua, that Quintus considered a place of pilgrimage, Verona – though for himself, he could pass weeks and months here, would it not seem eccentrique to do so. He had introductions to certain private collections and to cognoscenti. Today, however, they all paraded in the drawing-room of Europe, St Mark’s Square, before going to take coffee at the Café Florian. Why, said Bobbie, someone over there is causing somewhat of a stir.