Gior. Oh, nothing! I must get the designs ready for my new machine. They are to be submitted to-day, and I must put all the papers and the drawings in proper order. (Goes to a table, where he occupies himself in the manner named, making occasional notes.)
Gian. Yours to command. All I can do is to manufacture bad verse, and I have a certain fluency of tongue, and that is how I make my way. But there are no dramas, no tragedies. Comedyits all comedyfunny, you know.
Gian. Quite the contrary, let me assure you! I go about it in this way: I have divided the city into twelve districts, or sections, whichever you like to call them. Each month I travel one of my districts. This month it happens to be this one.
Gian. Very true. What a pity that its the poor people who are not rich! But they have an advantagethey are not so suspicious; and anotherthey dont let you wait about in the hall; you go straight in. In the houses of the wealthy its maddening: porters, butlers, servantseverybody used to judging one by ones appearance.
Gian. I have several systems. One is to provide poetry. Supposing, for instance, there is a wedding, or a new graduate, or a dancer who has made a tremendous hit, or a celebrated preacher, or a newly elected deputy. I have a sonnet that suits them all. It is sufficient to change the last triplet. I have six variations made up for that triplet. It is a six-barreled-revolver sonnet, and can be shot off six times. Now, observe. Both the quatrains consist of philosophical reflections on the sorrows and joys of life; they answer very well for anybody. In the first triplet I come down to particulars. And thou! I begin, without mentioning names. Thou may belong to any sex or condition; thou is equally good for a man and a woman, for old people and young, for a nobleman or a shopkeeper. Thus:
And thou, within whose heart are the most pure
Virtues gathered; thou, who feelst the need
Of aiding eer the suffrer pain tendure
This, you see, is suitable for any person, the point being the possession of a beneficent disposition toward the unfortunate. The last triplet is the loaded chamber turning in the revolver. Let us say we have a bride:
Enjoy, oh, gentle bride, the splendid crown
Due to all shining souls, indeed,
And from the heavens to thee this day sent down.
Enjoy, oh, learned youth, the splendid crown
Due to all shining souls, indeed,
And from Academe to thee this day sent down.
Or else, Enjoy, oh, artist rare; or else, Enjoy, oh, scion thou of royal blood; or else, Enjoy, oh, worthy burgher; or else, Enjoy, oh, orator sublime
Gian. Another system I have is to play the electoral agent. I present myself, we will say, to a marquis, a great man of letters, or a banker. I enter with a certain degree of dignity, stretch out my legs as I sit down, and after a brief preamble on the existing need for men of strong, independent character, on the dangers threatening our countrys free institutions, I finally inquire, rather mysteriously, Would you, in short, sir, be willing to be elected senator? But, says he, flattered and smiling, I do not quite understand. And I reply, Pardon me if I am unable to divulge anything more at present. Then, perhaps, you have been charged with sounding me? I might have been. Note that I say I might have been, not that I have been. That would be a lie, and I never tell lies. Then he goes on, Pardon me, with whom have I the honor of speaking? I am Gianni Bartolomeo Senatori. Dont you rememberTurinExchange Caféat luncheon, at dinner? Ah, yes, of course I remember, my dear Signor Senatori! Now observe that I never said I remembered. That would be a lie. I ask him if he remembers, and he says he does; so it is he who tells a lie. Sometimes it happens that after getting as far as the vestibule I am confronted by a rude domestic, who says, Not at home! Then I give the fellow my card, and say, with my nose in the air, Here, hand this in to your master! As you already know, my name is Gianni Bartolomeo Senatori. When you are poor you must use your wits. I use my name too. My cards bear my name, only Bartolomeo comes before Gianni, and is abbreviated to Bar.; then, after Gianni comes with fine flourishes Senatori. When the gentleman sees my card, he reads, Bar. Gianni Ah, I seeBaron Gianni! He gets up, and says, Baron Gianni, Senator! Bring him in! Bring him in at once! And in I go.