To be Venetian
He smiled at her, relieved that she should imagine his thoughts so far from where they were. He said:
‘I shan’t be sorry. We shall be going back into the summer, and things are at their best then. Winter’s all right for hunting – misty, damp mornings and those afternoons when you can see everything miles away as clearly as though it were in the next field and the frost just nips your ears – but I’m a summer man. Cricket and fishing and hay-making.’
She said: ‘Can you imagine what it would be like to be Venetian – this gondolier, say? To see everything against a background of these canals; everything liquid, fluid. They never freeze, do they?’
Michael laughed. ‘No, they never freeze! And I couldn’t possibly imagine what it would be like to be a gondolier, except that it would be pretty disgusting. Living on spaghetti and garlic and cheap vino nero. And I’m told the place smells like a sewer in the summer. Not surprising the way they throw their garbage over the garden wall into their wonderful, liquid roads.’
They saw the gondolier lean over to the right, poling vigorously. The gondola turned inwards towards gay, striped poles and wide steps leading to a high, pointed door.
Rosemary said: ‘Are we there already?’