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Pisa’s best inn 03/12/2010

Posted by florencecapital in Uncategorized.
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c. 1900

There is a good inn up a dark lane [in Pisa] – La Cervia its name – kept by a stately widow, and kept in good order. To hear her rate the maids, to see the waiters fly, is to be assisting at a comedy of Goldoni’s. ‘Padrona, si,’ ‘Padrona, no,’ is all they dare say to her. I came upon her one morning cheapening a fish. It was a vast fish, and a good (as I can testify, who ate of it afterwards); the proud taker of it knew its merits and was voluble upon them. The Padrona listened without changing a muscle; she heard every word, but never moved a hair. At the end, still looking at the fish, she asked, ‘Quanto domandi?’ The man smiled wistfully, shrugged, and murmured some supposed price. She heard him, though I did not; her bosom laboured with a tumult and was delivered of a sigh. She lifted the gill of the fish with a contemptuous finger, and – ‘Pah!’ says she, and lets it down again with a splash. After that she condescended to name her own price, which was immediately accepted. She asked me at dinner, did I not think it an admirable fish ? And as fresh as fresh!

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