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bunch of fishworms crawling out from under a brick were straight compared to it. When I at last protested—for I was getting ravenous and I must say a trifle uneasy—the beggar bowed low enough for me to see the tail of his jacket over his sombrero, and gave as a reason that any other route would have greatly fatigued the signore, all of which he must have known was a lie. The fact was that if I had known how to get out of the tangle, I would have lifted him by the scruff of his neck and the slack of his trousers and dropped him into the first convenient hole.

“When he did come to a halt I found myself before a low two-story ruin of a house—almost the last house in the village, and on the opposite edge from that which I had entered on my way to the church. It was evidently a common road house, the customary portico covered with grape-vines and a square room on the ground floor, containing one or more tables. In the rear, so I discovered later, was a dreary yard corralling a few scraggly trees—one overhanging a slanting shed under which the cooking was done—and below this tree an assortment of chairs and tables under an arbor, where a bottle of wine and a bit of cheese or