"I'll do the old dump in a day," He told me in his brittle way. "Two more, I guess, I'll give to Rome Before I hit the trail for home; But while I'm there I kindo' hope To have an audience with the Pope."
We stood upon the terraced height With sunny Florence in our sight. I gazed and gazed, too moved to speak Until he queried: "What's that creek?" "The Arno, sir," I said surprised; He stared at it with empty eyes.
"It is," said I, "the storied stream Where Dante used to pace and dream, And wait for Beatrice to pass." (Oh how I felt a silly ass Explaining this.) With eyes remote He asked: "Was Beatrice a boat?"
Then tranced by far Fiesole Softly I sought to steal away; But his adhesiveness was grim, I could not pry apart from him: And so in our hotel-ward walk Meekly I listened to his talk.
"Bologna! Say, the lunch was swell; Them wops know how to feed you well. Verona! There I met a blonde" Oh how that baby could respond! Siena! That's the old burg where We soused on Asti in the square.
"Antiquity! Why, that's the bunk - Statues and all that mouldy junk Will never get you anywhere . . . My line is ladies' underware, And better than a dozen Dantes Is something cute in female scanties. . . .
"One day in Florence is too small You think, maybe, to see it all. Well, it don't matter what you've seen - The thing is: you can say you've been."