Spill The Wine

It was warm and pleasant.

The young gentleman felt relieved.

He was no longer breaking the law.

Sitting on the bank he took the bottle of marsala out of his pocket and passed it to Peduzzi.

Peduzzi passed it back.

The youth took a drink and passed it back to Peduzzi.

Peduzzi passed it back again.

"Drink," he said, "drink. It's your marsala."

After another short drink the young gentleman handed the bottle over.

Peduzzi had been watching it closely.

He took the bottle very hurriedly and tipped it up.

The gray hairs in the folds of his neck oscillated as he drank, his eyes fixed on the end of the narrow brown bottle.

He drank it all.

The sun shone while he drank.

It was wonderful.

This was a great day, after all.

A wonderful day.

"Senta, caro! In the morning at seven."

He had called the young gentleman caro several times.

Nothing had happened.

It was good marsala.

His eyes glistened.

Days like this stretched out ahead.

It would begin at seven in the morning.

They started to walk up the hill toward the village.

The young gentleman went on ahead.

He was quite a way up the hill.

Peduzzi called to him.

"Listen, caro, can you let me take five lire for a favor?"

"For today?" asked the young gentleman frowning.

"No, not today.

Give it to me today for tomorrow.

I will provide everything for tomorrow.

Pane, salami, formaggio, good stuff for all of us.

You and I and the Signora.

Bait for fishing, minnows, not worms only.

Perhaps I can get some marsala.

All for five lire.

Five lire for a favor."

The young gentleman looked through his pocketbook and took out a two-lire note and two ones.

"Thank you, caro. Thank you," said Peduzzi, in the tone of one member of the Carleton Club accepting the Morning Post from another.

This was living.

He was through with the hotel garden, breaking up frozen manure with a dung fork.

Life was opening out.

My old man had a big lot of money after that race and he took to coming into Paris oftener.

If they raced at Tremblay he'd have them drop him in the village on their way back to Maisons.

He and I would sit out in front of the Cafe de la Paix and watch the people go by: It's fun sitting there.

There's streams of people going by and all sorts of guys come up and want to sell you things.

I loved to sit there with my old man.

That was when we'd have the most fun.

Guys would come by selling funny rabbits that jumped if you squeezed a bulb and my old man would kid them.

He could talk French just like English and all those guys knew him 'cause you can always tell a jockey - we always sat at the same table and they got used to seeing us.

There were guys selling matrimonial papers.

Girls selling rubber eggs that when you squeezed them a rooster came out of them.

There was one old wormy looking guy that went by with postcards of Paris, showing them to everybody, and, of course, nobody ever bought any.

Then he would come back and show the under side of the pack and they would all be smutty postcards and lots of people would dig down and buy them.

Gee, I remember the funny people that used to go by.

Girls around supper time looking for somebody to take them out to eat and they'd speak to my old man.

He'd make some joke at them in French and they'd pat me on the head and go on.

Once there was an American woman sitting with her kid daughter at the next table and they were both eating ices.

I kept looking at the girl, she was awfully good looking.

I smiled at her and she smiled at me but that was all that ever came of it, even though I kept an eye out for her.

I made up ways that I was going to speak to her.

I wondered if I got to acquainted with her if her mother would let me take her out to Auteuil or Tremblay.

I never saw either of them again.

Anyway, I guess it wouldn't have been any good, anyway, because looking back on it I remember the way I thought out would be best to speak to her was to say, "Pardon me, but perhaps I can give you a winner at Enghien today?"

We'd sit at the Cafe de la Paix, my old man and me.

We had influence with the waiter as my old man drank whisky and it cost five francs.

That meant a good tip when the saucers were counted up.

My old man was drinking more than I had ever seen him and he wasn't riding at all now.

He said that whisky kept his weight down.

I noticed he was putting it on just the same.

He'd busted away from his old gang out at Maisons and seemed to like just sitting around on the boulevard.

He was dropping money every day at the track.

He'd feel sort of doleful after the last race, if he'd lost.

We'd get to our table, he'd have his first whisky and then he'd be fine.

He'd be reading the Paris-Sport and he'd look over at me and say, "Where's your girl, Joe?" to kid me on account I had told him about the girl that day at the next table.

I would get red, but I liked being kidded about her.

It gave me a good feeling. "Keep your eye peeled for her, Joe," he'd say, "she'll be back."

Ernest Hemingway, from In Our Time

watching people

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